Monday, August 25, 2008

The Magic

July 8, 2008

Dear Diary,

So here we are following behind our guide. She in her older model car and we are on our bikes. We are traveling about 30 or 40 MPH and following a road that hugs the lake shore.

It is all so emotional for me, Diary.

It is so beautiful here and that beauty is so much a part of my very fiber. And, Diary, it isn't just the visual beauty that influenced me, it is so much more. It's the energy from the lake; so very peaceful yet intensely peaceful. It is the air; crisp, clean, calming.
It is the profound lack of annoying noise but the ever present calming sound of nature. The constant, melodious harmonizing of the leaves rustling, the birds calling, the waves splashing and the feel of the northern sun on my cool skin. It is the open spaces, the vast forests, the feeling of being close to the earth and away from un-necessary and frivolous expectations or life styles.

This is me, this is who I am... this is where I function best. But it is a lifetime away from where and how I live now, in New Jersey.

I traveled here, to Duluth, to celebrate life. To be thankful for every day I get past my fiftieth birthday because my sister Sally didn't get that privilege. Being here now, traveling toward the "Spirit Little Cedar" tree, traveling down this vaguely familiar road, my mind becomes flooded with memories of my Dad.

Memories like our boat trips, of his voice and his trust in my boat skills. It just seems so sad and so wonderful all at the same time. I want to go back to that experience so desperately that my hearts aches. Yet, I am so thankful to be here in this moment as an adult that my heart aches even more! The experience of connecting the past to the present finds me yet again in this moment and it feels almost surreal.

I look to my right and I see the small dock where we used to tie up. I remember the other family we traveled with, the luscious taste of fresh fish cooked on a small Coleman stove. I even recall the feel of my sweaters on my skin, keeping me warm against the cool lake breezes. I can recall the smell of the boat engine and the bilge water, hear the creaking of the hull and the squeak of the fenders between the boat and the dock.

All of a sudden we are there. We pull off the road into a small gravel parking area and the bike engines are silenced. Photobucket
My heart is beating quickly and I am so focused that I could have been drenched in a 'Flash' and never even notice. Probably was.

At this point our guide, Terri,

Photobuckettells us about the fact no-one is allowed to come here any more outside of tribal members and how it is one of her most favorite places to come to when she needs to be peaceful and centered.

As she leads us off the gravel and onto the path into the woods, we just all get very quiet. We begin to speak in hushed tones. The very air has a different feel. The quiet of the forest is like a presence and we instinctively respect it and respond by becoming quiet too. Not just by not speaking, but we all seem to quiet our inner voice as well and we follow Terri making few comments and if speaking, speaking with reverence.

Terri stops in front of this sign and, as we read it, we become more in sync with the prevailing atmosphere.

Photobucket As we walk on we just stop talking altogether and just soak in the the moment. PhotobucketPhotobucket We wind our way through the woods and when we get to the side of the hill we step onto a wooden stairway that takes us down, past moss covered rocks and trees.
Photobucket Photobucket
We end up at the bottom of the stairway
Photobucket and off in the distance is the The Tree.


It is at this point that I can not help but choke up. It just reminds me so much of my Dad.

We didn't have a terribly close relationship. That is not what this is about...mourning something that was really deep and precious. I just loved him. He was intense and strong and I know that he loved me. Though we didn't share intimate details of our lives on a daily basis, he is my Dad. He taught me so much about life. Taught me how to survive it. How to enjoy it. And in the end, how to leave it. What more can a daughter ask for?

In the 10 minutes we were there with the tree, I was able to reconnect a bit more with my past. The tree welcomed the four of us as travelers but in a sense re-welcomed me as a friend. A friend who had also known my fathers touch, my fathers appreciation. A friend who had stood with my Dad, exchanging spiritual energy. Every one else was new to the tree. I had a history with it. Though I had never seen it before this day it knows me through my Father. I know it knows me. I can FEEL it knowing me and it is comforting. It connects me to my Dad and that feels very nice.

We made an offering of tobacco to the four corners of the earth. We kept a short silence but I was so filled with gratitude I couldn't even pray...I just kept feeling grateful. ( I vaguely remember asking for safe passage and guidance ) What a wonderful place. What an exquisite moment in time.

We wound our way back up the stairs and through the woods. Every one even more quiet than when we had gone in. Walking out together, yet one by one. How profound. How beautiful and simple.
You can't see him, but I know my Dad is there walking with me.

Scarlett, Bev Twitter and I...all in the same place physically, but all lost in our own thoughts.
I don't suppose we will ever forget that day. I think that day something deep down inside of Scarlett decided her life was never going to be just average or boring again. I know I decided that that day. It truly was rather magical.
Twitter, Scarlett, Tink, Bev....and of course, The Tree
PhotobucketThanks "Spirit Little Cedar" for your comfort, for your presence in this world, for your example.

Diary, Say a prayer. We are on our way to Marathon Canada and the weather is not looking good.


Friday, August 22, 2008

The Tree

July 8, 2008

Dearest Diary,

When I was about 10, my Dad decided he wanted to have a big enough boat to travel across the big lake ( Lake Superior ) in with out fear of sinking. So he searched for and found an old wooden herring boat that had been dry-docked for about 16 years, ( or more).

