I’m sitting in downtown Denver’s Hotel Monaco remembering all we have experienced and trying to put in all in order.  So many memories already, so much to share.  Okay, here goes something…

Cedar City, as you read in the first entry, was a very welcome site as we rolled in soaking wet and FREAKED from the line of storms we encountered.  After a night of bad take-out pizza and no liquor stores in site, my boots STILL weren’t dry.  I told ya, I was soaked to the core!  I knew there wasn’t a chance they’d be fully dry, but I tried.  Terry even put the blow dryer on cool inside each of my gloves.  Thanks, Mr. T!  It helped, but still smell a tad stale.

I was hoping to connect with Ben, an old friend from Santa Rosa who lives in St. George, but the weather was forcing us to head out earlier than we’d planned.  I didn’t want another day of back-to-back storms, so we had to jet.  Fortunately, I’d been out to Utah on a solo trip in April and was able to hike with Ben and his son, Josh.  Also, we’d promised to get together again in California later in July, so all was not lost.  After a splendid meal at Applebee’s (Ick!  Chain food…), we climbed aboard our respective bikes and headed east on a 2-lane road towards our one-night camping destination, Escalante.  After such a neat-o ride we’d had the day before, we wanted to be off the bikes at a decent time and give Jack some daylight to help set up camp and build a fire.  Trust me, this kid digs setting up his own tent these days (Yay!) and refuses help from anyone.  Rock on, little man, rock on.  After having our heads buried in our computers looking for any changes in the weather pattern, we decided not to go through Springdale and Zion NP.  And boy howdy, we made the right choice!  It was an awesomely beautiful ride along Highway 14.  One lane each way that curved in a way that only a motorcycle rider could appreciate.  Unless, that is, you’re on a Harley.  Okay, I KNOW some of you ride Harley’s, but DUDE!  Is there no such thing as going the speed limit or letting other bikes go around?  Every time I find another bike catching up and I know I can’t go any faster, I always give the 2-finger wave for them to go around.  You get the “Thank you” wave and off everyone rolls away, riding their own ride.  All are happy, no one is pissed, ta da.  But I gotta tell ya, some of these Harley riders are pissing us off!  I get that you’re carbureted and have trouble in the altitude (8,000 feet mind you), but could you PLEASE see your way to pulling over and letting us by?  You have PLENTY of chances at the turnouts!  Crikey!  We did finally find a spot to pass and were once again rolling at a nice pace.  Almost scraped the pegs a couple of times!  If you ride, you know what I mean.  Nice.  But our ride of bliss was quickly squelched when Jack proclaimed he was cold and needed to pee.  You’ve got it, little man.  Come to think of it, I needed to find a tree myself.  We pulled over at the top of an awesome peak and proceeded to layer up and scout the area for a “toilet”.  Being a member of the female persuasion, I have to look a little deeper in the woods, a tad further from the highway than the guys.  I rode up a dirt road that boasted no turnaround areas, but didn’t really have a choice.  Let’s just say this is a learning trip and I managed to turn around on the uphill, fully loaded, without sticking the front tire on the muddy, red ditch.  Whew!

The rest of the ride proved more stellar than we imagined.  How could the ride keep getting better?  Mountain laden trees, winding roads and views of natural lakes and red rock formations were found around every bend.  This breathtaking highway ended just north of Zion.  We looked south into a very dark, stormy skyline.  We really did dodge the storms today.  Very thankful.  Another restroom and Snickers stop and we were almost to our destination for the night, Escalante.  We were hoping to finally break out the camping gear and roast some dogs over an open fire.  We’ve all been itchin’ for charred wienies and burnt marshmallows since day one. It’s just not summer without them.  We rolled into Escalante but did not find the plethora of camping sites we had hoped to find.  Up and down the town we went, only finding one viable camping option at Escalante Outfitters.  Wait, isn’t it just an outdoor shop?  Nope!  Not only did this place have a shop and restaurant, it boasted about 8 small cabins, 10 tent sites, a covered eating area and a communal fire pit framed by 10 foot split logs as benches.  Perfect.  As we were unloading and setting up, we were greeted by 2 long-range cyclists on their way to Virginia.  And where did said cyclists begin their journey?  In San Francisco, of course!  Small world.  They were young; one fresh out of college, both had been working odds and/or just quit their job to take this opportunity to ride the states.  They had met online via an adventure cycling site.  Nope, they did not know each other before this gig.  Rocky, the 22 year old, had actually flown out from Connecticut to meet Isaiah, the other youngin’, in San Francisco to begin the journey together.  Rocky had done this trip with his girlfriend last year, only they began on the east coast and flew home from the west after completing the tour.  They were great guys to talk to.  We all talked about life and it being an adventure.  All of us were looking to reaffirm our sense of good in humanity through our travels.  They’d already encountered many, many good people who offered food and shelter during the storms.  We told them of our encounters from years past and how we, too, were hoping for the same result.  Bottom line from both parties – don’t watch the news, don’t listen to the hype, get off your ass and find out for yourself.  It’s a story for you to tell, not be told to by others.

Our desire for charred wienies was quickly extinguished when Isaiah told us that the restaurant attached to Escalante Outfitters had been written up in the New York Times for the tastiness of their pizza.  That’s all we needed to hear!  Fresh pizza and a pint of Utah’s finest 4% alcohol beer….mmmmm.  Yes, Utah has issues with its liquor.  Look it up.  It’s depressing, especially when you’re just off the road from a day of riding.  Anywho, I waited on the outdoor patio for Jack and Terry when a dude on a Harley rolled up.  He was quite friendly and said he was waiting for his friends who were down the road fueling up.  They were looking to camp at the same locale.  After a few minutes of conversation with the first dude, I KNEW it was going to be a night we’d always talk about.  And they didn’t let us down.  The second bike rolled up with another dude and a female on the back.  They looked fun and just solidified my “fun evening” comment.

While the Harley bunch was setting up their camp and we were on the patio eating our grub, a Suburban full of pretty boys pulled up and made their way to the patio.  They talked about a flash flood they encountered a day earlier.  I tried to engage them in conversation, asking where the flood was, etc., but was met with a single sentence answer and a cold shoulder.  Whatever, pretty dudes with manicured hands.  Not 3 minutes later, a couple of Harley’s rolled by and the prettiest of the bunch started making bike gestures and motor noises, spouting forth, “That just seems to boring!  Sitting there all day just VROOM, VROOM.”  Dickhead.  Me being the lady that I am, I couldn’t keep my trap shut, even with the look that Terry shot me before I opened my mouth.  He knew I couldn’t keep quiet on this one.  I immediately spouted back with, “Well, I just rode out from California and I was quite entertained the whole way.”  This was met with a rousing round of “Doh!” from his friends.  Home slice then proceeded to reply with, “Well, it’s just not my bag”, arms folded and an “Hmmph” to end the rant.  And that was that.  There’s a reason why guys like that aren’t married…the ladies are all too smart!    Asshole.

We finished the meal and hit the campground to finish any last minute camp setup.  The cyclists were eating their MRE’s and the Harley’s had made their way to some grub.  I had to run back to the store to grab some more wood and other stuff and returned to find all, cyclists, Harley’s and my family, sitting around the fire, chattin’ it up.  Talk about your motley crew of people!  Now this is what this trip is about, right?  Random people coming together to share stories and make memories.  The Harley rider’s were Bill, Huey and Veronica, all from Texas.  Bill rode solo while Huey and Veronica were an item.  Huey, tall and skinny with Willie Nelson braids, was such a nice guy!  Veronica was a second grade teacher, though I don’t think she wore leathers and smoked cigarettes while on the job.  Bill, we learned later, hadn’t worked in a while, still trying to recover from the death of his girlfriend of 9 years.  That’s a hard one hear.  I’ve got to tell you, we sat in front of that fire until almost midnight, sending the youngin’s out on a 4% beer run and Huey to get more firewood.  Over and over, Huey proclaimed just how much fun he was having and how he was so glad to have met us all.  Piles of empty beer bottles grew as the night sky shed its layers of clouds, replacing it with a comforting sunset.  There were stories of our past, our hopes of rediscovering humanity and goodwill, and our desire to continue this path as long as we could ride, no matter what 2 wheels you rolled in on.  We were all on the same journey.  We were all looking for adventure, to take back what the media stole from us – faith in each other as people.  If you listen to the hype, you start to believe the hype and eventually lose your way.  But, if you turn the TV off, put down the paper and go learn for yourself, you’d be amazed at what you’d find.  I mean seriously, here we all were, BMW’s, Harley’s and cyclists, all looking for the same thing and dammit, loving every single minute of each other’s company.  You can’t plan this, but it happens all the time!  All were taking pictures of Jack as he played his guitar by the fire, proclaiming that he was going to be famous some day.  They wanted to be able to say, “We knew him when…” We’re so proud of our son.  He’s never afraid to put himself out there for all to listen.  Are you starting to catch a glimpse of just how valuable this lesson is?  Can you imagine the memories Jack will have of all the wonderful people he’s met on his family adventures?  We want him to grow up with a passion for life and the desire to find good beyond what we’re “told”.  I think it’s working.

