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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

9th Annual MSR BCA Ride: Save the Twins! You Want Me to Do WHAT??

I awoke to a spectacular day! The sun was shining, the sky was blue and it was COLD!!!



Somewhere along the line, I lost the morning. I know the ladies of the Mountain Shadow Riders were up at the crack of dawn setting up and getting ready. I was....still at home. No, I wasn't trying to miss all the pre-ride set up.



I actually tried to leave...about 10 times.



Where is my hat? Found said hat.



Where is my wallet? Found said wallet.



Where are my gloves? And so on and so forth.



Finally, I have my act all together, get the motorcycle started and head down. Brrrr!! It was cold! Even at this late hour, I ride down to the Western Omlet with a half dozen motorcyclists. I wonder if they had as much trouble getting out the door as I did? Probably not!!



I pull into the parking lot and say my greetings and hello. I have to practically strong arm Gordon to get my ride t-shirt. Hahaha! Strong arm Gordon. He's about 12 feet tall and 12 feet wide. Has the sweetest disposition, but still. He'd squash me like a small bug...if he were so inclined to do so. Thank goodness he is so good natured!



I decide to put my ride shirt on over the many other layers. I'm running around, trying to put on a shirt and talk to my many friends and many strangers. No, I am not paying attention. Twenty minutes or so goes by and our Ms. Chapter Director wanders over and says "momma, your shirt is on backwards".



LOL...another indication of how the day is going.



As I talk my usual trash talk self, Ms. Chapter Director again wanders over (and no, my pants are on correctly) and asks....."Would you mind leading a group"?



I all about choke on my donut. Has she forgotten that I am perpetually lost? Has she forgotten that I couldn't find my way out of a paper bag if my life depended on it? Well, I could, but I'm not admitting to it!



I tell her that I would prefer not to lead a group, but if she can't find anyone else, I'll begrudgingly take the assignment. Two minutes later, she says I'm hired.



Oh boy.



I don't think she looked very hard!



I pull my bike up to the staging area and get in the leader's position. Mind you, I was on the route committee and have driven the route once.



Oh boy.



No one pulls up behind me, so I think I am off the hook. I look down the street and see this b-i-g l-o-n-g l-i-n-e of motorcycles. I have a brief thought that I am glad I'm not leading that group of folks!!



Christine......CCCCHHHHRRRRIIISSSTTTIIINNNEEEE.....I hear my name being called. It's Ms. Chapter Director and she's yelling..."your group awaits you".



Oh boy.



I pull out and around and take a short count of motorcycles. I'd say there were about 25 or so.



And I'm the lost girl.



I get my directions out, fold them up, and clench them between my teeth.



First stop is to the Bon Shopping Center by route through Garden of the Gods.



I take a deep breath, give the thumbs up, look back at everyone and pull out.



I say a short prayer...please don't get lost.



I'm sure Ms. Chapter Director has the same prayer. She better be praying for me!



Tomorrow I'll tell you how to lose all the motorcycles......



Until then....



Keep the Shiny Side Up!!



~The Rainbow Wahine

Monday, December 14, 2009

9th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Ride: Save the Twins!

The Colorado Springs Chapter of the Women on Wheels (r) puts on the Annual Breast Cancer Awareness ride on the first Saturday of October.



For those of you that have never participated in planning an event--it is a lot of hard work!! Our ride is a 'test your memory' ride. At the stops, there are questions that are asked on that leg of the stop. It's pretty difficult!!! After all, how many red lights are on the traffic signal at Peterson and Stetson Hills?? Geez!!



The chapter typically starts talking about the run in March or so. We start forming committees--advertising/pr, donations, route committee, safety, stops, and the list goes on. I typically help on the route committee and help determine the stops.



This year was no exception. The route committee usually gets together to rough out the ride. We have some parameters: number of stops (usually 4), distance (about 100 miles). We have to be careful of the traffic. The first Saturday of the month usually has an Air Force football game and TRAFFIC!! And we try to avoid the mountain area and going too far north. October in Colorado can mean cold temps and SNOW.



