May 24, 2012

Big Gravel Chicken: North Boundary Road, Lowell, OR

BMWGSGirl, Gravel chicken
I am a big chicken.  But, there was a time I was less so.  I once rode down a gravel road on my GS and thought it was the coolest thing.  I had been cruising with dudes on street bikes who were slowly meandering down the gravel like a bunch of old ladies trying to avoid getting any dust on precious bikes then suddenly I took off in front and zip... like a rocket...I was flying!  Of course that lasted only until I was out of sight and hit a corner too fast and crashed and burned.  My only saving grace was I picked the bike up and continued on before anyone could catch up and see me standing there, turn signal in hand and bruise forming on my calf.

That was years ago...and two bikes ago.  And still, the gravel scares the bejesus out of me.  There's something about being on gravel that is now too intimidating, too frightening, too dangerous.  Given that, my 1200 GS hadn't been on more than 30 feet of gravel.  And Runkle, poor pathetic dual sport Runkle, had only seen driveways.
Runkle above Westir 
That was until last weekend.  Last weekend I was suffering from a lack of belief in people, justice and fairness.   So when I woke up on Saturday the only thing I could think of was to ride.  I packed up my Glock (because I'm also afraid of other things) and headed toward North Boundary Road outside of Lowell.  When I got to Lookout Dam I rode another few miles and was amazed at how such a beautiful, curvy road could be so close to my house. I had no idea.  The road turns to gravel and parellels the water, going past Lookout Point Lake Recreation Area and continues on and on.  There are very few cars along North Boundary Road which means as you ride squirrels run and birds fly along with you.  It is almost hard to concentrate as you check out the potential fishing spots and ponder if the next ride will allow time to fish and relax on the shoreline.

At some point you have a choice...keep following the gravel and stay along the waterline and head into Westfir...or shoot off on some random forest service road and see what waits ahead.  Given my state of mind, it took half a second for me to decide to leave the safety and security of the shoreline.

Eventually I ended up at a dead end...and when I got off the bike and looked down, I saw something that made me stop and wonder how we end up where we do.  Just the remnants of a blue plastic bag.  To some, that means nothing.  To a few, they know where I was and I'd what found.  I was at the end of the road.  Literally and figuratively.  I paused long enough to look past the trees and into the woods then hopped back on the bike to explore some more.

Unfortunately, I had things to do and places to be so I took a few more offshoots,  a few more photos then zipped back toward home.

It wasn't until I was safely back on the asphalt that I realized I'd just ridden more miles on gravel than I'd ever done in my life.  Alone.  And it wasn't scary but fun and liberating.  And peaceful.  It made me realize that no matter how awful life is, no matter what you face or who challenges you, as long as you keep moving, keep going forward, and keep facing your fears, it will be okay.  It WILL work out.  

My lack of belief in people, justice and's still there.  But now I am also suffering from a strong desire for freedom...the need to pack my camping gear and head southward...toward Mexico to live the dream I've always dreamed.  Or to head north and into Alaska to get lost and fight mosquitos, to fish in streams where the fish are so big and tough that I would scream like a five year old girl when I hooked one.

So bring it, Life.  Bring it.   I'm ready for whatever you can throw.  

May 19, 2012

What's in your jacket???

I'm probably too late to play along but Trobairitz' Tablet ( put out a blogger challenge to show what's in our pockets.   I have to admit, I normally don't leave things in the pockets and most the stuff I carry is kept in my sidecases or tank bag.  What a mess that is.  Wait, so is this.  

This is what I found:

Gas receipts:
8/11/11:  Nephi, UT
8/11/11:  Salina, UT
8/11/11:  Jerome, ID
8/11/11:  Willard   (where the heck is Willard?)
8/11/11:  Ontario, OR
8/12/11:  Christmas Valley, OR
8/12/11:  LaPine, OR
4/2/12: Springfield, OR
4/13/12:  Springfield, OR 

Three packs of earplugs (which I never end up using)
DMV notice of transaction submitted page
Spare keys for bike and luggage
Two packs of Uvex fog eliminator (again, never use)
Wad of kleenex

Pretty boring.  

Aww, the sweet memories of 8/11/11.  I think I rode so many miles that day because I was rushing to try to get home after a two week ride.  I missed my bed, my dog, and even my car by that time.  I have no idea why I've left those receipts in my pockets...maybe to remind myself that there's life out there beyond the stressors and drama of work.

Others playing (and blogs you should check out)

May 7, 2012

SUN-day in Mohawk, OR

It was an awesome weekend for riding the moto...the sun was out and by Sunday, the heat was a welcome change from our (lately) rainy days and dreary weekends.   Instead of riding, though, Trout and I spent the weekend lounging around my pal Skylar's home on the Mohawk River.  To be honest, I don't recall everything we did.  It's kind of a blur.  Sure, there were drinks on Friday  (imagine Skylar's shagrin when she arrived home and a pal and I were already there, drinks in hand), there was some deck time,  drinks, great food, a header into the hot tub, a beautiful moon and a few more drinks...and a rather large chicken.

