Thursday, November 19, 2015

Wind Therapy - Product Review


Wind Therapy always sounds like a good thing for a motorcycle rider. Now there's a line of skin and hair products that are just as good as a day on two wheels.

Wind Therapy offers a line of beauty items that are remarkable for women who ride. Shielding Skin Conditioner is a very lightweight moisturizer meant to protect the face in extreme conditions. The Shielding Lip Conditioner is also lightweight and non-sticky and the Shielding Detangler creates a strong, protective shield around each strand of hair, keeping the hair free and healthy.

From the Wind Therapy site:

Wind Therapy’s advanced formulas blend trusted natural ingredients with performance-based shielding technologies for the face, hands and hair.

Central to each Wind Therapy product is a focus on lasting hydration science. Wind Therapy’s advanced formulas use carefully-selected natural oils with superior fatty acid profiles to benefit and provide immediate protection to all skin types. Each Wind Therapy product provides superior hydration and conditioning technology that bonds moisture and antioxidants to skin and hair for lasting benefits.

Wind Therapy incorporates beneficial botanical extracts into each product to enhance performance and provide light natural scents that diminish quickly so customers can still use their own signature scents or choose to remain fragrance-free.

Every ingredient in each product is carefully chosen as the least irritating and most advanced for shielding performance. Wind Therapy products are free of parabens, artificial colors and fragrance. Products are tested on human volunteers--never on animals.

The products all worked as well as promised and I was quite pleased with each one. Ever since I received my order, I've used the Shielding Skin Conditioner every morning with great results. My skin is softer and smoother than it has been in years. My acne is under control too. As the day wears on I notice that my skin isn't as oily as it has been in the past. For years I've struggled with combination skin and now I've found the perfect solution.

The Shielding Lip Conditioner works wonders! My lips are soft and supple, even though I've done a great deal of riding lately. Not only does the Lip Conditioner protect my lips, it stays on for hours; at least twice as long as the leading national brand of lip balm. You can barely compare the two.

I don't have hair long enough to need the Shielding Detangler, so I shared it with a friend. She was so pleased!

Today I tried it on my dry hair. As a conditioner on wet hair it worked great! It's easy to comb through and style. On dry hair it's a little heavy on my very fine hair, but if I add water to it and then apply it, it works fantastic. The scent is wonderful and I love how my hair feels at the end of the day. My comb just goes right through, even after a long day on the bike. It's a great problem all around.

Not only do I highly recommend the Wind Therapy line of products, I will be ordering more for many years to come! It's about time someone created a product line for the women who ride!

Wind Therapy's website is http://www.windtherapy.rocks/
Find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WindTherapySkin

For FREE SHIPPING use Coupon Code "SASHTASTIC" when making your purchase of Wind Therapy.

My ebook, "Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy" is available for purchase here. If not for you, buy a copy for a friend. The woman in your life will love you for it. Thanks!

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Moto Babes and Sisterly Love

23 years old and more naive than I look. Even 27 years later, I still find myself thinking like this silly little fool.

In 1993 I entered a 12 Step Program for my drug addiction. One afternoon after I had attended a few meetings, an "Oldtimer" Big Phil took me aside.

"You sit over here next to me at tomorrow's meeting and don't let these sons-of-a-bitches hug you anymore. Come a few minutes early. We need to talk."

Big Phil was a large, gruff man, standing over 6 ft tall and certainly weighing over 300 lbs. He enjoyed telling newcomers to "Sit down, shut up and listen!" Big Phil was 71-years-old and in his 21 years of sobriety, he made it a point to be a mentor to the newcomers.

When I arrived I went straight to Big Phil and sat down, ready to be chastized.

"These assholes here just want to hug on you because you're hot. Don't hug those men anymore. Straight arm them and send them to me if they have anything to say about it."

I was flabergasted. In my 27-year-old naivete, it hadn't occured to me that I was just being groped.

"I thought people would be different here. What about the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions? Aren't we supposed to be treating each other better? I thought we all cared about each other."
Big Phil looked at me with a softness I had never seen him show.

"Assholes are assholes, sober or not. People don't change just because there are rules. If they are assholes outside those doors, they are assholes inside. Many of these assholes have ulterior motives for everything they do, no matter how long they have been sober. Don't trust someone until they've earned it."

I've carried that lesson throughout life and most of the time I remember it. But like any lesson, I can need a reminder now and then.

I attended Babes Ride Out 3 in Joshua Tree. Some of the "Babes" I met were extra-amazing! Jessi Combs, Alicia "Motolady" Elfving, Sofi Tsingos and Theresa Contreras were all exceptionally fun, friendly and warm. All rather public figures, they were some of the most down to earth women attending. 
Babes Ride Out was held Oct 23 - 25 and promised to be a record setting event for women motorcycle riders. With over 1,000 women registered for the 3-day campout in Joshua Tree, CA, BRO3, as it came to be tagged, was intended to be a sisterly-bonding-experience for all who attended.

As the riders filtered in from the Saturday ride, the heat and dust became nearly unbearable. Standing in long food lines and scrambling for shade was only tolerable because everywhere I looked was another woman rider who I was excited to meet.
The motto, "No 'Tudes, No Dudes!" set an expectation of "Bring Your Best Self" I suppose. This motto was actually listed in the rules on their event website. When I read this, the little voice in my head said, "It is unacceptable to bring a man. It is unacceptable to be a bitch to your fellow women riders." I was excited to attend and purchased my ticket months in advance. I waited for this opportunity to meet a new breed of women riders.

