Expect The Unexpected…And Roll With It! (Just the beginning)

There I was sitting on the pier by the lake, sipping coffee, and watching nature wake up. Next thing I know Travis is plopping down next to me with a Yetti of coffee and one of those grins that means he has an idea! It was somewhere around the 4th of July and we had already been to Colorado and I was a week away from leaving for Alaska. We had discussed Sturgis several times and this particular day the discussion transformed a 5 day Sturgis ride into a 3 week Canadian road trip! Load the bikes down and ride to Alaska he said…. Oh, okay, if we must ha ha!file (2).jpg

A few minutes later we were mapping and Googling distances, routes, and destinations through Canada up to Alaska. It has always been a bucket list type thing of mine to ride to Alaska and I just hadn’t quite gotten around to that one in all of my journeys so I was what you might call slightly excited about this plan! We had 5 weeks until go time and endless possibilities to look forward to. By the time coffee had run dry we had dates in place and a rough idea of a route through British Columbia and several national parks. By the end of the next day we had completely changed course and decided to make it a 2 part trip with the 1st leg being through the US to Idaho with the van and trailer and the 2nd leg being straight north across the border. By the end of that week we had re-plotted our course a few times and settled on a straight through drive to Idaho for an overnight and a cruise through the mountains up to Whitefish Montana where we would leave the van behind and roll through Glacier National Park on up to Canada. The nice thing about vacation is that the world is yours for the taking and it really doesn’t matter where you end up as long as you are enjoying the trip so we stopped our planning right about here.

The only thing standing in our way at this point was that, due to me being a naughty kid a few years ago, we were a tad concerned about me crossing the border. Most definitely NOT my proudest moment in life, but,  there is no shame in my game so I will let you all in on a little secret. Once upon a time I had that famous “Just 1 more beer” and ended up landing my motorcycle on its side in a field. Now in Canada such things are considered extremely serious criminal behavior even though in Wisconsin it is only a traffic violation resulting in a fine and high auto insurance for a bit. All that being said, we also made alternate plans in case Canada was a no go. We both love the Pacific Northwest and agreed that if we were rejected at the border we could continue on into Washington and Oregon and have just as great of a trip. It’s always a good idea to understand that on a road trip anything can happen and, just like life in general, you gotta be ready to roll with it!

I’m big on positive thinking and manifestation, I spoke about and thought about the trip with no doubts in my mind that I was going to Canada. With the right attitude anything is possible, right? Right! August 8th rolled around and we had a crazy busy day with Travis’s Adaptive Water Ski School. Somewhere around 20 volunteers showed up and 21 skiers! It was quite the event with each person skiing twice and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect! It was 4ish in the afternoon and everyone helped pick up and put away equipment then we all headed for pizza. We arrived home about 7 P.M. and realized neither of us was going to get any sleep knowing the next day was go time so we decided on the obvious option of showering up and hitting the road!file (1)file

It was about 8 o’clock and I  hopped in the driver’s seat for the 1st pull of the trip. Three miles from home Travis realized his boots were not with us and I made a U-turn to head back to the house. (Insert smiley face emoji here) What would a road trip be without the unexpected! With the boots safely tucked into the backseat we began our adventure again! By this time we were literally driving off into the sunset, see everything happens for a reason! As I’m typing this the theme song from Smokey and the Bandit just began playing in my head but we were west bound and down loaded up and truckin going to do what they say can’t be done! Odd coincidence since Burt Reynolds just passed away this week.

I’m 800 words in already and we have barely left the house … it may take a few posts to fill in our 18 day travelling extravaganza!

When driving with no real timeframe or deadline it’s easy to just stop here and there and roll along without a care in the world. Sometimes you may not even know where you are while being lost in your adventures and daydreams…this is exactly why I can’t tell you where we decided to pull in for the night. I want to say it was in Minnesota but there is a very good chance it was South Dakota, hey that rhymes! Where ever we were it was getting late or possibly early depending on the actual time which we may never know. It was a rather vacant rest area along interstate 90 and we just happen to have a bed in our van for a lovely roadside nap. The sound of semi’s idling outside was a bit soothing and a bit 1980’s horror movie all at the same time. This coupled with the ridiculously bright street lights , (probably installed after too many 80’s horror movie scenes were reenacted in such places) made for a short nap. I believe the best part of this stop was when I came out of the restroom from brushing my teeth and Travis was loading somethings from the van into the trailer looking exactly like Bill from Silence of the Lambs where he is trying to load the chair into a van in the parking lot. Of course all I could do at this point was waltz up behind the trailer and quote Catherine, “Hey mister do you need a hand with that?”  Travis replied in character with something along the lines of, “It puts the lotion on the skin.”  …Ah how boring would life be without a good sense of humor?!

5 A.M. was our on the road again time, Travis was taking a turn at the wheel and we were roughly 17 hours from our 1st scheduled destination. A few hours down the road I was in need of a nap, I curled up with my blankie and was off to dreamland in a matter of seconds. An hour or so later I woke up and we were still trucking along I-90 a few hundred miles from the Black Hills. Travis had been driving away making plans and surprised me with another fantastic idea/change of course. We both would be in need of a good nights sleep and a shower before the next days drive and we just happened to be headed right through Sturgis so why not grab a campsite and unload a bike for the night?!… No arm twisting needed on my part, where do I sign up?!?

