Sunday, September 22, 2013

Gravel in Ya Guts

The rain began falling shortly before reaching Winter Park, CO. Our trip from Denver to Steamboat Springs along US 40 had a chance of being a wet one, considering in the last week Northern Colorado had seen some of the worst rain and flooding in 25 years. We set out with the sun shining under cloudless skies, sweating under leather jackets at 80 degrees.

Soon after we turned from Interstate 70 onto US 40, the clouds began to gather above. We pushed through the rain, even when the horrendous winds began to blow. The wind was sailing American flags flatly horizontal and the raindrops on my helmet and windshield were blowing up from the bottom to the top of my helmet, even though I was riding at 60 mph.

"Holy Hell!" I shouted.

Real-Biker-ChickAt 46 degrees and rather wet, determination pushed me to keep riding, even though I considered pulling over about 20 times. I reminded myself that riding isn't about comfort, but a way of life and every ride isn't going to be rainbows, puppies and grassy meadows. When the rain let up in Granby, I took a deep sigh, hoping that was the end and I had met up to the challenge.

With blue skies ahead, we stopped briefly in Hot Sulpher Springs for a cup of tea and a restroom break at the gas station. I hopped back on rather excited to complete our jaunt. The scenery was fantastic and the temps were rising, along with my spirits. I felt that I had accomplished so much today, even though we had only ridden 100 miles.

Forgetting that Highway told me he wanted to stop in Kremmling for gas, I was surprised when I saw him make a quick turn into the Kum n Go. The turn came as we were headed downhill, just as the rain began to fall again. Halfway through my turn, I was met with 4 stopped cars in the little side street as well as Highway coming to a stop. Hitting the brakes, I knew I was in trouble when my right boot hit the wet gravel.

That sickening feeling hit me as I felt myself going down. The only thing I remember was the thud of my helmet hitting the asphalt.

Before I knew it strangers were picking me up in the street. Highway was getting help picking up my V*Star Gracie and I was getting a hug from a sweet young woman.

"Are you OK? It's OK! I've done it myself. Don't worry! You're fine!" she kept repeating. She checked me from head to toe and assured me I wasn't hurt. Helping me walk to the corner, I knew she was right.

The realization that I had just dropped my new motorcycle hit me.


After some time recovering, I told Highway we could finish the last 50 miles. Weepy and cranky, I straddled Gracie and headed back out. My hips, wrists and shoulders began to ache badly. The rain picked up again just as we left Kremmling, much to my dismay. With a lightning storm on the horizon, I wondered what would happen next. It seemed being struck by lightning would finish this day off nicely. But the beauty of the ride soothed my aches and pains, reminding me of why I love to ride.

As we were cruising down the pass, my back tire skipping from side to side along the rain-soaked highway, I spotted hail on the road, rolling through a huge patch. Grateful to be heading down the hill in the storm instead of going up to higher elevations, I reasoned that warmth and comfort lie ahead.

"Why don't I just quit? Why don't I just pull the chick routine and lie down and cry? I have all the ammo I need to just feel sorry for myself and weep myself into a soft bed and a night of pity from my husband. Yet here I am, riding in driving rain, facing a lightening storm, freezing my ass off, with another 40 miles to go. Why not just quit?"

But I knew the answer. For me, quitting isn't an option. The more I feel like quitting, the more determined I am to see it through. Determination is what brought me out of my abusive marriage, my miserable childhood and my bouts of depression. Determination is the one gift I am grateful to have received from my mother. A mean, tough and determined woman, my mother built me up to be just as mean and determined, although I've never considered myself as tough as her. But I have her to thank, I suppose, on days like these.

Of all of the things I've come to understand on our Road Pickle, it is that I like who I am and I have my mother to thank for that in many ways. Before I left I hated her, I was angry from the abuse at her hands, but now I have found forgiveness. I can appreciate her and the things she instilled in me, one of which is the determination to never quit. I still hate the things she did to me, but I can appreciate her courage and strength. If it weren't for her, I couldn't push through days like this.

