Thursday, July 23, 2015

My Motorcycle Is My Partner

Yamaha-v-star-650
My Yamaha V Star Tatanka has taken me 30,000 miles over 2 years of riding together
As I was polishing the chrome on my Yamaha V Star 650 when I had an amazing realization about my feelings for my motorcycle. There in that moment I was overcome with a great appreciation for this machine.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, my mother told me of a deep love that came over her with her first child. Just days after my sister was born, my mother looked at her and realized the enormity of her role as a mother. It hit her in one moment, this mix of a great love and huge responsibility, feeling wonderful and terrifying.

"You'll know it when you feel it," she told me.

Sure enough, my moment came when my daughter was 3 days old. I was holding her and watching my husband and mother cook dinner in my home. I looked at my tiny baby and the emotion poured over me, through me, seemingly becoming part of me. I wept as I looked at this tiny being, knowing I was responsible for every meal, every pain, every illness, every need this human would have for the next 18 years. I wept with joy and fear, just as my mother had done.

I told my daughter this story when she was pregnant just over a year ago. Shortly after my grandson was born last summer I asked my daughter if she had yet felt such a moment.

"Yes. I know exactly what you were talking about now. It was serious Mom. Very serious."

Currently I'm house sitting for a friend in San Diego who has a great garage for parking. I decided to make the most of it and wash my motorcycle. I even went so far as to buy some spray wax for the paint. In the 2 years I've owned this motorcycle, I can count the times I've washed her on one hand. But she was particularly filthy and since I had the means to do so, I thought this was a good time to get her as clean as possible.

As I was cleaning the chrome, getting in the tiny notches between the heads, I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the air intake cover. Then I leaned back, taking a good look at my motorcycle as if I had never seen it before.

This maternal feeling came over me; this deep love I remember having for my child. Certainly it wasn't quite as strong as my love for my baby, but it was similar. For me, this was the strongest feeling I've ever had for a machine.

I realize I have this motorcycle to thank for all of these miles I've traveled in the last 2 years. Gratitude came over me, as did a sense of obligation. I have a responsibility to care for her, to feed her, to listen to her, to fix her problems and keep her safe. But unlike a child, my motorcycle never complains and always performs. She will also give me her all. I only need to ask it of her by twisting her throttle. Even when I have been irresponsible and pushed her beyond her limits, once I've righted her up again, she's back to work for me without complaint.

My motorcycle has been my loyal friend and partner and I truly love her for it.


My book Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. Give me your feedback on it once you've read it! I look forward to hearing from you.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Road Therapy


Steve and I are not getting a divorce.

I've had quite a few people contact me with deep concern as to my last post about our relationship. After traveling together for the last 2 1/2 years, living in hotel rooms, depending upon each other for so much, Steve and I needed a break. The circumstances under which he left were painful for me and I had a very difficult time watching him go. I had my daughter, my son-in-law and my grandson come to visit for a week which was was also stressful. So my point of view when I wrote my most recent post was a bit skewed.

Steve has been on the road for 12 days now. He contacted me after being on the road for 5 days and I think we've talked almost every day since. We're still talking about things, working things out, and trying to sort out our feelings, but we're not breaking up.

Living on the road isn't easy. We've lived in fine hotel rooms, eaten the best food, seen various landscapes, each more astounding than the last, and yet none of it has been easy. Even with money, comforts, and love, the difficulties of life creep in and tear at the fiber of our hearts. We work together, live together, socialize together and sleep together. We've done too much together and not enough alone.

Money only solves so much. And I'm sorry Beatles, but you need more than love. There are those vagabonds who say they only need the road (there was a time when I would agree with them), but even that left me weary and unfulfilled. My physical pain played a part in that road-weary state and broke down my determination and spirit. I tore at Steve in frustration, with no one else to vent my anguish towards, and wore him down too.

I'm still carrying some baggage from my past. The emotional scars have hardened parts of me that simply will never heal, so they must be managed. It was brutal for me to learn that I can never fully heal this road rash from the crashes of my life, destined to live with these scars forever.

Steve carries his own baggage from his past. It is heavy now and he's working to unburden himself. But this has become a painful process for both of us.

Taking different roads was important for our survival. I became a little lost during my solo travel. I became sidetracked and angry, sullen and finally, very depressed. I spent 3 days in bed, moping and watching television, which is entirely unlike me.

