Monday, February 28, 2011
PIC OF THE WEEK - CRIMSON CAMELLIAS
Small old cemeteries are a very common site when your riding throughout the county roads of the south. They're usually close to little country churches, dappled with a handful of tombstones, most of which are leaning and tilting, and so old and faded, it's hard to see the writing on them. While taking a short break near one of these spiritual pieces of real estate, I noticed this beautiful Camellia in full bloom.
I just love how the red color pops out against the backdrop of brownish green as the landscape tries to rejuvenate itself towards Spring. Color like this is what catches the eye while your cruising by at 70. I'm sure Mr. and Mrs. Tidwell are enjoying they're crimson camellias as they rest peacefully and I hope they didn't mind my sharing them with you.
I know we've been having two weeks of great temperatures here, but the cold is not gone for good. We are in for more winter weather ahead, but as long as Mother Nature dangles these beautiful Spring like days in front of me... I plan to take full advantage of them! Besides... my ol' girl likes to sunbathe!
Hope you all have a great week! Ride on!
Friday, February 25, 2011
DO YOU EVER WONDER?
Do you ever wonder
where the old road goes...
as it unfolds slowly
like the the petals of a rose?
Curiosity overwhelms you
when the beauty draws you near...
deep and idling rumbles
of your motor is all you hear.
Taking just a moment
as you dismount from the seat...
the long and lazy beards
provide you shade from all the heat.
The quiet sound of silence
is like food for your soul...
and you ponder your good fortune
as you prepare again, to roll.
Do you ever wonder...
where the old road goes?
Author ~ Lady R
Monday, February 21, 2011
PIC OF THE WEEK - WRENCHIN' HANDS
I'm devoting today's Pic of the Week to Papa J... he made a living wrenching on John Deere tractors his whole life, but this one captures him enjoying something else he loved... Go-Karts!
During the winter months in Iowa, we would bundle up and go down to the Mississippi river to watch him and a bunch of other guys race go-karts on the ice. As kids, we would get bored after a while, so we'd take our sleds (mine was a saucer) down the iced over boat ramps. They made great little slides and the fun part was hitting the ice at the bottom... you could just shoot across the ice like a hockey puck!
I loved my dad more than words can say and I miss him incessantly. I'm just thankful for the memories he helped us create... they will live on forever.
Have a blessed week everybody and... ride on and ride smart.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
A LETTER TO MY DAD
I can't believe that this day marks the first full year since you've been gone.
365 days ago... I watched with pride as you looked into my mothers eyes and told her how much you loved her, before you slipped away. Knowing how much that meant to her, it was an experience I will never forget. In spite of having to adjust to life without you, she moves forward through her pain and lonesomeness and takes care of her daily business in convicted fashion. She may not feel it everyday, but she's still a very strong lady, and you would be proud of her. I know I am.
365 days ago... I listened to my brothers cries, as they wept with grief over the man who provided them with the love, strength, honor and discipline that molded them into men. I know you and I had a wonderful relationship, but the bond between a father and son is different and can compare to no other. Like mom, they are doing their best to move along in their lives, but your absence is sometimes unbearable. I feel for my brothers and wish I could help them through their sorrow, but just as it is with mom... we all have to endure our loss as individuals, as well as a united loving family.
365 days ago... My heart was breaking for your grandkids. I cried along with them while their young and tender hearts tried to understand the pain of life and death. What would they do now... without their loving Gpa?
365 days ago... I looked around the room and saw an amazing thing. Your home was filled... with crying people. Your brothers and sister and a handful of nieces and nephews all shared our grief as we said our goodbyes and whispered promises of seeing you again... in heaven. It was a moment that would make any daughter proud with the fact that her father touched and loved so many.
365 days ago... I cried for you... and still do.
I went riding yesterday and I devoted all my miles to you. I thought about our Father Daughter date nights, or the times you tried to teach me how to pitch a softball with "some english", the rides we shared on your Honda, and the day you gave me away to the only other man I would call my hero. I even had one of those split second "freeze frame" moments in life that only happens when God puts you in the right place at the right time. I knew as soon as it happened... you were riding with me.
