May 24, 2013

Making Choices

real-biker-chickI dreamed last night that I was back with my exx. I was at a hotel with him and we were packing to leave. Apparently I had promised to go home with him after we left the hotel. In the dream I looked at him and told him I wanted to go home to MY home, to be with Highway.

"You're pretty proud of yourself aren't you?" he said angrily, with a sarcastic tone.

"Yes, I am. But the best part is that I have choices now. And I get to choose what's right for me."

I walked out of the door immediately to go find my Highway.

The truth is I really am proud of all I've done for myself. On this Road Pickle trip I just crossed the 5000 mile mark of riding solo. I've ridden some tough roads, been homeless now for almost 3 months, living entirely on motorcycles, and managed to stay alive doing it. After my divorce I made more money than my exx made, more than double, within the first month of him leaving. In fact, in 2011, the year of my divorce, I sold over $2.6 million of advertising. While married to him I didn't work full time because he wanted me to be at his beck and call. He humiliated and berated me constantly for not making much money, but wouldn't give me the freedom to do so.

And all of this was my choice.

I chose to stay and put up with this horrible treatment. Just the same, I chose to leave and take a risk. Since that first risk I've taken more; many more. Everyday is a new day bringing new and exciting opportunities, and new and painful challenges. I've learned that some days are beautiful and I weep with gratitude. I've learned that some days are much harder than I expected. I've learned that some dark clouds don't bring rain, but they bring hail.

Today Highway and I rode from Taos, NM to Trinidad, CO. Around 130 miles, but 96 of those were on Route 64, a simply gorgeous road of twisties along a river. After yesterday's ride from Albuquerque, NM to Taos, I was frustrated with the pain of my fibromyalgia and the subsequent poor riding I did. Twisties were miserable yesterday afternoon and the entire second half of the day I made one frustrating mistake after another. When I awoke this morning, after the dream about my exx, I decided I was going to ride better today and feel better today. And I did.

Along the banks of the river were dandelion laden meadows, pine trees 100 feet tall, and statuesque cliffs reaching up to heaven. My heart leaped from my chest with excitement as I spotted a herd of deer munching grass under a shady tree. I felt like a 6-year-old girl on her first family car trip, only better. I was on my own motorcycle, pulling my own throttle, making this landscape pass by me. I was exhilarated just knowing that I had brought myself to this point. With all of the choices I had made, good or bad, I was here in this moment to enjoy my life.

real-biker-chickJust before we hit Cimarron, NM the clouds I'd seen all day began to drop rain on us. Somewhere deep inside I had known today was the day; my first day of riding in the rain. I just knew we were going to get soaked by this storm. Even though we've seen other storms along the horizon during this trip, I knew an hour before that this one was going to rain on us. It seemed Highway wanted to go on without rain gear, so I passed him, turned on my blinker and pulled into a driveway to change, with Highway following. In the tiny spot of a town I found an abandoned restaurant with an awning out front to hide from the downpour under and put on my rain gear. As I finished, pulling up my boots to lace them it began to hail.

I sighed, thinking that we would stand under the porch awning to wait out the hail. Highway looked at me and asked if I was ready to go.

"Ride in the hail? Really?"

"Yes," he replied.

"You're fucking crazy, you know that? This is my first time on wet roads. This is going to hurt, isn't it. What the fuck are we doing? OK, let's go," I babbled on as I mounted up.

"You're so fucking stupid Sash," I kept saying in my helmet. "This is going to hurt so fucking bad," I continued to mutter.

For the next 15 minutes, 7 miles of straight road, we were pelted with marble sized hail. Occasionally a larger chunk would hit, each one of those bringing screams from me.

"Ouch! Mother Fucker! Ooooowwww!! Fuck this! Oh, Jesus Fucking Christ!! Fuck, Fuck, FUCK, FUCK!!" I screamed to myself.

I began sobbing relentlessly, but I refused to stop riding. I could see the blue skies ahead and I wasn't going to pussy out. With the Red River Rally going on about 70 miles behind us, we saw riders on the road coming toward us all day. As we pushed on in the hail we saw rider after rider pushing on as well. If those fuckers weren't quitting, neither was I. Besides, where was I going to hide? That awning was the last bit of cover for the next 40 miles. And I sure as hell wasn't going to turn around.

Shortly afterwards the hailing stopped and I pushed on in rain for another 10 miles. I stopped sobbing and thought about why I had ridden in the hail. It wasn't because Highway wanted to, because all I had to say was "No" and he wouldn't have gone. I said everything but "No" to him. It was because I didn't want to quit. I want to push forward through everything that is put before me. And this is all my choice.

"You stick your head above the crowd and attract attention and sometimes somebody will throw a rock at you. That's the territory. You buy the land, you get the Indians."

These words of David Lee Roth are words I've come to live by. I had always attributed this quote to be about receiving criticism. But today I realized it meant something more. Each time I mount my motorcycle I am making a choice. If I want to be proud of myself for choosing to ride 3 states and 5000 miles, then I have to accept the responsibility of choosing to ride in the hail. You buy the land, you get the Indians. I don't get to choose my weather, but I get to choose whether or not I ride. It was my choice and I did it and I'm proud of myself.

After I had done all of this thinking, I rolled up next to Highway and gave him the OK sign. He gave me a thumbs up. I wanted him to know I was doing fine and I didn't hold him responsible for my choices. We pulled over and he began pointing into the meadow. A long-horned elk stood out in the middle, lazily grazing. I felt as if I were being rewarded for pushing forward when the riding got tough.

"I'm really proud of you, you know that?" Highway said.

"You are?" I asked.

"Yes, you did what many men wouldn't have done. I'm really proud of you."

That was just icing on the cake. Highway is proud of me, but more importantly, I'm proud of myself.


  1. A great accomplishment... being proud of yourself, that is. Good for you!

  2. You are strong. You are brave. You are amazing! Live life out loud! Awesome! Xoxo

  3. Sash:

    It feels good to push yourself to the limit and to do things that you had never done before. See, it wasn't that bad. I mean many riders ride in the rain, just remember that you only have about 80% traction

    Riding the Wet Coast

  4. My first time in the hail was on Bear Tooth Pass in MT. It's a satisfying feeling to see guys pull over to wait it out while you, a woman, rides it out. You deserve to feel proud, keep up the good work!

  5. Thanks All! One thing I've learned from having fibromyalgia (chronic pain condition) is that pain comes and goes, but it only hurts for awhile. And if it's too bad, they make medicine for that. Ha ha! But I can get through things better now, the more I challenge myself.
    The really tough guys were those riding with no helmets!! We saw a few! My Lid is Off To Them! Wow! I thought my knuckles hurt. . . their heads must be tough!!
    Thanks again folks,

  6. Something about "toughing it out", within reason of course ;) down the road, you know what you already did... what you're capable of.

    You can say I made it through that and this is less, so No problem.

    The other thing is, when you get through the tough spots you also realize that you weren't used up... you had a lil more left to give, which gets you over the next, lil' bit rougher spot...

    Each time you come through mentally tougher than before which raises the bar, a notch at a time.

    ... and I'm not just talkin' scooters ;)

  7. Sash - I am sorry you are getting the fibro flare again. I hate the constant waxing and waning of fibro and that a lot of people don't really understand what it takes out of you and what it takes to soldier on. Honey you don't have to prove anything to yourself, you've got the stuff and you know it. Good for you for looking after yourself getting your rain gear on and moving forward. I wish you nothing but sunshine on your road pickle journey from here on out!


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