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Archive for May, 2010

In Rhode Island I stayed at the house of Brooks. Brooks is an uncle of one of my best friends. I had never met Brooks until I arrived in Rhode Island and he took me in like family. The kind of family structure that runs throughout the biker world. I stayed in a beautiful house that he designed and built. Surrounded by trees that he planted, a pack of dogs that adore him, his friends, all big biker type men’s men dropped by for a beer after work and they are fun and funny and all so heroic in their lives. They sit outside by a fire in 45 degree weather, drinking beer and telling on each other. Funny crazy stories but with obvious respect and admiration for one another. It’s the type of environment you find at home when you’re a kid and all the uncles are there. And even as a kid you are as well thought of as each of them because you are family.

I gravitate to this because I feel safe here. I had this once before my parents very ugly divorce and my mothers almost hysterical need to replace her man with any degenerate, pathetic mama’s boy that came along. So here I sit in a place with family I just met and loving every moment of it. Thank you Terry Stewart.

Brooks; He is one of those men that I would guess every woman he has ever met had to be peeled off him. It’s none of my business of course but I had to ask him why such a man is not married. “Because I’m a pain in the ass and I’ve never met a woman who was just right for me. Actually I met one in my life and the timing was off.”

Okay, so what I’m hearing is that even this man is looking for what we are all looking for. The right one. He believes like all risk takers do that a bird in the bush has to be the right bird. He doesn’t settle. Of course, he’s not on hold. His entire environment is emotionally rich and creative. He raised a beautiful son alone, he built a compound with a house for his son, a club house for his biker brothers, a family of labs, a garden and a reputation that would have a friend sending a lone woman across country to settle safely in his nest.

I understand Brooks. I myself have been painfully single for far too long. Not that there isn’t a long and distinguished line waiting to ask me but I’ve never been able to take just any offer. I met a man recently who caught my attention in a big way and I caught his too. Why I have to be two thousand miles from home to find such a man is beyond me. Then again I am part of the global human community not just a local community. I travel more than most.

How sad that it’s so few and far between that we find someone who rocks us. And that once we do meet them, we start looking for the small things that will eventually separate us instead of focusing on the moments that we found joy with each other. I would prefer to build on those joyful moments and celebrate the gifts that we’ve been given. The excuses for the lonely are just as useless as the excuses for the person who won’t find a job or ask a woman out. I’m to short, skinny, southern, poor, rich, christian, not christian, old, young, I have a kid, they would never like me any way, she will never say yes…the excuses go on. And too many people spend their lives quietly making dinner alone, sleeping with out legs wrapped around them and having no one to rub your head or point out that rainbow.

I have decided I’m finished with the “You don’t need me so watch me not need you group”. I believe I have 60 more years on this earth and I am not sleeping without those legs. I’m going to kiss and be kissed every day. Will he have to be the “right” one. I don’t know, perhaps some adjustments will have to be made but I have spent too many years without being able to sit in a mans lap or holding hands. I love all that, but I never get to do it.  During this ride, I’ve met many wonderful men and women bikers, vets and road dogs, almost all of them single. I have thrown in to help build fences, plant plants, feed horses, tell bed time stories to children and all with single men and women who say. I’m so glad you are here, I get so tired of doing this by myself.

I’ll bet Brooks feels the same way. I wish him comfort and a woman who walks through his door that won’t take all that false bravado to heart. A women who is the right one. And for every one else I’ve been chatting up and sharing with on this ride, I wish you all love. And I am wishing for you what you wish for yourselves. The thing we’re all looking for.