365 days ago... you said goodbye.
I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I'm glad this "first" year is over. Holidays and birthdays came and went, and each one brought with it a renewed since of pain as we realized you were not here to share them with us. In spite of it all, we moved along Dad, just as you would have wanted us to.
I wish I could tell you the Chicago Bears made it to the Super Bowl, but no cigar. It's a good thing you didn't have to see the game that sealed their fate... it probably would have pissed you right off (at least in Heaven, the Bears win all their games!). You've got a couple more grandkids graduating from High School this year... and I know you'll be smiling down upon them on their special day. You've never missed one yet, so I don't suppose you'll start now. Even though they might not see you... they know you'll be there... in spirit.
One last note... your son-in-law wishes you were here to bust his chops. He figures your grinning from ear to ear as you look down upon us and see Bill Elliott starting the 2011 Daytona 500... in a CHEVY!
Well dad... I'm gonna let you go now. I just wanted to talk to you for a while and tell you that I love you. Hopefully, the next 365 days will be better as we continue to do our best to make you proud of us. I love you so much and I miss you even more than words can express.
Your memory will live on in us forever.
Your loving daughter...
Thursday, February 17, 2011
NEVER QUESTION A DRUNK
WHY YOU NEVER QUESTION A DRUNK
I was shopping at the local supermarket where I selected:
A half-gallon of 2% milk
A carton of eggs
A quart of orange juice
A head of lettuce
A 2 lb. Can of coffee
A 1 lb. Package of bacon
As I was unloading my items on the conveyor belt to check out, a drunk standing behind me watched as I placed the items in front of the cashier. While the cashier was ringing up the purchases, the drunk calmly stated, 'You must be single.'
I was a bit startled by this proclamation, but I was intrigued by the derelict's intuition, since I indeed had never found Mr. Right. I looked at the six items on the belt and saw nothing particularly unusual about my selections that could have tipped off the drunk to my marital status..
Curiosity getting the better of me, I said , 'Yes you are correct . But how on earth did you know that?'
The drunk replied...
"Cause you're ugly."
Have a nice day!
Monday, February 14, 2011
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY
Valentine's Day... the one day a year where that a funny looking little cherub flies around and shoots us with his love arrows to make sure we are either falling in love or staying that way with our committed significant others. A day to show the love of your life, just how much they mean to you and to let them know how much you appreciate them. I have a Valentine's Day story that will make you weep... well, maybe not weep, but you'll definitely feel the pain (after your laugh your ass off!).
In a previous "REMEMBERING... YOUR "FIRST" post... the one where I purchased my first motorcycle (the Suzuki 800 Intruder), I mentioned something about my bike getting home being a... "whole 'nuther story", and my hubby's testament of true love for me. Well, Cupid must have been behind on his love quota that year, 'cause that can be the only explanation as to what came over my very sensible and sometimes uncompromising husband on February 18th, 2006. A leftover stray arrow from Cupid's love bundle... right between the eyes. Oh dear...
It was a cold and cloudy February day, but I was very ansty to get going. After all, I was going to buy my very own motorcycle and I was so excited! In typical fashion, Harley decided to play his favorite little game of "Antagonistic Procrastination" that morning before we left the house. The one when he pretends to look at the coffee pot and says, "gotta check to see if we turned off this." And picking up his jacket and helmet in a verrrrry leisurely fashion, "Probably gonna need that." He loves to tease me incessantly when he knows it's a 99% probable chance, that under no circumstances during that time will he get in trouble for doing so.
We finally left the house and got to Troy, AL about an hour later and found ourselves negotiating the deal for my 2001 Suzuki 800 Intruder. Harley had already taken it out for a little test ride and came back with the good news that he didn't see any reason for it not to become mine. During the course of the transaction process, the sales dude kept taunting us with the fact that we could just go on and take the bike home right then, even though we already told him we would return for it next Friday with a trailer to transport it back to Montgomery. Being a newbie, I wasn't ready to tackle 48 miles of 4-lane on my first ride.