Bren has been following my journey for the last year through social media. It was thrilling for me to meet another woman who was so excited to talk about motorcycling!

I rode in with a group of other riders and two chase vehicles (one of them my husband's pickup truck) with a Utopian expectation of great sisterly love.

I was very excited to meet this beauty, Michelle Rodriguez from the East Bay Litas Riding Club. Michelle and I met through Instagram, where the event was mostly publicized, and we were looking forward to meeting. We shared a "Sashtastic" together, a special drink I've created, and did a great deal of laughing afterwards!
Most of the women I met were very kind, generous and fun. But unfortunately, the typical high-school-style cliques were glaringly obvious. Since I didn't already plan a designated buddy, I was pretty much left alone most of the time. This gave me ample opportunity to work and make plenty of new friends, for which I am so grateful!

But the truth is, it hurt to be excluded.

A lone rider, exhausted from the heat, takes a nap on the softest surface available.
As we were leaving on Sunday morning for the ride back to San Diego, our group decided to visit the Crochet Museum and stop for breakfast in Yucca Valley. They didn't seem to be in much of a hurry.

But after breakfast, they informed me that the least-experienced rider in our group, my friend Monica, was riding too slow for some of them. Monica had ridden less than 600 miles on her Honda CBR 250 in her riding career and was still tentative about her skills.They wanted to break up into two groups. As I understood it, a few were going ahead and a few would stay behind. One by one, every one of them blew past us with only a wave, including both chase vehicles.

My friend Monica, a new rider, who was excited to meet other moto-babes. Her enthusiasm was contagious!
Of course, I would never leave any rider in my group behind, so the two of us headed for home alone. I pulled over and gave her a little pep talk and a few tips. After that, Monica lane split (her choice!) for 12 straight miles in traffic snarled by a semi crash. Once the traffic opened up, she sped up and ride at 70 mph (her first time riding so fast). She pushed her bike and herself to new limits and really kicked ass! I was so proud to watch this new rider learn what she is capable of doing.

In fact, Monica kicked ass so much, we beat the rest of the group back to San Diego.
Frankly, I was really pissed that these women ditched us. I thought it was a shitty thing to do. All Monica needed was a little coaching and encouragement; not be abandoned for being slow.

Monica poses at the gas station after kicking some major ass!

A few women reached out to me afterwards and told me they didn't realize we weren't keeping up. I appreciated that more than I can say. I think that says a great deal about them as people and as riders. We all live by our own interpretation of what is acceptable.

Please give me your response in the comments to this question. . . I look forward to your feedback.
I learned long ago that expectations breed disappointment. "No 'Tudes, No Dudes," can be interpreted many different ways I suppose. No matter who you are, I think common courtesy applies.
But as Big Phil said to me 22 years ago, assholes are assholes. . . people don't change.

**I am certain I will get some backlash over this post. It has become UNACCEPTABLE to say anything negative about Babes Ride Out, due to the expectation that we should all be friendly and never bash another woman. I struggled with writing about this event (which is part of the reason I have taken so long to post anything!) because I couldn't write something sweet when that wasn't authentic. I don't think being truthful is bashing if it's done with some courtesy and fairness, which is why I've kept the women in my group anonymous. 

Help me out by adding a little fuel to my bank account. My ebook, "Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy" is available for purchase here. If not for you, buy a copy for a friend. The woman in your life will love you for it. Thanks!

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Monday, September 21, 2015

Motorcycle Mama

Back in my Mom Days, I sewed these matching dresses for Olivia and me. I've come many miles from  being that domesticated housewife, but I'll always be her Mom. 
I am a poser. I posed as a "normal suburban wife and mother" for 15 long years. The fate of most posers also befell me; the "real" people in that category could sense my inauthenticity and ousted me from all of their groups; some quickly and some over time.

I never fit in and I always knew it.

After my divorce I found my real self again. But this was a very difficult time in my relationship with my daughter Olivia. She felt confused about who I was, where she fit in, and why I had been inauthentic all of those years. We've since come to understand one another in a new way, as most mothers and daughters do.

Olivia has since married her sweetheart David and had a son Jackson, who is a happy and smart little guy. She's a stay-at-home Mom who does a little writing on the side and doesn't get out of the house much. Like most young couples, money is very tight, so they don't get many excursions together.

"Why don't you go with me to San Francisco?" I asked her on the phone.

"What, you mean on the motorcycle?" she gasped.

"Yes! Just the two of us. We can ship our clothes ahead and ride up in one day. It's only 230 miles. As long as you pay attention, follow my instructions, and we take a few breaks along the way, we can do it!"

"SQUEEEEEEEE!!! David! David! My Mom is taking me to San Francisco!!"

I've ridden my daughter on my motorcycle only 2 short trips, each about 15 miles, so I'm rather nervous about how I'll do. But I'm willing to give it a try. I've done so many miles with all of that gear on my bike and while I know the gear is different than a floppy passenger, I believe in myself enough to try.

Just to be on the safe side, we'll be gearing her up pretty well,  helmet to boots, just as we had done for her last two rides.