It had seen a full life on the lake for a fishing family in Grand Marais and when it needed repair, I guess, the family decided it just wasn't worth it and dry docked it.

Along comes my Dad who, when he looked at something, always saw what it could also be and not just what it was. (He had that gift for everything and every one he encountered.) So, when he saw this old, rotting herring boat he saw an opportunity to make his dream of traveling the big lake a reality. He spent quite some time getting that boat sea worthy. He even replaced some of the central wooden structure which required that he make his own 'sweat box' to soften the new wood pieces so that he could manipulate them into shape for the keel and the gunwales.

When he was finished we had a great little vessel that sported a 28 foot keel and a 12 foot beam. He didn't change the look of the original boat. Just put her back into running order. From far off she looked like a whale and so we named her The Little White Whale. Here she is:


It is on this boat that I sailed with my Mom and Dad all over Lake Superior. One of the most wonderful places we would go was a small, unknown port near Grand Portage, Minnesota. And it was while we were there one summer that my Dad, after chatting with some local fishermen, found out about the tree.

I remember this tree being called the witching tree and my Dad was VERY excited about it and made it his business to take the trek through the woods to find it. From where we were docked I would say that it was probably a mile and a half walk. The first half of which was down a dirt road and the second half down a foot path through the woods and down the steep side of a hill to the lake shore. He became fascinated by this tree and every time we were in that area he made it a regular stop so that he could go and see it again. There was just something special that he enjoyed about it. He talked a lot about this particular tree when he told stories of our boat travels. So much so that I could have sworn I actually saw it too. But, upon reflection, I don't think I ever did. I saw several pictures of him next to it...touching it even, but I never actually saw it for myself. Until recently that is Diary.

I had told Scarlett about the tree, briefly. She may not even remember the conversation about it it was such a fleeting story ( but then again she may). But the spirit of the tree stayed with her upon hearing the tale and when we were in a gift store in Grand Marais she spied a postcard that had a picture of this tree on it. Something felt familiar and she picked it up and read that this tree is believed to provide safe travel for those journeying along the lake.

As I said, I remember the tree being called the witching tree. However, it is actually called the Witch Tree by tourists but the Ojibwa ( or Chippewa ) call it Manido Gizhigans or
" Spirit Little Cedar" and the Ojibwa now own the land upon which it grows. The earliest written records that mention this tree, as a mature tree, date to 1731 making it at least 300 years old. Some experts would argue that it is closer to 700 years old. The fact that it is so very old is captivating, however, what makes it even more fascinating is the fact that it grows out of bare rock. It is wonderfully twisted, and its growth stunted from many years of trying to grow, not only out of bare rock but, in bitter cold temps and near the frigid lake waters. It looks like a life size Bonsai that nature has trained with a masterly skill. And since the Ojibwa have been able to protect it, it will be able to last quite a while longer I am certain.

After the Ojibwa were able to buy the land where the tree lives, they began to monitor the foot traffic through the woods to where it grows; offering only guided tours by naturalists associated with a nearby lodge. This tree is sacred to the Ojibwa and the area where it grows is considered holy. So, when people began to desecrate the area and were not treating the land and space around the tree as sacred, they decided that there would be no more visitors to the tree. One can see it from the lake side if you are lucky enough to have a boat and know where it is. But, for the most part, visits to this beautiful tree ended about 18 months ago. No one has been allowed to go to the site, which now has sturdy wooden stairs along the hillside and a viewing platform about 80 yards from the tree. Only tribal members can go to the tree and when they do it is, of course, a spiritual journey and once there they give a traditional offering of tobacco to the Spirit...offering it to the East, West, North and South and spend time to pray.

So when Scarlett showed us the postcard, and shared with us that she believed the tree was calling us to visit, she made it her business to respond to that call and when we arrived at the Tourist Information Building Photobucket
near Grand Portage, she went straight to find out how we could get to see it.

At that point in time we had no idea that you couldn't go see it. The postcard had stated one needed to have a guide to visit it. Scarlett went in to find a guide and was met with the information that no one visited the tree any more. But, if she wanted she could spend time looking at a lovely, large photograph of it that hung on the wall in the Information Building's gift shop. So she 'sat' with that information a bit. Still, she felt we were SUPPOSED to see it. So Scarlett went back to the woman who had denied her the first time and told her about our strange day the day before. How we had had odd energy with us all day and we really felt that we needed to visit the tree. Once again she was turned away.

It was at this point she gave herself over to the idea that we may not see it. She decided she would look to find a Spirit Little Cedar pin to purchase and give to us traveling with her to offset the falling down pin. As she shopped a young woman, a daughter of one of the elders of the tribe who had been listening to Scarlett's story and plea, decided we were to see the tree and she called her mother and got her permission to bring us to see it.

We couldn't believe it. It wasn't luck and it didn't feel like luck. It felt like.... privilege. It felt as though we were being drawn there.

