Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My Just as Crazy Other Half

July 6, 2008

Dear Diary,
All-righty then! I have caught up to the weekend.

I have shared a bit about traveling with just Scarlet. I have told you that we picked up a Sister in Spirit (Bev) in central Wisconsin who is riding a Honda Trike and now I must tell you about yesterday. Yesterday, and the second SIS stranger from south central Minnesota who will be riding with us. Leah ( or "Twitter" as she was affectionately re-named). Ya! You Betcha....ey! (that last "ey" is really reserved for the most northern dialect...but it is just too funny in my head not to include it here!)

Truly, Diary, I have racked my poor brain trying to figure out how to describe this next woman. I really don't think I can without somehow confusing you that I seem to be talking about myself. So I think the only way to present her now is to paint a picture for you with words of the two of us together.

Let me see......Have you ever made one of those cheesy school science projects...the volcano one where you mix vinegar with baking soda????? Thats us! (not certain who represents which chemical)

Or... Can you imagine how insane the Roadrunner cartoon would have been if there had been TWO roadrunners and only one Coyote? That's us and Scarlett!

Do you recall, Diary, how Thing One and Thing Two from The Cat In The Hat by Dr. Seuss tormented the two little kids with their antics.....yep, You guessed it..... That is us and Bev and Scarlett!!! HAHAHAhahahah.....Ahhhhhh, I do feel a bit sorry for Bev and Scarlett....but I do know they have spent a lot of time laughing and enjoying themselves because of us two!

So anyway, this other crazy woman rolls into the parking lot of our hotel on Saturday in time for lunch on her 2003, burgundy and cream, Yamaha V-Star, 1100.Photobucket Before the poor thing has a chance to even greet us all we mention with guarded anticipation that we were all considering getting...Ummmmm...getting....a tattoo to commemorate the EPIC Journey. Before we can even begin to give her an out she is hopping up and down insisting "I'm in, I'm in, I'm in...I'm a tattoo virgin, but I am sooo in!!!"

It is at this point I see her delve into her pocket and pull out her electronic appendage...I mean her phone. While she explains to us about how freaked her mother will be and how shocked her husband will be, she simultaneously texts about 15 to 20 of her closest friends AND her Blog (called a twitter...AHHHhhh ;) hence her new nickname) and her sister, swearing the latter to secrecy.

Once she finishes, we are left to spend the afternoon getting to know one another before our big bonding ritual of getting inked and we do so over some lunch.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Deer Tales (An Aside)

Dear Diary,

Do you remember the old Laugh-In series on television? Do you remember the visual of Artie Johnson on the tiny trike, pedaling along in some weird get-up? Pedaling, pedaling, pedaling, going no-where slowly and then hitting something and just falling off to one side?

I swear this was the (unintentional) deer avoidance technique that Scarlett was employing the first few days of our journey.

Now in her defense she is a city girl. And, not just any kind of city girl either. She is a real "Jersey girl" city girl. A wildlife whisperer she is not. But what she lacks in the understanding of wild animal behaviors she more than makes up for with home grown city moxy.

It was just that it took a while for the moxy to take over.

During the initial leg of our journey, while riding through Illinois and then again in Wisconsin, she would become a small speck in my rear view mirror about every 5 or 6 miles or so. Then all of a sudden she would be 2 seconds behind me on my right side again.

It took me a while to figure out that I would lose her to the horizon when we would pass the yellow deer crossing signs along the roadways.

When we arrived in Steven's Point, Wisconsin prior to meeting up with Bev on her trike, Scarlett and I decided to take a nice sightseeing ride in and around the area with Scarlett in the lead. However, when we asked about our chosen route we were told that there was an area of it where deer were prevalent. Well...poor Scarlett began the "finding the moxy" process and off we went. When we pulled off the Main roadway to begin our cruise through the woods she looked a bit tenuous so I pulled up next to her and offered some support. "You'll do can just go slowly...even 15 to 20 MPH if you have to"

Well, Diary, I don't know if you have ever ridden a 1200 Sporty but their engine stroke, like most Harleys, is fairly long and the cause of the Harley rattle. Watching me going 15 to 20 MPH on my sporty looks like watching an odd hurky-jerky routine. It really is nearly impossible to do with out using the friction zone on my clutch and a high rev on the throttle. Not the way to travel 25 or 30 miles down country lanes. (and, yes, I do need a tune-up!)