Our first meeting roughs out the ride and we talk about the stops. What places will accomodate 250+ motorcycles? Not that they all come in at once, but rather in groups. Not too much traffic as well as convenient parking. Not too many unprotected left turns due to turning against oncoming traffic. Avoiding hot spots. One year our route went though Old Colorady City--in the middle of some parade!!



There are some great ideas and suggestions. Eventually, a route takes shape and then the work really begins. Mileage and timing. This year the event HAS to end at 4:30 pm. We have to reverse engineer the timing and have everyone in by 3:00. It's critical for us this year since our end stop was at Cowboy's East--and their line dancing lessons start at 5:00.



Over a period of a few months, the route takes place. We map out the detailed route. Set the stops and ask permission of the local businesses if we can designate their establishment as a stop and post questions. Stops have to be spaced evenly apart and be timely and not overly complicated.



The process of riding the route starts. Various route commitee members ride the route. Count mileage and time the stops. We have to leave time for fuel stops and lunch. And still be in by 3:00.



A couple of weeks before the ride, we start collecting the questions. This year, the group set out by cage (that's car) and we officially timed the ride and hashed out the questions. Easy but not too easy. Obvious but not too much. What color was the roof of Platte Floral??



Once all the questions are finalized, they are published and sent off to the registration commitee so the packets can be assembled. You'd think we are finished.



Not so. The morning of the ride, there is a group that sets out to check the route. Making sure that the "what color is the barn on Smith Highway" question is still correct. One year it was a question and come to find out that the owners painted their barn! The nerve of them!! We also have to put up the questions on each of the stops.



The other committees have been busy too. Donations, advertising, printing, PR....all have been busy busy busy. This year the donations committee collected from over 150 sponsors in excess of $5,000 in prizes....in a "down" economy! We were hoping to come close to last year....could we make another $10,000 donation for Breast Cancer Awareness??



All the work was done...all that was left was to wait for the date. October 3rd. And pray for decent weather......we did what we could.



Now all that was left was the ride.............



Until next time



Keep the Shiny Side Up!



~The Rainbow Wahine

Leaving La Junta

I turn the corner and turn my attention to the task at hand. Wondering where the part of the highway that I have to hold my breath so I don't smell the cattle. As we tick up the highway, I look, and look and look...there it is!

I take a deep breath and hold it.

It seems like an eternity, but we get past it. It's a huge cattle pen and it's usually full of cattle...ready for..um....well, you know. If you don't then Google is your friend!

I take a sneak peek in my rearview and I about fall off my motorcycle!! Goldwing Guy!

Geez, he must have broken all the rules--going around the platoons to pull up behind our group. I'm wondering if he will attempt to get in past the sweep.

Riding in the way back has its challenges. Especially on the highway. By the time a signal gets back to me...a day has practically passed!! Kidding, but in all seriousness, I'm feeling the rubber-band effect. Well, at least I don't have to worry about passing it back...since I AM in the back!!

It takes a lot of pressure off of me since I don't have to worry too much about keeping formation and timing. Now, I'm sure I will get fussed at if I let too much space open up between the rider in front of me, but the most part, it is pretty simple. The distance between La Junta and our next stop, Limon, is about 100 miles. So I kick back and enjoy the ride.

When we pull into Limon, I'm very good on fuel, so I decide to skip the fuel stop and immediately line up. Whooohoooo!! I get to ride behind the wing!!! My good friend Brett is riding wing, so I know it will be a nice little ride to Burlington.

I hear Goldwing Guy got a tongue lashing. And he should have, too. For the most part, rules are common sense and there for a reason. With that many motorcycles, it's just about safety.

We pull out of our fuel stop and head out to Burlington. I wish I could say it was an enjoyable ride, but it wasn't. It would have been except for the 40 mile an hour crosswind! Yikes!! That cold wind blowing up my nose was awful!!! Or the gusts that threw me out of my lane. Or the cold wind blowing up my nose! Gusts that threw me out of my lane.

Wash, rinse, repeat. Ad nauseum.......

