Archive for April, 2013

Think…Test Your Awareness

I love these! I am always amazed at how I miss the obvious which is the paint here. The mind is focused on what it usually sees so can easily miss something new, which is why we as motorcyclists are constantly told, “I just didn’t see you”.

When you watch this short video concentrate on the first few seconds of the video and then watch the rest. I’m certain you’ll be surprised.

This video was brought to my attention by David Hough who spoke at the Streetmasters Reunion. If you haven’t seen his books, I highly recommend you do so. He has pertinent information for ALL riders, experienced and newbies both!

So, how observant were you???

A new Look and Streetmasters Motorcycle Workshop’s First Graduate Reunion in San Luis Obispo, CA

My friends at Streetmasters have been busy! Only a few weeks ago, their training center at the Horse Thief Mile at Willow Springs raceway was ravaged by high winds and all of their tents and awnings destroyed, which prompted a facelift. This was provided as a surprise by the Easter Bunny!! Imagine Walt and Nancy’s surprise!!

From this…

To this…

Now they are all set for their upcoming training schedule. I highly recommend joining them, if possible for some of the best experienced rider training around!! I have attended twice and am ready to make it to my third! Check um out!

Now about the upcoming Streetmaster Reunion!

Several months ago, Walt Fulton and Nancy Foote decided to put together a graduate student reunion for Streetmasters Grads and their significant others. In doing so, they got a wonderful line up of speakers and hands on activities which include riding some of California’s finest coastal roads. The event will take place April 26-28 and full information can be found here. But I am listing the highlights here.

David Hough will be there to speak sharing his boundless motorcycle experience, signing his books including his new book Mastering the Ride: More Proficient Motorcycling, 2nd Edition. He’ll be speaking about, “Why Don’t They See Us?” and “Riding with the Caveman Brain” to promote becoming better safer riders.

Fred Rau, motorcycle journalist best known to many of us from Motorcycle Consumer News, will also be sharing his newest motorcycle adventures from New Zealand. He will also have his new book available for signing, Motorcycle Touring Bible.

Bruce Brown and his son Dana Brown of On Any Sunday (OAS) and On Any Sunday Revisited fame will show a narrated version of the classic film and be there to add their candid personal tales.

Craig Vetter, creator of the Windjammer fairing and who did design work for Triumph (the Hurricane), Honda (Goldwings‚Ķ), Harley and others will be on hand to share his long term accomplishments in the industry. His newest venture, Vetter Fuel Challenge events, boasts of needing only a 16-horsepower scooter and streamlining to travel 75 mph while squeezing 80 miles out of a gallon of gas. I’m all ears for this presentation!!

Also Tom Hensley, who owns Burt Munro’s legendary streamliner and will have it on display for us to see!

All these events plus riding the beautiful roads will have a weekend chock full of delectable motorcycle goodness and quite frankly, I can’t wait and will follow up with a ride report and event details and photos sometime next week. Stay tuned…

Women motorcycling alone and why every female should try it…

This morning I read an article in the Huff Post entitled “Why Every Woman Should Travel Alone (At Least Once in Her Life)“. Though I find a good many of the Huff Post’s women’s section articles pretty darned trite, I did find this one quite interesting, even though it was not geared to motorcycle rides specifically, much of what she states applies. I did want to respond to her points of why as well as state a few of my own.

Traveling alone because no one would go with me.
I find my reasons for solo travel a conscious choice bordering on selfish. The idea that I’d travel solo due to having no one to join me, is absurd. I wouldn’t even bother to ask anyone. I go because I enjoy the solace. Motorcycle travel is a solo experience, even when you go with other riders. You alone handle your machine, making safety decisions all by yourself. You don’t consult anyone on what gear to be in or how much lean should be in a turn. It’s solely up to you, the rider. There are riders that carry communication systems, but still the riding decisions are theirs alone. Motorcycling is a solo activity, even with a companion.

Traveling alone to live without compromise.
I totally agree with Hermal! I enjoy traveling solo, knowing the daily decisions of where to go, what to do, what to see are mine alone. I enjoy the process of mapping out the area I plan on reaching after a day of moto-travel and settling in for the evening. One of my least favorite activities when traveling alone is eating dinner out. Upon arrival, I usually find a open market, buy what is acceptable to call dinner and eat in my motel. It’s rare that I go to a restaurant and sit by myself, only because I don’t enjoy it. I’d much rather peruse the web with wifi in my room and eat something light. Now, I have to admit, if someone has shared a restaurant that has gotten rave reviews, I will partake in a meal, but that usually isn’t the case.

