Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Best Riding Buddy

riding-buddies
My best riding buddy is my husband Steve. Now I suppose that's not unusual, but I rarely hear others say this about their spouse. I hear folks say they ride together, but I can't recall hearing anyone refer to their spouse as their "Riding Buddy". I read Trobairitz' Tablet and she often writes of riding with her husband Troubadour and the wonderful times they spend together. I admire that in any couple; the ability to spend time together and still value and enjoy one another.

I had a friend when I was in my twenties whom I was closer to than anyone in my life up until that time. Thomas was so much fun, so smart, warm and gentle, I felt I just couldn't get enough time with him. Having his life cut short at the age of 32 due to an enlarged heart devastated me. I felt completely alone and considered suicide. Only my 6-year-old daughter kept me alive at that time, having made a promise to never abandon her. I hung onto my life by a thread, wishing so badly I could be with Thomas on the other side. Until he was gone, I hadn't realized just how much his friendship meant to me.

Over the years, I've had a great deal of trouble making friends. I was living a lie after Thomas died, marrying a man I didn't love, trying to fit into a role I thought was best for my daughter, but forsaking myself. One doesn't attract friends, nor keep the ones they do attract, when one is dishonest. The moment I would open up to someone and show them a glimpse of my real self, they bolted. Imagine Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg, if you will.

friends-women
When I met Steve, at first, we were friends. We worked together and spent hours talking about the online media industry together, eventually opening up and talking about our personal lives. We became great friends and then I fell in love. Around that same time I became friends with Margarita too. I had a difficult time trusting women after being betrayed and abused by my mother, so I was incredibly suspicious of her. But after spending time with them both, I came to believe that they were made of the same stuff as Thomas and I could trust them. I'm incredibly grateful Margarita helped me overcome my fear of betrayal by women and has helped me grow friendships with a great many women in recent years.

One thing Steve and I have worked hard to maintain is valuing our friendship outside of our romance. We also maintain a healthy working relationship, having parameters that we both adhere to when we are discussing business. It's all pretty formal, but it works for us. One of my favorite aspects of our friendship though is being Riding Buddies. As Riding Buddies we treat one another as we would any other rider we share the road with. I pack my own bike, take care of myself, and ride my own ride. I still ask Steve to pump my gas, but that's because of my hand pain from Fibromyalgia. The truth is, I would ask anyone I ride with to help me with it.

best friends
To have different aspects to our relationship has actually helped our marriage. When we get into a funk in our romance, we can work together. When we are looking for someone to just take a ride with, we can hop on our bikes and ride. By having these different roles, we actually have a friend in our backpocket at all times; not just a spouse.

Maybe that's what I was doing wrong in my other two marriages. My first husband Butch is a sweet guy and I will always love him as a friend. We don't talk anymore, but for many years after our divorce we were pretty good friends. When he remarried a jealous and possessive wife, he eventually ended our friendship. I missed my friend more than my husband, and still do.

I'm grateful to Steve for being my friend, first and foremost. I hope that no matter what happens down the road, we will always be Riding Buddies and best friends.

Who is your Best Riding Buddy?

women motorcycle riders

4 comments | Post a Comment



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Riding California to South Dakota

After staying in Murphys, CA for a few days to visit my StepMom Kathy, we headed out our separate ways for Fernley, NV. I suggested to Steve that we take different routes so he could find something more challenging over the Sierra Nevadas. He found a road that went down to one-lane for 30 miles, twisting and winding his way to Nevada, while I chose Highway 49 and Interstate 80. Frankly, I was surprised at the technical aspects of Hwy 49 in some sections. I loved the ride, but I would have loved it more for a day ride with friends, rather than just a portion of my ride to actually get somewhere in a day.

Once I reached Interstate 80, also known as the Lincoln Highway, I rode that all the way to Salt Lake City, and then some. My hubs has done a better job of logging our trip this far, so if you want to catch up, read his articles on his site Motorcycle Philosophy and get caught up with our travels.

Currently we are in Sioux Falls, SD staying at the Candlewood Suites. Candlewood has really become our home-away-from-home because they have all of the amenities we need as travel bloggers. We have work stations in the room, a kitchen to cook meals, a gym, business center; the works! As far as working, I don't know where all my time goes or how I fall so far behind, but I'm grateful to Steve for keeping on top of our blogging of the miles.

We leave in two days for Mitchell, SD for one night for a Pre-Sturgis Party at Klock Werks Kustom Cycles with Brian and Laura Klock, and then off to Sturgis Motorcycle Rally on August 1. We will remain in Sturgis until August 14 meeting folks, enjoying the rally, and yes, working.

beer-tasters-california
There was some beer tasted in Prospector's Brewing by my hubs, but none for me thanks! 
lila-and-sage-cupcakes
More along my lines of decadence, Cupcake Wars winners Lila and Sage Cupcakes hit the spot! 
sunset-murphys-california
Sunsets beyond the picturesque Main Street in Murphys
murphys-ca
Hamming it up in the center of town in Murphys
great-massage-murphys-ca
The view from Tranquility Massage & Spa in Murphys, where I got a fantastic massage. Across from Murphys Historic Hotel, all riders could benefit from a massage while visiting this town, along with all of the other indulgences to be found.
main-street-steve-johnson
Steve waiting for me in Murphys on Main Street while I shop
motorcycling-highway-49-california
Taking on Hwy 49 in California alone, and loving it!

highway-49-california
One beautiful view after another on Highway 49 from Murphys to Loomis, CA. I never realized how close I was to Folsom, and the famed prison of the Johnny Cash song, one of my favorites when I ride

Donner-pass-storm
I ran into some rain at the Donner Pass section of the Lincoln Highway
Bonneville-Salt-Flats
We had to visit the Bonneville Salt Flats, home of daredevils and thrillseekers. I fondly thought of two women I've met recently, Laura Klock and Jessi Combs, and the world records they broke here.

utah-salt-flats
After blowing through the Utah Salt Flats for over an hour at 80 mph, the posted speed limit, my gas tank was drying out quickly.  We had to slow down for about 15 miles until we reached a gas station to conserve fuel. 

