A trip down memory lane…

You remembered in my last post, I have gotten a new TW200 and have been working on the transformation.  Well, she is almost complete but I needed to take a time out from working on her and to take her on a short road trip down memory lane.  You see, two weeks ago would have been our 5th wedding anniversary.  So, I hopped onto my bike and first went to the cemetery 13174117_10206013864217604_7660469739128796068_nto sit awhile and talk to Russ.

Once I was at the cemetery, I decided that I needed to visit the Harvey House as well to continue down the trip down memory lane.  That is where we had our wedding ceremony.  As usual, I didn’t hop onto the interstate to get there.  I decided to take the long way around and get my kick on the old Route 66. 13248581_10206015533979347_463893088809359330_o

Let me tell you a little bit about the Harvey House and how our obsession began with that place.  It actually began back when Russ took his horse trip across United States in 1993.  One night he camped at the Harvey House in Barstow, CA.  At the time he was there, it was stood empty and abandoned.  He was fascinated with architecture and the local history behind the Harvey House.  He actually envisioned that when he got back was to buy the building and restore it to its former glory.  Little did he know that back in 1990 the city started a preservation project on the building already but it was halted back in 1992 when the Landers earthquake hit the desert area.  It took the city and the preservation group another 8 years to receive Federal funding and finished the restoration.

So what is a Harvey House? It all started back in the 1800’s when traveling by train was glamorous and the Wild West was beckoning the adventurers to explore new area.  An entrepreneur named Fred Harvey decided to open up a chain of dining rooms and boarding house for the weary travelers.  Fred Harvey is actually credited for the starting the concept of “restaurant chains”.  The dining room offered fine dining with food and drinks being served in crystal and china.  The rooms in the boarding house were luxurious and comfortable.

However, it was the Harvey Girls gcr_HarveyGirlswho created the Harvey House reputation for friendliness and hospitality.  Their job was not only to serve food but to provide conversation and information to the weary travelers.  Originally, Fred Harvey hired men to work in the restaurants but found that they were as wild as the west was.  So he began hiring women to do the job.  In order to qualify as one of the “Harvey Girls”, the women had to have at least an eight grade education, good moral character, good manners, and be neat and articulate.  They were paid good wages, as much as $17.50 per month with free room, board, and uniforms.  In return, they would agree to a six month contract and agree not to marry while employed.  In times, it was the most sought after jobs by the women.

Okay, so I got a little side tracked with the history of the Harvey House but I can’t help that since I’m a little bit geeky and passionate about local U.S. history.  Anyway, today, the Barstow Harvey House, “Casa Del Desierto”300px-Harveyhouse3 is now home to an Amtrak stop, a Route 66 museum, a Western Railroad museum and rent out their ballroom for events.

While I was there that Saturday, the Barstow Area Chamber of Commerce was setting up for another event for that night which brought back memories of the time we were setting it up for the reception after the wedding ceremony.  I was getting emotional so I knew it wasn’t a good time to get back on the bike so I decided to check out the Route 66 museum.  It’s a place that I have visited so many times but knew it would be a good place to clear my head.

While I was in there, a couple from out-of-town started asking questions to the museum’s docent, Steven and Karen Diffenbacher, inquiring where the James Dean memorial was and I politely interjected since I knew the answer.  I used to live in San Luis Obispo and everyone who lives there know where it is.

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While chatting, they noticed my motorcycle gear and asked what type of bike I was riding.  I started to explain what a TW200 is but they already knew all about them because she has one.  As we were discussing about the T-dub and how she doesn’t ride it much anymore.  They’re thinking about selling it.  However, her 90’s TW200 still have the original tires, no battery and the tank has been creamed by the previous owner.  Steve even mentioned that at one point he almost had a replacement tank when they met a guy several years ago who had several TW200 and was willing to give to him one.  However, they lost his phone number and was unable to get a hold of him.  I immediately knew who he was talking about because Russ loved going to that museum and he had 13 TW200 on hand at that time.