Travel alone and you will discover that you are a total bad ass.
As silly as this sounds, she is quite right on this point. Nothing is as empowering as doing something totally on your own. You alone are making daily decisions which ultimately lead to personal triumph and a sense of autonomy. This is a good thing!!

Have a Plan A, Plan B (And a Plan C, Plan D etc.)
This goes without saying. When motorcycle traveling, always have alternate routes. I rarely make motel reservations, since most charge you to cancel. When I know I am going into a town, I will often call my husband and he, using his computer, will situate me in a motel and let me know where. If he isn’t available, I just chance it and scan the places as I come into town, looking for good rates, wifi and a decent looking place. The evening before, with wifi access, I usually check motels alone my planned routes so upon arrival, I recognize some of the places and have some idea what I am in for. When the routing completely changes, so does my entire game plan, but then that too is part of the process of empowerment! I always have alternate plans and routes handy.

Get wherever you’re going before nightfall
I always TRY to adhere to this rule, however sometimes it’s simply not possible, due to road construction, following the GPS to the letter only to discover that the road it led me to was 40 miles of dirt or just leaving late in the morning for one reason or another. It’s a good rule to follow, but know there may be times, you end up arriving after dark.

Never get trashed when you’re traveling alone.
This goes without saying. However, I do like having a ritual drink after I arrive and secure my night’s lodging. ūüėČ

You will get a little bit lonely
As I explained earlier, it get a little bit lonely when dining alone, so I think that’s part of why I don’t do it. However, I enjoy my solo time sorting photographys, writing, watching a chick flix, or simply relaxing. If I am feeling lonely, I can start up a conversation with another guest, or someone at the store, or another rider at a rest area or wherever. I usually have plenty of resources for meeting others on my journeys. I adore hot springs and undoubtedly when I go soak, I meet others who can add to the color of the journey. I also visit National Parks and have many opportunities to chat with people. On an occasion or two, I have had a cocktail somewhere after arriving at my destination, knowing riding for the day is done. That is another opportunity to visit with others. I never really seem to lack people to visit, so loneliness really isn’t any issue for me.

I did find this article interesting, after responding to Hermal’s reasons, I considered my own reasons that women should travel alone.

Gaining Confidence You feel good about yourself and your confidence grows.

Exploring One’s inner thoughts otherwise called Introspection Where there is no one else around, you have the opportunity to take both a critical and supportive look at yourself and your inner works. I always have time to reexamine my feelings regarding my live.

Learning how to travel safely which contributes to your confidence What do you do to assure your safety? Every woman should consider her own safety and when traveling alone this is imperative. One must always exercise common sense, and take some of today’s safety assessories. You can carry ICE information, bring along a SPOT GPS locator, carry a cell phone, have emergency contacts and numbers on your person, either with a dog tag, a wrist strap or within ones jacket. Some motorcycle jackets have special pockets for ICE information. I know women riders that carry pepper spray or even a licensed firearm. I do not carry either, and have never felt unsafe without them, at least thus far! Which brings me to the my final reason that women should travel solo at least ever so often.

The kindness of Strangers One of my favorite aspects of solo travel is finding how soulful and kind most other travelers can be. When I am on a journey, I usually meet others just as passionate regarding travel as I. I find people sharing “secret” roads to hidden wonderlands, places that should not be missed, advice for me regarding my motorcycle, or any number of wonderful stories. I have had others share meals with me, or ask me to join them as they converse. People have sought me out to talk motorcycles, politics, travel, and any number of other subjects along roadways, in NPs, or in rest areas among other places. It’s always nice to meet other motorcyclists and especially if I get the privilege of meeting female riders, of which we are seeing more and more.

One of the magical places I was sent: Lee’s Ferry.

I do hope that more female riders get out and experience a solo ride on the open road. It’s exhilarating, fun and absolutely one of my favorite way to ride. It gives me plenty of helmet time to reflect upon how I live my life and even more time to thank my lucky stars that I am fortunate enough not only to travel when I desire but to have the time to put it to memory with photos and write this blog post!! Cheers and Happy Riding!! ūüėČ

Feel like Royalty with a Triumph ‘Royal Wedding’ Bonneville circa 1981

How sweet is this bike?? Not only is it a piece of history but it’s an amazing reissue of the 1977 Bonneville only this one has a chromium gas tank and electric starter. One recently sold at Bonham’s for ¬£3,680. Seems like a fair price. I’d love to ride one and have to wonder if this bike has soul! Beautiful.

