April 27, 2014

Close to the Edge

"I would do anything for you Daddy. ANYTHING."

The dream I had was so real, that I could see the pores in the skin of my 23-year-dead father.

He placed his hand on my shoulder and took comfort in that declaration.

When I awoke, I shared the dream with my hubs Steve and then called my Stepmother Kathy.

Kathy and I have had a wonderful relationship all of my life. She was friends with my parents when I was a baby and after my mother divorced my father, she and my Daddy fell in love. She still loves him deeply to this day.

I knew that she would want to hear about the dream.

Kathy rode with my father and his friends in the MC for many years. I don't know if she ever rode "with" the MC, since she wasn't a member and women didn't usually ride with the club, but she did take trips with my Daddy and his friends, often crossing a number of states. Getting her own Harley Sportster in 1972, Kathy was the first woman I knew who rode a motorcycle. Although always patient and extremely kind with me, it was apparent that she was a tough woman and no one to cross. She had a rough, abusive childhood and had run off with a biker at a very young age. She and her best friend Gracie married brothers who eventually joined the MC, which brought them into our lives after a few years. She was only 18 when she first met my family and moved in with us when she was 20 when her Old Man when to the joint.

All day I thought of my Daddy and Kathy as my hubs and I rode our motorcycles from Farmington, NM headed towards Monte Vista, CO. I felt my Dad's presence with me, as if he was trying to show something to me. In my mind I asked him to show me clearly what I was missing; what he wanted me to know. The nagging feeling that I wasn't understanding something plainly obvious lingered with me every mile.

Steve and I stopped for lunch at the Pagosa Brewery in Pagosa Springs, CO. The food was delicious and the stop was warm and welcoming after a cold ride. We spoke with some locals and they told us that it was raining in Wolf Creek Pass, but if we waited too long, it might turn to snow. They indicated that was the best route to get out of town and that once we were over the summit, about 30 minutes from town, we were home free. We thanked them and jumped on the bikes, doing our best to miss the snow.

Nearly 20 miles later the rain turned to snow and I wondered how much further we had to travel. The snow was light and certainly not sticking to the road, but as we rolled slowly up the incline in 1st gear, it became thicker every moment.

"It can't be much further. . . then we'll be 'home free'. I can't quit yet. I can do this! I know I can!"

Before I knew it, I was in a whiteout. The snow had begun to stick and as my V Star "Tatonka" began to slip out from under me, that sick "Oh God I'm Going Down" feeling hit me. Time seemed to stand still.

As I began sliding on my side for an eternity, my mind clicked out thoughts.

"Hit the Kill Switch. Where's that cliff? Olivia is going to be heartbroken."

I went down on my right side and spun in a 360, sliding over 30 feet. I didn't feel a thing except the motion of sliding. No pain, no cold, no fear.

When I stood up, I saw the 200 foot cliff only a few feet away. It had no barrier or guard rail.

Steve pulled up and we both strained to pick my bike up in the snow. After he pulled, I would hold it, then he would change his footing and pull a little further. Tatonka slid about in the slick, wet snow, but I was keeping her braced on each move. We worked as a well-oiled machine until she was upright. Huffing a puffing, we tried to think of what to do to get back down the hill.

Just then, a pickup truck pulled up with a young couple. Jared was kind and insistent that he could ride that motorcycle back to Pagosa Springs. Taryn moved over to the driver's seat and was ready to drive me back as we followed the guys back down. The snow was falling faster and everything was a whiteout. From the first snowflake to this moment was less than 10 minutes.

I gave Jared all the gear I had that he could fit into, but unfortunately he couldn't squeeze into the gloves. He hopped on that bike and rolled like a pro, with Steve behind him and the pickup carrying us ladies and Taryn's little boy. Taryn shared that she and Jared were just friends and she was home for a visit to Pagosa Springs.

"I'm just so glad we could help you. We were just taking my son for a ride to help him get to sleep. I'm so grateful we came along."

On the way down the hill, which seemed 10 times longer than coming up, I thought of my Dad and Kathy. Everything was so stressful and confusing, nothing made sense.

When we got back into Pagosa Springs and checked into the Hillside Inn, the first thing I did was call my daughter Olivia. I wanted to hear her sweet voice and reassure her that I was fine. She took it in stride, glad I was fine, seemingly not grasping how really close she came to losing me.

This morning I am sore, probably have pulled my right hamstring, but I'm filled with gratitude and a renewed sense of being. I believe my Daddy's spirit kept me from going over that cliff. I have no doubt he will make the clear what he wants me to know in the coming days.


  1. Holy crap girl. So glad you are okay and that things weren't much worse. Damn weather can change in an instant.

    So thankful those folks came along when they did and got your bike back down the hill. And a big hug to Highway for being your rock as I am sure you needed more than a few hugs after that.

  2. Tina, you are blessed. I'm happy that it all worked out okay and that a couple of good Samaritans came along when they did. Like I told Steve, you both had angles watching over you. Hope your bumps and bruises heal quickly. Enjoy your stay in Pagosa Springs and wait for clear weather before heading back out. Stay warm and ride safe!


  3. Wow! So glad you are okay! You had a guardian angel riding with you that day.

  4. Those mountain snows are bastards. They hit so instantly and so intensely. I once crashed a jeep in one, so respect to y'all for even trying. So glad to hear you made it through with relatively little damage to you or the bike.


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