Author: Fuzzygalore

Rachael Kim is the whimsical writer behind the 20-year-old Girlie Motorcycle Blog. As a freelance blogger, she is on a mission to inspire laughter, self-examination, curiosity, and human connection. Girlie Motorcycle Blog can be found on several Best Motorcycle Blog lists.
Big Josh – The Joshua Tree Muffler Man

Big Josh – The Joshua Tree Muffler Man

In December of 2016, I traveled south along Route 111 on my way towards Salvation Mountain near the town of Mecca, California. At the time, the only thing on my mind was racing the setting winter sun so that I could have enough time to visit the attraction.

To my surprise, a muffler man came in to view as I motored along. All decked out in his cowboy finery, he was a handsome surprise.

Fast forward to 2017. The Mecca Muffler Man was sold and removed from his perch along the Salton Sea.

After being out of sight for almost a year, in 2018 he returned to view with a spiffy new paint job in the town of Joshua Tree. You’ll find him now a hop, skip, and a jump from the World Famous Crochet Museum standing outside of The Station.

In addition to his spiffy new livery, he’s also got himself a new name: Big Josh!

Fuzzygalore Joshua Tree Muffler Man

The Station
61943 29 Palms Hwy
Joshua Tree, CA

When You Can’t Find 1,000 Words

When You Can’t Find 1,000 Words

As a young teenager, before I rode motorcycles, it wasn’t uncommon for me to carry a camera around taking snapshots of life. I fondly recall having a pink Le Clic disc-film camera, which I thought was so cool. When friends would come over and hang out in my room, we’d listen to music, talk and they’d flip through pages of photos in my tattered, sticker-covered album.

When I started riding motorcycles that snapshot tradition carried on – first with a 35mm point and shoot, then digital cameras in various forms, and as the years went on with just my iPhone. Taking pics during my rides became as ubiquitous as putting gas in the bike.

Fuzzygalore at Bombay Beach on the Salton Sea

I don’t profess to be particularly skilled at taking photographs. I have no training or special knowledge. I simply snap what I like and hope that other people think it looks as nice in the little square as I do when I saw it. That’s good enough for me. And there is pleasure in this simple process. It isn’t work which I make for myself and I don’t get bogged down in the details. It’s: see, snap, go.

See, snap, go is the most simplified version of reality. When we take photos with the slightest consideration that someone else might see them, there is a little some’m extra that makes its way into the process. Because when we take photos and share them we’re doing more than just seeing for ourselves, aren’t we? It is more than just a simple time marking.

Since I started blogging about my motorcycle experiences, photos have been an integral part of the storytelling process. And if the old adage is true that a picture is worth a thousand words, perhaps the photos do a better job of presenting the story than the words.

Why do people connect with certain bloggers? Maybe it’s because the people who write stories hold up a mirror for us. We see ourselves in their words. They articulate the truth we struggle with. They breathe life into nebulous thoughts that have been but wisps of smoke.

With a photograph, a bridge to nostalgia might be built, transporting us to a place we recall. But there is also the awakening of wonder about things we’ve never seen. The photo’s story isn’t necessarily fixed. With no words to guide us, the narrative is our own. There are also times when a photograph becomes a punctuation mark or 1,000 more words that finish telling a story.

At any given time, there may be hundreds of unpublished drafts in my blog post folder. Some entries are just a sentence or a single photograph. Other entries are fully-formed posts doomed to languish because they were written for me only as a way of clearing my mind. And then there are periods of time in which I don’t commit ideas to “paper” at all.

This same process is true of the camera roll on my phone. There are nearly 6,000 photos there right now. Some you’ve seen, some you haven’t. Some you will, some you won’t. But, it is unusual for me to go long stretches without snapping a photo, even one that is solely for my own enjoyment. I’m in that no-photo place now and it feels a little unfamiliar. Have I forgotten how to see?

Blogging dry spells are puzzling to me. They highlight the fact that I do not understand myself or my own motivations. Here I am with this abundant bank of past experiences, photographs, and thought fragments from which to pull – but more often than not, I don’t.

Why? I’ve been a million places, seen a shit-ton of interesting things and I’m trapped in my own head all day. What keeps me from sharing? There is always a story to tell. Always. Even when the story is: I don’t have a story to tell. The why of that is its own story.

World Famous Crochet Museum – Joshua Tree, California

World Famous Crochet Museum – Joshua Tree, California

In the town of Joshua Tree, California at the gateway of the National Park, sits another glorious American institution – the World Famous Crochet Museum. While on a riding trip in January of 2020, I stopped in for a visit.

A what…? you might ask. Well, have a look:

Nestled in the belly of a cheerfully repainted former 1-hour photo kiosk, museum visitors are treated to wall-to-wall, floor to ceiling, wholesome treasures. Each piece lovingly hooked and looped into being. Crocheted objects fill the space – and your heart with smiles.

While inside, little vignettes of similar genres come into view. Oh, look, it’s the watermelon slice section! There were clusters of poodles, desserts, sushi and clowns. You’ll also fine bears, sea critters, cakes, rabbits and more.

But what really caught my eye was the dainty amigurumi bathroom suite.