During my daughter's childhood I always planned every detail of any event with lists, checklists and schedules. Olivia has picked up that habit as an adult. Ironically, since I met Steve, we plan very little and fly by the seat of our pants most of the time. But suddenly, I've actually slipped into my old habit by over planning, this time utilizing Pinterest to create our own Board to share ideas with Olivia. We've already had two arguments about her lack of interest in my Pinterest!

Even though my daughter and I have some pretty loud arguments, heated and hurtful, we have never had a single disagreeable word on an excursion together. When she was a kid we always had the best times on our little Mother/Daughter trips.

We settled on the Hawthorn Suites by Wyndam in Alameda for our stay and Steve scored an affordable room for us with his Wyndam points. We'll be staying 3 nights and seeing the city.

Coincidentally, we'll have another passenger along with us. ScooterBob arrived here in San Diego just in time to join us. Read about ScooterBob and his remarkable story here.

I have to wonder if my impulse to over plan this short trip has something to do with the spirit of Bob Skoot coming along. Hey, I guess three makes it a party, huh?

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Finding The Apex in a Decreasing Radius Turn

Canyon-de-Chelly-motorcycle
I recently reached 50,000 miles after learning to ride my own 2 1/2 years ago! This moment happened as we rolled into Canyon de Chelly (pronounced Canyon de Shay) outside Chinle, AZ. It was the perfect spot for such a momentous occasion!
With my motorcycle fully loaded with gear, I realized just in time I was coming into the blind curve far too hot. My V Star 650 Classic had become such a joy to ride after so many miles, my enthusiasm had a way of getting me into more and more difficult situations on every ride.

Upon reaching what I assumed was the apex of the curve, I realized I was leaning into a decreasing radius turn. A decreasing radius turn is essentially a corner that tightens up. That means that if you take a normal mid apex line into the corner as you might on a constant radius turn, you're going to find yourself running wide unless you have enough in 'reserve' to really lean the bike over.

I didn't grab the brakes; I knew better. I leaned really hard, balancing on the edge of the tire and the asphalt, sliding and hopping closer to the edge into the marbles. Pressing down on the right bar while still balancing the sweet spot in the throttle, covering the clutch, riding that back brake just a little, leaning forward, squeezing those knees, I scraped those V Star floorboards for the very first time.

The apex appeared not a moment too soon and I found my line again, propelling both my bike and myself into the straightaway ahead, howling with laughter and yelping like a rabid coyote.

Our Road Pickle Motorcycle Bohemia was intended to be only 6 months of riding around the country and then returning to San Diego to reestablish a home base. But after 2 years and 6 months on the road, neither my hubs Steve nor I really want to do that. Vagabonding is incredible! We have loved meeting new people, seeing the ever-changing horizons, trying unusual and delicious foods, learning history and geography, seeing old friends and family and finding ourselves along the way. But as the riding season rolls to the end for now, I'm beginning to realize that it's time to hit some straighter roads.

slab-city-california
Mental, emotional and physical exhaustion have been taking their toll. I wake up after having nightmares for 8 hours and wonder what I'm running from, because I'm certainly being chased by something all night. Lately the demon in my dreams is closer than it's ever been before. But every night I must run and hide because I'm too exhausted to fight it.

Initially I ran because I had so much noise in my head, I needed some long roads to sort out the sounds. But riding became an addiction, the pleasures masking the fact that I was indeed running. Each time we stopped for long, the orchestra in my mind tuned up louder and louder and rolling hard on two wheels was the only way to bring the noise to a mellow hum.

So our Road Pickle became not the short, constant radius curve I had expected, but a decreasing radius turn that required me to lean, and lean, and lean in. And as the straight road lies before me, I am tempted once again to take the easier, softer route by settling down in San Diego for a year or two. I can constantly hear the carbs of my bank account sucking in too much air,  needing an adjustment. My ever-learning-spirit needs peace. My nearly-50-year-old body needs rest and reminds me of this every evening in hotel beds. But the child within me frolics about, dances and giggles, full of wanderlust and smooches, excited for each and every new horizon.

I believe I've reached the apex, found my line, and see some straight road ahead. But there is plenty of untraveled road I've yet to see, so this is only a pit stop for now.

Help me out by adding a little fuel to my bank account. My ebook, "Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy" is available for purchase here. If not for you, buy a copy for a friend. The woman in your life will love you for it. Thanks!

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

My Motorcycle Is My Partner

Yamaha-v-star-650
My Yamaha V Star Tatanka has taken me 30,000 miles over 2 years of riding together
As I was polishing the chrome on my Yamaha V Star 650 when I had an amazing realization about my feelings for my motorcycle. There in that moment I was overcome with a great appreciation for this machine.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, my mother told me of a deep love that came over her with her first child. Just days after my sister was born, my mother looked at her and realized the enormity of her role as a mother. It hit her in one moment, this mix of a great love and huge responsibility, feeling wonderful and terrifying.

"You'll know it when you feel it," she told me.

Sure enough, my moment came when my daughter was 3 days old. I was holding her and watching my husband and mother cook dinner in my home. I looked at my tiny baby and the emotion poured over me, through me, seemingly becoming part of me. I wept as I looked at this tiny being, knowing I was responsible for every meal, every pain, every illness, every need this human would have for the next 18 years. I wept with joy and fear, just as my mother had done.

