Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Treating Women Motorcycle Riders As Equals

While I believe these models are gorgeous, I don't think they represent your typical woman rider. 
In the motorcycle industry I find few things as disappointing as the use of Promo Girls at motorcycle shows.

With the International Motorcycle Show just around the corner, I've been thinking about this long accepted practice in the motorcycle industry. Not only at the shows do we see this, but many of the motorcycle publications still feature scantily clad models draped over bikes.

To use women as decorations objectifies and demeans our role in the industry. There has been a long struggle to be seen as equals for not only the female industry professionals but the everyday women riders as well.

"As of 2014, the estimated number of women motorcycle riders was 14% and women influenced up to 25% of purchases in the $23 billion industry," according to Women Riders Now.

In the news lately, we've seen great emphasis on the poor treatment of women. Tens of thousands of women have shared their stories of sexual harassment via social media with the #metoo campaign. Yet with all of this focus on women being treated with respect and as equals, women are still being objectified by the motorcycle industry.

Little has been done by the industry leaders to end the inappropriateness of using barely dressed models at the shows and in the publications. These OEMs and publishers don't recognize, or don't care, that women have historically been categorized as second-class citizens in this industry.

They certainly have noticed the growing number of women motorcycle and gear buyers. We see more and more products directed at women everyday. We also see more and more women bike builders, fabricators, publishers, photographers and writers. But this male dominated industry still has serious issues with both equality and diversity.

I often hear talk about the need to attract new motorcycle riders to this declining industry. To me, it would seem a logical direction would be to attract and keep more women riders. Women drive 70 - 80% of all consumer purchasing through buying power and influence and spend upwards of $20 trillion a year worldwide. But when something so disheartening as minimizing women's role as nothing more than motorcycle jewelry, it goes against attracting riders and purchasers.

Women are no longer content to turn a blind eye and accept that some men expect to see these models spicing up the show. If you want to attract more buyers, you had better figure out who is buying.

Would it be too much to ask the industry professionals to stop marginalizing women by ending the objectification and embrace equality?

We're on another Road Pickle! We hope to find great breweries, tacos, steak and biscuits with gravy, as well as some roadside oddities along the way. If you don't want to miss a thing, join us by subscribing to our vlog on YouTube. I PROMISE you'll see some cool stuff!
And don't forget about my book, Rude Biker Chick, Lessons From My Daddy. Click below for more information.


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Saturday, September 30, 2017

RV Booking Hell

(Warning: This blog post is rated PG-13 for crude/foul language.)

Village Camper Inn located in Crescent City was one of the gems of RV parks along the coast.

Booking RV reservations is Hell. Seriously, a living Hell.

In many ways, this whole RV life I thought I was getting into is not the bed of roses I had anticipated. I had visions of forests, babbling brooks, warm orange sunsets and serene mornings that smelled of fresh coffee and ocean breezes. Yes, I got suckered in by the brochure of Instagram posts and YouTube videos showing happy couples hiking a forest trail and kayaking a lazy river.

But that shit ain't happenin'.

Instead we find ourselves frantically trying to book a place either for some random holiday we forgot existed (like Labor Day) or to escape scorching, 100 degree heat. We search on RV review sites for 50 amp service and 4G coverage, which only exist together in a downtown park of concrete and exhaust fumes. Mornings are filled with the sounds of lawnmowers and screaming children.

If we're boondocking (staying somewhere without electric, water and sewer hookups) we sleep with the generator running to drown out the sound of semis pulling in and out all night. There are times we can't even get cell coverage in a WalMart parking lot.

Boondocking at the WalMart in Yreka, CA wasn't unpleasant, but it certainly isn't on my Places To Visit list.

Perhaps we don't have the hang of this yet.

We've lucked out with a few wonderful stays, such as Village Camper Inn in Crescent City and Gold Ranch Casino and RV Park in Verdi, NV. Each park was located in beautiful locations, perfect weather and affordable rates. The neighbors we had in Crescent City were lovely people who gave us fresh rockfish from their daily catch. We found excellent motorcycle riding nearby along the coast and in the redwood forest.