Yes, indeedy – a full bathroom set. Not just a sink. Not just a tub. Nope! Guests are treated to the whole shebang including a toilet and rug. It’s safe to say that whoever made this little ensemble doesn’t do anything half-assed. They’re whole ass all day in every way.

Just ask yourself – wouldn’t you want to be friends with the type of person who crochets a tiny toilet on a Tuesday night? I think we can both agree the answer is ‘yes.

The pink frosted donut was of course near and dear to my chubby little heart. A thing of beauty, really.

Before leaving, I left a little donation and took a sticker from the museum. Places such as this keep the child inside our heart giggling.

If you’re in the area, it’s worth the stop.

(Enjoy my squeaking boots!)

It came as a surprise to find a Rokon Trailbreaker leaned up against the wall, baking in the sun like a 2-wheel drive James Dean. If James Dean were a nerd who wore orthopedic shoes, that is.

World Famous Crochet Museum
61855 Highway 62
Joshua Tree, California

I Ride Therefore I Am. Maybe.

I Ride Therefore I Am. Maybe.

Do you ever feel like maybe it’s just time to shut the lights off, turn the lock and close the door on an old version of yourself? Right now it feels like I am straddling between two me’s. Cantankerous, vision gone murky – I’m like snake about to shed it’s skin, striking at everything.

Lately it feels like I’m being confronted by an unfamiliar version of myself. I’ve been avoiding things I’ve always taken great pleasure in – like riding my motorcycle, taking photos and blogging about it. And instead I have been slipping into trying things I’ve never done before. Boring, mundane, yet oddly satisfying things.

If I don’t ride my motorcycle on Sunday, and choose to stay home pulling weeds, what does that say about me? Does it mean that I’m no longer passionate about riding? Does it mean that a part of my identity that I’ve held dear for so long no longer exists? Or does it mean that I am willing to accept that I am not a robot that follows a set routine? Or that maybe I simply need a break to recharge because I’ve got too many tabs open on my mental browser? Does it say nothing of any consequence at all?

Why do we sometimes decide to put ourselves in a box and stay there for so long?

Why do I try to convince myself that I can only be what I’ve always been? Even though intellectually, I know I haven’t always been just one thing. At any given moment I could be different than I was just a moment before as a result of just thinking.

Being obsessive is a tightrope. It can be wonderful or terrible depending on what gets my focus. When it is a positive avenue, I am able to do things I am proud of. Perhaps something like a sport or a creative outlet; something that I can share that benefits others. Conversely when it is something negative, I might burn everything to the ground in a fit of destruction.

My pendulum swings wide, rarely resting in the middle. Black. White. Love. Hate. In. Out. All. None.

Self-applied pressure often paralyzes me. For example, I like writing. On the whole, it makes me feel good about myself and provides relief. Being able to communicate through this medium feels safe and my anxieties about my physical person don’t cripple me.

The positive feeling I get from writing will make me chase after that dopamine hit. It’ll make me want more. And more, and more, and more, and more until I become consumed by needing to do this thing because it makes up a part of my identity and it feels good and who doesn’t want to feel good and if I don’t do this thing than who am I even, and what the hell else am I any good at anyway, or why else would anyone pay attention to me and what’s the point of anything?!

So, what was done solely for pleasure begins to turn into something else. Something negative.

As soon as I turn writing into a job for myself I begin to shut down. When I start applying rules and schedules and assumptions and expectations, I no longer like to write. And then, I start to obsess about not being able to write and I become catatonic and start a cycle of isolation. My creativity takes a leave of absence. My sparkle fades. I become a ghost.

Well-meaning people will offer ideas like “how about you just write something once a week?” And while I understand the sentiment and appreciate people trying to help, it fails to recognize a fundamental aspect of my personality that will never be fixed until I successfully rewire my own brain.

If I don’t ride my motorcycle, don’t take pictures and don’t write about either of those things… who am I? Maybe I don’t really have to worry myself about any of it. Everything’s going to be okay.

Quarantine Chat: Moto-Blogging, Vlogging and Social Media

Quarantine Chat: Moto-Blogging, Vlogging and Social Media

Last week, we had a great Zoom chat in which we talked about our motorcycle experiences, inspiration, travel, and just plain got to know one another better. Seeing people’s faces, their mannerisms and hearing their voices and accents adds a new layer to the connection you’ve made through words and static images. I loved it.

I loved it so much, I’d like to do it again. But, perhaps with a little more of a topical focus?

mural with triumph bonneville at fuzzygalore

Moto Blogging Chat

How about tapping into other bloggers and content creators to talk about their process and experiences with blogging? I’m endlessly curious about how people go about documenting and sharing their two-wheeled lives.

So, if you’re bored and want to video chat, let’s do it!

Yeah, this is a little impromptu, but.. eh, what else are we doin’? 😉

Moto Blogging Zoom Chat
Sunday – April 26, 2020
8:00PM EST

Zoom chat invites will be sent via email – this is where you come in:

If you want to join, let me know what email address I should send the invite to. I can use the one you are commenting with below or you can send me one to use through this form.

Also – if you have questions or topics or something you want to squeeze in beforehand – lemme know those, too!

And just like last time, I have no idea how this will go. Could be 5 people, could be just you and me. Either way, I’m good with that.

Be well, be awesome,
R.

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