Getting to Burlington, I am glad to be off the bike. The VFW post was the dinner stop, and it was nice to have the folks turn out and feed us. I know I was tired. I think we all were.

At this point, I knew I was glad to be going home the next day. I was done.

The next morning, I get up and load the bike up. We have a small group heading out--I take a leisurely breakfast while my friends are saying their goodbyes.

We meet up and pull out to head home. It is still pretty windy, so I'm glad that I'm in the direction of home.

It was a good ride altogether. I never did hear if Goldwing Guy ever got his act together. Hopefully he did and had a great time.

I know that there were a lot of FNGs on the ride--I think the economy was the main reason. Hopefully it won't be the case for 2010. We shall see.

This ride over--and on to the next.

Fast foward to October....and the Mountain Shadow Rider's Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Ride. It's a doozy...at least for me.

Until then,

Keep the Shiny Side Up!!

~The Rainbow Wahine

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Anglefire to Burlington--Lunch and Finally!

It's always a sad moment when we cross the state line out of New Mexico. The fine officers of the New Mexico state police escort the riders and do an excellent job of doing so!! My hat is off to them and I appreciate their time and efforts!

Of course, crossing into Colorado means several things. Mainly, the ever loving construction in the Trinidad that seems to be a forever project, wind and more importantly, HOME!!! I smile at the thought that I will be sleeping in my own bed soon.

For this leg, I am somewhere in the back. It's not really a problem. I'm okay where ever I line up--although I prefer up front--I can deal with whatever I get. I just want to make sure I survive the construction and then enjoy the ride up Hwy 350.

The ride was uneventful--there's not much exciting going on. To alleviate the boredom of just cruising down the highway, I dig a lollypop out of my windshield bag. Don't get me wrong, it is not boring to cruise down the highway--rather, with the rider in front of me and the one beside me and the majority of my attention is spent not running into either one or off the side of the road, there is just not a great deal of attention that can be spent in sightseeing.

So I pull out a lollypop and occupy myself. This is a pretty handy "trick". Keeping your mouth busy is just enough to occupy my brain so I subconsciously think it's not a good time to take a nap. Sometimes I sing, sometimes I chew gum--you know pretty simple stuff.

I suppose I could eat a sandwich too, but that's a bit more challenge than I need while riding at highway speed in a group. Not to mention that I'd more than likely get mustard on my leathers!

We all make it to La Junta, fuel stop and pull in the line up and take a break for lunch.

Lunch is fun--I grab my grub and sit at a table. I know no one. So, just start chatting and making new friends. It's always interesting to find out what people do for a living and why they are on the ride.

Oh, and the ever-important potty break.

Lunch is over and the call to line up is sounded. I get my stuff together and get on the bike. Anyone that rides with me knows it is quite the "chore" to get ready. Not only is it getting "standard" riding gear on--gloves, helmet, etc and making sure my saddlebags are secure, etc. I also have to get my iPod tuned in, put on lip balm, make sure I have more lollys.

Someone yells "5 minutes". I am ready. I know better to putz around--they pull out whether I'm ready or not.

This time, I'm in the very back of the group. The sweep is riding behind me.

Goldwing Guy...is no where to be found. One of my friends looks at me and asks--"what do I do"? My response--go around the bike let him be.

I'm thinking that this could possibly not happen. I mean, he was warned and there are always announcements at the morning meeting about being prepared.

Oh wait, did he miss that one?? LOL!! Well, even if he did, Angelfire wasn't the first stop and that wasn't his first morning meeting. Or maybe he's missed them all...who knows.

Motorcycle fired up and still no Goldwing Guy. Signal to pull out is given.

At that point he runs up. We are all pulling out. He has to put all his gear on and get ready. Bikes are pulling out around him and I watch him frantically trying to get ready. My turn to go comes and I pull out and note that he still has quite a bit of gear to put on.

Note that there is another platoon behind me. Yes, they are going around him too.

I turn my attention to making the corner and my last thought of Goldwind Guy was "too bad".

