Bittersweet

Lately, I have really hated hearing the following expression. “Everything happens for a reason,” or, “It was meant to be,” or, “God has other plans for him”, or, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.”  It’s like they don’t know what else to say and so they have to find a reason for his death.  What about me and what about our dreams?  Am I not worthy of finally having a peaceful and relaxing life after struggling emotionally and financially for 20 plus years to raise two children as a single mother?  Why does God have to be so cruel!  I just want to stop the array of emotions that is all jumbled together such as pain, anger, grief, jealously, envy and loneliness.  Will I ever feel somewhat normal again? Yeah, I know that it will “someday” get easier but honestly I don’t think that no one truly ever gets over it.

Which bring to say that I hate to admit it but I too sometime believe that some things do happen for a reason.  For example last weekend, the TW200 motorcycle community hosted a camping and riding memorial in honor of my late husband in Santa Margarita, California which is a halfway point between northern and southern California. This event was in the work before my husband got sick.  Remember, in my about page, I mentioned how attending the Horizon Unlimited (HU) event last year gave me the itch to travel on a motorcycle around the US.  Well, this event gave my late husband the idea to create a similar event for the TW200 motorcycle community.  On our way home after the HU event we met up with a fellow rider, Mel, for lunch and started hashing out the logistic for it. In honor of my late husband, our friend, Mel, continued with the project and hosted the event last weekend.  There were about 40 people who attended the event and 21 of them were riders. I hate to say this but I honestly don’t believe this many would have made the trek to this event if it wasn’t to honor his memory.

IMG_20140621_201549 10498082_10202712391105715_5518115817350538112_o

Anyhow, it turned out to be a successful event.  Mel who was our coordinator was also our chef for the event who provided breakfast and dinner for all 3 days.  On Friday, we ended up doing an impromptu ride up to High Mountain lookout, a retired USFS fire lookout that has been restored back to life.  It is now a designated critical habitat area for the California Condors.  On Saturday, we were originally going to have 2 rides going, one for the technical riders to the Pozo OHV area and the other was for those who want to take it easy and head out to Pismo Beach.  Everyone opted to take it easy so we could ride as one big group.  I have never seen grown men acted like little kids riding their motorcycle on the beach.  For many of them it was for the first time ever.  They were having a blast!

"                               "

That night we had a BBQ with Santa Maria Tri-Tip and a campfire with an entertainment of Mel’s demonstration of how to prepare and make “Dough Bitty’s.”  Side note – the adult version of these delicacies has since been renamed – “Brokeback Biscuits” by the guys (you really had to be there to appreciate this one!).  I haven’t laughed so hard in a really long time.  It was a much needed therapy.

Then on Sunday, the NorCal group went home and the rest of us stayed to ride the Pozo OHV area.  Of all of the days this weekend, Sunday was the hardest for me and since I wasn’t a 100% in the head I decided that it wouldn’t be safe for them or for me to join on the ride.  Later on I realized why I was having such an emotional day on Sunday, I still can’t do “Goodbye”, it still has too much stigma attached to it.  Anyway, I led them to the trail head and headed back to camp.  Well, I sort of head it back to the camp; the ride from the camp to the trail head is a 12 miles of winding back road.  I always struggle with the curves and a little voice in my head (courtesy of a friend that I met at the Overland Expo) told me to stop looking at my speedometer and just feel it.  Needless to say that did the trick and I was having such a blast so I kept going back and forth between the camp and the trailhead to keep practicing until the boys got back.

All in all, we had a great time.  It was nice to finally to meet everyone face to face and to get to know our real name since we were only known by our handle on the TW200forum.com. Also to share stories about my late husband who was known as Lizrdbrth on the forum.  We had a lot of laughs, wisdoms and cries during those three days.  For me it was a bittersweet event.  Just remember that life is too short and cherish the times you have with your friends, family and loves one.  You’ll never know when you might go home to an empty house.

 

Packing List…(a work in progress)

I attended the Overland Expo 2014 back in May which is an event is for the do-it-yourself adventure travel enthusiasts, with classes on 4-wheel-drive, adventure motorcycling, inspiration programs, round table discussion, demonstrations and tons of vendors on adventure travel gears, bikes, vehicles and services.

I figured it would be a good short trip which is only 421 miles from home to do a practice run before I embark on my year long trip next year.  Plus this trip would not be entirely new for me.  My late husband and I went this way on our honeymoon three years ago.  I’ll do the exact same steps we took that time.  I’ll ride from home and make the first stop in Laughlin for the night and then proceed onto Flagstaff for the event.

