Friday, November 30, 2007

What I Want Now

I have been using a soft side tail bag when I go on solo motorcycle camping trips for a while. It carries plenty of stuff for a few days camping, and overall, I have liked it. But when I see my husband's bike ready to go on a longer trip and he puts on his panniers ( he has Micatech bags ) I have to admit to feeling a pang of jealousy. His bags have a great mounting system, you can't even tell his bike has mounts when the bags are off, and the bags hold a ton of stuff. The problem for me is that they are heavy, too heavy for me to be able to comfortably mount and dismount on my own. Since he is gone so often, and since it humiliates me to have to rely on someone else for such a basic function, I'd like to have my own panniers that I can use without assistance. After doing some research, I'm pretty much settled on caribou cases. The system uses Pelican cases that are lightweight, but virtually indestructible. My ultimate setup would be panniers with a small tail bag that has protection for a camera and a couple extra lenses. That way I can keep an old camera in my tank bag for quick shots, but still have relatively easy access to a nicer camera and accessories where they can be protected. I don't know how long it will take to get the cash together to put add these panniers, but I am definitely looking forward to it.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Denali Highway

The Denali Highway is one of my favorite roads in Alaska. The road is always bumpy, and is either dusty or muddy. Rarely is there a happy medium. I prefer the ride from the Paxon side to the Glenn Highway side. This report is from a ride we did in September 2006.

We had no urgent work for a few days so we decided to make a two day mid-week trip down the Denali Highway. We left Anchorage on Wednesday about noon and gassed up in Palmer. For those of you not familiar with the Glen Highway, it runs along the Matanuska River and offers some spectacular views of the river as well as of the Matanuska Glacier. There are also some nice twisties to keep you entertained when you don't feel like just admiring the scenery. We ate a late lunch at Sheep Mountain Lodge, and spent the night in Glenallen.

Thursday we rolled out around 9:00 in the morning in heavy fog. The thermometer in Glenallen said 38 degrees. Brrrr..... Thank goodness for Gerbings! Just outside of Glenallen we turned onto the Richardson Highway heading up toward Fairbanks. The fog was still heavy, and this is caribou migration time, so we had to keep the speed moderately in check.

The fog had burned off by the time we hit Paxon and turned off onto the Denali Hwy. We were stopping for LOTS of photos, so we weren't making the best of time. The first 21 miles of the Denali is paved, and thank goodness there wasn't much traffic. I spent so much time gazing at mountains and the fall colors I probably wouldn't have made it on gravel.

We stopped for an early lunch at Tangle Lakes, right at the end of paved road. The lady there told us it had been down to 28 degrees that morning. By the time we came through it was almost 50. I hadn't been over the Denali Hwy in about 5 years, then it was in horrible shape, ruts, potholes, you name it. This time it was much better. Cages were still doing the 20 mph thing, but we were able to go much faster, just slowing down when we hit the BIG loose gravel.

The views on the Denali are awesome, and always changing. I don't know how many times I've been over this stretch of road but there is always something new to experience. Anyone traveling Alaska who misses riding this road, has missed what would have been a high light of their trip. The Denali Highway isn't the easiest ride, nor is it the hardest, but it will stand out as one of the most memorable.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Motorcycle Camping

It's funny how much stuff I used to carry when I went camping. A huge heavy tent, cookstove, big bulky sleeping bag, and the list goes on. I still have my old backpack, and remember many trips when it was full and I had a sleeping bag strapped on the outside. Now I laugh. I can fit a weekend camping trip into my 10 year old daughter's backpack that she carries to school every day, and I camp in more comfort now than I did back then. Learning to carry everything we need to live on the road for a month or more on a bike taught me a few lessons. Like an extra rain tarp is a lot more useful than an extra pair of jeans and sweatshirt.

