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  So there may be days where I’m a little off or withdrawn, please don’t worry, I’ll be fine and will weather the storm that is ahead of me.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.

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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.

Motorcycle Helmet Law

So I’m in Texas on a business trip and suddenly I see two motorcycle riders not wearing a helmet.  I knew that are state that don’t require a motorcycle helmet but it always catches me off guard.  So I had to check out to see how many states do actually have a helmet law.

There are 19 states and the District of Columbia have the universal helmet laws which requires all motorcycle riders and passengers of all ages to wear helmets whenever riding.

  • Alabama
  • California
  • District of Columbia
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia

Whereas 29 states have a partial helmet law which only requires specific groups of people, such as those below a certain age to wear a helmet.

  • Alaska – 17 and younger
  • Arizona – 17 and younger
  • Arkansas – 20 and younger
  • Colorado – 17 and younger
  • Connecticut – 17 and younger
  • Delaware – 18 and younger
  • Florida – 20 and younger
  • Hawaii – 17 and younger
  • Idaho – 17 and younger
  • Indiana – 17 and younger
  • Kansas – 17 and younger
  • Kentucky – 20 and younger
  • Maine – 17 and younger
  • Michigan – 20 and younger
  • Minnesota – 17 and younger
  • Montana – 17 and younger
  • New Mexico – 17 and younger
  • North Dakota – 17 and younger
  • Ohio – 17 and younger
  • Oklahoma – 17 and younger
  • Pennsylvania – 20 and younger
  • South Carolina – 20 and younger
  • South Dakota – 17 and younger
  • Texas – 20 and younger
  • Utah – 17 and younger
  • Wisconsin – 17 and younger
  • Wyoming – 17 and younger

Then are 3 states that have no helmet law.

  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • New Hampshire

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I remember when the helmet law was first being debated in California in the early 90’s, it was topic especially for those who rode horses.  At the time I wasn’t riding a motorcycle yet but I was an avid horse rider and we were concerned that once the universal helmet law passed, it would eventually trickled down to having wear a helmet while riding a horse.  Therefore, we really opposed to it.

However, now that I do ride motorcycle, I’m a firm believer of wearing full gear while out riding whether riding dirt or street.  Too many times, I see under dress rider or pillion and I cringe at the thought of them falling off the motorcycle without the proper gears.

I remember one time while riding dirt, I was trying to prove that I could ride up a waterfall of rocks trail.  At the beginning, I was doing well but suddenly, I hit a rock and did a 90 degree turn over the side of trail and flew over 10 feet down it.  Since, I wasn’t going to salvage the crash, I let go which was the last thing I remembered.  Luckily, I was wearing full gear on this ride and the only injury I had were brightly color bruises on both of my knee since I wasn’t wearing shin guard.

I guess it come down to personal preferences to wear a helmet or not.  I prefer safety over looking cool and will always wear full gear whenever I ride.

 

Temporary Home

“Temporary Home”

Sung by Carrie Underwood

This is my temporary home, it’s not where I belong
Windows and rooms that I’m passing through
This is just a stop on the way to where I’m going
I’m not afraid because I know
This is my temporary home

The last month has been a mad rush with the house going into escrow and set to close by October 10th.  I haven’t had time to pack since I have been on the road for work for two weeks and then on vacation to the Horizon Unlimited event.  However, I have been blessed to have a wonderful family and friends to help me at the last-minute to move into my new temporary home for the time being until I hit the road.

I’m renting a one bedroom cottage that has dinette area which I converted into my office since I work from home.  The biggest hurdle was getting internet since it is located in a rural area.  Originally, I was concerned that I might not be able to move into this place but thanks to the latest technology, I was able to acquire internet service here.  So basically, the house is a giant cell phone and I need to watch my data usages from now. I guess no more playing “Candy Crush” on Facebook.

In the last week, it has been feeling more and more like home with the personal touches I have been adding to the new place.  I actually feel guilty that this place feels more like home than our previous place. Yeah, yeah, I know that I shouldn’t since our previous place has been in constant renovation mode for the last three years which made it hard to get comfortable in the house.

View from the back porch.

View from the back porch.

View from the front porch.

View from the front porch.

The other thing that has been hard, it now really feels like that he is truly gone.  Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t been in denial of his death but I have been so busy in the last ten months dealing with the estate that I haven’t had to time to breathe and notice that he is not here anymore.  Now that I’m in the tail end of probate and have more time on my hands, I’m noticing the emptiness.

You may be wondering that since I have sold the house, why aren’t I on the road yet.  Well, I originally was planning to take off last May but since he died without a will, I have to go through probate to settle all of his debts and estate.  This is a lengthy process and takes time.  So I decided to wait until May of 2015 for my trip.  So why May?  Well, we got married on May 14, 2011 and we took off on our honeymoon right after that on our little bike following Route 66.  The holidays and these other significance dates are a difficult time for me and being on a motorcycle helps me get through it and be closer to him in my heart and mind.

So where will be my new home after my trip, I do not know that yet.  However, in time I will figure out where home is meant to be.