I began mapping our travel time to my go to campground, Hog heaven, and plotting rides and food plans. This little change of course just made my day! It’s hard to beat a ride through the hills. A few miles up the road was a gas station and an 1880’s old west town tourist attraction that looked perfect for rolling a bike out of the trailer. We pulled in filled up and unloaded, a fully loaded, 1978 BMW! It was getting rather warm and I opted for throwing on a pair of Keens with my comfy van riding attire and hitting the highway in blazing sunshine.  DSCN211858b92a47-61f0-4729-be26-702c15da4313

Travis continued on in the van and about 70 miles in I had to pull off at a rest area. The heat was too much and the highway 90 ride just was not enjoyable. As much as I love to ride I was more than thrilled to hand over the Beamer when Travis volunteered to take a pull behind the bars. He was a tad smarter than I and unloaded the bags from the backseat so more air would circulate as he rode… a slight, “Why didn’t I think of that?” moment happened and away we rolled. I was super excited to be back in the air-conditioned van, for the few minutes it lasted. I looked down to find the temp gauge was running into the red …so … down the windows went and I was wondering which of us was actually experiencing the lesser of two evils here.

A tank of fuel later we arrived at Hog Heaven a bit warm and soggy but all in one piece and wheels rolling! I believe I have rambled on enough for this section of our 18 day cross continental tour… 16.5 days left to tell! Stay tuned…






Silverton, There’s No Place Like Home…

Have you ever just been strolling along through life and had something hit you square in the face that just couldn’t be ignored? For some people it’s a job opportunity, a way to make a dream a reality, an idea that might solve some of life’s’ problems,  or maybe a new relationship, but for me it was a town. There I was, minding my own business, rolling along The Million Dollar Highway on one of my motorcycles and BOOM! There down below was a postcard perfect sight I’ll never forget! I’ve been some places and seen some things but nothing had ever caught me quite like this! All I could do was stand and stare, jaw dropped, eyes wide, and mind racing a million miles an hour. Where am I and how have I never heard of this magical mountain wonderland?!10012426_1020711471287020_763474119098375921_n12039539_1074224239269076_2583983724766687984_n

I needed to see more and know all of the secrets the hills here had to tell. As I rolled down the mountain more of the town came into view here and there, catching sneak peaks in between hair pin curves. The sky was vivid blue, the mountains stood tall at attention, and the streets seemed to unfold in front of my wheels. One road in and one road out, unless you have 4 wheel drive or a dirt bike, and all of the streets except the main drag in town are dirt. The air smelled better, the colors looked brighter, the flowers smelled sweeter, the birds chirped just a little bit louder, and maybe it was just me, but, the tequila tasted a tad smoother in this fairy tale town I had found.

Silverton, after the many mines in this area of the San Juan’s that produced silver by the ton over the last century or 2. The railroad runs up from Durango daily and once upon a time used to continue on through to Eureka and Animas Forks before they became ghost towns of local legend. Tram lines, trails, and very few remnants of homes and businesses long gone are all that now remain passed the city limits and a few blocks beyond the Depot in town is the end of the line for the train.14706884_1335911369767027_8298127219389130342_o

It didn’t take long to discover that the locals here were as friendly as the place is beautiful and everyone is always willing to lend each other a hand and a smile. My plan was to stop for lunch and continue on….this turned into a 3 day adventure! There are more waterfalls to see and explore than anyone could accomplish in a months worth of hiking. Lakes and mountain peaks that seem to never end and the river of lost souls flowing through it all. Endless places and secret spaces all waiting for me to discover!11148715_1020714374620063_7898034437610371616_n35671731_1997147666976724_2094080887929962496_n35488047_1997145460310278_8456572138017521664_n

My 1st visit was 3 years ago and I have made well over a dozen returns and still have not seen all there is to see or done all there is to do! There must be 8 different hotels in town one just as lovely as the next. Restaurants and bars lining the streets with various menus and atmospheres. Definitely something for everyone’s taste and style. It doesn’t matter if I camp, couch surf, or plant myself in a hotel the magic is still in the air when I am there.

I have crafted the art of traveling to Silverton from Wisconsin, the perfect trip requires a jeep, a street bike, and a dirt bike. Luckily I have all 3 and a trailer to make such things happen! The 1st stop is actually in Ouray at the Orvis Hot Springs for a soak and a nap or possibly a good read or just a zen out session after an 18-20 hour drive. Something about steaming lithium water and some deep breathing that does the body good!35477861_1997145340310290_7031640467540279296_n35543434_1997145576976933_2739108430882013184_n

A good soak should be followed by one of Ridgway’s spectacular dining experiences…. Taco Del Gnar, Thai Palace, Route 66 Eatery, Kate’s Place….the list goes on. After some great food the adventure begins….again! The best stretch of highway I have ever travelled in my 49 states worth of travel, The Million Dollar Highway, CO 550. From Ouray to Silverton is 23 miles of pure bliss and not for the tame of heart. I’ve never counted the curves but there are many and guard rails are few if any. The left side is beautifully colored rock wall that jarts a tad out into the non-existent shoulder of the road and sometimes drips or runs with water while the right side in many places is sheer drop offs of several hundred feet down to a raging river. The 2nd half of this journey is filled with switch back curves and the entire 23 miles is the most impressive scenery some have ever had the pleasure to see. Along the route are multiple pullouts and places to hike or bike or jeep. Waterfalls, mines, trails, tunnels, and a lot of WOW as far as the eyes can see. The wildlife can be abundant at times, I have seen moose, elk, deer, fox, marmots, big horn sheep, and the occasional Pica crossing the road.35649126_1998586520166172_4767087345470013440_n35643775_1998586460166178_1363621291499716608_n35552169_1998586186832872_6892234487766188032_n

Maybe the drive to Silverton is just as important as being in Silverton….honestly I think my attraction is due to the backdrop and possibilities for adventure and exploration rather than the actual town itself but if it wasn’t for the town I would have never found the rest.  The most impressive piece of nature in Silverton to me is its backdrop mountain, Mount Kendall. 13,066 ft of complete and utter amazement. There are numerous ways to experience Mount Kendall, Jeep or other 4×4, Dirt bike, mountain bike, hiking, or just simply sitting back from a distance and admiring its massiveness. One of my favorite things is waiting until September every year when the snow has most certainly all melted from the top. Only then is the road open right up to around 12,500 feet and I can take my jeep to the tiny landing pad just below the peak to camp for a night and see the entire town below and all of the mountain tops around. I am absolutely on top of the world in that place, even if it isn’t the highest peak in the world it will always be to me.35628821_1997147853643372_2966868695457988608_n35489455_1997148406976650_8860997008912023552_n.jpg14691280_1335908386433992_4629373391822806719_o.jpg