So while I struggled to keep my over heating sporty from convulsing into a stall, Scarlett was busy scanning left and right for the 'wascally deewr' that she seemed to think had all been notified of her arrival. I had visions of them all huddled together snickering hard and uncontrollably with one hoof over their muzzles and the other hoof holding themselves so they wouldn't pee. The smallest one crouched by the side of the road as a scout, yelling back for the rest to be quieter. Then, all of a sudden they spy her and as she rides slowly by they all jump out with signs that say "BOO" and she falls over in front of them...not unlike Artie Johnson on the afore mentioned TV show.

AHhhhh Diary....I still laugh out loud thinking of that ride.....the nice thing is that Scarlett laughs with me too. She laughs too because, true to form, she dug deep and came up with a big old reserve of moxy. Enough to conquer the fear of encountering not only deer, but moose as well. From that ride on if I lost her to the horizon I knew it was not because of deer or moose signs.

And for all her trepidation and ALL the 100 to 200 (maybe even more) animal warning signs we only ever saw one deer in 3000 miles. Lucky?...Does a bear...?....well, you know the rest.

G'-Night Diary

Friday, July 25, 2008

Riding in Wisconsin

July 6th, 2008

Dear Diary,
OMG. So much has happened in the last 6 days I don't know where to start! Perhaps I should start with all the nice people I met in a convenience store parking lot on our way north to Steven's Point, Wisconsin?

The lady in the white blouse was sooo excited to see and talk to women on motorcycles that I think she began to develop a stutter when she spoke to us. She did not tire of telling us how proud she was of us and that she thought we should also try track and field! ( ????...yes, we were a bit confused too but we decided later that she must have enjoyed track and field in her hay-day and wanted to share that with us also)

The Sportster, with all her sparkly jewelry, attracts people like crazy. What I find sooo fun is that men LOVE the crystal idea as much as women and are often the ones who approach me first to ask about their application. They Oooo and AHhhh and touch them and then you can see them start to think that maybe they should not like it all sooo much and they give an obligatory belch or crotch adjustment. Heehee!!

After the photo-op in the parking lot we made our way to the first of our encounters with a fellow Sister in Spirit member.

(In case you didn't know, Diary, Sisters in Spirit is a Motorcycle Association for Women that started in Oklahoma and has grown to be a national Association. Actually I think we have a member in Nova Scotia so we are international now! I am proud to serve as the New Jersey State Director.)

We Found our way to a gas station in Janesville and there waiting for us was "JenVroom".Photobucket Jen was sweet enough to meet us, have lunch with us and lead us down the highway for about 15 minutes before she had to veer off and get back to her family. Jen rides a Harley Softail Deluxe which just happens to be my dream bike. So while I fought back the urge drool all over it I knew that somewhere in New Jersey my husband's butt cheek closest to his wallet was going into a spasm of epic proportions.Photobucket

The next day found us waiting by the roadside for the second Sister but the first to join us on the ride. Photobucket
Having never met Foxy in person I would only be able to identify her by her ride which is a beautiful, dark blue, Honda Goldwing Trike. When I phoned her that morning to finalize our meeting time she informed me she was so excited that she had been to the bathroom twice already! It's funny, Diary, what perfect strangers will want you to know right off the bat. I wasn't certain how to respond except to be happy for her that she was going to start the trip...ahhh...."clean" so to speak and i told her so! When she finally pulled in and we met I was not disappointed in the least. She had sounded like a pip and she looked like a pip and I knew that we would get on just fine PhotobucketAfter some general chatter and going over some road rules and safety concerns we got on the road and headed towards Bayfield, Wisconsin. We rode in the beautiful sunshine through the calming forests. Well, I find them calming. Scarlett I am not so certain about. Perhaps I should stop here and organize my thoughts about how to tell you about Scarlett and her deer avoidance technique.
Till next time Diary..

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fifty and Fabulous in Gilman, Il

July 2, 2008 entry continued

Dear Diary, Well, we made it to Gilman Illinois. I have never ridden so far and through so many different weather conditions in one day. By the time we pulled into our hotel parking lot all of our wet and cold weather gear had become redundant. It was 75 degrees, sunny and dry. And so were we, so to speak. Which brings me to the next little tale.