The next morning, I awoke at 6AM as I’d promised fresh, pressed Peet’s coffee for all.  Bill was the first to roll out with the others not far behind.  As we all packed up for the day’s travels, blue sky enveloping the entire valley, we talked about meeting for breakfast just down the way.  The others left before us, promising to save seats.  And they did.  It wasn’t just a night of idle chatter; it was a night of bonding, sharing, true friendship.  We parked in front of the restaurant, all 2-wheel modes of transportation lined up, and found our seats waiting for us, just as promised.  After a hearty meal (which Veronica and Huey covered for the youngin’s), we headed out to our “vehicles” and began suiting up.  It was a bittersweet moment, Huey still expressing his enthusiasm for meeting us all.  We exchanged cards and made promises to keep in touch, I mean REALLY keep in touch.  There were photos that needed to be swapped and stories to finish about our journey’s home.  We wanted to make sure the boy’s made it to Virginia safely.  Veronica promised to make me a bling doo rag.  I’m holding you to that, Veronica!  With more pictures, hugs and handshakes, we all departed, heading east, in search of another memory.

Our goal on this day was Moab, Utah, site of the Delicate Arch and home to some fantastic scenery.  We rolled in with plenty of time to find a campsite.  But, where to find one that wasn’t home to full-timers, retirees and icky people!  We rolled through town and found Canyonlands RV Park and Campground on the other side of town.  It had a pool, Laundromat and tent sites.  Perfect!  We set up camp and were the only one’s for quite some time.  It wasn’t until later that 2 chicks from Canada drove in and set up next to us.  They were very cool with hopes if staying for several days to get in some good hikes.  I don’t think that’ll be much of a problem in Moab.

We headed to the town grocery store for some provisions (Finally, charred wienies!), and whom do we run into but A FAMILY FROM DAVIS WHO ATTENDS THE SAME SCHOOL AS JACK!  I’m now convinced that our planet is tiny.  I spotted the mom first and asked, “Are you from Davis?”  I was met with an odd look and a, “Yesssss.”  “Your kids go to Cesar Chavez, right?”  “Yesssss.”  “We’re from Davis and Chavez, too!”, I exclaimed.  Laughter and rounds of, “Oh my god!” ensued as we swapped stories of our travels, where we came from and where we were headed.  Funny!

A night of dogs, Jack Daniels, and marshmallows quickly came to a close as we were all bushed.  It was Terry’s turn to sleep in Jack’s tent.  Ah!  A night of not having to pull Jack back on his bed pad or check to make sure he was warm enough.  Nighty-night.

So, kids, have we learned anything from today’s passage?  Love thy neighbor, learn from your travels, trust in others and trust in humanity.  It doesn’t matter what you ride or how many wheels you’re on, the ride is meant for all to enjoy – you just have to be willing to make the leap and keep moving forward, looking back only to reflect on those you’ve made along the way.  I’m off to a Rockies game!  Timing is everything.  Cheers!

“Do one thing everyday that scares you.”  Eleanor Roosevelt

First of all, a tremendous “Hey!” to all of our followers and a hearty “Welcome to Adventure Trio!” for all of our newbie’s.  I promise you won’t be disappointed but just in case you are, you’re not reading it properly.   Try again but this time with an open mind and a promise to keep reading.  This site is meant to inform, entertain and get you off your bum and outta the house.  There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored by YOU.  All you have to do is put down the remote and take that first step.  But now, back to our story…

As has become our tradition, we picked Jack up from his last day of school with bikes loaded and ready to depart.  They do look a bit out of place in the teacher parking lot, but isn’t that how it’s supposed to be?  Don’t blend; shake with conviction.  And as usual, we had a crowd of people completely flabbergasted, mouths agape (honestly), as they pondered the idea of riding a motorcycle from Davis, California, all the way to Chicago, Illinois.  I mean, truly shocked.  Awesome.  (A huge “Thank you” to Valerie for taking our departing pictures and Jack’s backpack!)   As Jack suited up, he was approached by many of his friends and even more acquaintances asking where he was going, was he really riding a motorcycle, the list goes on.  He was proud, very proud…so are we.  On the bikes we hopped and away we rode.  Our first night’s destination – Reno!  Yes, Circus, Circus beckoned for a night of games, toys and celebrating the end of 3rd grade.  Hey, you have to celebrate these milestones in style, right?  The kid had a ball!  And what did he want to do the most?  Video games with mom and dad!  I mean, he has the whole circus floor to himself, but he’d rather be entertained with Air Hockey and driving games.  And speaking of Air Hockey, I CRUSHED Terry 5 games in a row.  Sorry, honey, but I had to share.

So, who out there has actually stayed at a Circus, Circus?  I mean, seriously, even Buddy the Elf would’ve been on “purpley” overload in this room!  I wanted gaudy and I got Barney.  Nice.  Perfect.  Jack dug the view (top floor) and we dug watching him and spending time together.  And did I mention that I won $20 within 2 minutes at the slot machine?  I really don’t like to gamble.  If I’m going to spend/lose money, I want a receipt.  But, when in Rome, I make $20 my max to lose.  I giggled with glee knowing that I just covered gas money for the next day.

One very good night’s sleep later and we were earnestly checking weather.com for updates on our third night’s destination, Park City, Utah.  What do you MEAN it’s supposed to rain, thunder and snow?!?  Is it not June?  Does Mother Nature have a hangover?  Yikes, dude!  With the third day destination on shaky ground, we continued on our original day two plan of heading east on Highway 50, The Loneliest Highway.  Loneliest my big ol’ white butt!  Motorhomes, motorcycles, tractor trailers, you name it, and all were heading west, except for us.  And once we were east of Fallon, the wind gusts began.  I hate the wind.  I loathe the wind.  Not a fan.  We literally rode sideways across Nevada.  No joke!  I’d see Terry get hit with a gust sending him 3 feet to the right and not a split second later I, too, was feeling the pain.  Every bike we passed had the same tilted look as they rode on by, still waving, but holding on, awaiting the next blast.  We did stop at “The Shoe Tree” for a bite and a stretch.  The Shoe Tree, you say quizzically?  Why, yes!  It literally is a large tree COVERED in layers of old shoes.  Years worth of foot fungus tossed high above, some even scattered along the ground below when their laces could no longer hold the weight.  It was stellar!  And man, there were some nice shoes up there!  Had I remembered to bring them, I would’ve added Jack’s old moto boots into the mix.  Ah, hindsight.  We did meet some pretty cool gents from Utah who were making their way to the Tahoe area for several days of dirt and street riding.  Very nice ex-Air Force men yearning for dirt and speed.  Ride on, gentlemen!

From the tree, we still had at least another 3 hours to get to Ely, Nevada, to stop for the night.  But, the ride was not without a damp moment or two.  Seriously, is it not June?  What the hell!  When we rode through Austin (a very cool old mining town I highly recommend), we were hit not just with rain but snow!  SNOW!  And yes, I need to say it again…SNOW!  Alrighty then.  Is this going to be a trip that we cover ALL of nature’s elements?  Guess so!  But guess what, I’m ready for the challenge as are the rest of the Adventure Trio.  Jack, especially, was delighted with the snow.  A stop in Eureka and another 60 miles finally found us at a hotel in Ely.  And how perfect of a place can you get – indoor room entry, indoor pool and hot tub, a smattering of older slot machines (my favorite was the Enchanted Unicorn), bar, restaurant, we were covered!  Remember when you were a kid how much a pool at a hotel meant?  It was freedom, it was making friends, a tad bit o’ heaven.  We literally could see him in the pool from our door.  Hey, a shot of Jagger, a hot tub and an entertained child makes for a fabulous evening.  But, what could make it even better?  How about winning $90 dollars within one minute of the first press of the spin button.  Yes, I really mean one minute!  Do you know how hard I was laughing when I cashed in and headed to the room?  All three of us were rolling with laughter.  In between trips to the pool, Jack kept himself busy writing in his journal about his adventure thus far.  I gotta tell ya, he’s really taken to chronicling events as of late.  Think how cool it will be for him to read his journal years down the road, reliving his experiences, hopefully with a desire to continue.