Scarlett had especially felt it that morning. And it was when Twitter and I were walking by the lake shore Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket and visiting the trading post museum Photobucket Photobucketthat we began to feel it. By the time Twitter and I were half way through our walk through the museum grounds we were already discussing that it felt as though it needed to be a priority. That it was great of Scarlett to take the time to try to get us a guide and that we really wanted to get there too. At that point we felt a bit of an urgency to get back to Scarlett and Bev to see what was transpiring. So we headed back to the parking lot only to be met by Scarlett waving frantically at us to hurry along as we were being given the opportunity of a life time. By the time we got on our bikes to follow our guide who was in her car, Scarlett had explained why this was so very exciting and at that point we REALLY understood that we were being blessed by this gesture. Who knows when the last traveler outside of the tribe had been there? I don't. But I know who was there that day.

Four women who had been called to this journey were being offered a most wonderful gift; kept for and shared with just a privileged few.

Oh Diary, I think I need to take a break before sharing the rest of this wonderful pilgrimage

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Scarlett, The Story of a Tree, and....MAGIC!

July 8, 2008

Dear Diary,

So now you have formally "met" the travelers and gotten to know them a little bit as I have shared about the bonding experiences we have had.
It has been such an exciting trip. A fun trip. A busy trip. And now it is going to be a moving one as well.

I have told you about Twitter and how we are so alike; how fun that relationship has been and how rewarding.

Now I would like to tell you about Scarlett and me.

I first met Scarlett at a Sisters in Spirit meeting. One of the very few meetings we have because we would rather ride than have meetings.

It was in November of 2006. She drove an hour south to make the meeting. She walked, tentatively, through the doors of the Panera Restaurant where the meeting was being held and I threw my arms around her in a great hug. I was sooo happy to have a new person come check us out. There were only 5 or 6 of us...and we needed more riders.

She didn't have much to say that night. Not that she could have gotten a word in edge wise between Denise and Nadine and I. But she stayed and ate with us and laughed a lot and I think that by the time she left her spirit knew that she had come home. Sure enough, it didn't take long and she was an official member.

What you need to know about us together....well, it is kind of like Twitter and I in reverse. Where Twitter and I are nearly the same, Scarlett and I are completely different. Scarlett and I go through life at a completely different pace. She is the Hare and I am the Bunny!! lololol, No, REALLY! My mind jumps from one thing to another with such speed that I often make myself dizzy and nauseous. No matter what we do she does it slowly and I do it quickly and that, my friends will never change. From walking to riding to speaking to eating, packing, morning routine,...well, you get the picture.

Because we are just about the same age, (Scarlett being older, of course!) we share some things in common. Like our hot flashes and hormone imbalances. LOLololol....Ahhhh.

That being said that maybe about the only thing we do alike. Well, I think we both try to find balance in our lives. We do it differently, of course, and balance for me doesn't look the same as balance for Scarlett. But the wonderful thing is that we get that about the other, and somehow it works for us. We are the quintessential Yin and Yang. And, for those of you who may not know, the central idea of yin-yang is this ( are you listening Scarlett??? ): The yin and yang accomplish changes in the universe.....they are opposites that are in constant flux of submission and creativity. They are unable to exist without the other...they 'produce' each other. This is my Scarlett!

The Ethel to my Lucy ( !!!! ), the Grommet to my Wallace, the Hardy to my Laural, the Abbott to my Costello! The Rocky to my Bullwinkle! Ok, I think you get the idea, Diary. ( I am pretty certain, though, that Scarlett can't fly. Though she may have a goofy helmet and riding googles somewhere in her closet!)

It is this wonderful state of realtionship that allows us to tend to the other with out being consumed by the other. There is a trust there. We know that we are choice. We work to be free of fear and to love as best we can to help the other to be the best they can too. Giving the other space to be human. We treat the other as we want to be treated....and we both want to ride and we both want to grow.

When we first met it didn't take long for me to say to Scarlett that I wondered if God knew what she was doing when pairing the two of us up as friends. Because even in the early days of our relationship, I could tell that there was a bigger plan for us than just riding together. Based on what has transpired so far???? My guess is that she knew EXACTLY what was going to happen. Magic. Love. Creative ideas and the focus to make it all happen. Yin-Yang! We really are so very different in so very many ways, except one way that is most important. We are ready to work together to impact our universe!

There is a palpable force that I feel when ever we are together that transcends the reality of the moment. Just like my belief that Twitter and I could do is my fervent belief that Scarlett and I WILL do...many things!!!!!

She is awesome and lovely and I admire and adore her for exactly who she is!

So it is that this particular person, armed with my story, creates magic. be continued...


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Travelers

July 8th, 2008

Dear Diary,

I believe that everything is infused with the Spirit of God. Even our actions and movements. Some people, things, movements and actions have very little of that Spirit. Some people, things, movements, actions have an abundance.

