Well, here we are that top of Beartooth. I have so many pictures and none of them do it justice. As some of you know, the date was July 26, 2016, exactly one year after my husband’s death. It was hard and yet wonderful. I am on the far right. In the center are my son and daughter-in-love and on the far left is a close family friend who was with us the day my husband was died in a motorcycle accident. This was our way of honoring him. He had wanted to go to Beartooth and so we know he was there with us. I will post more pictures at another time.
Yes – that’s what I’m doing right now – planning! Those two places are on my bucket list and I hope to check them off in July. My son and daughter-in-law, two close friends and I will be headed to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho on July 23rd. On the 24th we will attend a Bike Blessing and go on a ride with everyone who participates in the event. My husband did this last year, 1 week before he was killed, and it’s something I want to do to honor him and to see old friends who are also honoring him.
Just A Few Of the Bikes Ready for the Motor Maids 2013 Parade
As I have stated, when I first started riding, I only rode with men. I really wanted some women to ride with because I knew they would understand the fears I had, and I also knew I would enjoy riding with women. I got on the internet and found Women on Wheels. I have link to them on my homepage. I found that there was a chapter in Idaho and contacted them. They got back in touch with me immediately and came to my town to meet me for the first time. I felt so welcomed and joined the group. These ladies then introduced me to Motor Maids and I joined that too!
In Idaho, the class we take, which is better than MSF class, is called STARS. I took the Beginner class in August of 2010. It was over 100 degrees both days we had to ride and, as I have shared in other posts, I passed by the skin of my teeth (to quote my instructor). But, I want to give you a quote, right up front, about the STARS program in Idaho. This quote is from bikebandit.com. It comes from an article stating the MSF statistics, showing a 60% increase in motorcycle fatalities in California after MSF was put in place, has caused California to drop MSF and go with a program called Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic. Here is the quote, “Idaho’s STAR program, founded in 1994, uses a tiered course system, and has had a lot of success since it’s adoption, boasting a whopping 70% reduction in crash risk for riders between 1996 and 2010. (In fact, Idaho’s program was so successful, Total Control actually hired the STAR program manager for a year to help with the huge transition of taking over all of California’s rider training.)” So – now you will understand why I believe so strongly in taking a course! STARS teaches skills – not just how to ride around in a circle for 2 days! You learn to make fast stops, quick avoidance maneuvers, riding in traffic, stopping at a 4 way stop, and much more.
My Husband – Don
Last year, July 26, 2015, my husband of almost 49 years was killed in a motorcycle crash. I was riding ahead of him and, thankfully, did not see the accident. I heard something and turned around and was at his side. He had been killed instantly after losing control of his bike just before a curve, going into the oncoming lane and hitting a truck head-on. He had no external injuries – he was gone. It was a miracle that the family in the truck was not hurt at all.
Of course, I could not ride my bike home. I was in shock that lasted for quite awhile. A friend and neighbor that we had been riding with took me home on his bike – I don’t know how he did it – he and Don were close, close friends – he was caring for me in Don’s place. I wasn’t afraid. I knew that something had happened to my husband. He had multiple health issues. The curve was a curve that a beginner could take at 50 mph. Although I will never really know what happened, I know that an experienced rider would apply their brakes if they were able to, especially in a situation like this. He did not and I do not believe he was able to. I believe something had happened to him physically and he could not do anything.
The very first time I went up what I considered to be a HUGE hill, I had so many crazy thoughts. At that time, I was riding my Burgman 400 and had only gone up or down very small, very manageable hills – lol. When I saw the hill I was going to go up, I thought that I would not be able to get up the hill; I would end up going so slow that I would fall over (well, this one was a real possibility!); that I would crash on one of the curves; that if I had to stop, I would not be able to get started again; etc.
The reason I say “what I do” to winterize my bike is – because lots of people do it lots of different ways. Where I live, I can usually tell when my riding is coming to an end. The prediction of freezing weather or snow is about all the hint that I need!! I am not a cold-weather rider. I’m a wimp. I have heated gear but I don’t enjoy being cold or having to dress like the Michelin Tire man in order to ride. Below 50 degrees is good enough for me to wrap up my season! Ok – I know there are lots of you saying – Wow, she really is a wimp! I’m ok with that. I have good friends who ride unless there is snow or ice on the road. They are definitely tougher than I am and – I’m ok with that too!
Me My Buddies – Harley & Ryder My Softail Slim
Well – the simple answer is – because I think there are women out there like me who want to be able to dialogue, learn, share tips and – there’s always room for that because female motorcycle riders are GROWING group! That is a fact.
I did not learn to ride a motorcycle until I was 59 years old and – I so afraid. I had wanted nothing to do with motorcycles; was never interested; well, until my husband bought this beautiful, red Harley Heritage. It was so beautiful that I instantly wanted him to take me for a ride. I fell in love with riding but, because of my husband’s diabetes, it was very difficult for him to have a passenger – I weigh more than 50lbs!!! So, I took the beginners class and quite literally “passed by the skin of my teeth” – a quote from my instructor. I bought a scooter – a Honda Burgman. I didn’t want to have to think about shifting because I thought I was going to die every time I rode and it took all my concentration just to keep the fear from keeping at home.
That’s it – my adventure machine! A 2014 Softail Slim. This pic was taken right after I bought it and, since then, of course, I have done some customizing. Next time I will post a newer pic.
It is my hope that this blog will serve to provide some info, some fun, and some interaction between ladies who ride. I don’t care whether it’s two wheels or three, as a passenger or a driver, or what kind of bike you ride. The whole point is that – we are women who love to ride! I’m no expert. I have been riding since 2010 and ride 8,000 to 10,000 miles per year. Lots of people ride far more than I do but – lots ride less too. I’m not writing this to be an expert – just to encourage you to ride if that’s what you want to do.