Ever since I was a child, I always wanted to just take off and ride my motorcycle around the country, easy rides style. But, as life has a tendency to do, work and being a mom put that dream on hold.
Last year my husband retired, and the last child moved out of the house to follow their own dreams. That left us with a whole lot of time to do whatever we wanted. We may be older, but in our minds we are still kids with lots of good years left to play. I was able to get three months off work, so that was it!
June, July and August of 2017, we were totally free, no responsibilities, no deadlines and no real plan. I’m not much of a planner, I have friends that are great at these things, but I love living life one day at a time. Have you ever wondered what pure unadulterated freedom was like? We were about to find out.
I found that after many years of marriage, you can kind of sink into a rut. After so many years of taking care of the “have to’s” in busy family life, there is a divide that creeps in slowly, and you never see this until there is no one left but the two of you. Don’t get me wrong. I love my husband, and I truly believe he loves me. We successfully co-exist and raised a beautiful family together, and we hardly ever fight. But reconnecting is a little harder than just wanting it. We decided that we needed something to get to know each other again, and we both love to ride motorcycles. This country is huge, and there is so much to see, we decided to take a trip around the country on our bikes, just him and I.
We spent the summer discovering not only the USA, but also reconnecting with each other and learning to play again. Your dreams are not designed to make others’ eyes light up, they are designed to make your eyes light up. This is why they are called your dreams. This was a journey of acceptance and change. Acceptance means getting to the other side. It means sorting through the feelings that interfere with integrating change, learning to be okay with the big changes coming up in our lives and turning our focus back to what we can do instead of what we can’t.
There is a freedom that is hard to explain to people that have never ridden on a motorcycle. Your destination and distance are controlled not only by the weather, but can change at the drop of a hat when you are riding by something that looks interesting. There truly is a brotherhood between bikers that allows you to meet people wherever you go. Total strangers will come up to you and ask about your journey, and happily tell you about their experiences with their current or past motorcycle journeys. It is always easy to spot a long-distance motorcycle rider by the packs tied down to the bike or the trailers pulled behind them. You can meet fellow travelers on the road for a day or two and become lifelong friends, especially with today’s technology.
I think I started packing about six months before we left on our adventure. Therefore, I packed way too many things. If you are going on an adventure on a motorcycle, I highly suggest that you pack as little as possible. The constant tying down and unpacking every day can really get monotonous.
We have created many friendships along the way, thanks to Facebook, and still keep in touch with many of them. One thing about traveling on a motorcycle is that so many people will come up to you and strike a conversation. The people all around the U.S. were so very friendly, and I find if you want to really see an area, you must ask the locals. We found so many really cool places to visit this way, and were never disappointed.
Before I left, my sister was very worried that we would end up dead in a ditch somewhere and she would never find us. I started a journal on Facebook, in the notes section. This way, any of my friends that were curious about our adventure could follow us. Our Facebook friends also gave great ideas about places they had loved, and laughed a lot at my constant posting pictures of my husband eating. I was unable to take pictures at 60 mph on a motorcycle, so I ended up with many pictures of him eating on my Facebook page.
If you have never tried journaling your vacations, I would highly recommend doing this. We have had a lot of fun reliving our journey through the journal. This country is so very big and beautiful, and there is way too much to see to be able to remember it all. It takes a little bit of time to write about each day before you go to sleep every night, but it is so rewarding to be able to reference it. Every day is different when you ride a motorcycle, and everyone’s trip is unique. Even if you do not share your journal with the world, I believe it will find many benefits to trying it. And maybe someday I will get the pleasure of reading your book. If you post it on Facebook, the rewards are many; having your friends’ input along the way was one of my favorite rewards. They made us laugh a lot. The only downside I found is when you get home, your friends already know all your stories.
If you would like to join us on our journey, I published the book on Amazon under the name “One Day at a Time 2017: A Husband and Wife’s 87-day Road Trip through 22 U.S. States on 2 Harley Softails” (amzn.to/2Hvyp3K). Discover your voice, remember your trips and I hope to meet you all in the wind one day.