After another night of great sleep, we awoke to yet another rainstorm complete with gusty wind and freezing temps.  In the words of Ace Ventura, “Alrighty then.”  Not much we could do.  We packed our gear, covered the backpacks with plastic and added another layer onto Jack’s guitar, just in case.  We made sure to layer our own bodies, knowing that the day was going to hold pretty much all the elements that this planet has to offer.  There was no way around it and we needed to get east, hoping for Zion but knowing that we may have to stop in Cedar City, Utah.  The storm broke just as we were rolling out, around 10AM.  Jack was ready for anything the skies had to offer, and Terry and I were thankful that we had a kid ready to conquer the roads.  LOVE this kid!  There was a smattering of storms on either side of us just waiting to saturate all as we rolled down Highway 93, but we only saw rain from one of them.  There was NO WAY we were heading through Great Basin.  It was maybe 37 degrees out and the mountain wore a halo of black.  Not an ideal situation.  We continued to head south on 93.  It was a beautiful valley, mountain ranges on either side, the ground covered in bright yellow flowers and sage.  The smells were incredible!  It’s amazing how a fresh rain will bring out the scents of the high desert.  About 100 miles in, we decided to eat and explore a small town called Pioche.  Pioche?  Hell, yes!  We were only looking to stay about an hour (remember, we had to stay ahead of impending weather), but ended up staying almost three.  Why?  You want to talk about a town with history; Pioche fits the bill to a T.  We visited the museum, a place just FILLED with old mining gear, clothing, appliances, rocks and gems, everything!  They even boasted a black and white picture of a doctor amputating the leg of an indian that was injured in a mining accident.  Dude, no anesthesia and done right on the mountaintop.  Are you fucking kidding me?!?  The second picture taken included said amputated leg propped up against the table.  Wild, wild, wild.  I love small towns and their stories.  And speaking of stories, we were told that we needed to visit the old courthouse and jail.  Jack was all over it!  We hiked around the corner and met Jane, the courthouse museum’s historian and all around nice lady.  I told her that we heard about the jail we could walk into, and she immediately led us up the original stairway, past the DA’s office, through the courtroom set up with “dummies” as the jury and judge, and out the back door to the jail.  Oh, the stories this woman had!  It was all original, very dark and cold, and boasted a “drunk” loft for the guys to sleep it off.  Jane told us that at one time, Pioche was home to around 75 bars and 58 brothels.  Nice!  It was THEE mining spot in the late 1800’s.  This place was so wild there was at least one murder a day.  The Earp brother’s passed through thinking they were going to stay a while…they left the next day.  In its heyday, the town held around 10,000 people.  Now, it has maybe 1,000 full timers.  I’m telling you, this is the reason we’re on this trip – meeting people, visiting small towns and swapping stories.  Thanks, Jane, for a great tour.

Suiting up to leave Pioche, I noticed a not-so-friendly sky awaiting our arrival.  It was coming in from ALL sides with no escaping.  Fine.  Whatever.  We headed down the road about 15 miles and stopped for gas outside of a town whose name escapes me.  The road leading us east towards Utah was lined on both sides with storms, some of them offering a chance of thunder.  I took a few pictures, checked the rain-proofed items, and away we rolled towards the gates of hell.  We were 9 miles in when a bolt of lightening flashed over my right shoulder.  A scream came over the mic but was quickly drowned out by the clap of thunder that shook not only the ground but moved Terry’s bike a few feet left.  Terry immediately keyed up on the radio and asked, “So, do we turn around?”  I screamed back with, “Fuck no!  Put the hammer down and let’s get the fuck outta here!”  Turning back meant putting ourselves in the eye of 2 storms.  Moving forward at a high rate of speed meant putting it behind us, hoping now for Cedar City in a timely manner.  We had about 100 miles to go.  The rain finally stopped, but the barrage of storms continued to chase us east.  Fuck.  It took Terry about 1/2 hour to get Jack off the ledge.  Poor kid got spooked just as much as the rest of us.  What would happen if we hit another thunderstorm?  We pressed on, upping our speed when the pavement was dry, slowing 10-15 MPH when we hit rain.  I kept one eye north as a major, MAJOR storm cloud surrounded the mountain range.  It was doing its best to catch up with us.  We managed to stay ahead of it but did have to skirt around the eastern edge of it.  I was scared.  I’ve never felt so vulnerable in such an ominous situation.  Jack, thankfully, didn’t know any better, so I wasn’t worried about him.  (And for you you naysayers, we’d never put Jack in a situation that would threaten his safety or life.  Nuff said.)  The goal was Utah by 5PM; we had no choice.  We had about another 45 minutes and found ourselves heading straight into yet another dark cloud.  It surrounded the mountains and promised a damp ride.  Well, it was damp.  Too damp!  Water immediately started running into both boots.  My lined gloves were now rendered useless as was my riding suit.  The sound of hail against the helmet was not comforting, but at least there was no thunder and lightening.  Jack and Terry were dry and warm.  That’s all a momma could ask for at that moment.  We arrived safely in Cedar City by 5PM.  I, unfortunately, had water up to my ankles in both boots and a wicked case of the shivering shakes.  Poor Jack kept asking Terry, “Is momma going to get hypothermia?”  Almost, buddy, but the warm room and hot tub at the Holiday Inn Express helped keep me from going over the edge.  Time for laundry…ugh…

So there you have it, folks, a brief summary of our first 3 days on the road.  They were something now, weren’t they?  I know some (a lot?) of you are wondering why we do this, why we allow ourselves to go through such situations.  “Why not take the car?   You can still visit all the same places; you’ll be warm and dry!”  Because it’s just not the same!  So many of us go through life in comfort, never wanting to put ourselves in vulnerable situations.  These experiences are not only grand for Terry and I, but Jack is getting an experience that not many his age share.  He’s learning to push forward, never giving up.  He’s meeting people that would never have approached us if we were in a car.  Everyone does the car thing, but we’re an anomaly.  I like that.  Jack likes it, too.  If he didn’t want to go, he’d let us know, trust me.  We’d never force him into a situation he doesn’t want to experience.  This kid has such a bounce in his step every time we pull into a new place!   How can I NOT give him these memories?  Like Terry and I have said, we wished our families had done this for us when we were his age.

So, away we ride once again bound for Escalante, Utah.  I shall return later with more stories and anecdotes.  Till then, put down the remote, grab your family, and get out there!  There’s so much beauty to see, I promise.


Day 14 to Home

You have no idea how HARD it’s been to come up with the words for this final entry about our venture.  As soon as I knew I was 1/2 hour from home, the constant high I had been feeling for 16 days began to wane, the level dropping with every click on the odometer.  I didn’t want to return to suburban life.  None of us really did, except maybe for Jack (and that’s only because he missed his friends).  We’d shared such an amazing experience, we weren’t ready to be thrown back into our day to day reality.  And I’m not even talking about the work or home grind.  I’m talking about the neighborhood grind, the “houses on top of each other” and “families pretending that they’re happy” grind.  Since we began pulling away from the usual several years ago, crossing over to the dark side, we’ve really noticed the vast amount of families that are just going with the flow, afraid to “break out” of the expected.  There’s too much fear in ruffling your spouse’s feathers, no suggestions of packing up and taking off without a game plan.  Oh, we have heard stories (first hand) from husbands suggesting to their wives that they do X,Y or Z, only to be met with a scowl and a stern warning to never bring it up again.  Wow.  So, you’re really not strong enough to stand up for yourself and how you feel?  You really are THAT afraid of your significant other?  Afraid to “start” something?  Are you THAT willing to just swallow your desires, shoving them into the closet for another 5, 10 years, maybe to be brought out after the kids go off to college?  Huh.  I’m not that willing nor do I want my husband to be, and it certainly is not a trait I plan to pass onto my son.  Why do you want to be together with someone you’re afraid of pissing off?  Why do you want to exist rather than take a chance on living?  If you can’t voice your desires for yourself and/or your family, then you’re in the wrong relationship.  Sorry, but it’s true.  Do you want to be that couple that, as soon as the kids are out of the house, goes their separate ways just because they were too afraid to be honest with each other?  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather grow WITH my spouse rather than grow apart.  Why not take that chance because, maybe, they may feel the same as you.  They may even be a little MORE afraid than you.  But together you can become a strong unit, forging ahead into an unknown direction.  And it’s okay to not know what you’re going to be doing EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND UNTIL CHRISTMAS!  I DARE you to leave a weekend or two open in October with the promise to try something new.  It can be anything, but it just has to be out of your comfort zone.  Change is imminent, constant.  Why not take charge of the change instead of letting others choose for you?  OF COURSE it’s scary!  OF COURSE you’re going to argue!  BUT SO WHAT!  You’re going to argue anyway, so why not argue about what you believe in- your family, yourselves, your future, your relationship.  Do you see yourself in any of what you just read?  I was once there but chose to stop drinking the Kool-Aid.  Are you going to put the glass down?