In the planning stages of the EPIC JOURNEY I had let the entire SIS Association know that any and all members were welcome. At first I wondered how smart this was because I had no clue as to how many would actually show up. I had no idea, then, if it would be a manageable number for me and my ADD brain. But, I decided since it was a spiritual journey for me, and that my intention infused the journey, that it would most likely be a spiritual journey for whomever came along. Though I would work diligently during our travels to ensure that every one stayed safe and happy, for the most part, any one individuals experience ( and perception ) was out of my hands and the journey would unfold and end up as it should. I believed that those who would end up coming would be the very people for which this journey had been called into being. ( Along with me, of course )

Love your neighbor as yourself.

The peace and existence of our world would be secured if we all lived by this one Truth.

That if you truly loved yourself ( were empty of fear which produces selfishness, and defensiveness ) you really would be free to act and re-act out of a self-less love for others. Love your neighbor AS yourself. Loving self comes first...then loving others selflessly.

The love in one that casts out fear....can make such a profound difference in the life of another. Just sharing our selves, which is a powerful act of love, makes that difference.

We all got up this morning cleansed, so to speak. We had had a great bonding evening that went a bit deeper than most bonding moments during a bike trip, I am guessing.

As I got ready for my day, still chuckling at all the goofy things that were said and done last night, I realized I had started to be changed by these women. I believe that these women, regardless of what reasons they gave themselves for coming on this trip, were called to it.

As I started to pack my bike I ( After having showered in Mosquito repellent, and I am NOT kidding ) I took a moment to take pictures of our steeds.


I could hear the sound of the brook near by as it tumbled ever closer to the big lake. The air was cool and damp; symptoms of the existing overcast sky that hinted of the weather moving in. Once in a while I could hear a car passing by on highway 61, but for the most part, nothing. Stillness. Air.....and me with the bikes.

Foxy's trike. Big and deep blue. A Honda. Stable on her three wheels. Ready to take a passenger or carry an extra piece of luggage. In essence, ready to assist. Reliable, easy to ride, ready to roll when you are.

This is Foxy. Foxy and her family own and operate a saw mill in central Wisconsin. She is without a doubt the picture you would see if a picture were included with the meaning of the phrase, "Salt of the Earth". Ya, Youbetchya!

After having been met by my brother and his wife in Bayfield the previous Sunday and led into Duluth as a special favor to me, Scarlett, Foxy and I then made our way to see my eighty-eight year old Mother in a care facility.

Foxy, I could tell, was not the least bit out of her element. She was at home with my Mom; with my "family visit". I knew that if my mom had asked her to help her to the bathroom, Foxy would have done so without a second thought for herself and then probably would have offered to help her with her daily ablutions too. That is just the kind of person she is.

There is a carefree and wild side to Foxy that, perhaps, isn't so welcome at times in the conservative environment of central Wisconsin. So, perhaps, she keeps some of who she is hidden a lot of the time. I wish that weren't so for her sake. But, that is why she came along with us. We got to know and love Foxy.....all of Foxy, not just part of her. Her spirit is very young, though it has weathered some difficult times. Foxy's oldest daughter died just a day or two after giving birth to Foxy's grandson nine years ago. Foxy has a big, beautiful tattoo on her chest of a fairy blowing stars from her hand and her daughter's name. Pam.

Foxy was called to this journey.

Then there is Twitter's bike next to Foxy's. Twitter's bike was re-named after much talk of frogs and flies and face-reddening, gut wrenching laughter. We named the bike 'Nooner'. A low slung V-Star 1100. Burgundy and Cream.

Nooner has the ability to have a side car attached. So that even though you may see only the bike, the reality is that there is a piece of Nooner missing when the sidecar is not in place. A beautiful bike on its own, Nooner is completed by the side car. This is Twitter ....and her daughter.

What little you know of Twitter through these entries would lead you to believe that Twitter lives a carefree existence, full of frivolity and humor. Though, indeed, she fills her life with humor it is out of necessity. Without her humor, her world would consume her. Twitter, or Leah as her family knows her, has three biological children. The older two boys, now in their early adulthood's, have some emotional problems that have, at times and even now, been extremely difficult to deal with. Her darling daughter, Angela, was born 12 years ago with Downs Syndrome.

The name Leah has its origins in Hebrew and means 'weary'. In her short life, Twitter certainly would have every excuse to be 'weary' given the amount of attention, care and concern her children require. Not to mention the worry that, is not required but, just comes with the territory. But as you have read, Diary, she is anything but weary. She defies her name and inspires those around her to deal with their moments as best as they can and trust that the Spirit will guide, support and provide, all while finding the humor in the moment...finding sanity to move forward. One, of many, ways that Twitter keeps sane is by writing her own blog about her life with her daughter Angela and life in general..... you can find it by clicking here: Garden of Eagan.

Nooner, as I mentioned can have a sidecar attached. Angela loves to ride in the side car. A mother and daughter bike. A proud mother. A gifted mother. An hilarious mother!
They are blessed to have each other!

Twitter was called to this journey

Then there is Scarlett's bike. I cannot look at Scarlett's bike without seeing her second bike in my minds eye. Scarlet started on a Savage 650 and then moved to a Honda Shadow 750. The 750 prepared her. Now she rides a Honda VTX 1300. A reliable, quiet bike that is low to the ground. Ready to move out when called upon and not needing to be fast. This bike handles well and will perform when asked. This is Scarlett.

