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.
At 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."