Desert Fever–Part 5 to home!

Today’s map between Bullhead City and Big Pine. 416 miles

Laughlin is a strip of casinos along the river.  I rode by on the opposite side and got this shot.  Not great, but you get the idea.

Hwy 163 out of Bullhead City heading to LV is a blast. ¬†It’s a bunch of big sweepers that climb out of the valley. ¬†I imagine it’s probably patrolled, but I saw no one and threw caution to the wind, literally. ¬†It was a very fun ride and charged my morning. ¬†I know that some of what I would be riding was going to be totally dull so I decided to have fun where I could. ¬†

I nearly missed the turn off to Nipton in the middle of Searchlight, NV, as it’s barely marked. ¬†The road swings left and you ride into a Joshua Tree filled desert. ¬†It’s very pretty there.

But there are miles and miles of nothing.

Until you get to Baker, CA and see this place.  Then you know you have reached heaven. ; )  The Mad Greek makes awesome Baklava.

Heading to DV via Shoshone and Badwater or Hwy 178. ¬†178 is a wonderful road and the back way into DV. ¬†It’s full of some fine riding as the elevation drops into DV and heats up along the way.

I saw this group of cruisers in Baker as they pulled out to leave and I was getting off the bike to shoot the Mad Greek. ¬†I was about 15-20 minutes behind when I came upon them. ¬†They were riding the speed limit, out in the middle of nowhere. ¬†I guess people do that…It made passing this parade an easy task. ¬†

The day went from sunny to cloud covered which meant that the valley would be hot and humid. ¬†I was glad to have water, but sorry I didn’t bring my camelbak.

Riding into Shoshone.

Riding 178

This guys were pretty sad looking and hanging out on the road. ¬†I tried to convince them that they needed to find some shade, but they weren’t having any of it.

Badwater, NV.  The lowest spot in the US at 282 ft below sea level.

Even thought I had filled my tank in Baker, by the time I had reached Furnace Creek, I was afraid to let my gas get lower.  It was reading one blinking bar which means about 1.5 gallon left.  I knew the next gas was in Beatty, NV which was about 50 miles or so.  Better safe than sorry, so I got 1.8 gal for $10.  Geeze.

I stopped in Beatty and filled up and then headed back over my two favorite passes, 266 to 168. ¬†It’s amazing how different a road can be going the other direction. ¬†I had a blast once again and reached Big Pine, CA about 5ish. ¬†I knew that Carson City was at least 4 hours away so decided to terminate my ride here for the night. ¬†I found a small old skool motel called the Bristlecone Motel. ¬†The rate was $55. ¬†Not bad.

Across the street (highway) is an Italian restaurant, but my dilemma is always the same.  I hate eating solo.  I instead opted for a sandwich made by the deli in the Mobile Station.  She made it to order with 4 kinds of cheese and veges on a croissant.  I was content and got a nice bottle of Pinot Grigo to have with it.  Mmmmm.

I downloaded photos, posted to my forum and called it a night.

Hwy 266 at Lida Junction…beautiful sky!

Gratuitous Bandit shot

The top of 266.

Tomorrow Big Pine to home!

Some of the goofiest comments come from non riders. ¬†A guy sweeping up the parking lot of my motel in Bullhead City said, “I never seen no woman on that type of bike, ¬†” to which I replied, what type of bike would that be? ¬†And he said, “well, one of those tall sporty bikes.” ¬†I had to assume he had not seen many women riders except those riding cruisers to Laughlin events. ¬†He said “he had also never seen no woman riding alone, not ever”. ¬†Wow…what a profound statement, since never a long damned time.¬†

I don’t know, maybe i’m thinking too much about this, but he seems to represent a great bunch of the non riding community. ¬†I can’t tell you how many questions I get about why I am riding alone, why I am married and don’t travel with my husband, why I ride the bike I ride and so on. ¬†It’s a very fine line to walk and be taken seriously as a rider. ¬†People don’t understand why anyone would want to ride solo, let alone a woman riding solo. ¬†I have tried to explain on several occasions, but I get that glassy-eyed look that deer have in headlights. ¬†No explanation no matter how worthy, will rise to their understanding. ¬†