Second on my list of favorite Silverton things is South Mineral. This is a campground, a 6-ish mile road, and a whole lot of area to explore. The gravel road starts a few miles out of town off of Highway 550 and ends at the Rico trail. There is one road off to the right along the way that leads up to Clear Lake and, if you are up for a hike, Ice lake. South Mineral Creek runs along the road all the way to the campground and then shys away from the main road. Once you reach the campground you can drive on for another few miles or stop and head out for a hike. There is a trail that heads straight up the mountain side and if you can follow the waterfalls up if you choose, though the trail disappears and you have to find your way along some difficult and interesting terrain. I climbed roughly 5 miles up the waterway and saw 5 fantastic waterfalls along the way. The 2 falls coming together at the top was well worth the climb/hike up. If you venture down the road beyond the first falls at the camp ground you can find the water running rapidly and falling frequently several yards east of the road. The falls are not tall but they are surrounded by beautiful red rocks and the water flows swiftly through the shallow canyons…. I highly recommend finding your way to the river from the road here. In South Mineral I have come across several moose and seen signs of bear. As for the lake road it is a wonderful easy drive for anything off-road capable and there is a giant waterfall and amazing valley view along the way.14712995_1335909456433885_5310578739597691575_o.jpg14633110_1335918309766333_3273658561174716291_o14706956_1335918243099673_3119246810291155141_o14714881_1335909766433854_2174669037262774966_o14700797_1335917323099765_4254678331416666017_o14680936_1335917196433111_2275179099651716271_o14712781_1335917056433125_7524332260587343342_o14714806_1335914736433357_6175006315522098733_o.jpg

I was typing all about South Mineral and realized it played a part in Silverton capturing my heart. I visited town for the 2nd time and while I was filling up at the gas station I took a few minutes to look around at the tourist things they had out on display. I was spinning the rack of postcards and a picture of a waterfall caught my eye, I pulled the card from the rack and the location given was South Mineral Creek, Silverton. I bought the card and decided I was going to find the falls in the photo for my adventure that afternoon, and that is precisely what I did. 5 hours and several photos later I was convinced this was the place I needed to spend my life in….while traveling elsewhere on vacation often of course!12032806_1074376489253851_8491570703590993566_o12052596_1074376022587231_67070603184333543_o11958150_1074376449253855_948159633973019160_o12015071_1074375109253989_6176422353515498137_o12028765_1074375122587321_727783093378129528_o12017483_1074374552587378_110964637023787962_o14712572_1335909806433850_7388237717214531381_o.jpg12000934_1074377379253762_6153619364318920896_o.jpg

Next on my all time favorite Silverton things list is a place called Chattanooga. This is a small section of HWY 550 towards Ouray that is complete with a short mountain road, waterfall, and hot spring. I managed to take a Dodge Dart up the short mountain road against my better judgement and came to a large parking area?… I parked the car wandered over to the edge of things and noticed there was a small stream flowing down a canyon that looked intriguing. I have a bit of a self-control problem when it comes to discovering what is on top of and behind things so I had to venture into the great unknown! Roughly 1 wet foot and 45 minutes later I was sitting on a gigantic boulder in a small canyon below a raging waterfall at the top of a mountain and admiring the cars that looked like ants pass by on the highway off in the distance. All I could hear was the water running behind me and the sight in front of me was nothing short of majestic, mountains and trees and blue sky along with the stream flowing out below me that I had just climbed up to be where I was. Oh what a feeling!!!12010725_1075302382494595_7410160870015524401_o12032651_1075302399161260_4307938953428266204_o12022457_1075301485828018_2658114672403214274_o12006482_1075302189161281_4601202808669838632_o12038643_1075301735827993_2673505335446769725_o12045283_1075299979161502_6965986554262165947_o

I feel that I could go on for days about the Silverton area but I think I’ll stop here for now… and there is so much more I have yet to explore!!!


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Kentucky rain, Tennessee sushi, and Jesus sandals

