Monday, September 17, 2018

Drawn to the Power of Denali

My view of Denali's South and North Peak, the two highest mountain peaks in the North America.
Denali has a magnetism so powerful that just the sight of it brought me to tears. The beauty was so profound and its size unfathomable, I was overcome.

I wept uncontrollably. In that moment, I was filled with a tremendous sense of accomplishment. I was reminded of how insignificant my everyday problems really are.

This moment came after driving a couple of hours along the Parks Highway. I was unable to see the view through the trees so I figured I had better get out of the rental car and find a way to see the mountains. Once I was out of the car I came across a little path that had probably not been tread upon in a year. I hiked down the path for about a mile, through the brush and over small ridges to the base of an 25' tall boulder. I was hopeful the vantage point from the top would deliver the view I longed for.

But first I would need to scale the side of the cliff to get to the top, a skill I am certainly not adept at and was not prepared to do. I hadn't counted on hiking so far, and certainly hadn't imagined I would need to ascend a sheer wall of stone. Armed with only my camera and keys to the rental car, without even my cell phone, I considered the danger of the solitude and wildlife.

"If I fall from here and injure myself, I am bear food."

But I couldn't come this far and quit now. I knew what I had to do. I swung my camera to my back, grabbed a couple of handfuls of rock and forced myself up the side of the cliff.

I stood up at the top and saw much more than I imagined. The valley yawned out before me. Across the miles of pines Denali shone brightly under the summer sun, as if to greet me. In that moment, I was filled with humility and gratitude.

To show some perspective, this is a panorama of the valley, with Denali peaks on the left side.

I had come so far, not just this day, or this week or month, but over the last 8 years. I have pushed through so much and brought myself to this spectacular moment. I wept my thanks to the Universe, to God, to every bit of collective energy, for this, for all of this.

This is the entire panoramic view from my vantage point. When faced with a view like this, it's no wonder I was overcome.

Anyone who has spent any time in Alaska will tell you it's unlike any other place in the U.S. Not only is the size of the state remarkable, but around every turn there are astouding views. The danger of wildlife is ever present, only heightening my experience. The extremes of the 49th state define the power of its draw.

Yet, there is no part of Alaska more powerful, awe inspiring and elusive then Denali.

Less than 30% of the people who trek to this mammoth ever see the peak(s). Long time residents of the state have made countless attempts, only to be thwarted. Due to the weather systems surrounding these peaks, it is rarely visible.

Yet I was able to see it two days in a row.

The day before I visited Denali National Park, I stayed the night in Talkeetna. I sat by the river for over an hour as the clouds rolled out, taking in the beauty of Denali's southern peak.  

It was suggested to me to visit Talkeetna, a quirky town 50 miles from Trapper Creek, the entrance to Denali National Park. Shortly after I arrived at the hostel I had booked, I invited Babette, my roommate for the night, to join me at the river. As the clouds cleared we were both treated to the breathtaking sight.

Babette seemed to glow as she soaked up the warm sun and beauty of the moment.
While we sat in silence, listening to the river, appreciating remarkable view, tourist buses arrived at the river, one after another. Each tourist rushed to the shore, stood for a minute or two, took a couple of photos, then meandered into the town to shop and eat.

"Got it! I got a picture!"

The tourists came just long enough to snap a photo then promptly left to spent a couple of hours shopping in the tiny town.

They missed the best part; the true magnificence of Denali.

The more challenges I face in life, the more I find myself seeking greater challenges. Each day I'm intrigued to find what is waiting for me down the road. But at this stage of my life I am better able to stop and appreciate exceptional moments. I take the time to be present, taking in every part, the scents, the sounds, the emotions. I enjoy the rewards of my efforts. Denali reminded me that there is so much good in the world, that my worries are often much smaller than they feel, and beauty is all around us, if only we take the time to find it.

I have more than a photo of Denali. I have the imprint of it's powerful presence on my heart.