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I was at Woodstock this past weekend. I stepped back in time and found Woodstock. There was no Janice Jopin, Jimi Hendrix or acid dropping but… the amazing music of Rob Keller and the Knuckleheads, the sound of motorcycles echoing in the mountains and the camaraderie of biker brothers and sisters was more than enough to make up for it. Forget the outrageous ticket prices, charity’s with their hands out, $200 dollar a night motels and a police presence that would make you think the president was in town. Instead for a $30.00 camping fee, Chris Callen from Cycle Source Magazine took us on a “Gypsy Run” through the most beautiful back roads of N. Carolina that you will ever see. We stopped for a night of camping at “Wheels Through Time” in Maggie Valley, N. Carolina. Our host provided pizza, beer, a campfire and the should be famous Chad Hill with his guitar. The night was full of old friends sharing stories with new friends, passing around different bottles of moonshine for every one to admire or not… and just when you hoped the night wouldn’t end; the morning came and we were on our motorcycles again. This time we ended up in Deals Gap where we rode the “Tail of the Dragon”. I’ve ridden “The Dragon”  before but never screaming up the curves a foot from the back tire of Chris’s motorcycle with the famous photographer Michael Lichter sitting backward snapping pictures! While Michael waved me closer, we rode the hairpin turns so fast that I scrapped my floorboards on every turn and the only thing more unnerving was that Chris was scrapping his floorboards as well.  Back in the parking lot at Deals Gap the couple on the dresser behind us commented on the piercing screams of stereo floorboards. After lunch we left “The Dragon” for the Cherohala Skyway. The view of the Smoky Mountains from the Cherohala Skyway is breathtaking and while taking pictures, I lost the body of the pack which numbered about 50 bikes. Thankfully the pack was waiting at the next gas stop or I’d have been lost in the wilds of Tennessee. In Reliance, Tennessee we camped at Hiwassee camp ground for three nights where we were met by tons of new people waiting for the party to start. The weekend was raw and earthy, very much like when you grabbed a keg, built a bonfire and showed up in the corn field next to the river outside any small Midwestern town in the US. Filled with great music, bike rodeos, BBQ, dancing, kayaking, a wedding and the best company you will find anywhere! The guys found a way to entertain themselves by doing burnouts on the skateboard ramp, setting the communal firewood pile ablaze and riding a truck liner dragged by a motorcycle around the circular track in the campground. All good fun! The best games were the ones set up by Chris Callen and the Cycle Source Crew.  Of note: a triathlon of sorts – run from a tent to your motorcycle, pull on your boots, ride to the river and swim to a boat. Bean’re (an ex-marine) and clear winner in the race can be seen on Youtube as his motorcycle skids sideways then on it’s side, rolls tires skyward launching him up the road where he stays on his feet then does a military roll and ends up on his feet again. The only words from him are “That sucks!” as he flies by, whips off his boots and runs for the river. No one was hurt and for the few who just liked to sit and watch the circus; it was all they could hope for. I’ve been on many runs and ridden with many people in my lifetime. This week with Chris Callen and the Cycle Source Crew, Joann Bortles, her love David, my West Virginia boys and all the wild and wonderful bikers who showed up at the Big Mountain Run; this week will be the one I point to when I talk about the way it used to be.

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Tomorrow I’m going to hook up with a group going to an actual rally. That is of course what we do as riders. But for the first month of this ride, I ran ten days behind, missed a ton of connections and so I hooked up with all the amazing people I happened onto as I traveled. Almost like a leaf blowing in the wind.

I planted vegitables on a family farm in NC., helped build a new electric fence on a ranch as well, helped catch peacocks to sell in TN., went boating in LA., ate my first ever lobster dinner in RI., toured the monster estates of the rich and famous on the east coast, investigated the small log cabins through out the south, chatted up every sweet elderly face, curious kid and lone biker I ran in to.

I have ridden with some amazing people on this trip and every day I feel blessed to be out here. I’ve been wet way too many times this trip, not so cold but I have a normal body temp of 96.7 and cold doesn’t get me like it does most people. Heat on the other hand slays me. I’ve had break downs, rescues by white knights and never once did another biker fail to say; “Hey if you need anything at all, here’s my number!”

Yeah, the American people I love are all geared up for another rousing game of “God Bless America” and I’m right here in the middle of it!! I’ll see you all soon.

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what? what'd I say?

Sometimes I get cold but not very often. I’m too busy looking at the world and investigating all the people and places I see to pay attention to hot or cold or wet or… I love what I see from the top of my motorcycle. I love the adrenaline rush of life. I’ve never been a drinker, smoker, over eater or any of the things that take your mind off of the thrill of living. The moment to moment rush of life. I refuse to be shackled by the usual chains of life.

Not that it doesn’t slap me in the face on occasion. In school all my best friends were men. I like men because they’re straight and to the point. And they like to do fun things. Unfortunately when they start dating they stop being your friend and when they get married well…forget it! My best friend Scott and I were like two dogs. We didn’t need to say words we just moved in rhythm. His first wife was great. We actually all moved into a house together after high school. No problems there. But then I hadn’t seen him in years and he is remarried.

I visited him recently and of course it was old home week, very comfortable, easy, until “THE QUESTION” came up.

“Why didn’t you and Scott ever get together?”

The question always comes up. Even if it’s never spoken, it always comes up. And your answer in NEVER, EVER going to be sufficient. NEVER! My answer was fairly truthful. “Scott is like my brother, I saw him in high school with pimples and buck teeth. Ewww!

But of course that is never the end to it!

“”Yes, but after that…did you ever think about it or….”

Well heck I have no idea what he said; you know he got the same quiz! I would like a cheat sheet here! Can I be honest? NO! Not with a woman who is so insecure after 12 years of marriage that when a woman he was best friends with in high school shows up for a 1 day visit, she pulls out the junior high quiz book. The book marked unnecessary drama and how to use it to your best advantage.

