Monday, September 21, 2015

Motorcycle Mama

Back in my Mom Days, I sewed these matching dresses for Olivia and me. I've come many miles from  being that domesticated housewife, but I'll always be her Mom. 
I am a poser. I posed as a "normal suburban wife and mother" for 15 long years. The fate of most posers also befell me; the "real" people in that category could sense my inauthenticity and ousted me from all of their groups; some quickly and some over time.

I never fit in and I always knew it.

After my divorce I found my real self again. But this was a very difficult time in my relationship with my daughter Olivia. She felt confused about who I was, where she fit in, and why I had been inauthentic all of those years. We've since come to understand one another in a new way, as most mothers and daughters do.

Olivia has since married her sweetheart David and had a son Jackson, who is a happy and smart little guy. She's a stay-at-home Mom who does a little writing on the side and doesn't get out of the house much. Like most young couples, money is very tight, so they don't get many excursions together.

"Why don't you go with me to San Francisco?" I asked her on the phone.

"What, you mean on the motorcycle?" she gasped.

"Yes! Just the two of us. We can ship our clothes ahead and ride up in one day. It's only 230 miles. As long as you pay attention, follow my instructions, and we take a few breaks along the way, we can do it!"

"SQUEEEEEEEE!!! David! David! My Mom is taking me to San Francisco!!"

I've ridden my daughter on my motorcycle only 2 short trips, each about 15 miles, so I'm rather nervous about how I'll do. But I'm willing to give it a try. I've done so many miles with all of that gear on my bike and while I know the gear is different than a floppy passenger, I believe in myself enough to try.

Just to be on the safe side, we'll be gearing her up pretty well,  helmet to boots, just as we had done for her last two rides.

During my daughter's childhood I always planned every detail of any event with lists, checklists and schedules. Olivia has picked up that habit as an adult. Ironically, since I met Steve, we plan very little and fly by the seat of our pants most of the time. But suddenly, I've actually slipped into my old habit by over planning, this time utilizing Pinterest to create our own Board to share ideas with Olivia. We've already had two arguments about her lack of interest in my Pinterest!

Even though my daughter and I have some pretty loud arguments, heated and hurtful, we have never had a single disagreeable word on an excursion together. When she was a kid we always had the best times on our little Mother/Daughter trips.

We settled on the Hawthorn Suites by Wyndam in Alameda for our stay and Steve scored an affordable room for us with his Wyndam points. We'll be staying 3 nights and seeing the city.

Coincidentally, we'll have another passenger along with us. ScooterBob arrived here in San Diego just in time to join us. Read about ScooterBob and his remarkable story here.

I have to wonder if my impulse to over plan this short trip has something to do with the spirit of Bob Skoot coming along. Hey, I guess three makes it a party, huh?

8 comments | Post a Comment

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Finding The Apex in a Decreasing Radius Turn

I recently reached 50,000 miles after learning to ride my own 2 1/2 years ago! This moment happened as we rolled into Canyon de Chelly (pronounced Canyon de Shay) outside Chinle, AZ. It was the perfect spot for such a momentous occasion!
With my motorcycle fully loaded with gear, I realized just in time I was coming into the blind curve far too hot. My V Star 650 Classic had become such a joy to ride after so many miles, my enthusiasm had a way of getting me into more and more difficult situations on every ride.

Upon reaching what I assumed was the apex of the curve, I realized I was leaning into a decreasing radius turn. A decreasing radius turn is essentially a corner that tightens up. That means that if you take a normal mid apex line into the corner as you might on a constant radius turn, you're going to find yourself running wide unless you have enough in 'reserve' to really lean the bike over.

I didn't grab the brakes; I knew better. I leaned really hard, balancing on the edge of the tire and the asphalt, sliding and hopping closer to the edge into the marbles. Pressing down on the right bar while still balancing the sweet spot in the throttle, covering the clutch, riding that back brake just a little, leaning forward, squeezing those knees, I scraped those V Star floorboards for the very first time.

The apex appeared not a moment too soon and I found my line again, propelling both my bike and myself into the straightaway ahead, howling with laughter and yelping like a rabid coyote.

Our Road Pickle Motorcycle Bohemia was intended to be only 6 months of riding around the country and then returning to San Diego to reestablish a home base. But after 2 years and 6 months on the road, neither my hubs Steve nor I really want to do that. Vagabonding is incredible! We have loved meeting new people, seeing the ever-changing horizons, trying unusual and delicious foods, learning history and geography, seeing old friends and family and finding ourselves along the way. But as the riding season rolls to the end for now, I'm beginning to realize that it's time to hit some straighter roads.

Mental, emotional and physical exhaustion have been taking their toll. I wake up after having nightmares for 8 hours and wonder what I'm running from, because I'm certainly being chased by something all night. Lately the demon in my dreams is closer than it's ever been before. But every night I must run and hide because I'm too exhausted to fight it.

Initially I ran because I had so much noise in my head, I needed some long roads to sort out the sounds. But riding became an addiction, the pleasures masking the fact that I was indeed running. Each time we stopped for long, the orchestra in my mind tuned up louder and louder and rolling hard on two wheels was the only way to bring the noise to a mellow hum.

So our Road Pickle became not the short, constant radius curve I had expected, but a decreasing radius turn that required me to lean, and lean, and lean in. And as the straight road lies before me, I am tempted once again to take the easier, softer route by settling down in San Diego for a year or two. I can constantly hear the carbs of my bank account sucking in too much air,  needing an adjustment. My ever-learning-spirit needs peace. My nearly-50-year-old body needs rest and reminds me of this every evening in hotel beds. But the child within me frolics about, dances and giggles, full of wanderlust and smooches, excited for each and every new horizon.

I believe I've reached the apex, found my line, and see some straight road ahead. But there is plenty of untraveled road I've yet to see, so this is only a pit stop for now.

Help me out by adding a little fuel to my bank account. My ebook, "Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy" is available for purchase here. If not for you, buy a copy for a friend. The woman in your life will love you for it. Thanks!


4 comments | Post a Comment

Thursday, July 23, 2015

My Motorcycle Is My Partner

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.


3 comments | Post a Comment

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.


4 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...)