Now onto figuring out what to pack for the trip so I decided to do some research by reading a couple of books such as Going Small – A Guide to Lightweight Motorcycle Touring by Andrew Pain and Lightweight Camping for Motorcycle Travel by Frazier Douglass even though through the years I have learned how to pack minimally since only having a Toyota Corolla to haul the camping gears and the kids.  However, I figured too much information wouldn’t hurt so I goggled and read as much information I could find.

I began laying out the gears that I needed for this trip and here is a picture of everything.

DSCF0166

  • Tent
  • Sleeping pad
  • Chair
  • Tool bag
  • Oil
  • Chain lube
  • Tarp
  • 1 jean
  • 3 shirts1 pair of Under Armour
  • 1 bathing suit
  • 5 socks
  • 5 underwear
  • Towel
  • Wash cloth
  • 1 pair of rain suit
  • 1 winter riding pant
  • 1 pair of winter 2 liners for the motorcycle jacket
  • 1 pair of hiking boot
  • 1 pair of flip flop
  • 1 bag of toiletries
  • 1 bag of foods for a week
  • 1 Jet boil
  • 1 camera

It doesn’t seems like a lot in the picture but boy I sure realized how much of the work he did on our honeymoon to prepare for this trip and how he took most the weight onto his bike.  I don’t know if you already noticed in the picture that I was missing one key item needed for the trip but I sure clueless until I started packing everything up.  Yep, I’m missing the sleeping bag!  Oh geez, I had to go back into the garage to find it under the pile of stuff that I tossed around looking for the camping gears. Then unpack and re-pack everything once again!

Here is the final result…you’ll notice in picture that it is not my bike I used for this trip.  I’m currently re-building the motor on my bike and wasn’t done in time for the trip.  So, one of the TW200forum community members loaned me his bike to use for this trip.  I’m forever grateful for the support and camaraderie from this community to help me through the difficult times and to assist me in pursuing my dreams.  They’re my biggest fans.

IMG_20140520_083732

A final note, one of the major things I learned about packing for this trip, having the right panniers or saddle bag will make the difference for the life on the road.  My home-made duffel bag is not ideal but I really hate the thoughts of shelling out $400 to $600 dollars for the Giant Loop bag so it worked for now.  However, an idea started brewing while on this trip, more to come on this later.

Also I learned the importance of having a check list when packing; it’s too easy to forget something.

 

Experience, Strength and Hope

On the days when I start doubting myself whether or not I can keep my promise to my late husband to embark on this journey.  Then I think back to the time where he and I met a young lady on our honeymoon in New Mexico.  On our honeymoon we were supposed to take Route 66 all the way but who knew in May that it would rain, snow and hail the whole way.  So, when we got to Albuquerque, we decided to head south for warmer pasture and ended up taking Hwy 60 back home.  While in Albuquerque, we met up with a fellow TW200 rider for dinner who suggested that we check out Pie Town. As we sat down to order a slice of pie, the waitress asked us what the occasion for our trip after noticing our bikes.  We told her that we finally tied the knots after 15 years of dating and were on our honeymoon.  Then she sat down and began to tell us her story.

Image

This here is Kathy our waitress who also happened to be the Pie-o-neer’s proprietress. Why am I making such a fuss over a pie shop in the middle of nowhere? Because the Pie-o-neer is a story of family, faith, struggle, failure and reinvention that has finally paid off and even garnered a bit of national attention.   Her story began in 1995, where three generation of Kathy’s family purchased Pie-O-neer and began a full service restaurant that also served pie.  However, her mother had to move due to health reason and then her daughter left the nest to pursue a higher education.  Running the failing restaurant alone became too much for her that she actually ran away three times.  After the third time, she finally stepped back and look at how can she restructured her business to become a successful restaurant.  So she rebuilt her kitchen to only cater to a lighter meal and scaled back on the menu.  In addition, she put more focus on the pies.

So if you’re ever on HWY 60 in New Mexico, make sure you take the time to stop in Pie Town for a slice of pie and say Hi to Kathy.  It will be the best piece of pie you’ll ever tasted. By the way, I would give the apple, green chile and pine nut pie a try. Believe it or not, it is delicious!

With her sharing her experience, strength and hope gives me courage and strength to pursue my journey to finding my own two feet again.

Pie-O-Neer Café, Milepost 59 on U.S. 60, Pie Town, New Mexico, 575.772.2711, www.pie-o-neer.com; The Pie Festival,www.pietowncouncil.com/pie_festival.

.