Tag Archives: motorcycle

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!

Nomad Seeking Riding Buddies & Friends Along Way.

So, I finally set dates for hitting the road (I will get to that later). I was a bit ambitious with an early August departure. So, I thought to myself, “Why am I rushing?” This road trip culminates in landing back in Massachusetts to a whole bunch of unknowns. I am basically a nomad. So, I didn’t need to rush back.

The synonyms ‘itinerant traveler’ or ‘wanderer’ or ‘roamer’ might sound more romantic than nomad, which is defined as one with “no permanent abode, and who travel[s] from place to place to find fresh pasture.” Its only romantic when the circumstances that make you a nomad are romantic.

A friend posted a Guardian piece titled “The closest feeling to homelessness is having a broken heart.” The headline was a bit of a bait and switch. Other than the quick analogy in the opening hook of the piece, the author’s motive was to talk about homelessness, society and social welfare. Interesting and compelling topics in their own right, but that hook really hit home.

“The closest feeling to having nowhere to stay for the night is that of a broken heart. It is a feeling of abandonment, of rejection and loneliness. When you are homeless you feel rejected by all, not just by another.”

—David West

That’s me – the heartbroken homeless. I took off to California to lick my wounds and examine my broken heart. I still don’t know if my heart’s been crushed, but it’s wounded. Since I got to California on June 23rd, I spent the bulk of my nights in a comfy spare bedroom at my brother’s very generous in-laws’ house (35 nights). Intermittently, I also spent 1 night in a hotel, 1 night on a twin bed, 2 nights on an air mattress and 9 nights in various friend’s spares rooms from California to Colorado.

I had my mail temporarily forwarded to my most frequent short-term digs from my last permanent dwelling that I don’t know if I will return to. Which reminds me, I need to extend that forwarding for my new travel schedule. But, first, I need to decide if it should revert to the original address or if I should do another temporary forwarding to my sister’s place where I will crash for several weeks after the birth of her second child. I will make a temporary home on either her couch, an air mattress on the living room floor, or share a room with my 3-year-old nephew. It could be a hotel too, I dunno.

I even had problems deciding what address to use for my. It is wristband I will wear to identify me, my birth year, emergency contacts, and a website to find out pertinent information about be in case something bad happens in the road. I settle for home as my former permanent address and the place I am crashing for my “summer” address.

I am scheduled to return to Massachusetts at the end of September. I go to the house of my last permanent residence where many of my possessions reside in boxes. The same address I probably will ship the two big pieces of luggage I brought with me to California, but can’t transport on a motorcycle. They will go there because I don’t know where else to send them. I am contemplating sending a portion of the clothes to my sister’s place because, although I could manage, I probably don’t want to live with just two t-shirts, a pair of shorts and a pair of jeans along with my moto gear for two or three weeks.

I don’t have a place to live in Massachusetts. I have places to crash, but the reality is, in about 7-weeks, I am basically homeless. . . or heart broken. . . or both.

I mentioned feeling untethered in a previous post. Untethered is far too light, airy and free for something that feels so heavy, daunting and uncertain.

It is a lot to think about. So, perhaps the best strategy is to stay in the now and focus on the things that are not unknowns. . .the things that are tethered.

Despite the heavy start to this post, this nomad is seeking riding buddies and new friends in my wandering adventure across this continent. I may not know what’s at the end of this trip, but I do roughly know what is along the way. I am looking for people who might share in legs of my journey.

I admit, I am nervous about making this public appeal on a forum with few filters or protections, but we established, I am irresponsible, so this goes with the territory.

I mapped my intended journey on this map. Unfortunately, GoogleMaps isn’t cooperating with letting me tweak my route to stay off interstates, so I am resorting to paper maps and a marker to refine this trip and dial in my distances and routes and stops.

I hit the road on August 24th. I make 14-16 stops along the way over 19 days. If it goes according to this plan, I continue the journey from North Carolina to Massachusetts at the end of September.

Here is a rough schedule for my trip. Now accepting riding buddies, friends and suggestions.

  • August 24: Pollock Pines, CA to Austin, NV
  • August 25: Austin, NV to Panaca, NV
  • August 26: Panaca, NV to Page, AZ
  • August 27: Page, AZ to Dolores, CO (stay with friend)
  • August 28: Dolores, CO to Buena Vista, CO
    • August 28 – 30: Buena Vista, CO
  • August 30: Buena Vista, CO to Aurora, CO
    • August 30 – Sept 1: Aurora, CO (stay with family)
  • September 1: Aurora, CO to Stockton, KS
  • September 2: Stockton, KS to Topeka, KS (stay with friends)
  • September 3: Topeka, KS to St. Louis, MO
    • September 3-5: St. Louis, MO (stay with family)
  • September 5: St. Louis, MO to Memphis, TN
  • September 6: Memphis, TN to Nashville, TN
    • September 6-8: Nashville, TN
  • September 8: Memphis TN to Telico Plains, TN
  • September 9: Telico Plains, TN to Asheville, NC
    • Ride the Tail of the Dragon
  • September 10: Asheville, NC to Durham, NC via Blue Ridge Parkway (stay with friends)
  • September 11: Durham, NC to Swansboro, NC (stay with family)

Come, ride with me.

Happy cooking and wandering! Hope to see you on the road.