This must have been when Harley got struck by one of Cupid's wayward love arrows, because the next thing we know, he's decided he will ride the bike home for me and I will follow him in our truck. Woo Hoo... that's my sweetheart! He could tell it was killing me to accept the fact that my new beauty was going to remain here for another week before I could begin my practice rides on her, and this was his way of making up for our little game of "A & P" earlier that morning. Even though it was gray and overcast, at 48 degrees, Harley figured he could handle the ride home in the minimal gear he had.
So here we go... my big ol' loving husband sitting astride my little Suzuki 800 (which looked unnatural in itself) while I followed in Big Blue (our F150). Even though the weatherman said we only had a 35% chance of rain that day, we didn't get ten miles out of Troy before I saw the first light drops hit the windshield. Oh, oh. I prayed to the rain Gods... "Please don't rain yet!" For a few miles it didn't seem to do anything but sprinkle and drizzle. I figured if it doesn't get any worse than this, we're good.
Ten more miles up the road, however, and the sprinkles turned into a steady and somewhat heavy rain. In a matter of moments, I watch my hubby's large silhouette shrink down significantly into a small ball, kind of like one of those little rolly polly's only with arms and legs. I watched as he tried to hide himself behind the windshield to keep from being pelted with the falling daggers of rain. Seeing as how the bike was so light, the wind was whipping him around pretty wildly too. Knowing what I know now about riding a bike in the cold and rain, my hubby was getting very uncomfortable with the predicament he's found himself in.
All of a sudden, I see his blinker come on and he's pulling over, into an old abandoned gas station a little less than halfway home. I pulled the truck in beside him and wondered what he was going to do. He hopped in the passenger side and said... "Turn on the heat!" Poor Harley was soaked and freezing. He had no gloves and no rain suit and he was so cold he was beginning to stiffen up. I kept apologizing for the awful conditions, and he would just look over at me and say... "You owe me."
"Yes, yes dear... I know! Whatever I can do to make it up to you," I kept saying. I asked him if we should just turn around and take it back, but by that time, even though we were not quite half way, he had the choice of going back 20 miles, or forward for 28. Didn't seem like it made much sense to go back. So... forward we go.
Keeping my distance but making sure no one positioned themselves between us, I kept following Harley as we made our way toward Montgomery. At the risk of sounding like I'm repeating myself, again he crouched up into a ball and did his best to keep from weaving all over the roads from the cold windy rain. A few more miles up the road, I saw it again... the blinker.
This time when Harley jumps in the truck I notice how bad he's shivering. I'm getting worried now and suggest we just leave the bike parked where it's at and we'll come back and get it. At this point, we were probably only 12 or 13 miles from home. Harley just shook his head and said, "If I c-c-c-an just th-th-th-thaw out a li-li-li-tt-le bit. I c-c-c-can p-p-p-probably m-m-make it." We had the heat on full blast as he held his ruby red digits right up to the vents trying to get them to uncurl. We sat in silence for a few moments letting the heat circulate through his body when he looked over at me and reminded me once again... "You owe me."
Yes... I owe him. That was probably one of the most miserable rides Harley has ever had to endure and what he did for me that day was above and beyond the call of duty as a husband. We could have returned the next week and all would have been just as grand, but he knows how it feels to become the proud owner of your first motorcycle and he wanted me to be able to enjoy it as soon as I could. Thank you honey!
Happy Valentine's Day Harley! After 30 years, your still my sweetheart, my knight in shining armor, and the rock that holds me steady. I love you!
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
REMEMBERING... YOUR "FIRST" (continued... for the last time)
MORE! MORE! MORE! I'm not a greedy person by nature, but darn... I was burning through so much fun... that I just had to have MORE!! Within 6 months of becoming the owner of a Suzuki 800 Intruder, my restless road spirit began to exhibit a bad case of growing pains... again.
