Stepping Stones

As I pack for my trip down to Baja California for the week, I just realized that the last three months have been a stepping-stones toward my journey in May in so many different ways.

SteppingStones

Such as the day I broke down in Yosemite with a broken throttle cable. Actually, that day meant a lot more to me then I led on.  It was the first time I didn’t get frustrated or get angry at him or god for making it difficult on me.  I just stared at the situation and figured out with a level head on how to handle the situation.  The broken throttle cable also taught me to trust myself and gain confidence that I can learn and do it by myself.  Before the previous ride out to Joshua Tree, I have had asked a couple of biker friends to teach me how to replace the broken throttle cable but none of them followed through so I sat down at the computer and watched a couple of YouTube videos on how to do it. So, I took a deep breath and dived in.  As I took the bike apart, I took a bunch of pictures so I can make sure it put the new one back in correctly.  The project was successful.  It taught me to trust myself and not to doubt my ability.

Now that I think about the concept of Stepping Stones, I realized that all of my life has been a stepping stone into this journey.  From the day, when an English teacher told me that he was not God and was going to have to suffer in his class when I asked for help in class and to the day I learned how to let go with love in Al-Anon.

Even the little things in life are stepping-stones for example, when my husband passed away, there were certain things I lost passion in doing such as cooking, reading or even watching a movie.  Slowly but surely, I have been pushing myself into these activities.  In my new place, where I’m living does not have a stove so for a while, I have been eating a ready-made salad and a dinner roll every single night.  Now, I’m learning how to cook out a toaster oven which has been a challenge to say the least.

I’m finally started reading again.  Before, he got sick; I was on a kick about traveling by a motorcycle and downloaded a bunch of books such as American Boarder by Carla King, A Blind Curve by Linda Crill and Touching the World by Cathy Birchall and Bernard Smith.  I was able to read most of them but the last one I never got around to finishing it. So recently, I picked it up again and started the beginning once again.

I can’t remember the last I went to the movie by myself but I really wanted to see the Hunger Games in the theater.  Believe it or not, this step was one of the harder one for me.  It really made me feel alone and realize that my life is moving on without him.

Each of these stepping-stones is showing me how to move forward in my journey and to gain courage and confidence within myself.  Once again, I’m using a tool that I once learned in Al-Anon by letting go with love of the life that I once knew and embracing the new one that is ahead of me.

Promises to keep…

I struggled writing all of my life and I really hated taking the required English classes in high school.  Well that was until my senior year where I had to take an American Literature class which was taught by Mrs. Sharma.  She made learning fun and was the only teacher that recognized that I was struggling with the language.  She was the one who showed me how to write visually versus auditory.  It still not perfect but I have come a long way since I first walked into her class.

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It was in her class I first heard the poem “Stopping By the Wood on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost.  I immediately fell in love with this poem.

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promised to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep

I was and still am mesmerize by the last paragraph.  While reading this in class, we also had a class discussion about each line and the summary of this poem and most of my classmates and I felt it was about death and suicide.

Now that I have stumbled upon a book of Robert Frost’s poem while unpacking, I took a moment to re-read my favorite poem.  Reflecting upon the words again, this time I feel it’s more about one’s journey in life.  For example in one of paragraph of the poem, the horse thinks it queer to stop without a farmhouse near, which to me sound like the rider finally stop in his busy schedule to pause and look into the woods and reflect upon life.  While reflecting into the woods, it dawns on the rider that he must continue his journey since he has promises to keep.

As I reflect upon own my journey, I realize that I too have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep.

Double Take?

dou·ble takenoun – a delayed reaction to something unexpected, immediately after one’s first reaction.

Have you ever gone on a ride and did a u-turn just to see if you really saw what you think you saw?

Last weekend, I went on a ride through Joshua Tree National Park with a group of fellow TW200 riders and on the way to Eureka Peak, we stumbled upon a street warning of the curves up ahead.  Really?!?!, didn’t we just ride through a bunch of curves already and what’s the heck is a street sign doing in the middle of the desert?  The only theory I have is that someone sued the government for not warning about the curve up ahead  and they were willing to comply so they won’t get sued again.

StreetSign

So I decided to go through my photo archive to see if I could find any other odd signs or attractions that we have stumbled upon over the years.

This picture below didn’t come out very well but it a street sign that reads “Hollywood” and “Vine”.  Uh?  I thought we were in Borrego Springs, CA and not in Hollywood, CA.  I wonder who took the time and money to put this one out here in the middle of nowhere.

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These Concrete Dinosaurs can be found in Apple Valley, CA.  Apparently, in the 70’s, the owner of the property, Lonnie Coffman, had a dream of owning a miniature golf course began building these concrete dinosaurs but apparently his dream never came to fruition.