Scarlett's first response when I strongly 'asked' her to come along on this trip was to say she wasn't certain she could. She didn't tell me then but she was doubting her riding abilities and her stamina. She had spent years not valuing her abilities and had been left a bit, i don't know, tired, worn down perhaps by a couple of relationships.

It took Scarlett some time to think it through and realize that she WANTED to go but lacked the 'moxy' so to speak. If you remember, Diary, I have already told you that she has more moxy than most! So she set out to eliminate anything that would give her reason to back out. She got her health issue under control, released her worry over family, got her VTX 1300 so she knew she would be comfortable and (when need be) faster. She took an Experienced Rider Course, bathed in moxy for months and put away her TV remote control. She opened her heart and her life and said she was coming.

Scarlett was called to this journey


And lastly, there is the 1200L Harley Sportster that belongs to me. A real workhorse of a bike with sparkles on top. Snappy throttle (voice) and lowered by design, custom seat
( ahem ) and progressive shocks. You can't get much lower to the ground. Maintained ( and that can get expensive ), it is always ready for a ride but sputters during warm up, though it is fuel injected. It will take whatever you give it whether it is an unpaved mountain road , a nice quiet highway, busy town traffic or a drop in gravel and handle all of it with a great sporting attitude. At the end of a long run it will take to keeping its revs higher at a stop, so it needs its cooling down time. But it doesn't take long for that and it is ready to roll again!

This is me. Like every one else I have my share of woes and have been knocked down by life on occasion....but like the sporty, I get back up, get dusted off, *sigh*...and off we go to try again!

One of the ways I cope is by hosting a motorcycle crash site dedicated to helping those who have lived through any type of motorcyle incident, and those who have lost a loved one to a crash. It is called Biker's Haven.

I was definitely called to this journey!


So here we are, all together and on the road, sharing a part of ourselves and a bit of life with one another. This is good Spirit energy. This is life changing love.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Kissing The Frog; The Final Chapter

So Diary,

As you have read we have already had quite the event filled day.

Scarlett and I have been on the road together now for one week and I think she has pushed the envelope, with regards to her riding skills, nearly every single day and proven to herself that she has the ability to handle whatever she encounters. I think she may be a bit road weary and a bit tired of me stalking her ass for more pictures. HAHAHAhahahahaha!!!!! But, I really don't care because it is just too darn funny to give up doing! Everyone needs a muse. Evidently Scarlett is mine for the duration!!! Heeheeheehee....

We have been a group of four now for about three full days and it has become apparent that Twitter and I were separated at birth ( and about six or seven years ).
It is like reuniting with a long lost twin. We talk over each other but say the same things. We make the same hand movements and gestures often simultaneously and end up inadvertently whacking each other. We ride with a similar slouch and treat our throttles with a snappy confidence. Our tendency toward impatience is exceeded only by our desire to laugh, make someone else laugh and the propensity to "fix" things even if nothing is broken. Photobucket

I am most confident that between the two of us we believe that we could do almost a plane if the pilot suddenly kicked the bucket....ride a horse bareback into town for help if Timmy falls into the shelter that would defy an earthquake and keep everyone warm and dry for years....find, take down and prepare food in the wilderness with a nail file, a bungee cord and hot bike pipes...or even sew a severed limb back on. About the only thing I know I can't do is pull out someones tooth. But I am betting Twitter could do that. And I know she has an aversion to reptiles, so I can cover her on that front. Yep...I think we are definitely a pair to be reckoned with, as 'they' say. The only problem I can foresee is that we would never be able to regain our strength from the constant and hysterical laughing that enslaves us, in order to actually 'do' any of those things.

So Diary, by the time we get to dinner this first night of the four of us being on the road we are ALL pretty weary. 'Cept for maybe Foxy. ( I could swear I saw her knitting as she was trekking down the highway today on that comfy trike!!! And you do realize, Diary, that there is no way for HER to win the 'Falling Down Pin' from me!! Blast! ) We enter the unsuspecting establishment, as is now our custom, screaming with laughter, talking loudly to compensate for the bike, wind and road noise which is still ringing in our ears and generally ignoring the personal space of every one else around us.

The wonderful thing is that never once has any one been offended or disturb. Quite the contrary, Diary. We seem to attract people and positive attention like honey attracts flies.

We stopped for dinner this Monday evening at a small pizza place in Grand Marais. Chatting, laughing, dirty and ready for anything we no sooner get all our gear off ( again ) and sit down when the first admirer arrives. A young local gent with nothing better to do than to sit at the table next to us while he eats and enjoy the show. When he leaves he actually comes up to us to thank us and wish us a great journey!

The next moth to the candle comes up from behind Scarlett. A woman in her late sixties, early seventies. She looks and sounds just like Dame Edna ( an English Female Impersonator) blue hair and all. It turns out she is nearly as humorous and she chats about her friends who ride four-wheelers through the woods and then ride to dinner sporting shirts that say something like, "Bad to the Bone" HAHAhahahahah! Can you picture THAT Diary???HAHAHAhahahahaha! When we ask her her name she stutters a bit and then responds in a more subdued tone than heretofore employed, "Well, my name is Sandy...except when I am in Arizona...then my name is Crystal!" **?????????????????**!!!!!!!!!!!!!** HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! OMG! Diary, we laughed so hard Twitter and I almost couldn't bear it! ( As Twitter is want to say, "Perhaps you had to be there." )

Before we left she got out her camera and got her picture taken with us! I tell you what, I won't soon forget that face or her enthusiasm!