Our his and hers chariots await...
When you take off on a Saturday morning, and don't come home till dark... before long you realize your therapeutic day rides are averaging around 250 to 300 miles. Your mind and you can cover a lot of inventory during a ride like that. Shuffle around priorities, redirect some goals, discard trash that's weighing you down, and get some serious sensory stimulation with the scenery that surrounds you. You would think in a world like that, a gal would be happy.
Six months turned into a year and unfortunately, I couldn't shake this nagging idea that I was ready to step up and move on, to something bigger, something better, and yes... more powerful. Was I asking for too much? I didn't think so.
Funny thing was, I didn't realize this at the time, but Harley's restless road spirit was kickin' around in him too. I guess after listening to me ramble on and on for weeks about what bike I wanted to get next... how big... which style... what color... blah, blah, blah. It seems he was getting hungry for more too. Rut roh! (I'm sure you know where this is going!) Unbeknown to me... Harley had an ulterior motive in mind, and amusingly, he carefully put his well thought out plan into place.
One typical summer day, coming back into our neighborhood area after cruising some of our beautiful Alabama highways, Harley took a detour into a large parking lot, just a few blocks from our home. Not sure what was up, I just obediently followed (as I always do) and pulled up next to where he had stopped and was getting off of his Glide.
I turned off my motor and asked what was wrong. He just said, "Nothing", and motioned for me to get off my bike, which I compliantly did. His next statement set off a sudden explosion of butterflies in my gut as I digested his words... "Get on the Glide and ride it."
Yikes! "Are you serious??" I stammered. Harley reminded me of what I've been talking about for months. "Something bigger... more powerful... ride it." he repeated.
I stood there for a moment and nervously studied the controls trying to absorb any differences. While I kept scanning the massive dash, I started to feel overwhelmed and told Harley so. After all, my bike was very open up front and only had one gauge! Once I sat on this much larger (and much heavier!) bike, the fairing blocked a lot of my downward view and I wasn't sure I liked that. He told me to relax and just ride it, reminding me again, that I know how to ride... so just do it.
Thanks to Harley's confidence in me, and his extreme bravery for proposing that I try out his ride for size, I found out I should have never doubted myself or my abilities. Once I eased out the clutch and gave it just a little throttle, my fear was quickly replaced by cautious enthusiasm. It felt like I was riding higher, kind of like that feeling you get when you go from a small, low riding car into a large SUV. It was very exhilarating and euphoric as I experienced the difference in the power and weight that the Glide possessed over the Suzuki. I putted around the parking lot making very large circles, moving up and down in gears, achieving just a little more speed with each repetitious lap.
After several minutes, I steered the Glide back over to the parked Suzi, where my hubby was watching (probably somewhat apprehensively) and exclaimed, "Holy Cow! I could get used to this!" I was too excited to look in the mirror, but I could tell my grin was plastered from ear to ear. I told him... "stay here... I'll be back!" He just laughed at my silly ass as I putted off for some more rotations around the lot. Being able to sit upon such a large and powerful machine, and maneuver it successfully gave me such an accomplished and proud feeling. After a few more minutes of big circles to the right and big circles to the left, I rode back over to Harley and asked if he just wanted me to ride it on home for him. He gave me his trademark smirk and replied... "I don't think so." Darn! Can't blame a girl for trying!
I'll never forget my "first" solo ride on that big black beautiful Electra Glide and that very afternoon was the beginning of yet another fabulous chapter in my life as a lady rider. During the next several weeks a lot of things transpired in our household and, to make a long story short, I'm happy to report that I accepted the '98 Electra Glide as a hand me down upgrade to the Suzuki, and we purchased a new brand new blue 2007 Street Glide for Harley.
