Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Many of my friends are veterans who are very active in Rolling Thunder. They have been inviting me to ride to Washington DC each year since I began riding. The thought of 350,000 motorcycles in one place has always been a bit frightening! And there have always been obstacles preventing my attendance, you know... life's little adventures.

This is the description of Rolling Thunder, (found online):

Rolling Thunder is an annual motorcycle rally that is held in Washington, DC during the Memorial Day weekend to call for the government's recognition and protection of Prisoners of War (POWs) and those Missing in Action (MIAs).

I had a potential obstacle this year too. Funding for the weekend. I have been saving every possible penny for my cross country ride and an additonal trip to DC just seemed out of the question. That is, until I took part in an escort ride for a wounded homecoming Marine last month. I saw the all call for bikes to go to Holyoke MA and thought, "I can do that." With my sunny outlook on the experience not knowing what to expect, I rode the 2 hours and pulled into the parking lot alone, to see at least 100 bikes already parked and waiting. A sudden wave of shyness overtook me and I pulled into the first parking space near the front. The thought of 'what had I gotten myself into' crossed my mind. There were vets, families of vets and even a mascot bulldog who was a gunner, I believe. :)

I sat quietly on my bright yellow bike and observed. The energy was palpable with all these leather clad bikers. I could feel a dynamic shift in my energy as I watched the bikes roll in with full sized US flags flying. Some had POW flags as well as the flags from the different facets of our military. I had goosebumps as it suddenly became clear to me.... that I had to attend Rolling Thunder, I HAD to experience it at least once. I pulled out my phone, sent a message to my husband saying as much. Then I sent a message to my friend Mickey in Virginia... all it said was, "Count me in!"

The escort ride for Marine Sgt Josh Bouchard was a powerful experience. Also surprising in a way, because I found that although I disagree with war, (I am the hippie chick flashing a peace sign every where I go) the respect I have for our citizens that dedicate their lives to our military is overwhelming. But I did not realize I would feel it so physically... my heart was pounding hard when we started to roll, taking some deep breaths to quiet down the noise it was making. The run was only about 4 miles. Every cross road had a firetruck protecting the parade. The firefighters were at attention as we passed by. As we rumbled into the downtown celebration, I could see that two hook and ladders had hoisted their ladders up and over the street to make an arch to ride under. From this arch was a huge US flag flying, I felt that I could have reached up and touched it as I went under- powerful is the only word that fits...

I have a feeling that this is only the tip of the iceberg of what I will be feeling when I take part in Rolling Thunder 2010, as I have been invited to be a Gold Star Escort and ride with Rolling Thunder National and will have a VIP passenger on my bike. I am honored and humbled to be able to do this. I have been told to pack kleenex, and be ready to be changed by it all....

Please check out the website

Thank you for reading!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Plan "Bee"

You might notice that I often play with the word 'bee'. So if you find what seems to be a typo, chances I did it on purpose. The title of this entry is a play on the phrase 'Plan B', as in an alternate plan. I chuckled as I realized that Plan Bee also made sense as it involves making some decisions about my upcoming ride.

The friend that was to be a tour guide through a big chunk of my ride has backed out. In the first blog entry, I wrote about releasing control of the trip to the cosmos and this was that what that very thing referenced. I had become complacent that a section was 'being taken care of' and I would not have to worry about where I was going, knowing I would have a wonderful time, and see the best that the northwest has to offer. Suddenly, things are different and I am totally in charge again! The end result is that my ride is much closer to my original vision of riding solo for thousands of miles. Part of the tour that I was really looking forward to will be lost, and that is disappointing, as the Canadian Rockies were going to be a treat. (Mom said to go anyway.) Riding solo out of the country is not something I am completely comfortable with without any knowledge of the countryside. (I worry about gas stations in the wilderness!)

So, back to the beginning... Plan A became Plan B which is now back to Plan A...aka Plan Bee.
Get it? :)

On June 21, 2010, I will be setting out.... Armed with my SPOT tracker so that my family and friends can follow me and my stash of 5 hour energy shots. A SPOT tracker is a GPS beacon that allows anyone I choose to the ability to follow my progress. In an emergency, it also serves as a locator for rescue. A dear friend who will be on his own adventure will accompany me as we overlap the beginning of our rides, parting company in South Dakota as he heads south and I continue west on my quest to see Puget Sound.