I told my daughter this story when she was pregnant just over a year ago. Shortly after my grandson was born last summer I asked my daughter if she had yet felt such a moment.

"Yes. I know exactly what you were talking about now. It was serious Mom. Very serious."

Currently I'm house sitting for a friend in San Diego who has a great garage for parking. I decided to make the most of it and wash my motorcycle. I even went so far as to buy some spray wax for the paint. In the 2 years I've owned this motorcycle, I can count the times I've washed her on one hand. But she was particularly filthy and since I had the means to do so, I thought this was a good time to get her as clean as possible.

As I was cleaning the chrome, getting in the tiny notches between the heads, I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the air intake cover. Then I leaned back, taking a good look at my motorcycle as if I had never seen it before.

This maternal feeling came over me; this deep love I remember having for my child. Certainly it wasn't quite as strong as my love for my baby, but it was similar. For me, this was the strongest feeling I've ever had for a machine.

I realize I have this motorcycle to thank for all of these miles I've traveled in the last 2 years. Gratitude came over me, as did a sense of obligation. I have a responsibility to care for her, to feed her, to listen to her, to fix her problems and keep her safe. But unlike a child, my motorcycle never complains and always performs. She will also give me her all. I only need to ask it of her by twisting her throttle. Even when I have been irresponsible and pushed her beyond her limits, once I've righted her up again, she's back to work for me without complaint.

My motorcycle has been my loyal friend and partner and I truly love her for it.


My book Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. Give me your feedback on it once you've read it! I look forward to hearing from you.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Road Therapy


Steve and I are not getting a divorce.

I've had quite a few people contact me with deep concern as to my last post about our relationship. After traveling together for the last 2 1/2 years, living in hotel rooms, depending upon each other for so much, Steve and I needed a break. The circumstances under which he left were painful for me and I had a very difficult time watching him go. I had my daughter, my son-in-law and my grandson come to visit for a week which was was also stressful. So my point of view when I wrote my most recent post was a bit skewed.

Steve has been on the road for 12 days now. He contacted me after being on the road for 5 days and I think we've talked almost every day since. We're still talking about things, working things out, and trying to sort out our feelings, but we're not breaking up.

Living on the road isn't easy. We've lived in fine hotel rooms, eaten the best food, seen various landscapes, each more astounding than the last, and yet none of it has been easy. Even with money, comforts, and love, the difficulties of life creep in and tear at the fiber of our hearts. We work together, live together, socialize together and sleep together. We've done too much together and not enough alone.

Money only solves so much. And I'm sorry Beatles, but you need more than love. There are those vagabonds who say they only need the road (there was a time when I would agree with them), but even that left me weary and unfulfilled. My physical pain played a part in that road-weary state and broke down my determination and spirit. I tore at Steve in frustration, with no one else to vent my anguish towards, and wore him down too.

I'm still carrying some baggage from my past. The emotional scars have hardened parts of me that simply will never heal, so they must be managed. It was brutal for me to learn that I can never fully heal this road rash from the crashes of my life, destined to live with these scars forever.

Steve carries his own baggage from his past. It is heavy now and he's working to unburden himself. But this has become a painful process for both of us.

Taking different roads was important for our survival. I became a little lost during my solo travel. I became sidetracked and angry, sullen and finally, very depressed. I spent 3 days in bed, moping and watching television, which is entirely unlike me.

Today was a different day. While talking on the phone with Steve this morning, I mustered up every bit of strength I could and at his encouragement I got out of bed and met a friend for lunch. Then I took a 60 mile ride to get a pair of kevlar jeans for riding. I bitched and moaned to Steve that it wouldn't make me feel better, but I was wrong. That asphalt, rubber, steel and sunshine did the trick. Road Therapy wins again.

I love that motorcycle. I love Steve. Yes, we hit some shitty road and I didn't have high hopes, but that was because I wasn't seeing things clearly.

Have you ever just mounted that motorcycle, ridden less than a mile, and sighed with great relief? That huge sigh that comes about when you just know that things aren't as bad as you thought?

Today I sighed that way.

Everything is going to be alright.


My book Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. Give me your feedback on it once you've read it! I look forward to hearing from you.

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Saturday, July 11, 2015

We Will Know When We Arrive

Currently I'm staying in So Cal to tend to personal business, feeling essentially grounded for about 6 weeks while having medical tests done. While I'm here, I'm finalizing the sale of my home, organizing and separating the few things we have stored here and getting them moved into storage space. This also gives me time to visit my small family and a few local friends, as well as get some work done.

Steve left today for a solo motorcycling trip. I had actually encouraged this trip and up until last week, I was excited about him going off to wander about on his own.

"There's no reason why you can't continue to ride just because I'm stuck here. I WANT you to go! Really!"

I meant that when I said it.

Then last week I was blindsided with new information like a semi plowing through an intersection over me.

Steve had decided he wanted not only to take a trip, but for the most part, we would to stop having contact during the time he was gone. Steve will let me know when he is ready to speak and I am not to contact him at all. This "Radio Silence Solo Ride" came as a shock to me in our therapist's office.

"Steve needs time alone, and by alone, I mean, he doesn't want to be required to text or call you. I think it's best for him. This is what he wants and needs," our therapist informed me as the three of us sat in her office.

Steve simply nodded, staring at the floor.

Stunned, I simply agreed to the terms. I would never want to stand in his way, take away his freedom, or stifle him. I reasoned what's best for "us" as a couple is to make him happy.

