Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Best Riding Buddy

My best riding buddy is my husband Steve. Now I suppose that's not unusual, but I rarely hear others say this about their spouse. I hear folks say they ride together, but I can't recall hearing anyone refer to their spouse as their "Riding Buddy". I read Trobairitz' Tablet and she often writes of riding with her husband Troubadour and the wonderful times they spend together. I admire that in any couple; the ability to spend time together and still value and enjoy one another.

I had a friend when I was in my twenties whom I was closer to than anyone in my life up until that time. Thomas was so much fun, so smart, warm and gentle, I felt I just couldn't get enough time with him. Having his life cut short at the age of 32 due to an enlarged heart devastated me. I felt completely alone and considered suicide. Only my 6-year-old daughter kept me alive at that time, having made a promise to never abandon her. I hung onto my life by a thread, wishing so badly I could be with Thomas on the other side. Until he was gone, I hadn't realized just how much his friendship meant to me.

Over the years, I've had a great deal of trouble making friends. I was living a lie after Thomas died, marrying a man I didn't love, trying to fit into a role I thought was best for my daughter, but forsaking myself. One doesn't attract friends, nor keep the ones they do attract, when one is dishonest. The moment I would open up to someone and show them a glimpse of my real self, they bolted. Imagine Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg, if you will.

When I met Steve, at first, we were friends. We worked together and spent hours talking about the online media industry together, eventually opening up and talking about our personal lives. We became great friends and then I fell in love. Around that same time I became friends with Margarita too. I had a difficult time trusting women after being betrayed and abused by my mother, so I was incredibly suspicious of her. But after spending time with them both, I came to believe that they were made of the same stuff as Thomas and I could trust them. I'm incredibly grateful Margarita helped me overcome my fear of betrayal by women and has helped me grow friendships with a great many women in recent years.

One thing Steve and I have worked hard to maintain is valuing our friendship outside of our romance. We also maintain a healthy working relationship, having parameters that we both adhere to when we are discussing business. It's all pretty formal, but it works for us. One of my favorite aspects of our friendship though is being Riding Buddies. As Riding Buddies we treat one another as we would any other rider we share the road with. I pack my own bike, take care of myself, and ride my own ride. I still ask Steve to pump my gas, but that's because of my hand pain from Fibromyalgia. The truth is, I would ask anyone I ride with to help me with it.

best friends
To have different aspects to our relationship has actually helped our marriage. When we get into a funk in our romance, we can work together. When we are looking for someone to just take a ride with, we can hop on our bikes and ride. By having these different roles, we actually have a friend in our backpocket at all times; not just a spouse.

Maybe that's what I was doing wrong in my other two marriages. My first husband Butch is a sweet guy and I will always love him as a friend. We don't talk anymore, but for many years after our divorce we were pretty good friends. When he remarried a jealous and possessive wife, he eventually ended our friendship. I missed my friend more than my husband, and still do.

I'm grateful to Steve for being my friend, first and foremost. I hope that no matter what happens down the road, we will always be Riding Buddies and best friends.

Who is your Best Riding Buddy?

women motorcycle riders

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Riding California to South Dakota

After staying in Murphys, CA for a few days to visit my StepMom Kathy, we headed out our separate ways for Fernley, NV. I suggested to Steve that we take different routes so he could find something more challenging over the Sierra Nevadas. He found a road that went down to one-lane for 30 miles, twisting and winding his way to Nevada, while I chose Highway 49 and Interstate 80. Frankly, I was surprised at the technical aspects of Hwy 49 in some sections. I loved the ride, but I would have loved it more for a day ride with friends, rather than just a portion of my ride to actually get somewhere in a day.

Once I reached Interstate 80, also known as the Lincoln Highway, I rode that all the way to Salt Lake City, and then some. My hubs has done a better job of logging our trip this far, so if you want to catch up, read his articles on his site Motorcycle Philosophy and get caught up with our travels.

Currently we are in Sioux Falls, SD staying at the Candlewood Suites. Candlewood has really become our home-away-from-home because they have all of the amenities we need as travel bloggers. We have work stations in the room, a kitchen to cook meals, a gym, business center; the works! As far as working, I don't know where all my time goes or how I fall so far behind, but I'm grateful to Steve for keeping on top of our blogging of the miles.

We leave in two days for Mitchell, SD for one night for a Pre-Sturgis Party at Klock Werks Kustom Cycles with Brian and Laura Klock, and then off to Sturgis Motorcycle Rally on August 1. We will remain in Sturgis until August 14 meeting folks, enjoying the rally, and yes, working.