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Treating Women Motorcycle Riders As Equals

hot-motorcycle-models-sexy-promo-girls
While I believe these models are gorgeous, I don't think they represent your typical woman rider. 
In the motorcycle industry I find few things as disappointing as the use of Promo Girls at motorcycle shows.

With the International Motorcycle Show just around the corner, I've been thinking about this long accepted practice in the motorcycle industry. Not only at the shows do we see this, but many of the motorcycle publications still feature scantily clad models draped over bikes.

To use women as decorations objectifies and demeans our role in the industry. There has been a long struggle to be seen as equals for not only the female industry professionals but the everyday women riders as well.

"As of 2014, the estimated number of women motorcycle riders was 14% and women influenced up to 25% of purchases in the $23 billion industry," according to Women Riders Now.

In the news lately, we've seen great emphasis on the poor treatment of women. Tens of thousands of women have shared their stories of sexual harassment via social media with the #metoo campaign. Yet with all of this focus on women being treated with respect and as equals, women are still being objectified by the motorcycle industry.

Little has been done by the industry leaders to end the inappropriateness of using barely dressed models at the shows and in the publications. These OEMs and publishers don't recognize, or don't care, that women have historically been categorized as second-class citizens in this industry.

They certainly have noticed the growing number of women motorcycle and gear buyers. We see more and more products directed at women everyday. We also see more and more women bike builders, fabricators, publishers, photographers and writers. But this male dominated industry still has serious issues with both equality and diversity.

I often hear talk about the need to attract new motorcycle riders to this declining industry. To me, it would seem a logical direction would be to attract and keep more women riders. Women drive 70 - 80% of all consumer purchasing through buying power and influence and spend upwards of $20 trillion a year worldwide. But when something so disheartening as minimizing women's role as nothing more than motorcycle jewelry, it goes against attracting riders and purchasers.

Women are no longer content to turn a blind eye and accept that some men expect to see these models spicing up the show. If you want to attract more buyers, you had better figure out who is buying.

Would it be too much to ask the industry professionals to stop marginalizing women by ending the objectification and embrace equality?


We're on another Road Pickle! We hope to find great breweries, tacos, steak and biscuits with gravy, as well as some roadside oddities along the way. If you don't want to miss a thing, join us by subscribing to our vlog on YouTube. I PROMISE you'll see some cool stuff!
And don't forget about my book, Rude Biker Chick, Lessons From My Daddy. Click below for more information.


rude-biker-chick-lessons-from-my-daddy

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Saturday, September 30, 2017

RV Booking Hell

(Warning: This blog post is rated PG-13 for crude/foul language.)

ATC-toy-hauler
Village Camper Inn located in Crescent City was one of the gems of RV parks along the coast.

Booking RV reservations is Hell. Seriously, a living Hell.

In many ways, this whole RV life I thought I was getting into is not the bed of roses I had anticipated. I had visions of forests, babbling brooks, warm orange sunsets and serene mornings that smelled of fresh coffee and ocean breezes. Yes, I got suckered in by the brochure of Instagram posts and YouTube videos showing happy couples hiking a forest trail and kayaking a lazy river.

But that shit ain't happenin'.

Instead we find ourselves frantically trying to book a place either for some random holiday we forgot existed (like Labor Day) or to escape scorching, 100 degree heat. We search on RV review sites for 50 amp service and 4G coverage, which only exist together in a downtown park of concrete and exhaust fumes. Mornings are filled with the sounds of lawnmowers and screaming children.

If we're boondocking (staying somewhere without electric, water and sewer hookups) we sleep with the generator running to drown out the sound of semis pulling in and out all night. There are times we can't even get cell coverage in a WalMart parking lot.

ATC-Toy-hauler
Boondocking at the WalMart in Yreka, CA wasn't unpleasant, but it certainly isn't on my Places To Visit list.

Perhaps we don't have the hang of this yet.

We've lucked out with a few wonderful stays, such as Village Camper Inn in Crescent City and Gold Ranch Casino and RV Park in Verdi, NV. Each park was located in beautiful locations, perfect weather and affordable rates. The neighbors we had in Crescent City were lovely people who gave us fresh rockfish from their daily catch. We found excellent motorcycle riding nearby along the coast and in the redwood forest.

