Monday, October 20, 2014

Renting Reality

We rent the places we stay, much like many people rent an apartment or a house. We simply rent on a shorter term basis. We rent hotel rooms and vacations rentals with stays lasting from one night to a few weeks. We just rented a vacation rental in San Diego that will last from October 28 through January 27, 2015, which will be our longest stay of the year. Then we intend to head out on the road again.

For most of the year we stay in hotels, and as you can imagine, staying in a hotel is a rather grand way to live. It's everything you want, really. Free breakfast, maid service, clean sheets, and all the amenities. If we don't like something, we call the front desk and it's fixed, immediately. If I want something special, most hotels are happy to oblige. Since we use our rewards club membership, we've reached Gold Status, and nearly Platinum this year (we would be at Platinum, but we switched hotel chains mid-season). And as one would expect, Gold Status truly does get one the a nicer level of treatment and accommodations. I haven't become bored with living this way, actually, quite the contrary. I'm terribly spoiled at this point, as is my husband.

We've nearly forgotten what it's like to mow a lawn, clean a bathtub, or wash our own sheets. We don't pay our bills because we have a bookkeeper that takes care of that. It helps that we have very few bills, which is a byproduct of living on the road. One simply doesn't accumulate debt and things while living this way. The hotel has it all, so we get one bill for not only our stay, but utilities, internet access, etc. Less to maintain, less to manage, less reality we need to be concerned with.


This lifestyle has given us a great many hours to devote to the things we want to spend our time doing. We work many hours. We ride for a few days in a stretch. We go to the gym, count our calories, find nice restaurants and bars, socialize, and explore. We think, simply look inward and think, about our lives, our pasts, our hopes, our feelings, and ponder the things which interest us. We discuss politics, religion, society and human behavior with one another, and others we meet. We look at maps and dream of places we want to travel to, read blogs that other riders write and add things to our "Maybe Someday" lists.

Nothing is etched in stone. Nothing binds us to any person, place or thing. We aren't really bound to one another. Each day we choose to spend this day with each other, or apart. We spend most of our time in the moment, dealing with the things that our at our fingertips, things that concern us right now, and we often forget about some of our responsibilities. This is why we have a bookkeeper/office manager and lists of things we need to do.

If we didn't run a business, we possibly would go completely off the radar, disappearing completely, and wander off down some dusty trail, never to be seen or heard from again. Both Steve and I crave independence, a lack of obligation, a lack of responsibility, and a complete absence of reality.

Why are we this way?

Because it's a wonderful way to live.

I'm not ashamed and I make no excuses for this. Being responsible for only myself this last year has been incredible. This trip that was supposed to last only 6 months has now turned into a permanent lifestyle; well, as permanent as we get. As long as we can sustain this way of traveling and living, this is the way I want to be. This motorcycle trip has opened my eyes into a hidden world that lies somewhere within the fringe of our society, a sliver of reality in which there is no future, nor past, but only the moment. It's delicious and savory, and I want to remain here.

I'm not afraid anymore. I'm not worried about tomorrow, the government, my retirement, Ebola, my heart condition, or my finances. I'm convinced that I can handle whatever comes along. This is the freedom I sought, but had no idea it was so easily attained. When I stopped caring about my things, what others thought of me, and all of the things I can't control, suddenly life became colorful and sensational. Every day has a multitude of gifts, all mine for the taking, if I can appreciate them as they come! How can life get any better than this?

In the meantime, we still run our business, which we enjoy doing. I'm not complaining, not at all! We are so fortunate to be able to do the kind of work we like doing in the field we love. Certainly I could use a few more advertisers for our websites, so if you have a motorcycle business and want to be seen by thousands of readers each month, just contact me! How many people have been lucky enough to put the things they love doing (writing, riding motorcycles, eating good food, photography, social media, and advertising sales) and earn enough money to support their dream lifestyle? Believe me, I am thankful everyday!