He can ride in the back and get back into the group at the next stop.

LOL.....fat chance.

Till next time....

~The Rainbow Wahine

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Anglefire to Burlington...Raton Stop

Like I said, the ride to Raton was uneventful. Waiting in line for fuel, I was trying to warm up. Think coffee, think coffee, think coffee.

And to use the ladies room! Fueled up, I'm back in line and headed to the facilities.

For once, the line to the men's room is a mile long and I was able to walk into the ladies room! LOL. Funny what things amuse me, huh??

Business all done, I grab a hot chocolate instead and a few snacks and head back to the bike.

I chat with a few of my friends. Some I know outside the run...some are newly minted. I have a guy tell me he'd ride behind me anytime! How funny! He's a FNG and fully enjoying the ride and already talking about next year and wanting to be on something else bigger. Not that he's on a "tiny" bike by any means--he's on a Virago 750--large enough to go the distance.

I decide to walk the line and check out the motorcycles. Goldwing, Victory, Harley, Kawasakis...and then I stop. BMW.

I've never really been a fan of BMW styling--for one most are too tall for me to ride. However, this motorcycle is another story. Enter the K1200LT. What a cool motorcycle!! And a touring bike to boot.

I've been pondering a new touring bike. My son is getting old enough to ride along and has started showing interest. He was hooked after one of my friends took him on a short ride on his Ultra Classic CVO. I wasn't sure I wanted to go the Harley route any longer, so I am keeping an open mind on all manufacturers.

I admire the bike and think that it is probably like any other BMW--too tall.

Checking time, I head back to the motorcycle. Gear on, start up and off we go.

Next stop is La Junta--fuel and lunch.

I say a short prayer for everyone to arrive safely.

Turn on the concentration and pull out.

Keep the shiny side up~

~The Rainbow Wahine

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Angelfire to Burlington....errrr....Raton

Sigh, my last post was in June...how awful is that? Well, it's October, so not too good. I've neglected this blog for entirely too long.

It's early in the morning to be riding. Especially in Angelfire, NM!! COLD is definitely the word! Same routine as yesterday...up, shower, dress, put on sunscreen, makeup, pack, load up the bike, line up.

Put on makeup, really? Yes, Virginia, we do put on makeup. It's not a vanity thing, I promise (well, maybe a little)! Believe it or not, makeup does provide a physical barrier for my face! There have been many journeys that I have ridden with my friends and they come back with the reverse raccoon face...and very rarely do I have that problem.

Makeup. Now you know. Seriously, it's not about vanity. Ride a couple hundred miles and emerge wind blown all covered with bugs and road grime. Not a pretty picture.

This PSA has been brought to you by ~smile~.

I digress.

Ahem, I get my bike lined up and find my friends. I'm excited--it's a new day to ride. This leg is always 'fun'. One: it's a day on the bike. Two: TWISTYS. Three: RFTW. Four: No two up riding in the twisties.

Still, it's a challenge to not know the skill level of the people surrounding and ride with them. Also, even though the population of women riders increasing, there are still not a large quantity of women riders. I'm sure that had to give pause to some of the male riders in the group.

I did not worry long, as most of the folks more or less knew what they needed to do.

Except for Gold-Wing Guy.

It is a test of patience to deal with anyone that does not/can not get the concept of what the ride is all about. Who knows what the issue was. The Platoon Sergeant and team were wonderfully patient with this guy--and to help the group, he was assigned to me.

It's not too bad. I'm concentrating on the task at hand--doing my part in getting the group to the next stop safely. The first order of the day: attend the morning meeting.

First bobo action by Gold-Wing Guy....miss the 90% of the morning meeting.

Not that I haven't heard the safety drill, but the morning meeting is a connection of the entire group. We not only discuss safety, but talk about lessons learned from the prior day as well and hold a short Q&A session.

Gold-Wing Guy pulls up just in time for the Q&A...and basically decides to share his lessons learned. Except for the fact that everything that he's talking about has already been discussed. He would have known had he have been there, right?