After having registered for the room, deposited our gear and bags in said room and washed a layer of grime off of our faces, Scarlet and I decided to walk the quarter mile to the gas station/wine store to purchase a celebratory bottle of Cabernet. But, by the time we got back to the lobby it seemed as though every local ‘fella’ had been called down by the women folk working the front desk to get a looksie at the two ‘gals’ that had just checked into a room after arriving on their motorcycles. I would have felt flattered if not for the fear it produced.

Scarlett and I decided we would venture out anyway, since it was still light out, and we confidently made our way to the gas station/liquor store amidst hoots and hollers from passing “men” in rusty trucks. At one point Scarlett gave a wave and a hoot back and I quickly informed her that, in these here parts, she had just promised her own hand in marriage.

By the time we got to our desired location we were laughing and relaxed. I found a decent bottle of red and when I plunked it down on the counter in front of a middle-aged Midwestern woman I got a most surprising, but welcomed, response. As she scowled at my smiling, wind-burned face (more on that later), I became quite confused. I asked rather tentatively if this was where I was to pay for the wine. Her response was a cold and skeptical, “Yes, but I will definitely need to see some identification!” Completely dumfounded by this I asked …” Why? What is the drinking age here in Gilman,….48?” After helping her to find the DOB numbers on my driver’s license and stating simultaneously that I was FIFTY……she sported an awesome look of amazement I will treasure forever and asked how I managed to keep so young looking. “You are lookin’ at it sweetie! wine….a great pickling agent!” HAhahahaha, ahhhh I do crack myself up from time to time, Diary. Ok, Diary……Tomorrow we head north. Continue to keep us in your prayers… Tink


Well, here it is! My first Blog page....FINALLY!!! Thanks to Twitter and my new medication! ...HAHAhahahaha...ahhh I crack myself up sometimes!

Ok....This is called Cyntillating Cycles because I have applied approximately $800.00 worth of Swarovski Crystals to my 2007 Harley 1200L Sporty......She is pretty...and quite sparkly.......Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket AND because I am trying to get a small business started doing the same for other fine sparkle lovers. All of that info will come AFTER I blog about my

Epic Journey....
which goes a little bit like this......

....I was born a small white baby in Dul........

No wait, thats not it is...I found it!.....

June 28,2008

Dear Diary, Last year, as I was anticipating becoming 50, I decided I needed to do something big…something I considered of EPIC proportions. Mostly because of having had one of my real sisters (Sally) die due to breast cancer at the age of 50. I just felt so very young at 49. I realized Sal must have also felt way too young to have had to leave her life here. It occurred to me that every day beyond my 50th birthday is a gift. A day Sal never got to have and a day I really need to be thankful for. So I decided I wanted to go on an EPIC motorcycle journey to remember her and celebrate my blessings of health and happiness.

As an aside, I am not certain it is acceptable to deem a journey EPIC until it is over and one has contemplated it thoroughly and over time. But, to my mind, it is EPIC just because I am attempting it….what ever actually ends up happening is icing on the (turning fifty) birthday cake of life, so to speak.

Deciding where to go was relatively simple considering this is supposed to be such a grand trek. I chose to journey back to an area where I grew up. Duluth, Minnesota and the shores of Lake Superior. A place where wonderful, magical things are common place like stars beyond imagining and overwhelming expanses of wilderness that always seem to want to keep me there and hidden once I am in their midst again. I can already smell the scent of hot pine needles mixing with the cool fresh air coming in over the icy blue lake water. AHhhhhhh! The Lake has an incredible positive energy that feeds my very soul. When I am riding I experience a similar energy flow that feeds my soul and heals my psyche and so I feel compelled to experience the two together.

My traveling buddy and dear friend, Scarlett, and I are trailoring from New Jersey through Pennsylvania to Upper Sandusky, Ohio with my hubby at the wheel of the towing vehicle. With a good night sleep under our belt after that drive, Scarlet and I will then leave Upper Sandusky and begin the Epic Journey. We will travel through Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Canada, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania (on the way back) and finally back into New Jersey. Approx 2000 miles of road trip. I will be on my nearly comfortable, Swarovsky Crystaled ,1200L Harley-Davidson Sportster ‘Baby Beast’ and Scarlet will be on her newly acquired but broken in moving love seat ‘Sheyns’ which is, in reality, a Honda VTX 1300. And, I am putting my hubby on notice now, if I make it back on that Sportster without damaging my spinal column then, DAG-NABBIT!,... I get to purchase a moving love seat too!!!!...Perhaps even a VTX 1300 like Scarlett’s . Wink, Wink…right Hon??