My husband and I now use a Big Agnes 2 man tent. It takes one person about 5 minutes to set up, even in the wind. We also have Big Agnes sleeping bags with the integrated mattress pad. They are warm and comfy even at cooler temperatures, but I still like a silk liner that I can tuck in around my neck and shoulders. It is less for the warmth, which it does provide, and more for the homey feel of a blanket. We have Big Agnes inflatable pillows that suit me alright, but that my husband doesn't think are big enough. I guess the difference is whether you just want something to lay your head on, or whether you want a pillow you can hold on to.

Rather than carrying a huge camp stove like I used to do, I now carry a Jetboil and Mountain House dinners. The Jetboil heats up water fast enough that I can be drinking my second cup of french press coffee before the Mountain House dinner has finished cooking. I've seen other options, but the Jetboil cup is the perfect size for one person, and it is such a compact system that I can use the extra space for something else.

My luxury item is a Kermit Chair. It is a completely collapsible director's chair (fits in a bag about 22 inches long and 4" by 6". It is also one of the most comfortable chairs I have sat in. Much better than our full size lawn chairs that we use on the deck at home.

For a month on the road I have my riding gear plus two pair of pants and three shirts. Everything possible is micro-fiber so it washes and dries quickly. My test is whether the clothes can fit in a helmet bag. If it's too bulky to fit in the bag, something comes out. It means I don't dress up much, but that's ok. I can do the dressy route at home anytime, the road is for adventure, excitement, and challenges.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I Am a Biker Chick

I am a biker chick. Do you have a picture in your mind of who I am, what I look like? I bet you’re wrong. I am a retired trial attorney, mom to three girls, and wife to an awesome guy. I don’t have any tattoos. I prefer Pinot Noir to beer.

Motorcycle riding isn’t just about Harley Davidson and Honda Goldwing anymore. The new breed of rider prefers dual sport motorcycles designed to perform equally well on the highway or on a bumpy off-road trail in the middle of nowhere. We ride ATGATT, all the gear, all the time. My bike of choice is a BMW F650 GS. Riders have taken this bike literally around the world, from Deadhorse, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina. From Shanghai, China to Cape Town, South Africa.

My lifestyle at home is typical suburban American. I drive my kids to and from school in a VW Jetta, sit at the computer most of the day, go running or work out at the gym, then hang out watching television with the family in the evening. Life on the road is where things change. Everything I need for days and even weeks on end has to fit on the back of my bike. At home my closet looks like most women’s. I like clothes, and I like shoes. On the road I only have my riding boots, and room for one pair of shoes. In summer I take sandals, in shoulder seasons I take a pair of Dansco clogs. Since packing room is limited, my non-riding wardrobe is paired down to two pair of pants, and three t-shirts.

A typical day on the road from a recent six week tour of the Western United States might include waking up in a primitive campground with a river behind our campsite, and redwood trees and giant sequoias all around us. Making coffee with our Jet Boil French press attachment then packing up the tent in the rain. Heading out and finding a dirt or gravel road to explore, seeing the less traveled side of the Redwood Forest, or Death Valley, or the Grand Canyon.

We try to find a local out of the way spot for lunch, like the unnamed cowboy bar we stopped at in New Mexico where chickens roamed around the dirt parking lot and even inside the little general store, the place where everyone in the place stopped talking and looked at us like we were from Mars when we walked in wearing riding gear and carrying motorcycle helmets, or Fat Mama’s in Natchez, Mississippi where they advertise “knock you naked margaritas.”

Our afternoons we spend either continuing the morning’s explorations or riding secondary roads to the next area we want to see. Sometimes we ride miles where the air feels soft and warm and smells of pine needles or freshly cut grass. Other times the wind blows us around the road, rain bouncing off our helmets, or snow building up on our windshields making riding slick and challenging. But no matter the weather, riding a motorcycle makes you feel alive. In a car your mind can drift away, on a bike letting your mind drift can kill you. Every sense is focused on your surroundings, experiencing the feel of the road, the tingle of adrenaline always keeping you in the moment.