(yea... he knows how lucky he is!) But I wasn't complaining much... I was just as happy to be sitting on my own "first" Harley Davidson motorcycle. In a mere 15 months, I went from the smaller more forgiving Suzuki, right on up to the grandaddy of bikes. How's that for progress?!
To be truthful... when the idea was first posed to me (as far as the Electra Glide becoming my bike) I wasn't sure it was what I wanted. Due to the fact that two big ol' hard heads owned this motorcycle before me, it was hard for me to see it as a ladies bike. I had several encouraging conversations, however, with other riders who assured me that if they were able to have the chance at this beauty, they would take it in a heart beat. Besides, they reminded me that you can make any bike your own. It took a few days to wrap my head around the idea but when I did, it felt good. I started with some small changes and now I'm keeping a long, long list of things I still want to do.
By simply removing the tour pack, horizontal chrome saddle bag guards, and exchanging the big pillow seat with a Harley Davidson Sport seat, it gave the bike a refreshed sportier look. My goal was to sleek her down a little while still being able to enjoy the comfort that you get from a large touring bike. I would like to get a new paint job and possibly powder coat all her chrome black. I think that would look awesome!
I don't really have a name for my bike, other than I like to refer to her as my "ol' girl". I feel like we are both just a couple of ol' pals that found each other late in life and only we can appreciate our new found friendship as we cruise along through it. I'm always joking with Harley that my ol' girl talks to me and tells me how much she appreciates the fact that it's my ass she's under these days. She's had her fill of the testosterone filled rides and she's ready to enjoy her retiring years being playful yet reasonable.
I'm pleased to announce that this saga of "first" experiences is going to be an ongoing one. I have a bucket list as long as my arm and even though the funds to fuel my desires are slow to materialize, the hopes and dreams of checking them off, one by one, still remains. Hubby and I plan to continue on with our weekly therapy rides sprinkled with large doses of rowdy fun from time to time as we search for new ways to spread our wings.
Ahhhhhhhh... yes! My "Life is Good" t-shirt is getting worn pretty regularly these days... as I cruise along on two.
Monday, February 7, 2011
PIC OF THE WEEK - TEASLEY'S MILL GENERAL STORE & POST OFFICE
TEASLEY'S MILL GENERAL STORE & POST OFFICE
This quaint little group of old buildings is situated just off the road about 30 miles south of Montgomery on Hwy. 231. It was featured on our local news one night that some man purchased all these structures from other areas of the county and had them moved here to this one location.
FILL 'ER UP PLEASE!
He painstakingly cleaned and restored all these old signs and gas pumps himself. As I looked around at some of this vintage memorabilia, I was swept back in time... to another place... another dimension... ... and old gas prices! Check it out!
And... something tells me there's some pretty neat of stuff sitting on that porch! The next time you find yourself riding up 231, stop by and look around. The area is open for anyone to come up and enjoy. We even looked around for "No Trespassing" signs and found none. I guess that's why the south is know for it's "southern hospitality".
Y'ALL COME BACK NOW... YA HEAR?
Have a great week and Happy Monday everybody!
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
REMEMBERING... YOUR "FIRST" (... continued... again)
(... continued... again)
So, there we were, relishing in our new adventures and enjoying life to the fullest, thinking it couldn't get any better than this, when it happened. I got bit... and bit hard! I decided that I've been looking at the back of my hubby's helmet long enough, and it was time for me to see things from up front. I wanted to hold my own controls, roll myself down the freedom highway and soar with the birds I so often see keeping pace with us as we ride. This set off a myriad of anxieties for my husband, but once that bug took a hold of me, it wasn't letting go until it got what it came for. Becoming part of something big.
It took my loving husband darn near a full year to come to grips with the fact that I was going to ride my own motorcycle. His biggest fear was for my safety, and he did not feel comfortable with me on my own. Believe it or not, it was the sweetest gesture he could have shown me. I know it's because he wants to protect me from harm, but I had to keep reminding him that we can't live our lives in a bubble. Finally... with his blessing (and after successfully completing a Rider's Safety Training Class during the previous summer) another "first" came to light.