He gets a talking to and is told that he will not be able to ride in the group if he misses another morning meeting. I hope he understands. I won't know if he succeeds or not--I won't be riding with the group tomorrow for Burlington is my last stop for The Run this year.

Meeting over, we mount up and head out.

The ride is quite enjoyable. We don't have the two up riding so I can relax a little and enjoy the process of riding.

Except for the cold. I think the temps were in the 30s that morning. Brrrrrr..

The ride was uneventful and we all made it up to Raton with no incident.

Not even Gold Wing Guy.

That's not the end of him, though.

Just wait.

Keep the Shiny Side Up

~The Rainbow Wahine

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Moment's Rest

The RFTW leg from Santa Fe to Anglefire is where we are. I'm looking forward to this part; there is a bit of twisties to ride! Last year, I didn't ride in formation due to not being able to join the group until Anglefire so this year a new treat.

For the most part, things are pretty calm. Nothing is amiss. Of course, I'm oblivious to the radio chatter since I don't have a radio. I'm happy to be tuned into The Phantom of the Opera while I'm riding. Even more thrilled to look forward to the twisties at Taos.

While we are on the last section of road before entering the twisties, our Platoon Leader pulls out. No one knows what is going on, but my friend Screamer steps up to the plate and leads on. In this situation, the wing then moves over into the lead position; the remainder of the group moves up in line to fill the gap. Suddenly, I find myself riding wing position. No biggie, since I've ridden a good many miles here. What becomes a challenge is that I don't have a radio and can't hear what is going on nor am I familiar of the rules of the Platoon Leaders and Asst. Platoon Leaders--I've always ridden in the pack.

No worries, we get through the twisties without incident. I'm concerned about the Platoon Leader--I hope that he's well and that he does not have mechanicial issues.

However, the coolest part is the ride up to the memorial. It's a ride up a hill and the motorcyclists waiting the join the Run are lined up the roads. It's pretty cool--two chicks leading a platoon in. At least it's cool in my book.

We park and dismount; the ride is done for the day. Come to find out, our Platoon Leader was having difficulty dealing with the crash. I can completely understand. Even though he had nothing to do with the crash I think it was just because it happened under his watch. I know I would have taken it hard too.

We were in early and it was nice to get out and visit. Dinner was hosted by Thunderbird Harley Davidson and filled out bellies. The folks at the David Westphall Veteran's Foundation are working to put together a program for servicemembers to help treat post traumatic stress. One Navy servicemember through out the challenge to the other branches to help raise money for the program. Navy, Army, Air Force and the Coast Guard all stepped up to a bit of good natured fund raising. It was a particular humorous moment when the Boy Scouts even threw in a bid!! In a very short moment over $1,500 was raised. It was quite touching to see the support of the service members for their fellow brother.

With dinner over, it was time to call it a night. My friends and I chatted a bit and then it was time to get some shut eye. 5:00 am rings very early!

The next leg: Angelfire to Burlington.

Keep The Shiny Side Up!

~The Rainbow Wahine

Friday, June 19, 2009

To Anglefire....In Formation

It's pretty amazing how much time gets lost when one gets sidetracked. That would be many many days for me!

The alarm goes off at 5:00 am. Not too bad, of course, I'm used to it. Of course, my typical morning starts with my kiddo, so I'm used to having to dodge people. I'm not sure which is "better"....one six year old or three grownups. I don't have to yell at the grownups, but I do get to snuggle with my six year old.

We get packed up and head out. Pack, stick the stuff on the bike, go grab some grub and coffee and then head out to the meetup site. I find my platoon leader and line up. I'm somewhere in the middle.

Interstate riding is interesting. Usually at speed limit and we ride side by side. I don't mind riding on either side of the lane. I prefer to ride in the left lane with the RFTW. When I group ride, I typically like riding in the right side of the lane. That's because when riding with RFTW, the left hand rider is the "lead". That means that rider set the pace--of course taking into consideration of the rider in front--and the rider in the right lane rides about a half foot behind. So it's truly not side by side riding...but it's close enough. It works well if the left hand lane rider holds pace fairly consistently. Terrible if not.

