Thursday, September 13, 2018

My 13 Day Journey On The Back of a Harley Trike

Day #1 Leaving Home

On July 30, 2018 my husband and I embarked on the first vacation we have had since 2001. Only this time instead of flying to our destination, we took our Harley trike on an amazing adventure.

Since we had been planning this trip for quite awhile and our destination was the Sturgis 2018 Bike Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, I was excited and a bit nervous.

You see, I suffer from chronic pain having arthritis, Fibromyalgia and have suffered since October 2017 with severe pain in my right side that 5 doctors, 2 physical therapists, 4 rounds of steroids has not taken care of the issue. My fear was I would have to get on a plane and come home.

We were also leaving our 17 year old granddaughter to house sit during this time with other responsibilities she had such as ensuring our dog got her meds, a friends farm animals were fed and watered and driving 2.5 hours to her sisters camp graduation. 

Here we are at the house preparing to leave. The trailer was full with a complete first aid kit that had everything in it from allergy medications (oral and topical), to tweezers and scissors. My hubby laughed when he saw anti-nausea and diarrhea medications, but it was a long trip and I don't like surprises.

Also, if you look at our jackets, you will see the Phoenix patch, this was generously sent to us by Kathie Purkey who is Billy Warneke's mom one of the Granite Mountain Hotshots that perished June 30, 2013. I went to Victoria who is Billies sister and Kathie's daughter and she asked to have them sent to us as Kathie was out of town. 
These patches we wear with honor because we know the sacrifice these men and their families made and I tell everyone who asks me about them how they can support hot shot teams!

The first day we traveled from our home near Olympia, WA to a small town in Oregon and let me tell you, the eastern side of Oregon was so hot, I thought I was going to die and that is no exaggeration.

Lunch in Pendleton, Oregon 7/30/2018

 This is across the road from the Subway in Pendleton,Oregon, no more beautiful green tree's, it is more high desert in the area and we never did see any signs for the Pendleton wool mill.

It got so warm at one point in the trip we stopped for gas and there was this wonderful little park across the street with a lake, we shed our leathers and laid out in the cool grass for a bit.
A beautiful lake to rest for a bit

Reluctantly, I got back on the bike, put all my leathers back on and decided it was better to be to warm than go down and have no skin left. That was until...this stop in Haines:
My face was almost as red as my glasses

You can see my hair is matted down from sweat, my face is red and it was so bad, hubby began pouring cold water over my head, down my shirt and this time...I took the leathers off, placed an ice watered down neck gater on my head and neck and we took off again!

Final Destination for the night...Baker City, Oregon and A/C

We did it! We traveled over 10 hours and over 400 miles and made it safely. The bike was unloaded and secured and while hubby was doing that, I ordered pizza to be delivered, I was done riding for the day!

Our motel in Baker City, was clean, quiet and had air conditioning and large pillows so I was able to prop up my legs, while hubby enjoyed the chair and propping his feet up on the bed.

Next morning we got up, showered, had breakfast at the hotel and once again, we were one our way!

Heading out once again (this pic was taken at home)

Come back when I tell you all about day #2. You won't want to miss it!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

We Are On A Crazy Journey

Our life has taken us on a truly twisting crazy journey over the past 3 years, some of it was plain unbearable at times, however, with the love of family and friends, we endured and are on the other side happy and trying to make sense of this crazy journey.

We are looking to transition from our wonderful 5th wheel to perhaps a newer fifth wheel, but placed on our own property where we do not have to worry our landlord will decide at the drop of a hat he wants to sell or not be a landlord any longer. This weighs heavily on me.

We now have a Harley trike which I love to sit on the back and ride, but I am NOT content to spend days traveling looking at the back of hubbies helmet, so I decided with his encouragement to take a trike class.

Let me tell you if you live in Washington state, the best place to take your three wheel class is at Pacific Northwest Motorcycle Safety in Silverdale (my choice) or Auburn (hubbies choice). Either way, the instructors know their stuff! I don't get anything from recommending them, but they really taught me a lot.

Now, about that Harley. All my riding gear is Harley gear, my shirts, etc., then I come home from the class and tell hubby I want a Can Am motorcycle. Why?