As writers, I imagine Steve and I will always write. I've been writing since I was 13 years old, so I can't imagine a life without it. Steve has spent his life in a number of creative fields; music, art and now web development and writing, which he loves more than anything he's ever done. Even if we had a million dollars, we would still write the blogs.

For now, we rent our reality, as very little in our lives is permanent. We stay grounded just enough to stay connected to society without becoming indebted or obligated to anyone. My daughter has some difficulty with this, but she's trying very hard to understand and be independent. I feel free on my motorcycle, but even more so when everything I need is on that motorcycle with me, and I know that no matter what crossroads I come to, I can go wherever the wind takes me, renting just a little reality when I arrive.

I used to believe if I had more things, more money, more, more, more, I would be free. I've learned it is all quite the contrary. Eventually, it all becomes so much to carry. The less I have, the freer I am. I already have all I need and the less I have, the less I want.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Scottsdale Storm


I love that feeling of beating the weather on my motorcycle.

A couple of weeks ago, Steve texted me while we were in Scottsdale to tell me we had better hit it because a huge storm was showing on the radar. He was in a beer/burger bar and I was across the street perusing a consignment store.

"I'm on my way. Meet me at the bikes."

The weather had looked ugly all day, but for Steve to be concerned, it must be hellacious.

I walked out of the store and met him out front, seeing the same storm we'd been tracking all day.

"It is purple/red on and radar. . . " he told me as we mounted up.

Our hotel was only a few miles away and rolling into the parking lot before even a drop of rain made landfall filled me with accomplishment. As I dismounted my parked motorcycle, I pulled out my camera to shoot some video, because the thunderhead approaching was magnificent.

The next 10 amazing minutes that occurred are in this video that has been edited down to only 1 1/2 minutes. 

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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Las Vegas BikeFest Roars Into Action

Our office for the day, the coffee shop/bar in the Ground level of our hotel, lies right along Las Vegas BikeFest Rally Central. While the vendors and events are situated at the Cashman Center about a mile away, the Downtown Grand of Las Vegas, formerly the Lady Luck Hotel, surrounds the outdoor rally happenings with her two glistening towers of steel. Shrouding the short street with cool shade most of the day and housing The Mob Bar and the commissary., the coffee shop/bar where we sit now. At night the street is flooded with leather clad men and women, the women far less clad than the men, all drinking and partying, in and out of the Hogs and Heifers Saloon in the pomp and circumstance that is BikeFest.

The roaring between the towers continues until the puny hours upon the clock, which is why the management provides earplugs in the room. We're often asked why we are working while everyone else is having fun and we politely answer, explaining our lifestyle in a sentence or two. Invariably, someone will want to hear more, and I try so hard to find the enjoyment in answering their questions, but when I'm trying to work, it can be disruptive. I patiently hand out business cards, refer them to our website, as the cards are shoved into pockets to be laundered later.

The sweet soccer mom who stands beside me with her Bermuda shorts and Dooney Bourke handbag smiles at the attractive, young bartender as she orders lunch for her family. Obviously not attending the Rally but just here to bring her teenagers to Las Vegas, I wonder if she is anything like I used to be. Miserable, trapped, serving her time as a wife and mom, desperately longing to climb on the back of one of these bikes and ride away from the obligations of her life. No more bake sales, no more PTA, no more teachers and bad grades to contend with, but the freedom of the road I enjoy in my life today. Her sweet, coy smile hides under her blond bob and she winks as the cute bartender. He doesn't bat an eye, as he's probably had every lonely Cougar who wanders in hit on him.

I'm not a fan of Las Vegas because I am overwhelmed by the distinct odor of desperation at every turn. Gamblers down on their luck, drunken bachelors drooling over their bar tacos, lonely women objectified for a dollar, vendors frustrated with low sales, hardworking waitstaff miserable with the tourists; folks in every walk of life running away from everything all under the guise of "having such a good time". The stench of cigarette smokers, hot and sweaty tourists, and boozed up 20-somethings bumping into elevators in the mid-afternoon remind me that I am in the center of the unholy Gods of Excess and Money Worship.