No matter which lane I'm in, I will hold a constant pace. And I'm in the group pretty tight. One to one and a half seconds behind the rider in front. Yes, I know it's close, but really....RFTW is not about a joy ride jaunt over America the Beautiful. It's like the military marching....those service personnel take that stuff seriously....trust me. For some reason,when I'm in the right lane, the rider rubber bands much more than if I were in the left.

It is an exhausting way to ride. Definitely a mental challenge. And of course, this year there more than 50% FNGs. So even more exhausting.

Gallup to Albuquerque is pretty non eventful. Our gas stop is before we enter the city. We pull through the gas stop and line back up into formation. However, there is a FNG in our group that has been creating all kinds of problems. He just doesn't get the formation riding. Rubbing banding, getting too much distance between him and the rider he's following. It may be fine with a small group riding down the highway. However, in this situation, there are 200 motorcycles already. It can create a traffic nightmare.

The Platoon Leader and his team talk, and decide the best way to handle this rider is to put him in the front behind the Platoon Leader's bike. The person behind him...gets to be me. Something about consistent speed. Oh boy.

It really wasn't a problem. He was pretty much boxed in and couldn't create much confusion and delay (as Sir Topham Hatt says).

One cool thing about doing the New Mexico leg is the support from the state. RFTW has a motorcycle police escort. They close the section of highway that the bikes are on.....either by not allowing any new traffic on the highway and pulling existing traffic over. Boy, I guess the folks that get pulled over are freaked out initially!!

When we did get into the city, there is an interchange we have to take while on the interstate. Unfortunately, one of the riders in my platoon went down. I don't have a radio, so I was unaware of the commotion going on.

I didn't find out until Santa Fe--the lunch stop. Our Platoon Leader was shaken up by the news--of course, it was one of his guys and he felt responsible. That military code of watching over your charges......even if the accident was no fault of his.

The rider suffered a few broken ribs. He was banged up, but would recover. His ride for the year was over, though. I hope he has a speedy recovery!!

Lunch was terrific--it included shopping at the Harley Davidson dealer in Santa Fe. Found a col hat and gore-tex gloves on sale!!! That only makes 25 pairs of gloves for me :).

We pull out, waving to the folks that were seeing us out....this time, I'm riding behind the wing with Rubber Band Man beside me. I'm happy because my dear friend Screamer is the wing and she's a great rider!!! Whooohoooo...I get to relax for a minute.

Or so I think! Well, I do get to relax for a MINUTE!!

Until tomorrow....

Keep the shiny side up!

~The Rainbow Wahine

Thursday, May 28, 2009

RFTW--Gallup

The arrival into Gallup was great. Screamer found fellow RFTWers at the gas station and we rode in together. It was good riding in a small group--especially at highway speeds!

We were about 45 minutes ahead of the RFTW group so we checked into our digs for the night and then rounded up to head downtown. There were quite a few motorcycles in the area already--so we parked and waited. It was quite the emotional time for my dear friend. This year marked many changes for her and not doing the full run and not being in a Road Guard were two of those things. Needless to say, when her friends pulled in, I watched her be happy and sad and everything in between. I think it will be safe to say that she will commit to doing the full run next year!

And boy, did the bikes pull in! As they pulled in, the crowds of people were lined up waving and calling out. As I'm watching everyone, I have a short thought of my friends Brett and Nicki and wonder if they are riding this year. Brett and Nicki were my neighbors--in my old neighborhood. I haven't seen them since I moved last year. Then, like fate, I saw them! What is even cooler is that Nicki spotted ME in the crowds of people. A mad wave and then they were gone.

Once everyone is in and parked (and it happens rather quickly or so it seems), we go off to watch the ceremony. Gallup and the RFTW have a close relationship. Both have quite the affection and respect for each other . I think it is due to the sacrifices of both in their service for this country. It is an amazing tribute to watch. I have never been so close seeing the history of the Indian Nations and the military and being in Gallup allowed me to see the two groups together as they recognized and acknowledged each other.