Reasons for a Can Am vs Harley Trike:
1- No clutch (I have a difficult time with knowing when to clutch vs knowing when to brake)
2- No front brake/back brake, just one brake!
3- No toe lift or depress for gears, it is done simply with the flick of a thumb.
4- No worries about how to corner because Can Am trike 2 wheels are up front and not in the back (okay being I drive a car and can't see my back tires, this is a lame
5- Adjustable foot rests  so I am not stuck using the same placement someone with shorter or longer legs is using.
6-About $14K difference in new

Right now I am proud to say I passed the driving portion of my motorcycle test, however, I profoundly failed the written portion and have 90 days to pass it or take the class over again. 

So, wish me peace, joy and happy thoughts because this crazy lady is heading back up the trail on this crazy journey to re-take the written until I pass!

**BTW, I did go back and pass my written and at this writing I am waiting to find my dream ride**

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Even The Short Rides Destress Life

Perhaps like me at times, you get tired of opening your computer to sad/bad news, watching television with bad news, all you see on Facebook is false news or stories about depressing issues and you need a break!

My health lately has not been something to write home about or actually write anywhere about, my right side is to the point of not wanting to work anymore, it began with my right arm and has now traveled to my back, hip and leg.

Many times, I cannot put my pants on without help, so no matter how wet or cold it gets, I opt for shorts or a skort because I don't have to fight my legs to get in jeans.  The same goes for my shoes..I usually wear slip on sandle's because I don't need help to get them on.

This started in October 2017, I have been through 3 sets of Steroid shots, 11 weeks of physical therapy, to see a neurosurgeon, an orthopaedic surgeon and now a physicist and everyone of them has differing opinions:
1-Neurosurgeon- You are fat and need to exercise more (uh, duh, I would if I could!)
2-Ortho-You have an inflammed Bursa, gave 2 steroid shots and if it doesn't work come back and see me within 2 weeks (uh, that would be great if your office didn't book me out past a month).
3-Physicist - Your right leg is longer than your left, you have an SI joint issue and pelvic torsion. We will resume PT with a pelvic specialist, but I can't give you a steroid shot in SI until you have had at least 6 weeks of PT** (see #2, wanna bet if I can get my ortho to do it??)

Not one of them have addressed the weakness I have in my right leg that causes me to fall forward getting up out of a chair or just list to the right and fall. NOT ONE!!

Now, here is the odd thing...NOT one of these has ordered an MRI of my right hip or leg. So, here I sit, going on 10 months and still no answers!

What do you do in a case like this?
You keep moving and praying for answers!

When life gets you down, you grab your leathers and get on the back of the Harley trike and go for a ride and last evening we did just that.

We rode to a local state park, drove through, walked to the lake and came home.

Oddly, getting on and off the Harley and riding does not bother me one whit! However, I think it is because I stand to get on and off, not sit and try to get in like I do my car. 

I also think it is because the ride is such a stress reliever~!

So, enjoy our journey!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Blessings of Traveling

We live in a 5th Wheel and while we are blessed to have the spot we are in and when I am not feeling well physically it is truly a blessing, I have to admit at times sitting home can get pretty, well you know...B O R I N G!

My hubby decided to surprise me this past week-end with a cabin on a river, dinner out and an incredible ride to Mt. Rainier on our Harley. Hubby also humored me with stopping in various places to get pictures so I can earn a pin for my vest!

Here are a few of the many pics I took on the way up and back from the Paradise area of Mt. Rainier!


Friday, May 4, 2018

I Dropped the Ball On This Ride

It says Tenino Right Here!
So, I love our new Harley trike and I am one of those crazy pin collectors, so the Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) gives pins and patches for a variety of things, but I love to do the ABC's of H.O.G. you drive around and get your picture taken with your bike, their touring guide and a picture of something that shows the town you are in.

Sadly, I didn't realize it has to be an 'official,' city, county, state sign so we rambled over to Tenino and took this picture. With a trike it is difficult to get everything into one picture and hubby is never happy doing these goose chases but humors me!