Of course, I told them that I knew who he was and told them the story of his passing and my journey since then.  It is interesting our how lives can cross paths throughout times and remind us of those times in the past.  They are there to help us with the trip down memory lane…

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Finding the Passion Once Again!

Believe it or not, I’m still alive and well.   And, yes, I know that it has been quite a while since I have last written a blog post.  My next sentence was going to be an apology for not keeping up with the blog but you know what, I’m not going to.    In the beginning, I posted for an audience but as time progress I learned to write for me. This blog eventually became a journal where I could write down my thoughts and express my feelings as therapy for me to get through the next chapters in my life without Russ. 

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These last couple of months has been a difficult transition for me from life living on the road to stationary life.  A friend of mine, Sandy Borden, once posted on Facebook, “Life is so much simpler on the road!”  As strange as it may sound, she is correct.  You only have to worry about finding the next place to camp for the night.  In another word, you only have to worry about today, not yesterday and not about tomorrow.  Just for today.

Ever since I have been back from my trip, I have lost the passion for writing and the passion for riding as well.  I have many half completed blog posts and I have not rode a motorcycle since I got back from the Horizon Unlimited event last September.  Yes, Purple is still torn apart as I try to find a piston that will fit the re-bored cylinder. Hopefully soon, she will be put back together since I may have something in the works from an old Yamaha BW350.

Last month, several things started to fall into place for me. One was realizing that it wasn’t the industry that I worked for is where I lost my passion but by the company that I used to work for that cause me to burn out.  This realization was brought on by another software company who hired me for a short term project coordinating network opportunities at the largest trade show of the year.  It was at that trade show that made me realized that I loved what I did for that industry and which in turn produce a job opportunity to allow me to continue to work from home.

The other was due to the 3rd Annual Lizrdbrth Memorial Ride in Joshua Tree National Park.  This ride allows the Southern California T-dubber to pay tribute to Russ, aka Lizrdbrth for bringing us all together in the first place.  Prior to this ride caused a frenzy on my part to find another TW200 on a short notice so I could attend the ride in his honor.  Due to the late start, I wasn’t able to acquire one before then. So my friend, Jeff Bowman, graciously allowed me to ride his TW200, Muley, for the weekend.  At first, I wasn’t sure that it was such a good idea.  I was so nervous about the thought of possibly crashing his bike and ruining it his beloved bike.  However, he has faith and trust in me.  I’m glad that he did because this ride is what I needed to restore my passion in riding motorcycle again.

On the first day of the ride, we first stopped at the memorial to pay our respect.  Russ’ friend, Ronnydog, made a very special ring for me and gave me a choice to either keep it or to add to the wind chime.  I chose to add it to the wind chime since I have Russ and mine on a key chain so I thought it was appropriate for him to have one on the wind chime. 

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After visiting the memorial, we proceeded up Berdoo Canyon to Joshua Tree National Park.  I did okay for the most part but I did fall twice on the ride.  The first fall was due to stalling out over a boulder, no biggie.  However, after the second fall, I did the girlie thing and waited for the sweep team to catch up to me.  It may sound strange but when I realized that no one was coming and I heard a whisper in the wind telling me to put on my big girl pant on and get the bike up myself.  Even though, it was on a slight incline, I was able to pull the bike up and continue on up the trail where the rest of the guys were waiting for me. 

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Once we cleared Berdoo Canyon and head out onto the Geology Tour road in Joshua Tree, I took off from the group which I normally don’t do but I needed some space with nothing around me but the winds so I could be alone with my thoughts.  This is where I realized that this isn’t just a thing that I did with Russ in order to be with him.  It was in my blood to ride and I needed to find another TW200 so I could continue riding every chance I get.

After the ride, I found an ad on Craigslist for a 2014 Yamaha TW200 with only 97 miles on it down in San Diego which is two hours away from me.  There wasn’t a phone number on the ad so I emailed the owner, asking if the bike was still available.  Edwin Tamayo immediately called me back when he received my email which has the link to my blog.  We talked about my recent ride around the U.S. and his motorcycle business.  As we discussed the price of the bike, he knew that the bike was going to be in good hand and I knew that he was being fair about the price.  We cemented the deal over the phone sight unseen.

