Leap of Faith

Today is my official last day of work after eleven years with the same company.  Wow, I can’t believe that the day is actually is here. Just the other day, I was talking to a friend of mine and she mentioned that it seems like it was yesterday when we were talking about the trip when it was nine months away and it seemed like it was so far away. Now it is approaching upon much too quickly, it only a week away for kick stand up (ksu) and to start drifting on the back road of Americas.

I can’t believe that I have been planning for this journey and dealing with the closing of the estate for more than a year now.  So much has happened in the last year and it has been a huge roller coaster ride for me.  I can see now how much I have changed, grown and strives to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I remembered in the beginning it all felt overwhelming and I thought I would never be able to sell all of his stuffs. I’m being nice here, he was actually a bit of a hoarders.  I had to sell thirty motorcycles, seven cars, five trailers, two acres of miscellaneous stuffs and a house.  You know what is ironic, that most people thought I would be lecturing everyone the danger of smoking but actually, I have been preaching about having all of your affairs in order in case of unexpected events such as death.  Since he died without will, I had to go through probate in order to liquidate everything.  Many has asked me why I had to go through that since I was his legal wedded wife.  Welcome to California, a community property state, which means that when he dies, the court decide how to distribute his assets among two living generations.  Lucky for me, his parents waived their right to his asset but I had to deal with the legal mess of probate.  I still wrapping up little things right up to the date of my departure and won’t be seeing fruit of my labor probably until July.  It has been a frustrating process and I do NOT wish it on anybody to have to go through this.  So this is why I’m the biggest advocate of having a will or a living trust.

As for the trip, I think I got everything that I will need except for the seat.  Next week, I will riding Purple with down to Hemet to meet the guys from Seat Concepts.  I always like their seats but it add about an inch to the height to the bike.  So I thought it would never work for me. Someone suggested that I give them a call to see if they would make a custom build a seat for me.  That is when I learned that they’re only an hour from where I lived and was welcome to bring the bike to the shop and they will design and build the seat while I’m there.  Whoo-hoo, I can’t wait to get my new seat, just in time for my trip.

Now that the estate and the bike is almost squared away, it is time for me to start packing up my own stuff that I want to keep and put it into storage for the year.  I’ll have to keep reminding myself how important is it while I’m packing.  So I don’t put my kids through the same thing in case anything happens to me.

Then it will be time to take that leap of faith and begin the journey of learning how to stand on my own two feet again  through motorcycle.

The Last Trade Show

For the past eleven years, I have been exhibiting at three trade shows a year for the software company I worked for.  There are a handful of exhibitors that does the same rotation as I do, some are competitors and some provide a partnership. A lot of time Russ got to go with me to these trade shows. We all tends to hang out together after hours for dinner or sight-seeing around town. We always had a good time and gotten to know each other’s pretty well.

When Russ gotten sick, we received a lot of well wishes and supports from these guys. During hospice, one of the most frustrating question I ever gotten was “What can we do to help?” Or “Is there anything you need?” I was already overwhelmed with the situation and didn’t know what I needed at the time. This is where I got one of the best encouraging words I ever needed from one of the vendors during these difficult times. She sent me a private message via Facebook and said “If love alone could heal, there isn’t a doubt in my mind Russ could be healed in a heartbeat.  I see the way your eyes light up whenever you talk about him, your love is that deep and transparent.  Stay strong and know there are countless people like me out here praying daily for both of you”. It was what I needed the most to give me the courage and the strength to be there for Russ. To this day, I still keep that message in my pocket as a reminder of the love that he and I had.

Back to the present day, many of the vendors have been following my blog and knew that this will be my last trade show. So, on the last day of trade show, we have always have a banquet and this is  where they presented me with a gift for my journey, a GoPro video camera. I was shocked and honored that they went out of their way to get me something. In what industry do you see that competitors gets along with each other?

It was actually comical how came to decide to pick the GoPro as a gift. I didn’t realize that they were picking my brain for ideas while I was there. Apparently in one of my blog post, I mentioned that I has a list wish list of things that I needed but never posted it. Then, they thought of giving me a gift card for hotels but mentioned that I will be camping and couch surfing among the network of friends through the motorcycle community. At the trade show, we always have giveaway to attract business cards and one day, one of the vendor and I were walking around and I noticed that one of the give away was a GoPro and mentioned how cool it would be to have one of those. Hence the aha moment.