Gold Ranch Casino and RV Park in Verdi, NV lies in a beautiful setting literally on the CA/NV border.

I believe we have a reasonable criteria for our stays.

Good Reviews
Location where we need/want to be
Sites - level, spacious, etc.
Comfortable Weather
50 amp electric
4G service
Reasonable Rates
Discounts: Good Sam, AAA, KOA, monthly or weekly rate
Pets allowed

We need to run our business along the way, which requires us to constantly be connected to the internet. We cannot service our clients who have hired us to manage their marketing and websites if we can't get online, which is why 4G is crucial.

At least the rest stop near Mt. Shasta was beautiful, even if there were trucks in and out all night. 

One day each month we seem to be spending hours and hours working together, struggling to find a place to stay. We've started booking months in advance to secure something reasonable. And just fucking forget about something as picturesque as Crater Lake, Lake Tahoe, the Grand Canyon or along the Pacific coastline. If you don't book in advance or have a trust fund, good fucking luck.

Oh, you're going to visit in Yosemite and get 4G? HAHAHA!! That's hilarious!

I often have people ask me how to earn a living on the road. Well, here it is. Live full time in an RV and become an RV Travel Agent. Work for Full Time RVers who are trying to book stays somewhere other than KOA's filled with screaming kids (I've never liked kids) or a concrete parking lot without a single tree in sight. Start a business working with RV park owners to secure rentals and working with RVers who don't have the time to call 15 parks in one day, only to find out they should have called 6 fucking months ago.

And when you do start this business, call me right away. I'll pay you good money for your time. Please, just get me out of this living Hell.

We're on another Road Pickle! We hope to find great breweries, tacos, steak and biscuits with gravy, as well as some roadside oddities along the way. If you don't want to miss a thing, join us by subscribing to our vlog on YouTube. I PROMISE you'll see some cool stuff!

And don't forget about my book, Rude Biker Chick, Lessons From My Daddy. Click below for more information.


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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Alaska, RVing and Work

Atop Turnagain Pass taking a look at a glacier, which you can see in the background.

Exploring Alaska is so fantastic because it is truly a land of it's own. The vastness is hard to appreciate until you get on one of the Alaskan highways and venture along. The beauty of the landscape, the intense weather, the danger of the wildlife, the sheer size of the state and the amazing people make Alaska truly the epitome of The Last Frontier.

Recently I flew up to Anchorage, rented a car, visited clients and drove to Sterling on the Kenai Peninsula for a visit. My friend and client Ed and his lovely wife Heather opened their home to me for a couple of weeks for a visit. This is my second visit with them, as I went last summer as well. I spent a few days working with Ed on his marketing strategy in his dental office Moose River Dental and enjoyed a few jaunts with he and Heather out and around the peninsula.

Even though it rained the entire time, Heather, Ed and I had a great time at the Ninilchik Fair. Just FYI, pallet fires get VERY HOT!

Ed and Heather are avid motorcyclists. 

But this year I had my own transportation so I did some solo-searching, along with some soul searching.

I took a drive out to the city of Kenai, explored Soldotna and even did an overnighter in Seward. While I didn't care much for the little touristy area of Seward, I loved the ocean views, the fishermen on the shore, the wet weather and the spectacular views of the heavy clouds hugging the mountains everywhere I turned.

The Seward Highway leads into those mountains. 

On the beach in Seward. I slipped on those rocks and hurt my hip rather badly. I've not been able to ride my bike much since then. Only short jaunts for now, but it is getting better everyday.

I'm so grateful I bought these boots and my pink rain jacket. I would have been lost without them, as it rained everyday.

It seems everywhere you looked there were views as spectacular as this.

There were plenty of fish to catch here in Seward. You could see them jumping from the water if watched long enough. 
The highlight of Seward was The Nauti Otter Inn. Wow!

The unique style of this collection of cabins, trailers and Yurts was perfect for my eclectic taste! Everything about it was enjoyable. The main house has the shower, fully equipped kitchens (yes, 2 kitchens!), communal dining area and large, welcoming living room, complete with fireplace and WiFi. The community aspect was comforting for this weary traveler and the staff was so much fun to be around. It was not at all what I expected all wrapped up as a delightful surprise.
The little cabins were great, but I opted for the tiny red and white trailer for my overnight stay.

