Welcome to Demeneshea’s Ride Like a Girl!

I began motorcycle riding in 2004, a time when many people found it an odd or adventurous challenge for a woman no longer a glowing youth. My glow may be a bit tarnished, but my patina flowed into my second or third childhood! I found myself searching everything I could find to read and re-read regarding motorcycling, touring, safety, machines, destinations, and anything somewhat motorcycle related. I read, rode, practiced and learned.

Now many thousand miles later, I enjoy finding others like myself, wanting to ride, looking for places to go and information to get there. Read More

The final leg of the Big Money Rally Run to the SW!!!

Ok…finally let’s wrap this journey up!!!
I grabbed the first motel in Holbrook which happened to be an American’s Best Value. I wasn’t expecting much, but it ended up being super clean, crazily painted, and had a great bed. What more can one expect, all that and for under 60 bucks. They provided a voucher for breakfast at the diner sharing the property, which was awesome, so the entire situation was a win win.

Ok, I was ready to make my way gathering points up into Utah. Let’s start with a map of the route.

For those that haven’t ridden this area, much of where you will ride is on Native American Reservations. Mostly they are poor, the area in disarray and the people very very kind. I have been though much of what our government deemed “good country” for the native Americans, but I can tell you in riding though much of this land, it’s mostly what our forefathers thought useless. Whatever your thoughts, it’s high desert and very pretty, though little will grow except for the winds.

This area is simply the quintessential backdrop for all westerns. Just look at these painted plateaus.

I swear, if I was going to make a film about American Indian natives or cowboys, it would be filmed here.

When I stopped for gas I couldn’t help but chuckle at the Judd sign. I mean seriously, what else could anyone desire???

After bagging the local library for points, I found this bonus word of Dog in what I felt was a reasonably artistic sign.

What I discovered about rally riding, was that you don’t always get what you want….sound familier??? Once again, I had to go north to go south. In Panguitch, UT, i got the library and the beautiful courthouse points.

Once my mission in Panguitch was complete, I wanted to head the most scenic way possible to Cedar City, UT to get another bonus point and then from there to St. George. I had no idea just what the passes held. Let’s just say the heated gear certainly came in handy at 10,000 ft!!!

Once in Cedar City, I decided to simply jump on the freeway and make my way to St. George. Man o’ man, as I entered the freeway, the speed limit was 80mph. WOW…now these guys know how to ride in the desert!!

I called Gary my husband/concierge and he got me set up in a motel in St. George. I found an awesome sushi place sharing the same lot as the motel and called it a night! I was very content.

I was up early and out so I could grab the local courthouse for BMR points and then found some awesome sculptures around the same area.

Love this guitar!

Another beautiful bronze. This area of St. George was very scenic.

I consulted my maps and decided I could make Beatty try to grab a couple of NV Cat House bonus points and see if I could actually make Ridgecrest via Trona and Wildrose Canyon.

On my way around LV, I finally made it to the Valley of Fire and just in time to see all the amazing wildflowers. Wow, it was extraordinary. I really wish the focus had been better with this shot!

The “heart” of the wildflowers.

As I rode to Beatty, I skirted a downpour nearly the entire way.

It caught me for about 2 minutes!

I got a shot of the local brothels for my BMR points and headed into Death Valley. There was lots of wind, but the day was gorgeous.

I wanted to go through Trona so I could get the library points and decided it would be best to utilize the Wildrose Trona Canyon short cut. NOT……

Here began 29 miles of dirt and rock. Lovely…but simply too far along to turn back. I put on my big girl pants and carried on, but being solo on these roads is a bit disconcerting, I must admit.

This is what was at the other end of the road. Nice of them to close it on one side and not on the other.

I got some serious dirt riding with my new baby. I don’t think it liked dirt any more than the Bandito. My dirt skills suck too, but i remained upright. Once I connected to 190, I found a group of street riders along the side of the road. I stopped and chatted with them and they were awestruck that I had gone through the canyon. They thought i was either nuts or had some and of course neither was true, well, maybe a little nuts. ;)

They told me that upcoming was about 3 miles of gravel and it wasn’t fun, but would be nothing after the canyon. Well, I’m not so sure about that. The gravel was about 8 inches think and I was terrified as the bike squirreled around. I just thought of my pal John, saying in my ear, “when in doubt, gas it out”. So, I did and made it just fine.

I was ever so glad to reach Trona knowing Ridgecrest was only a few miles farther. I asked Gary to book a Best Western as it was time to be a bit spoiled. As nasty as Ridgecrest is, the BW is a reward. They have a spotless hot tub and an awesome breakfast. I also met two French travelers who had done a tour though Eaglerider and they were a wonderful addition to the day. We visited and
did bike admiration. I queried as to what they rode at home to discover they had a DL1000 Vstrom. They said, “when in American, we had to ride an American classic”, so they did. He did say, it was perfect for the roads they had traveled, but he could not see it fairing well on the narrow roads of France. I had to concur.