There was some beer tasted in Prospector's Brewing by my hubs, but none for me thanks! 
More along my lines of decadence, Cupcake Wars winners Lila and Sage Cupcakes hit the spot! 
Sunsets beyond the picturesque Main Street in Murphys
Hamming it up in the center of town in Murphys
The view from Tranquility Massage & Spa in Murphys, where I got a fantastic massage. Across from Murphys Historic Hotel, all riders could benefit from a massage while visiting this town, along with all of the other indulgences to be found.
Steve waiting for me in Murphys on Main Street while I shop
Taking on Hwy 49 in California alone, and loving it!

One beautiful view after another on Highway 49 from Murphys to Loomis, CA. I never realized how close I was to Folsom, and the famed prison of the Johnny Cash song, one of my favorites when I ride

I ran into some rain at the Donner Pass section of the Lincoln Highway
We had to visit the Bonneville Salt Flats, home of daredevils and thrillseekers. I fondly thought of two women I've met recently, Laura Klock and Jessi Combs, and the world records they broke here.

After blowing through the Utah Salt Flats for over an hour at 80 mph, the posted speed limit, my gas tank was drying out quickly.  We had to slow down for about 15 miles until we reached a gas station to conserve fuel. 

I'm not sure what it is I love about truckstops, not just Loves but all of them, but I've always been fascinated with them. Perhaps it's the travel aspect, or the plethora of items they sell, or the home-away-from-home feel I get there, but Steve knows to stop at them for me, just to get me to smile.

I was excited to be in Salt Lake City to rest a couple of days before our next leg of the trip, but I was really more excited to get our mail from our office manager, who also sent my new boots.
After a great meal of Chicken Fried Steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, I got a bear hug at Little America in Wyoming
We pushed up the Lincoln Highway in Wyoming. This was my first visit to WY and I was thrilled to see how gorgeous it is!
My first stop in Nebraska was to make a client phone call roadside. I got off between towns and pulled off on a quiet road, since I couldn't make it to a city before our scheduled phone conference. Not a bad place to work.
The Lincoln Highway seems to go on forever from Nevada through Nebraska. I was tired when we arrived at sunset in North Platte, NE after a very long day of riding.
The road construction goes on and off from Wyoming through Nebraska, but I never saw one piece of heavy equipment doing anything but sitting. A reader suggested that doubling the fines in these "Work Zones" was a way to increase local revenue.
We met Liam at the Flying J Truckstop in Nebraska and had a great talk with him.
After 9 days, 2100 miles and 6 states of travel, the only tough weather was the wind and rain just outside of Sioux Falls, SD. 

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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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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Bike Night in Bakersfield

Bike Night in Bakersfield, CA occurs on Wednesday nights at Chuy's Mexican Grill on Rosedale Hwy. Sponsored by 98.5 The Fox, a local radio station, the parking lot begins to fill with chrome and steel around 6:30pm.

On our recent visit to Bakersfield, we headed out to enjoy the company of other riders, get a glimpse of some motorcycles, and get our fill of chips and beer, all while grooving to some classic 80's tunes.

My hubs asked for sexy, so I gave it to him!
Even in the heat, the patio filled up fast!
Mike Bell and Kenn McCloud, 98.5 The Fox D.J.'s told me about the weekly Bike Night and invited us back next week.
The parking lot begins to fill up as the Bike Night gets underway
Even in the hot temps, the patio was completely full of riders
You can see by the looks on our faces that I'm talking smack with my daughter Olivia
My Yamaha V Star 650 and my hubs Honda ST 1300 chillin' in the parking lot for our first Bakersfield Bike Night
My new Bell Custom 500 helmet from Helmet City in flat black. Love this lid!
Dig this paint job, all that chrome and those bad ass rims!
Checking out the rides
Even 2 hours into the event, bikes continued to arrive
Super clean Harley parked right up front
About 1/3 of the motorcycles in attendance were sport bikes, with the majority being Harleys
Awesome full-face Bell helmet hanging off this sport bike
Local classic rock radio station 98.5 The Fox sponsors the event
I enjoyed the evening with my daughter Olivia, who is 9 months pregnant
Murray and Kim enjoyed a couple of beers and basket of chips, soaking in the vibe. The water misters kept the patio pretty cool, in spite of the warm temps.
Drew shows off his custom painted lid, while his buddy Daniel downs his beer
Our mascot Asphalt Annie works on her third beer of the night
After one too many beers, Asphalt Annie puts the Ass in Asphalt
Group of local Harley Davidson riders who spent the majority of the night laughing together. The woman in the green talked to me on the way out about getting her own Sportster this summer and learning to ride.
98.5 The Fox Classic Rock holds a raffle throughout the event
Blake and Jared are distracted as Asphalt Annie makes a run for their second pitcher of beer
The patio was hopping long after Bike Night was declared over
My new buddy Dustin wearing his Assjack shirt. Assjack is an American punk metal band led by Hank Williams III and Garrett Bremer playing mostly psychobilly music. Caleb laughed at me when Dustin stood up and my head bent back as far as it could go, sizing up the Big Guy!

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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...)