Loves-gas-station
I'm not sure what it is I love about truckstops, not just Loves but all of them, but I've always been fascinated with them. Perhaps it's the travel aspect, or the plethora of items they sell, or the home-away-from-home feel I get there, but Steve knows to stop at them for me, just to get me to smile.

women-motorcycle-riders
I was excited to be in Salt Lake City to rest a couple of days before our next leg of the trip, but I was really more excited to get our mail from our office manager, who also sent my new boots.
Little-America-Wyoming
After a great meal of Chicken Fried Steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, I got a bear hug at Little America in Wyoming
motorcycle-riders
We pushed up the Lincoln Highway in Wyoming. This was my first visit to WY and I was thrilled to see how gorgeous it is!
Nebraska-field
My first stop in Nebraska was to make a client phone call roadside. I got off between towns and pulled off on a quiet road, since I couldn't make it to a city before our scheduled phone conference. Not a bad place to work.
women-motorcycle-riders
The Lincoln Highway seems to go on forever from Nevada through Nebraska. I was tired when we arrived at sunset in North Platte, NE after a very long day of riding.
road-constuction
The road construction goes on and off from Wyoming through Nebraska, but I never saw one piece of heavy equipment doing anything but sitting. A reader suggested that doubling the fines in these "Work Zones" was a way to increase local revenue.
australian-bikie
We met Liam at the Flying J Truckstop in Nebraska and had a great talk with him.
women-motorcycle-riders
After 9 days, 2100 miles and 6 states of travel, the only tough weather was the wind and rain just outside of Sioux Falls, SD. 

2 comments | Post a Comment



Thursday, July 24, 2014

Still Riding

Last night I cried myself to sleep in my husband's arms. After riding my motorcycle 1800+ miles in 9 days, my Fibromyalgia pain is getting to me. Today is the last day of a 2,200 mile, 10 day trip with a week to rest before the next time I will ride.

I'm not hoping for pity. I absolutely hate being weak. As a child, to appear weak brought beatings from my mother, only rubbing my nose into my weakness. The hardest thing for me to ever say is, "I'm weak and I'm in so much pain," which is why I must humble myself and say it now. I want to be so tough like all of the other riders I meet. It's humiliating for me to admit I can't go as far as everyone else, ride those long miles and push through. I've come a long way in the last year, but I don't see myself ever riding an Iron Butt ride and that really frustrates me.

Taking precautions against flare ups only goes so far. At some point over the last 48 hours my body has just reached it's physical limit and has begun to rebel. I had set the agenda from Bakersfield, CA to Sioux Falls, SD and I knew this may be difficult when we set out. In doing so, I knew the chance I was taking.

If it takes all day to get 300 miles today, I'm willing to do it. We may take a break after every 50 miles, just to give my muscles some rest. I intend to finish this journey. I've felt this way in the past and I know I'll get through it.

My goal in sharing this information is to encourage you to push through when you want to quit. You are stronger than you think you are. Pain is temporary, and in pain, there is such amazing growth. Don't quit on yourself right before you get there. You never know what's waiting for you around the bend and you'll be so glad you came all the way.

6 comments | Post a Comment



Monday, July 21, 2014

Riding In The Sun

As I suspected, getting on my motorcycle and leaving Bakersfield was tough, but my mind was filled with the road right away. We rode California Highway 99 northbound, exiting in Merced. From Merced we rode Highway 59 on one of the longest, hottest, and driest stretches I've ever ridden. The heat held steady around 105 degrees and shortly after leaving Merced I had stopped sweating from dehydration.

Although I was feeling the effects, I was mesmerized at the beauty around me. Rolling hills of golden grasses, cows and horses seeking shade under oak trees, and road after road lined with wooden fence posts and long stretches of rusted wire. Billboards and homemade signs lined every road warning residents of the water shortage and the wicked politicians who are stealing the water from the farms. I was just one more victim of the dry dead summer land that plagued area. Riding nearly an hour searching for water, I cheered with delight when I rolled into a gas station in Jamestown.

After an entire bottle of Gatorade and half a bottle of water, I felt human again. Even though I had finished 3 bottles of water that day, I still had no need to urinate after 5 hours, a clear indicator that I was dehydrated. Sipping from the bottle of water on my handlebars as I ride obviously wasn't enough. In these temperatures, I should be wearing my wet vest. I vowed to wear it everyday going forward.


I enjoyed my time in Murphys, CA visiting my StepMom Kathy and her best friend Joanne. I've known both of them my entire life. Kathy and I share a special bond, both still feeling a deep love for my Dad, who passed away in 1990. Kathy never loved another man again and still has photos of she and my Dad in her living room. Although she's rebuilt a happy life, she still misses him deeply.

To me, there's something precious in that. To have loved that man so much that she still longs for him all of these years seems to embody the meaning of a lifelong love. I love him that way too, as his daughter, and I'm sure it's obvious that I miss him terribly as well.

Even in the driest landscape there can be beauty, if we look for it hard enough. Even in the worst pain, we can find exquisiteness. To the degree of difficulty is a symmetrical balance of joy, if we can appreciate all of what we have before us.

The road has taught me to appreciate the rain with the same enthusiasm as the sun. Running and hiding from pain, avoiding anything that may hurt me, that is not living. Embracing every experience life has to offer is to live fully.

2 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...)