Saturday, March 14, 2015

Day of Motorcycle Riding

bone-yard-tucson-planes
The Indian Scout in front of the USAF Bone Yard at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ
Riding my motorcycle always clears my head, but riding all afternoon alone did much more than that.

I woke up this morning to find Steve already gone. I assume he went to eat the hotel breakfast without me. Last night I asked him to let me sleep in the morning because I haven't been getting enough sleep. At 9 am I awoke to realize I had indeed missed breakfast and Steve. His laptop was gone, so he was probably working in the lounge.

Steve and I needed a day apart, so I packed up and headed to a coffee shop nearby. I had visited the Crave Coffee Shop a number of times when we visited Tucson in 2013 and liked it very much. With a Hummus Flat Bread Wrap and Chai Latte on my table, I was able to knock out some work.

tucson-cafe

But after working 5 hours, I was ready to get off my ass. The sun was shining and I just knew the temps were in the 80's. I had heard about 2nd Saturdays in Downtown Tucson, a festival of sorts, with food trucks, local restaurants, live music and shopping, so I decided to go.

Rarely do Steve and I take time apart. I know we should do it for our own sanity, personal growth and for the health of our relationship. But frankly, it's just not easy for either of us. We are so attracted to one another it seems impossible to stay away. Even when we fight, there's an enormous passion and energy we are creating. Neither of us want to fight, but we've gotten into a terrible cycle of arguing. It doesn't happen too often, but when it starts, if one of us can leave, we can stop the fight before it gets out of hand.

So today was my effort to walk away.

As I pulled out of the parking lot of the coffee shop to head Downtown, something tugged at my heart.

woman-motorcycle-rider"You don't want to go to some street party. Why not just go for a ride?" my little inner voice whispered.

I turned my handlebars and took off heading east. I rode east until the road ended and found I was still in traffic, surrounded by homes.

"How do I get out of here?" I wondered.

Tucson is remarkable sprawling. I was shocked to find it is 224 square miles! Combine that with the fact that there is no crosstown highway system in the area and you have a riding nightmare.

"To get anywhere in Tucson, you must use city streets, which is nothing but cars and stoplights. It takes an hour to get from the west side of the city to the east," Chris, a Tucson motorcycle rider told me.

At the end of the eastbound road, I chose to go south. I rode for about 20 minutes to the edge of the residential area and stopped to get gas. After filling up the tank, I rode around in circles, exploring roads, finding interesting spots, and taking in the sun and the scenery. I rode by the NASCAR track, a shooting range, the Davis-Monthan Air Force base and the USAF Bone Yard. I stopped to marvel at the hundreds of aircraft and vehicles resting unused on this fenced stretch of wasteland.

tucson-airplane-bone-yard
Bone Yard seemed such an appropriate term for the place. The planes seemed to be fading in the relentless Southwest sun, rotting away as yesterday's newspaper. Our society has become one of such consumerism. With the advent of 777's, our government just parks DC 10's and forgets about them. This must be why we bury human remains. Imagine the smell of thousands of dead people, stinking piles of rotting flesh in the desert sun. It is much easier to ignore this scentless disintegration of thousands of machines.

I pondered my fate as I stood on roadside staring at the Bone Yard with despair. One day I'll be useless. I certainly hope I don't live that long to be a nuisance; an albatross around the neck of a younger family member. I would rather lie in the Bone Yard.

Honda-ST-Indian-Scout
After all of this introspection, I slung my leg back over the Scout and continued my ride. Around sunset I rolled back into our hotel parking lot and pulled alongside Steve's motorcycle, Blackbird. There was something soothing about simply seeing Blackbird. Perhaps because I know that wherever Blackbird is, Steve is not far behind. Blackbird is much like our family dog in that way.

I racked up only 70 miles in the 4 hours of riding, mostly due to the traffic and stoplights to get away from and back to our hotel. But as usual, the day of riding was exactly what I needed to clear my mind and settle my emotions. Upon arriving in our hotel room and relaxing after a hot shower, I was filled with gratitude for this life.

Others may do yoga, eat, shop or exercise, but for me there is no better stress reliever than my Meditation in Motion; motorcycle riding.

