The week began with nice weather, which we sorely need and hoped would hold out through next weekend so we could get in a ride on the triplet with our friend Lisa at “The Rally in the Valley” in Walhalla, South Carolina, on Saturday, 11 May.
Having to prepare for the ride in South Carolina meant getting the triplet down out of the rafters, the pedals moved over from our off-road tandem and mud guards fitted noting the weather outlook for South Carolina and most of the Southeast was wet for the coming weekend. It also gave me a chance to install and road test the semi-custom Yakima roof rack / fork mount and Sea Sucker rear wheel holder configuration on the Tacoma. The latter turned out to be fortuitous in that, as the rack sat on the truck over night the left-hand Yakima roof clip essentially slipped away from the door edge and the thin piece of rubber coating on the clip that’s intended to protect the truck’s paint had split. So, clearly, I needed to spend a little more time ‘fine-tuning’ my rack installation. It took several different adjustments to get the clips to seat correctly and I also put some thick rubberized tape on the paint where the clips rested to help protect the truck’s finish. It passed a local road test without any issues and also made the 300-mile round trip to South Carolina without any issues.
As for the actual 150-mile road trip to Salem, South Carolina, Sadly, we ran into a lot of traffic on Interstate 75 South in Marietta and Atlanta, and then again in Gwinnett County. However, once we were out of the Atlanta area it was a nice drive and we took something of the back way up since we weren’t in a hurry. We arrived at Lisa’s at 4:00pm and had a great time visiting with Lisa at the house and then headed off to the nearby Jocassee Valley Brewing Company for dinner and live music.
The Jocassee Valley Brewing Company was really neat. They have mostly craft beers, some nice wines, and imported organic soft drinks but have different vendors come in with food on Friday’s. Today it was “Meat’n the Middle” and their catering truck with pulled pork, chicken and brisket served as sandwiches, taco’s or nacho’s and they sold more conventional soft drinks. I had the Brown Ale and a Fentimen’s Curiosity Cola with my pulled chicken sandwich and Debbie had the brisket taco’s and a nice Moscato wine. It was all delicious and the The West End String Band was great. We headed back to the house around 8:30pm, continued chatting and retired for the night around 10:00pm. Just a great visit, even if tomorrow’s Rally in the Valley ride was looking like it would be a rain-out.
Saturday: Rally in the Valley is a Rain Out
We both slept quite well, but were woken up by rain twice during the night. When I got up at 6:30am and checked the weather radar my sense was we’d be heading home around 10:00am, right after the heaviest rain came through the area. Yup, it was a rain out for most fair weather riders like ourselves. Hey, we’ll start a ride if it’s not raining even if there’s a threat of rain, but we don’t start out when it is raining or thunderstorms are expected. We stayed at Lisa’s home chatting until around 10:30am when the rain finally let up a bit, as Lisa still had to go to the event venue as a volunteer to support the “after ride party.” We, on the other hand, headed on home the back way. There was no need to get home as quickly as possible via the interstates with the inevitable traffic jams around Atlanta and Marietta, so taking smaller highways across North Georgia would work out just fine and get us home within 15 minutes of interstate travel time but without all of the stress.
Back at the house we unpacked and I pulled the triplet off the truck and parked it in the garage. The triplet will sit there taking up room until next weekend when we’ll make the short drive over to Covington, Georgia, for the Georgia Tandem Rally where we’ll spend 3 days riding with Lisa and 90 other couples. Thankfully, the roof rack remained rock solid for the entire 300 mile round trip to South Carolina, which is a good thing: I was really worried the clips and mounts would “slip” at interstate speeds but they didn’t. So, good to know the rack system is solid going forward.
As a follow-up on The Rally in the Valley, Lisa let us know that she and quite a few other cyclists did end up getting in the ride. Some went out during the morning in the rain while others waited for a few hours and rode on wet roads with a light rain later in the morning and the party went on all day at the ride start in spite of the rain. So, good that a lot of folks had a chance to enjoy the event.