Magical Kingdom

In a land, a few hours away, is the kingdom of Fredericksburg, Tx.

It is a magical place full of vineyards and wine tasting venues.

It is rustic and charming. With old-time transportation.

It has the fast and furious too!

The sound of thunder fills the valley.

The vintage bike show had a flat track race that left my heart thumping.

Magical creatures abound.

It is quiet, and still sometimes too.

From my vantage point, high on the hill I get to see a great distance.

Alas, I can’t stay much longer in this magic kingdom on the hilltop.

But I have enjoyed my stay.

Dry, dry, dry, dry

It is Friday! It is the end of May already, this month has evaporated.

I’ve taken 4 stabs at this post, and as much as I want to write, nothing is flowing for me today so I will leave you with this little funny.

20140530-113511-41711734.jpg

If you venture out on your Iron Horse this weekend, keep the shiny side up, and your mouth closed. Yes, I got a bug…it was quite bitter. No more smiley rides till I get a windshield!

Fear sucks, and other struggles

Being a novice motorcycle rider, I KNOW that the only way to get better is time in the saddle.

The strangest phenomenon has happened the last 3 weeks…I got scared.
Scared to take off, scared to stop, scared to turn right, scared to go over 30, scared to go too slow around the corner, scared I’d drop the bike, scared to disappoint my husband, I almost threw up today as I put on my helmet and headed down the driveway.

If you know me, you would have your jaw on the floor. I hate fear. I refuse fear. Fear is a 4 letter word that I don’t allow in my vocabulary. In fact, my greatest successes in life have come from when some one has told me “afraid not…you are too…” My “hell no” kicks in and I prove them wrong. I refuse to fear, I refuse to be labeled. I am a warrior, not a worrier.

The first single lane right turn I was going too slow, I gassed to quick, wobbled, and went wide. No traffic coming so…no foul so to speak, but it made the hubs mad, and he gassed his 110, leaving me behind in disgust. We pulled to a dead end road, and worked on the clutching, and discussed my thought process. I thought I would barf right then and there. The nausea choked me. I was sweating and shaking. I was disgusted with myself.

That is the problem…my thoughts, and riding to please him, instead of just riding. My husband demanding to understand my thought process shook me. I’m overthinking.

I’m a visual-verbal learner. When I finished my rider’s training, I had so much confidence I rented a new Fat Boy low with a 103 engine, and rode that big dog home 48 miles through curves, highway, traffic, and speed with strength and confidence. I never thought I couldn’t do it. I had never ridden anything bigger than a Honda 250. But my confidence, and training held true. I never believed I couldn’t do it.

It wasn’t until my husband started asking me questions, and inspecting my process that things started to fall apart. I’m not saying it is his fault. He has a different way. He has to think and talk. I have to see and hear. I left my way, and lost my confidence. On that bike, I am responsible for that throttle. I will go at my pace, and when my husband babies me, as he has done for the last three weeks, I will peel off, and ride my own pace. Baby-ing me will not make me a better rider. That road is real.

Well, you might ask, what happened? I have to stay true to my way. I got angy, grabbed my gumption back, kicked that devil in the ass and said

HELL NO!

I rode home confessing my ability all the way. The voice I have to respect and believe is mine, especially when I am quoting scripture to myself. I can do “all things through Christ who strengthens me”!

This is my bike, and I’m riding it. Nobody is telling me different.

20140524-131437-47677102.jpg

The best part of the ride was coming back into the neighborhood, I negotiated all the parked vehicles on the street, the lawn crews, all the turns, waved at our neighbors who didn’t know I had a bike, and shocking all the burb-nerds with the fact that yea, that was me on the bike. That is me, on the bike. Deal with it.

Vacation time!

Vacation time!
by hrncirwt

Riding the Blue Ridge

IMG_0204

What an interesting week! My husband and I took our first vacation in 10 years this last week. The first vacation without children in 20 years. Isn’t that something? I don’t know if it’s sad, or good, or a combination of the two. Don’t judge us too harshly on that statement. We always took our ‘vacation time’, but it was generally used for hunting, or projects, or visiting family. Visiting family is a kind of vacation, but not in the truest sense of what I consider the definition of a vacation, which is to get away from what is familiar, normal, and work related.

So we did a true vacation. We got away from what was familiar, normal, routine, and work related. We drove with two other couples to North Carolina, and rode motorcycles. We rode the Dragon, Moonshiner’s Run, The Blue Ridge Parkway, Hell Bender, and a little road from the Parkway called State Highway 80. That was our favorite.

IMG_0201

We rode in Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. We saw waterfalls, and road in the clouds. We went to a motorcycle museum. We went to the top, and bottom on the Fontana Dam. With all the rain, it was amazing.