On the way back to the motel Twitter and I decided we need a bottle of something so that we can have a cocktail before bed. This seems to really irk Scarlett, who as you will remember is pretty road weary by now. Scarlet takes off down the road with Foxy in tow ( much to Foxy's dismay ). It took Twitter and I a couple of minutes to stop focusing on just ourselves to figure out that Scarlett was unhappy. But, being us we figured we could 'fix' it back at the motel! Hahahaha ahhhhh!

It is apparent that when I get back Scarlett is upset. But here is the great thing about being on the road with women bikers. They pretty much take responsibility for their own garbage and issues. When I inform her that we can't go anywhere tomorrow until the air is cleared, and I profess my love and loyalty ( hee hee...i do love ya Scarlett! ) The day finally catches up to us and we melt into tears and while I hold her hand and we sit on the bed she shares a bit of her heart and personal story. In the middle of it Twitter presses her face against our window and we invite her in. Now the three of us are bonding and holding hands and in comes Bev. The team is complete. I get out my guitar and Twitter and I sing a few praise songs for every body ( HA!... I bet that's a surprise for some of you! ) and then a heart felt rendition of One Tin Soldier. ( You won't get that travelin' with stinky old boy bikers! )

It is at this point that the giddiness ( or was it the wine??? and by the way Scarlet didn't partake...THAT night anyway!) sets in and we start to laughing all over again. The fact that I found a strange bathroom device between the toilet and the shower which sparked Twitters imagination only added to the ensuing hilarity.

Just before calling it a night we briefly touch on the events of the day. It has been filled with some really weird energy and we are exhausted because of it. It is at this point we realize...WE DIDN'T KISS THE FROG THIS MORNING!!!!!

Well, Never again Diary. The moral to this little tale?...Always keep your frog handy and make certain it gets kissed every morning! (HAHAHAHahahaha...inside joke for Foxy, Scarlett and Twitter!)

Diary....don't forget to say a prayer....

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Kissing the Frog, Cont.

Dear Diary,

So there you have it.

There was quite an auspicious start to the day, I must say.

None-the-worse-for-wear, we 'throw a leg over' and off we go.

As we come out of the gas station, we head North on old highway 61 again.
We pass by the Glensheen mansion that we had visited yesterday
Photobucket and where I had taught Scarlett how to hunt for agates.Photobucket ...AND I just realized...ANOTHER great butt shot of her...way to go Twitter!!!!

...and we make our way to Two Harbors where we get a great photo with Paul Bunyan:

I never realized this as a child....but he isn't wearing any pants!!!!!
Or maybe I did and that is why I tormented Scarlett with taking butt shots of her for 17 days.(heeheehee) Also, notice Foxy (Bev) with her hand up his dress. She is a pip!

So, Diary, we are on our way up to a small motel between Grand Marais, Mn and Grand Portage, Mn. The trip is a short one today. We only have to travel about 120 miles. There are, however, some places that we must stop and show to Scarlett and Foxy. The first is Betty's Pies which has been a fixture on the shore for as long as I can remember.
When I was a young girl we would go several times a year to get pie at Betty's Pies and I have a vivid memory of my Dad and Betty chatting on one occasion when we were there to partake of the pastries that she made by hand each morning. YUMMY!!!!!Photobucket

(If you visit there, you must stop and see Gooseberry Falls which is very near to where you will have pie!)

From there we had one more stop to make before checking into our motel. We had to go show the girls Split Rock. A magnificent craggy cliff that is home to an 98 year old light house Photobucket

whose light first shone over the waters on August 1, 1910.

Really quite beautiful, it was always a place of wonder for me as a child and always available to all of God's people...Until now. NOW you have to pay 12.00 to see it.!!! Silly! And I am just realizing that, since Bev and Scarlett never did see it in person, this is the first time they are getting to see what they missed!!!!

Anyway, we left Betty's Pies all ready to get to Split Rock and be awed. We made our way down the narrow access road, deeper into the woods. As we pulled into the parking area, it just seemed a bit too full and busy to me and so I opted to follow the car ahead around a grove of pine and into the next parking area which was less congested. Scarlett followed me but Twitter and Bev opted for the first parking area.
We took our time taking off our gear, which was left on the bikes, Photobucket and met Twitter and Bev at the information window only to be disgusted by the fact that we now would have to pay. So, pragmatists that we are (as a group anyway), we decided to just continue on our way to the motel.