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Here is a stuffed moose located on Hwy 247 in Lucerne Valley, CA.  The coat of this moose has seen better days but it is out here in the desert 24/7.  I couldn’t find any information on this moose as to how he came about or what his story is all about.

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Last but not the least of the odds things on the roadside is the Airmail boxes.  Apparently, they’re everywhere.  The first time I heard about them was on another motorcycle blogger website; www.fuzzygalore.com/2014/06/is-there-a-registry-of-air-mail-boxes and just recently I stumbled across one on Hwy 247 in Lucerne Valley, CA as well.

AirMail (1)

Apparently, there are many more roadside oddities up here in the High Desert of California.  I guess it is time to start exploring some more to find them. Do you have any pictures of roadside oddities that you had to do a double take?

Rejuvenated

Last weekend, I finally was able to get away and get recharged thanks to a dear friend.  When I first started learning how to ride a motorcycle again, my late husband joined the TW200 community forum to learn more about these bikes.  It was on this forum that we learned about a meet up and ride in Desert Hot Springs five years ago.  It was being hosted by Jeff Bowman, the owner of the Living Water Spa.  It is a privately owned “European style” clothing optional resort with natural hot mineral waters spa.

We were offered a special rate to stay the night after the ride.  At first my late husband was a little bit uncomfortable with the idea.  I suggested that we give it a try since our motto was always to try it once.  I also suggested that if we were too uncomfortable that we could always excuse ourselves and I’m sure that they would understand.  I’m grateful that we chose to stay the night.  We met a wonderful couple, Jeff and Judy, and got to hear their story of how they came upon to be the owner of the resort.

 

Jeff_and_Judy_Living_Waters_SpaTheir story began 41 years ago when Jeff and Judy first met at a Bible College in Michigan.  Jeff is a native of California and Judy is native of Chicago.  After graduating, Jeff began ministering at various churches but after four children they discovered that they were struggling to make end meets.  So they decided to move to California to be closer to Jeff’s parent and Jeff got a lucrative job at Toshiba.  However, his original calling was luring him back into ministry.  Jeff got offered to become a pastor up in Monterey County.  Since Toshiba had a wonderful insurance package, Judy decided to get the family one last final check up before they moved.

It was from that check up when their world turned upside down.  While in the middle of packing up the house, Judy got a call from her doctor to inform her that they discovered a lump in her breast.  After discussing at length with each about her diagnosis, they decided to turn down the job offer at the church and continued to work at Toshiba so that Judy can get the necessary medical treatment.  She has beaten the odd against breast cancer and now has been in remission for 22 years.

During that time, Jeff began struggling with personal issues of feeling jealous and possessive of his wife while she is receiving treatment.  It bothered him that doctors, surgeons and nurses get to see his wife body which he felt and taught that it’s a sacred temple to be only shared between a man and his wife.  So, as a man who seeks knowledge began researching how to overcome his insecurities.  It is where he came upon information about clothing optional resort as way to be comfortable with one owns body.

At first Judy was reluctant to participate in Jeff’s quest for knowledge but over time she became willing to try new things with him.  With the more places they visited the more they became comfortable with their body and the more they seek more knowledge about the body.  They learned about various types of massage and became massage therapist themselves.  During this process they stumbled upon a resort for sale in Desert Hot Springs called Kismet Lodge.  kismetlodgesign_smallAfter thinking long and hard they decided it was time to make a change in their life and purchased it 11 years ago.

Our friendships with Jeff and Judy began 5 years ago after our first ride and have grown to become like family.  Jeff even presided over our celebration of marriage and our remembrance of my late husband memorial.  Jeff and Judy have opened their door to me as a place to seek solace. It’s here where I can begin to rejuvenate again. I’m forever grateful for their warmth and love that they have shown me during the difficult times.

Just like Kathy’s story in Pie Town, Jeff and Judy’s story of experience, strength and hope gives me the courage and strength to continue my journey in finding my own two feet again.

Living Waters Spa 13340 Mountain View Rd. Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240 760-329-9988 www.livingwatersspa.com

 

 

Patience please…

In the blogging world they say you should never skip a post but I sure don’t feel like writing today.  So forgive me if my post seems out of sort.  The last 11 months have been a world wind for me with traveling a lot for work and dealing with the estate.  I have been praised so many times as to how well I have handled everything since his death.  Honestly, at times, it was just smoke and mirror.  There are times that I felt like I was falling apart.  There are times I wished that the world would stop spinning so I could get off.  There are times I wish that I could turn the clock back.