The interior was tight, but had a hilarious Pirate theme. 

The kitchen sink and the stove were not in working order, but provided additional counter space for my food.

The communal kitchen and dining area

The outdoor facilities included an outhouse, a sink and a shower.

If you've ever been to Alaska you'd know that the jokes about the mosquitos are not jokes at all. 

Each cabin was decorated with it's own nautical theme.

Unfortunately I was only in Seward for one night and then I had to rush all the way to Palmer for the Alaska State Fair to visit my newest client Sina of Crab Terror Island. I couldn't leave Alaska before I saw her booth at the fair and watched her in action! Sina creates unique clothing while building a community of like-minded, dynamic individuals. While Steve rebuilt her website I began coaching her business marketing. I'm loving the interaction with this bright and enthusiastic business owner.

Sina is absolutely amazing! Crab Terror Island will be growing in leaps and bounds over the next 12 months!

It's clients like Ed and Sina that seem to be why we love what we do for a living; Marketing, website development, and business coaching.

Which brings me to my current conundrum; this drastic life change Steve and I have had.

Frankly, Steve and I don't ride our motorcycles as much as we used to. We still love them and love riding, but living in the RV has changed our lives drastically. We seem to be working on our business Too Much Tina Marketing more than ever. We spend a great deal of time planning our next destination, which includes searching for RV parks with availability. We never anticipated that this task would be so incredibly time consuming. Then there's the loading, unloading, setting up, etc., at every park. The overnight stays in parking lots, the long drives in the truck and climbing over and around the bikes in the living area every night we are on the road. Something as simple as making a piece of toast becomes a major endeavor! Mia the Road Beagle has grown more needy and nervous, mostly because of her age. At 15 years old, she's starting to have some issues.
Who could leave this beautiful, sad face behind?

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE being on the road with Steve! I LOVE our life in the RV. It's very convenient and meets all of our needs. We love having Mia with us too. She makes our little family of three a "pack". Our home is cozy and comfortable, with great workspaces for the two of us. And this leads to us staying inside working more than ever, rarely exploring our surroundings. I keep telling myself I'm going to get outside more, but it's just not happening. It's too easy to get up in the morning and go straight to our computers.

We had custom, aluminum work stations installed at 99 West Trailers in Portland. The set up is so comfortable that we find it hard to tear ourselves away from home. 

Most of my Getaway Time is spent here in bed with my tablet and a hot drink.
For now, we'll be working more and exploring less, until something changes. I'm not sure what will happen, but I'm entirely open to seeing what the Universe has in store for us. So I guess now we are not the motorcycle vagabonds we once were. Now we are RVing vagabonds with motorcycles, living full time on the road.

And for some reason, it makes me a little sad.

We're on another Road Pickle! We hope to find great breweries, tacos, steak and biscuits with gravy, as well as some roadside oddities along the way. If you don't want to miss a thing, join us by subscribing to our vlog on YouTube. I PROMISE you'll see some cool stuff!

And don't forget about my book, Rude Biker Chick, Lessons From My Daddy. Click below for more information.


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Monday, August 7, 2017

Riding To Happy Camp

Stopped at the abandoned mercantile. It was bustling with activity on my visit 10 years earlier.
Since I began riding my own motorcycle, I've felt a great urgency to ride to Happy Camp, CA. I've only been to this remote mining town once before, to attend my Aunt Marcia's funeral in 2007. I knew I would return one day, answering the pang in my heart to see her final resting place.

Marcia's Graduation photo
Marcia and I have always had a great deal in common. She and her husband Bill raised 3 boys and lived in my hometown of Fontana, CA. They moved into an RV when Bill retired and started new careers, gold mining and selling crafts. But after 43 years of marriage, Marcia divorced Bill and moved to Alaska to marry a man she met online. She was a writer, a web developer and an adventurer. I have always admired Marcia, even when she did things that everyone in our family thought were crazy.