My dream as a lady rider came to fruition! In February of 2006, I became the proud owner of a 2001 Suzuki 800 Intruder!
For several weeks I had shopped the area and tried several bikes on for size. After searching high and low, long and hard, I found this little gem at Ward's Yamaha, in Troy(48 miles south of Montgomery). It was very slender in build and didn't seem too heavy (which was perfect for a newbie), painted a beautiful black with some teal accent on the tank, and it came stocked with windshield and saddlebags. She was in excellent condition and something about her sparkled. When I sat on her I knew... she felt like she was made just for me. No apprehension of top heaviness... no worries about feet touching or not... and I was absolutely thrilled when the sales dude told me that this sleek little beauty was stocked with 805 cc under her seat. My fear of outgrowing this bike to soon or being able to keep up with my riding pals was washed away.
7 thousand miles on the odometer... fully serviced... new rubber front and back... $3,000.00. I put down a binder and "floated" all the way back to Montgomery. I was on cloud nine with the fact that I was about to buy MY "first" motorcycle. After years of listening to my brothers talk about their hill climb competitions, Sturgis trips, and catching a ribbing with... "when are you gonna get your own?" ... I couldn't wait until I could call them all and tell them the good news.
There's a whole 'nuther story about how I got my lil' Suzi home, but I'm going to save that for Valentines Day... as it's a real testament to my hubby's true love for me.
For the first couple weeks, I would come home from work every day and crank that Suzi up and ride all around my neighborhood. Thankfully, I live in a large residential area that gives me plenty of streets, intersections, cul-de-sacs and hills to practice my skills on without ever having to cross over any major thoroughfares. After a couple weeks of driving all my neighbors crazy, I was ready to hit some real streets with real traffic.
Already being familiar with leaning and balancing, the transition from a passenger to a rider was not really that difficult, but it did pose a few new challenges. I now had so many other things to concentrate on (clutch, shift, brakes, mirrors, cages!) that I sometimes felt like I was missing out on the scenery around me! Secondly, I didn't realize how much protection from the wind I actually got from sitting behind the hubby until my "first" time riding on a highway going about 60 mph... OMG! I was afraid I was going to fly off! My finger lock on the grips were so fierce I made my hands go numb. Once I realized I was squeezing for dear life, I had to make myself relax or I wasn't going to make it very far before I gave out from exhaustion. I also noticed my vision kept jumping around like a stuttering 8 mm film. WTF? The front wind reeks havoc on the eye wear, so getting used to seeing the world as it fluttered before my eyes took a little getting used to. Funny how I never noticed these things before when I was hanging on the back!
As a new rider, I found it hard to calm the butterflies that would take over almost every time I sat on my bike and got ready to roll. For several weeks, we logged a lot of miles around our surrounding area which certainly helped to increase my road experience and build my confidence and skill level. It didn't seem like long before we were planning our "first" weekend road trip as a pair of riders. Even though I was a bit nervous, this was very exciting for me and I couldn't wait to experience it.
My "first" trip riding my own was to Little River Canyon in north Alabama. I can't begin to tell you how accomplished it felt for me, that I could ride my bike up to this Park sign and claim... "I rode here!" We probably logged a total of 750 miles on that first trip, and even though I remember being pretty tired when I got home... I was ready to plan the next one!
Remembering my "first" bike leaves me with great appreciation for it's role in where I am today as a rider. Getting the "kinks" out as a newbie rider was certainly a pleasure on this powerful, yet forgiving motorcycle. I became confident with my growing abilities as we enjoyed a systematic routine that allowed us the pleasure of riding together and taking life's pleasures to the extreme. Remember that "Life is Good" t-shirt I told you about in the last post? Yep... I was still wearing it!
Why then, for some crazy reason, was there a nagging desire to do more... want more... feel more.
REMEMBERING... YOUR "FIRST"
(to be continued... one more time)