I hope I've passed it on to my daughter too.

He said: "Now you just fought one hell of a fight
And I know you hate me, and you got the right
To kill me now, and I wouldn't blame you if you do.
But ya ought to thank me, before I die,
For the gravel in ya guts and the spit in ya eye
Cause I'm the son-of-a-bitch that named you Sue."

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Cagers Don't Get It

My mother would never understand, nor would my sister or my brothers why I choose to ride. Even though my brothers have ridden motorcycles on and off over the years, they would never understand why I've given up all of my possessions to devote myself to the road.

Being misunderstood by my family is nothing new, considering they've never understood a god damned thing I've ever done.

"Why do you always want to talk about this? Why can't you just forget about it?" my sister would shout. "Can't we just pretend none of this SHIT happened and be sisters? Why do you want to bring up all of the past?"

I wanted to talk about our feelings, our childhoods of abuse and abandonment, and find some sort of kinship between us. Carrie didn't want to discuss it. She wanted to run from all of it, until the times it welled up inside her and she exploded in anger. Carrie goes off like an atom bomb, destroying everything for miles. The pain she holds inside becomes too much to cope with and finally the steam has to release. Innocent victims lie in tatters around her, broken, bleeding, crawling for safety.

"We don't want to talk about your feelings TINA," my mother would repeat time and again. "That's just you, because you're not normal. I don't know why you want to talk all the time. All you do is babble. No one wants to hear it."

After all of the years of physical, emotional, mental and sexual abuse at my mother's hands, I was still afraid of Suzi when I was an adult. I found myself still wanting her approval, still longing to find a place in my family structure, even though I was most clearly the black sheep.

My brothers are in and out of prison on a regular basis. In fact, each has spent approximately 2/3 of their adult lives in prison. Most of the initial crimes were for drugs, but over time their crimes became violent. Regardless of what initially sends a young man to prison it has a way of making any man a very violent, dangerous human being.

This is my family of origin. A dead father, an abusive mother, and a group of angry, violent siblings.

Fortunately, my father remarried after my parents divorced. When he died in 1990 he left behind my step-mother Kathy. She and I have a beautiful relationship built on honesty, trust, and humor. I can call Kathy any time of day or night and share stories of our travels, my sorrow, pain, or joys. She is always available for me. She calls me too, always reaching out to keep close and share her laughter and tears. I tend to take her for granted, as we all do with those we know we can count on.

So what makes Kathy different?

Kathy understands why I need to ride. This is probably because Kathy rode her own Sporster for many, many years during a time when few women rode and with men who rarely let women ride. Rolling with 1%ers most of her younger years, my Dad being one of them, Kathy learned all she knows about life with people who understood a thing or two about freedom and could smell drama and bullshit a mile away.

When I ride I feel myself. I feel my heartbreak, my challenges, my desires, my hopes, my past, my future, my dreams, my fears. I feel every bump on the asphalt and I see my road ahead of me. I can smell the dead skunks, the blooming flowers, the damp trees, the choking exhaust, the forest fires and the filthy pollution. I can feel the temperature drop, the sun on my shoulders, the rain in my face, the wind trying to push me over.

Cagers don't get it. They can't feel any of this. Insulated, safe from the realities of the road, hiding in plain sight, pretending that they are going somewhere, only to find they are playing it safe, they choose to feel nothing. And they can't understand why anyone would want to feel this way. Perhaps this is the one distinct difference between Cagers and Riders: The desire to feel.

"I think it's good that they excluded you," Highway explained to me awhile ago. "They did you a favor. You were never going to be happy being 'one of them'. Now you can be honest and be yourself."

Those words released me from my own prison. For the first time I didn't need to belong, to anyone or anything. I gave myself permission to be different, to act on my own desires, to listen to that voice within me.