Each time I set off on a journey, I get at least a couple of credulous responses from people that want to but can not understand my passion. ¬†I, on more than one occasion, have been called intrepid. ¬†I love that description, but find it exaggerated. ¬† I find women who adventure ride across Africa, intrepid…not one who rides a touring bike on paved roads across America, but I thank them all the same. ¬†I find it as complimentary as they do inspiring. ¬†I suppose a solo woman rider is considered off-beat, but I just think so little about it, so each time I am asked, I am taken aback by the awe. ¬†To me, it’s just doing what I do. ¬†I ride. ¬†

When i arrived home, I stopped at Safeway for a couple of items since I know the state of the refrigerator while I am gone is quite different from when I am home. ¬†As i pulled into a parking spot, two young boys in a pickup truck pulled near me and said, “wow, is that your bike, it’s really cool and good for you to ride it by yourself. ¬†Are you leaving for somewhere or just coming back?” ¬†I told them I had just returned from New Mexico. ¬†They both looked at one another and said, “cool”. ¬†I was easily old enough to be their mom. ¬† But I think the cool part was that they didn’t question it at all. ¬†I was matter of fact so things are changing for us female riders and getting better and better. ¬†It’s not quite as quickly as I’d like, but it is better!!

So…on that note, the final leg of my journey from Sacto to TorC, NM and back.

In Big Pine, I had some construction workers ask me if my bike was an automatic. ¬†Uh, what sort of question is that and why would you ask. ¬†They looked knowingly at one another as if it was a private joke and then said well we just figured if you were riding that bike, it had to be an automatic. ¬†It’s a good thing I don’t ride with a firearm. ¬†Morons…

Other than the idiot construction trash the stay at Big Pine was quite nice. ¬†The motel owners remembered that I had booked the Pashnit Girly Ride there so cut me a deal. ¬†It was comfortable and clean at the Bristlecone Motel. ¬†I’d definitely stay there again but would check to see if there were construction workers first. : )

Who parks like this?? ¬†I had room to go forward onto the sidewalk to turn around, but I just couldn’t believe anyone would actually do this. ¬†After I pulled up to my door to load the bike, I saw a middle aged woman get into the truck. ¬†Since my room was behind her my concern now was that she wouldn’t hit me backing out!! ¬†Some people should not be allowed to drive a motor vehicle!

What would a demenshea RR be without at least one self-portrait?

My route home is here.

I decided to take Hwy 6 to Benton and then ride over 120E to Hwy 395. ¬†It’s alot more fun and gets you off Hwy 395 for a few miles anyway. ¬†There is no police presence on 6 or 120 either and Hwy 395 is heavily patrolled, especially through the small towns. ¬†When they say 35mph, they mean it!

I left around 10AM knowing it was the final leg of my journey. ¬†I was wishing Monitor Pass was open, but no such luck. ¬†Instead I was stuck riding through Gardnerville and Minden to get to Hwy 88 and the easiest way back to my home. ¬†The traffic there is a huge mess as they never planned for such an over-run population. ¬†I was glad to get past the clusterfook and onto the highway home. ¬†The ride was excellent over Hwy 88, sans a bit cold without ‘lectrics. ¬†I did love the big sweepers and the pace at which we can ride them. ¬†Before I knew it, i had reached my cutoff road of Shake Ridge and was on my way down the mountain.¬†

Hwy 120 E out of Benton

Love these beautiful rock formations.

For those that haven’t taken this road, it’s covered with about 18 miles of whoops. ¬†They are a total blast!!

Traveling up 120E you wind into the White Mountains.

Then suddenly you crest the top of the White Mountains and see the “real” mountains of the Sierra Nevada range. ¬†Wow, it always takes my breath away.

Dropping into the fire damaged Mono Lake area of Lee Vining.

A few more whoops at the base of 120 near Lee Vining.

After a good hour of riding through Gardnerville and Minden and back out 88, I’m back up in the snow around Caples Lake.

On Fiddletown Road, spring glows in verdant green lushness.

I ride up onto my driveway and my own yard welcomes me home with its Spring offerings.  

Now to contend with one very dirty Bandito, to order new shoes before my next jaunt and for good measure an oil change. ¬†Gotta treat him right, as he has been nothing but awesome to me!! I also need to solve the ‘lectrics mystery.

Another SW ride totaling 2785 miles of desert beauty.