Marcia was very timid, humble and conventional. She didn't learn to drive until she was nearly 60-years-old because learning made her so anxious she would quit. But after her divorce it was as if she had broken the shell she had built around her and she became amazingly brave.

My Mom Suzi, my Grandmother Dora and my Aunt Marcia
In 2003 she was diagnosed with lung cancer and returned to Happy Camp to live the rest of her days. We wrote long letters to one another during her final 4 years and we came to know one another intimately. She shared things with me that no one else knew and I'll keep her private stories in my heart forever.

When Steve and I came to Crescent City, CA I was determined to ride to Happy Camp, which is only 85 miles away. But the ride intimidated me because it's over a rather serious mountain range. I invited Steve to ride with me but he wasn't much interested. I invited my friend Charleyn, who lives in nearby Brookings, OR. Charleyn and her husband Chad have a 2-year-old and most of their free time is spent close to home. So after 6 weeks of procrastinating, I set out to ride alone.

Stopped in O'Brien for a break.
I left Crescent City, CA and took Route 199 for 46 miles to O'brien, OR. Just west of O'brien is Waldo Road. This well-maintained, two-lane road goes by many names, but most locals just call it Happy Camp Road. The first 10 miles of this 38 miles stretch are in Oregon and near the summit the asphalt is spray painted with the Cali/Oregon border.

Near the summit in the Klamath National Forest
Happy Camp Road was a thrill to ride! In 38 miles I saw only 7 vehicles. The asphalt is in amazingly great condition, but has the usual road hazards of wildlife, gravel and road kill. Cutting through the Siskiyou Forest on the Oregon side and then the Klamath National Forest on the California side makes for spectacular scenery. The twisties are tight with numerous decreasing radius turns.

The Google Map tells the tale
Once the twists tightened, I could feel my anxiety rising. I'm accustomed to following Steve, so when faced with a challenging road, I start questioning my skill. So I slowed down and decided to relax and enjoy the scenery.

As I came upon one short straightaway, a doe stepped out in the road before me. I wasn't going fast, so I slowed down and kept my distance. She stopped and we locked eyes. She was gentle, unafraid and utterly beautiful. I felt an amazing sense of peace and connection with the forest in that moment.

I continued the ride and arrived in Happy Camp tired, hungry and happy. After I fueled up, grabbed a bite and a cold drink, I headed to the cemetery. It was hot and humid in the valley, as well as full of smoke from a nearby forest fire. The town had changed so dramatically over the last 10 years. Many of the businesses were boarded up and I saw quite a few homes abandoned. When the real estate bubble burst in 2008, this town was hit hard.
I was so grateful to arrive!
The cemetery gates were locked up and it appeared as if there wasn't a caretaker anymore. I walked around the side and found a broken gate, so I went in. I knew Marcia was buried high upon the hill, so I set out on the climb.

Then I saw another doe. She was standing off to the left, lazily eating the grass. She looked up at me and we both stood still for a long time. She slowly climbed the hill, stopping to nibble along the way. Something told me to follow her. Sure enough, she had been standing at Marcia's grave!


As I sat beside her headstone I felt relieved. For a few moments I remembered her laugh, her voice and her smile and I felt really good. I guess I had expected to feel sad when I saw her headstone for the first time, but I didn't. It had taken so long for me to finally get back there and it was such a challenging ride, all I could feel was accomplishment and relief.

I'm glad I took the ride and I'm really glad I ended up doing it alone. Although I didn't feel the way I had anticipated when I arrived, I was fine with it. It was just something I needed to do for myself.

I'm sure Marcia was there with me and I'm sure she is proud of the adventurous woman I've become!

I was pooped when I stopped in O'brien on my way back to Crescent City
We're on another Road Pickle! We hope to find great breweries, tacos, steak and biscuits with gravy, as well as some roadside oddities along the way. If you don't want to miss a thing, join us by subscribing to our vlog on YouTube. I PROMISE you'll see some cool stuff!

And don't forget about my book, Rude Biker Chick, Lessons From My Daddy. Click below for more information.


