Wednesday, March 4, 2015

In Love With The Road

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Motorcycle Vagabonds Ride Another Road Pickle

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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.

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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy

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The engine is of the 1979 Harley Davidson Dyna Wide Glide, the bike my Daddy rode
Cover art by Bryan Giardinelli, Hire The Stache. Bryan is a brilliant artist!
Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy is my story.

After we arrived in San Diego in the Autumn of 2013, I sat down in Rebecca's Coffee Shop and started writing about our Road Pickle Motorcycle Bohemia. I wanted to share all of the amazing things I had learned on the road, each lesson as it unfolded, but I found my blog alone to be restrictive. So many of my lessons had huge back stories that accompanied them, making it nearly impossible to condense each story into individual articles.

"I'll just write this now and see where it goes. . ."

Even though Steve and I ended up going back on the road, I was determined to finish my manuscript. I wrote each week until finally, I had nothing more to say.

I needed an editor, so my friend Bonnie referred me to Jules of Novel Doctors. Jules was a godsend, arranging my scattered mess into something that better resembled a single story, making plenty of notes.

"I want to hear more about this," she wrote time and time again.

I tackled each note in the first round of edits, and then came the second round.

"Tell me more about this!" she wrote with enthusiasm and kindness.

Jules did a wonderful job of coaxing that little girl out of the dark to tell her story. She was so reaffirming, so kind, so gentle and so loving, that child inside of me felt safe to step out and speak. I realized I had to open the Pandora's Box of pain, so I needed to know that I would be treated with kindness and protected. Jules saw to it that these things were accomplished.

Sash-WalkerI sat in the Residence Inn in Scottsdale, AZ and poured out my soul. All of the painful memories tied with these huge realizations came through my keyboard. I spent hours sobbing, being consoled by Steve, as I plodded the course to completion. (My poor, sweet, patient hubs!)

Finally, in December 2014, the manuscript was complete. Steve and I put together the final pieces with the help of Bryan Giardinelli who created my cover art, Lisa Brouwer who wrote the Foreword, and Janet Doré who took my headshot. I've submitted the completed files to a friend who is loading it onto the eBook retailer sites for us.

It took a year to ride, a year to write, but a lifetime to create. The tale is of my abusive childhood, my miserable marriage, my mistakes and my lessons, all rolled into a year on the road.

That "Helmet Time" is some powerful healing, as any long road rider can attest.

People often tell me how lucky I am, and in a certain way, I agree. But I wonder if they had to live my entire life if they would still classify me as "lucky". I don't particularly think of myself as lucky, or special, or unfortunate. We all have our stories and mine is just as unique as anyone's. Perhaps I'm just lucky enough to share it with others.

I feel blessed to be a writer, a poet, and an author. It sure feels good to give a voice to a little girl that spent her childhood needing to be heard. That's what this book is. It is that little girl coming out of the shadows and to have her say.

"This wasn't right. You treated me wrong. I deserved better."

The power to create a better life for oneself is amazing and within us all.

Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy will be available as an eBook Valentine's Day from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords for $9.99. Thank you in advance for your purchase! If you would like to purchase a printed copy, I will hopefully be releasing those in the summer. I'm hoping to earn enough money through eBook sales to offset some of the printing costs. 

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Two Wheels, Tacos and Friends

women-motorcycle-riders
Along Interstate 5 with Madhavi and her custom Honda Shadow 750
After a week from Hell, taking a ride on my Indian Scout up the California coast was just what I needed to clear my mind. My friend Madhavi and I wanted to attend the Quality Control Show in Long Beach, The Motolady's 4th Anniversary and Helmet Show. Heading out from San Diego under cloudless skies in 70 degree temps, we were both all smiles and filled with anticipation.

Certainly we could have slabbed it up Interstate 5 the entire ride and been there in a couple of hours, but we wanted to see some sights. We hugged the coast on Pacific Coast Highway, known in these parts as PCH, and even took some city streets to look around. It was challenging to fight the tourists and all the stop lights, but the breathtaking views made the extra effort worthwhile.