In the evenings we decide if we want to camp rustic, or in a KOA Kampground, or maybe treat ourselves to the unimaginable feeling of luxury a hot shower and clean sheets bring after a long day in the saddle. Do we feel like cooking over a campfire and watching the stars come out like we did in Death Valley, or going to a world-class restaurant like we did in New Orleans?

I’m a biker chick. I love riding the twisties, feeling the power of my bike as I lean into the curves. I love the thrill of riding a muddy road full of potholes. I live for the joy of experiencing nature, rather than just riding through in an air-conditioned car with the radio on. Yeah, I’m a biker chick, and I’m loving every minute of it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

November Days

It was fun posting up that old trip and reliving some of the memories. In the many thousand miles since then I have learned so much about riding it scares me to think I rode from Seattle to Anchorage as a complete noob. That first summer I remember the challenge and excitement of the curves between Anchorage and Girdwood. Now I ride that same rode and enjoy the scenery. The road feels a lot straighter now that twisties are something I look forward to. I'm still short and my bike is still big and heavy, but I've learned to slide off the seat so I can reach the ground. Stopping isn't a challenge any more, and the number of pictures I take has gone way up. I still get a silly grin from ear to ear almost every time I ride.

Now that it is November, and the bike is in the garage for the year I have to sit back and relive my rides. Most of my posts during these non-riding (for me) months will be old ride reports, with the occasional motorcycle related thoughts thrown in from time to time. Once I get going on the subject of riding gear made for real women adventure riders, not teeny boppers, and not leather and fringed up Hell's Angel wanna be' out! It is a huge pet peeve for me that most women's gear is just sized down men's gear or jackets that fit a size 000 and end at the waist. But I'll save that rant for another time.

Home Again

The next morning we started the last leg of our trip, Tok to Anchorage. Both of us were feeling a bit sad at the trip coming to an end. As stressful as the start was, by this time we had learned to enjoy riding together and didn’t want to return to normal everyday life. The weather was nice and the scenery beautiful. The only downside was the frost heaves and cracked asphalt that made for some treacherous driving.
As we neared Palmer, only a little more than 50 miles from home we ran into our last stretch of road construction. Although we didn’t talk about it then, Bobby and I later agreed that we were both enjoying the delays that gave us a little more time on the road. During the last bit of construction we agreed to take the older, more winding Old Glenn Highway through Palmer toward Anchorage instead of the newer and much faster Glenn Highway. The Old Glenn is full of sweeping curves and beautiful views of the Knik River.
At last, however, we had to get onto the main highway. We thought we had ridden in strong wind before. It only took a few minutes though to realize that these last 30 miles home would be a challenge all their own. I don’t know how fast the wind was blowing, but several times I felt as though the bike would blow out from under me. One more thing to get used to I guess. We pulled into our driveway about 7:00 Monday evening. Before we had stripped off our riding gear, we were planning our next ride for Wednesday afternoon. We are hooked, and we’ll definitely be back for more.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Riding in the Rain

We left Whitehorse in a rainstorm that lasted the better part of the day. I was warm and cozy with my heated jacket and heated handgrips, even if my pants were wet from the thighs down. At Kluane Lake we ran into miles of road construction that caused the road to be muddy and slick. I was feeling so comfortable though, that I had a great time. In fact, the only thing about the ride I didn’t like, was feeling bad for Bobby, knowing that he was probably freezing cold. We had briefly talked about riding all the way to Anchorage, but by the time we reached Tok, Alaska we were exhausted. We stayed at the same hotel as two gentlemen from Germany who were also riding BMW dual-sports. Bobby and the German guys sat outside on the deck, (the rain had finally stopped), and talked about rides in Alaska and Canada. They were neat guys who had a lot of questions as well as information to share with us about the condition of the road between Tok and Glenallen.
We had called it an evening and were getting ready for bed when the phone in our room rang. That was strange, since no one knew where we were staying. Turns out we had left on the parking lights on my bike, one of the German guys saw it and notified the front desk so my battery wouldn’t run down. Thank goodness for friends!