The honest answer for all you women who require this sort of emotion sucking is, “Yes, for a fleeting moment I did think about it. It’s only human. And then I remembered; Oh, it’s just Scott, he’s not that interesting and thank God that business is not getting in the way of a friendship I value.

Thinking back perhaps I should have acted on it because a wife will eventually come along and evaporate your friendship in a moments notice. It sucks! I’m pretty and bold. If I wanted her husband I would have asked her for a playdate or better yet I would have done him in high school and the friendship would have ended there. And another truth she could not possibly imagine; I like mens men! That’s why I like bikers. (not week-end enthusiasts, there is a difference) A man whose nuts are attached to a womans apron strings, purse strings or g-string will not get a second look from me. And I don’t have to have much interaction with a man to determine the kind of man he is. Angry pissed off men are usually this type. Johns Hopkins did a study and determined that men who beat their wives have low testosterone levels. Imagine that! Most people think it’s the other way around but nope!

I prefer men who know what they are about. The guys with a normal set of working balls. So for all the women who are married to my friends, give me a break. Don’t smack talk me behind my back. It gets back to me, like I said men are straight and to the point. If I wanted your man, I would not be making nice with you. There are millions of beautiful single men out there for me. And you have nothing I want or desire because who in their right mind would want a man whose nuts are stored safely in some other womans jewelry case!

Actually now that I say this I have to wonder…perhaps you are miffed because I don’t have any interest in your man. Maybe you are rethinking the whole “did I settle for less” question. mmmm interesting perspective. I’m looking out at the world and all these hot single men and saying “which one would I like!” You are laying in bed at night and thinking “if he were only (you fill in the blank) cuter, taller, slimmer, had a bigger d***.

Yeah I’d be pissed off at me too!

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The world changes you. Everyone you meet changes you. I fell in love every day during this first leg of the trip. And I allowed myself to do so. My new friend Debbie Kay in Dallas who set out nuts and oatmeal for me in the mornings at her house before she left for work. Stacey in Guthrie OK who put up with my crazy ideas of good pictures. She’s the woman riding the haystack with me. Woody and Terry from Pass Christian MS.,  who invited me fishing. Annette and Don in Tennessee who since we couldn’t find a dishwashing bottle apron she has decided to make one for me. 9 year old Elizabeth who’s never had a mother, I would be her mother in a heart beat.

For every life you intersect and every thing you think you can change. You yourself will be changed and moved.

I wish there was so much more of me. A woman who can stay in N. Carolina and love Elizabeth and her father the way they deserve to be loved. A best friend in Dallas to the beautiful Debbie Kay, wife of Bob Kay from A Bikers Garage; spending time with them was comforting and like coming home. A helper in Cave Creek Az. to Robert the stone carver, an apprentice to the wizard Alexander (Dr. Neon) who has so much to teach the world and should have his own show!

But there is only one of me and just like a child who believes in magic, I give and take in an unrestrained way. I feel like I fit in no matter where I go. From the morning banter of the retired executives coffee crowd in Cave Creek Arizona, to fishing off the boat in Pass Christian, MS. To planting tomatoes on a N. Carolina farm to cooking marshmallows over a camp fire and telling the same bed time stories to little Elizabeth as I tell my own daughter. My life has been enriched and changed by every encounter. Would it be different if I were riding around another country? I don’t know. But I can tell you that the American spirit that I believe in, the American heart that I trust is alive and well on the Road to Sturgis. Just the way I said it would be.

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Motorcycles are dangerous and the life style attracts people who are natural risk takers. They accept risk as a way of life and are unwilling to settle for a bird in the hand if it’s not the right bird. They keep reaching and doing until they get what they want.

I have met so many loveable people on this 10,000 mile trip. All with an amazing story, many of them riding alone.  Too many of them ride alone because they feel detached and unaccepted by society. Many of them have the heart of children; still hoping for the fairy tale ending. Looking for acceptance but afraid to ask for it, believing they don’t deserve it so they ride away from what they perceive as the normal whole of society.

From my point of view many of these military vets, outlaw bikers and perceived odd balls are the winners of our society not the losers. They’ve been places many people dare not go, seen things that opened their eyes to the real of humanity outside our nice safe borders and Brady Bunch families.  They are the winners!

People who have never risked, never stood up for anything because it challenges their comfort zones. People who are quick to dismiss the ex-Marine with no legs, the homeless guy sleeping on the sidewalk , the biker who can’t keep still in one place because he knows his neighbors would not understand what he knows. Those people who have never risked, who will never risk are not the winners. Because winners do things that losers are afraid to do.