ATC-toy-hauler
Gold Ranch Casino and RV Park in Verdi, NV lies in a beautiful setting literally on the CA/NV border.

I believe we have a reasonable criteria for our stays.

Good Reviews
Location where we need/want to be
Sites - level, spacious, etc.
Comfortable Weather
50 amp electric
Water/Sewer
4G service
Reasonable Rates
Discounts: Good Sam, AAA, KOA, monthly or weekly rate
Pets allowed

We need to run our business along the way, which requires us to constantly be connected to the internet. We cannot service our clients who have hired us to manage their marketing and websites if we can't get online, which is why 4G is crucial.

ATC-toy-hauler
At least the rest stop near Mt. Shasta was beautiful, even if there were trucks in and out all night. 

One day each month we seem to be spending hours and hours working together, struggling to find a place to stay. We've started booking months in advance to secure something reasonable. And just fucking forget about something as picturesque as Crater Lake, Lake Tahoe, the Grand Canyon or along the Pacific coastline. If you don't book in advance or have a trust fund, good fucking luck.

Yosemite-National-Park
Oh, you're going to visit in Yosemite and get 4G? HAHAHA!! That's hilarious!

I often have people ask me how to earn a living on the road. Well, here it is. Live full time in an RV and become an RV Travel Agent. Work for Full Time RVers who are trying to book stays somewhere other than KOA's filled with screaming kids (I've never liked kids) or a concrete parking lot without a single tree in sight. Start a business working with RV park owners to secure rentals and working with RVers who don't have the time to call 15 parks in one day, only to find out they should have called 6 fucking months ago.

And when you do start this business, call me right away. I'll pay you good money for your time. Please, just get me out of this living Hell.


We're on another Road Pickle! We hope to find great breweries, tacos, steak and biscuits with gravy, as well as some roadside oddities along the way. If you don't want to miss a thing, join us by subscribing to our vlog on YouTube. I PROMISE you'll see some cool stuff!

And don't forget about my book, Rude Biker Chick, Lessons From My Daddy. Click below for more information.


rude-biker-chick-lessons-from-my-daddy

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Alaska, RVing and Work

Atop Turnagain Pass taking a look at a glacier, which you can see in the background.

Exploring Alaska is so fantastic because it is truly a land of it's own. The vastness is hard to appreciate until you get on one of the Alaskan highways and venture along. The beauty of the landscape, the intense weather, the danger of the wildlife, the sheer size of the state and the amazing people make Alaska truly the epitome of The Last Frontier.

Recently I flew up to Anchorage, rented a car, visited clients and drove to Sterling on the Kenai Peninsula for a visit. My friend and client Ed and his lovely wife Heather opened their home to me for a couple of weeks for a visit. This is my second visit with them, as I went last summer as well. I spent a few days working with Ed on his marketing strategy in his dental office Moose River Dental and enjoyed a few jaunts with he and Heather out and around the peninsula.

Even though it rained the entire time, Heather, Ed and I had a great time at the Ninilchik Fair. Just FYI, pallet fires get VERY HOT!


Ed and Heather are avid motorcyclists. 


But this year I had my own transportation so I did some solo-searching, along with some soul searching.

I took a drive out to the city of Kenai, explored Soldotna and even did an overnighter in Seward. While I didn't care much for the little touristy area of Seward, I loved the ocean views, the fishermen on the shore, the wet weather and the spectacular views of the heavy clouds hugging the mountains everywhere I turned.

The Seward Highway leads into those mountains. 

On the beach in Seward. I slipped on those rocks and hurt my hip rather badly. I've not been able to ride my bike much since then. Only short jaunts for now, but it is getting better everyday.


I'm so grateful I bought these boots and my pink rain jacket. I would have been lost without them, as it rained everyday.


It seems everywhere you looked there were views as spectacular as this.