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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Minimalism of Travel

From mid-June to mid-July, this is our home.
The picturesque Village Camper Inn in Crescent City, CA is tucked away in the sky-high pines and redwoods and is surrounded by the echos of birds by day and the foghorn from the lighthouse at night. It's beautifully peaceful here, with only the faint buzz of a chainsaw off in the distance from time to time. In the front half of the park are spaces for tents and RVs staying for shorter stays, along with the laundry and bathrooms.

We're staying in the back of the park with the monthly renters, among a wide array of RVs, mostly towables. There are a couple of "Tiny Homes", a mobile home, and a couple of structures that I couldn't even classify. Some of these homes appear to be built by hand, right here on the property. Each space is kept clean, well appointed and nicely cared for.

From the window of our toy hauler I can see our neighbors are quite busy today. This older couple is going in and out of their RV, toting bins, laundry, and grocery bags. I'm rather impressed with their industrious nature.

Dean is hard at work today.
The folks beside us have a 30' fifth wheel with a slide out. It appears they've lived here for quite some time, because they are quite dug in. They have a shed full of tools, a workbench, a chest freezer and a wishing well outside their RV. They also have a paved sidewalk, custom redwood steps to their front door and some beautiful plants, including a gorgeous hydrangea. Even though their space is narrow they have cut away some of the forest behind their rig to store even more items.

Our neighbors have quite the set-up, including the most beautiful hydrangeas I've ever seen.
We've enjoyed our stay here. We have hiked a little, spent time on the beach, enjoyed coffee shops, the local brewery and even had Thai food delivered to the bar. There's good riding here, along the coast and into the twisty, mountain roads. It's quiet in Crescent City, especially at night when the last of the open businesses close at 10 pm.

I can see how easy it would be to settle in here for a long time. And whenever one settles in, one accumulates.

I'm very tactile, so I tend to accumulate things that feel good to the touch. I love fine china, real furs, soft blankets, beautiful jewelry, bulky sweaters, etc. I'm learning to appreciate things without owning or keeping them, which has helped me embrace minimalism. And in minimalism I'm finding more freedom.

Certainly, seeing the panicked look on Steve's face each time I bring anything into the RV reminds me to keep things to a minimum. Steve has a terrible aversion to "stuff". His ex-wife is a hoarder and when he left that marriage he was determined to live with less. When we began living as vagabonds I began to see the benefits of minimalism. The less I had, the less I had to worry about.

I love this teapot not just because I drink tea everyday, but because it was such a thoughtful gift from my Mom.
Still, I have things I want to keep with me. My English teapot of bone china was a birthday gift from my mother in my early twenties. I missed having it when we were vagabonding by motorcycle, so it's been nice having it with me in the RV. But when I dropped the lid and chipped it last week it made me a little sad. It had been pristine up until that time, but now I'm left to wonder how long before it will fall and shatter.

I'm still attached to certain things, I suppose. I believe most of us are attached to a few things. If you're like me the thing you treasure reminds you of a special person or time. It's often not the thing that you value, but the feeling associated with it.

As we embark on our RV-vagabond adventure, minimalism is constantly in the forefront of our minds. We're still determining what we need and eliminating things we thought we would need and don't. We're also finding we don't have everything we need, such as a chair for my workspace, an outside WiFi antennae, and wheel chocks for our motorcycles. (At this point each bike has fallen over once, regardless of being strapped down snugly.) The balance is a difficult one and something we must remain mindful of.

As I watch my neighbors spend the entire morning moving stuff around, I'm grateful I don't have those types of things to worry about now. I have almost as few things now as I did when I first moved out of my Mom's home in 1983, when I packed everything I had into my Chevy Vega Station Wagon. I spent my life accumulating, hoping to find something I was missing, only to be left more empty than ever before. Now that I have less, I have found simplicity and peace and I've never been happier.

We're on another Road Pickle! We hope to find great breweries, tacos, steak and biscuits with gravy, as well as some roadside oddities along the way. If you don't want to miss a thing, join us by subscribing to our vlog on YouTube. I PROMISE you'll see some cool stuff!

And don't forget about my book, Rude Biker Chick, Lessons From My Daddy. Click below for more information.


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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Wearing Enough Motorcycle Gear

Wearing enough gear

All The Gear, All The Time. How many times have you heard you need to be wearing enough motorcycle gear stay safe?