Day 3 of our adventure started with raindrops on the window of the hotel in Murray Kentucky. The skies were gray, the forecast was grim, but we had no place to be and all day to get there. The first thought was, let’s find an off-road adventure somewhere out of the storm system that was moving through. After Googling away for about an hour and checking the maps we didn’t arrive at any destination that was guaranteed to be open, worth riding, and not flooded. This may have disappointed most people with dirt bikes in a van looking to ride, not us! We were content as could be with the fact yesterday was full of fun and excitement and today would be a new adventure full of something different and each other.
I mentioned that my favorite waterfall was in Eastern TN and I’d love to make it back there. Travis said he’d like to see it, I looked it up and it was a full 6 hours from where we were. Hmmmmm?! 6 hour drive in the rain to see a waterfall…keep searching for off-road riding…say fuck it and just drive until we find sunshine?! Whatever would we do…
We wandered down to get some breakfast and continued mulling over our options. Somewhere between hard-boiled eggs, sour kraut, and beets, (yeah we have an odd diet) Travis piped up and said, “We can go to your waterfall.”
I grinned ear to ear like a teenager with the keys to dads car and said, “Seriously?! You are going to drive me 6 hours to see a waterfall?!”
“Yeah why not?”
Well all right then let’s get this dog and pony show on the road!
We were piled into the van around 8ish, Eastbound and down! Dirty bikes and gear all scattered throughout the back, hey it’s vacation and it’s not like we brought the maid or our mothers with to lecture us about cleaning our “room”! 0A6E472D-AE0D-41DB-9BF4-F3A4955C8EBD The rain would come and go there wasn’t much for traffic and scenery in that part of the country is always great. Despite the weather we had nothing but sunshine in the van, good music, great company, and a couple of dirty bikes in the rearview!
A few hours up the road we made a pit stop and once again were reminded that I might just be a true blonde after all. The van doors open with a key, a few of you just went, “well no shit Jessie” while the rest of you (possibly that group we keep calling millennials) may not understand this fact that all vehicles do not open or start by pushing a button or using an app on your phone, crazy right?!
Travis unlocked my door, with said key, I hopped in and did not even think to unlock his door. Again. For the 15th time this trip. I looked over and there he stood smiling sarcastically through the window, in the rain like, “Are you fucking kidding me? It’s ok I’ll just get a shower out here while I unlock my own damn door.” I busted out laughing uncontrollably at the look on his face and we exchanged the “yep this is our life” grin before firing up the van and rolling away. Typical Jessie lives in her own little bubble situation.
We were nearing Cookeville TN and decided we should find some lunch. It took all of 2 minutes to settle on sushi since last nights was fantastic in KY might as well try our luck in TN!
I found Fuji Sushi on the Google machine and we GPS’d our way there. The place was rather busy so we figured that was a good sign. The staff was not as entertaining as Shogun but the food looked to be equally as tasty! I told Travis whatever he was ordering I was eating and he went with a huge combination platter that was served on a giant boat. 2 for 2, another great sushi in the south experience!1CA04964-2844-412C-BFD6-6615AA213A83 I think we were somewhere around deciding who was eating the last few pieces when I turned to say something to Travis and noticed he was grinning at me. Before I could get any words out he says to me, “God I wish you were beautiful.” To which I laughed loudly and replied, “Well…fuck you very much.” From there I think he said, “I hate you.” and I came back with,”Ditto!” The next several minutes were filled with laughs and smiles and the entire restaurant probably began to question our sanity.
Since we got our “true” feelings out of the way over lunch we decided it was probably time to hop back in the van and roll on. It was starting to look as if it would clear off and we toyed with the idea of stopping somewhere to ride instead of finding Blue Hole Falls but the thought went just as fast as it had came when the clouds blew back over and began to piss on us yet again.
It was getting late in the day and we were still over an hour from Elizabethton. We both wondered if we were going to make it in time to see anything or if it would be too dark due to the weather and we would maybe get a room and see things in the morning. I said I’d like to make it tonight because we had a 13 hour drive home on Sunday and the falls only take a few minutes to see. We wouldn’t be exploring too far up or down them off the beaten path since Travis had only brought MX riding boots and Jesus sandals along for the week!E458F07D-6B54-4DF7-A3D4-3850D6E7AD5F Somewhere around 7ish and sunset we found Pan Handle Rd. and as we turned up the hill towards Blue Hole the rain stopped! Timing could not have been any better!
We found the little pullout and ventured off down the path into the woods. It was wet and muddy with a touch of slick and possibly dangerous in spots. There are giant steps leading down the hill as the falls drop one into the other along the way you can take the little side paths over to the edge to look down on them or climb right down to each one. From top to bottom with in a few hundred yards beginning to end there are 4 beautiful waterfalls tucked into the hillside each with its own character and feel. No two are the same and if you care to take a stroll down stream, when wearing something other than socks and sandals on a rainy day, you can find a 5th fall that I’m sure not many know exist.069765AA-1D93-4BE6-B874-0311BA74254064180309-4521-4B24-83B6-8CB5558CF752F03D483D-CB3E-4B5D-B5B2-3CFF158EC040B73C7B8A-5ECA-4705-86AA-0AC2573B7095
I was first at Blue Hole 10 years ago and right way felt like it had a magical pull over me. Have you ever been somewhere that just instantly made you feel happy, well, or just content? I’ve been to a few and each time I find one I return as often as I can. This was my 3rd or 4th trip to Blue Hole and I’m sure I’ll go back again!
Several pictures and minutes later we walked back to the van just as it was officially becoming dark and aside from some wet socks not a thing was wrong in our world.
I have a list a mile long of places I’ve been that I love but a few that have this energy are, The Black Hills,5ADE0DAC-11DA-4F58-8C95-24A6323F7AF3The Redwood Forest,4CB59384-F790-490C-B85C-EFF75D040747CC48845B-B09E-4D9A-818C-64A1EC1DE402 Colorado especially around Silverton, C5AD8D22-910C-4E65-B651-25F0975C2A5DB82E9391-2419-49D1-9A5E-F7BE6A7EA7D2The Black River Byway in the UP of Michigan,594C742E-9ECD-40E3-A51C-0CC7D592AFF0The Grand Canyon, 0B53337D-9350-4D67-80D6-377363A1B542A few areas in southern Utah, F31E462F-B290-4771-96D2-0E93BD180516The Columbia River Gorge and Western coast of Oregon, 0DC226B7-8219-4319-9B20-9D0418245D3B7765A042-0336-4370-AB0A-FC49DDB7F19FAA0E3D33-F258-426D-AEB8-63791477D5A504E98487-7361-491F-AB7A-FBB2C3184B8FA little dead-end gravel/dirt road by Council Hill Illinois, EF77160D-520F-4D76-9153-452C313FA13Dand I have gotten side tracked already …Squirrel!
We found a hotel in Bristol for the night, it was down pouring rain when we rolled in and we contemplated just staying in the van with our music and maybe just opening a bottle of wine then eating whatever we might have left in the cooler for dinner. After several minutes of tossing this idea around we decided the warm hotel and hot shower won the contest and we would get out and go in dodging rain drops along the way.
Italian delivery and a bottle of wine later it was lights out and next thing we knew morning had arrived! It was looking gloomy but we were going to be in the van headed north into snow and cold country so the rain was actually a welcome alternative. We pulled out of the hotel early-ish like around 6:00 AM Wisconsin time and into Virginia we went! The sun came out before long and it was a warm gorgeous day for a drive through the mountains. I was still terrible at unlocking van doors and Travis had accepted that and moved on, we never even touched the radio all day and it didn’t occur to either of us until hours into the drive. We discussed how nice it would be to unload the bikes and find out where some of these gravel back-roads lead to and bow lovely it would be to have a tiny cabin overlooking the valley there somewhere, no sooner did we say that and one appeared as if we had painted it there on top of the hill with the grandest view we had seen yet! travis had pointed out a cabin the day before that sat on a hill-side in TN above a train bridge and a river in the middle of nowhere that closely resembled a picture I had painted in high school…our travels are full of the oddest coincidences!
Our route took us in and out of Virginia and Tennessee a few times and somewhere around Cumberland gap we passed through a tunnel and were in 3 states in a matter of 5 minutes. The day was heating up and moving along smoothly we cruised all the way to Indianapolis before stopping for anything. It was definitely lunch time in Indy and we decided on Indian food at the Mumbai Grille.
When you walk in and the patrons are of the same ethnicity as the food, there’s a damn fine chance you are in for some good eats! We received a bit of a, “You aren’t from around here are you?” glance from a few tables as we made our way to the back to the only empty seats. The servers were beyond helpful and pleasant. We looked at the menus asked what the waiter recommended and within 2 minutes had decided on exactly the same things to order. Weird … but not for us that is just situation normal. We sat discussing the trip and planning others and it could not have been 10 minutes later our table was full of THE best Indian food either of us had ever tasted! Just wow! If you ever pass through Indy the Mumbai Grille should be at the top of your list for local cuisine! Their “special” rice and the curry chicken with the chefs daily special was too good to not finish so the two of us ate until we almost burst! The restaurant is going to be remodeled soon but for now it is in a strip mall and 1 big box of a room filled with tables. Travis got up and toured the large rectangular room, which I thought was odd. I realized on the last leg of his lap that he was actually looking for the bathroom that had been behind his chair to the left and I had been facing the entire time. On his way back by our table he was a bit red in the cheeks and said, “You could have told me I was going the wrong way.” I was innocent of all charges in this matter though because I had no idea why he had stood up and walked off, hell he could have been making hot laps to have room for dessert for all I knew. Truth be told even if I knew where he had stood up to go I probably would have let him take a stroll around the room for my own entertainment purposes.
It was mid afternoon maybe 3ish by the time we finished lunch and we headed towards home. Not much happening between Indy and Wisconsin as per usual. Illinois came and went and soon we arrived home to the lake where I discovered a country radio station via Travis on the internet that is now my new obsession! Hank on am 1550 … Highly suggest finding it if you happen to be a country music fan….before country went pop!
More adventures coming soon! Ta Ta for now!

