Sunday, October 30, 2016

Dying To Ride Again

I'm dying to get our on the road again. I'm crawling out of my skin. I long for the vagabonding days of motorcycling on the open road with my husband Steve.

Today on the one year anniversary of moving into our San Diego apartment. I feel more stalled than ever. We have 8 more months on our lease, so we're not going anywhere until July 2017 at the earliest. But we have another obstacle holding us back.

Our beagle Mia.

Mia has been Steve's dog for 12 years. When he went through his divorce, Mia stayed with Steve's ex-wife. He wanted to take her and asked for her repeatedly, but to no avail. But last Christmas Mia ran away from home and ended up in the local shelter. Steve's ex was out of state so we drove to pick Mia up.

The moment we saw her we knew she was very ill. We decided on the spot to keep her with us and nurse her back to health. She recovered after a few months, but at the age of 14, we see her struggle. I've fallen as deeply in love with her as Steve is. We feel our little family is more complete since she's come to be ours. We are a pack now.

In light of this new development, we've committed to care for her until her time comes. She's too old and frail to ride on a motorcycle with us so we will stay in San Diego.

Turnagain Pass on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska
I tried doing some traveling on my own over the summer. I went to Alaska for a couple weeks, stopped in Seattle, visited with my Aunt and Uncle in Texas and then went to Babes Ride Out in Joshua Tree, CA last weekend. Even though I love traveling, I would have rather ridden my motorcycle with Steve all of that time.

With my 14-year-old nephew Zachary in Seattle

With my Aunt Charlotte, Uncle Reggie and my cousin Reagan at Charlotte's home in Bridge City, Texas

Getting silly at the photo booth with fellow riders Brittany and Ariana at Babes Ride Out 4

Monica, Ariana and I rode from San Diego together to BRO4 and really enjoyed our time together
I'm exhausted. I developed a bacterial infection from some Reindeer Stew at the Alaska State Fair and ended up in the emergency room in Beaumont, Texas. My gut has suffered some damage as a result, so now I'm struggling with my health again.

But while I was away I missed Steve so much. It was good for us to have time apart to grow as individuals, but these months have been too much. I'm so very glad to be home.

Yet, I am already dying to leave again.

There's such a difference between motorcycling with your partner and any other type of travel. Every mile on the bike strengthens the body while tearing it down. The different cities stimulate me and the landscapes awaken me. It nourishes every corner of my soul. We spend the days in our own helmets and come together at our hotel at night. We can experience it side by side and process it alone.

That's the perfect formula except for the loneliness. Even though we are together, there's an isolation from society.

I don't belong in one place. The road is my destination and Steve is my home. Wherever our road leads, as long as he's with me, I'm always home.

Until the day we can remount our motorcycles and ride away, I'll be try and be patient.

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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Ode To Socks

My Carolina Boots on the left, Steve's Wolverines on the right. I'm on my second pair of Carolinas and Steve still has his original Wolverines. His boots have taken him over 111,000 miles thus far and are going strong. 

I bought the $14 pair of socks at the boot store when I bought my first pair of motorcycle boots.

"$14! They had better be worth it," I snapped at the young clerk.

"I can assure you they are! They wick the sweat away, are padded in the soles and are odor resistant. They'll take you a very long way."

I wondered if I was a sucker but decided it was a small price to pay if they were really as good as he claimed.

It was February 2013 and the scent of leather was thick in the boot store as I had just committed to purchasing a pair of Carolina Waterproof Work Boots. Since I was finally riding my own bike Steve had gone with me to help me select the perfect boots for our upcoming Road Pickle Motorcycle Bohemia. We were moving out of our apartment and setting off on an epic ride across the U.S. for six months.

That six months turned into two and one half years of being homeless motorcycle vagabonds. We stayed in hotels and vacation rentals in 35 states and rode 50,000+ miles.

So I bought the boots and socks in preparation for an amazing adventure.

These socks were everything they were cracked up to be and quickly became my favorites. I wore them for almost every ride over those years. (On very cold days I wore the wool socks I picked up in a bargain bin at a market in Nebraska.) It seems silly, somehow, to be so attached to a pair of socks, but they were part of my "uniform" to me.

If you're anything like me, you become sentimental about particular pieces of motorcycle gear. Once while doing laundry in Tucson I went into a panic because I had lost one of the socks. I was embarrassed by the amount of relief I felt having found it an hour later. When the road became my only destination and I carried with me everything was all I had, each piece mattered greatly. But the sock thing was a little over the top.