Today was a different day. While talking on the phone with Steve this morning, I mustered up every bit of strength I could and at his encouragement I got out of bed and met a friend for lunch. Then I took a 60 mile ride to get a pair of kevlar jeans for riding. I bitched and moaned to Steve that it wouldn't make me feel better, but I was wrong. That asphalt, rubber, steel and sunshine did the trick. Road Therapy wins again.

I love that motorcycle. I love Steve. Yes, we hit some shitty road and I didn't have high hopes, but that was because I wasn't seeing things clearly.

Have you ever just mounted that motorcycle, ridden less than a mile, and sighed with great relief? That huge sigh that comes about when you just know that things aren't as bad as you thought?

Today I sighed that way.

Everything is going to be alright.


My book Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. Give me your feedback on it once you've read it! I look forward to hearing from you.

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Saturday, July 11, 2015

We Will Know When We Arrive

Currently I'm staying in So Cal to tend to personal business, feeling essentially grounded for about 6 weeks while having medical tests done. While I'm here, I'm finalizing the sale of my home, organizing and separating the few things we have stored here and getting them moved into storage space. This also gives me time to visit my small family and a few local friends, as well as get some work done.

Steve left today for a solo motorcycling trip. I had actually encouraged this trip and up until last week, I was excited about him going off to wander about on his own.

"There's no reason why you can't continue to ride just because I'm stuck here. I WANT you to go! Really!"

I meant that when I said it.

Then last week I was blindsided with new information like a semi plowing through an intersection over me.

Steve had decided he wanted not only to take a trip, but for the most part, we would to stop having contact during the time he was gone. Steve will let me know when he is ready to speak and I am not to contact him at all. This "Radio Silence Solo Ride" came as a shock to me in our therapist's office.

"Steve needs time alone, and by alone, I mean, he doesn't want to be required to text or call you. I think it's best for him. This is what he wants and needs," our therapist informed me as the three of us sat in her office.

Steve simply nodded, staring at the floor.

Stunned, I simply agreed to the terms. I would never want to stand in his way, take away his freedom, or stifle him. I reasoned what's best for "us" as a couple is to make him happy.

I never wanted to be one of those selfish, demanding wives who confined her husband, taking away the things he enjoyed. As a people pleaser it is my habit to please others first, before even considering how I feel. So I really meant it when I told him to go and ride solo.

But the "Radio Silence" has left me feeling hurt, manipulated and cheated. It's as if I signed an agreement and then someone pointed out the small print on another page. I couldn't go back on my word. I couldn't sit in the therapist's office and say, "Oh no then! If that's the deal, I'm out!" That would make me a "bad wife", the kind of bitch I don't ever want to be.

So I swallowed my feelings and wished him well as he left this morning. And even though I was terribly sad about him leaving, I never shed a tear.

I keep reminding myself this is all part of the journey. I'm trying to look at all of life's ups and downs as part of one long road that leads me to a wide variety of landscapes. And while this particular section of road may seem dark, it has actually shed a bright ray of light on a few hidden puzzle pieces. Right now, I don't have a full picture yet and I'm still gathering and sorting pieces, but I'm certain this time apart will be productive.

In my life I've learned these painful times can often bring the greatest opportunities for realization and growth. In fact, it seems the worse it hurts, the greater the life change that accompanies the pain. Now that Steve is out on the road and taking this time to himself, I hope he too sees what he couldn't see with me around and experiences his own kind of growth.

I also hope he realizes he will be returning to a different person. Having gone through this pain of feeling rejected and unimportant will have an impact on me. In fact, it already has. We have hit a fork in the road and only miles will tell where we will end up.

I have no intention of sideswiping him when our paths intersect again, but I'm making no promises, because right now, I can't see the road ahead. I can only see what's in my headlight and this is a brand new road I'm on.

I guess we'll both know when we arrive.

My book Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. Give me your feedback on it once you've read it! I look forward to hearing from you.

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Monday, July 6, 2015

My 10 Favorite Cities - Part 3

Woman-motorcycle-Rider
On our Road Pickle Motorcycle Bohemia, we've seen plenty of places, plenty of road and plenty of other riders along the way.
As motorcycle riders who have ridden across the country for the last 2 years, we are often asked what has been our favorite place to visit. I find a great amount of difficulty in answering that question, because I can't think on any individual city that is my absolute favorite. I've found that every city has it's own appeal and personality, so I end up rambling on an on listing numerous places for numerous reasons. As a result, I have decided to share a list of my favorite cities.