I never wanted to be one of those selfish, demanding wives who confined her husband, taking away the things he enjoyed. As a people pleaser it is my habit to please others first, before even considering how I feel. So I really meant it when I told him to go and ride solo.

But the "Radio Silence" has left me feeling hurt, manipulated and cheated. It's as if I signed an agreement and then someone pointed out the small print on another page. I couldn't go back on my word. I couldn't sit in the therapist's office and say, "Oh no then! If that's the deal, I'm out!" That would make me a "bad wife", the kind of bitch I don't ever want to be.

So I swallowed my feelings and wished him well as he left this morning. And even though I was terribly sad about him leaving, I never shed a tear.

I keep reminding myself this is all part of the journey. I'm trying to look at all of life's ups and downs as part of one long road that leads me to a wide variety of landscapes. And while this particular section of road may seem dark, it has actually shed a bright ray of light on a few hidden puzzle pieces. Right now, I don't have a full picture yet and I'm still gathering and sorting pieces, but I'm certain this time apart will be productive.

In my life I've learned these painful times can often bring the greatest opportunities for realization and growth. In fact, it seems the worse it hurts, the greater the life change that accompanies the pain. Now that Steve is out on the road and taking this time to himself, I hope he too sees what he couldn't see with me around and experiences his own kind of growth.

I also hope he realizes he will be returning to a different person. Having gone through this pain of feeling rejected and unimportant will have an impact on me. In fact, it already has. We have hit a fork in the road and only miles will tell where we will end up.

I have no intention of sideswiping him when our paths intersect again, but I'm making no promises, because right now, I can't see the road ahead. I can only see what's in my headlight and this is a brand new road I'm on.

I guess we'll both know when we arrive.

My book Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. Give me your feedback on it once you've read it! I look forward to hearing from you.

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Monday, July 6, 2015

My 10 Favorite Cities - Part 3

Woman-motorcycle-Rider
On our Road Pickle Motorcycle Bohemia, we've seen plenty of places, plenty of road and plenty of other riders along the way.
As motorcycle riders who have ridden across the country for the last 2 years, we are often asked what has been our favorite place to visit. I find a great amount of difficulty in answering that question, because I can't think on any individual city that is my absolute favorite. I've found that every city has it's own appeal and personality, so I end up rambling on an on listing numerous places for numerous reasons. As a result, I have decided to share a list of my favorite cities.

This is my third and final installment of this list, and they are listed in no particular order.

seafood-seattle-wa


Seattle:
Oh the traffic sucks in Seattle. In fact, I would rate it as the worst traffic in all of the cities I've visited. But let's put that aside for a moment, because that is the only thing about Seattle that I don't love! Well, that and the cold weather, but I always visit in the summer.

The food in Seattle is divine, with choices from fresh and inventive seafood to some of the best Asian food I've ever had. The coffee shops and pubs have distinct personalities, many are like walking into a friend's home where you put up your feet, enjoy a beverage, and feel welcome. The diversity of the cultures is refreshing. It seems everyone, I mean EVERYONE is welcome here. Whatever you're seeking, you can find it in Seattle.

Except ugliness. The landscapes and views are so beautiful, they make one take a step back just to soak it all in. The smiles on everyone's faces seems to represent just how far from Manhattan one really is (Manhattan, where no one smiles). Their is a warmth and character to the city and the locals embrace and reflect it.
grave-jimi-hendrix-renton-wa
While in Seattle we visited the graves of Brandon and Bruce Lee, then over into Renton to visit the grave of Jimi Hendrix. There are hundreds of lipstick prints on Jimi's marble face, so I gave him a Smooch from Sash. 
We found great craft beers, remarkable architecture, great steaks, interesting landmarks, and an abundance of innovation. Seattle loves it's small businesses and as a city, does it can to support them and keep them in business. Big Box stores and chain restaurants are scarce and the small business owners are King. This creates diversity and uniqueness, fostering creativity and that welcoming attitude.

The motorcycling outside of Seattle is exciting and beautiful as well. A rider can spend a few days of riding mountains or go out to the coastline and never be bored, nor far from the city. With an endless array of small restaurants to get everything from fried alligator to radish chutney, Seattle has it all.

So slap on your slouchy beanie, flannel shirt and grab your cup of coffee and roam the imaginative streets of Seattle!

squatters-salt-lake-city
Parking my motorcycle at Squatters in Salt Lake

Salt Lake City:
Surprised? Well, I was too. When I was a kid my father and step-mother lived about an hour from Salt Lake and they rarely went into the city. Most people think of Salt Lake City and think of the Mormons, the strict religion and the laws on alcohol. The truth is, you'll find some stricter alcohol laws across the country in more places than you can imagine! I find Salt Lake City to be more middle-of-the-road overall as far as alcohol laws as well as diversity.

Salt Lake City offers unbelievable riding in the area. The Alpine Loopwas my favorite and most challenging ride I've ever taken. It had sentimental value to me as well, because I rode this same road on the back of my Dad's Harley as a 13-year-old girl. But even local riders hail it as "better than the Dragon!" Not only will you find the Alpine Loop a great ride, but hundreds of other mountain roads await riders, all within an hour of Salt Lake City.

alpine-loop-utah
Riding the Alpine Loop in Utah
We found delicious food in a number of downtown restaurants, interesting architecture, and historic sites and craft breweries with distinctive beer. The breweries serve food and mixed drinks as well, so we were pleased with the variety of choices.