How much gear does a motorcycle rider need?

Certainly it will protect one from serious injury or death in the case of an accident. But are these "Gear Advocates" being just as cautious in all aspects of their lives?

Most riders stop and have a meal during a long day of riding. If you're anything like me, you eat burgers and fries, not a salad. I have a huge appetite when I ride so I usually want something substantial. Riding burns calories, even if you're just riding a long, straight, boring highway, so it makes sense that you'll want a big meal.

According to statistics, 17,629 American motorcycle riders died of heart disease in 2014, but only 4,295 American motorcycle riders in the U.S. died in a motorcycle accidents in the same year.*

This staggering statistic shows more than 4 times as many riders die of heart disease than in motorcycle accidents.

Chances are those "Preachers of ATGATT" are not putting the same thought about safety into every aspect of lives. Do these same people wear a seat belt every time they get into a car? Are they getting regular health checkups at their doctor, practicing safe sex, reducing their stress and going to the gym regularly? Do they smoke, drink too much or use drugs? Are they wearing sunscreen and drinking enough water? What other dangerous habits do these same critics have?

As I said, wearing gear and protecting yourself is wise. But I'll be honest. I am fed up with being nagged about the jacket I wear or the type of boots I buy, especially if a rider is clearly not taking the same care with all aspects of their health.

The hypocrisy is repugnant.

Like everything else in life I believe that my body is my business. If I ride without motorcycle gear, have casual sex with strangers and eat 10 Jack-In-The-Box tacos at midnight, it is my choice. It's not that I don't appreciate the sentiment, because I believe some of these riders really care. But I would hope that they are evaluating their own lives as much as they are evaluating mine.

I guarantee you the next sanctimonious nag that gives me unsolicited advice about my choices is going to have their bacon cheeseburger slapped out of their hands and get an earful from me in a show of solidarity.

We're on another Road Pickle! We hope to find great breweries, tacos, steak and biscuits with gravy, as well as some roadside oddities along the way. If you don't want to miss a thing, join us by subscribing to our vlog on YouTube. I PROMISE you'll see some cool stuff!

And don't forget about my book, Rude Biker Chick, Lessons From My Daddy. Click below for more information.


*I gathered data and worked extensively with a statistician to determine these figures. These statistics are from 2014.
Total population of Americans - 318.9 million.
Total registered motorcycles riders in the U.S. - 9,200,000.
This means 2.89% of Americans ride motorcycles.

4,295 American motorcycle riders died in a motorcycle related accidents, according to Motorcycle Industry Council.

610,000 Americans died of heart disease.
2.89% of Americans who died of heart disease averages 17,629.

In theory, approximately 17,629 American motorcycle riders died of heart disease.

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Friday, June 2, 2017

Motorcycle Skills

Kern River Brewing is one of our favorite destinations in this part of California. There's great ride to reach it from any direction, along with rapidly crisp craft beer and satisfying grub waiting to be devoured, this rustic brewery has it all. 

The Kern River is overflowing it's banks this summer due to the heavy rainfall and deep snowpack in the Sierras. The water rages white over hidden obstacles drowning on the banks. The dramatic scene consists of towering cliffs carved over the years, the furious river, and the narrow road the winds beside it.CA 178 takes travelers from the Bakersfield basin up to Lake Isabella, a favorite destination for outdoorsy types.

Steve and I decided to take a ride to scout out dry camping locations for our new RV. The ATC toy hauler is 32' long and 8.5' wide, so it's important to be certain of the roads we choose to take before we get stuck somewhere. The motorcycles are the perfect scouting vehicles, not only because riding is more fuel efficient, but because it's far more fun than driving a cage, even Steve's new Chevy Silverado.

As we rode through the bright green groves flourishing in the 95 degrees outside of Bakersfield, we hoped to reach cooler temperatures at the higher elevations, but unfortunately, we did not. The ride through the canyon was not unbearably hot, but it would have been nice if it were cooler.

Nearing the end of the canyon the twisties turned tight, with a number of 15 mph signs among the curves. Back and forth, back and forth, weaving through blind corners on tilted asphalt, my V Star labored.