So, back from my rant….yes, the trip was awesome!  Yes, we are going to do a long trip again next year.  On the books?  Hopefully Alaska, maybe Route 66.  We have plenty of options keeping us awake at night, so we’ll have to narrow it down soon and start saving and planning.  Again, it will take A LOT of work and extra hours, but it truly is worth it.  I promise.  Now put down the Kool Aid, pick up a Sierra Nevada and promise to take even the tiniest of steps forward.  Nothin’ but love.


After the clothes were washed, the bellies fed and the stuff sacks stuffed, we headed outta the Holiday Inn Express in Astoria, our sites set on Mt. Hood.  Where in Mt. Hood?  Not sure yet, but with the bikes full of clean undies, we were confident that it really didn’t matter where we rolled out our tents.  As long as we were camping, we were all giddy.

With only one stop, it took us less than 3 hours to reach Mt. Hood.  Unsure of where to camp, we checked in with the information center in Government Camp for some camping info.  Lake Trillium?  And they may only have a couple of spots left?  We’re outta here!  It was only about a mile or so down the highway.  Hmmmm.  This place looks a little familiar.  Could it be?  Hell ya, it could!  A little history for you…

When I was 6 months pregnant with Jack, Terry and I took a motorhome road trip to Seattle, making our way back south through Oregon.  We needed a place to park our ride for the night and practically tripped over this location.  We pulled in, hooked up and walked around the pathways, stumbling upon one of the most picturesque locales we’d ever seen.  Spanned before us was the snow covered peak of Mt. Hood, framed in a sea of green and sky of azure.  Awesome.  So guess where we just happened to almost trip over again?  You got it.

Jack was so determined to set up his own tent, he wouldn’t accept help from ANYONE.  It may have taken him twice as long, but he was on it, taking his time not to get frustrated, never giving up.  In about 20 minutes, he had the whole sleeping quarters up and ready for slumber.  Dig this kid.  He was also, as always, quick to make some friends.  This time, he took an interest in some older boys who were playing catch.  Would he like to play, too?  WOULD HE!  We had brought our gloves to keep his arm ready for the All-Star game on the weekend of the 4th, so this was the perfect opportunity to stay loose.  Hell, I’ll even go throw some balls with the father/son team.  So there we were, having a grand time with a 4-way throwing square when ol’ Sandy at the mound throws a wild pitch and THUNK!, hits the dad’s truck right smack in the front right fender.  HOLY SHIT, SANDY!  Nice one!  I was mortified!  The guy was so cool as he kept saying, “Do you have any idea how many dents I have in this truck from baseballs?”  Doesn’t matter ‘cause now one of those dents was put there by ME.  Shit.  Are you SURE I can’t help pay for it?  Are you SURE?  Dude was waaaaaay too nice of a guy.  Terry just shook his head in not-so-disbelief, remembering that I have a knack for such a feat (Hello!  Epi-Pen!).  I decided it might be time to put down the glove and head back to camp.  Idiot.

And what kind of place is Government Camp anyway?  It’s literally a ski and snowboard haven for bratty rich kids whose parents fly or bus them in from all over the U.S.  No joke.  Rows of daddy’s little girls wielding the parents’ credit card and future republican senators holding skis littered the sidewalks.  Sometimes the parents’ were in tow, only present for their transportation and economic duties.  It was icky.  Trust me, I’m all for and into the winter sports scene, but THIS scene was far from the lifts of Mt. Shasta Ski Park, even Tahoe.   I had to hit the grocery store for our daily rations and was LITERALLY squeezed outta the way by said bratty rich kid.  No excuse me or I’m sorry.  It was like that with all the kids we encountered and I’m not exaggerating (though I wish I were).  Bummer.  And trust me, we called them on it each time they shoved their way through.  “Whoa, whoa, whoa, dude!  Where do you think you’re going?”  Sorry, junior, just because daddy’s rich doesn’t mean you’re entitled.   Now run along and the geezers get their grub.  Even Jack was in awe of their disrespect.

But here’s a very inspiring story worth sharing with the masses.  On our way out of the area, we headed up the mountain to the lodge for one last picture.  When we parked in front of the steep, lodge steps, we were immediately surrounded with what appeared to be members of the US Ski Team’s physically handicapped team.  But mind you, none of the athlete’s we encountered were limited by their disabilities in any way.  Paraplegic, wheel-chair confined, no lower extremities, one lower extremity, it didn’t matter.  These athletes were out there DOING IT!  Suited up, geared up, they were ready to hit the slopes, no holds barred.  After we took off our motorcycle helmets, we were immediately approached by one of the ski team members, a young man with only one leg, maneuvering along with the help of crutches.  He said he watched us pull up and had to strike up a conversation.  Are you kidding?!?  YOU are the person I want to talk to!   This dude was cool, totally personable.  Another wheel-chair athlete offered to take a family picture.  Thanks, dude!  And you’re a UCD alumni?  Even better.  As we rehydrated, I watched as the skier we had been chatting with made his way up the steps.  There was no complaining, no hesitation, just determination and a big ass grin.  Wow.  I want to be him when I grow up.

Our time at Lake Trillium was the camping trip we needed before our last couple of nights.  And our meeting with the athletes was the inspiration WE needed to be thankful for, well, everything.  The next time you bitch and moan that you can’t do something, just think of the guy climbing the stairs with his crutches or the young kid without any legs gearing up for a ski run.  I don’t hear them complaining, do you?  I didn’t think so.


After successfully getting the bikes off the ferry (aka “not dropping them on the ramp”), we found our way onto Highway 101 and headed toward Forks, Washington.  With our sights set on Forks, home of the Twilight phenomenon, we weren’t sure if we’d make it.  The ferry didn’t dock until around 5PM and we were fading fast.  We chose to pull off at the first lodging sign, Log Cabin Lodge at Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park.  What a beautifully awesome vision of nature!  Highly recommended.  The mountains were grand, something that just couldn’t be captured on film. We followed the winding road to the lodge, finding ourselves at a very “rustic” lodge and set of cabins.  I don’t believe that rustic quite captures the essence of this place.  I believe ‘old and kept up best as possible’ really captures it better.  There was a very kind, smokey voiced woman behind the counter, the owner, Becky.  Becky turned out to be very entertaining, telling some cool stories about the location and herself.  She was actually very, very pretty.  I only hope to be as attractive when I hit the “golden” years (but if you ask me, all years are golden).  We hit the beds early in hope of a good nights sleep with the promise of clear skies in the morning.

Well, we kind of got a good night’s sleep.  Seems we weren’t alone in our cabin for the night.  Something was trying to work its way into the cabin, but what?  We could hear what sounded like a crunching noise, but couldn’t see anything.  Finally, a tiny little mouse, clutching a dead leaf in its mouth, emerged from a small hole by the door, raced through the room  and popped back into a hole by the kitchen cabinet.  It wasn’t alone – another mouse wasn’t far behind him, again with a leaf.  These things were fast!  They were the only two to make a mad dash.  We’re just thankful we didn’t have any hitchhikers along for the ride.  Crisis averted, it was time to move on.

We couldn’t have asked for a more serene landscape along Highway 101.  It hugged the shores of Lake Crescent that were abundant with colors of fuschia, gold and white, framing the turquoise water that edged the mountain range.  I wanted so badly to pull over and take a picture, but there was no safe place to stop.  That’s okay.  I guess some pictures are meant only for me.