We employed ‘redneck’ ingenuity into a situation that allowed us to continue riding.

Yes, it's a doctor pepper can clamped to a motorcycle exhaust pipe.

Yes, it’s a doctor pepper can clamped to a motorcycle exhaust pipe.

Yes, it’s a doctor pepper can clamped to a motorcycle exhaust pipe.

There is nothing as frustrating as a break down far from home. However, there is nothing as grand as finding a fix (as odd as it might be) so that everyone can continue with their ride. We can truly say that we rode the Dragon, following a Dr. Pepper Can.

We met the kindest, most friendly people. The mountains were beautiful. It rained on us just about every day, but we didn’t care. Everywhere we stopped it was lovely.

I learned how to take video, and how not to take video, so we got some really cool footage of Moonshiner’s Run, and The Dragon. I learned so much on this vacation, I can say that it made a big impact on my life, my views, my beliefs, and my strength as a person. I learned what I can do better, because I made some mis-steps last week. I learned that you don’t put dish soap you use in the sink in the dishwasher. I misread the label. There was an unfortunate suds incident…..my fault. I learned to laugh at myself a little better. I’m pretty funny sometimes!

We won’t wait another 10 years to get away. That was a promise that my husband and I made to each other. It was really good to escape the heat of S. Texas, and get to the mountains. I really liked those mountains.I’m grateful for the time away, the friends, the experiences, the laughter, the lessons, and I look forward to our next adventure.

Look Ma, no helmet!

20130521-112307.jpg

Last weekend’s trip to Leaky to ride the sisters was awesome. We had a lovely time.

Getting ready to head out on Saturday morning, hubby announces “I’m just wearing my cap, I want to really enjoy this.”

I’m thinking….new road, unfamiliar place, lots of turns and twists…this equals helmet! I like my helmet, I even look cute in my helmet, usually at dusk or near dark, but now-a-days I take cute when I can.

More thoughts run through my head “the closest hospital is in San Antonio?” ” What if we fall, what if someone hits us!” I feel my joy and peace draining out of me like a flood. One minute I’m in happy expectation over a beautiful day outside in this fabulous setting, and POOF, the fear sucked all the good feelings away.

What to do? Palms sweating, heart palpitating, risk analysis running through my brain….this has to stop. Where is the trust in my man? Where is the trust in my God? Where did my peace go?

I hate fear. I hate being stupid. I really hate losing my peace!

So I had to negotiate some things out with my husband to start getting my peace back. I want to step out and go without a helmet too! First, I get to be the navigator. Second, I get to say when to slow down. Third we have to be able to stop and take pictures.

We head out sans helmet, and I chose a pink head wrap to keep my bangs from beating my eyes to death. That was short lived. It blew off somewhere on 337 between Leakey and Vanderpool.
Hubby decided we could stop at the Hog Pen to pick up a Do-rag. I’ve never tried one, so what-the-hey, I got one. It lasted much better than the pink wrap.

Riding without the helmet was a really a good experience. Would I recommend it? That depends.
Where are you riding? How experienced are you or your driver? Where is your peace?

We were in a motorcycle place. We were on Farm to Market roads. My husband is very experienced, and committed to my safety and comfort. He in no way pressured me to leave the helmet behind.

Because I was given the freedom to choose, I took time to reestablish my peace, pray, and I had a great time. I couldn’t let fear and panic steal my peace. It would have ruined the whole trip.

So funny end to the whole “head wear” saga. I had just bought the pink head wrap to cover up my helmet hair when we ride with friends. I really wanted it back, but if I couldn’t find it, I hoped someone would. So I sent up my request to The Lord. We finished up our last ride Sunday morning, and we were heading back to the cabin on 337, and what do we see in the middle of the road? Yep, there it was, my pink Harley Davidson head wrap. I could only say “thank you Jesus”, while my husband muttered about me being spoiled. I just smiled. It is supreme joy to know Jesus loves me, protects me, and hears even my smallest requests.

I think I will remember this lesson always. Follow peace, keep it simple, and never ever give into fear.

Riding the Sisters

We made plans a few weeks ago to make the trek out to the Hill Country of Texas to ride the motorcycle extravaganza of the Sisters. FM 335, 336, 337 out of Leakey, Tx is an amazing twisting, turning, rocky, breathtaking, wonderful view of a side of Texas most don’t see.
IMG_2787

On the way in we had to make a stop in the famous Luckenbach, TX. There was live music, and a guy riding on a longhorn steer looking for photo opportunities. Where else can you stop where Waylon, Willie, and the boys are so famous? It was a grand time.