Now that I have the new TW200 at home, I have begun working on the transformation to make her to fit my riding style.  Working on her has been very therapeutic for me and bringing back the passion of writing and riding again.

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So stay tuned for next week to see the before and after picture.  Plus, I will give you the low down of what changes I have made on it and why.

 

International Motorcycle Show

Since, I’m still waiting on test results and have various doctors appointments scheduled, I decided it was time to tear down the motor on Purple to get to the root of why she is drinking so much oil. Also to get her back together in time for a TW200 group ride in Joshua Tree. Well, it has been slow going project since it has been hard to undo some of the bolts on the motor. I would work on it for a day or two then I would need to take a break since my hands begins hurting again. At this rate, it does not look like I will get her put back together in time for the ride. Plus, once I took the piston out, it’s obvious that I was also burning oil too. I’ll need to order a new piston and send the cylinder out to a shop to have the scratches honed out.
  
So onto a back up plan, the Progressive International Motorcycle Show (IMS) in Long Beach, CA also happened to be the same weekend as the ride. We decided to make it a family day out of it. The best part will be that I get to spend the day with my granddaughter. She was so excited that she will get to see all kinds of “motorsickle” as she would pronounce it. I always get kick out of the way she say it. She also said that she will be just be like her grandma riding motorcycle when she grows up. I sure hopes so.

  

Once we got there, the first thing we did was made a beeline to the BMW booth to see the Adventure Trio. It has been fourteen months since we last went our separate ways. They were starting their journey south to the tip of South America and I will be escorting them part of the way. Unfortunately, that day was not a successful one for me. Originally, we planned to ride out of the Horizon Unlimited event in Mariposa, CA over the Tioga Pass and onto Benton Hot Springs for the night off of HWY 395.  

 The sky was sunny when we started out and was able to sight see Yosemite a little bit but as the ride progresses, the weather turned south on us. At first it was a light mist, then it turned to a constant rain which no big deal as long we kept moving. However, once we got to Tioga Pass, I came to a complete halt. We all pulled over to see what’s wrong with my bike and we discovered that I broke my clutch cable. Due to bad weather, the Ranger could not get me a tow truck, so he had to take me to an overflow campground to hunker down for the night. Since, I wasn’t going anywhere, I told the Adventure Trio to continue on their journey. It was great to see all of them in one piece and to catch up on their and my journey. I felt bad for all of the attendees who wanted to meet them, we were so lost in conversation that we didn’t pay attention to our surrounding. Well, it was time to let them go so they can entertain the other guests and we made promises to catch up again soon.
  

With catching up out of the way, now its time to drool over all of the bikes that were on displayed. Since, I have been living on a dirt road, I have been hemming and hawing as to whether or not to trade in my current street bike, the Honda CTX700 for a more dual sport type of a bike. I still have the dilemma of being vertically challenge so there weren’t many options for me. After Tessah and I tried on many bikes, we have narrowed down the list to two of our favorite, the Yamaha SR400 and the Honda CB500X.

The Yamaha SR400 is the comeback of the old school style motorcycle. Low to the ground with a seat height of 30.9 inches, authentic kick starter with a decompression lever and an indicator window on the right-hand side of the cylinder to ensure an optimum start on the first try and 399 cc horsepower which is still enough juice for the highway. This look like to be a fun bike to ride around town.
  
Then there is the 2016 Honda CB500X which to look like the child version of the African Twin. It is not quite as low as the SR400 at 31.8 inches but the after market offers lowering kit for this bike. The biggest draw of this bike for me is the classic upright riding position like a dirt bike which will give me room for control and maneuverability on the road. Also it is a bigger bike than the SR400 which will still give me enough power for the highway as well.

  
We had a great day at the IMS, caught up many old friends and even missed some, tested out some new products, and even bought some at a great discount. Sat on so many different bikes and sadden that the motorcycle industry is geared for tall people. With more and more women riders maybe one day the marketing people will realize that they need to provide more diverse type of bikes.