It was one of those weekends that make you happy to be alive.  But, it wasn't all roses.  Today Skylar and I had every intent of going on a kayak trip down the Mohawk River.  What started as a mid day event turned into a rush by 4:00 PM when we finally headed to a put in spot.  On the way we met up with two little dogs, running wild and free down the road without collar or tags.  Being dog lovers, we stopped and spent some time looking for their home.  We finally found it (whew what a relief, I so DID NOT want a Pug or two) and headed to our destination.  As we were standing on the trail Skylar suggests a photo before we start our three hour journey through what is normally meek water but is still currently overflowing and busting at the seams for a tiny river.  As we are standing there, mugging for the shot, I tell Skylar she'd better hurry up because I'm getting eaten alive!  Then I scream and run away like a scared little child because I suddenly realize, I AM LITERALLY BEING EATEN ALIVE by fire ants!  They were all over our feet and running up or legs, biting, pinching, punching or whatever the little bastards do.

Once on the road and all the ants that had hitched a ride were pounded into the asphalt Skylar wonders if maybe someone is trying to tell us something.  I mean, first we dilly dally til 4PM, then two dogs derail us, then fire ants attack us.  Back and forth we go like Laurel and Hardy until finally we decide life is too short and anything could happen during the week before we have the time again.  (I do note, however, if I see one snake it's all goodbyes.)

At this point, I was psyched up, pumped up, revved up, and ready to toss those kayaks in the water and paddle!  I unstrapped my side and Sykar had her side.  I took my kayak off and I tell her to wait and I'll come around and help.  But she's stubborn.

Skylar:  You think I can't do it?  You can do it, I can do it.
   (Competitive much?)
Me:  It's kind of heavy.
Skylar:  I can totally do it.  I don't need your hel........


Apparently she DID need my help.  I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants.  Really.   I think I did a little.

We head to the river and decide to slide the kayaks down an embankment so we don't have to be near the little bastard fire ants.  I hold onto the handle on the end and slide it down the bank and as I let go, the front of the kayak heads into the river and starts floating away!  Skylar is jumping up and down screaming, "My cell phone!  My cell phone is in the kayak!"  And I'm thinking, it's MY fn kayak floating down the river, chill the hell out!  I slide down the embankment and over a log and almost fall face first into the water to grab the boat before it's swept totally away.  It isn't until I start to head back up that I realize the log is a major thorough-way for a colony of fire ants.  They are on me again as I dance around like I'm stuck in an elevator with ten pounds of coke and surrounded by DEA agents.

After breaching the fire ant wall we finally get both kayaks in the river and we take off.  It is the most wonderous of days, peacefully paddling as the sights and scenery remind us both of simpler times.  One of the first things we see is a destroyed inflatable boat hanging from a tree but we aren't scared! It's just one more warning that we will totally disregard.

A calm spot with no downed trees to maneuver and no rabid dogs!
Along the almost three hour float we made so many memories.  At one point a huge rabid looking dog jumped into the river and started chasing us...I was caught against trees and almost tipped, we passed a peacock farm (no shrat!), about a dozen or more old discarded cars along the shoreline, a few pot plants, a beaver that made me scream like a baby girl (again), and some locals who were so friendly looking that I actually asked Skylar, "They aren't going to shoot us, are they?"  All of the while we were paddling, laughing, enjoying the peacefulness of the river (and I was listening to Skylar scream at me, "Move Beeotch!"  She has some anger management issues).

As I write this, Trout is sleeping at my feet (okay, she's really on the couch, snoring) and I am reminded ever so gently, that life can break you down or build you up but it doesn't wait.  It doesn't stop while you finish a project, while you find that perfect someone, while the dog matures, or until your broken heart stops bleeding.  It doesn't care if you had plans with someone and your future was mapped out, if you didn't finish your bucket list, or if you put off everything until tomorrow.   Life moves so fast and is gone in what seems like a blink of an eye.  It is not fair and it is not forgiving but there are some moments in it that will take your breath away if you take the time to notice them.

So despite what odds you may face (like those bastard fire ants) or what warnings you may hear or see, keep going.  Keep trying.  Keep living.  Keep loving.  Keep smiling.  Keep trusting.  Keep moving forward....because laughter and happiness come in those moments when you least expect them and sometimes, in days when your head tells you to ride but your heart tells you to chill.

Be safe.

May 3, 2012

International Female Ride Day: May 4, 2012

Friday is International Female Ride Day and, unfortunately, the weather forecast in the Oregon Valley isn't that grand.  Seventy percent chance of precipitation and a high of 55.  Well, hell, I've ridden in worse.

Get on your bikes, ladies, it's our day to shine, despite the weather!

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