Now I have to back up...we started out the day, donning our gear....riding to Betty's Pies 45 minutes up the highway....taking off our gear and eating pie. Getting our gear back on and riding 20 minutes to Split Rock where we took off all our gear, deciding not to stay and getting all our gear back on, yet again!. So Twitter and Bev pull up and we are ready to take off when Scarlett hoists her bike upright. Did I mention that she had parked on an incline and was now hoisting her bike to the right....down the hill? Yes, well....she hoisted and just kept going . The next thing I see is her version of what it must look like to actually be shot from a canon. She tumbles to the ground, swearing and sputtering. I have to tell you Diary, she got up pretty darn quickly for someone older than me! ;)

At that point I decide that we need to just stop and settle down. All of a sudden Twitter exclaims that we need a "falling down pin". An award given to those who fall off their bikes. Not a crash mind you, but a fall, or a drop.
SOOOoooo, we take off all our gear, AGAIN, and we march ourselves into the Split Rock Gift Shop, talking, laughing and gesturing wildly about the incident. We find a pin Photobucket and without hesitation I call those in the shop to attention and with much pomp and flair we "pin" Scarlett and all present applaud her!

Once the ceremonial shenanigans are dispensed with , we make our way back to our bikes, put all of our gear BACK on and carefully make our way through the woods to the highway.

Now here it is important for me to fill you in on riding formations. In the world of motorcycling there are some techniques that are endorsed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation ( or MSF ). One involves group riding. During group riding it is important to ride in a staggered formation so that all riders have a safety cushion of space around them in order to maneuver and handle their bikes with little risk of encountering another rider traveling with them. So, if I am leading then I will ride in the far left third of the lane while the next rider will ride in the far right third of the lane and at least one second behind the first. The next rider will be in the left third and one second behind the second rider and two seconds, then, behind the first and so on.

In our group I was, in fact, leading. Then behind me and to my right was Bev on her Trike and then directly behind me but two seconds back was Scarlett and behind and to the right of Scarlett was Twitter. This is how we had been riding for about two days. When we left Split Rock, this is the formation we took to on the highway. That is until Twitter decided that Bev wasn't close enough to me (and she wasn't) and didn't want to keep playing catch when her frustration level reached a point where she could no longer be patient, she decided she would change her place in formation and take the place behind me and to my right. Except that no-one had informed Bev and me of that when I saw Twitter running full throttle from the back of formation, up the lane for on-coming traffic, well...ya know...I thought just maybe, something was wrong. Maybe she forgot something at the last stop...maybe she has to pee really badly....maybe she is sick...I don't know. It just seemed as though I should pull over and find out why she was racing up the highway in the other lane.

So, being the good Mom that I am, I pull over. I pull over into the 8 inches of pavement beyond the white line that designates the side of the lane. I pull over, into the 8 inches of pavement that ends and drops two inches to a gravel shoulder. Ok, are you listening Diary?...Cause, I pull over into 8 inches of pavement, bordered by a gravel shoulder and put my right foot down EXCEPT I forget I have short stubby little German stumps for legs and with the two inch drop from the pavement to the gravel there just isn't ANY hope of balance and I now give the ladies and passersby a peek at MY interpretation of what I think being shot from a canon must look like.

As I abandon myself to the slo-mo experience of being unceremoniously "spat" from the top of my bike, my hands release the handle bars and reach up and to my right as though I am diving off the high dive platform in the Olympics. As I (regrettably) continue leaving my machine I scurry to keep my right foot from being pinned under the teetering beast and push my self with said foot further away from the bike only to realize I have just launched myself over the last bit of level ground and am now airborn over a ravine. Surprisingly it did not take much of an effort to twist while flying ( i think it was the perfect arm and hand position ) and I am able to land on my well padded back. As I continue to tumble "ass over teakettle" down the hill and through the tall grass that lines the ravine; unable now to control any of my limbs, my big bobbley head or my laughter, all I can think of, and actually say when I struggle to my feet, winded and YES 'FLASHING', "Give me that freakin' Falling Down Pin"!!!!! ( i might add here I didn't actually say "freakin")

So, after hoisting my bike back upright, picking up a few crystals that had come off the windscreen when it hit the gravel and not 20 minutes after having pinned Scarlett, we hold another ceremony at the side of the road and I get pinned!

It occurs to me at this point that it feels as though we are in some strange version of a triathlon or something.....rain, wind, excessive heat, stopping, going, deer dodging, taking off gear, putting on gear, taking off gear, pumping gas, riding hard, pumping gas....falling down, getting up, flying through the air, tumbling down much can you do and how quickly can you do it all?????....HAhahahaha....and we aren't even half way through the trip yet. HAHAhahahaha...what is next in the Octathlon?????....Just wait Diary...just wait!

So we finally make it to our hotel, take off our gear and get to rest and look at the lake.

I show off my pinPhotobucket

and before you know it we are hungry. Thats right Diary...GEAR ON! and off to find dinner!

The day is not nearly over yet Diary, but I think we should take another break!


Always Kiss the Frog!

July 7, 2008

Dear Diary,

LOLololol....ahhhhhh, i crack myself up sometimes!!! As I was thinking about what to "title" this entry I thought about the great travelers going west and how in movies 'they' would yell "Westward Ho"

...Lolololo, however I thought that "Northbound Ho(s)".....LOLOlololol.....well, that somehow that just wasn't right...hahahahah! Funny, mind you, but not the picture I wanted...hahahah,Ahhhhh!


