About Ginamarie Austin

My blog is about riding motorcycles and learning to stand on my own two feet after losing my husband to cancer.

Something Just Clicked

Once again, we hosted the annual Lizrdbrth Memorial ride in Joshua Tree. Which is our fourth year now. It was time brush the dust off of P2 and hit the dirt. I don’t ride P2 very often, now that I have an adventure bike. I actually prefer riding on the slow winding back roads of the countryside.

In reality, I have never considered myself a very good motorcycle rider on dirt. I still remember vividly the first time I rode the TW200 on a group ride back in 2009. I was still green on the bike but Russ thought I could navigate the trails of Joshua Tree easily enough. Boy, he was wrong! I dropped the bike about 30 times. I broke every turn signals, both mirrors, and the throttle sleeves. Everyone sure had patience of a saint that day constantly waiting for me. I don’t know how they keep putting up with me.

We would do the ride each year and slowly I would improve on my riding ability. However, I would at least drop the bike a couple of times. There’s even a boulder that I would always run into every year to point where they would name the rock after me. Every year, I’m always nervous, exhausted and felt like I was over my head during the ride. To the point that I didn’t alway enjoy the ride. Meaning, I couldn’t enjoy the tranquility or the scenery of Joshua Tree. However, I’m always glad that I did push myself to do the ride. I enjoy the comradeies among the fellow TW riders.

This year was the first year where there wasn’t a rider in the group that has even met Russ except for Jeff and myself. It was a strange feeling. We had eight riders all together. First stop was to pay our respect to Russ. Four years ago, we put up a plaque in a secret location to memorialize the times we all spent together. When we got there, my first thought was wow, that was quick and the trail wasn’t as challenging as I remembered. In the years past, it felt like it would take forever to get there.

Then, we jumped over to Berdoo Canyon to head up to Joshua Tree National Park where we would meet up with another fellow somewhere on the trail. This trail has 2 rock waterfall that we have traverse up on. The first one is small and has the boulder that is infamously named after me. Every year, I would hit the darn thing. Believe it or not, it was the first time that I narrowly missed it and made it through without any incident.

The second one, is a larger pile of rocks that I never have been made it up on my own. It was either Russ or another more experienced rider that would ride my bike up. I would hike up the trail to collect my bike. This time, I left a couple of riders go ahead of me to watch the line they were taking up the waterfall of rocks. Then it was my turned and I told myself to just do it! To my amazement, I did it without any mishap. I was so tickled with myself.

For the rest of ride, I became one of those annoying rider who become impatient and frustrated with the slow riders in front. To point, that when I found an opening to pass them up and jumped up to the front to lead the ride. Since, I knew the trails, I would sometimes get ahead of them a bit and then slow down so they could catch up. Now, I know how those other riders felt when they were stuck behind me in the past.

Once, we hit the pavement, I didn’t want the dirt to end. I felt exhilarated and for the first time I wasn’t exhausted or even sore. It felt like something just clicked with my riding skills. That my body instinctively knew to react with the bike and the trails.

The next morning, we had another ride. A smaller one but its a single track with a lot more sands. My old nerve crept up and played with my mind thinking that yesterday was just a fluke. This time we had a rider that who was green on the dirt. In the beginning of the ride, I was behind the guide. However, I shifted toward the middle of the group to let the new riders in front of me. I was too self conscious of the new rider behind me worrying that he might run up on me. This meant I had to ride slower in the sands which pushed me out of my comfort level. However, it was good practice for me to work on my balancing and needless to say that I didn’t fall at all. I almost did once but recovered nicely.

Again, when the ride was over, I didn’t want it to end. So, the previous day ride wasn’t just a fluke. I did reached a plateau where my riding skills becomes more natural. Don’t get me wrong, I still a lot of room for improvement in my riding ability. I think that next year, my goal will be for me is to keep my feet on the peg during those two difficult sections.

The Irony of Life

My job allows me to telecommute for work from home for the last eight years. There were many days where Russ would be sitting along aside with me in the office. He would always be hunkering over on his laptop either researching his latest quench for knowledge or answering questions about the TW200. Sometimes, he would get so excited about what he was reading about, he would abruptly look up and give me the “Cliff Notes” version of it.

