Category Archives: feminism

Gearing Up – So Much Stuff

Holy crap! I am hitting the road in less than a week; in just five days. Thursday morning, bright and early, geared up, I ride off on my motorcycle, leave my summer abode and head east into Nevada.

Holy crap!

On one hand, I’ve been talking about this trip for what feels like a long time. On the other hand, it’s a blink of the eye.

I last posted over a week ago because I am a bit frenetic about prepping. It is a lot of stuff. Mostly stuff about the just-in-case scenario that I hope I experience. For example, a gas can. I am strapping a gallon of flammable liquid onto the rear rack of my bike, just in case, I find myself in a place where gas stations are more than 180 miles apart or just in case I stupidly pass the last gas station for miles while on half a tank or just in case I am following a man in black who fled across the desert (a few of you will get that literary reference).

Also, with the country’s spasms of insanity and hate, I debated my safety as a woman riding solo on a motorcycle across the country which includes some long stretches of solace in low population areas, a few stints in states where violence recently occurred and a lot of traveling in unfamiliar country.

I bought myself with a RoadID. My brother gave me a Spot GPS tracker. I can send a select 10 people and the rest of the freaking world on Facebook personal messages with my coordinates or a help message or an SOS. If I feel like it I can send tracks automatically every 10 minutes. Follow my breadcrumbs (morning, a few times a day and when I arrive) on this website.

Then, I case I meet some unsavory characters, I armed myself with love and kindness, but also settled on a small canister of easily accessible mace and a taser. Previous solo road trips and backpacking adventures never required use of such things. Shit, backpacking, I actually thought bears were the most dangerous beasts I might encounter. So, years ago, I armed myself with bear mace. But unfortunately, this time is America in 2017.


In the rare case of a moto-boo-boo that can be handled by a bandage, I have a little First Aid Kit. I have emergency snacks and electrolytes. I tossed in chain lube and brush, a metric tool kit, motorcycle kickstand pad, tire repair and inflator, glass wipes, anti-fog, helmet fresh, and a multi-tool.

I busted out some tools to install saddlebag stays, a rack, a power outlet, and a windshield. It made me miss my hyper-organized and over-stocked toolbox filled with very expensive and very pristine toolboxes and tool sets. But, I feel triumphant doing this work with less than perfect tools and set up. As if I were Macgyver escaping villains with a toothpick, a wire, a rubber band and some clippers. I’ll take it.

Add to that list a disk brake lock, a flashlight, a rain suit, a fleece, a head lamp, a helmet headset, high quality earplugs, charging converters and cables, medicine, camping laundry tabs, and paper maps. All that before I pack 3 weeks of clothing which consists of two shirts and two wicking shorts for riding, two post-ride shirts, packable pants, packable shorts, four pairs of underwear, three bras, four pairs of socks, packable hike/walk shoes and flip-flops. I some luxuries like toiletries, my computer, a Kindle, a journal, a compact, electric toothbrush, a GoPro camera, and a corkscrew (because, you always need a corkscrew).

Amazingly, it all fit in the motorcycle in my two saddlebags, the trunk and one dry bag. I didn’t even have to expand the saddle bags yet.

I took it on a test ride to my brother’s house. I have some adjustments to do, but it worked. Soon, Thursday morning will be here. Too soon and not soon enough altogether. Perfection won’t likely be achieved before then. Perfection won’t chase off the nervousness or settle the excitement.

So, Thursday, I ride off regardless. I leave an empty house as my hosts are out of town. As I start my bike, I will send my first little electronic breadcrumb to the world and ride off to the middle of Nevada.

Happy cooking and tracking!

Banish The Pixie Dream Girl

I was going to write a post seeking riding buddies and new friends on the road, but then I got sidetracked by a recent episode of the podcast Modern Love.

At first blush ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl‘ seemed like it was going to be a cheesy love story, but you know, that’s not really Modern Love style. There must be some insight. There is always a lesson.

As the narrator talked about his love of the genre of manic pixie dream girl romance. He told a story of how he once found his very own manic pixie dream girl. Describing the exciting but damaged personality that makes up the manic pixie dream girl, I wondered if I envisioned myself as a manic pixie dream girl too.

No, I don’t envision myself as a Natalie Portman from Garden State. I lack the physique and eating discipline to actually be pixie-like (note: photo is nothing like Natalie Portman) But that old trope of the fun, interesting, quirky and intriguing girl who is also emotionally and mentally damaged from whatever ghosts haunt her and she needs fixing by a stable, strong, infinitely patient protagonist. The storyline goes that the stable protagonist finds himself a manic pixie dream girl. She, through her wild antics, she draws him out of his shell and introduces him to an exotic new world of new experiences and, of course, sex.

They fall in love. But the heroine can’t escape her mental defects. The sexy intrigue becomes unbearably eccentric. The wild excitement turns into fear-inducing volatility. The fun quirkiness becomes mental instability. The sass becomes mean.

We worry about what she will do to him. Or what she will do to the relationship. And we are certain she will ultimately hurt herself. Naturally, love overcomes all and our strong and stable protagonist is able to fix her; thus saving her from herself.

My favorite of this genre is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It doesn’t follow this exact formula and our manic pixie dream girl, Clementine, is less hapless and cutesy pixie and more self-assured and decisive woman. I hesitate to add manic, because that would imply she actually has a mental health disorder that the audience thinks she needs fixing. She doesn’t need fixing.

As I declared myself an atheist at age twelve, I am not so into the idea of fate nor star-crossed lovers nor soulmates nor one true loves. So, it’s odd that I love this movie so much. It relies entirely on fate – our two soulmates, despite erasing each other from their minds, they find each other again because they are destined to be together.

The movie abruptly ends after they find out they erased each other from their respective brains. They learn about their previously volitile relationship that ended in heartbreak.

Roll credits.

We are left to believe Joel and Clementine are fated to be together. Armed with the knowledge of how their relationship failed, perhaps they avoid all the mistakes of the past and live happily ever after.

Or maybe they are the same people, the same personalities and the same relationship they were the first time. Perhaps, they are destined to just repeat the same heartbreak again and again and again. Groundhogs Day.

Okay, that was a fun recap of my favorite movie. So, why, you might ask, would I envision myself some sort of manic pixie dream girl? I don’t want to, really. In fact, it’s not even specifically the manic pixie dream girl that is the problem.

She is just the embodiment of that tired old mentality that most of those smart, intriguing and fun girls we love are flawed. They need to be fixed. The “I like all these things about you and you would be perfect if you could just fix all these things about you.” Your amazing, but totally screwed up. I’ll take all the good stuff, but let me help you identify and eliminate all this shit that stinks and offends me. Your great, but broken.

Here is the problem. We are all flawed. No, not flawed. We are all different. With the good weirdness comes the bad strangeness. With the exciting and exotic comes the scary and different. With the wild and fun come the unpredictable and volatile. It is all matter of degrees and increments, compromises and acceptance. It is not flaws in need of fixes.

I fell for the romantic construct of the manic pixie dream girl. We all do at some point, don’t we? We envision ourselves as some gauzy, doe-eyed creature who is wonderfully and tragically imperfect. We are broken and we need someone to fix us and save us from ourselves. And it’s not just any anyone – it is only the fated one.

No doubt, I can be improved. But let’s banish the manic pixie dream girl and all her incarnations. The concept of her is broken. I am not.

Happy cooking and dreaming!