After the celebration, I found my friends Brett and Nicki. It was good to catch up with them. They are riding in a different platoon and another friend of theirs is riding too. I know my Platoon Leader, Papa Bear, is looking for a tail gunner (sweep) for his group and I know that Brett would love to officially contribute...so I mention it. He's a terrific rider to boot--one that I trust enough to let my kiddo sit on the back of his bike! The idea is hatched and the offer is proposed. No answer at the moment....

Evening over and back to our lodging for the night. I think it was pizza for the night since no one wanted to go out. Rather, no one was particularly motivated to put all the riding gear on (and especially my MIA until the day before riding boots that hurt my feet) so staying in was the choice. We enjoyed our dinner and rehashed the day and caught up on the happenings of the group since leaving Ontario, CA.

Screamer did have to leave the room (and why I can't remember). She came back with one lone sock. Evidently another rider was doing his/her laundry and the sock was left behind. Someone else found it and gave it to my friend. I guess she looks like the keeper of single socks! You know, there's only about 250 or so riders at this point so finding the owner of a single white athletic sock is.......you can do the math. I guess getting a clean sock is better than getting a dirty one.

Needless to say, we all had a good laugh about it and then called it a night. 5:30 am comes too soon so we all turned in pretty early to ensure plenty of rest.

We would need it for the Gallup-Anglefire leg....

Keeping the shiny side up...so far....

~The Rainbow Wahine

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Riding For A Cause

And sometimes the only reason is...'cause I can.

Two weekends ago, I once again got on the road to attempt a ride out to Gallup, NM to join The Run For The Wall. I will say that it was a decision that I did not make lightly; the trip last year was difficult and I was finding little enthusiasm to attempt it again. I had a self-argument going back and forth until the day before I left. Fortunately, someone impartially listened and laid it out and I made my decision.

She was right, I did have a good time.

Instead of attempting the ride to Gallup in one afternoon, I left on Wednesday. The weather was a little blustery, but nothing unmanageable. I was riding along with my good friend Screamer and our trip would take us to Las Vegas, NM for the night.

Once out on the highway, the headwind was tough. I'm having Deja Vu all over again! No! No! No! I don't want a repeat of last year! I do not want to deal with yukky interstate riding!!

Fortunately, it was not. Again, the only battle was headwind and the ride to Las Vegas was uneventful. Screamer and I even managed a quick evening walk to stretch out the legs!

The next morning we headed out to Gallup! A short ride of a hundred plus miles--piece of cake, no? LOL....

Leaving Las Vegas (maybe that should be the title)--was chilly. Like 40 something degrees chilly. It is not sunny bright, but sunny sorta bright. Riding in the sun, it is really terrific. Riding under cloud cover, not so much! And there is more cloud cover than sunshine.

Our next town would be Santa Fe. As we ride in, it's a little early for lunch, but we look anyhow. I'm thinking that I need a fruit stop. I've gotten in the habit of eating an apple for snack and I've missed those apples...so I'm on the lookout for a grocery store. Riding down the interstate, I see a sign "Whole Foods". I'm thinking that would be a good place to stop!

I don't get overly excited about stopping since I'm not leading. However, I know my friend Screamer well enough that it is an attractive stop for her as well....so I'm happy when the turn signal lights and we exit.

I guess it's a good thing that we aren't on a tight time schedule. More dollars, more merchandise than "just" apples and an hour later...we are back on the road. Jeez, you'd think we are hermits that never see the merchandise inside Whole Foods!!

Once back on the road, we lallygag until Albuquerque. There's a lot of traffic in a suburb outside of Albuquerque. Traffic and police. Hmmmmm....

Oh, that's right, President Obama is visiting a local high school for a town hall meeting. I think I used up my "meet the President points" last December when I "ran into him" at the Honolulu Zoo.

At any rate, we pull into Gallup about 45 minutes before the RFTW pull in. I've never done the Gallup stop, but many of my friends tell me it is their favorite of the whole Central Route. I'm about to find out why.....