Why Puget Sound? (I could hear your asking that question!)

It has called me for 15 years or so...ever since that Oceanography class I took at Framingham State College that summer. I love the ocean, it is where I find the most energy and solace- it renews my spirit. My favorite place on the planet (so far and will probably remain so) is in the state of Maine. A big boulder in Reid State Park, where the cold waters crash against it during windy October weather, or fall gently on it in the quiet of the summer. I ride my motorcycle there as often as possible (it is about 250 miles away) and find a niche in the rocks to curl up and let the sound of the waves lull me to nap for a while, waking up later, to wonder how long I have slept...time stops....and I truly relax and am quiet. If I cannot make it to Maine, I will head toward another New England beach.

Oh! back to the call of Puget Sound... and that oceanography class. I learned that the ocean's activity and geological formations there are unlike anywhere else in the world because of the subduction activity of the earth's crust. Instantly I longed to see that roughness of the rock walls and hear the waves of the Pacific Ocean against them!

And so there it is, the very simple reason for the destination is, the Pacific Ocean.

Patrick, my host in WA showed me a photo of the view from his front door this morning-he looks at Mt. Ranier every day. It was spectacular! I see a row of white pine trees across the street when I go outside in my cozy New England. I have a feeling that the scale of what I consider to be big, or wide open, or tall is all going to get shot to hell when I see what the west has to offer!

Thank you for reading and please continue to accompany me!


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Getting Ready

A couple of years ago, out of the blue, I announced that for my 50th birthday, I wanted to ride my motorcycle across the country. It seemed like a romantic and exciting way to turn 50- go on a challenging adventure! It is amazing how fast two years can pass, because I turn 50 on May 1st, and the Birthday Tour begins on June 21, 2010, generously sponsored by Scorpion USA. I am thrilled to be a member of Team Scorpion 2010*

A bit of history first:
I grew up on the back of motorcycles, it seemed to be a natural course of events to learn to ride. But this got delayed by about 30 years after an ill-fated attempt at learning on my mom's BMW when I was 17. I stalled it, let it drop and got scolded. I refused to get back on, and told myself I could not do it. Then, when I was in my early 40s, the trend was rising with scooter sales. I own a funky little store in my hometown, and people see me as being a little quirky at times. Riding a Vespa around town fit the image and I wanted one. After a little research, my husband Mo said, "you know you need a motorcycle license for a scooter that size". "no problem, I can do that", I answered.

That night at dinner, with the whole family around the table- consisting of Mo, our daughter Annie, my mom and my stepdad, we have lived together for many years- Mo said to me, "why don't you just get a REAL bike?" "whoa....I can do that!" was my reply. Twenty minutes later, I had signed up for a motorcycle safety class. I was on my way.

My first bike was a Yamaha V-star 650, highly recommended as a beginner bike. I cannot say how much I hated that bike! It was just not the right bike for me, but as a beginner rider, a test ride is kind of out of the question and you often just have to go on good faith. I desperately wanted a different bike about a week into my license. But a wise salesman at a dealership told me, "ride that bike until you can toss it around like your first tricycle and then buy a bigger bike". It was good advice. I followed my friend and teacher, Carl around New England for the next 5 weeks. He on one of his Harleys, me on my little bike following him like a puppy. (Carl has a story worth a blog entry, that will probably come in time)

I tried on a lot of bikes, and when I sat on a Harley Softail Deluxe, it was like Goldilocks when she sat in Baby Bear's chair... it was juuust right. Five months after getting my license, I was riding my new 2006 Deluxe. I was in love! I had it custom painted my signature yellow that first winter. After that, people began calling me Bee.

So here I am now, 5 years later, getting ready to ride to the Pacific Northwest. I estimate it could be 8-9000 miles by the time I return home. At first it was going to be a solo ride, I wanted to do it all by myself to prove that I could. But now, I have released this control to the wind and the cosmos... as I pass through different sections of the country where I have biker friends, they will be joining me for a section, a day, or a meal. Meeting people has become the icing on the cake and I am very excited at the prospect of finally meeting some of the friends I have had over the years in my motorcycle forums! Michigan is loaded with people that want to join, I am calling it 'The More the Merrier State".

I will be logging in with stories and photos as I go on this journey. Thank you for reading my introduction, and please come back to follow it if you desire!


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