There are times that I’m so numb that all I can do is keep moving one foot in front of the other just to get through the day.  I have never been an emotional person but in the last 11 months, I’m learning that it is okay to cry but I still can’t do that in front of anyone.  This is the main reason why I kept turning down the offer to free room and board for the next 7 months before I hit the road because I need a place where I can be by myself and not worry about being strong.  Old habits are hard to break.

Remember the holidays are just around the corner and so is the year anniversary of his death.  So there may be days where I’m a little off or withdrawn, please don’t worry, I’ll be fine and will weather the storm that is ahead of me.  I just need time and space to get through the emotional storm.

Storm2

Thank you for letting me unwinds here and for being patience with me.  Today is just one of those days where the compass is pointing south instead of north.  I know this too shall pass and to take it just one day at a time.

Wish List

My birthday was a couple of weeks ago and my family kept bugging me about what I wanted for my birthday.  I kept shrugging them off for a couple of reasons; one is that I don’t want or need to accumulate anything before my trip where I just have to put it storage for the year and secondly it’s still the year of the first in grief.  Therefore celebrating my birthday doesn’t feel the same without him.

My son got tired of my parents bugging him about it and since he knew that I was keeping a list of things that I still needed for the trip.  He suggested that I give this list to my parent which is a great idea.   So basically I got some of the more expensive items on the list as part of my birthday/Christmas present.

  • Butler Maps
  • BarPack Mapcase
  • Rok Straps
  • Atomic watch
  • Solar charger
  • GPS & mount
  • Therm-A-Rest UltraLite Cot
  • Heated Grips For 7/8-Inch Diameter Handlebars
  • Heated Vest Liner
  • SW-MOTECH Weatherproof On / Off Accessory
  • LED Conversion Kit
  • Electrical Connection LED Motorcycle Battery Voltage Monitor (Flush Mount Kit)
  • Denali PowerHub2 Fuse Block, Master Ground Block And Wiring Harness For Motorcycles

In this week post, I’m going to talk about one of the gift that I’m most excited about which is the Therm-A-Rest LuxuryLite UltraLite cot.  In the past, I have used air mattress of various brands but have been frustrated when it loses it oomph after awhile.  While at the Overland Expo last year, Danell Lynn recommended this cot. So when I got home from the event, I went on the computer and Google more information about the cot.  I nearly choked on my coffee when I saw the price.  At first, I thought I’ll dream about owning one of those things but I added it to my wish list anyway.

So what is a Therm-A-Rest LuxuryLite UltraLite cot?  It is an ultra light cot that only weighs 2 lbs 12 oz (1.25 kg).  It is lighter and packed smaller than any other cot that I have researched so far.  It will into a stuff bag with a dimension of 16 x 5 in/41 x 13 cm.

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The cot comes in two sizes, regular and large.  The regular fit me perfectly since I’m only 5’2” tall but it was a tad bit short for my son who is 5’11” tall.  It was easy to assemble but it was a tedious process with all of the multiple pieces to put together.  I haven’t used it on a camping trip yet but I did sleep on it one night at home and it was actually very comfortable.

Cot

Hopefully it will work out well for my trip but only time will tell.

 

Good Vibrations

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As you may remember in a previous post about my writing style it was mentioned that I am deaf which has brought up a question from time to time by fellow readers asking how did I managed to learned to when it was time to shift the gears on a motorcycle if I can’t hear the engine.

To be honest at first I was a little bit stressed out about it since the TW200 does not have a tachometer.  When I learned to drive a car with a stick shift, I relied on the tachometer as my indicator.  So how was I going to figure when it is time to shift on a motorcycle without a tach?  So we looked into finding an aftermarket tachometer to put on the bike but couldn’t find one that would work.  Then my late husband had an epiphany, looked into my eyes and then asked me how do I listen to music?  Well, at first I was little peeved at him for even asking, he should know by now the answer to that question. Then it dawned on me why he was asking me so I could be reminded.  When I go to a bar, I take out my hearing aids because it picks up too much background noise to appreciate the music.  So basically, I listen to music by feeling the vibration.  So he said I should learn how to shift the same way.

In the beginning, I rode as a pillion with my left hand on his left leg trying to feel the vibration of the bike and feeling the movement of his leg when he shifted gears.  Then we would switch roles and he would put his left hand on my left leg and when it was time to shift, he would just tap my leg to let me know that it was time to shift.  It was awkward at first but I finally got the hang of it.

So I can ride or drive any motor vehicle just like anyone else in most countries.  Believe it or not, there are 26 countries that do not allow a deaf person to acquire a driver license such as Egypt, Ukraine, Morocco and Haiti.

However, I do have to admit that if there are strange noises going on that could indicate a mechanical issue with motor vehicle, I’m at a lost there.  So I have to rely on a family member to let me know or be religious about getting the maintenance done on a timely manner.