Terry was more than a willing participant in our search for Forks landmarks.  Jack, not so much.  But as long as he had music in the iPhone, he was a champ.  I was determined to find as many of the books’ highlight points as possible.  We were given a map of all the pertinent locales and set out to find as many as possible.  Carloads of teenagers, some with their mothers to help drive them around, dashed from place to place, cameras at the ready.  It was fun to watch and I had no problem joining in the madness.  Hey, it may be a silly phenomenon, but why not be a part of it if only for a moment.  I took my pictures, got lost (helps if you have the map right side up), bought the tee & some stickers, then headed south to make our destination by sundown.  Forks was fun and well worth the tour.

South we headed, ready for another long day on the road.  Okay, so Jack wasn’t as ready as the rest of the trio.  That’s okay, buddy.  You hang back and catch a nap while we drive.  Unfortunately, we did encounter one not-so-nice person at a one-pump gas station.  Terry pulled in, followed by me.  A silver car pulled up behind me about 10 seconds later, occupied by an older dude and his wife.  As we geared down, the older dude jumped inside to get ahead of us, gave his charge card then proceeded to grab the gas hose in an attempt to fill up before us.  Excuse me, rude dude, but we were clearly here before you.  You’re REALLY going to take cuts, just like in line at recess?  The attendant inside said yes, we were first. The rude dude began mouthing off, blah, blah, blah.  But once Terry shot right back, the guy was, “Whoa! Whoa!”, hands up in defeat.  Even his wife told him to calm down.  What an ass.  Hey, if that’s the only ass we’re going to encounter in this entire journey, then no problemo.  We left without anymore words exchanged, bound for Astoria.

We rolled into the Holiday Inn Express in Astoria after another long day, almost 6 hours on the road  It has a guest laundry?  Nice.  Indoor pool and hot tub?  Nicer.  We unloaded, got my piles separated and dove head first into 4 loads of stinky, disgusting bags of cotton and man-made fabrics.  We soooo needed to freshen up!  With pizza on the way and cold Sierra Nevada in the room’s fridge, we were ready to settle into a night of food, libations, pool and chill time.  Golden.

Off we were the next morning by 11AM.  It was going to be a  shorter riding day, only about 140 miles to Mt. Hood with a stop at the BMW dealer south of Portland for some oil for Terry’s bike.

So there you have it, folks!  Almost completely updated, pics and all.  Whew!  I normally need at least 3 hours of uninterrupted time to complete these updates.  Between uploading, sorting and labeling pictures plus trying to remember all the hap’s from the road, it’s quite a job.  But it’s one that I love, especially when I get such positive feedback from my readers. Thanks.  I’m off to enjoy the beautiful weather and find my family.  They’re wandering the streets of Government Camp now in search of some new stickers for our side cases.  Enjoy the day and savor every moment.


Mornin’ kids!  It’s a beautiful, sunshiny day here at Mt. Hood and time for me to finish the chronicles of Canada plus a few other posts.  You must understand that it’s so very tricky for me to remain on top of the website at all times.  If we were traveling by car, I could plug into an inverter and spew forth verbage all the live long day.  But since we’re spending an average of 5 hours a day on the road, plus packing and unpacking at least 2 hours a day and not having WiFi or electricity half the time, you can see how I might get a bit behind on my posts.  Feeling my pain?  Cause I have a lot of pain to go around from so many hours in the saddle and nights on a bedroll.  Not complaining, I promise, just trying to bring you into my world little by little.  Motrin is my best friend.  I’ll stop bitchin’ now.

Also before I move on, I forgot to share a little ditty about our ride up Highway 9 into Canada.  Anyone who drives or rides know how you can get lost in your thoughts, wondering about where you’re going, thinking about where you’re been.  I was at that place when I found myself snapped back into the moment by a black bear cub hauling ASS across the highway.  You know we slowed waaaay down, expecting mama to be not too far behind, maybe even a second cub.  Neither appeared but it was a reminder that we’re not alone when traveling the roads that cut through the deep forests.  We all know about “Deer:30”, now we had to remember about “Bear o’clock”.  Note to self:  Keep head out of bum.  And now, back to our regularly scheduled program…

After our oh so memorable night at Sooke River Campground (Sookie!), we headed northwest to a provincial (state) campground called French Beach.  It came highly recommended by the locals (and we really dug the locals).  This place was such an eden!  With thick groves of towering trees, ferns that dwarfed any adult and plants with leaves 3-4 feet long, we knew we were home if even for a couple of days.  Terry did good in scouting this site out.  We got camp set up and then I headed out to do the grocery shopping.  The market in town is pretty nice, but you must remember that we’re in English/French country, not English/Spanish.  All the packaging labels were in English and French, so this was throwing me off a bit, especially when I’m used to the latter.  Tonight’s dinner?  Spinach and cheese ravioli with marinara and prawns plus a side of vegetables.  Nice.  Who says you have to eat hot dogs the entire time (though they do make for a great breakfast).  You must also remember that in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, the government controls all liquor, so in each state/country the laws are different.  Here in B.C., you can’t buy any sort of alcohol at the grocery store.  You have to go across the street to the Liquor Store to get even a beer or bottle of wine.   And after 5PM, you can only purchase beer or wine.  Whatever.  It does take longer when you don’t have the one-stop shopping, but when in Rome…

We had to make sure to stash our food well as it was rumored that earlier in the morning, a large black bear was seen wandering the roads of the campground in search of food.  Great.  Our side cases made for a tidy little pantry as well as fridge (bag of ice on the bottom and TA-DA!), and they locked down tight.  We knew that the bears know how to open most anything, but had to give it the ol’ college try.  Terry also mentioned that we should remove the cases from the bikes – better to have them thrash a case instead of the whole package.  Smart.  The night was quiet with the exception of the ocean rolling in and out in the background.  Didn’t I mention that we were right next to the ocean?  Sorry.  This part of the shoreline was miles of rocks, lined by trees and littered with crab and oyster shells.  I found 6 large oyster shells to bring home as a momento.  The best souvenirs don’t come from a gift shop.

And did I mention the provincial bird of B.C.?  Ya, it’s the slug, banana and licorice alike.  Dude, these things are NASTY!  They’re long, think and just YUCK.  They’re everywhere!  And they’ll definite ruin the bottom of your shoes.  You’ve gotta trust me on this one.  They blend so well with the ground that you REALLY have to watch where you step.  I didn’t.  Learned that lesson quickly.

Day 2 at French Beach brought Jack some new friends as well as a trip into Victoria.  We had our fingers crossed that we would enjoy our time here better than Vancouver.  And Victoria proved to be quite a delight!  We had the BEST fish and chips EVER at a place that overlooked the harbor.  We could watch the seaplanes take off and land on the water.  We saw the ferry we’d be taking back to the states dock on one side of the bay while little tug boats (we dubbed them bath toys) taxied people from one side to the other to the other.  It was quite a ballet of boats and planes, all knowing their next move and where they were supposed to go.  We waited for the Hollywood crash and burn, but no go.  We also scouted out some movie time for Jack (have to keep all members of the trio happy – something for everyone) and hit the local IMAX theater for 45 minutes of life along the Baja peninsula.  Actually, it was quite entertaining and very informational.  Time to head back to camp for some time with friends and a walk along the beach.

Back at tent city, Jack was playing with a group of new friends down the way when I heard a BLOOD curdling scream and saw Jack come speeding up the road, tearing off his sweatshirt.  I could barely make out, “BEES!  BEES!  THEY STUNG ME!”  Yep, the kid got it again…twice.  He had been playing on an old log and guess who had a hive they wanted to protect?  Ol’ Jack got it in the bottom lip and neck.  Again, mama to the rescue with the sting patches and some hydrocortisone cream.  We were worried that he might have a reaction this time as Terry and I swell like a mother whenever we get stung.  Jack got really tired and just wanted to hang by the fire, swaddled in his sleeping bag.  Terry made a series of phone calls to check and see what we should be looking for as far as a reaction while I hung back with Jack at camp, the epi-pen at the ready.  I had it so at the ready the I DISCHARGED THE F@^%ING PEN INTO MY THUMB!!!!!  Holy shit it hurt!!!!  So here we were, Jack asleep with a swollen lip and me hurling the pen out of my thumb with blood spattering the perimeter like a crime scene.  We were quite a pair!  I think the pen hit all the way to the bone as it has taken several days for the swelling and pain to subside.  Nice one, Sandy!  Never a dull moment.  Idiot.