Saturday, November 24, 2007


DAY 7 and 8
The following day we did an easy ride into Whitehorse, Yukon. We rode through a bit of weather, but nothing substantial. We kept meeting people coming from further north who all told us we were heading into some nasty storms and really bad roads. Not having rain liners again became a worry. The weather held for the most part until we got to Whitehorse in mid-afternoon. We explored a bit, took a few pictures, and settled into a fabulous dinner at the Edgewater Hotel. For the first time since we left Seattle my request for red wine was met with a wine list rather than a blank look and comment that they might have a box of red wine in the cooler.
We decided to stay in Whitehorse for an extra day. The following morning we had a leisurely breakfast at the coffee shop across the street. We walked around town and generally just relaxed. After lunch we went on a Yukon River cruise. Again, it was relaxing and beautiful. We had dinner at a restaurant that bills itself as the only authentic Mexican restaurant in the Yukon. I don’t know if they are the only one, but they would have to be the best. The food was unbelievable. After dinner we went to the Frantic Follies, a tourist show featuring cancan dancers, and Robert Service poetry.
After the show we went back to the hotel. The weather still looked threatening so my husband wired my bike so I could use my heated jacket. The wiring harness hadn’t made it into our bags for his jacket. Anyway, it was a simple enough process and one that I was endlessly thankful for the next day.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Riding the Cassiar

We got an early start the next morning. For the first time since we started riding we had cloudy skies. I worried about not having a rain liner for my riding pants, but it was too late to do anything about it. It began to rain just as we left Stewart, British Columbia. The rain was cold enough that I stopped and put the thermal liner in my jacket. I also really enjoyed my heated handgrips. Who needs winter gloves when your hands are this toasty? The water on the road didn’t seem to effect handling at all at the speeds we were driving, and the rain only lasted for a short time. We were dry by the time we reached Meziadin Junction.
I drove the Cassiar highway back in the 80’s with my mom and my brother. I remember an intimidating, very remote road. Either my memory is mistaken, or the Cassiar has changed a lot in the past 20 years. The two thirds of the route was paved and in perfect condition with lots of twists and turns to keep things interesting. The scenery was unbelievable. I love this stretch of road. The last third or so is undergoing construction. Although the waits were minimal, we did have many miles of gravel or hard pack dirt. There were a few places we had to drive on loose gravel or on mud, but overall, the conditions were pretty good.
Then some idiot in an RV stopped in the middle of the road and flagged us down. I didn’t have time to prepare for a stop, the road was sloped, and loose gravel. I slid off the seat and held the bike, but my foot slipped and I could feel the bike dropping. I held it for a while, but the angle was too much. The jerk in the RV just stood in my face and watched me drop the bike in slow motion. Then he looked over my shoulder and asked my husband whether there were any services on that road. Of all the nerve! Finally he helped me get the bike upright and I left my husband to talk with him.
That fall was not my fault. I knew it, but it still frustrated me. I had also hurt my arm again. We finished out the Cassiar highway then drove the 20 or so miles back down the Alcan to Watson Lake for the night. My arm was hurting badly enough that I was having trouble keeping it on the handlebars. By the time we finally stopped, I was crying and exhausted. Neither dinner nor the motel we stayed at was very nice, but I was thankful for the rest, and honestly didn’t care.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Happy Thanksgiving! I'll continue the story tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Salmon Glacier