I got to hear about many interesting stories and tidbits. Some were about the local history in our area and others were about motorcycles that were odds or unusual. Then there were some about people that he admired. Some of those stories, I wished that I had recorded them. Some, I wished that he got to fulfill his dreams of doing things or meeting those people he talked about.

The irony of all of the stories I have heard all those years is that I’m the one who getting to meet his idols. I’m living out his dreams.

Actually, the first one I got to meet was a missed opportunity for Russ. Remember, in the beginning, I told the story about how Russ and I gotten the adventure traveling bug after attending the Horizon Unlimited event in Cambria, CA right before he got sick. At that event, one of Russ’ idol, Craig Vetter was supposed to speak at the event but had to cancel due to back surgery. I got to meet him at the same event the following year. Craig Vetter is known for his Vetter Fairing Company which created aftermarket motorcycle fairings back in the 70’s. However, it is the fairing that intrigued Russ but it was the Vetter Streamliner that got him hooked. These bikes looks like a cross over between a motorcycle and a scooter.  http://www.craigvetter.com/


The next one I got to meet, I didn’t even realize until way later after I met him that it was one that Russ has communicated with and was hoping to figure out a way to join him on his crazy motorcycle adventure. His name is Ed March, who is embarking on an adventure to various places in the world on a C90. He believes that you don’t have to buy the big expensive BMW GS1200 in order to travel around the world. In addition, his true passion is making people laugh. So as a way to making people, he has posted several YouTube showing you his misadventures while traveling. I had heard of Ed and had followed along his journey. I even met him last year at the Overland Expo where I bought his DVD about his journey from Malaysia to UK on a C90. After watching the movie, it dawned on me, it was the same guy that Russ wanted to go on a C90 adventure with. He even had a C90 in his collection of the 30 motorcycles that I had to sell after his death. http://www.c90adventures.co.uk/


The most recent one was when I was in Birmingham, Alabama working at the division office of my company and looking for things to do while in town. I discovered that the home of the Confederate Motorcycle was here. The first time Russ has heard about this bike was when we rode our TW200 to the Rock Store on Mulholland Drive. The Rock Store is one of the famous motorcycles and bikers hangout in California. This is where I had my picture taken with Jay Leno next to my TW200. As usual, Russ learned everything he could about this bike. These bikes are the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog of exotic street bike. Again, the reason Russ was obsessed with them because they went against the grain of the standard in the motorcycle industry. http://confederate.com/


I was lucky enough to get a private tour by Lee during my lunch hour. The best hour of my week in Alabama. As you can see, Russ loved anything was unusual and quirky.  I got see things through his eyes.

The 28th Day

Today is the last and final post of the Brave, Bold, Blogger Challenge (BBBC) 2017 that was challenged and hosted by Kathy at ToadMama.com. When I first came across the Facebook post by FuzzyGalore, I thought why not. I needed a kick in the butt to get my writing mojo back. Boy, it sure had me kicking and screaming some nights. Some prompt were an emotional challenge for me. Other nights, I just wanted to curl up on the couch after a long day at work and veg mindlessly. However, since I can be stubborn, I got every post written on time.

This challenge made me realize I do miss writing. However, writing every day can be exhausting. So, I will try my hardest to get back to writing weekly. To help me to come up with prompt for the weekly post, I’m giving my audience a chance to ask me questions or pick topic they would like me to write about. I can be anything about solo traveling, motorcycle, grief or local history in Southern California. Post your questions in the comment section. This idea is stolen from FuzzyGalore as well but I have to say I will not do video presentation in response to your questions (too self-conscious to watch myself on the video).

Oh, you may wonder what today’s prompt was? “The February image on your wall calendar”. I do have a wall calendar but it has no pictures on it. 🙂

Cajon Summit

Since I work from home, I try to take a walk every day at lunch time to get some fresh air and exercise to avoid cabin fever. I don’t have far to travel to find trails to hike on. We’re the last house on our road before you transverse into an area called Cajon Summit but it is more commonly known as the Cajon Pass to the local. The most famous hiking trail in our area is the Pacific Crest Trail which is just five mile south of our house.

I tend to take the same three trails over and over again. I got to the point where I gave them names, the Tree Loop, the Skyline Loop and the Lookout Point. Of the three, my favorite is the Lookout point. It over look the Interstate 15, Highway 138 and four railroad tracks that is operated by BNSF Railway and the Union Pacific Railroad.