One thing I have encountered on each visit to Salt Lake eateries are tourists. People come from all over the country, mostly on business, and flock to the bars at night. We met some of the most interesting people downtown, all of whom were from out of town. It seems funny to recommend a city for it's visitors, but it's truly a part of the city's makeup.

The city itself is beautiful and invites one to simply stroll about the downtown. I did not visit the Mormon Temple, but I'm told there are parts to visit for non-Mormons and that the history is interesting. There's a massive Farmer's Market in the downtown park on Saturdays with every food and vendor booth you can imagine, as well as live music all day. I had one of the best massages of my life, right there in an open booth on a massage chair. We met a parrot, bought some fresh honey, ate a torta and enjoyed punk music together.

The mentality of Salt Lake City seems to have evolved far beyond the white short sleeved shirts and black ties that I remember from the 1980's, into a more progressive and open place. I know I felt welcome in this beautiful, diverse city and for me, diversity is very appealing.

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As in most large cities, San Diego is constantly growing. The East Village is just off in the distance, a part of Downtown.
San Diego:
Even though I've traveled around the country for 2 1/2 years, I still find San Diego to be my all-time favorite city, and for good reason. It's not just because it is home to me, I can assure you. San Diego has everything I want, every time of year.

The weather is absolutely perfect. I read recently that San Diego ranked high on some list of Most Humid Cities, which makes no sense to anyone who has actually been there. Perhaps the inland areas can be a bit hot, but not humid. San Diego's average temperature is 71 F degrees, with crisp mornings, bright, sunny days, breezy late afternoons and cool evenings. The temperatures vary less than 20 degrees most days and the average rainfall is less than 3 inches a year. With weather like this, most people spend most of their time outside in San Diego.

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Within the city there are a multitude of neighborhoods; Downtown, East Village, Gaslamp, Old Town, Bankers Hill, Hillcrest, Little Italy, Marina, South Park, University Heights, North Park and Normal Heights, and many more. Gaslamp, Hillcrest and Little Italy are known for their vibrant nightlife, whereas Normal Heights, North Park, University Heights and South Park all have an after dark scene that is tamer and perhaps a bit more comfortable. Among them all are great restaurants, small and large, all cooking up a variety of fare such as Abyssinia Ethiopian, Russian-Georgian, Thai Fusion, Mediterranean Kabobs, and of course, the best Mexican food this side of the border.

Tacos, tacos, tacos! I love tacos! And San Diego has a variety to please every taco lover. Puerco, lengua, cabeza, chorizo, camarrones, pollo and carne asada, oh I could go on and on. From the overflowing crispy beef and cheese tacos of Dos Brasas on San Diego Avenue (my personal favorite, nationwide) to the fresh adobada street tacos of Tacos El Gordo in Chula Vista, something amazing can be found for the brave of heart and stomach. If you're not adventurous, or if you're really hung up on the appearance of a restaurant, then Taco Adventures are not for you, for you will miss the best food at the expense of your neurosis.

Beyond that, the craft beer scene has as many offerings as the taco scene, if not more. Breweries abound on nearly every block, with tasting rooms and full-on pubs such as Knotty Barrel in East Village. Most of these gastropubs offer food as great as their beer selection. So with a few dollars in hand, one should never be hungry nor thirsty in San Diego.
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San Diego is blessed with many freeways for the traffic to move around quickly, but there are plenty of options for transportation. If you stay Downtown, you can walk everywhere you want to go, get an Uber or Lyft, or take the trolley.
In the center of the city is Balboa Park, which is far larger than the famed Central Park in Manhattan. Balboa Park is home to 15 major museums, several performing arts venues, lovely gardens and many other cultural and recreational attractions, including the San Diego Zoo. With a variety of cultural institutions laid out among its 1,200 beautiful and lushly planted acres, Balboa Park is the nation’s largest urban cultural park. Inside Balboa Park is the Japanese Friendship Garden where Steve and I were married and a place we still love to visit every time we are in the area.

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Our wedding in the Japanese Friendship Garden, Balboa Park, San Diego
We have made a practice of staying in San Diego for the winter after traveling all summer, mostly because the weather is ideal and because we enjoy the city. For me, it is still like home, but I'm not ready to settle here for the long haul, not quite yet. If I ever settle, I imagine San Diego would be the place, for it has stolen my heart. I love the sound of the cars and trucks in the streets, the noise of the drunks at 2 am staggering home, the homeless crazies muttering to themselves on the sidewalks, the nervous tourists in their perfectly white sneakers and bermuda shorts, holding their teenager's hands as they cross the busy intersections and the locals who saunter up the streets wearing designer clothing and shitty looks on their faces. I love the independent coffee shops, the tequila bars, the roar of the baseball field, the clattering of the trolley, and the horns of the ships in the harbor.


If you haven't gone to Point Loma to the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery to stroll among the dead servicemen, then down the road to the Cabrillo Lighthouse and stood looking at the sparkling city in the late afternoon, then you haven't really seen San Diego. Do it just once, and it will steal your heart, as it has mine.

You can also read Part 1 and Part 2 of the list "My 10 Favorite Cities". Please, share your favorite cities with me so I can add them to my list of Places To Go.