Jack turned out to be fine.  After a little nap and more cream, he was ready to play with some friends.  We, too, made some friends with some very cool families from Victoria.  Sarah, Carsten (sp), Izzy, Jordan and several others were quite inviting and we spent the evening roasting marshmallows, sipping some brew and swapping stories about our respective countries.  We took turns talking about Canadian and U.S. life, amazing each other with our tales.  The one that got them the most were the tales of minivans with outline stickers of the families along the back window.  Izzy was COMPLETELY floored at the idea of people actually advertising their family on the car.  I swear, I’m going to send that girl some of those stickers, knowing that she’ll loose it as soon as she opens the envelope.  And they knew we were American as soon as they met us just as we knew they were Canadian. Funny how the accents work.  Terry took Jack and some of the other boys down to the beach for some rock throwing and guy time.  They had a blast and didn’t return until almost 11PM.  We thanked everyone for their hospitality with promises to connect in the morning before everyone departed to their respective homes.

Our  last morning on the island brought some last minute picture taking.  It was a sunny morning and I wanted to capture just the right picture along the creek I had spotted the day before.  I set forth down the stairs, along the log and settled on the shore of the water.  I happened to look down into the mud and spotted a very fresh mountain lion print, not more than an hour or two old.  Hmmm. One quick snap of the camera and I hauled ass back up the stairs and into camp.  I have NO desire to take my chances with the wildlife.  Do any of you remember that one opening scene of Six Feet Under?  I didn’t want to be that guy.

We had a lot of food left over that we couldn’t pack when up wandered Sarah and her 18 month old son, Lucas.  They came to bid us farewell.  Hey Sarah, interested in taking home some food?  Yup!  Problem solved.  We chatted for a long time till finally her husband pulled up with the car and the other boys, one of which was their older son, Sebastian and friend, James (not sure if he was actually a son or brother).  We promised to keep in touch with each other.  They were a fabulous family and like minded in so many ways.  Lucas even wanted to hang on the bike before we left, including a stint with Jack’s helmet.  He smiled a huge smile, not really interested in getting off.  We bid farewell and headed toward Victoria and our ferry back to the states.

In line at the dock, we again met some other really cool riders, each heading or returning from their own journey.  One was going to Galveston, Texas, and back in 2 weeks.  Good luck with that!  The other, Mike, was returning from a stint in Alaska.  He lives in Santa Cruz and has a daughter in Woodland.  Hoping to hook up with him again in the future.  This boat ride proved to be much rockier than the previous.  Thankfully, we tied down our bikes pretty well, praying that they were upright at the end of the trip.  When we docked in Port Angeles, we found our way to the 101 and headed toward Olympic National Forest, not sure where we were going to stay.  That’s part of the fun along the journey.

So I must once again bid you adieu.  Time to find a WiFi in Government Camp as well as some wall plugs to charge the many electronic devices we’ve been carrying.  Take care, stay cool and hope to catch up some more before we depart to Bend.


We left Seattle on a not so typical sunny morning.  Do we really have to leave now?  The impending traffic battle was upon us, so we knew we had to hit the road sooner rather than later.  We reluctantly left the security of this awesome city to head north.  Our destination today?  Vancouver or bust!  We did have to do a small stint on Highway 5 to get to Highway 9, our preferred route, avoiding the major border crossing as well as, well, Highway 5.  Our desire to stay off the freeways found us gently rolling through the hills that bordered several small lakes.  Each lake was lined with very large homes and private docks.  If only it was sunny and warm enough to use the lake more than 2 months out of the year.  I say 2 because here it was, almost the middle of June, and we had yet to break even 65 degrees.  As much as I love the cold, a few degrees here and there wouldn’t hurt.  But there is a reason the foliage is so lush.  One must remember that.

Not 15 minutes after leaving Seattle, ol’ Mr. Jack reported through the intercom, “I have to go pee.”  Of course you do, buddy.  Pulled over at the cleanest Shell and spent 15 minutes gearing down, peeing, then gearing back up.  Okay, NOW are you ready?  Because little man, this is NOT going to happen again.  We roll most of the time fully geared up, meaning wearing our anti-smell good liners to prevent us from getting soaked by the menacing clouds.  It never rained.  We didn’t smell pleasant.  And stops like this were not helping the cause.

When you’re on a motorcycle journey with anyone under the age of, oh, say 18, there are going to be a few things that you must endure, knowing that it’s the only way you’re all going to survive.  Hours of “The Naked Brothers Band” looped through Terry and Jack’s headset while the groin crushed not so gently against the gas tank, making sure that your dozing passenger is comfortably rested against your back.  Terry has endured a lot to make sure time on the road is good for all.  Okay, maybe not himself, but it’s never all bad when you get the opportunity to go on a road trip.  I owe him one…or several.

With only a mile or 2 to go till the border, I made sure passports were handy in the top case and the head cam was rolling.  New card?  Check.  Fresh batteries?  Check.  A guarantee they won’t want us to tear down the back and bend us over?  Not so sure.  But hopefully having a little one harnessed to Terry will help prove that we’re not complete loons.  Like I said, no guarantees.  We charged forward only to be stopped by a line of cars 7 to 8 deep.  Fine.  Shut off engine.  Restart and move 3 feet.  Shut off engine.  Rinse. Repeat.  While waiting, we did have many curious onlookers asking us about our travels, including 4 dudes hanging out the windows of their truck, salivating at the idea of hittin’ the road.  Our turn!  We rolled up to the window, took off the helmets and proceeded to answer the barrage of questions.  No, we don’t have any firearms.  No, we’re not going to sell anything.  Did we have hotel reservations?  Where?  For how long?  When we told them we were probably going to camp, we got the most quizzicle look from the female (there were 2 border agents and the dude wasn’t looking too friendly).  And seriously, we got our first “eh” straight from the male agent.  No joke!  Priceless.  We finally rolled out, thankful that we got out unharmed as we spotted a GS1200 to the left, fully stripped, it’s owner no where to be found.  Oops.

Does ANYONE know why it smells like manure every 10 feet?  OH MY GOD!  The stench was nauseating and continued on for far too many miles.  Just when you thought the shit tour was over, again with the fumes.  Ugh!  Okay Sandy, concentrate on the scenery.  And the scenery did not disappoint.  The mountains spanned on either side, some still dotted with snow at their peaks.  Rows upon rows of blueberries grew along the roadside.  (Maybe the manure was for the berries, but that’s still no excuse.)  The cloud cover was less than inviting.  Very, VERY dark clouds loomed ahead and thankfully we weren’t heading east.  It was westward to the city of Vancouver, home to over 500,000 people.  Hey, it can’t be that bad, can it?

Oh, HELL YA it can!  Once we even got close, we hit commute traffic.  Hmmmm.  This feels strangely like the 101 in Marin.  Not cool.  We had yet to make a hotel reservation, so we pulled over into a parking lot and scanned the iPhone for a place to rest our weary throttle thumbs for the night.  The Metropolitan in downtown?  Perfect.  Thank you hotels.com!  Now the address into the GPS and we’re there in no time.  Aha, sucker!  Thought you were gettin’ off that easy!  You see, the Canada maps in the GPS were about 4 years old, enough time to COMPLETELY change some of the downtown routes and, just for our pleasure, erase some roads right off the map.  This made for a bit of an argument  between riders (via intercoms no less).  We did finally get there, unloaded and went in search of a casual meal that was close by.  Dinner?  Done.  Back to the hotel for some indoor pool time then off to bed.  Couldn’t do much with the internet as it was an ETHERNET cable that provided your online service.  Come on!  And did I mention that this city is NOISY!  I was awakened at 2 and 3AM by the sounds of racing cars and chatty people.  And it was a Wednesday!  And we were on the 9th floor!  Okay, I’ll stop with the bitching, but seriously.  I’ve stayed in plenty of major cities and the only other city to rival this noise was Barcelona (and that’s saying something).  We were going to stay 2 nights in Vancouver but we were really jonesin’ for some camping time.  Too much not-so-friendly city makes the Borden’s a little edgy.  Off to Vancouver Island we go!

The ferry ride to Vancouver Island was beautiful!  And we met some friendly Canadians who gave us scads of useful info about the island.  And just how friendly are Canadians really?  Let’s just say I never had to bend down to chalk my own bike or make sure all was stable.  Terry made some rounds on the upper deck with Jack while I sat at the workstation to write and upload pics.  After 1 1/2 hours, we arrived at the harbor, made sure our loads were cool then drove off in search of the perfect campsite.  It was getting late and we needed to get somewhere, set up camp and search for grub.  We headed to the southwest side of the island toward the town of Sooke (for all you True Blood fans, Terry and I pronounced it “Sookie”).  The owners of Sooke River Campground were nice enough to let us have a spot next to the river for one night as they were completely full the entire weekend for a bluegrass festival.  We just had to be out by 10AM the next morning.  Not a problem.  I set up camp while Terry hit the grocery store.  Mmmmm.  Roasted dogs, a side of veggies and a few shots of Jack Daniels.  Just what the doc ordered.