Continue reading “Kentucky rain, Tennessee sushi, and Jesus sandals”

Van Life and Kentucky Sushi

176CC188-E2D2-4CA0-9347-7EE009E9172FEverybody has a dream, that is a fact. Not everybody has the same dream. For instance my personal goal in life is to someday be free enough to travel the country camping, hiking, and riding motorcycles. It just so happens that my boyfriend Travis shared this dream and already had a van bought for just this purpose when I met him! It’s not exactly everyone’s cup of tea and many people think it’s a very odd idea but I happen to think a lot of things other people do are rather odd. So, let’s let our freak flags fly and enjoy whatever our idea of a happy life happens to be! To each their own!471E2CD7-AA0C-4B41-BA54-36F6B2E2F069

I’ve been trying to get back to a place called Turkey Bay KY for the last 20 years and as luck would have it Travis had been planning to get there himself. It is a huge off road riding park in the Land Between The Lakes Recreation area not far from Murray KY.

So there we were discussing where to take a road trip after chatting for about 30 minutes the 1st night we met,  I asked if he had ever been to Turkey Bay …one thing led to another and a month later I had a brand new bike, our Husqvarna’s were loaded in the back of the van, a stocked cooler between the seats, iphones full of music, and down the road we went!

My new 450  came from Keytime Motorsports in Warrens Wisconsin. Steve is a hell of a guy and an even better mechanic. He lowered the bike a few inches for me, modified the hand guards, rerouted the fuel filter for easier access, and hand checked every single bolt on the machine, paint marking them as he went along. After he was done fine-tuning the bike I had not a single concern as to whether not everything was spot on perfect, his attention to detail is rather magnificent. 321EF8F0-35D8-499B-8425-8CEF5ABBF6D8.jpeg

This was the vans, as well as our, maiden voyage. No better way to get to know a vehicle or a person than to pile yourselves in it and hit the highway for a dozen or so hours! Turns out the van runs, rides, and drives spectacularly and gets great gas mileage! The 2 of us were damn near literally 2 peas in a pod and aside from the flat nothingness of Illinois passing by out the windows not a thing in life could have been better.  As anyone  who has ever driven through Illinois knows there is nothing at all note worthy about that stretch of the trip other than a very dedicated Harley fan who managed to match his truck to his bike and was proudly hauling it to warmer climates.3581B4F2-75DE-4C63-85D3-F411F8C52DDD.jpeg We cruised along watching the passers by peek into the windows and smile at our pair of toys buckled into the back like kids in car seats. After 666.6 miles and several potty stops we arrived in Paducah for the night to rest up and be ready to ride in the morning.