I finally found my place in the world. I can feel, really get down and feel what's inside of me. And if that's "not normal" then I don't care. And anyone who thinks there's something wrong with that can fuck off and stay the hell away from me, BECAUSE I INTEND TO FEEL MY WAY THROUGH LIFE! I'm not going to "pretend" this shit didn't happen. I'm not going to "pretend" just to make you fuckers feel better about things. This is how I deal with MY LIFE! This is MY FUCKING LIFE and I'm so exhausted with trying to be something and someone who makes all of you feel good about yourselves.

Do I make you uncomfortable? I don't fucking care. You can suck my dick if you don't like it. Deal with it or get the fuck out of my way.

For me, riding is feeling. Writing is telling. I have a life where I can freely feel my emotions and freely express them. I have finally found a place to be true to myself, my nirvana.

All this time I was a rider in a family of cagers. No wonder I never fit in.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

More Miles Than I Thought

My recent posts may have lead one to believe that I'm finding serenity on the road, and one's assumption would be correct. But leave it to the Universe to throw a monkey wrench into my path to enlightenment. It's as if this conversation occurred. . .

"I feel so good. I love myself. I love everyone."

The Universe laughs loudly in my face.

"Oh you stupid, silly fool. Ready for your next challenge? Let's take a deeper look into your own heart and see what's left from the past."

What I found left me deeply disturbed. Demons have a way of doing that.

That fucking bitch who has haunted me since high school still irritates the shit out of me after all this time.

I decided at nearly the last minute to fly back to So Cal to attend my 30th High School Reunion. Having known for over a year the event was approaching, I made no specific plans whether to attend or not as I knew I would be Road Pickling. My day-to-day adventure far outweighed my need to "be seen and impress" by people I had known so many years ago. But just a few days prior to the event, I made solid plans, bought a plane ticket from Denver to San Diego, and decided to go. The only caveat was we were in Minneapolis and had to get our asses to Denver within 10 days.

We rode through some lovely country at the best speeds we could manage to make tracks for Denver. On our second day riding we got crop dusted on a small Iowa road in the early evening. Highway began coughing immediately, eventually developing a bacterial infection. We stayed two nights in Rapid City, SD, never leaving our hotel bed, in an attempt to give him a chance to recover. When we reached Scottsbluff, NE a few days later, the infection hit me like a freight train. An early morning trip to Urgent Care and another 2 days in a hotel bed, and we were able to make a last ditch effort to reach Denver. We arrived exhausted, sleepless, sick and still infectious only 11 hours before my flight.

The best thing about going to my high school was the enormous amount of pride we all had in our school and our town. Many, many students from my graduating class still stay in close touch with each other and make great strides to have get-togethers. One of those people is "W", who, after some sweet-talking and ass-kissing, ended up as the Committee Chairperson for our official 30th Reunion. She worked hard to make it a success and even though she had a committee that helped her, it really appeared to be all about her.

Of course, "W" and I were friends, back in the day. Then we weren't. Then we were. Then we weren't. Are you detecting a pattern? She became deeply disillusioned and disappointed in me when I changed my life after my divorce and voiced it in her Anonymous comments here. (FYI, your IP address will give you away every time!)

I thought you might actually have something to say about true spirituality but that is not what I found and frankly it disappointed me. Of course I supposed some would say that everyone has their own spirituality but someone who says they "found Christ inside" would know that is not a true statement.

"W" is an expert at looking great on the outside, saying all of the right things, and being devious, hateful and bitchy in private. After I received an email asking me to "please stay away from the reunion" as she had "worked very hard" and my "attending would only ruin it for her," I felt even more enticed to attend. I spent some time thinking about the friends I wanted to see and I decided to go. Even though the thought of dealing with "W" gnawed at me and irritated the shit out of me, I felt compelled to deal with this issue, once and for all. So on to Denver we trudged.

Walking into the reunion with my closest high school chum Becke, it took no time for "W" to make a bee-line right for me.

"Oh, you made it!" she belched with all smiles and outstretched arms.

"Don't do this. Don't touch me. Let's just . . . let's just be nice." I replied.

"I am being nice," she whimpered in her best sing-songy sweetness.

"Don't humiliate yourself this way. It would be NICE if you just go away."