My book Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. Give me your feedback on it once you've read it! I look forward to hearing from you.

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Friday, June 26, 2015

My 10 Favorite Cites - Part 2

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The ride from Colorado to Utah was quite cold, even though it was August. My furry vest I purchased in Wall, SD came in quite handy.  One of my favorite things about riding is buying cool items that I will put to use which can only be found in specific regions.
As motorcycle riders who have ridden across the country for the last 2 years, we are often asked what has been our favorite place to visit. I find a great amount of difficulty in answering that question, because I can't think on any individual city that is my absolute favorite. I've found that every city has it's own appeal and personality, so I end up rambling on an on listing numerous places for numerous reasons. As a result, I have decided to share a list of my favorite cities.

This is my second installment of this list, and they are listed in no particular order.

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We did spent some time riding Iron Mountain Road and the roads among Hill City, Sturgis and Rapid City, SD.

Rapid City:
I know most riders visit Rapid City, Sturgis, and the surrounding areas for the Sturgis rally in the summer. The riding is beautiful along with the landscape and the sunsets. And I suppose if one only gets a limited amount of time to travel during the year and a rally is rather important to them, it makes sense to visit South Dakota during that time.

If at all possible, I would strongly suggest riders visit this area later in the year. The weather is gorgeous, all be if you will occasionally hit a thunderstorm. Even the storms are lovely, cooling down the summer heat and seemingly intending to refresh the forests and grasslands. Coming from California, I had never seen a thunderstorm like those I experienced in South Dakota.

Certainly one must visit mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Monument. Rapid City provides a number of great hotel options for travelers who are visiting any time other than the rally. The prices of the hotels were quite fair and we were pleased with the accommodations when we initially visited in late August during our first year on the road.

With a quaint downtown with lovely shops and great bars, we enjoy delicious food in a variety of restaurants and eclectic shopping in tucked away boutiques. But be certain to be if it in the weeks prior to or soon after the rally or you may find many of the small businesses closed for off-season.

We found delicious Thai food and a lovely center for art and boutiques. 

Saint George:
Personally, I loved Saint George! Now maybe it is because once again Steve scored some amazing accommodations for us, renting the bridal suite of one of the Best Westerns in town. With a huge for poster bed, massive amount of pillows, huge television and fireplace, and even a heart-shaped hot tub in our room, I didn't wanna leave this week for any reason!

Once Steve was able to drag me out of our amazing room and I found more reasons to enjoy Saint George. It is probably important to visit during the summer months, as we found a number of local restaurants closed, much to our dismay. Yet after a little effort, we found delicious Chinese Food, great shops with jewelry and local Native American artwork, and a fantastic thrift store. Certainly there were a typical tourist shops but I tend to grow bored with the same old options as we traveled.

The gorgeous red bluffs that stand within Saint George makes four remarkable scenery any time of day. For riders, nothing beats riding the Virgin River Gorge just south of the city. For that reason alone I would strongly suggest Saint George as a motorcycle riders destination.

Downtown Tulsa was filled with great artwork, barbeque and other great restaurants, and historic sites.

Tulsa:
Tulsa, surprisingly, certainly was one of my favorite places I've ever been in my life. Not only do we find terrific food and a vibrant nightlife, Steve was able to find some great craft beer after a long dry spell across a number of Midwest cities.

But more than anything, I enjoyed the people of Tulsa. I found them to be the absolute friendliest people I encountered in any city anywhere. We couldn't sit down at any bar or walk into any store without someone striking up a conversation. The locals are genuinely kind and interested it seem to me.

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The Blue Dome district in the historic downtown had any interesting array of sites. I particularly was moved by the Woody Guthrie museum. Since I have family that came from Oklahoma, I found everything about that museum heartwarming and familiar, even though I had never been to Oklahoma in my life. So perhaps it was just so special because of my heritage and not because Tulsa is so remarkable. Or at least that's what I would have thought had Steve not enjoyed it so much too. Nothing beats a good, fat plate of barbecue and a cold drink in allowed bar on a hot afternoon. Tulsa has so many I am sure even we didn't scratch the surface of places we could go during our 10 day visit.

There is a statue and a particular point of interest at what is known as The Center of the Universe in downtown Tulsa. Impossible to describe, one must visit this place to even begin to grasp how interesting it is.

While the riding can be rather boring, the weather is anything but. We experienced blazing sun, beautiful cloudless skies, fierce rain while we visited. We also found accommodations ridiculously affordable as well as comfortable and accommodating, with terrific amenities.

One final thought on Tulsa when is the beauty and fashion sense of the young ladies in the city. The is a certain appeal of a beautiful and confidant country girl decked out in cowboy boots and a pair of denim shorts. I loved the delightful sense of style and joie de vivre as these ladies sauntered along the sidewalks from place to place.

In my last installment I encouraged readers to return the following week for this update. I've been quite behind on my work due to my difficulties on the road, but I promise if you come back here next the week for the Part 3 of My 10 Favorite Cities!


My book Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. Give me your feedback on it once you've read it! I look forward to hearing from you.


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Monday, June 8, 2015

My 10 Favorite Cities - Part 1


As motorcycle riders who have ridden across the country for the last 2 years, weare often asked what has been our favorite place to visit. I find a great amount of difficulty in answering that question, because I can't think on any individual city that is my absolute favorite. I've found that every city has it's own appeal and personality, so I end up rambling on an on listing numerous places for numerous reasons. As a result, I have decided to share a list of my favorite cities.