"The guardrails along the highway are sporadic, so losing one's focus could result not only in flying over a cliff onto rocks that will assuredly break bones, but landing in the rapids to drown in a matter of moments."

When we reached the Kern River Brewing Company for lunch, Steve carried himself with ease, wearing a bright smile.

"Did you enjoy riding?" I asked him.

It has been quite awhile since Steve had done much riding.

"Yeah, it was great. How about you?"

"I struggled. I had become so accustomed to riding the Victory Octane for the past year it seems I've forgotten how awkward my V Star can feel. I was fighting with the motorcycle, struggling to find the sweet spot in the balance, and couldn't let myself to trust her in the turns."

"I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it."

I felt bad as I could see the disappointment come over his face.

"I wasn't bad. It was just hard. I'll get used to it again. It's just going to take me some time."

He smiled and we ordered some food.

When we headed back down the canyon I was determined to diagnose my problem and fix it. I was frustrated with myself. On the ride up the canyon I had just surpassed my 60,000 lifetime mile mark, which may not seem like much to some riders, but it's quite an achievement to me for only 4 years of riding.

I changed my posture on the bike, relaxed my arms and wrists, consciously breathed deeper (I tend to hold my breath when I'm stressed), and loosened my grip on the handlebars. Right away I found my groove and relaxed into the familiar rhythm of my bike. Before I knew it I was flying through the twisties with confidence and control, as I've done hundreds of times before.

I took a deep sigh and smiled in my helmet.

"There it is! That's it!"

Even though the beauty of the canyon was stunning, I focused on the road ahead. I kept Steve far enough ahead of me to see him in my peripheral vision and still look through the turns. I don't like to follow too closely because I may come around a blind corner into a surprise.

As I rolled down the canyon, I was wondering why it seems that the decreasing radius turns are always hidden behind the blind corners and if you're going to run into gravel, it's always right after the apex of the turn.

The road straightened and I took a few glances over at the statuesque canyon walls shading the turbulent, white water. The guardrails along the highway are sporadic, so losing one's focus could result not only in flying over a cliff onto rocks that will assuredly break bones, but landing in the rapids to drown in a matter of moments. I turned my attention back to the road ahead and kept my focus on the road and my partner ahead of me.

Just as Steve glided into a shaded "S" turn I noticed beyond him an SUV speeding towards us in the oncoming lane. As I came into the turn and leaned to the right my back tire jumped up out from under me and skipped. I had hit either a bump or a pothole. I don't know which because I didn't see it in the changing light. I corrected myself as I changed the turn to the left, but instantly realized I had over-corrected. My front tire skimmed the double yellow and I knew that speeding SUV was just around the bend.


I corrected again, leaning hard to the right towards the center of my lane, throttling hard so as to keep myself from low-siding, squeezing the clutch slightly. (I've learned that covering and/or squeezing my clutch slightly in a troubled turn I have more control of the speed and throttle. I'm not certain that this is "proper" riding technique but it works for me.)

By the time the SUV appeared I was entirely back in my lane and had control again. When I caught my breath I considered what had just happened.

There are times we simply can't see what's coming. It's just part of life. When we're stressed, losing our confidence, and holding on too tightly, we become dangerous, to ourselves and others. But when we relax, find the groove, and focus on the task at hand, we can deal the bumps in the road. Had I been manhandling the bike and hit that bump, someone might be fishing my mangled body out of the Kern River today.

I believe my riding experience helped me greatly today, although I'm not so arrogant to think I had it all under control. Control is really an illusion. Experience has taught me that as well.

We're on another Road Pickle! We hope to find great breweries, tacos, steak and biscuits with gravy, as well as some roadside oddities along the way. If you don't want to miss a thing, join us by subscribing to our vlog on YouTube. I PROMISE you'll see some cool stuff!

And don't forget about my book, Rude Biker Chick, Lessons From My Daddy. Click below for more information.