3 comments | Post a Comment



Monday, March 9, 2015

Trippin in Tucson

Tucson-shopping-Hippie-Gypsy
The happy dude on the sidewalk was rocking back and forth, seemingly having a pretty righteous acid trip. 
Our time in Tucson, AZ has been completely relaxing and refreshing.

Our second night in Tucson we met with Chris and Mike and had dinner at BJ's Restaurant and Brewery. Chris and I have become friends online and she and her husband Mike ride Royal Enfields. We were excited to meet up with them. Chris has sent me a load of information on local motorcycling events, so I'm looking forward to getting together again, meeting more riders, and seeing some of the city.

Tucson-motorcycle-buddies
After dinner with Chris and Mike, we worked 4 days straight in our hotel room, getting caught up on business. We had only wandered out once or twice in the evenings, so we were both ready to get out and spend a day or two checking out the sights of Tucson.

Steve and I spent an afternoon on 4th Avenue strolling, shopping and having the best burgers ever at Lindy's on 4th. After lunch we found Mr. Head's and while I took a few business calls, Steve enjoyed a few beers. He found the beer selection as average, having only a few craft beers that are rather popular.

Tucson-street-musicians
4th Avenue seems to cater to students, as it is within walking distance of the University of Arizona. But the street scene is interesting and unique. The street musicians look as if they've fallen out of a bus of protesters of the Vietnam War, each of them dressed much like the hippies of the 60's with dreads hanging over their shoulders and huge smiles on their young faces.

I loved soaking up the richness of their commitment to this lifestyle. I've always been attracted to people who are seeking to express themselves and searching for freedom in their lives. I suppose it reminds me of my parents and my life of the bikers who surrounded me in my home as a young girl.

Sunset-Tucson-motorcycle-rider
4th Avenue Shopping District has cool little shops of stylish vintage and new clothing, organic foods, spices, and artwork. The artwork is everywhere one looks, on the walls of buildings, odd sculptures here and there, and hanging in the restaurants and shops.

At sunset we climbed onto Steve's bike Blackbird and rode back to our hotel with full bellies and a sense of rejuvenation.

I woke up the next morning and rolled over to Steve, kissing his face.

"Where are you taking me today? I loved yesterday! Can we go do something else?"

"I had planned on it. I have a place I want you to see," he replied.

For the second day in a row I decided to ride with Steve on Blackbird. Often when we are going on short jaunts and going to the same place, I don't see the need to take two bikes. We aren't actually going riding, but just trudging through the city, so for me, it's more relaxing to simply be a passenger and take in the sights.

We rode out of town to the Mission San Xavier de Bac, the oldest structure in Arizona. Just the view of the structure as we approached took my breath away.

We walked around outside a bit and took a few photos together. I was approaching the front of the church when I tripped and fell to the ground. I simply tripped on my own feet, in this weird way, and landed on the my hands. The skirt of my dress had flown up my back and I was embarrassed that my behind was exposed.

St-Xavier-Mission-Artwork
Before I could grasp what had happened Steve and another man brought me up to my feet. I thanked them and tried to gain my composure. Steve and a little girl were gathering the beads of my bracelet that had broken upon the fall. I examined the scrapes on my hand and asked Steve to help me find a ladies room. The little girl silently held out her hands to give me my beads.

"Thank you Honey. Would you like to keep them? You were so nice to pick them up for me."

She shoved the beads in her pocket with a smile.

"I like your hair," she said, then ran off to join her mother.

After washing my hands I felt much better. Steve and I explored the church and the grounds of the mission in awe. I couldn't get over the notion of kneeling before a church door, that somehow it was a sign from the Universe as to the powerful presence of the humanity lay before me.

I am no longer a religious person. At one time in my life I was a devout Christian, but since my near death experience, that has changed. My beliefs have broadened and I now believe in a more universal collective thought. I believe we are all connected in a spiritual way that I cannot explain. But at that moment, kneeling before God and humanity, I could absolutely feel it.