The Quality Control Show was absolutely Motorcycle Rider Entertainment. Guests arrived on a huge variety of customized motorcycles, ranging from Triumphs to Ducatis, Hondas to Harleys. It's very possible my Scout was the only stock bike in the bunch. My first disappointment of the night was I couldn't see most of the 200 motorcycles which sat in the parking lot because it was so dark. But this was a helmet show, not a bike show, so the real display was the helmets inside.

Madhouse Kitchen was cooking up my favorite food in the entire world; Tacos! For only a few bucks, I grubbed on tacos and checked out two-wheelers for awhile, chatting with complete strangers about customized bikes.I was in way over my head, so mostly I just asked questions.

I hauled my heiney back inside when I heard the Back Alley Barbers starting to play. The band rocked the joint to the ground and  I have a mad Girl Crush on lead singer Sara now! I hung out with Enrique for awhile, a guy I just met, chilling and talking about putting Ruffies in drinks.

Motolady Alicia Elfving really knows how to throw a shindig. Half of the helmets on display were for sale, the other half for raffle, all with mind blowing artwork. I wouldn't want to actually wear one for fear I would drop it and damage it.
Back Alley Barbers Rocked!
(Photo courtesy of Motolady)
 Icon coughed up a jacket for the raffle that I wanted bad enough to blow $15 on raffle tickets. My second disappointment of the night was that I didn't win this $500+ jacket for 15 bucks. (Ikon personnel! If you read this, please get me the Fairlady Jacket in Large!! *shameless begging*)

My third and final disappointment of the night was realizing the party was over. I had such a good time I didn't want it to end. Alicia had rounded up some other pretty cool raffle prizes, a motorcycle piñata, and an amazing crowd of chill folks who were friendly and unapologetically cool as Hell. Alicia is not only genuine, she's dynamic, funny and brash. I love seeing her, even if it's only once a year.

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Alicia, The Motolady & creator of Braap!
During the ride home I felt really good in my skin, soaking in some sunshine, and grateful to be alive and on a motorcycle I love. With my sweet friend Madhavi along for the ride, a sense of completeness came over me, knowing she accepts me just as I am and I never need to be cautious about being myself with her. To spend time with like-minded riders after having such a shitty week being bashed by the Facebook group of Lady Bikers of California, I learned a valuable a lesson.

Just because I'm a woman who rides a motorcycle doesn't mean I fit in with all women's groups.

rockabilly-band-back-alley-barbers

I'm much more comfortable sitting in a bar with a bunch of guys calling each other "dickheads" than I am sitting in a chain restaurant with a bunch of women who are chugging wine and bitching about their lazy and cheap husbands. I seemed to have forgotten that. When I started riding I had no idea what style of rider I would be. I never intended to belong to a particular group, so along the way I've met many men and women with whom I click, and a few with whom I do not. There's nothing wrong with that. It's the way we determine our comfort zones and find places in life where we can feel safe being authentic and unabashed. I'm truly sick and tired of filtering my language and my behavior to please others. I've learned that no matter how hard I try to please others by being "considerate," eventually I will slip and say something that offends them.

The Quality Control Show was incredibly comfortable for me, even though I only knew a couple of people there. It's funny how we know when we fit in. No one needs to tell us where we belong; we just know. Traveling the country has helped to open my mind and my heart to others and to accept them as they are.

All I needed were a couple tacos, two wheels, a good friend and a long road to set me straight again.

Seriously my favorite helmet of the show!

Madhavi and I had a great time meeting other riders
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When was the last time you went to a party and hit one of these? (photo courtesy of Motolady)
I love Alicia's sass!
Enrique watched my drink for me and promised he didn't Ruffie me!
For only $4 I got a pretty hefty shot of Makers Mark in my Coke
Madhavi and I seem to read each others minds while riding, knowing when to lead and when to follow
The ride along the coast was as beautiful heading south as it was riding north


Special thanks to The Motolady for use of a few photos. 

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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...)