I have met so many hero’s on this trip, so many people who beat the odds because they kept moving and fighting. Kent saw a truck barreling down on a line of kids getting off a school bus and used his truck as a barrier. No children died, he’s had 22 operations and women look at this young mans cane and dismiss him.  Teresa who’s past experience with a hurricane and dead family members was made to feel foolish for speaking out against staying put the day before Katrina wiped Pass Christian, Mississippi off the map. Proper southern women aren’t supposed to speak out. She did speak out and people she didn’t even know took heed and lived.  Saying the unpopular thing, doing the unpopular thing can he hard. Doing the right thing is very difficult but it is the mark of a winner.

For every one of these people who say they are honored to meet me, they have no idea how mumbled and honored I am to meet them. Kent changed his entire life when he saved those kids. But he has been judging himself by the way people treat him and his cane; not by the fact that he saved so many children and the families that would have been devastated. Teresa thinks people feel she is a busy body. But I know those three beautiful blond girls and their mother who decided not to stay in the beach house at Pass Christian are going to enjoy a long life and fulfill their lives like they were meant to because Teresa insisted on speaking her mind.

I know how tuff the world is. I know how hard it is to get back up when the world has cut your knees out from underneath you. Human nature being what it is, our wounded hero’s are prayed upon by the sheep they just protected when they’re injured. But the sheep don’t do it by themselves it takes a whole flock because not one of them has the balls to do it by themselves. It’s sick and perverted. But I have met the hero’s who pulled themselves back on their feet regardless of the stones being hurled at them. And I am a better person for it.

Oddly enough, winners tend to circle the wagons around you. Winners take you in, prop you up and get you on your way. I saw it with my tire mishap in N. Carolina, my inability to find one empty hotel room because of spring break in Louisiana, my getting stuck in crazy thunderstorms in the mountains. There was always a winner there to shield me from the blast. Or a message on my phone would pop up, “we’re here for you girl!” and many times it’s someone I don’t know. Someone who does the right thing regardless of the consequences they must face. I am blessed to know the people I’ve met on the road and on the computer who are following me.

I came with an open heart and I wasn’t disappointed once.

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I can’t seem to get out of North Carolina.  I was in a two-day thunder and rain storm as soon as I arrived so I made camp with some great people I met in Cherokee for the rally. I then drove to Dr. Neon’s house and collapsed from exhaustion. Not from the ride but from the great company and staying up all night in Cherokee. I was a day late getting to Joann Bortels. I arrived at her house and she and her man made me feel like a long-lost friend. She was kind enough to share her personal stories with me and when I had to leave, she stood outside with me while I packed in the rain. Then…. and I told her she didn’t have to, but she rode with me in a rain storm to get me out of the woods and to the freeway to my next destination. Rain on small country roads sucks. The people here in N. Carolina do not slow down a bit and the small country roads are quite curvy and full of dips so I was constantly getting sprayed as if a hose was being turned on me. I got to Lexington, still raining and something flew out from beneath a truck and hit my front tire.

Word to the uninitiated. Never swerve to avoid crap that comes flying at you. Duck if it’s coming at your head but never swerve. It will kill you. Period. I saw it coming and just gritted my teeth. I have a sound when crap like this happens. It helps me keep my head as the adrenaline punches me in the belly. Tigerlily bucked a bit, I grunted, held firmly to my forward track and the thing disappeared behind me. I needed a new tire. And I know a guy in Silver Valley past Lexington.

When Kent Moore collected me I was wet and feeling pretty lucky. Dr. Neon had outfitted me with three angels and I made use of all three of them. Not including the ones I brought with me. Anyhow Jarrod at Avon Tires set me up with new tires which Kent picked up at Smokin Harley Davidson in Winston-Salem today and tomorrow I will be heading for DC.

Just a word about the people I have met here in N. Carolina. It’s an odd place, the people are a bit suspicious of new people, the people I know here are not originally from here except Kent. Kent is my paradigm of a southern man. Gentle, funny, a biker, a cowboy if a person can be both. He was hit head-on and almost killed some years ago. His wife died and he is raising a beautiful 9-year-old child alone. And he makes it work. After 22 operations he just makes his farm, his motorcycle repair business and his life work. He moves around in a wheelchair at home, his daughter helping him, people come to his house and borrow and trade and he takes care of everyone. He’s a hero to be sure. On this trip I have met so many heroic, mcgyver type of people. All bikers and exactly what I have been saying to you this whole trip. Bikers are the heart of our country. Not because they are bikers but because it takes a certain type of person to be a biker. And thank God for them. They are the real. They are the heart of America. See you in DC!

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