We were up with the sun and more than ready to go! We pulled into Land Between the Lakes about 9 A.M. as soon as the bikes were out of the van I was changing into my new gear and FINALLY behind the bars of my new FE450! We took a slow trip down the main road and turned into the woods down a rocky path that opened up to countless trails! I was cruising in 2nd and 3rd Gear still figuring out where my controls were and suddenly I looked ahead and realized the path was coming to and end and there was no place to go but up!  I downshifted turned the throttle back and up, up, and away we went! That was it,  I was officially in love with my new machine it climbed the rocky washed out rutted hill like a champ! Later in the day that same hill would kick my ass but let’s leave that minor detail for a different paragraph. Travis was hot on my wheels with his 2-stroke ready to tear up some dirt so I told him to go ahead and I’d fumble around following behind as I got better acquainted with my Husky.


The trails were nothing shy of specfuckingtacular in every direction we turned. They are color coated for “Easy” “Hard” and “Careful you might die”…we took bits and pieces of each and I got well acquainted with the ground and a few small trees through out the morning. No major damage or problems just adjusting to my new bike and the area while figuring out which gear to climb hills in trying not to break my new engine while breaking it in and struggling for traction on the rocks. Or we could just say Jessie’s off-road skills could use some fine tuning! No excuses here just saying maaaaybe it wasn’t all my fault I crashed 6 times! The skies were greying up and starting to spit on us a bit…. not in a fun way, so we found our way back to the van which was way less difficult than Travis had thought it would be. The guy flys jets around the world but gets lost in the woods, not that I’m judging but it may or may not have taken him 7 or 8 trips to my house before he figured out how to get there without getting lost first. Ha Ha ok enough making fun of Travis…for now.

We sat at the van and had lunch and talked about how awesome this place and this day was. Then decided that the rain was going to hold off and we should take another ride! We headed down and around some new muddy territory went in circles a time or 3…Travis was leading so that may have been accidental. Then back up on top of the rocky hills and ridges we went! On the way up the 1st hill I was happy as hell in 2nd gear loving the power this bike was putting out and as I high sided a bit of a curve on the wash out path I came down into a pile of loose rocks and suddenly my bike was in the air off the trail and I was on the ground.  OOOPS! This one hurt a bit and I was in no hurry to stand up or do much other than sit and catch my breath while analyzing exactly what in the hell had just taken place. It wasn’t too long and Travis was walking down the hill toward me asking if I was ok and taking pictures and video of my situation. The spot the bike was in definitely said, “You can’t get back up there from here.” So it would need to go down the little valley and back over to the trail and try the hill again. After a good 5 minutes of shaking off my sudden impact Travis hopped on the bike and slid it down the leaf and rock filled hill and climbed her to the top while I gathered my things and took a walk up to meet them. Some night and shining armors ride white horses mine just happens to ride a white motorcycle, who would have thought?!


We sat for a bit admiring the lakes and hills downing some water and Travis took my bike for a quick scoot down the trail just to see how he liked it. Then we were off and riding again this time in a few new directions on various colored trails. The day was threatening to storm on us once again and as the rain drops got bigger and harder to dodge we decided to find the van. It was coming down pretty good we were thinking the day was done but it was only about 1:30 and we were really hoping it wasn’t. Our wish came true the sky started to clear a bit just over one of the hills and within about 10 minutes it was barely sprinkling! Travis said, “1 more ride?” To which I replied, “Don’t threaten me with a good time!”

He had studied the trail map and discovered that there was a perimeter trail that was numbered and all yellow, (Easy) so we should be good to go incase the sky did let loose again. I wasn’t much for keeping my wheels under me after my crash earlier so easy was good to wind down my day on the new toy! Down the road, through the cricks, down the river bed, splashing through puddles, up the hills, and down the ridges we went! Round and round we’d go where we’d stop we didn’t really know! Travis must have popped 500 wheelies throughout the day, I learned that the 2-stroke throws rocks nicely when he cracks the throttle a bit. Yes I was not wearing a chest protector because I am smart. We only saw 4 other people out in the park all day which was fanfuckingtastic, the place was ours all 4800 acres of it!

We were back up by what was left of the old silo where you can see down to the highway and the bridge over the lakes when Travis wandered off into the woods and decided he wanted to give hillclimbing a try. A4811CC4-3778-4279-8361-EA351B7071E1.jpegThere was a rather steep rock filled washout that led from the silo down to the main gravel road through the park and he wanted to give it a try. I stood at the top admiring the balls it takes to attempt a ride that technical and ready to film his victory or demise. The 1st run he made it about 3/4 of the way rocks tumbling down behind him as the bike dug in and he killed it in a not so fun spot to get turned around or continue heading uphill. The second run was a touch slower but he made it all the way to the top! I was a Sally and played spectator not willing to give it a try after my many wipeouts already that day.

We found our way back down to the bottom and rode back to the van deciding that the day could be done and we had had our fun! It waited until we were parked to begin raining and Travis did his best to stay dry loading bikes as I arranged the van to make room for them again. It was about 4 in the afternoon and we were dirty, wet, stinky, and starving but could not have been happier! We should have been exhausted but I think adrenalin was running way too high to realize anything of the sort.

Back at the hotel in Murray Kentucky we looked like quite the hot mess checking in and the desk clerk was more than helpful with cab and food information. We found our way to the room and began to defunk ourselves to be publicly acceptable. This is when I noticed the large amount of bruises up my knees to my inner thighs that were a wonderful array of colors… if we back up a minute to the part where we unloaded bikes. Travis asked if I wanted knee pads, (I giggled and thought there may be a hidden agenda in his question) since I couldn’t locate half of my gear before we left and I had of course, in classic Jessie style, declined his offer. I was now rethinking that decision as I stared at my battered limbs. I had certainly suffered worse and was in no way letting this effect my day but had a feeling I may be feeling a bit older than my 36ish years in the morning.