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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Hitting the Road in the New Pickle Rig

At the gas station in Vija, AZ. This place is quiet and desolate, but takes cash only and restroom reeks like a pit toilet. Thank goodness I have my own toilet everywhere I go!
The journey from San Diego, CA to Napannee, IN to pick up our new ATC Toy Hauler has been a whirlwind of chaos. Over the last 6 weeks we've struggled with one issue after the other.

Steve's pickup has had a couple of mechanical issues that have caused some setbacks. We've encountered some difficult weather, illness, exhaustion, and a couple of small repairs on the toy hauler. It seems with an endeavor such as this, things always cost more than one expects.

We've been struggling to keep our work caught up on our business, packing, unpacking, digging through our storage, unpacking, putting things in cabinets, buying furniture. . .

Our list of "RV Needs" never gets shorter. We no sooner buy one item then we realize we need something else. I've heard this is never-ending. For every item we've purchased we've donated, sold or thrown out 10 times more.

It's been a huge transition. But it's been well worth it.

This morning we are parked at Sweetwater Summit RV Campground, a park run by the County of San Diego. We are finishing up the last of our business in the area and then moving on. We finally have everything out of storage and in the RV, we have both motorcycles and all of the doctor appointments are completed. From here it looks like we'll be heading to Bakersfield to see our kids.

Take a look at the video below of our toy hauler on the day we took delivery. You can follow our daily journey on Road Pickle or you can follow us on Instagram and Facebook and get more indepth adventuring on our YouTube Channel.

Travel Fun!

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

And We're Off!

Nearing Casa Grande, about 80 miles from Tucson.
We've finally hit the road! After what seemed like an eternity of purging and packing we now have all of our belongings sorted out, freeing us up to get mobile again.

My main concern was keeping the important items safe whilst Steve ditched everything else. The task of separating things for donation, for sale, trash, long term storage, RV use and temporary road use was arduous. This was my responsibility because had I left it for Steve everything would have gone down our apartment building's trash chute.

Our apartment, finally packed and ready to go.

Our focus is "smaller-living" but we both approach that differently. Steve wants to trash almost everything and only pick up what he needs along the way. And while that seems like a good idea, every now and then we realize we're missing something very, very important. This stresses me out terribly, so as a control freak I believe I can manage every item we have in our possession if I'm just given the time to sort through everything.

Some boxes, tubs, closets, drawers and cupboards took longer than others. They all took an emotional and physical toll on me. Thankfully, it's done now.

As we arrived in Tucson we climbed into bed and both slept about 18 hours the first day. Once refreshed we started getting out and about in the city, running errands and seeing friends.

We joined the ever elusive Ken at Barrio Brewing in the heart of Tucson's barrio. 

This was our first time meeting Ken face-to-face. (Yes, he dropped the menu for us, but he's camera shy.) We've been long time friends on a Google+ Community Motorcycle Riders. By far this has been my favorite online motorcycling community as we find so many like-minded riders there. Actually, we've met a few of the folks face-to-face since we started Road Pickling.

We met Wallace and Lynn at Nico's Taco joint in Marana, just north of Tucson. 

Wallace and Lynn are avid riders, owning 5 or 6 motorcycles between them. They also RV regularly so they were giving us some tips for our future vehicle. We shared lots of laughs and they have some great riding stories. Unfortunately, the night we met up with Wallace and Lynn I wasn't feeling well and I missed out on my favorite food, tacos.

By the time we got back to the hotel I was in terrible shape. I ended up in bed for a day and a half completely wiped out. I'm assuming it was the flu. Because I have Fibromyalgia I have a weakened immune system so I'm constantly getting sick. It really sucks. Luckily I wasn't out for long!

I joined Chris Black of The Adventures of Olive and Emilie at 5 Points Market and Restaurant in Downtown. We talked about kids, motorcycles, travel and RV's. Chris and I both seem to be in sync with our views on life and I value every minute I spend with her. She's been a good friend for a long time now. You'll see a little bit about Chris in the video below.

We leave tomorrow (Monday April 17) morning and have a few stops planned between here and Nappanee, IN. We're hoping for a couple of breweries, a good steak, and some roadside oddities along the way. If you don't want to miss a thing, join us by subscribing to our vlog on YouTube. I PROMISE you'll see some cool stuff!

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


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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...)