It’s a good thing I still have a few more weeks to learn how to use the GoPro before I begin my trip. I want to take a moment to thanks to all of those vendors who pitched in for the wonderful gift!  I’m truly honored and will miss all of you guys.

The Pony Express trail

I am always doing research for work and use the Google website for the search function to seek the information I need. I love the historical tidbits that Google does on its splash screen. The other day it had the information about the Pony Express 155th birthday, the geek in me had to read all about it.

The Pony Express is a mail service that spurred due to the threat of the Civil War blocking means of communication to the West.

The service opened officially on April 3, 1860, when riders left simultaneously from St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California. The first westbound trip was made in 9 days and 23 hours and the eastbound journey in 11 days and 12 hours.

Eventually, the Pony Express had more than 100 stations, 80 riders, and between 400 and 500 horses. The express route was extremely hazardous, but only one mail delivery was ever lost. The service lasted only 19 months until October 24, 1861.

According to Wikipedia, The Pony Express route is approximately 1,900-mile-long (3,100 km)  roughly followed the Oregon and California Trails to Fort Bridger in Wyoming, and then the Mormon Trail (known as the Hastings Cutoff) to Salt Lake City, Utah. From there it followed the Central Nevada Route to Carson City, Nevada before passing over the Sierra into Sacramento, California.


The route started at St. Joseph, Missouri on the Missouri River, it then followed what is modern-day U.S. Highway 36 (US 36 the Pony Express Highway) to Marysville, Kansas, where it turned northwest following Little Blue River to Fort Kearny in Nebraska. Through Nebraska it followed the Great Platte River Road, cutting through Gothenburg, Nebraska, clipping the edge of Colorado at Julesburg, Colorado, and passing Courthouse Rock, Chimney Rock, and Scotts Bluff, before arriving at Fort Laramie in Wyoming. From there it followed the Sweetwater River, passing Independence Rock, Devil’s Gate, and Split Rock, to Fort Caspar, through South Pass to Fort Bridger and then down to Salt Lake City. From Salt Lake City it generally followed the Central Nevada Route blazed by Captain James H. Simpson of the Corps of Topographical Engineers in 1859. This route roughly follows today’s US 50 across Nevada and Utah. It crossed the Great Basin, the Utah-Nevada Desert, and the Sierra Nevada near Lake Tahoe before arriving in Sacramento. Mail was then sent via steamer down the Sacramento River to San Francisco. On a few instances when the steamer was missed, riders took the mail via horseback to Oakland, California.

Hmmm…it sound like it would be fun to follow the entire Pony Express route. We stumbled upon one of the old station back in 2012 on a road trip we did.  So, since U.S. Route 50 (aka the loneliest road in America) is already on my list of routes I want to travel on. Now I guess I’ll just add US Route 36 to my list as well.


Why do we give our ride a name?

After I posted about getting Purple back, my aunt made a comment about how as a little girl I have always loved the color purple, only eating grape ice cream and purple gum.  So, she thought I was still infuriated with the color purple.   I didn’t actually seek out a bike that was purple but it kind of fell into our lap.  Russ was looking for another TW200 for me since the first one we got had a bad CDI which was a common problem with 1987 model.  A guy nearby where we lived was selling a 1991 TW200 on Craigslist and it was in good condition so we bought it.  This bike became my baby.  So Russ suggested that I come up with a handle so I can join the TW200 forum community.

So I decided to run with the color since I didn’t think I would be changing the look anytime soon.  When I first started looking into name of characters that were purple.  Upon research, I could only find a handful of characters that were purple; Barney (oh heck no!), Cheshire Cat (a tongue twister for me), Grimace (eh?), and the Purple People Eater (that is the one I decided on).  So that became my handle which is kind of long-winded.  Most people either call me Purple or PPE for short.

Since I christen the bike as Purple People Eater, I had to run with theme when I decided to give it a facelift.  When I was looking for a vinyl wrap that has the color purple in it. I stumbled upon a website called MetroReStyling.com where they had a wrap that in a camo pattern and it was purple.  It was damned tedious to put on but it was one of the best investment I ever did.  That wrap has protected the plastic every time I have crashed on the bike (not that many, honest!).