Being at the IMS made me miss and long to be back out on the open road. Hopefully soon, I will be and who know it just might be on a new bike.

Desert Living

I have been living in the area of Southern California known as the High Desert (which the local calls it but the more accurate term is the Mojave Desert) for the last five years. The high deserts is defined as areas 3,000 feet and higher with an average annual precipitation of less than 10 inches. It tends to be much colder in the winter as low as the teens than the familiar low land deserts but just as hot in the summer. The Mojave Desert hosts about 200 endemic plant species found in neither of the adjacent deserts.Cactus are usually restricted to the coarse soils of bajadas. Mojave Yucca and, at higher elevations Desert Spanish Bayonet, a narrow-leafed yucca, are prominent. Creosote Bush, Shadscale, Big Sagebrush, Bladder-sage, bursages and Blackbush are common shrubs of the Mojave Desert.


Now that I’m back here, I have come to love and appreciate the beauty the desert has to offer even more. Since the weather has been good and to alleviate the feeling of cabin fever, I have been taking two to three miles walk every day in the adjacent unincorporated area of San Bernardino county next to my friend’s house. There are so many trails to explore in the area and I have taken my friend’s two dog, Bailey and Willie, along with me to explore different one every day.

Since I love following tracks, we have seen various animal and vehicle tracks such as deer, mountain lion, coyote, bobcat, jackrabbits, motorcycle, cars and trucks. One day, we even followed a set of barefoot prints that were the size of a teenager or young adult. The sad reality of the barefoot track led me to a homeless camp which is common to the area since the freeway is only two miles away. The other sad reality of being close to the freeway is all of the illegal dumping that goes on in the area. I have stumbled upon so many illegal construction materials dump. I even witness two illegal dumpers disposing trash during broad daylight. I tried to take pictures, however one was too far away and the other one I only took picture of the license plate which the Sheriff needed more picture where it show the person and the vehicle as well. Maybe I will get lucky next time.

  
I’m not a “greenie” but I do believe in respecting the use of the public lands for recreational use. I have been taught and have pass on the tradition to my children as well, that we leave the area cleaner than we found it. We have alway brought extra trash bags with us so we can pick up the trash along the way. However, it may not be enough anymore. More and more area are being closed for recreational use. Some “greenie” blames it on the off road vehicle users (OHV) and others blames it on the homeless people. From what I have seen, I believe it is a combination of the OHV, homeless and the non-local residents are the ones that causing the problem. So, how do we solve the problem? The “greenie” philosophy is to close the area to OHV uses which I disagree since we pay taxes and entrance fees for the use of those area. OHV groups have offered “clean up days” which helps but does not solve the problem.

In my personal opinion, we need to take back the concept of “responsibility” for our action. If we don’t then more and more public land will be taken away from us because that will be the only solution to the problem.

The King of the Road

In the spirit of Throwback Thursday, I would like to share a story about a man who woke up one morning with a head full of ideas and started making plans. This man decided that he wanted to ride his horse across the United States.

In ordered to pursue his dream, he bought or borrowed every book he could find concerning horses, especially books dealing with packing and endurance riding. He read “Horseback Honeymoon” and the “The History of the Horse in the Military”. He also read packing manuals and the “Official U.S. Cavalry Manual of Rules and Regulations”. He studied old photos and drawings of every type of saddle, learned the names of different styles of bits. Then he bought and tried equipment, modified it to suit his needs or discarded it. He met with horse owners by the score and picked their brains for information.

At the same time, he conditioned himself and his horses, riding a few miles at night after work, twenty miles trips on the weekends, testing tack and camping equipment, gearing everything to ruggedness and weight. These trial runs were also a test for his horse, Sabrina, an Arabian mare. However, she was afflicted with the nervousness common to Arabians. During these rides, he realized that he needed stout horses with long strides, endurance animals that can cover distances day after day. With this realization, he ended up selling Sabrina and got a couple of Mustangs from the Bureau of Land Management mustang adoption program.