The break down…

After spending 3 days of attending sessions and hanging out with fellow motorcycle travelers, it was time to hit the road to head home. This time I wanted to take a different route and go through Yosemite Valley.  Believe it or not; I have lived in California for more than thirty years and I have never been to Yosemite yet.  While sitting around the campfire and talking to others about my route and where I should stop for the night, another rider suggested Benton Hot Springs and since I gave myself an extra day I thought it would be a perfect side trip.  Sandy of the Adventure Trio also heard about the hot springs as well and offered to ride together.  I was hesitant at first warning her that my little TW200 bike is no match for their BMW touring bike but she said that they don’t mind taking their time on this leg of the trip.  I was so soaked that I get to ride the Adventure Trio on part of their journey down to South America.

TakeOff

However, due to a late start and mechanical issue; none of us made it to the hot springs.  You’re probably wondering what happened?  First of all, during breakfast, we checked the weather to make it would be safe to head over Tioga Pass and onto Route 395. It looked like the storm will be north of us and it will be clear sailing.  Well it wasn’t long into our ride that it started to rain.  Then as we started the climb up toward Tioga Pass, I started losing speed as if I was hitting reserve.  I thought that was weird since we just filled up not long ago.  So I immediately reached down and switch the petcock onto reserve but I still was losing power.  It when I tried the throttle to give it more power, I knew that something was wrong.  So I pulled over to investigate it further and it was Terry from the Adventure Trio that figured out that I broke my throttle cable.

BrokenThrottleCable

Since there was no cell phone reception, Sandy used InReach which is a satellite communicator and tracking device to send out SOS messages.  Suddenly the Forest Ranger showed up and requested a tow truck.  While we were waiting for the tow truck, it started snowing.  The tow truck never came because it kept being diverted due to multiple accidents caused by bad weather.  So the Ranger decided to take me to a camp ground to hunker down for the night since they’re closing the pass. We had to leave the bike on the side of the road. Once I got the tent set up at the camp ground, I walked over to the gas station to call my son from a pay phone to come pick me up with the trailer.

Ranger

While waiting for him…I met a fellow rider who also broke down was waiting for his friend to picked him up.  His bike mechanical issue was due to the ignition coil. Once his friend showed up and they decided to fetch my bike to take it back to the campground.  We were able to retrieve it before they closed the gate on the pass.

FellowBrokenDown

My son finally arrived at 3 am to take me home and as he put it “Operation Rescue Mom” was a success.

ToTheRescue

All in all, it was an adventure! I learned a lot at the event and learned a lot on the trip itself. I need to do some fine tuning to get ready for my trip next year.

The event itself…

As you may remember from last week, I finally made it to the Mariposa Fairground where the Horizon Unlimited California event is being held.

The Horizon Unlimited event is the premier overland event for motorcyclist.  It a 3 days event packed with educational classes, demonstrations, and travel presentations from the around the world.  It has been inspiring, informing and connecting overland travelers since 1997.  It was started by Grant and Susan Johnson.  They have traveled around the world visiting 39 countries and putting 62,000 miles on their motorcycle.  This spanned over 14 years and they show no sign of slowing down.

While at the event, I got see old friends again and made new friends.  However, one of the highlight for me was meeting my late husband’s idol, Craig Vetter.  At first, I was a bit hesitant to be one of those crazy fans asking for an autograph but I just had to do it in honor of him.  After I got a picture with him, he started talking about the economics of his motorcycle design for the Vetter Streamliner and his plan to build an electric version; he finally glanced over my way and apologized for rambling and going over my head about it.  I started to laugh and explained how he was my husband’s idol and already heard all about it.

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One of my favorite sessions at the event is the women’s only session, where we get to talk about personal hygiene while on the road.  The biggest topic was natural remedies for minor ailments since you may not have access to a pharmacy while on the roads.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Lemon Eucalyptus oil can be used as mosquito repellents
  • Peppermint oil can be used to soothe an upset stomach or to aid digestion.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar can be used to get rid of nausea
  • A mixture of water and cornstarch can be use to aid diarrhea.

There were two other sessions that I learned a lot from.  One was the Electrical accessory wiring 101 classes where you learn how to add electronics to your bike without setting it on fire.  This is the biggest challenge for my trip next year since the little T-dub’s stator cannot be upgraded to handle the added accessories such as the heated grip, heated vest or the GPS.  I originally came up with the idea of having two batteries on the bike; one for the bike and the other one for the accessories.  However after talking to Erik Stephens of Twisted Throttle after the class, we came up with other ideas.  Such as replacing the headlight which put out 55 watts to an LED light which can range from 10 to 20 watts and adding an auxiliary light for the high beams that is on a kill switch so it doesn’t draw so much power.  There are other ideas that we still need to hash out.  At least now I have hope that I can add the needed accessories to the bike.

The second informative class I took was the Motorcycle Recovery Systems given by Bill Ellison.  Here we learned how to create a 2 to 1 ratio pulley system to haul a bike up from the side of the hill.  We also learned how to make a Prusik knot which is used as a friction hitch or device that can grab a rope.  He suggested the following items to keep on hand in case in an emergency:

  • 8 ml static rope (75 ft) and rope bag to store it in so it doesn’t get tangled.
  • 4 medium size locking carabiner
  • 3 small size pulley

PulleySystem

All in all, I had a wonderful time at the event and only once I got a bit nostalgic about missing my late husband which I handled well by stepping and find a quiet place and wrote in my journal.  Now I hold a special place in my heart to all of the friends I made through this community.  I also wish “The Adventure Trios” a safe journey on their 18 months trip to South America and to Danell Lynn a safe journey on her one year all 50 states trip around United States.

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