We cleaned up and phoned the desk to call us a cab to the local Sushi restaurant not realizing it was damn near across the street. We sat in the lobby discussing our day grinning ear to ear and soon the “cab” arrived. Now here was an experience. A mini van with a woman driver and a younger man in the passenger seat. One would assume mother and son but that did not seem to be the case. The kid had the seat reclined about as far back as it goes and all 6’4″ of Travis seemed to be a bit cramped folded up behind it. This didn’t stay the focus of our short ride for long though! Little did we know we had managed to catch a ride in a “Disco Taxi”! We were a block from the Hampton Inn sitting at a stop light when the driver asked if we would like the strobe light  effects for the remainder of our journey. Well being new to this area we figured we should probably get the full experience so we said yes and she reached down between the front seats and clicked on a very colorful, well-lit, ball that put on quite a light show there in the mini van! This was shortly followed by all of us trying to figure out who was singing the song on the radio, we never did come to the actual answer because as soon as Travis threw out “Steel Foreskins” as a guess none of us could do anything but laugh. The cab ride was only about 5 minutes but it was extremely eventful!

We walked into Shogun Sushi and found a spot up at the bar. The Chef here was beyond entertaining and had quite a crush on Travis. I believe the conversation started with him saying, “You are Mucho Handsome!” Which was odd for a few reasons, 1-we were obviously there together and he was technically hitting in my boyfriend, 2-he was a Sushi chef appearing to be Asian and speaking Spanish, and 3-isn’t it customary to at least buy a drink for someone before using a pick up line?! Or maybe I’m just old-fashioned. Turns out the man was North Korean and one hell of a sushi maker! Travis ordered whatever he felt like making us and it was the best sushi either of us had ever tasted! I think it was somewhere around the 2nd dish Travis made our feisty, flirty, host  blush just a bit. He asked us if we were from Murray and Travis replied, “No but we like it here, got in about an hour ago and already broke the hotel bed.” I believe the man was speechless.

If you ever find yourself killing time in Murray Kentucky I highly recommend Shogun! After dinner we decided to walk back to the hotel since it was less than 2 blocks away! But the cab ride to get there was well worth the $7, anywhere in Murray you need to go they will take you for 7 bucks in a disco van!

Needless to say 3/23 was an excellent day and we still had the whole weekend ahead! The adventures in the van will continue!841EB105-5E88-4FDC-A2C2-56EE2D7CAC21

Viking Bags Review

Another satisfied customer of Viking Bags here!

I just received my new Dagr sissy bar bag and am loving it! This thing is very versatile and full of room for almost anything you might want to carry on 2 wheels. The bag comes with back pack straps and extra adjustable tie down straps along with a pull string adjustable rain fly. It easily slides over the back pad on your sissy bar or can be worn as a back pack and also carried by its sturdy rubber gripped handle on top.

There are 2 large zip up pockets and 5 tie down D-rings on the outside. On the inside the bag features Velcro tabs that keep the front panel from flopping down when unzipped. The large compartment can hold a full face helmet along with other items. The front panel has 2 pockets on the inside plenty big for a set of gloves or small lap top. There is a Velcro flaps pocket on the inside left wall and an open pocket with pen holders on the right. Not much this bag isn’t equipped for. I’m going to say durable and functional all around great buy!


Viking Cycle Gear Impressed Me Again

Just when I thought it didn’t get any better than leather Viking Cycle Gear proved me wrong! Their Ironborn Motorcycle Textile Jacket is every bit as warm and protective as my leather has ever been. 46 degrees in Wisconsin today and this removable liner kept me nice and toasty for the 100 miles I was on the road.

The jacket is full of fun surprises in the features department! There are 3 ways to adjust the size of the sleeves for a perfect fit, and the waist pulls tight with velcro straps as well. There is armor in the elbow and back areas of the jacket for added skid plate protection in case you don’t keep the rubber side down. Other safety features include reflective stripes on the arms and shoulders, and it is available in a “safety green” color. This jacket is completely wind and water proof with plenty of vents for the warmer dryer days. Pockets, pockets, and more pockets! Who even needs saddle bags with a coat like this?! There are the front 2 pockets like any other jacket, then above those are 2 pockets made for phone/media players and have a place to run your earbuds through to inside the coat where there are small clips to hold the wires in place. On the inside of the jacket there are pockets for earbuds, pens, sunglasses, and even one big enough to hold a tablet! I believe 12 pockets over all. Each zipper is surrounded by a rubber type material for reinforcement and weather protection and the zipper pulls are covered by a plastic piece to prevent unzipping in the wind. At $85.00 I really don’t see how you can go wrong with this item, I haven’t found anything negative to say about it honestly….give one a try Christmas is just around the corner!!!

Honda Has Done It Again!

A good friend of mine purchased a brand new Africa Twin this year and was kind enough to let me take it on a Colorado mountain road adventure! Adventure bikes are one of my favorite types of machine, I have a need to wander everywhere and anywhere the roads and trails can take me so it’s great when one machine can let me explore both! The Africa twin definitely has this capability.

The 1000cc engine is pumping out 93.9hp and 98 ftlbs of torque! This is a machine that you can feel the rear tire dig into the ground as you crank the throttle. It comes with a 3 setting traction control feature that is adjustable in motion depending on your terrain and needs. The ABS can be turned on and off for your preference and riding style. Lets face it sometimes we want to let the rear wheel slide side to side and skid to a stop and other times we like to keep things a bit more under control.

On the highway the Twin glides along smoothly with little vibration and plenty of speed and power. The curves and U-turns are easily negotiated it doesn’t feel heavy to lean one way or the other with its light weight of 534 lbs wet, and the turning radius is superb! When climbing the steeper inclines off-road I kept the traction control at level 2 and it allowed me to sail right over the wet loose rock without kicking the tire out from under me. On the straight gravel road I found it more fun to leave that feature off and get the wheel dancing around a bit behind me slinging some dust. The ground clearance is more than adequate for any terrain and if you happen to get in over your head, so to speak, the skid plate is there to save the day!