Dejected she moved on.

For the rest of the night I had a great time seeing my old friends. In fact, I was amazed how really good it felt to see all of these people I had grown to cherish. When 1:00 am rolled around I was surprised how fast the time had flown by and felt sad to see it all end.

It turned out my serenity had returned within moments after dealing with "W", much to my surprise. Those old scars were more healed than I thought. The demon and that fucking bitch who has haunted me since high school was really inside of me all along. Who I used to be, the wounded child, the insecure teen, the sad and lonely girl, that girl just doesn't exist any longer. She was the one I was afraid I would find in that ballroom and that's what really pissed me off.

I want to live my life being authentic. Pretending for others just rubs me the wrong way now. I don't want to live a lie to help someone else feel more comfortable. So the idea of "pretending" to like "W" after all of her vengeful, ugly behavior turns my stomach and I simply refuse to do it. But I found what really scared me was the thought I hadn't grown and changed after all of these years, all of these miles. Facing my past helped me realize that all of the serenity I had gained was authentic and I truly do love who I am today.

Telling "W" to fuck off with a calm heart and a huge smile on my face was just the icing on the cake.

Hey! I never claimed to be a nice lady. Just serene.

Busting in with my fantastic friend Becke, my host for the weekend

When Fonda came to me, I welled up with tears of joy

Gathering for the Group Photo
Sexing up the joint with Jackie
Squeezing my pal Cynthia
Getting some boobie squeezes from Diane with Cyndi 
Having a "Sashy" Moment
Hugging Betsie, one of my most encouraging friends
Hanging with Danielle, Job and my friend since age 14, Becke
Cyndi, me, Becke and Fonda, spreading the love


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Friday, September 6, 2013

Home is Relative

Abandoned farmhouses speckle the countryside amid weathered, tattered barns. In every state were cornfields, so many cornfields I began to wonder where all the wheat had gone. Rolling hills of prairie grasses gave way to thunderous traffic and heavily wooded forests succumbed to city streets smatterred with busy people. Purple flowers pushed through concrete, children rode bicycles and vegetable stands dotted the roadsides.

Rivers flowed gently, creeks had run dry, doors stood open in the summer sun, the moon rolled overhead and we continued. Another road, another bend, another town, another bed, more people. Everywhere we went, more and more people, all different and all the same.

One motel is like the other, varying in degrees of comfort and cleanliness. White sheets, white towels, and bar soap. Connecting to WiFi becomes more essential than clean clothing. There will be a laundry room at the next place. But Internet is crucial; my only link to the real world. But isn't this the real world? How could something so spectacular and beautiful, awe inspiring and frightening be real?

A world without mail, neighbors, commitments or schedules cannot be real. To declare homelessness is to declare utter failure to humanity. No one chooses such failure, do they? To languish in the chaos of uncertainty, to linger here or there and roam about aimlessly must be insanity.

"Where do you live?"

"On my motorcycle."

"But where do you call home?"


The wet, green alfalfa pastures of Arizona are my home. The filthy, bustling streets of Memphis are my home. The winding roads of Pennsylvania are my home. The blazing yellow grasslands of Nebraska, the narrow, potholed lanes of New Jersey, the sprawling open lands of Oklahoma, the Pig Trails of Arkansas, the bar strewn streets of San Diego are all my home.

My home is all of my journey, all if the stories, all of my days and nights mixed with yesterday's memories. All of the food and photographs, the tears and laughter, the arguments and kisses, the smiles, the waves, the miles, the dotted, yellow lines; all of this is home. For a moment I stood in a lighthouse and it was where I belonged. For an hour I listened to bluegrass on a Knoxville sidewalk and my soul sang along. For an evening I strolled the boardwalk with my husband, stealing kisses, laughing like children, completely alone with one another on the Maryland beach.

I'm at home in my own skin, at peace with my own soul, alive in America.

Whether I am standing beside you, on top of a bluff overlooking the land, or listening to my wheels chew up asphalt, I am home.

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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...)