Tucson-Mission-San-Xavier-De-Bac

Inside the church I was overwhelmed with the quiet reverence of the visitors. Obviously many of the visitors were there just to observe the artwork, which is close enough to touch and in every place one looks and sits. The sight is miraculous, having stood nearly unchanged since 1792. Every visitor seemed to respond as they entered, quieting their voices, touching every spot so gently, sitting in the pews, and some praying.

I believe that each of us intrinsically can sense the emotions of one another and we can sense the emotions that have been poured out in a place of worship, whether we realize it intellectually or not. This place truly brought out reverence from the visitors, be it for the art, the history, or the powerful spiritual existence that lies within those walls.

After two days with two entirely different atmospheres, I found myself so relaxed I slept on and off for 22 hours. Even now as I write, I'm struggling to keep my eyes open. Perhaps this was the break I needed from the stresses of business. I'm very fortunate to have a life where I can listen to my body, my heart and my soul, and fill my needs as they arise in different, beautiful places around the country.

This life of travel is incredibly fulfilling, albeit sometime exhausting, it is worth every moment of effort to feel so complete.

Two days in Tucson are just what I needed to come back to center.

4 comments | Post a Comment



Wednesday, March 4, 2015

In Love With The Road

real-women-riders
Packed up and ready to leave our winter hibernation in San Diego
Leaving San Diego to ride our motorcycles around the western states again wasn't easy. The day we pack is always incredibly stressful. Packing for the first time in a few months is even worse.

I like clothes and shoes very much. I have a tendency to collect more than I need, like many women. So wintering in San Diego gave me time to do a little too much shopping.

Too much stuff really stresses Steve out. He becomes nervous and frustrated just seeing STUFF! I understand his feelings and as his wife, I want to help relieve that stress, so I show him every item I get rid of. Most of the extra stuff goes to my storage or gets donated. It really helps me feel better to think that I can keep the things I love, but I don't need to keep them with me.

Shelli, me and Steve a few years ago at a Chamber function. We would be lost without Shelli.
We have our Assistant Extraordinaire Shelli who manages our stuff. Everything we own is either our our bikes or takes up half of a one car garage at her home. Shelli manages the bills, mail, bookkeeping, insurance, and our stuff for us personally and for our businesses. She's our Wonder Woman! So Shelli and her husband David came with their Tahoe and picked up all the stuff, much to Steve's relief.

My first husband Butch used to tell everyone "So Long" but never "Goodbye" because he wanted to believe he would see them again. Butch was a very sweet man and I miss him often, but we weren't a good fit as a married couple.

So, I spent my last day riding around San Diego saying "So Long" to my friends. Jenny, Madhavi, Betty, Kay and Janet all made time for me before we left for another 7 months on the road. Getting hugs and well wishes for a safe and joyous Road Pickle felt so amazingly good!

Real-women-riders
Getting hugs and gifts from Madhavi, my fellow woman riding buddy.
The morning came and I struggled to get the bags packed. Since I'm riding the Indian Scout just for the month of March and it has no bags, I was trying to figure a way to attach a couple of backpacks to the fender. I used a net but the bags just slid off to the side. Previously I had carried groceries on the fender, but these bags just weren't cooperating.

Steve and I were seriously frustrated with one another and the tension was so thick we were spitting words at one another. The good thing is that we both know it's always tough the day we leave, so we are actually more patient now, understanding that we are just tense. It's part of our nature, I suppose, to bicker when we are leaving a place. We've done this so many times that we both almost expect it.

We managed tie one bag to the tailbag on Steve's bike and the other bag we simply shipped ahead to our hotel in Tucson. I figured I would come up with a solution once I get to Tucson, or simply ship a few things ahead again.

It was starting to sprinkle at noon when we were finally getting on the road, only increasing my anxiety level.

"Dammit! We are leaving a day early to AVOID the rain! We better not get rained on or I'm gonna flip!" I shouted in my helmet to no one.

real-biker-chick
Feeling free on the road!
Once we crossed over the mountains east of San Diego, heading into the Imperial Valley, the clouds we all behind us as we were greeted with warmer temps and plenty of sunshine. That was when I took my first deep breath and smiled, knowing we were on our way. I pulled up beside Steve and blew him kisses and he waved a couple of fingers at me. These are our little signals that we are both happy and still in love.