So when Scarlet and I left New Jersey, two of our riding sisters came to send us off. They brought two little ornaments each one sporting one of their names. They also brought a tiny pewter frog. Frogs are supposed to be a symbol of good luck!

We had very few traditions develop on this ride...perhaps only two. One was to tell each other to ride safe when we started out on the bikes and the other was to kiss that little pewter frog every morning.PhotobucketPhotobucket

I guess taking butt shots of Scarlett could be thought of as a tradition if we travel together again and I resume taking them....for this trip, tho', I think they fall into the category of "If you have ADD you will find something fun to do (no matter where you are or how physically uncomfortable you've become) to pester your traveling companion!"
PhotobucketPhotobucket Photobucket >Photobucket
the following is a "half-assed" attempt, heeheehee

and the Piece de Resistance:


I really could have sworn I took more. I very well may have taken more, but with someone else's camera....I wonder whose?

I would wait and wait and wait (with my camera hidden from view), for Scarlet to squat. There were times when I would have forgotten my camera and I just knew a good butt shot was around the corner. So I would make up a lame excuse to leave what we were doing in order to go and get it. My recollection is she never disappointed! HAhahaha.

Then there was Twitter....I never had to wait. She just seemed to come by it naturally. Heeheeheehee.
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

So, anyway, Scarlett and I faithfully kissed that frog every morning. Sometimes it would even sit on the table while we ate our breakfasts. Sometimes we would remember it just as we were getting on the bikes to leave and Scarlett would have to dig it out of her saddle bag in order for the tradition to be observed.

When Foxy and Twitter joined up with us they were made to kiss the frog as well. Surprisingly, they did it without complaint! Diary, it's weird what you can get perfect strangers to do!

So on Monday the 7th of July we were ready to head out. We awoke to a beautiful, sunny, albeit, cool day. We ate a continental breakfast compliments of the beautiful Comfort Suites Hotel which sits right on the shore of Lake Superior in Duluth, and with warm riding gear donned, we rode north.

Our first stop was for gas and air for Scarlett's and my rear tires. We all pulled up to the pumps and topped off our tanks. Scarlet and I headed to the air compressor which was located next to a parked, white, SUV while Foxy and Twitter pulled in front of said vehicle to wait for us.

Diary, have you ever done 5 or 6 deep knee bends and then, while holding a perfect squat and your breath, tried to put your finger on a mark no bigger than a number 2 pencil eraser that is buried under saddle bags and hidden behind a disc, all while wearing a full football uniform (helmet, full set of pads, outerwear, gloves and protective foot wear, the equivalent of what I have on at that point)??? OMG....anywho....there we are trying to get air in our tires....Scarlet finishes and pulls her bike out of the way so that I can access the compressor. I bend down to get the cap off the tire, stand up and reach for the hose, bend down and search for the valve, struggle with getting the nozzle on, just right, so that I am actually putting air in the tire and not releasing it. I stand back up and find the tire gauge. I bend down and search for the valve. I measure the tire pressure and am relieved that it is right on the mark. I stand BACK up, now a bit sweaty despite the cool breeze because, OF COURSE, I am 'flashing' (did I mention I was fifty???) and winded 'cause of all the gear AND
(I realize now) the fact that I have neglected to open the visor on my helmet so I am breathing in my own exhalations with every exertion and am losing my vision while my face has an odd tingling feeling. I replace the compressor hose and bend back down to search and struggle to replace the valve cover. I am so weak at this point from lack of oxygen that I have to get on all fours and am trying to peer through my bike gear to replace the freakin' cap when all of a sudden my bike starts to move! Now, nearly unconscious and burdened with full riding gear (which, by the way, is like having your own freakin' portable sauna bath when your 'flashing'), I can barely get to my feet when I realize that some hair-brained female (yes , I said it!) is backing into my bike.

Her rear wheel well (for lack of better description) on her passenger side is in direct contact with my Swarovsky crystaled wind shield and it is at its breaking point AND causing my front forks to turn sharply to the left as well.

Of course now, finally on my feet, I feel adrenaline pumping through every cell in my body, my heart is racing, I start screaming obscenities (which of course cannot be heard because my helmet visor is down) and because I am screaming I use up every last bit of oxygen in the helmet. I reach up to my helmet just as my knees begin to buckle and my vision dims to slap it open. I am rewarded by the sudden rush of clean, crisp Lake air! As I come back to my senses I hear Twitter berating the woman ( as only an intellegent, ADD Minnesotan of German descent [ gee, that sounds oddly familar] can do ) with, "OH MY GAWD! USE YOUR MIRRORS! THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE THERE FOR!"

As luck would have it there was a police officer getting gas at the pump right behind me and his presence seemed to calm everyone down rather quickly....and since there was no damage to my bike we left without having to report anything. We did notice, however, as the SUV pulled out that there was a foot long swath of scratches about two and a half inches wide down the panel over the rear wheel (from the crystals) that will have to be explained to hubby.

Diary, Let's take a breather before I tell about the rest of the day.