The following day we decided to stay in Hyder and relax. I’d been living on Advil for the pain in my arm, and we hoped a days rest would make a difference. We started off walking to a local organic coffee shop where the owners roast their own beans. The coffee was great, and the conversation even better. One of the owners shares my love of photography so we had a wonderful time discussing cameras and pictures and everything that goes along with.
After coffee we wandered around town seeing what there was to see. Everywhere we stopped the question was the same. Have you been to Salmon Glacier yet? The glacier is about 25 miles out of town with a road that runs alongside, then above the glacier. We hadn’t intended to do any riding that day, but decided we’d better not miss the highlight of town, and planned a ride for mid-afternoon. For lunch we stopped back at the coffee shop and met a couple from Seattle who had flown their motorcycles to Anchorage, and were riding home after going up the haul road to Prudhoe Bay. The guy was riding a BMW 1200 GS, the same as my husband’s bike, and the woman was riding a BMW 650 GS identical to mine, down to the color. We really enjoyed trading stories, especially since their ride was essentially ours in reverse. It was also enlightening to hear that they had faced many of the same difficulties we had, from communication problems with radios to her dropping the bike. I’m not alone after all!
It made the meeting even more special when they mentioned how uncomfortable their seats were. My husband and I had gotten sheepskin seat covers from Alaska Leather in Anchorage before we knew we would go to Rich’s for custom seats. Since our motorcycles were identical to theirs, the covers fit perfectly. They bought them from us and installed them on the spot. It was cool to know they went to someone who could use them, and it saved us a trip to the bank in Stewart to replenish our dwindling cash supply. We also told them to get in touch with Rich if they intended to do more long rides. They said they’d make an appointment to see him as soon as they got back to Seattle.
After lunch Bobby and I headed up toward the glacier. We stopped first at a bear-viewing stream. No fish were in the stream yet, so no bears. I think the bears were just at home recovering from the parade…. Anyway, from there we started up the road to Salmon Glacier. The road is gravel, mostly hard packed, but as we got closer to the top it had sections of bad washboard, loose gravel, rock slides on the road, and hairpin turns all with 1000 foot plus drop-offs, no guardrails, and a steep grade. After struggling the first few miles I finally relaxed and began to enjoy the ride and the unbelievable view. As rough and difficult as it was, and as beautiful as the scenery, I ended up loving that ride. I finally began to regain that feeling I remembered having as a kid when driving a dirt bike at insane speed over dirt trails. Things began to come together. I was even able to develop a technique for sliding to one side of my seat before stopping so I could safely stop even on rough roads. Yes!
That evening we ate dinner at The Bus; a school bus converted into a diner that serves wonderful freshly caught fish. Everyone asks, “Have you eaten at the bus?” Rumor has it the owner’s husband is a fisherman who supplies the food. Whether that story is true or not, it’s a neat place to eat where everyone shares tables and stories of how they came to be in Hyder, along with the more typical conversation among tourists about what they do at home. The people near us were all interested in our motorcycles and wished us luck on the trip up the Cassiar.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

4th of July

We left Prince George early the next morning. It felt strange to be outside the US on the fourth of July. We were wondering whether we could make it Hyder, Alaska, but kept getting different estimates of distance and driving time. At some point during that day, I’m not sure when, we both decided to keep going until we got there regardless of how long it would take. We made stops at a waterfall for pictures, and a few rest areas along the way, but mostly we just rode. At the junction where the sign says “North to Alaska,” we met a fascinating old guy who was riding a beater of a motorcycle. He was full of stories about prospecting in the area and fun to talk to. We took his picture and he took ours; as it turns out, the only picture we have together from the entire trip. One way or the other, we rode 350 miles or so and pulled into Hyder, Alaska at about 6:30 that evening. Hyder is a tiny town with gravel streets, a couple shops, a couple bars, and not much else.
We were tired, dirty, and hungry so we went in search of a motel first. Nothing looked to good on the street as we rode into town, so we went around the corner. Bobby was leading as usual in town. He gave up on finding anything that direction and turned around. I went a little further to turn around in an RV park, and as I turned right in front of me was the Grand View. It was a decent looking place so we went to check on getting a room. No problem, the guy even had squares of wood to put under our kickstands in the gravel. Because we’d been riding hard, and hadn’t eaten much all day, we figured after cleaning up we’d get a good dinner and hang out at the bar for the Fourth of July celebrations. Turns out, everything in town was shut down for the evening parade. While we were eating the corn on the cob that turned out to be the only dinner we’d get that night, and waiting for the parade to start, Bobby turned and looked the other way down the road. Imagine our surprise when a black bear sow and cub crossed the road!
The parade was really funny. I’m not sure if it was supposed to be. The locals took it pretty serious when the fire trucks came by with their sirens going. They were followed by old trucks with political signs, and a truck with local kids playing rock music in the back. The funniest was an old fishing boat on a decrepit trailer that lost a wheel as it went around the corner.
We had a few drinks at the two local bars before making our way back to our motel. We saw a lot of motorcycles, most of them dual-sports like ours. Only a few days on the road, and already we saw other bikers as friends and sources of information on road conditions and friendly places to go. Trading information on luggage, communication, and destinations, past and future added an unexpected dimension to the trip that will always stay with us.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Lilloet to Prince George