So I get home, go to download our photos and then come to realize it has to be an official sign and cannot be a library, museum, school, etc.. BUMMER!!

I wanted it in front of their city hall, however all it says is 'City Hall.' 

The ride was perfect this day, so I will call H.O.G. and ensure I am reading the rules right and maybe, just maybe I can get hubby to try again.

Well, we are also in the 365 Touring so all we need to do there is take the bike in to any dealership when our miles match the requirements.

Still, if I get my. trike license, I think grabbing the key to the bike out of hubbies hat that sits on the bedside, might just be an idea!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Loving The Tiny Life

Yes, we are still living in our fifth wheel and very stationary while hubby is still working, the big difference this writing, is that I have finally realized what a blessing this life is and I now embrace our tiny home as opposed to feeling the 'poor me pity pot feelings.'

I love my little kitchen with its 2 pantries (1 is a pull out), cabinet that opens on both sides for our kitchen garbage, 4 drawers, 6 additional cabinets, the oven has not been a disappointment as I have cooked everything in it that I would in a regular home.  

Matter of fact, I think having the smaller propane oven wastes much less energy than my old electric oven that was huge when I would only cook a casserole. Now, that casserole dish fits nicely without lots of wasted space.

I love our built-in spice rack and metal vitamin holder which means, they aren't taking up cabinet space!
The diving cabinet/counter between kitchen and living area!

I have learned to be creative with space, hence, we use the top of the dog kennel for my books, our bibles, shredding basket and tissues.

As you can see, our baby is so spoiled sleeping on her Serta memory foam dog bed inside the kennel and YES, the door is always unlocked!

I have to say that when my children and grandchildren were little, we loved absolutely to go to the library and read a book, rent a video, bring home our favorites and living in our tiny home, my love for my local library has been renewed.

The basket holds books I have purchased or my bible study materials. However, if I want to try a new cook book, read the latest travel books, I head to the library, bring them home and when I am done, they are returned. Saves space. My basket holds books I keep or someone has given me to read.

Dog kennel doubles as shelving
The greatest thing about our library, it is directly next to a place one of our grands does some volunteer work for, so I drop her off, head to the library, find a good book, settle in and read until she walks in and says she is all done. Saves gas of running back home, coming back to pick her up, drop her off at home, go home myself!

No one minds cleaning! The grands come to visit and all want to know how they can help us. If I say vacuum, well having a nifty Dyson vacuum that is portable, has 2 of them saying, 'No, I'll do it!'
In 5 minutes the entire carpet is vacuumed!

In the summer, we bring our eating to our deck our yard, have lots of folding chairs in storage and a large table and we can have a nice BBQ!  

We also have a small area for our printer, my Keurig (yes, you saw a BUNN on the kitchen counter), a mail center with envelopes, stamps, etc., has just made it homier! As you can see, I use the slide tops for pictures, battery operated lanterns, etc..

 Home is truly where we make it and today, it is 60 outside, the front door is open, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping and I am at peace with my tiny home.

My home keeps me warm and dry when it rains. It keeps me cool when it is hot out by opening windows, doors and if needed, I can run the A/C. I can cook, I can take long hot showers, I have a flushing toilet and God has my husband and I in the palm of His hands right where we need to be!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Saying Good-Bye To the Old and Hello Baby To the News

July 2017 - New To Us 2009 Harley

This was our oldest grand daughter and hubby and I last July when we drove to Silverdale to pick up our Harley motorcycle. It was a beauty, pearl and silver and so comfy with lots of storage for our leather gear and helmets when we stopped on our rides to eat or sight see!

Hubby and I spent more time last summer between July and October before the rains hit traveling around the state of Washington than we had in the 10 years we have lived here.

Our first trip was up to a local lake in our area that we had passed many times on the way up to White Pass to watch our grands play football, basketball or other sports. 

I wanted a special place to take photos of the very last quilt that was going to the surviving Granite Mountain Hotshot team from Prescott, Arizona. 

As you may recall on the news, there were 19 of 20 fire fighters from that team that died on June 28, 2013. The news was devastating and Layers of Hope-Quilting 911 reached out and made quilts for the families of those that perished.