Any way, The planning stages for this trip has seen us gathering information from many sources. I went to the Triple A and the on-line American Motorcyclist Association web site on which I found many tips for traveling and lists of things to consider bringing. I also have a book from Harley Davidson that lists their dealerships on a map. Gee Diary, I wonder why they do that? I have contacted Rider Insurance and they are sending me an insurance card that lets the Canadian Officials know that yes indeed I am insured in Canada. Scarlet thought of that one! I also found out that if you have any DWI or similar driving trouble you are likely to have difficulty at the border. Just so we are clear…I have a clean record! Also, I would be stuck in my yard without Google Maps and Google Earth. Cool tools! I found the perfect travel bag from Twisted Throttle and a wonderful smaller bag for sundries from the local Harley Dealership. Scarlett liked it so much she got herself one even tho’ it has Harley written all over it.

As you know Diary, I am a seasoned camper and fisherman and my Dad always taught me I had to carry what I packed…so I packed light. Undies, one pair of jeans, one dress, one bra, an electric jacket, about 8 tops, 2 skorts, ( hey, I am 50 remember) sneakers, sandals, tools, extra gloves, couple of fuses, camera…extra eye wear, toiletries, travel guitar, tin whistle and a flat iron. I will be wearing my swim suit and padded bicycle shorts under my mesh gear most days and carry my money, passport, registration and insurance, license, extra bike key, knife and phone in a hip bag. A Tinkerbell water bottle, trail mix and a Tom-Tom GPS round everything out. I have not listed everything…but everything weighs about 50 pounds I am guessing. Not too much, but just enough so that if I get to the top of a big hill with a stop sign and a right hand turn into a traffic flow……well,….just enough to require help getting her back up on her stand. LOLolol. Ahhhhh…..there shouldn’t be too many of those though! I hope!!!!

Diary, we are also planning on meeting up with a couple of women from our national women’s riding association, Sisters in Spirit. That will be so great to meet friendly women riders along our way and share our journey. We look forward to meeting new people no matter where we are and hope to promote safe, fun riding and be proud ambassadors for women in motorcycling.

Oh Diary...I am a blessed woman! I am a blessed by three wonderful children, awesome non-riding friends, equally wonderful riding buddies, a super riding friend and companion for this Epic, but most of all blessed with the greatest best friend and love and woman could ever hope to have in my husband, David. Thanks for letting me have an Epic Journey with you these last twenty years and for giving me the opportunity to ride this new Epic Journey for myself. Ok Diary…until next time on the road! Tink

Sunday June 29.

Dear Diary, Well, we are ready to go. I would say that I am excited but that would be an incredible understatement on my part. For the past four days I have been obsessing about getting on the road. When I start to think about it I get SOOoo excited that I hyperventilate. I have taken to carrying a small brown lunch bag around with me for those moments when I feel I might lose consciousness. I whip it out and breath into it until my vision clears again. I figure I will be alright once I get on the bike. Having oxygen forced down your windpipe at 65 miles per hour while straddling a 1200 cc engine tends to help keep you focused and alert.

I have examined most of the highway traveling from Upper Sandusky into Illinois with Google Earth. It is not a challenging ride that day. That is ok tho' as I think my task for that first day will be to keep my adrenaline below "blowing my head off" levels. I have scoured the internet for weather information and flooding information. We seem to be heading into some good, mild, albeit damp, weather. I have practiced with my GPS system (a Tom-Tom) and named her Prudence. We work well together. She talks and I listen. My Husband LOVES that concept and, to be honest, He seems a bit jealous.

One day of car riding to go and we will be in EPIC territory. The bikes are loaded (and at this point i wish i was too in order to endure the car ride), our gear is in the truck, we have checked, double checked and re-checked everything. I have cried twice today. Once while thanking Scarlett for accepting my invitation to join me. I am deeply grateful for the company. And, once while packing photos of my Dad and my sister Sally. They will be my guardian angels on this journey. Sal would have loved to come along, I am betting, and I know my Dad would have been very proud to tell any one who would listen that his 5 foot tall, 120 pound, 50 year old daughter was touring on her Harley. And Dad, I promise not to let the "dirty S.O.B's get me down!"