The next day, the third of July, we started out not sure where we would end for the night. The weather was perfect. We were back on good pavement, and I was feeling better than I had since we started. We stopped at Marble Creek Canyon campground and took a few pictures. I wished we could stop long enough to play in the water. But we had a schedule to keep.
We made good time, and after a stop and an emotional conversation where we discussed the fact that I felt pressured to ride faster than I wanted to, and my husband admitted he wasn’t enjoying having me on the ride because he was worried about me and felt helpless to assist me, we came to an agreement that I didn’t need help other than getting the bike up. I explained my fear of stopping was impacting my riding at all levels and my husband assured me that he wasn’t embarrassed of me, and that his anger was toward the dealer for not getting us the lowered bike we had requested. His reluctance to walk with me the previous day had been based on his pants being too big, not annoyance with me. After getting all that worked through, we were able to enjoy each other’s company a lot more in addition to the ride.
I hadn’t realized how many issues would need to be resolved to travel together like this. My husband and I have been together almost five years. We’ve traveled together before, in a car. Being on motorcycles, independent of one another, but still needing to stay together created new issues we had to deal with. I found myself more dependent on him than I had ever been, and he found himself having to be more patient, and more trusting of me than he’d had to be before. I think this is the kind of experience that can make a relationship stronger if the couple can talk about and work out solutions to the stresses and problems as they arise. It could destroy a relationship where people allowed pride to over ride their ability to compromise.
We rode into Prince George in the evening not knowing where we would find a motel. We rode around a bit before finally spotting a place. As usual in town, my husband was in the lead. I got stuck at a red light, and as I caught up with him watched him turn the wrong way down a one-way street. I certainly wasn’t going to follow! I drove around the block and met him as he returned looking for me. Eventually we pulled in front of the doors to a nice motel. My husband went in and secured a room while I stayed with the bikes. Turns out they not only had a room available, they also had secured parking for our bikes!

Sunday, November 18, 2007


We got a late start from the dealership and decided to call it a night just before we crossed the border into Canada. We got all out paperwork in order, title to the bikes, passports, etc. The next morning, we headed up to the border crossing at Vancouver. We were a little disappointed when the border patrol just waved us through. Vancouver is a beautiful city, but traffic was frightening. My husband almost got taken out by a car merging in from the right lane. From Vancouver we rode to Whistler and along the Sea to Sky Highway. That is an amazing road that I would LOVE to go back and ride now that I am confident on my bike. At that point the tight twisties were more than I could enjoy, and my stopping problems kept me from taking as many pictures as I would have liked. We spent the night in Lilloet, BC. We met our first fellow riders while there. It was a couple from Norway who had rented BMW's to tour Canada for a month. It was one of the high lights of the trip to meet another couple who enjoyed riding. I felt a lot more confident after talking to another female rider who had faced some of the same frustrations I had with her bike and her size. The town itself is like a step back in time. A young girl, maybe 10 years old, checked us into our motel and gave us directions for walking to to dinner that evening, and where we should go for breakfast the next morning. As we walked around the town we noticed the huge pieces of jade and found out the town was originally a mining town, and that some of largest pieces of jade in the world are found there.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Around Washington