This is my third and final installment of this list, and they are listed in no particular order.

seafood-seattle-wa


Seattle:
Oh the traffic sucks in Seattle. In fact, I would rate it as the worst traffic in all of the cities I've visited. But let's put that aside for a moment, because that is the only thing about Seattle that I don't love! Well, that and the cold weather, but I always visit in the summer.

The food in Seattle is divine, with choices from fresh and inventive seafood to some of the best Asian food I've ever had. The coffee shops and pubs have distinct personalities, many are like walking into a friend's home where you put up your feet, enjoy a beverage, and feel welcome. The diversity of the cultures is refreshing. It seems everyone, I mean EVERYONE is welcome here. Whatever you're seeking, you can find it in Seattle.

Except ugliness. The landscapes and views are so beautiful, they make one take a step back just to soak it all in. The smiles on everyone's faces seems to represent just how far from Manhattan one really is (Manhattan, where no one smiles). Their is a warmth and character to the city and the locals embrace and reflect it.
grave-jimi-hendrix-renton-wa
While in Seattle we visited the graves of Brandon and Bruce Lee, then over into Renton to visit the grave of Jimi Hendrix. There are hundreds of lipstick prints on Jimi's marble face, so I gave him a Smooch from Sash. 
We found great craft beers, remarkable architecture, great steaks, interesting landmarks, and an abundance of innovation. Seattle loves it's small businesses and as a city, does it can to support them and keep them in business. Big Box stores and chain restaurants are scarce and the small business owners are King. This creates diversity and uniqueness, fostering creativity and that welcoming attitude.

The motorcycling outside of Seattle is exciting and beautiful as well. A rider can spend a few days of riding mountains or go out to the coastline and never be bored, nor far from the city. With an endless array of small restaurants to get everything from fried alligator to radish chutney, Seattle has it all.

So slap on your slouchy beanie, flannel shirt and grab your cup of coffee and roam the imaginative streets of Seattle!

squatters-salt-lake-city
Parking my motorcycle at Squatters in Salt Lake

Salt Lake City:
Surprised? Well, I was too. When I was a kid my father and step-mother lived about an hour from Salt Lake and they rarely went into the city. Most people think of Salt Lake City and think of the Mormons, the strict religion and the laws on alcohol. The truth is, you'll find some stricter alcohol laws across the country in more places than you can imagine! I find Salt Lake City to be more middle-of-the-road overall as far as alcohol laws as well as diversity.

Salt Lake City offers unbelievable riding in the area. The Alpine Loopwas my favorite and most challenging ride I've ever taken. It had sentimental value to me as well, because I rode this same road on the back of my Dad's Harley as a 13-year-old girl. But even local riders hail it as "better than the Dragon!" Not only will you find the Alpine Loop a great ride, but hundreds of other mountain roads await riders, all within an hour of Salt Lake City.

alpine-loop-utah
Riding the Alpine Loop in Utah
We found delicious food in a number of downtown restaurants, interesting architecture, and historic sites and craft breweries with distinctive beer. The breweries serve food and mixed drinks as well, so we were pleased with the variety of choices.

One thing I have encountered on each visit to Salt Lake eateries are tourists. People come from all over the country, mostly on business, and flock to the bars at night. We met some of the most interesting people downtown, all of whom were from out of town. It seems funny to recommend a city for it's visitors, but it's truly a part of the city's makeup.

The city itself is beautiful and invites one to simply stroll about the downtown. I did not visit the Mormon Temple, but I'm told there are parts to visit for non-Mormons and that the history is interesting. There's a massive Farmer's Market in the downtown park on Saturdays with every food and vendor booth you can imagine, as well as live music all day. I had one of the best massages of my life, right there in an open booth on a massage chair. We met a parrot, bought some fresh honey, ate a torta and enjoyed punk music together.

The mentality of Salt Lake City seems to have evolved far beyond the white short sleeved shirts and black ties that I remember from the 1980's, into a more progressive and open place. I know I felt welcome in this beautiful, diverse city and for me, diversity is very appealing.

san-diego-ca-cityscape
As in most large cities, San Diego is constantly growing. The East Village is just off in the distance, a part of Downtown.
San Diego:
Even though I've traveled around the country for 2 1/2 years, I still find San Diego to be my all-time favorite city, and for good reason. It's not just because it is home to me, I can assure you. San Diego has everything I want, every time of year.