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Once he was satisfied that his two new horses were solid animals with strong legs and good feet, he realized that he was as ready as he’d ever be. Since he was already behind schedule of his original starting date of early February had long since come and gone, he already quit his job and so was spending non-replaceable funds, and if he started too late he would not each his East Coast destination until well into the snow season. So, he finally gave away or sold almost everything he owned, loaded what left into two hand-made panniers and rode off into the sunset starting from Santa Monica following old Route 66 via the railroad embankments.

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The first week’s travel found him with a lame horse, thundershowers which kept everything he owned soaked for days, an encounter with quicksand and alarming weight loss in one of his horse, Spooky. The latter proved to be a problem because he originally planned to alternate his horses, riding one and packing the other, but the weight loss in Spooky prevented the riding saddle from fitting properly. Since, the pack saddle’s flexible design, it allowed him to continue the trip using Spooky as a pack horse and other horse, Cinnamon, as his riding horse.

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Early in his trip, a road-wise dog of indeterminate origin decided that trotting along with him and the horses all day was a better life than the one she had been leading because the horses would scurry up the small games for her to chase. Despite her size, she gamely kept up with the long stride of the horses, so he decided to adopt her as a permanent member of the expedition. He began sharing his food with her (or sometimes, she shared hers with him) and he named her Speedbump, based on her penchant for traveling down the white line of the highway and being absolutely fearless in the face of oncoming traffic.

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After five months on horseback, he had pared down his necessities to the minimum. Along the way, he would ship off any equipment that have been proven unnecessary. He had gotten horseback camping down to an art. However, even with dumping unnecessary equipment, his pack horse, Spooky was still losing weight which was proving to be a problem. When he planned for this trip, he had figured heavily on range grazing for the horses in order to cut down the cost of grain and the problems of carrying it. This system worked well for his older horse, Cinnamon, who would eat whatever was available and suffer no ill effects. Spooky, on the other hand, was a picky eater. To compound the problem, he was still a young horse, and consequently needed more nutrition than his other horse.

He, himself, was beginning to feel the effects of five months in the saddle. He has lost a total of thirty pounds since leaving California in May. He was riding an unpadded saddle, and by the time he reached Santa Fe, New Mexico, he had none of his own padding left, either. It was getting harder to spend eight or ten hours a day in the saddle. So he shortened his daily mileage, extended his rest stops by a day or so, and anything to keep Spooky and himself healthy and strong.

Slowly, reluctantly he came to a few stark realizations. He was facing over 2,000 miles and another six to eight months of travel and he could not judge the toll it would take on himself or Spooky. Spooky although still healthy, would probably be seriously damaged in another few weeks. He was simply too young to endure the prolonged physical stress of the trip. Plus, he was running seriously short of funds. Feed expenses, replacement of gear and other unexpected costs has depleted his funds faster than he had hoped. In addition, the late start had set him on a schedule which would leave him traveling through snow during the last months of this trip.

In the end, he came to realize that this was not an endurance test or a ride to set a record. It was simply supposed to be an adventure. Nothing was worth the cost of a horse, and the country would still be there for him to explore at a later date. He decided to postpone the remainder of his journey and head home.

KingOfTheRoad8So, you’re probably wondering who was this guy that rode his horses across the United States? It was my late husband, Russ who took this journey back in 1993. This story was extracted from various news articles that I found in storage and the memories of his story as he told it to me and his friend, Don Dickinson. I’m still regretting that I didn’t take along a tape recorder when we took a road trip on Route 66 back in 2003 reliving his past and from the sound of it he had quite an adventure on his journey.

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As I re-read what I wrote, I can’t help but wondered if our journey were meant to follow the same path in life. He took this journey before we ever met and if he finished his journey like he intended to, our path may have never crossed.