There were plenty of fish to catch here in Seward. You could see them jumping from the water if watched long enough. 
The highlight of Seward was The Nauti Otter Inn. Wow!

The unique style of this collection of cabins, trailers and Yurts was perfect for my eclectic taste! Everything about it was enjoyable. The main house has the shower, fully equipped kitchens (yes, 2 kitchens!), communal dining area and large, welcoming living room, complete with fireplace and WiFi. The community aspect was comforting for this weary traveler and the staff was so much fun to be around. It was not at all what I expected all wrapped up as a delightful surprise.
The little cabins were great, but I opted for the tiny red and white trailer for my overnight stay.

The interior was tight, but had a hilarious Pirate theme. 

The kitchen sink and the stove were not in working order, but provided additional counter space for my food.

The communal kitchen and dining area

The outdoor facilities included an outhouse, a sink and a shower.

If you've ever been to Alaska you'd know that the jokes about the mosquitos are not jokes at all. 


Each cabin was decorated with it's own nautical theme.


Unfortunately I was only in Seward for one night and then I had to rush all the way to Palmer for the Alaska State Fair to visit my newest client Sina of Crab Terror Island. I couldn't leave Alaska before I saw her booth at the fair and watched her in action! Sina creates unique clothing while building a community of like-minded, dynamic individuals. While Steve rebuilt her website I began coaching her business marketing. I'm loving the interaction with this bright and enthusiastic business owner.

Sina is absolutely amazing! Crab Terror Island will be growing in leaps and bounds over the next 12 months!

It's clients like Ed and Sina that seem to be why we love what we do for a living; Marketing, website development, and business coaching.

Which brings me to my current conundrum; this drastic life change Steve and I have had.

Frankly, Steve and I don't ride our motorcycles as much as we used to. We still love them and love riding, but living in the RV has changed our lives drastically. We seem to be working on our business Too Much Tina Marketing more than ever. We spend a great deal of time planning our next destination, which includes searching for RV parks with availability. We never anticipated that this task would be so incredibly time consuming. Then there's the loading, unloading, setting up, etc., at every park. The overnight stays in parking lots, the long drives in the truck and climbing over and around the bikes in the living area every night we are on the road. Something as simple as making a piece of toast becomes a major endeavor! Mia the Road Beagle has grown more needy and nervous, mostly because of her age. At 15 years old, she's starting to have some issues.
Who could leave this beautiful, sad face behind?

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE being on the road with Steve! I LOVE our life in the RV. It's very convenient and meets all of our needs. We love having Mia with us too. She makes our little family of three a "pack". Our home is cozy and comfortable, with great workspaces for the two of us. And this leads to us staying inside working more than ever, rarely exploring our surroundings. I keep telling myself I'm going to get outside more, but it's just not happening. It's too easy to get up in the morning and go straight to our computers.

We had custom, aluminum work stations installed at 99 West Trailers in Portland. The set up is so comfortable that we find it hard to tear ourselves away from home. 

Most of my Getaway Time is spent here in bed with my tablet and a hot drink.
For now, we'll be working more and exploring less, until something changes. I'm not sure what will happen, but I'm entirely open to seeing what the Universe has in store for us. So I guess now we are not the motorcycle vagabonds we once were. Now we are RVing vagabonds with motorcycles, living full time on the road.

And for some reason, it makes me a little sad.


We're on another Road Pickle! We hope to find great breweries, tacos, steak and biscuits with gravy, as well as some roadside oddities along the way. If you don't want to miss a thing, join us by subscribing to our vlog on YouTube. I PROMISE you'll see some cool stuff!

And don't forget about my book, Rude Biker Chick, Lessons From My Daddy. Click below for more information.


rude-biker-chick-lessons-from-my-daddy

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About Sash


People call me "Sash" because I'm a former beauty queen in my old home town. My father used to ride in an MC which got me interested in the culture. After my last divorce I said "goodbye" to Susie Homemaker and became the rude biker chick I always felt inside. (Read more...)