And you'll find out about it tomorrow!!

Keep the shiny side up!

~Rainbow Wahine

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Why Do We Do That?

Well, it's March already and almost the end. Time does indeed fly...

I'm driving home from work early last week and pulled up to a traffic signal. I'm behind a beautiful chartruse Harley Davidson Softail Standard. The rider was female--either that or it was a very shapely man with long blonde hair flowing from the helmet! Really, it was a female.

The light turned green and traffic starting flowing through the intersection. As the traffic gets up to speed, I notice that the rider has chosen to ride in the middle of the lane. I think it's a bit odd, but the road has a few twists and turns, so I figure that's what the problem is. As we go into a straight away, the rider remains in the middle of the lane.

Riding in the center of the lane is not a good idea. Simply, the deposit of oil and vehicle fluids tends to accumulate in the center of the lane. This may or may not be much of an issue when the lanes are dry. However, if it rains......

With incoming rain, riders are even more at peril. Cars, pedistrians; the activity of riding becomes more complicated with rain. Visibility is limited due to water on the helmet screen or on eyewear and the roads get slick. The habits of riding become really important at this time because having to deal with the added factors of riding. One habit to not have is riding in the middle of the lane where all the vehicular fluids are deposited and the rain begins.

It could be very slick indeed.

I did get caught in the rain riding home from work on Friday. I did have a fleeting thought of the rider on the chartruse Harley and hoped that this was another day of safe riding for her.

Me, I'm riding in the left third of the lane.

Keep the Shiny Side Up!

~The Rainbow Wahine

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Happy February!

Time flies when you are having fun, eh? Sigh, unfortunately, it's not been all fun and games and January contained zero riding days.

Good thing, however, since the day was nice enough that I was planning on rolling the bike out of the garage and do a bit of "pre" spring cleaning. Turn on the ignition....and nothing.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my lovely motorcycle had a dead battery. Oh, I know, I should have a battery tender...and yes, I do have one...but yes, Christine, it should be attached. The coldness of Colorado winters will kill a battery in a heart beat.

I wasn't particularly motivated to put the bike on the tender since I knew it was time to replace the battery. It has been troublesome this past year when I did ride and since I didn't ride that much to begin with, I figured that I would be replacing it anyway.

However, for those of you who have never purchased a motorcycle battery....they are as costly as an automobile battery. I've never priced them out at the dealership, but I do know that they run a bit north of one hundred dollars at Sears.

I suppose it was a good thing I decided to flip the ignition on before I rolled the bike out of the garage. Otherwise, I'd be parking Mr. Chubbs out on the curb since my driveway is steep. Steep enough that I can't make it in the garage in my van if the drive hasn't been shoveled. No way would I have been able to get the motorcycle back up into the garage with a dead battery.

Well, that's the blurb for the month and a lesson to everyone.....put the bike on a tender or start it occasionally. Me, the Harley has been sitting since November.

Harrumph.

Keep the Shiny Side Up!

~The Rainbow Wahine

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

Aloha! Hau'oli Makahiki Hou or Happy New Year!

The holidays find me in sunny (or should I say rainy Hawaii), so a Hawaiian New Year's Greeting should be in order. No, I'm not riding, rather my son and I are celebrating the holidays with some of my lifelong friends. I stare wistfully at the motorcycles all around, but no worries, riding time will be soon enough. Right now it is time for my family and friends.

I hope that each of you had a wonderful holiday season. I open the paper and am assaulted with bad news after bad news after bad news. Still, amongst the difficult times, there are moments of good times--those brilliant diamond shining moments that take our breaths away and serve as reminders of what is really important.

I will be back in regular ol' winter season tomorrow....we leave the islands tonight. The weather holds promise--it will be in the mid 50s tomorrow and a little cooler for the weekend. If I am greeted with dry roads, I may have to get out for a short scoot to ring in the new year.

Here's to a year that has more riding than last! I hope that everyone found something shiny and chrome'y' under the tree or even a new motorcycle.

Keep the shiny side up!

~The Rainbow Wahine