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.