I have kissed my three kids, kissed the three cats and two dogs, thumbed my nose at the laundry I never seem to get through, written my name in the dust on the TV and fireplace mantle, left all but one bra in the dresser, kicked the tires on the green Honda mini-van that normally sucks me in first thing in the morning and spits me out at night, left the neighbors to their mundane yard chores and chatter and in the words of Bonnie Rait...just let them "talk about us, coz we're gonna have the time of our lives! And it sure feels right!" It's you and me, Scarlett. were gonna have the times of our lives! Oh!, and Diary..keep us in your prayers will you?...Thanks! your sister in spirit,

PS....Our thanks and Love to Denise and Nicole for coming to see us off Sunday Morning...You are very much with us.....we love you sisters and will see you soon! "t"

July 2nd?, 2008,...already days are running together...
but i am writing about our first day.

Well we did it. We got to Upper Sandusky towing the trailor with the two bikes loaded on it without incident. I had to employ the LaMaze method of breathing that I learned while birthing my children, in order to just get through the day. I was extremely excited and very happy.

Monday morning we awoke to gloomy skies and lots of drizzle. I have to tell you Diary that I was not that disappointed at first. Because of my excitement the night before I got little to no sleep, and developed a bit more trepidation about this crazy idea of an EPIC journey than heretofore experienced. The thought of staying put seemed relieving.

But then the sky cleared a bit and the sun popped out and with it my firm intention to begin returned with intensity and we packed up. We carefully examined all our gear, making certain that it was well stowed. We used essential oils to ward off negativity. ( which, funnily enough, were stowed in a side pocket that never got zippered closed so all oils bounced out and merrily down highway much for positive energy...hahahah) We donned all of our thermal underware (as it was chilly and a bit cloudy)and ritualistically geared up with a sobriety usually reserved for the highest masses in the Catholic Church. We mounted our steeds with dignity and pride and with much integrity we circled the parking lot to make certain they were well balanced.

As we finished the practice circle we headed off with great anticipation to the gas station for me to fill my empty tank. Gracefully approching the pump, coming to a perfect MSF stop, switching off the engine with the side stand down I withdrew my key from the ignition to find my gas cap key. I suddenly realized I could not remember how it worked. Here I was....all set to go and I can not get the new locking gas cap off in order to get gas in the bike. ARGGGHHHH!!!!! The first of many road angels appeared within a minute....taught me how to unlock the gas cap and waved us off as we finally got underway. Underway, right into the path of four hours of drizzle and extremely high winds.

Diary, have you ever seen the crazy nuts who jump out of planes with parachutes strapped to their backs and the equivilant of a snowboard strapped to their feet? Slipping and sliding through the air and manipulating the air with their bodies in order to stay upright or turn completely upside down? WELL! That was me for four hours on that Sportster!! When passing the many semi-trucks I had to bear down on the throttle and ride a fine, imaginary line between getting sucked in under the truck's tires or blown off the road by the storm wind and air-wash coming off of the front end of the truck. At one point I looked behind me to see Scarlett riding solidly along with one hand on her bars.!!! WHAT THE H.....????? IS SHE KNITTING???? I am up here like a riding demon, leaning hard into a crosswind so fierce that I am ridng sideways down the highwway just to move forward!!! (OK, Hon...we are definitely talking about my moving "Love Seat" when I get back! )

With my eyes focused on the brighter horizon we sped 60 mph towards it and when we finally reached a ray of sunshine I realized I was living a year long dream. This was it and every drop of water had acted as a "spirit polisher" so to speak and I felt renewed, alive, blessed, grateful and ready for many more days of the same. OK Diary...I am off to get a better nights sleep and dream about tomorrow.

Tink is a joke I just wrote. A biker chick walks into a general store/gas station in "Lost in Time", Wisconsin. She is clad from head to foot in pretty but functional safety gear and looks as though she is ready to be shot from a canon.

She waits her turn at the counter behind a big burly man buying apple pie, shot guns shells and shiners and when it is her turn she asks to use the rest room. As she turns to find said room the big burly guy, looking at her helmet, blurts out..."You can do that with THAT on?"...Biker chick replies...."Yes, because I use my other end!" HAHAHAhahahaah Ahhhhh, I crack myself up sometimes Diary......and really happened.....till next time Diary! "T"_________________