Over the many miles we've lost other important pieces as well; Steve's favorite gloves he wore on his ride from So. Cal. to Alaska that wore out, a $5 watch I strapped to my handlebars for 6 months that stopped, a laptop that wouldn't boot up any longer, 4 cameras and 3 mp3 players I dropped, and my ATM card that blew out of my pocket in South Dakota.

Loss is part of riding. You can't become too attached to anything; material items, places, people. . .

"'To love is to feel pain' there ain't no way around it
The very nature of love is to grieve when it's over
The secret to a happy ending is knowing when to roll the credits
Better roll 'em now before something else goes wrong."

~ Drive By Truckers

Today I'll have to say "Farewell" to my threadbare socks. Their story is over. They did their job.

Goodbye Old Friends. I appreciate you so.

But the socks are more than a clothing. They represent a time of my life that matters to me a great deal. My most adventurous time to date.

There will be other socks, other roads, other adventures, other favorites, other loves.

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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Pick Your Sisters Carefully

What the Hell does this word "Sisterhood" mean? What makes YOU my "Sister"?

In the women's motorcycling community I hear these words slung around like poo in the monkey cage.

Just because you are a woman and ride a motorcycle, that doesn't make us "Sisters". It makes us two women who ride.

Don't get me wrong. I am very close with many women riders and I have many who are my friends. I've learned the incredible value of the relationships with my female friends over the years and I couldn't live without it.

But to be expected to instantly trust ANYONE goes against everything I've ever learned in life.

And let me tell you why.

I was abused as a little girl and the abuse came at the hands of my mother and the men she brought into my life. At the age of 6-years-old my first abuser, my step-father Bill, devastated my life. But he wasn't alone in his misdoings. This excerpt, taken from my book, Rude Biker Chick, Lessons From My Daddy, gives a prime example.

"One evening my sister, two brothers and I were gathered in our bedroom, having a conference about our latest “trouble.” Someone had eaten Bill’s chocolate cake without permission and someone was going to get a spanking. The older kids convinced me to take the punishment this one time, even though the culprit hadn’t been me. In a selfless act of loyalty, I walked into the living room and confessed.

Bill grabbed me by my arm, yanking me off my feet, and drug me to the room he shared with my mother. He beat me on the behind with a breadboard, giving me 10 swats. This grown man hit me so hard with each blow, I couldn’t cry because I couldn’t catch my breath. This was no spanking. It was an outright beating. Each blow, worse than the last, threw me forward off my feet and across the bed. Bill would grab my arm and yank me back into the “bent over” position to deliver the next swat.

I was then forced to go to the dinner table. I could not sit or bring myself to eat, the pain was so great. My brothers happily stole the hot dogs and tater tots from my plate and ate them. They showed no care nor mercy, nor did my sister.

“Whether you did it or not, it was your turn. We’ve all been beaten,” my sister said."

My sister was the oldest and had always been my protector, especially since my parents divorce when I was 5-years-old. But this time I was forsaken. Once a small child is betrayed by the women she looks up to and takes a beating like this, all trust is broken.

It wasn't JUST about the violation of the man who beat me, but my sister who threw me to him and my mother who stood by and let it happen.

Now in my world, all trust is earned. And over the years there have been a few women who have indeed stepped up and earned that trust. Their kindness and compassion have overwhelmed me and surprised me.

On my recent ride along the California coast to the Redwoods with 3 friends, Carolyn, Leslie and Sheilah, I reached new depths of vulnerability. Something magic happened in my heart; something I've never allowed to happen before now.

I learned to trust, in spite of my best efforts to push these women away and prove to them that I wasn't willing to love and trust them. And yet, over the 9 days of the ride, the 8 nights of sharing beds and stories, laughs and tears, miles and miles and miles, I let go and learned that some women are good and worthy of my trust and love. It was one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life.

In my opinion, this is real "Sisterhood".

I'm now more willing than ever to give friends a trial period, give a little bit of myself, and hope they do the same with me. I'm willing to open myself up, a little at a time. But just because someone has a vagina and a motorcycle, I am not obligated nor inclined to call them my "Sister". I have many friends, but very few "Sisters".

How about you? What does it take for you to call someone "Sister?"

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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...)