The lone survivor was the last one to receive a quilt and to this day, It took 4 more years for this quilt to be sent out to Brendan and while it seems like forever, I am a firm believer that the quilts I make and others make go out by divine intervention and this one was no different.

Please take a moment to watch this documentary about these brave men at
Brendan's Quilt
 Perhaps you watched the movie, 'Only The Brave,' it was released October 2017. I am hoping that the timing of the movie (which I knew nothing about) and the timing of the quilt was meant to be. 

All  knew is that this quilt for some reason had to be photographed outdoors, in nature and had to take a ride with me on the Harley. I just felt like I was being pushed to carry it one last moment longer.

The background is from the park at Mayfield Lake in Lewis County Washington. The picture of hubby and I below was taken at Mayfield Dam that same day. 
Mayfield Dam August 2017

I won't bore you with the rest of the pictures we took that day, but I am glad we made it to Packwood and back safely and without incident.

Our next trip we took was early evening for a relaxing ride and dinner which took us to Lady of the Lake restaurant on Offhut Lake in Thurston County.  It was a perfect ending to the day, a crisp fresh salad, sipping iced tea on the patio and watching the boaters as the sun began to set.

Sadly,  it was also the first time hubby went to park the Pearl Baby and hit loose gravel and down it went. I was so happy I was NOT on the bike any more and I knew he was alright.

This next picture is on a day late in August or early September, we took a nice relaxing and long ride along the Hood Canal and if you have never been through the area, I highly recommend the trip at least once in your life.

It was gorgeous, sunny, warm but not hot and we passed through places we had never been to with names like Quilcene, Lilliwaup, Eldon and Brinnon.

Here, hubby and I were in the parking lot of the Geoduck Tavern in Brinnon. It was a nice place to stop and rest a bit. The tavern is a local watering hole, but the waitresses and locals are friendly.

Hubby and I had the French Dip and the bun/bread it came in was fresh as in home made that day. The service was slow, but it was slam packed busy and we had no agenda that day, so sitting and watching the water was a great time to relax!

WARNING!! While this place is named after the famed clam, they do not serve them here, if you are looking for Geoduck clams you will be disappointed.
Another front of the Geoduck Anchor

We finished our ride coming over the Hood Canal bridge on Pearl and let me tell you that is a bridge I do not want to have to cross again on two wheels, it is steel grating in some spots and I was not pleased. Still, we made it without incident.

However, getting off the road to visit a friend, we hit loose sand and gravel again and this time, I WAS on the back of the bike when it went down. Three things I have to say:
1- I am thankful to God neither of us was hurt.
2- I am thankful that I learned years ago to scale the back seat before it hits the ground, oh you bet, I feel, but more from the jump down.
3-It is completely ego wrecking and embarrassing when it happens in front of another vehicle.

With that in mind my hubby and I began talking about things most people probably wouldn't feel comfortable talking about...weight and not just any, but mine. 

I had to admit at over 100 pounds more than he is, I was one of the reasons with his arthritis he was having such a time keeping it up when we hit unstable ground. Add that to 900# of bike and he is trying to old up over 1000 pounds.

Well, December 31 rolled around and the decision to loose weight was made for me when it was determined I had Diverticulitis, some food allergies and other gastro issues and needed to lose some weight for my health.

We began talking about getting a motorcycle for me, but I didn't want 2 wheels, at my age and as a newish rider, I didn't feel real safe on 2. My hubby began looking for me a trike, 3 wheels front or rear I wasn't sure of, but 3 wheels it would be. My issue was I did not want a bike if I couldn't pass the written and riding test.

Instead of getting me a trike, we decided on getting US a trike. If I get my license, I can ride it when I want to and if I don't, I can always be happy as a passenger.

So, three weeks ago, we said good-bye to Pearl and picked up Stormy, our Harley trike and it is such a nice ride and I feel 100% safer on 3 wheels than 2. Hubby has already given all the grands rides on it and we took our first ride this past week together.

This is my happy place, away from phones, family and drama, life comes off my shoulders here and I guess in many ways it was meant to be as it brings hubby and I together and we get out and get to see what this beautiful state has to offer!