Here is Eric and Sylviane. I hope to visit them in France soon!

I considered how to get home. I wanted to do it in a day, but knew it would be a long one. So, I decided I could gather more points going up Hwy 395 bagging libraries along the way. It was an amazing day of riding!!

The Lone Pine film museum

I adore the old neon and this in Bishop is classic.

I went up 6 to Benton to get library points and then took Benton Crossing to Mammoth for more library points. The road was perfect!!

The White Mountains

The Sierra Nevada Range. I was feeling very nostalgic for home.

Tufa in Mono

Monitor Pass was wide open so I briskly sailed over one of my favorite cut off roads and while in Markleeville, got yet another library point! I headed over Hwy 88 for my final miles.

And at last the rolling hills near Sacramento.

It had been 15 days and over 3000 miles. I was very content with my new machine and my re-polished skills!

St. George to Ridgecrest, although google wouldn’t route me over Wildrose Trona…like i don’t know why! ;)

Ridgecrest to home

Big Money Rally continues across NM into AZ and UT

The next chapter!
I actually slept in a bit and didn’t get up until nearly 8am. The wind was already blowing, although without nearly the power that would come later in the day. I geared and packed up and headed to my friend’s home 30 miles east of Albuquerque but stopped on the way to get a BMR shot of the Madonna statue.

It was early in the day when I arrived at Colleen’s home but not without challenge. The directions she provided were impeccable and the GPS followed them perfectly, however I was not convinced they were correct and turned a dirt road early and ended up having to do a 6 point u-turn as she watched me from the correct street. We both had a good laugh when I finally arrived!

Colleen’s lovely home

The wind picked up with high warnings for the next couple of days and I found myself enjoying the hospitality of my friend and her two wonderful children. I even watched a few episodes of Kino’s Journey a great anime tale of a motorcyclist traveling in dystopian society.

Good Morning Chickens…

Fancy pants or is that stole?

The morning is truly special in the desert. Just look at that light!

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The Big Money Rally continues…

I’ve been visiting friends. The first was a moto-pal in Edgewood 30 miles east of Albuquerque, and now I’m in Truth or Consequences with some wonderful pals from my days of living in Alaska. I am fortunate to have some great places to stay along my journey. I didn’t get many BMR shots in Albuquerque due to the extreme winds, but got a few points. I also had to spend a few hours at Moto-Authority http://moto-authority.com/ getting a new rear tire and rear brakes. Apparently they were totally glazed and down to nothing, so I had to assume the previous owner used them frequently. The tire, well, it was getting squared off even though I tried to keep enough inflation to deem that impossible. I guess it just happens! Well, I’m skipping ahead so I’ll get back to where I left off.

I was “leaving Las Vegas” without a bit of remorse and wanted to get to Kingman, AZ and get on Route 66 to make a few scenic stops. I thought I’d encounter some travelers along Route 66, but found myself to be the lone motorcyclist. I reached Seligman and grabbed a couple of bonus points but didn’t daudle as I had been there twice before. Instead I aimed for Williams, a place I had heard was cute and a piece of historic Route 66 kitsch. It was both.
Great road name!!

Imagine my surprise finding that Elvis was not dead but living in Williams.

Classic Neon Kitsch!

Williams was really pretty darned cute.

Renaissance Faire in Grand Canyon??

All along I40 are roadside attractions of bygone times. Here is Twin Arrows.

Made it to Winslow and got this awesome bonus point shot!

Standing on the corner…I decided Winslow is pretty sad. They spend a small fortune of city money to commemorate a song by the Eagles, but forgot that there was more than just a corner. It’s relatively run down, looks like a pair of sadly worn gloves and the people seem very much affected by the economic downturn. I met a Native American man who was rolling in a wheelchair with only one leg. He stopped to talk about my bike and told me he was a Paiute from NV had gotten run over by a pickup truck and had never left. Though both he and the driver were inebriated, it stuck me as a sad turn of events and a hell of way to pick a place to live.

I thought what an awesome place this must have been in its hayday!

More Winslow.

In Holbrook, AZ I found the Dino Walking Dead.

Yep, another roadside attraction!

From Holbrook I wandered to Springerville into what looked like the eye of a big storm. I was hoping to bag my first big 3 point bonus with the help of the Madonna of the Trail. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madonna_of_the_Trail­

It was a quick stop in Springerville and I carried on while gaining some education regarding cloud cover and what is called Virga, which is wisps of precipitation evaporating before reaching the ground.