After getting our custom seats we did a 500 plus mile breakin ride over the Cascades into Eastern Washington down almost to the Oregon border, back across the Cascades, and back to Seattle. Looking back on that ride I am struck by two things, my inexperience kept me from enjoying the ride like I should have, and since when did the Pacific Northwest get so HOT? My bike was too big for me and I was afraid of falling every time we stopped. I had dropped the bike once the first day and hurt my shoulder pretty badly, then dropped it a second time the second day. As long as we were moving I was happy and having fun, but stopping literally terrified me. My husband paid to have a lowering kit rushed to Seattle so I would have a better ride after the breakin service. But, and I'm leaving out a long and furious rant at this point, the lowering kit didn't show up, and we left Seattle headed for Alaska with me riding a bike that I couldn't stop unless I slid off the seat. It wasn't a great beginning.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Getting a motorcycle

After we knew we wanted BMW dualsport motorcycles we had to find a dealership that could get both the bike I wanted, an F650 GS and the bike my husband wanted an R1200 GS. We called all over the country but were finally successful at Ride West BMW in Seattle. I was a little nervous because it is a BIG bike, and I wasn't able to get a lowering kit right away, but bit my lip and tried to focus on how excited I felt rather than how for away the ground was when I sat on the seat! Our first stop after picking up the bikes was Rich's Custom Seats. Buying a custom seat from Rich was the smartest thing we could have ever done!

Monday, November 12, 2007


Welcome to my new blog. This is my first post here, so let me introduce myself and let you know what I'm hoping to accomplish with this blog. First to introduce myself.

My name is Karen and I am a motorcycle junkie. I got my first motorcycle when I was 12 years old. My next door neighbor (the best looking boy in school) had a motorcycle and I was able to convince my parents I needed one too. I loved riding around rural Oregon where I grew up. That first motorcycle was a little Kawasaki dirtbike, that I rode all the time until my family moved to Alaska the year I grauduated from high school.

The next 20 years went by without me riding. First I was a poor college student who barely had enough money for food, let alone a motocycle, then I was married to an emotionally abusive guy who was against anything I thought would be fun. We finally got divorced and I found myself free to do what I wanted for the first time in many years. I met a guy who treated me and my girls well and we soon bought a house togethr. We talked a few times about getting bikes, and even went down to the local Harley Davidson shop and sat on bikes. I loved the idea of riding again, but wasn't thrilled with the way a Harley felt. The during the winter of 2005/2006 a friend of ours asked if we would be interested in doing some long distance motorcycle riding with them.

My husband and I started our research immediately and quickly decided on BMW dualsport bikes as the kind of ride that would best suit our intended riding style. I'm only 5'3" and have short legs even for my height, and hadn't been on a bike in 20 odd years. OH BOY! I'll tell about getting our bikes next time.

What do I want to accomplish with this blog?

Well, I'd like to share rides, ideas, problems with other women who ride or would like to ride. Women adventure riders are a growing market share, but not much seems to be directed toward my demographic. I don't want to wear the cute little jackets the sportbike girls are wearing. I need more protection. But I don't want to be limited to cut-down men's wear, either. So, together maybe we can create a voice that's loud enough to be heard. I like long distance touring on backroads with some offroad exploring thrown in. Most forums that I've seen are full of guys who ride this way, but many women. I want to share rides and places to go with other women. The guys are great, and my husband is my favorite riding partner, but there are times when I'd like to ride without worrying about the testosterone factor.

I also own a motorcycle forum for women,, and I'd like to invite any women who read this blog to come over and say hello. I'm ridingAK over there if you check it out.

Till next time... Ride safe.