Memphis, TN:

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Dancing on the bar in the Memphis Coyote Ugly
Even though Memphis was terribly hot and humid, I loved the energy and diversity of the city. Beale Street with everything that people told us it would be and more. We were fortunate enough to be able to attend a Bike Night on Beale street, meeting people who had actually read our website Road Pickle Motorcycle Bohemia. It was actually quite exciting to be recognized as we were standing beside our motorcycles. Bike Night was amazing and packed! I’ve never seen so many motorcycles in one place.

Besides Bike Night, Memphis has a rich history and delightful people. The locals seem happier than most places I've ever been. Walking along Beale Street on a hot evening reminded walking on Fremont street in Las Vegas, but without the dreadful sense of desperation in the air. I don’t enjoy Las Vegas for that very reason, but in Memphis the people seem to be having a great time enjoying the variety of food, music and one another without the gambling, smoking and drinking to excess as is done in Las Vegas.

I would love to visit Memphis again, but I would certainly choose a cooler months of the year to go back. We visited in the early part of June, which is already too late for a couple of Californians like us.

Minneapolis, MN:

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The Fair Food was down-home-divine!
Another city with a great energy and fun atmosphere, Minneapolis and is more hospitable than any northern city we visited. In a way, it is much like a southern city in which people are friendly, open and kind, and much more accepting than in the southern city I visited.

I was surprised at the diversity of cultures in Minneapolis, including Somalis, Russians, Norwegians, and a strong and gay and lesbian community. What I usually find in a city with great diversity is not only some delectable food, but interesting conversation with the people we meet.

While in Minneapolis, we attended The Minnesota State Fair. Our friend,fellow moto-blogger, and Minnesota native Chris Cope suggested we go. I had always been interested in seeing a true midwest state fair, but have really wanted to, ever since reading about one when I was a kid. It had everything I could have asked for, including rides, cheese curds, a tunnel of love, and even beauty Queens carved out of huge blocks of butter. You really need to see it to believe it.

Beyond the fair, people, diversity, and excitement of the fear, the landscape is spectacular. Deemed the State of 10,000 Lakes, Minnesota is also a humid state in the blazing summer heat. I never realized it could get THAT HOT so far north. Nevertheless, I certainly would go back in a heartbeat, if only for some good cheese curds.

Lancaster, PA:

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Riding with my Uncle Reggie was a blast!
I don't know how many people have Lancaster on their list of “Must Ride” places, but as a motorcycle rider, it should be on your list. The sweeping landscapes and farmlands in Pennsylvania are absolutely breathtaking. Pennsylvania is graced with hundreds of meandering roads through open fields, thickets of lush forest, in tiny hamlets filled with historic buildings and quaint shops.

My intrigue with Pennsylvania, especially the Lancaster area, also extended to the Amish. The closer one gets to Lancaster, the more Amish a rider will encounter. This culture seems so foreign to a die-hard-seen-everything Californian native like me. My Uncle Reggie, who lives in the area, hopped on his on his Harley Davidson Police Edition Road King and showed us around the entire county.

In awe with the beauty of the barefoot, Amish, young ladies who smiled shyly from the side of the road, I found myself even more fascinated with these gentle folks than I expected. We spent a long afternoon following the horse drawn buggies of families and wagons carrying courting couples to and fro.

"Watch out for road apples behind that buggies. They are slicker than owl shit!" Reggiey said with his thick Texan drawl and impish grin. (Reggie is a Texan transplanted in Pennsylvania.)

The Pennsylvania weather is cool and crisp, and mildly humid. I don't know if I've loved Pennsylvania so much because I was visiting family or if it really is just a beautiful destination, but I suggest riders visit regardless.

Ocean City, MD:

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Ocean City was just what two weary riders needed!

After struggling with riding through the intense humidity throughout Tennessee and Virginia, Steve booked a room for us in the tourist destination Oceans City. Unfortunately, he had to spend a pretty penny on the room smack dab on the boardwalk, but he wanted to treat me to something special.
Steve was absolutely right! Donning my swimsuit, a pair of shorts and a cowboy hat, I gleefully grabbed my sweetheart and headed out only moments after checking into the hotel. A short time later I was relaxed and smiling. While it is certainly not a place I would want to live, it makes sense that easterners would make this a vacation destination.

Primarily for families, Ocean city has the vast selection of food, gift shops, and visitors. The boardwalk is a blast and the perfect place to do some people watching. As the sun sank, the lights glittered as all of the tourists huddled against the buildings in the excitement of the boardwalk.

We decided to break away from the crowds and stroll along the deserted beach. I couldn't understand why anyone would prefer the crowds on the boardwalk over the breeze of the cool shore. Holding hands and sharing kisses I quickly realized that the shore was a place for the lovers. Hiding from the crowds were young couples, kissing a groping, perhaps for their first time, in a dark and hideouts the lifeguard stations provided.

A great break from the tension of riding along the East Coast highways and toll roads, we found Ocean City relaxing, even in spite of the crowds.

Come back here next the week for the Part 2 of My 10 Favorite Cities!

My book Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. Give me your feedback on it once you've read it! I look forward to hearing from you.

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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...)