The weather is absolutely perfect. I read recently that San Diego ranked high on some list of Most Humid Cities, which makes no sense to anyone who has actually been there. Perhaps the inland areas can be a bit hot, but not humid. San Diego's average temperature is 71 F degrees, with crisp mornings, bright, sunny days, breezy late afternoons and cool evenings. The temperatures vary less than 20 degrees most days and the average rainfall is less than 3 inches a year. With weather like this, most people spend most of their time outside in San Diego.

tacos-san-diego

Within the city there are a multitude of neighborhoods; Downtown, East Village, Gaslamp, Old Town, Bankers Hill, Hillcrest, Little Italy, Marina, South Park, University Heights, North Park and Normal Heights, and many more. Gaslamp, Hillcrest and Little Italy are known for their vibrant nightlife, whereas Normal Heights, North Park, University Heights and South Park all have an after dark scene that is tamer and perhaps a bit more comfortable. Among them all are great restaurants, small and large, all cooking up a variety of fare such as Abyssinia Ethiopian, Russian-Georgian, Thai Fusion, Mediterranean Kabobs, and of course, the best Mexican food this side of the border.

Tacos, tacos, tacos! I love tacos! And San Diego has a variety to please every taco lover. Puerco, lengua, cabeza, chorizo, camarrones, pollo and carne asada, oh I could go on and on. From the overflowing crispy beef and cheese tacos of Dos Brasas on San Diego Avenue (my personal favorite, nationwide) to the fresh adobada street tacos of Tacos El Gordo in Chula Vista, something amazing can be found for the brave of heart and stomach. If you're not adventurous, or if you're really hung up on the appearance of a restaurant, then Taco Adventures are not for you, for you will miss the best food at the expense of your neurosis.

Beyond that, the craft beer scene has as many offerings as the taco scene, if not more. Breweries abound on nearly every block, with tasting rooms and full-on pubs such as Knotty Barrel in East Village. Most of these gastropubs offer food as great as their beer selection. So with a few dollars in hand, one should never be hungry nor thirsty in San Diego.
Interstate-5-san-diego
San Diego is blessed with many freeways for the traffic to move around quickly, but there are plenty of options for transportation. If you stay Downtown, you can walk everywhere you want to go, get an Uber or Lyft, or take the trolley.
In the center of the city is Balboa Park, which is far larger than the famed Central Park in Manhattan. Balboa Park is home to 15 major museums, several performing arts venues, lovely gardens and many other cultural and recreational attractions, including the San Diego Zoo. With a variety of cultural institutions laid out among its 1,200 beautiful and lushly planted acres, Balboa Park is the nation’s largest urban cultural park. Inside Balboa Park is the Japanese Friendship Garden where Steve and I were married and a place we still love to visit every time we are in the area.

Japanese-friendship-garden-balboa-park-san-diego
Our wedding in the Japanese Friendship Garden, Balboa Park, San Diego
We have made a practice of staying in San Diego for the winter after traveling all summer, mostly because the weather is ideal and because we enjoy the city. For me, it is still like home, but I'm not ready to settle here for the long haul, not quite yet. If I ever settle, I imagine San Diego would be the place, for it has stolen my heart. I love the sound of the cars and trucks in the streets, the noise of the drunks at 2 am staggering home, the homeless crazies muttering to themselves on the sidewalks, the nervous tourists in their perfectly white sneakers and bermuda shorts, holding their teenager's hands as they cross the busy intersections and the locals who saunter up the streets wearing designer clothing and shitty looks on their faces. I love the independent coffee shops, the tequila bars, the roar of the baseball field, the clattering of the trolley, and the horns of the ships in the harbor.


If you haven't gone to Point Loma to the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery to stroll among the dead servicemen, then down the road to the Cabrillo Lighthouse and stood looking at the sparkling city in the late afternoon, then you haven't really seen San Diego. Do it just once, and it will steal your heart, as it has mine.

You can also read Part 1 and Part 2 of the list "My 10 Favorite Cities". Please, share your favorite cities with me so I can add them to my list of Places To Go.

My book Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. Give me your feedback on it once you've read it! I look forward to hearing from you.

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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...)