The owners told us upon arrival that there was a very good chance of live music at various campsites throughout the night.  Little did we know that this was a pretty major bluegrass gig and there were going to be some well known musicians joining in the festivities.  Knowing absolutely NOTHING about bluegrass, I couldn’t tell what some of those names were.  You’re going to have to trust me on this one.  We went out for an evening walk, heard some banjo in the distance and headed in it’s direction.  Out under the dueling RV awnings was a band that consisted of bass, banjo, mandolin, guitar, harmonica and other various instruments.  We sat down on the grass and soaked in the moment.  Jack was completely hooked.  We watched, chatted with some of the bands family members and eventually were approached by the supposedly famous guitar player.  He looked at Jack, grabbed him and put him in a chair.  He sat the guitar on Jack’s lap, got his fingers positioned and let him play along.  The bass player spotted Jack and turned her bass around, facing him.  He was officially a member of the group.  Guess the guy must have known Jack was a musician in the making.  Eventually, Jack peetered out (it was almost 11PM), and we headed back to camp, thanking each band member for their time and talent.  Because it doesn’t get dark here until almost 10:30PM, we found ourselves fooled quite often into thinking it was earlier than it actually was.  We literally poured ourselves into our sleeping bags, hitting the pillows mid-snore.  And speaking of pouring, it did rain that night.  Not too worry, though, as we didn’t melt and it gave the bikes a much needed rinsing off.

So I must bid you adieu for now.  I need some coffee as well as time for a shower.  There’s is more to come, I promise.  Our experience in Canada deserves 2 entries so you must be patient.  Remember, I’m held hostage by lack of electricity at the campsites and lack of WiFi almost everywhere.  Annoying but a reality I have to deal with.  Honestly, it has been nice being where technology is not.  A nice change…


As I sit here on the upper deck of the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria, all the memories of Seattle come flowing back.  But no more about Canada…I’m getting ahead of myself.  You’re just going to have to wait for that one.  WiFi’s been tricky hence the delay in getting up a new post.

There’s so many positive memories about our time in Seattle!  It’s a wonderful city, quite clean with plenty to do for all members of the family.  From restaurants to local sights to the harbor, if you say you’re bored then you’re just boring.

With so much to share I’m going to just give it to you straight from the gut (which seems to be growing rapidly with the lack of hardcore exercise):

No rain +Cool weather=Happy Mom!; Hotel Vintage Park was the best hotel choice (highly recommended); SHOWER!; 8 block walk to and from Pike’s Market is great exercise; no charge for parking the bikes (even behind Curtain #1); free wine from 5-6PM (went back twice within 10 minutes); Terry, thanks for getting coffee in the morning; Starbucks on EVERY corner (no Peet’s to be found in Starbuckville); fish throwers at the market; HUGE F-ING LOBSTER TAILS!; finally some fresh fruit; only one waiter in the restaurant but had a fabulous attitude and some serious hustle; salmon chowder better than clam chowder; STILL NO RAIN!; Jack being such an awesome passenger; haven’t killed each other yet; loving the fog; Japanese version of the Dollar Store – it’s the $1.50 store; video games in the room; did I mention free wine?; Terry shuttling the bikes back and forth to the dealer for a new shock for him, new tires for me (I owe you one);  squeaky toilet seat; what’s with the liquor licensing?; monorail to the Space Needle; smelly severely obese couple in the elevator (nauseating); Jack looking out through the telescopes…all of them!; Hey, it’s Mt. Rainier!; views of the sound and the islands; friendly locals – not so friendly tourists; street performers; all afternoon spent in Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum; Terry, again, shuttling the bikes from the dealership back to the hotel (now I owe you twice); Jack gettin’ his groove on for hours in the demo room; Jimi Hendrix experience; interview with Santana; what do you mean there’s a Jim Hensen exhibit?!?;  DUDE!  THE ORIGINAL KERMIT AND BERT & ERNIE!!!;  being 6 again…and never wanting to leave; early Jim Hensen drawings; original counting letters from the beginning of Sesame Street; playing with muppet fur; writing Adventure Trio IN the muppet fur; move aside, kid, these are memories from MY childhood; doing muppet puppet shows with Jack over and over again to “Movin’ Right Along” and “Mahna Mahna” (and remembering the words); Terry and I mesmerized in our own little wonderland; pizza delivery!; something brown; laundry in the sink; damp laundry right back in with the stinky stuff; finding parking right at Pike’s Market; chattin’ with the cool local Harley dude; ah, fresh Chinese food and strawberry smoothies;  thank you, kind lady, for offering to take our picture (I’m finally in one); so many people asking about us, so many cards handed out; Hey camera crew!  We’re over here!; leather cuff from local Kim Sun; promise of a scenic ride north to Canada; yes, I have the passports in a safe place; not wanting to leave Seattle; not dropping the bikes on those very steep hills; think we burned up a clutch or 2; missing Hank but got my dog fix with the one in the lobby; menacing clouds; Are those puddles?!?; wish we were camping; promises to return.

And there you have it, a sliver into our Seattle experience.  I highly recommend you visit this fabulous city.  You have already?  Well then, get back in the car and do it again!  So what if it rains!  So what if your hair frizzes?  I’ve got mine in a bike helmet and ya know that ain’t lookin’ pretty.

It’s off to Canada, eh.  Wish us luck, keep your weather fingers crossed and I’ll get to ya’ll when I can find a f@*$ing WiFi.

Before I completely bag on our latest venture, I must thank Steve for recommending this place.  It really is a grand place for kids and families.  If you’re of the same ilk as Terry and I, you must first find your “happy place” and the bar, THEN you can sit back and enjoy the ride.  And trust me, there are more twists and turns here than anything we’ve seen behind the windshield…

We had a long day on the road, our longest yet, around 242 miles.  We were trying to make up some time so we had a short ride to Seattle the following day.  And yes, we did have to ride the 5 for a while.  I know, I KNOW, I said we didn’t roll on the scary roads with Jack, but there was no alternate route when it came to shaving a few hours.  We kept is slow, our heads out of our butts, and watched for the crazies.  There’s a reason why motorcycles roll in the fast lane – you have an escape route on the left and only one lane to watch for on the right.  We were passed by a 1200GS that looked very pleased to see us.  He was able to maneuver traffic a lot easier than us as he didn’t have NEARLY the amount of gear we had.  Traffic through Portland got kind of dicey.  I made the mistake of getting in to my own head and had a bit of a time driving over the vast amount of bridges and lane changes.  It’s not cool when you lose yourself for a while, letting your mind get the best of you.  I don’t have any music flowing in so I find myself singing Christmas carols (not joking) or some other songs to get my mind back on track.  Portland is a beautiful place but requires a ton of lane changes to get to where we were going.  Let’s just say we won’t be taking the 5 back down on our return.

It was hard not to miss Great Wolf Lodge as you rolled along the freeway!  It’s a monstrous hotel that boasts an indoor water park, complete with water slides and wave pool.  We didn’t tell Jack about this as we wanted it to be a surprise.  And dude, he was so surprised.  As Terry stood in the meandering check-in line, Jack and I viewed the scene from the lobby side of the looking glass.  He sat for at least 15 minutes as we watched the throngs of people run from slide to pool to water gun.  He couldn’t wait…I could.  Getting into a bikini right now, after weeks of not training for anything, was not my idea of a grand time.  Whatever.  Suck it up and suck it in, Sandy!

We got to our room, complete with forest theme bunk beds and flat screen for Jack, and changed into our swimmin’ gear.  I refused to walk “as is” to the slides (just can’t do it) so I threw on my cargo pants.  Hey, if someone really wants to take them while we’re out on the slides, have at it!  The bad karma is all yours.  We opened the door to this family-filled wonderland and were immediately hit with the stench of extreme chlorine.  Damn!  At least I don’t have to go for that chemical peel!  There was a bar on the left (good on ya’ to the planners on this one, but we did bypass it) and headed to the wave pool.  After a time riding the waves we did the smaller slides and the dump bucket then decided to force Jack on one of the steeper slides.  It was a giant tube that we all sat in, clutching the handles just in case.  Halfway through the ride, Jack’s smile disappeared and was replaced with screaming.  Oops.  You can assume that we didn’t do that again.  I finally couldn’t handle the chlorine stench anymore and retreated to the room.  It was that bad.  Besides, a shower was in order as well as some laundry time.