New Life Lessons from the Road

Back in May, I wrote a post about life lessons learned from the road. Well here’s an updated version of that post since I have now been on the road for over four months. It was also one of my presentation at the Horizon Unlimited California event last month.
Life is too short – I remember seeing a quote running around on Facebook that read as “Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you’re still paying for in order to get the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it. [Ellen Goodman]. This quote really struck a cord with me because it’s true. Society teaches us at a young age, that in order to be a somebody that we must go to college, get a career, get married, get a house with the white picket fence, have 2.5 kids, send the kids to college, build a nest eggs and then maybe get to retire at the age of 67.5. But sadly 43% of American spend more than they earn per year trying to achieve this and can’t afford to retire. So the reality is there is never the right time to pursue your dreams so why not make it happen now since you might not get the chance to do so later.

                                                                
Flying Solo – Traveling solo on this journey has been a huge challenge for me in so many ways. One was learning how to be more free-spirited in my travel than my usual structured mission oriented personality. Also learning how to balance the two personality within myself. Russ was the free-spirited one and I was the structured mission oriented one. Over time we learned how to keep each other in balance. Now I had to learn how to do that alone. I bet some people thought I was crazy when I was talking to myself all the time. Secondly, traveling alone as a deaf person has presented some few challenges for me. Such as not being able to hear a car horn while riding. Another is not being able to hear if someone or something is outside of my tent. Lastly knowing if there is a mechanical problem developing with my bike because I can’t hear the different sound it makes. Lastly, the biggest challenge was learning how to maintain my own motorcycle. I didn’t realize how much Russ did whenever we took off camping on our motorcycle. We always his and her chores preparing for any trips we took. I now wished that we switch roles every now and then so we could have been more prepared. Even if you’re not traveling solo, you never know when something might happen to your partner and you have to take over the rest of the trip.

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Expectation – The biggest thing I learned is that nothing is as it seems. Especially the weather, never ever trust the weather report. In another word, hope for the best but expect the worst. For example, on Fourth of July, I stopped in a town called Havre, Montana which is famous for the Wahkpa Chu’gn buffalo jump, or bison kill. This location is over 2,000 years old, it is one of the largest and best preserved buffalo jumps anywhere. In prehistoric times, Native Americans would drive bison over the edge of the cliff, killing or severely injuring the animals. Afterwards, the Native Americans skinned the animals and preserved the meat. The buffalo jump is now an archaeological site and a small tourist attraction. I found camping at the fairground which is a great source for cheap or free campground. I was also excited to learn that the firework would be launch off at the fairground as well. The weather predicted a storm to be arriving late evening with fifteen to twenty mile per hour winds. That is nothing compared to the winds we get in the desert. The campground had very little trees for shelter so I decided to move my tent to under an awning at one of the 4H building to provide additional shelter from the storm. While waiting for the fireworks to go off, the sirens went off. As I run back to the campground, I already saw that my tent sliding across the patio. There was not much I could do but sit in my tent and hope for the storm to quietly to blow over. Luckily for me the sheriff and the maintenance crew from the fairground came to help me break down the camp and evacuate to the nearest shelter. As it turned out, it was a seventy mph tornado like storm which knock out powers and destroyed several building in the area. Also, the poles on my tent became warped. Thanks to my brother, I received a new tent when I arrived at his place a week later so I can continue on with my trip. 

  

Camaraderie and Humanities – It seems that the newscast, social media and YouTube video rating are higher when they show that the world is a cruel, dangerous and an unforgiving place out there. So if it is on the media then it must true? I actually found it not to be the case. I have met the most kind and caring people on this journey. I can’t tell how many times, I have had been invited over for dinner by fellow campers seeing that I was only eating a dehydrated meal. Or how many times, I have listened to caregiver or cancer survivor tell me their stories of courage, strength and hope. Or me giving those who are struggling my stories of courage, strength and hope. Or when I drove through the most dangerous neighborhood in Chicago and getting thumbs up by local gang members. The world is not as bad as it seems on the news. Maybe we should give more thumbs up to the good hearted stories than the stupid or bad ones.

  
Which brings me to a quote I hope that all of you can relate to…
“There are no mistakes in life,

only lessons. There is no such thing as a negative experience, only

opportunities to grow, learn and advance along the road of self-mastery.

