Sunday, December 14, 2008

From the Eyes of a Passenger...

Being a passenger on a motorcycle has brought incredible joy and satisfaction to my life. If you ask anyone that knows me they will tell you I'm motorcycle obsessed. Guess what?? I'm proud of it!

The motorcycle experience began for me in high school. My girlfriends and I would ask guys for motorcycle rides. I remember my first ride was on a sport bike and I could have cared less that it was raining. Then there was senior prom. My date owned a Kawasaki and we took it cruising in our prom wear. We must have looked like two crazy kids.

I took a hiatus from the motorcycle life during my twenties and early thirties but that freedom and joy that I felt from riding stuck with me all those years. One day out of the blue I talked my husband into renting a Harley. We had it for the weekend and the feelings of complete freedom came rushing back. The next step was purchasing our own bike. I'll never forget the thrill of ringing that freedom bell and knowing wonderful adventures were ahead of us.

Riding for me is a passion. It is always an adventure. Being on two wheels with nothing around you to protect you. Rubbing shoulders with the elements is the greatest rush I've ever felt. I've experienced things I will never experience in a car. I am sheltered in a car even if I roll down all of the windows. I will never experience what is going on outside in the same way as I do on a motorcycle. I am in the thick of it, feeling everything going on around me. Smelling every smell, seeing all the sights, and hearing every noise out there. It is a spiritual experience.

I've had two of the most amazing experiences of my life as a passenger. Both in South Dakota during trips to Sturgis Bike Week. The first was in 2004. Kristen, Big Don, Marsha and me were on our way to Winner, South Dakota for the night. It was dusk and a storm was brewing ahead of us. It began to rain and the wind picked up. South Dakota can be windy. I was watching the sky and I couldn't believe what mother nature was sharing with me. On one side was a beautiful rainbow, straight ahead were wicked bolts of lightening, and on the other side was the most beautiful pink sky I've ever seen. I was right out there in the middle of it. To this day that memory still gives me chill bumps.

Another memorable experience happened on our way to Sturgis this year. We left Mitchell, South Dakota in a misty rain. We were motoring along and could see this dangerous looking cloud ahead of us. The closer we road toward it the larger it became and before we knew what was happening we were riding through this wall cloud. Living in Iowa, I honestly have to say, I have never seen anything like it. I held onto Dan tighter then I ever have before because I felt at times like we might blow over or I might blow off the back. It was such a rush. I kept thinking to myself how incredibly fortunate I was to experience that. That is the point of two wheels, it's all about having the amazing adventures.

I've logged many miles as a passenger and with every ride is a new memory made. Some of the best have been early morning rides out in the country. No traffic, just my husband Dan and me on our beautiful iron horse moving across the countryside. No words being said between us, just quiet time. Time to let all the stresses leave our heads and all the freedom of the open road. Miles of farmland surrounding us. Another beautiful time to ride are those last winter days when we can't take it anymore and the roads seem OK. We bundle up and ride out with snow still on the ground and the non riders of the world starring at us like we are nuts. I know they are correct, I am nuts about the feeling that is forever in my soul.

Being part of the motorcycle lifestyle has made my life richer with the experiences I've been fortunate enough to have and because of the many people I've met along the way.

There is a saying, "If I have to explain you just won't understand." Mere words can't explain the feeling. It is like describing the color blue to a sightless person, until it has been experienced it is virtually impossible to describe.

In March of 2006 I got my motorcycle license. I have yet to own my own scoot but I know someday it will happen. Until then I look forward to many more adventures with Dan on our beautiful Street Glide.

Happy riding! And to those of us that have to wait until the spring, Happy Riding Memories!



B.B. said...

Great post Steph! You put into words what so many of us feel, but can't really describe!

fasthair said...

Ms. IHG: I got to scratch my itch for a ride yesterday! It felt so good to be riding after being off of it for two weeks. I did lap of the loop around town. I even got to ride to dinner last night because it was still that nice out. I even seen a few bikes out yesterday.


Webster World said...

You are so right. Is that not such a rush? And I thought by the pictures you are in your 20's.

One Harley Rider said...

Nice post. I still love the smells of riding. grass, wood stoves, road kill etc.

IowaHarleyGirl (Stephanie) said...

Thanks B.B.!

Fasthair - Dan went out today and road around Saylorville. He came home frozen like an ice cube and said...Damn the mile long bridge was ice central. Glad you got out to ride. Sounds like we are instore for more winter tomorrow. ICK!

Webster - wow thanks! My face cream must be doing the trick!!

One Harley - Most smells are good. The worst smells in Iowa come from the corporate hog farms. I seriously almost gag to death when I go home to see my folks.

KT Did said...

I started out on the back too. That's how I knew, years later when I knew I was ready, to move to the front seat. You will in due time. If not, you are certainly enjoying it in either case. The ride is just that... the ride and I am happy to hear you are enjoying it riding it the way you can!
Ride on Sistah!

Ann said...

Thanks for putting my feelings into words! I love being a passenger, and I'm fortunate enough to have a wonderful husband who takes me with him all the time. I hope to have my license in the spring, but I will still rie on the back every once in a while after that.

And I'm sure the hog farms compare to I-95 in New Jersey...nasty, nasty! So glad I'm in the southwest now! The worst smell we have to deal with is the cow farms, which aren't all that bad.

Mr. Motorcycle said...

Great post.
Happy memories till spring to you too.

Dean "D-Day" said...

Beautiful words Steph.
Couldn't have said it better myself soul-sister.

RickNiekLikeBikes said...

I'd rather be nuts on a bike than bored at home--except for today. It's fricken cold.

Janet said...

Well said, Steph! The opportunity to really see and appreciate new landscapes is part of the reason I love riding. It's amazing to watch a storm roll in, even if you know you are heading right into it. ~ Janet

FLHX_Dave said...

Yup, the road bug has got you for sure. No explaining needed here, it's all understood.

Lady Ridesalot said...

Great post Steph! I can really relate to the obsession part of riding. Sometimes, I have to check myself at work or other places, cause I realize not everyone always wants to talk about riding or motorcycles. I'm thinking WTF? But, then I remember, it's in my heart and soul, not theirs. I feel sorry for those people and wonder if they are really getting the most out of their life. I can only live for me, so I will pass on my enthusiasm whenever I see the opportunity, and continue to enjoy the freedom and high I get from riding on two.

Whether your on the back, or in the front, it's all good! Let's just ride on! :)

Willy D said...

Who rides the Heritage in the first pic?

Riding in storms is actually fun if you stay aware of everything.

"Joker" said...

Sorry I haven't been around for a while kid, but this is a nice post to come back to.

I remember the pics you put up of the wall-cloud. I've never seen the like of it, and actually being there must've been such a rush - like no other. Yes, it's stuff like that which definately makes what we do and love so unique and special...and so addictive.

As you said about the color blue to the blind, it just can't be explained in words, but you did a pretty good job of it.

IowaHarleyGirl (Stephanie) said...

Thanks for all the great comments everyone. Just stopping by quick...I'm naughty...I'm at work!

Welcome back Joker! Holy Shit he lives!

Willy D - we traded her for the Street Glide...if I would've known I'd still be waiting for a bike of my own we would've kept her!

Mastercheif said...

Very nice! You ar a very talented writer. Thanks

Anonymous said...

You have a great way with words Steph. Wish I could put my thoughts down like that. dan

Margo said...

You make me want to get on a Harley right now and go out onto the open road! We wouldn't get too far though.....I think I would be stuck in a snow drift....when you get your Harley I better be the first passenger on it!

Ronman said...

Steph your description gave me goose bumps too. Great as always.