Tonight I sit here thinking over my awesome weekend and meeting new motorcycle friends. That stated, a weekend away from everyone I see on a regular basis (excluding hubster) was just what I imagine a therapist might order for a girl suffering from the weekly grind of routine and offices. Two wheels and an open road to clear my thoughts and rejuvenate my spirit did just the trick.

We booked an amazing little ranch cabin located in the cozy town of Brooksville, FL. The cabin was set on a horse ranch that included a variety of other farm animals. It felt like camping but much more comfy.  If you like doing the AirBnB thing and you’re into nature and animals, click on the link above, this place was great.

“Thanks to you I’m much obliged for such a pleasant stay…”

-Led Zeppelin

We decided on our ride down from Bama that we would take our time and avoid the interstate. This gave us the chance to take it all in. I saw an older gentleman selling Tupelo honey off the back of his pickup truck. We passed more than a couple of mom and pop BBQ joints with smells that tempted me to stop on more than one occasion, so long diet! We also took in more somber scenery in the form of property devastation from hurricane Michael. The media has all but forgotten the people of the little rural towns of south Alabama and North Florida. I will say it didn’t deter the folks who live in these parts from working to rebuild and it didn’t keep them from being friendly. Everyone who stopped to discuss our motorcycle trip with us was brimming with kindness.img_0591

I had a passenger on my ride, a tagalong from a sweet little relative who is completing a class project. Flat Stanley was a great companion, easily fitting in to my saddlebag and popping out for cool photo ops, one of which was our ride through Apalachicola National Forest. d5ea9ac0-41c0-4f09-8f99-4db8090c86bf

Sarge, my Triumph Tiger Xc, was comfortable and accommodated all of my packing needs easily. I went with soft bags over the hard case panniers due to pricing, and I attached another duffel over the rear seat. Never did I feel like the bike was overloaded nor did I feel any difference in handling with the added weight. The handlebar warmers that come standard on this particular model were nice for that early morning takeoff. I will eventually upgrade to the heated seat as well.7438e96c-35fe-4cd0-aac6-10fe081d9f2d

Hubster was riding along on the KTM Superduke and feeling pretty comfortable as well. His bike, a sport touring model, boasts a lot of power and torque, stuff hubster loves. The KTM also provides a bit more comfort than some of his previous bikes which allows him to look young guy cool 😎 with old man 👴🏻 comfort, haha. The KTM comes standard with hard side bags for storage which hubster utilized along with an additional storage bag over the rear seat. I’m finding that people often mistake his bike for KTM’s version of the adventure bike. I don’t know if that’s because he’s often riding alongside my Tiger or that KTM is so well known for their dirt and off road motorcycles.img_0537

We made an extended stop in Cedar Key, FL where I got to sample some local seafood and walk around a bit to stretch my legs. We saw other motorcyclists and had conversations about bike makes models and gear we like. I often get feedback on the height of my bike, but it’s the most comfortable bike I’ve ridden thus far. Listen up ladies, don’t let the bike size intimidate you, had I went off of looks alone I would’ve never given a motorcycle like this a chance. Rider experience is what it’s all about & while being able to touch the ground is important, being completely flat footed is not, more on that topic later.c73579f5-3a93-4128-bd91-a1c605826934

Hubster had taken the liberty of reaching out to some motorcyclists we’d been following for quite some time on social media so our plan was a morning of horseback riding at the ranch and an evening of meeting some fellow riders. Before meeting up with the other bikers to ride hubster was questioned about our riding experience. This is an important and, I feel, necessary question when riding in new groups. These were sport bike riders, a type of riding I haven’t done in a while, so upon introductions I made it clear I’d be in the back of the group. Our new sport bike friends were more than gracious and reassuring regarding the topic.img_0601img_06109dcaee03-6074-4410-9cb9-9e628dc5da53

YamahaGRL and her husband are amazing riders and they introduced us to some curves in Florida I would’ve never known about. Shout out to Florida Department of Transportation and their amazing roads, some of the best maintained roads I’ve had the privilege to ride on. I liked that YamahaGRL and her husband were sticklers for safety gear and she had the literal scars to prove just how important gear can be. As we discussed riding ability she shared that every time she becomes too arrogant in riding she gets humbled so her advice to me was keep riding and stay humble. I mentioned earlier about not always being flat footed on a bike, well YamahaGRL was on her toes at stops, but she knew her bike and her abilities, that’s what it’s all about ladies. We spent that evening getting an idea of the roads and route we’d be taking the next day when we’d be meeting up with more seasoned motorcycle enthusiasts.img_0681

That following morning we met other riders Salt, Heather, & John just to name a few and set out on our ride. I admired everyone’s riding abilities and believe it or not, Sarge kept up! Sarge may not be a sport bike but it didn’t lack the handling and power needed to get into some leans. I used every bit of my tire and was feeling confident in what my bike was capable of. This group of riders were courteous to traffic and each other, we took breaks as needed, and had an all around enjoyable experience.img_0639

Our next day was intended to be more adventure as we made our way back home. I wanted to take the Tiger down a trail I’d heard about but as chance would have it Mother Nature had other plans. It began raining about half an hour into our trip home. We always prepare for rain but I don’t love it. The right gear makes all the difference and it’s definitely time to upgrade mine. Each of our stops included a hot beverage and extended time due to the fatigue brought on by cold. Thankfully I was able to get by with the gear I had b/c the hand guards, windscreen, and hand warmers on the bike do a good job of doing their job. Despite the cold and rain, when you have the opportunity for a cool photo op you take it. We found this cool church covered in murals and took several pics.0f5ccb75-73ed-4812-af9e-fd5498d5565aa733d3d6-092b-42b2-85ab-cf58c1d8a399