I rode through Virga for a good portion of the day and never saw a drop of rain!!

However I did see some seriously BEAUTIFUL country!

An interesting mistake…

It was between Quemado, NM and Gallup over an truly lovely road, Hwy 180 that I did encounter a bit of rainfall, but really very little compared to how the skies appeared.

The most noted annoyance was not the rain but that of the cold! The elevation here is nearly 8K feet and I ended up having to don my heated gear in temps of the low 40s. I arrived in Gallup early enough to shoot the courthouse gaining another 3 point bonus. I also met another Native American who tried dearly to convince me to give him a ride to a bus station across town. I declined as honorably as I could. ;)

I rode on to Grants and found a place to stay.

Albuquerque next…

Big Money Rally…CA, NV, AZ, NM, TX as weather allows!

I never thought I’d need motivation to go for a motorcycle ride, however this winter has been one where even though the weather wasn’t bad, I just wanted to hole up and vegetate. I haven’t been motivated to do art, to do much knitting or even to get into some fine cooking, so when I signed up for the Big Money Rally, I had a reason to get out and ride.

I took a short jaunt in February over to Monterey gathering my first BMR bonuses, but then parked my poor beautiful bike making him the king of the garage. After a month of reading other people’s ride reports, I told myself to shed the apathy and go for a ride!!

I planned out a week plus ride covering about 5K miles. I needed at least that to sharpen my dulling skill level. I checked the bikes and even though the Bandit had better tires, I decided I needed to spend some more time bonding with the BMW, so I got it out of the garage, polished it up, checked fluids and tire pressure and was good to go. I loaded up my stuff, which I’m proud to say that over the years has gotten smaller, though I still need my hair gel!

Shooting into the sun is sometime fortuitous.

I got out of Sacramento relatively late, considering I desired traveling to Ely in one day stopping along the way to get some BMR bonus points. Ely is nearly 500 miles which for you iron butt riders is nothing, but for my “not so iron butt” is more than enough! At least I had daylight savings time on my side, but still I didn’t roll into Ely until a good hour of riding in the dark encountering Elk and very slow speeds! American’s loneliest highway 50 is just that in March past dusk!

First stop was to see one of the old highway markers for the Lincoln Highway. This one is located right outside of Reno just off the now I80.

This shot ended up being my favorite.

One of the BMR bonus categorizes that breathed some life in my ride to Ely was that of Cathouses of NV. I have to admit never having visited one and here finally, was my chance. I knew there were two right outside of Reno. The ever-famous Mustang Ranch and the Wild Horse Saloon. This was my lucky day, as I not only got my bonus photos, but met some of the girls.
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How effective is rider training??

Streetmasters Precision Cornering Workshop

I read an interesting article in MCN last month by Ken Condon who is a well known MSF RiderCoach as well as the author of Riding in the Zone: Advanced Techniques for Skillful Motorcycling. He stresses the importance of of safety and measuring risk then riding within that measure. I enjoyed the article and the fact he also stresses that an “arrogant, know-it-all instructor creates an instructor-focused atmosphere which rarely results in an emotionally and psychologically safe learning environment”. Wow, I can’t agree more.

I was fortunate in that my MSF instructor was a woman who couldn’t have made me feel any more welcome. She asked great open ended questions and didn’t make you feel like your reply was going to be scrutinized and dissected mortifying the learner. I felt she aptly protected each of us on the course, even to the point of sending home one student who after being asked to show up in over the ankle boots, did not. She made the environment fun, the learning special and the approach professional. I easily passed my test after her instruction, but left knowing this was only day one of a very long journey into riding proficiency.

Now for the shocking stats I found in the article:
“Studies have shown that formal rider training is effective in reducing crashes for the first several months after a rider gets his or her course completion card. However, the benefits of rider training seem to fade over time so that trained riders are involved in crashes at a similar rate as riders who did not take a safety course”.

What I take from this wake-up is that we all need to keep our skills sharp and to keep our “training” everlasting with more courses, riding with better riders than ourselves, and continued reading regarding safety. We also need to set that focus for all new riders, so that they know they know to keep up the cycle of learning. I think rider training is definitely the way to go for all riders, especially if you have a good instructor, that is patient and focused on your safety and learning. It is said, “if the wheels aren’t turning, the students aren’t learning,” which is precisely the point. We all have to “do” to learn and a good safety conscientious instructor will get us out on the course sooner than later. Clear concise instruction and doing seem to be the perfect combination.

What has been your learning experience and what works best, in your opinion? Do you feel rider trainer is effective.

Same course another year another bike…the Horse Thief Mile.