Also at this glorious haven of giddiness was a ploy to make you spend more money than you were prepared to part with.   Kids and parents were running all over the ENTIRE facility with these magic wands, shaking them at various locations, racking up “points”.  You could check your total points at several check-in stations that only came to life if you had a magic wand.  And how much were these magic wands that you HAD to purchase once your kid saw everyone else doing it?  Anywhere from $14.99 to $19.99.  Imagine if you had more than one kid.  Doing the math?  So, you’re pretty much held hostage by the marketing department and hoping you have enough money for dinner and a beer later.  Yes, Jack and Terry returned to the room with a shiny new wand.  Time to run from floor to floor, flicking the wrist at any and all  inanimate objects.  It was insane!  I felt soooo bad for the dad’s that were forced into this “quality” family time!  They looked beaten (think John on “John and Kate Plus 8”) and ready to hit the suds.  A lot of “Yes, dear’s” and “Whatever you say”  were being said.

But let me get to what I really want to vent about.  When did it become okay to treat your spouse like the enemy?  And when did it become okay to not care about your own health anymore?  Dude, there were so many out of shape bodies milling about followed by out of shape kiddies.  Really?  You’re going to pass down your poor eating habits and lack of exercise to your children?  Really?!?  And I’m sorry, but that Kate haircut (the reverse mullet) is just wrong.  WRONG!  And don’t EVEN get me started about the lack of manners represented by both parents and kids.  More than once I had an armful of luggage and an adult in front of me going through a door, letting it slam right in front of my face.  There were no “excuse me’s” or “Hey, can I get the door for you’s” to be found.  Am I just living in a bubble or are we as a society really this rude?  Are we not teaching our kids, as well as ourselves, to be kind to one another?  And not even kind, just respectful.  Terry and I were appalled.  It was here that Terry and I stressed to Jack the importance of holding the door open for others and always saying “excuse me”.  I’m not trying to say that we are “better than”, but I will say that we’re doing our best to make sure that Jack knows at least the basics when it comes to manners.  There.  I’m done…for now.

We were fortunate enough to park the bikes in front of the lobby instead of the sea of minivans.  Valerie, I know that they are convenient, but they’re just not for me!  Terry was approached by many people wanting to talk about our travels, handing out our cards one after another.  Like I said before, if we can help change one person, our work here is done.

So off to Seattle we go!  Our trip will take only a little over an hour.  Golden.  Stay cool, stay weird and hold the door open for others in need.


Now is the time to prove everyone wrong.  It IS possible to carry everything you need to survive in the dirt on a motorcycle.  This is how the experience went down.

We rolled into South Beach State Park, just south of downtown Newport, after about 4 hours in the saddle.  Not sure what the weather was going to bring, we took a gamble and decided against another night in a hotel.  Aside from room service, the whole hotel experience tends to be quite overrated.  We’d been checking in with weather.com for days now, knowing that there was a storm that brought showers to the region, but knew better than to succumb to another Best Western.   Every time we rolled past a puddle, we kept trying to determine if it was a “fresh” puddle or standing water from days past.

We literally got the last space in the entire park!  Timing is everything.  To bewildered stares, we rolled in and I immediately began setting up camp.  While pulling the tents out of their sausage casings, I was met by a family on bicycles.  The mom was completely astonished and said, “You really rode here on motorcycles?  From where?  Sacramento?  That’s SO AWESOME!”  We try.  And thanks for the kudos – helps us realize we’re not completely out of our minds.   Terry, list in hand, set off for town in search of dinner fixin’s.  It took 3 stores, but he was successful.  Good on ya.  It always seems so much easier when I have full control of the set-up, but you all know there’s a very eager 7 year old waiting in the wings to help as much as possible.  Fortunately, no blood was shed and no tantrums were thrown as Borden Tent City rose among the trailers and motorhomes.  With some nice dry wood and the local newspaper, I was able to get the fire going (thankfully since that was going to cook the gourmet hot dogs purchased at the local grocery store).  And what kid doesn’t like charring his own speared hot dog over an open fire?  I know I still dig it.

While setting things up, I chatted with Frank, one of the camp host’s.  He used to ride for many years until he struck and killed a deer.  He was able to continue riding his Gold Wing, but admits he was never the same after that.  He and his wife would ride all over the U.S.  And they really enjoyed it!  I always feel bad for those who just can’t recover from a bad experience.  Not to worry, though, as I think he enjoys riding around in his camp cart, selling firewood and chatting with all the travelers.

Here’s a nice little diddy about the storm we had been just missing.  I had just finished setting up the tents when a mom and her young daughter strode up along the restroom path (last spot in park means you camp near the shitter) talking about the previous nights storm.  “Mommy, the rain woke me up last night, it was so loud.”  To which the mom replied, “No, honey.  It was the thunder and lightening that woke you up.”  I froze, stared at the tents, and began to mentally prepare myself for a long night of huddling under the eaves of the restroom.  But when traveling by motorcycle, you know there’s always a chance of getting wet.  You just have to roll with it.

After our healthy meal and a few nips off the Jack Daniel’s, we set off on a walk to the playground.  Mr. Jack needed some kid time and a chance to get his ya-ya’s out.  On the walk over, we spotted a 1200GS nestled into the back of a pickup.  That poor thing needs to be released back into the wild so it can play!  We scratched our heads and looked around for the owner.  No where to be found.  Maybe later.

Remember camping as a kid and hanging out at the playground, trying to make friends with those who had been their longer than you?  Jack’s fortunate in that he can jump right into any game of tag or sword fighting and make a friend.  He ran and played, just squeeling with glee, while Terry and I caught up on travel plans, aches and pains and the need for a good nights sleep.  At o’dark hundred, we pried little man from the game area and headed back to camp.  We were all wiped, some of us in need of one last nip before hittin’ the sack.  On our way back, we ran into the bicycling family.  Stella, the mom, was more than enthusiastic about our travels.  We commiserated about families that lose themselves after having kids, finding life to be too hard to live and choosing only to exist.  It was a fabulous conversation with a like-minded individual.  With promises to check our site for travel updates, we bid the family adieu and trudged back to camp.  Sleepy time.  Honestly, I don’t even remember climbing into my sleeping bag.

The morning brought a painful awakening to the sounds of those f*@#ing early morning speed walkers chatting about their, oh, I don’t even know what!  Time – 5:57AM.  Ew.  I was so tired I didn’t even have it in me to shush them.  Couldn’t even purse my lips.  Now I was awake.  Fine.  I slowly crawled out of my cocoon and rolled outside to find a nice layer of dew spread across our tents and motorcycles.  Did it rain?  Nope.  I just forgot how much moisture comes with a night of heavy fog.  I miss it.

With each Borden that awoke, I began packing up their stuff.  But Terry and I had to stop and chat with Wally, a Coast Guard chief who was being transferred to Monterey from Newport.  Nice guy!  And remember that 1200GS in the back of the truck?  It was Wally’s!  Trust me, he would’ve rather been riding but he and his wife were hauling all their belongings down to California to report for duty.  It was a long, great conversation with promises to check the site and visit him whenever we were in Monterey.  “Just come to the post and ask for Wally – there’s only about 45 of us.  We’ll grab a cup of free coffee.”  Dig that guy.  Totally genuine.

We continued on our “drying everything and repacking the loot” to the amazement of our next door neighbor.  I heard him say to his wife, “They have more stuff on those bikes than I have in my PT Cruiser!”  He eventually shuffled on over to check out the scene and compliment us on our “abilities”.  He totally understood our desire to travel and bring Jack along for the ride.  “You guys are out doing it.   You’re experiencing it.  You’re not just sitting around.  Wow.  That’s great.”  Again, always makes you feel good when someone shakes your hand, gives you a genuine smile and wishes you safe travels.  Golden.

So north we head along the 101 to 5, heading into Washington.  Why 5?  Didn’t we say we wouldn’t ride that stretch?  Well, we need to make up some time and that’s the only route.  Besides, someone was kind enough to recommend Great Wolf Lodge, a hotel and indoor water park.  Thanks, Steve!  This outta be good!

To all our readers, many thanks for the positive feedback and kind words.  Share it with those you feel could benefit from what we’re doing and what we have to say.  Even if only one person a day decides to throw in the usual in exchange for the unexpected, we’ve done our job.


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