The downward slopes were easily navigable with the ABS making sure that I didn’t lock up and go sliding out of control from my 12,000 ft descent. This bike crawled along like a Trials machine with excellent balance and then when I decided to twist the throttle and fly it was right there ready to dig in and climb in all gears at all rates of speed! That’s about the time I decided I was in love. Quick response from zero to let’s go steals my heart every time!

I am 5’9″ and the stock Twin is too tall for me as an off-road vehicle but luckily there are suspension options to modify that problem if I decide to purchase one for myself. Bruce is 6’2″ and the bike seems to fit him perfectly though he does want to put wider pegs on it and may opt for risers for the handle bars. He chose a Delkevic exhaust (an Englewood CO company), Wolfman luggage, Puig windshield, and Givi racks as add-ons so far. A neat little feature I noticed was the plate added to the bottom of the kickstand for better stability on soft ground. I carry around plates for kickstands on my street bikes but this little gadget is a permanently mounted accessory and was only $23.95 online! Unfortunately there is no brand name on it so i can’t give anyone credit for their product.

There is more than enough room for luggage and passengers on this bike. It seems there really isn’t much it isn’t capable of! The earlier models in the late 80’s were 650cc’s and then through the 90’s into early 2000’s they came as a 750cc model, I have read many stories of people literally traveling around the world on them. Now with the 1000cc model the possibilities really are endless.

This machine spends most of its life in the San Juan mountains around Silverton CO so heated grips are a feature that will be added. The head light is very bright but could have a wider range. Compared to the Twins list of awesomeness I’d say the shortcomings are very minimal and some are simply rider specific in this case. That’s another great thing about motorcycles, they can be molded and modified for each riders wants and needs.

If I were to saddle up and hit the trails or the highway I would be damn proud to do it on this machine! Thanks for hitting the nail on the head once again Honda!

Next June Join Me…..

Here I am driving across Iowa five days and 1 million memories later. This is the third year in a row I have spent the third week of September in Silverton Colorado. Maybe 3’s my lucky number … This year’s visit was not only fueled by the fire of the blaze orange aspen trees in all of their fall glory, but also by a meeting with an organization called the Steelhorse Sisterhood. This group of women wind warriors are hosting a women’s motorcycle summit in Silverton next June. Through some mutual friends we have become connected and I am now helping with this awesome event. There will be women from all walks of life gathering in the San Juan mountains for a week of education, riding, scavenger hunts, adventures, great food, and even a little dancing in the street! The Rocky Mountain Woman’s Motorcycle Summit will be divided between Durango and Silverton Colorado with many destinations in the surrounding areas. Any and all skill levels are welcome to attend along with anyone who may be interested in becoming a rider but hasn’t taken that leap into the saddle just yet. The ride down the infamous Million Dollar Highway is worth the trip a lone but there will also be inspirational and educational speakers to help us all learn a little something about life on 2 wheels. There are teams forming for moto rally challenges all over the mountains, points are earned for making it to certain locations and taking selfies with your bikes. The Steelhorse Sisterhood will be providing some meals for the week and there are host hotels in each town. The best part about it is getting together and sharing our love of 2wheels, our passion for adventure and freedom, and our unbreakable bond of Sisterhood driving us to empower one another to succeed in life by concurring our fears! Remember ladies, S.T.R.O.N.G. Women Ride!!! This could be the chance of a lifetime to meet new friends, hone your skills, and take on the world while rolling the mountains on motorcycles! I don’t know about you but I’m gonna climb that mountain! I’m gonna help others make it to the top! I’m gonna make friends and memories that last a lifetime!

The Steelhorse Sisterhood is a charity organization and the money raised at this event will go towards an educational grant to help someone further their life and have hope for the future. For more info on the organization and the events visit http://www.steelhorsesisterhoodsummit.com/

Viking Cycle Rain Gear

Ever hear of Viking Cycle Gear? How about Motorcycle House? I never had either until they asked me to try out their products. With the amount of miles I ride and the weather that comes with them gear is pretty important. Sadly after 10 years and thousands of miles I was forced to retire my old HD rain suit this year due to some massive leakage issues. I replaced my longtime wet weather travel companion with a 2 piece Viking rain suit.


The price is definitely right at $49.99 and the suit stands up to it’s savage name “Viking” I’d trust it to weather any storm at highway speeds!

The Jacket and pant legs have thick high quality zippers covered by full length Velcro flaps to keep them sealed off from any water leaks. The Velcro flaps on the pants also allow you to adjust the fit of the pant leg for a more personalized fit allowing more room if you have on chaps or less room if you’re just wearing jeans underneath. There are stirrups that fit around your shoe or boot to keep the pants held snug to the ankles while sitting with your knees in the breeze. The sleeves of the Jacket also have Velcro cuffs to fit snug around your wrists or gloves. The drawstring hood can be worn snug to your head and face or rolled back and velcroed out of the way. It is mesh lined to prevent that sticky, plastic, suffocated, feeling us all-weather riders are familiar with when we have had to settle for wearing one of those cheap department store rain jackets. There is reflective striping across the back and down the arms for better visibility to oncoming traffic and the gear is available in bright safety colors. There are 3 huge waterproof pockets, 2 on the jacket and one on the pants. The suit fits great when sitting or standing and doesn’t flap ridiculously in the wind. The pants have a reinforced inner thigh and butt area and the jacket drops well below the waistline for optimum coverage.

I would recommend this gear to anyone who rides. I plan to see how it withstands the test of time and will report back in the very distant future! The only shortcoming with this product is that it does not currently come with a pouch/bag for packing it.

Check out all the Viking Cycle gear and more at https://www.motorcyclehouse.com/