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.

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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.

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Saying Goodbye

Leaving Bakersfield is going to be tough. Saying goodbye to my daughter, son-in-law and my new grandson Jackson is heart wrenching. But I'll still do it, because I know that the pain will be temporary and I'll be back again.

"I'm trying not to think about the fact we're leaving day after tomorrow."

As I spoke with my daughter on the phone this morning when she made her daily wake up call, and until this sobering statement we had been laughing like children. We both turned quiet for a long, still moment.

"I've gotten so used to having you close by," she said. "I don't know how to be when you leave."

We moved the discussion on to went on to happier topics. Even though I saw her only 12 hours prior and I'll be seeing her this afternoon, we still cackled and gabbed for an hour this morning. It must be a Mother-Daughter thing.

I have learned motorcycling around the country comes at a hefty price. Not a financial cost, but one of a more human nature. I've been many places now, met many wonderful people. Everyday I find myself missing someone I have left behind.

I never meant to leave anyone behind. As my world expanded, so did my life and the amount t of people in it. From Pennsylvania to Pagosa Springs, San Diego to South Dakota, Bakersfield to Springfield, and even from Menifee, CA to Menifee, AR, there are faces I hope to see again.

There are many places I want to return to, as well as places I have yet to visit. So many roads calling my name.

Before every "Hello" must come a "Goodbye".

And when some goodbyes hurt more than others, I'll have the wind in my face blowing the tears away. For anyone I've left behind, just because you've seen me leaving, it doesn't mean it was easy for me to go.

In my heart, you're always with me and one day, our roads will bring us back together again.

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Saturday, July 5, 2014

New Rider in the Family

Our grandson Jackson Atchley has arrived! Born on the 4th of July, he's my Yankee Doodle Boy. I've already informed my daughter Olivia and her husband David that I'll have their son up on his own two wheels by the time he's 3 years old. But I guess we'll have to let him grow a little first.

We are remaining in Bakersfield with this wonderful little man until July 14 when we head off for a 10 city, 2 week ride to Sturgis.

Until the next time. . .

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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...)