It's not all bad though, just different than most of our destinations. Prior to attending Sturgis, I had never been to a rally, so I wasn't sure what all the fuss was about. Now that I know, I find I enjoy the open road and regular city visits much more. Much like the Sturgis Rally, only a much smaller event in nicer hotels, the BikeFest is probably the stereotypical rally. The tourist spots and rallies aren't really my speed, as I would rather spend my day in an art museum or restored, historic hotels, churches or civic buildings, eating where the locals eat and sitting barside in their watering holes. Steve and I have found what works for us, what feeds our interests, and we are fortunate that we enjoy the same things, like most couples.


The loud pipes are roaring here in Vegas this weekend, saving lives and terrifying tourists and locals. The coffee shop girls confided they are frightened of the burly bikers and their tough wives, afraid they'll mess up an order and get yelled at, or worse. It's hard to convince these part-time-employed-college-students that these men and women are regular, nice folks when they are sporting vests that are covered in profanity and roaring their engines like lions vying for territory. For many riders the image of toughness is a badge they wear proudly, so perhaps they don't want me telling these girls they are really just a bunch of teddy bears.

Come Monday the motorcycles will be gone and the riders back to their regular 8-5 day jobs, the hotel will return to it's normal routine of gamblers and show-goers, and another BikeFest will be in the books. Come Monday you'll still find Steve and me here at the bar, typing away on our laptops, drinking craft beer and Sashtastics, and dreaming of the next stretch of road that calls out to us.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Road is My Home

With Joe and Diane for Steve's Birthday Pub Crawl 
Living the life of a motorcycle bohemian is wonderful, except I hate saying goodbye. I've never really done it well and simply avoided situations my entire life where I must say it.

Last night we told the Grumpy, Biggus and his wife Kim goodbye and I wept as we rolled away. They had been teasing me a bit about being so sad when I left Pagosa Springs after saying goodbye to Taryn and Jared. When we left there, I wept all the way to Durango, choking out a few hard sobs along the way.

It's not one person, it's everyone. All the people I've connected with over these last few years, the relationships that have developed into friendships I really cherish. I often stay in touch with people on social media to lessen the pain, but it's not the same. I miss my friends.

"You're taking it too personal!"

Grumpy, Biggus and Steve were trying to talk me out of it last week.

"I never feel that way when I travel."

"You just need to detach a little. . . "

As they spoke I did little to defend myself, because what they did was unimportant. I have just reached a point in my life where I truly care about others in a deep way. There's nothing wrong with that, and to be honest, I'm grateful I can feel so strongly for others.

Living as a motorcycle bohemian has taught me so many lessons, and this is just another. Perhaps it is that I should take no one for granted, and remember to treat every parting with serious regard. Love when you can, for perhaps there isn't a next time.

When I told my Father goodbye in August of 1990, I had no idea there wouldn't be a next time. I spent years wishing I would have stayed longer. . .

These lessons of travel have been so powerful for me that last year I started writing a book. I intended it to be a handbook of short lessons, but once an editor saw what I'd written, it became more. I've sent back my rewrites and now we are in the editing process again. My goal is to have it published by December 2014.

I don't know the title yet, but I know it's in there somewhere. These road lessons that become life lessons has been a consistent theme. I'll keep you all posted.

Now more than ever, I feel I have no home. The people I love are spread from California to Pennsylvania, Montana to New Mexico, Florida to Missouri to Colorado to South Dakota to Washington. My home lies withing their embrace, in those quiet moments of understanding, in the laughter over meals and the solitude of rides. I wonder now if I'm destined to wander forever, because it is certain for me in this moment that the road is my home.
My daughter Olivia, 9 months pregnant

Our friend and client, Betty Owen

Gabriele, Charleyn and Asphalt Annie in Colorado

My Uncle Reggie in Pennsylvania

Our friend Rania in Philly

Oktoberfest with my longtime friend and former classmate Becky

Hugging Margaret DreamCatcher in Starbucks

My former classmate and long time friend Kelly and her daughter Kassie

Joan and me in Sturgis

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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...)