Post office in Luckenbach, Tx

Post office in Luckenbach, Tx

Leakey (pronounced lake-y) has a population of 427 people and is the Mecca of motor enthusiasts in Texas for many reasons, namely the Sisters. Down the road in Vanderpool is the Motorcycle Museum.

We saw a corvette club, a classic car club, Yamaha motorcycles, Honda motorcycles, and Harley out the wa-zoo!

What we also saw in this beautiful setting was Turkey, Elk, White tail deer, Fallow Deer, Other exotics, hawks, Ferrel hogs, a Peacock, and 2 giraffe! There were compounds tucked between the hills with massive stucco walls with broken glass topping, it made me wonder what they had to hide? There were friendly shopkeepers wanting to promote business. There were buzzards feasting on the unfortunate that didn’t make it across the road. Of course, there were plenty of cattle, and calves that frolicked in the late spring mornings.

Not to mention the hills…..wowsa! I mean WOWSA! It was like being in a whole new world. I’ve traveled most of the state. Amarillo, Texarkana, Dallas, Del Rio, McAllen, Brownsville, South Padre, Corpus Christi, Houston, Beaumont, San Antonio, Austin, Uvalde, Castroville,( everywhere in central Texas) this area is another world. It’s more than the hill country in Boerne, Canyon, Wimberly, or Kerrville. It’s not Ski County hills by any means. In context, it’s just the best place in Texas for Hills, high county desert-like settings, but with big Oaks, rivers, and real people hospitality.

Vanderpool, TX on 337

Vanderpool, TX on 337

There is nothing like going down an unfamiliar road and seeing signs like “roaming livestock”, “falling rocks” “flooding next 23 miles”, “sharp turns, steep grades next 8 miles”. I have to tell you, they weren’t kidding. There were literally roaming livestock, and 6 cattle guards we had to cross on FM 336…..the cows and cow poop were in the road. The calves were hilarious running from the motorcycle bleating for “mom”, and “mom” running to the rescue. We motored away quickly, “mom” meant business.

The Turkey were hilarious! They would run down the road in front of us like drunken miscreants as if shouting “oh crap, they found us!” Until they got enough speed up to achieve flight, some of it was really sad flight…just enough to get them into the closest cedar.

The place we stayed was a little Jewel called St. Claire’s Cabin. We found it on VRBO. It’s not easy to find, unless you have directions, it’s not impressive to view from outside…..but what it is, is a peaceful relaxing, wonderful small town cabin on lovely acreage. Quiet, quaint, comfortable, with little hints of over-the-top hospitality like fluffy soft towels, ice cream recipes with an ice cream maker on site, and my favorite….the outdoor shower. I have to say that was one of the most relaxing, homey, comfy, lovely places I’ve ever had an opportunity to stay. I’m a very conventional gal…..but the outdoor shower captured me completely. It was what I looked forward to most after coming off of 8 hours riding on the back of my husband’s bike. It was truly a refreshing, freeing, and relaxing experience. Yep. Big thumbs up on the outdoor shower!

Happy People

Happy People

Isn’t it interesting that your focus determines where you end up?

I learned an important lesson during my motorcycle beginner class. I was continually looking down to make sure I got my feet on the foot pegs, not on the brake or gear shift. In looking down, I couldn’t see where I was going, it made me nervous and afraid.
The instructor was yelling at me across the parking lot “LOOK UP”!

When I looked up, I did better. Surprise!

When learning to successfully corner the bike, the instructor kept emphasizing to ‘look where you want to go’. I had to look at the finish of the corner, to successfully get the bike around the tight turns. Looking outside the finish, put me outside ‘the finish’.

My goal to be a better motorcycle rider, has to be steeped in focusing on a successful run, looking where I want to go, and being aware of what’s around me.

Focusing on what makes me Thankful, makes me so Happy! Oh! But when I focus on making others Happy….That puts me right over the moon.

Do something for someone today. Even if it is just smiling and waving at a neighbor, or a stranger. Smile, and practice happiness. Share it with others. Be Thankful for something, you can do it!

Allowing Celebration

Why is celebration difficult?  It’s only difficult when we believe it’s too hard, or that we don’t deserve it.

In cultivating gratitude, I recently celebrated getting my motorcycle certification.  I celebrated my first successful street ride.  I celebrated getting that Fat Boy Lo 40 miles down the road home, winding through curves on the back roads, enjoying the feel of freedom that a motorcycle allows, and I didn’t hurt myself, anyone else, or the bike!

Celebrate something today, even if it is just waking up.  You have the whole day to experience something good.

img_0270.jpg