Now, you’re probably wondering if I have given a name to my street bike as well.  Of course I did, his name is Felix after Felix the Cat.  I know that it sound weird to name my ride but I discovered that I was not alone.  According to a Nationwide Insurance survey, plenty of drivers name their ride.  They polled about 1,082 U.S. car owners and found that:

•Nearly 25% of U.S. car owners have a special name for their car.

•More than 31% were inspired by the vehicle’s color and appearance.

•At 36%, car owners between the ages of 18 and 34 are more likely to nickname their cars.

•Women are more likely to have a nickname for their cars than men — 27% vs. 17%

•About of out of four surveyed think of their car as a girl, with women more likely to have a “baby” girl. Such as “Eleanor” from the film Gone in 60 Seconds or the homicidal Chevrolet named Christine from the movie Christine.

•Men are more likely than women to name their car after a famous or historical person or a character in a movie.

So, do you have a name for your motorcycle or car?  If so what is it?

Purple is back!!!

Whoo-hoo, Purple is back!  I’m such a happy camper now that she is back under my legs.  Now I got that silly song from the 60’s stuck in my head “My Boyfriend’s Back” by The Angels.

My boyfriend’s back and you’re gonna be in trouble
(Hey-la-day-la my boyfriend’s back)
He’s been gone for such a long time
(Hey-la-day-la my boyfriend’s back)
Now he’s back and things’ll be fine
(Hey-la-day-la my boyfriend’s back)  

Actually, Purple is a she and she is back just in time for the 2nd Annual Lizrdbrth Memorial Desert Ride.  Since 2009, a group of T-dubbers have been meeting up in Desert Hot Springs, CA then riding out Berdoo Canyon which takes us onto the Geology Tour Road in Joshua Tree National Park.  This is where Russ and I met Jeff, Ronnydog, Jimbo and Don and became hooked on the cult of our little bikes.  So when Russ passed away we decided to dedicate the ride to him and put up a plaque and wind chime in a secret place to honor him and cherish the camaraderie of our group.

This year, we had three new riders with us so we had a total of 10 riders all together.  The weather couldn’t be more perfect.  So first stop was to visit the memorial to pay our respect. It felt so good to be back onto Purple and she is running like a dream.

It was me who was a little rusty riding her.  On Berdoo Canyon, there are 3 technical sections on that ride with the last one being the most difficult.  This year, I almost did another “Flying Nun” on the second section but did not fall.  Whew, I was so determined to stay up.  It actually got caught on the GoPro, I was so embarrassed by it.  To tell you the truth, it was actually a good learning tool, I got see what I did wrong.  Looking for the easy way around the boulder instead of going over it is not always better.

The third section was actually a breeze this year.  In the years past, we have watched BMW GS questioning whether they can up or down it as we plow through it.  I think the landscaping is changing for a couple of reasons; one is due to mother’s nature and secondly, there are Jeep tours that travel down that canyon.  I counted five of them when we went up it as they were coming down it.

The rest of the ride was uneventful and relaxing.  We even stopped to have a mid-day snack courtesy of Ronnydog.  Summer sausages, cheeses and crackers, yummy!  Even Jimbo brought his golf umbrella for shade.

The ride is usually a two day affair where the second day is alway different every years.  Also, half of the group go home at the end of the first day and the die hard stick around for the second day.  However, almost the whole group stuck around.  This year we did a ride through the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm and into the Whitewater Reserve.

The San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm is one of the three wind farms and the oldest in California.  The area is also one of the windiest place in California as well.  We lucked out, it wasn’t that bad that day.  It was impressive being up close and personal with these giants.  The early models stand 65 feet high and have 15-foot blades that rotate between 600 and 700 times per minute.  The new ones can stand up to 299 feet high and have up to 140-foot blades.

The last stop of the day was the Whitewater Preserve.  Who knew that in the middle of the desert that we would stumbled upon a 2800 acres oasis.  The preserve is the gateway to the San Gorgonio Wilderness which is now managed by the Wildlands Conservancy.  271 acres was once a privately owned trout farms which the conservancy now maintains.  There are several ponds where you can view and feed the humongous trouts.  One of the ponds offers a catch and release program for the kids.

All in all, it was an amazing weekend with good company and a great host.  So, if you ever are looking for something to do, I would highly recommend checking out the hidden treasure, Whitewater Preserve.

Also, I can’t thank enough to Ronnydog and his friend Thomas who put many hours into re-building Purple.  I’m so ready to start my journey.  Only 37 more days!!