The Lookout Point also over look the cross as a reminder of a Mercy Helicopter crashed where the pilot and two medical crew lost their life due to bad weather.

It is where I rode out to see where the Blue Cut fire heading to and watched how the wind shifted and headed north toward to where I live. It is also where I can watch the storm rolls in and skirt along the mountain range and not even quench the desert’s thirst for water near the house.

There are endless trails that I can traverse on via my motorcycle, horse or just for a short hike.


Today is day 27 of the Brave, Bold, Blogger Challenge (BBBC) 2017 hosted by Kathy at ToadMama.com

Road Songs

“Oh, give me the beat boys, and free my soul
I want to get lost in your rock and roll and drift away”
Dobie Gray

Whenever I hop onto the bike for a long road trip, I always bring along my mp3 player to soothe my soul as I ride. The play list range from classic rock, soft rock to country. I pretty much listen to anything but really despise rap and opera. However, the majority of the songs on my mp3 player are country.

It all really depend on my mood which song I will sing along with on the road. As you can see, I only sing when I’m by myself. I do not want to torture anyone with my awful singing. Anyway, back to my play list, the top three songs that I tend to sing along with are:

  • Life’s a Dance by John Micheal Montgomery
  • Highway 20 Ride by Zach Brown Band
  • Walking in Memphis by Lonestar

So, what road songs that you find yourself singing to when you are out riding?

Today is day 26 of the Brave, Bold, Blogger Challenge (BBBC) 2017 hosted by Kathy at ToadMama.com

The Range

Mark and I has planned a get away for President’s Day weekend. After the storm, we had been tasked to clean up the damage. So, we weren’t sure that we would be able to get away like we hoped. On Saturday morning, we got up early and tackled dismantling the mangled horse shelter. Once we were done, we looked at each other and knew that we’re going to on our mini get away. So, we quickly got cleaned up, packed and jump onto the bike to head out to Desert Hot Springs.

Our original plan was to go to the Living Desert on Saturday, Salvation Mountains with a ride through Box Canyon on Sunday and Cabot’s Pueblo museum on Monday. Since, we had a late start on Saturday, Living Desert was out the window. On Sunday, we sat down with our friend, Jeff Bowman on his opinion of Box Canyon which runs through a ravine between Interstate 10 and Highway 111. After this storm, we didn’t know the condition of the roads and opt not to take our chance. So instead, we decided to ride around Salton Sea and with a stop at Salvation Mountain. Next to Salvation Mountain is a snowbird community known as Slab City. It’s take it name from the concrete slab that remained from a decommissioned World War II Marine base.

Today’s challenge is to post the 25th picture from your phone or camera. It happened to be the picture we took next to The Range at Slab City. It is an open-air nightclub complete with stage, home made lights, amplifiers, speakers with ratty couches for seating. Every Saturday night at around dusk, locals and visitors meet for a talent show that features permanent resident musicians and anyone else who wants to get up on stage and perform.


Today is day 25 of the Brave, Bold, Blogger Challenge (BBBC) 2017 hosted by Kathy at ToadMama.com

What’s for Breakfast?

I tend to be a creature of habit when it comes to breakfast. Every morning, I always have a peanut butter granola bar, greek yogurt with granola, a tangerine and coffee.


According to the USDA guidelines, there are four basics categories that consist of a healthy breakfast:

1. Whole grains – whole-grain rolls and bagels, hot or cold whole-grain cereals, whole-grain English muffins, and whole-grain waffles.

2. Lean protein – include eggs, lean meat, legumes and nuts.

3. Low-fat dairy – milk, plain or lower sugar yogurts, and low-fat cheeses, such as cottage cheese and natural cheeses.

4. Fruits and vegetables – fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, 100 percent juice drinks without added sugar, and fruit and vegetable smoothies.

So based on the above categories, I think I meet the requirement for a healthy breakfast except maybe for coffee. Hey at least I’m down to 3 cups a day. I used to drink a whole pot a day. So that’s a start! 🙂

And, yes it is cold outside!  Jack Frost decided to pay a visit again, it was 24 degrees this morning.

Today is day 24 of the Brave, Bold, Blogger Challenge (BBBC) 2017 hosted by Kathy at ToadMama.com