We are in love, with each other and in love with the road. It seems the two of us come alive as soon as our wheels roll on the asphalt. To create a life that is about riding motorcycles has been so perfect for us both. I've always loved motorcycles and always wanted to travel. I can't think of a better way than on two wheels with my best riding buddy.

3 comments | Post a Comment



Thursday, February 19, 2015

Motorcycle Vagabonds Ride Another Road Pickle

motorcycle-touring
Our Road Pickle 3 Map for 2015. It's a rough outline, but these are stops we hope to make.
The downside to being motorcycle vagabonds is that after a few months in one place, we become stir crazy. Many people would wonder how two people would want to leave a city as beautiful as San Diego, but once you get that touring in your blood, it's pretty addictive.

We've decided to leave February 28 and head for Arizona for the month of March. We'll spend some time in Tucson and then head to Phoenix for Arizona Bike Week from March 25 - 29. Of course we'll see Arizona Harley Dude while we are there! The folks at Indian Motorcycles were kind enough to let me keep the Indian Scout until after Bike Week, so we'll head to Redlands, CA to return it before heading up the West Coast over Spring. We are hoping to meet up with Trobairitz and Troubadour in Corvalis, OR on our way north.

By May 1 we should be in Seattle, WA for a couple of weeks. Steve's Dad Dix passed away in 2012 and is buried there and Steve hasn't been to his grave yet, so we wanted to make a point of visiting him. We have a few friends to see in Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming before we head to Colorado.

After Colorado we'll be making a beeline for Montana and North Dakota. I've never ridden in either state but I believe Steve has been to Montana. We are both really excited to see some new countryside at the best time of year to visit there. I imagine that the weather will be humid and hot, just as it was when we visited Minnesota in 2013, but that's only a guess.

After watching the movie Fargo about 15 times since it's release, I have this weird fascination with visiting the statue of Paul Bunyan in Brainerd, MN. I'm actually hoping we can make good enough time to spend at least 10 days in Fargo, ND and really get a feel for the city. Not only have I never ridden a motorcycle in North Dakota, but I've never stepped foot in that state. The eerie sense I got from the film didn't seem to match up with the folks I met in Minnesota when we visited, yet I'm still seriously Hellbent on going to Fargo and having a look-see for myself. I have also come to learn that there are a number of Paul Bunyan statues in the northern states, so I'd like to see as many as I can. Call me a silly tourist, but I love those roadside attractions!

Our friends and clients Igor and Ana live just outside of St. Paul, MN so we are hoping to visit them again. Moto-Blogger Lucky was kind enough to take us to Carbone's when we visited him in St. Paul in 2013 so I'm aiming to get some more of that pizza, which was indeed, some of the best pizza I've ever had.

While in Minnesota we plan to find the headwaters of the Mississippi and head south along the Great River Road. Now neither Steve or I know anything about this road, but we've heard it's quite an amazing ride, filled with quaint little towns with antique shops and a boatload of history. It was really my idea to ride this road after hearing some RV'ers talk about it in the Yuma Quartermaster's Station. We shall ride from Minnesota to St. Louis, MO, another state we've never ridden and cross into Oklahoma. My niece lives in Tulsa so we hope to visit with her and her three daughters.

From Tulsa it's down into Texas to see family and friends! The goal is to get all the way down to Houston and at some point, meet up with Curt Carter of Live Free Ride Hard Be Happy. By that time it should be heading into September and we'll start making our way along the southern U.S. border back to San Diego for another winter.

Somewhere along the way we should be receiving ScooterBob, a wooden motor scooter that is traveling the world in the company of moto-bloggers. ScooterBob belonged to moto-blogger Bob Skoot who passed away in his sleep while traveling in Nashville, TN last year. Many bloggers have taken ScooterBob on their travels and we are really pleased to have the opportunity to do so as well.

We have a long trek ahead and my throttle hand is already itching! I can't wait to see what new adventure awaits us in the Church of Asphalt from my Leather Pew.

real-biker-chick

7 comments | Post a Comment



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...)