I awoke this morning remembering a Baxter Black poem I heard recited on public radio twenty-some years ago. In it an infamous rodeo bull is eyeing a cowboy he’d several times defeated, who was fixing to ride him again, and musing, “Slow learner, that one.” I have remembered the line all these years because I could relate…to the cowboy, that is. Sometimes I’m a very slow learner…the most recent case in point being yesterday.
I say that “adventure” is anything we undertake which includes a degree of risk for unhappy consequences. My curiosity has gotten me into many such situations, but the one I’m writing about now is driven by my genetics. Believe me, as prone as I am to head into the wilds on a motorcycle, the journey I’ve just begun—and will be on for the rest of my life—is not one I would have chosen.Continue reading “Keeping Promises”
Anyone who has listened to me talk about Montana has undoubtedly heard the story of my falling-in-love-at-first-sight moment atop Thompson Pass. I rounded a curve at the summit, crossing from Idaho into Montana, and there lay a vista that took my breath. As far as I could see, miles and miles of mountains and trees. I was filled with a sense of openness and freedom unlike anything I’d known and I descended into Montana feeling like I’d found a new life.Continue reading “That’s My Story….”
At least once on each day I am riding, I catch someone staring at my right shoulder. I grin and wait for the question. “What is that thing you are wearing?” Then I grin even bigger and offer a provocative answer, “It’s what tells my friends where to come and get the body.”
The crackling sound as I stretched out on the silvery mattress atop the REI testing platform made me giggle. The sales guy grinned and said “We call it the potato chip mattress.” Apt nickname, really. But I no longer even notice the sounds…and if I did, I would definitely forgive them because this sleeping pad, with its 5.7 R-Value, does something none other ever has. It keeps me warm!
A feather-light, toasty warm revelation, indeed! And quite possibly my wisest investment in night time comfort…ever (not counting my Sleep Number Bed, which I’d certainly take with me if it fit in my tent)! Staying warm in brisk night air has always been a challenge. Even in long-johns and a down mummy bag rated for 15 degrees, I chill well before the temperature drops below forty. And once I do, I can’t get warm again without a hot bath…not easy to come by in most campgrounds. Awakening around 3 AM to pile my jacket and other clothing on top of me used to be a nightly routine whenever I went camping.
I call the Dustriders Motorcycle Hoist my Ten Pounds of Confidence…and it’s worth every cent I spent on it. It retails for $270, which may sound like a lot for such a simple piece of equipment but it has paid for itself; two events of road service miles from anywhere would certainly have cost more.Continue reading “Dustrider Motorcycle Hoist”
Motorcycle camping. I love it but the older I get, the more difficult it is to be comfortable in a tent in which I cannot stand upright. So when I began planning for a 5-week exploration of Eastern Montana last year, I also began looking for a tent that I didn’t have to crawl into, that could house all my gear AND my motorcycle, but wasn’t monstrous. I didn’t know if such a tent existed, but when I Googled “tent with motorcycle garage,” I found the Lone Rider and it looked perfect.
The first time I dropped my Suzuki V-Strom 650 in gravel, I blamed it entirely on my lack of skill. That was before I rode a little Yamaha TW200 with a beefy, knobby rear tire, felt the connection between that bike and the dirt, and realized what a difference it makes when a bike is wearing the right shoes for the ride.
Early this morning I found my elderly cat, Sweet Pea, nestled in a box of trash I forgot to take out last night. She was sleeping so soundly that, when I woke her by calling her name and touching her ear, she shook her head, eyed me suspiciously, and hissed. She has been in that box for hours now. And that reminds me of my own behavior at times.