A couple of weeks ago, I needed to make a pit stop to get new tires on the bike. The down fall with the TW200 tires, you can’t just go to any motorcycle shop to get them so I have to order them which usually take three to four days to receive them. So I contacted a fellow Tdubber’s to see if I make arrangement to have the tires shipped to his house. He was more than happy to help me with my bike to ensure that I have a safe journey. I met up with Kurt and his wife at their ranch in Auburn, IN.
While there, I learned that Kurt was avid outdoorsmen and from the pictures on the wall in his warehouse that he probably has lots of stories to tell. So, after spending of couple of days working on both of our bikes and a day of traveling together, I have inspired the blogging bug into him. Here’s his story of my visit.
Gina Comes to Town
Going on right now, in the world you live in, is an adventure worth noting. Ginamarie Austin is in the process of traveling the length and breadth of the United States on a Yamaha TW200 motorcycle. Solo. In and of itself that doesn’t really make her or the trip special. Lots of people have traveled this country solo and done so on small displacement motorcycles. What makes Gina’s trip special is that she happens to live in a different world…a world I happen to share. Gina is profoundly hearing impaired.
Let me tell you a bit about Gina’s world. I’m the perfect person to do it. Gina’s world is a quieter place, but it’s also a more confusing place. It’s a place of endless frustration, and let me explain that-it’s frustrating for her, and the people trying to communicate with her. Nothing is more distressing to a hearing impaired person than the words “never mind”. For us it’s game over, something lost forever. A chance to communicate forever taken away. Gina wouldn’t hear a car horn while she is riding and she wouldn’t know someone was right outside her tent at night. Developing mechanical problems go unnoticed because she can’t hear them. Interacting with people on the road is more challenging because they have to invest themselves in communicating…and some simply don’t have the time. So, Gina’s trip is special, and so is she.
I knew about Gina and her travels because I am a member of an online forum that she participates in. That in and of itself is rather amazing since I’m really not much of a forum person. But, like I said, Gina came to town. My town. And I got to spend time with her. It was an amazing experience for me, I don’t know any other profoundly hearing impaired people. At the beginning of her trip my wife and I had offered Gina tools, food, a place to stay and rest up if she need it. I really never expected to hear from her. But I did, and I’m glad I did.
We spent a couple days visiting and working on her bike. She needed new tires and there were some other small issues. For me it was hilarious at times. I would say something while leaning over the workbench and I’d hear her shout “hey, I’m just like you …turn around and speak up”, it made me smile. I know exactly what she means.
For some reason Gina has an infatuation with things on her ride. World’s larges prairie dog, windmill museums, world’s largest truck stop and museum, stuff like that. I on the other hand define a good trip as the absence of things. I dislike all the touristy things and sacrifice even the ones that could be defined as cultural just to stay away from those type of crowds. Because of this love of things along the way she has developed what I consider an unhealthy attraction to old US highways. US 6 doesn’t run very far from my home and that was Gina’s intended route when she left here. I talked her into riding a different route, and in fact I accompanied her from northeast Indiana to Starved Rock State Park in Illinois and so got to ride about 250 miles of her trip with her. I enjoyed it tremendously. I took her on state routes and rural roads through what I refer to as the cornfield corridors. I figured maybe I had broken her habit. But I was wrong. I got up the next morning and started packing up. Gina emerged from her tent as I was looking at my map and came and looked over my shoulder. Then she exclaimed “oh wow, I’m only four miles from US 6.” You win some and you lose some.
So, you might see Gina out there riding home. Coping with problems she never chose to have. If you do, look at her and speak up. Take the time to interact. She’s worth it, I guarantee you.
To read more of his stories, click on the following link: http://borneodreams.com