On the initial trip down I noticed a sign for a state park I wanted to check out and since the rain and cold wasn’t letting up any time soon we figured why not check the place out. So glad we did! Wakulla Springs is an amazing little spot that offers river boat rides for minimal prices. There is a beautiful historic lodge in the park that has a restaurant and a nice snack bar. We took a river boat ride and saw several manatee, alligators, water fowl, and plant life. Our guide down the river was great, funny and full of facts.img_0696


If you’re an old movie lover like me then you understand what a treat it was to learn the old horror flick Creature From The Black Lagoon was filmed here. My imagination ran wild as I could definitely see how this would’ve made a great movie setting. The condensation coming off of the river gave the area that creepy vibe, well that and the alligators. This is an area I plan to revisit when it’s not cold and raining!img_0695

This is what adventure riding is all about for me. The trips, the trails, the foods, the smells all culminating to create a wonderful overall experience. The best part, meeting new people & making new friends. The world isn’t as ugly as the news would have you believe, people can be awesome. So get out and find some adventure. I can’t wait for my next one!img_0620

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

-Helen Keller

9/11 and A Biker’s Journey Home

This story begins at a time before motorcycles or marriage had entered my life. I was an 18 year old who’d just recently completed my military training to become a medic and had been stationed at the most unlikely of places for an E-2, The Pentagon. There were times the “mosquito wings” sitting on my collar garnered more attention than that of higher ranks. This wasn’t necessarily a positive thing, it wasn’t the greatest assignment for the up and coming enlisted soldier. There was a lot of visibility and little in the ways of soldiering. I lucked out at having the mentorship of some awesome NCOs and officers. I remember that day well, I still refer to it as Tuesday. I remember walking the corridor and the news screens blasting with coverage of NYC. Our head nurse that day clung to the radio we used to communicate medical emergencies in the building and with a look of grave concern stated, “We need to start evacuating this building.” This prior enlisted nurse who was now a CPT, was wise. I was not. My foolish response statement of arrogance is something I’ve regretted for years, “Haha, no one is stupid enough to attack The United States Department of Defense!” Did I mention I was young and foolish? Anyway, we all know what happened next. On that day I learned why the Army trained us like they do. What had always seemed to be senseless barking of commands had conditioned me to switch over to autopilot under stress. Check the feelings at the door and do your job, this is what it’s all about. We executed our duties as we responded to victims in the wake of the attack. My roommates at the time were Army lab techs and they jumped into action transporting emergency supplies and helping the wounded evacuate.

“Patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” Adlai Stevenson

It was shortly after this when the dust and ash had settled that several of our first responders were taken to meet the firefighters and first responders in NYC. Many of their crews were still on rotating shifts attempting to pull bodies from the wreckage. They were different people than me, big city folks & here I was this little country girl from Alabama, but we were the same in that we were Americans and we wanted to help our fellow man. Maybe that’s why I like motorcycle culture so much, bikers are a diverse group of people with a shared love for helpfulness and freedom. Through this chaos I met the hubster. He, also being a soldier was deployed to D.C. in the aftermath to assist in security operations. I’ll never forget that initial meeting, he was wearing a NASCAR t-shirt tucked in with no belt when he approached me and my roommate who were dressed in our best ladies night out attire. I remember thinking, “What? Is this guy serious?” and yet, I was intrigued.

“Confidence is a stain ya can’t wipe off…” -Lil’ Wayne

NASCAR t-shirt guy had confidence, lots of it. This confidence and conviction of character would prove useful in the years, deployments, and trials to come. We planned a beautiful wedding that never happened b/c Afghanistan was waiting so we hopped on down to the courthouse in Savannah, GA & tied the knot (we realized we were both unintentionally wearing all black on this day, haha). I, like other family members left behind, pushed through the pain of loneliness & it wasn’t always pretty. As babies came and war raged on my military career came to an end. My role changed from soldier to mom, & that was just one of the many hats you have to wear when your spouse deploys. I was one of the blessed ones, the hubster came home after each deployment. He was a little worn, a little jumpy, a little deaf (like legit, one ear is like at half hearing, I now think he uses this to his advantage at night when I ramble on), but he came home. You may be wondering how does this tie into motorcycles??? Well stay with me, I watched motorcycles become an outlet for the hubster and other vets like him. It drowned out the noise & the chaos. It’s not a drug, far from it, it focuses your attention in a way that clears your thoughts. Clarity in chaos. He would come home after a ride tired and emotionally recharged at the same time. I didn’t understand this paradox. I understood the chaos life was hammering our family with and I was slightly manic. I had difficulty understanding his cathartic process and how the bike was part of that. Looking back I am so thankful that hubster had patience bringing me into his world of bikes and how it has now become our world of bikes. I am thankful that he had this outlet to throw himself into as he readjusted to life at home. Before my transition to rider I criticized what I didn’t understand, now I totally get it. I have also learned to keep learning and that criticisms and judgments are best put on hold b/c they’re often misleading.

A person of understanding delights in wisdom. -Proverbs 10:23

Despite my catchy blog page name, I’m not the most religious of people. Oh I was raised in a southern Baptist home where Jesus is Lord and Paul Bear Bryant was one of His anointed (Roll Tide), but I haven’t always walked that straight and narrow. I’m thankful for God’s grace, the ability to grow, and motorcycles among other things. There’ll be good days and bad ones ahead and in the bad ones I have found that a little prayer, patting my dog on the head, and an afternoon ride on the bike make the bad days a little better.Pain is a process and it can be one heck of a teacher. Whatever your process of dealing with it, remember that life is a gift, tomorrow is a new day, and a little wind therapy may just be what the doctor ordered 🙂

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