From struggle comes strength. Even pain can be a wonderful teacher”

(Robin Sharma)

The Rabbit Hole

Have you ever felt like you’re in a hallway waiting for one of the doors to open or trying to figure out which door to open? Ever since I got back from Horizon Unlimited California (HU), I have been feeling lost and like I’m falling down the rabbit hole. Prior to HU, I was always on a mission whether it was working, dealing with the estate, preparing for the motorcycle trip or actually riding the motorcycle on the trip. Now, I’m in limbo, waiting on test results and doctors appointments that are weeks or months away.
  
In other words before now, I was always keeping myself busy. So while waiting, my mind start to wander and I feel like I don’t know who I am or wants to be anymore. Ever since I have been on the road trip, I learn how to take care of myself and do the things that I wanted to do. Basically learned how to be a more of a free spirited person. Now that I’m back, I know that I can’t go back to being the person who I was before Russ passed away. In another word, the people pleaser, the perfectionist, and the person who was always on a mission. Even though my friends and families expect me to like nothing ever happened.

Then there was this new life that started evolving before I left for this trip. A friend of mine called me one day and asked if she could give my phone number to a mutual friend of her. At first I told her no since I was leaving in three months for my trip. However, she was persistent stating that her friend recently gotten divorced and needs some help getting back in the dating world. She also said that I need to have some fun once awhile too. So I caved in and let her give him my phone number.

We talked for awhile and I let him know up front that I will be leaving shortly on a trip for a year. He was cool with that but it still took him awhile to ask me out on a date. He was worried that I wouldn’t like the place that he wanted to go for a date. When he finally asked me if I would like to Calico Ghost Town for the day and immediately I said “Yes!”. He was surprised since he was not used to anyone who would like to do the same thing as he does. Since that day, we have gone to other places such as the zoo, horse back riding, off road motorcycle riding and to a country music festival. He also helped me prepare for my trip by running around with me to various camping and motorcycle stores to get the gears I needed.

While on my trip, he kept in contact with me to make sure that I was doing okay. So when he heard that I was having issues with my hands and needed to come back home to make doctor appointment. He asked if I would come and live with him while I try to figure out my medical issues. At first I wasn’t sure if that would be a good idea. I wasn’t sure if I was ready for new relationship. I did have other alternative living arrangement but I one thing I knew for sure was that I do not want to live in the urban area again. After living in the desert for several years, I have come to love this area and wanted to live here again. So, I decided to take a chance and give it a shot living with him.

It has been awkward for me since I have been back because I never been a homebody. Ever since I was fourteen years old, I have always have had a job. Now, I’m struggling to find a job where I could work from home or on the road. It is taking awhile to solidify some leads I have had in the works. Once again while waiting for supplemental income, I’m not used to having to rely on someone for a vehicle when I need to run errands or not contributing to household bills since I still haven’t received the money from the estate. I do not like the feeling of having to rely on someone for help. I have always been independent and always could take care of myself. So this feeling of needing someone is very new and scary feeling for me.

With this new lifestyle and the pull of my friends and families back to the old me has me feeling more confused then ever.  A part of me feel guilty for moving on without Russ and feel so lost without a mission or purpose.  At the same time, I was missing Russ more than ever which also made me feel guilty for my friend. I was in my lowest of low the other day when my daughter called to check up on me. Her timing couldn’t be better. I told her how I have been feeling lately. Telling her how much I wanted to be back on the road as a free-spirited person but frustrated with the lack of knowing what’s wrong with my hands which is preventing me from being on the road again. She calmly told me that I was still me and doing what I always do best, making lemonade out of lemon. She said that I always do the best of whatever I was doing whether it’s raising two kids as a single mom, riding the motorcycle on the back road of United States or being the best Susie Homemaker there ever was. She reminded me to “just live in the moment and make the best of it as I have alway done before”

So here I am just making the best of the situation and reminding myself once again, just to take it one day at a time. All the while, I also know that he see me staring out the window itching to be out in the world wandering again. I know that when he hears the song “Wild Child” by Kenny Chesney and wonder when will the wind shift again for me. However, I know that he still have hope for us making a new life together but is living in the moment for now just as I am.