Tag: family

Shadowriding with My Favorite Girl

Shadowriding with My Favorite Girl

Before she was a fully realized thought in my belly, my daughter has been riding along with me.

It has been some time since she’s been perched on the pillion seat of my Tiger, usually opting instead to take the Queen’s seat in the sidecar of the Ural. As we prepped ourselves to head out for an evening en plein air I asked her if she wanted to take the Tiger or the Ural. To my surprise she opted for the Triumph.

There are moments in parenthood where you recognize the growth of your child seemingly all at once. My now teenage daughter has grown up overnight. We stand eye to eye, her long curly hair, dyed blue, flags in the wind. I have come to realize that she is just like me. The me that I was as a teenage girl, only better.

While we cut down the road, I caught glimpses of our shadow riding along side of us. Her pony tail waving in the wind behind her is burned into my mind. Deep imaginings of us touring together have started to take root. It’s just about that time…

fuzzygalore - mom and daughter dirt boots when she was little…

Motorcycle Kids – They Grow Up So Fast

Motorcycle Kids – They Grow Up So Fast

In my mind it was just yesterday that my husband Kenny and I were wheeling the little KLX110 in to the living room to surprise Chloe for her birthday. She was home from school, sick with a fever and feeling miserable. What a terrible way for a kid to spend their special day.

But, as sick as she was – she managed to muster some excitement 🙂

Watching Chloe learn to ride gave me so much joy. I’ve said it before but, watching your child triumph is one of the greatest gifts EVER.

chloe on her klx110

Our little girl – well, she isn’t so little anymore. When I stand next to her now, she looks me in the eye without even looking up. I’m pretty sure that she went to bed one night and just… grew up.

Chloe recently said goodbye to her little KLX. It went on to a new home to start the riding life of another young lady. I hope it’s new owner loves it as much as we did. Happy trails, little one.

chloe and kenny walking

Now we start the bike shopping process all over again. This time though, Chloe will have an active role instead of being surprised. I’m pretty excited about that.

In the blink of an eye, we start a new chapter.

Dear Dad – I Love You. Thank You for Loving Me.

Dear Dad – I Love You. Thank You for Loving Me.

Hi Dad,

No matter how many hours you spend listening to the air moving through a breathing machine, how much you stare at the peaks and valleys that roll across a hospital monitor, how long someone has been sick – you never really believe that one whoosh of air through the tubes will be the last. I know it has been a long and difficult battle and I know that you were tired. But I just can’t believe that you’re gone.

You always smiled sweetly when you told me the story of how I was just a wee girl and you bought me a beach bucket and shovel. When you gave it to me I looked up at you with stars in my eyes and said, “Oh, Daddy! You’re the best daddy I ever had.” Never has that been more true than today.

In just a few hours an irreparable hole has been torn in the fabric of my life. Though I’ve tried to steel myself to eventually face this day, the truth is – you can never really be prepared for this type of finality. I miss knowing you are here in the world. It tears me apart that I will never again hear you say, “boy, am I glad to see you,” and I’ll never again say, “I’m always glad to see you,” in return. You know, the way we always did.

When you last held my hand and touched my cheek, you asked me to say a prayer for you. Well, I want you to know that I did. I prayed for you to have peace, to be without fear, without pain. But I can’t help but be afraid. I’m afraid that I’ll forget what your voice sounds like or that I won’t be able to hear your laugh anymore when I think about you.

Mom told me today that you still carry my kindergarten picture in your wallet. After 35 years in there it has long since faded but she said you still loved it. Even though you’ve always told me that you love me and that you are proud of me, it’s the little things like that make me feel like a million bucks. Underneath that tough, brave, unapologetic exterior you have always been a softy. Thank you for always loving me, no matter what.

I’m really sad that we never did get to take a ride in the Ural together. I know how much you were looking forward to that. If it’s okay with mom, I’d like to ride you to the place where we will spread your ashes. Never in a million years did I think our ride together would turn out this way, but it is all I can do.

“Don’t you let those boys see you cry.” Do you remember when you said that to me? Well, I’m trying, Dad. I’m trying.

I love you. Always.

-Rach

My Dad <3

Things a Motorcycle Mom Wonders

Things a Motorcycle Mom Wonders

One of the most important deciding factors in me getting the Ural was how my daughter Chloe felt about it. When I first brought the idea up on an indian summer afternoon, her eyes lit up as we talked. If it were up to her, we would have immediately gone to the Ural dealer. She was all in.

My daughter is my life’s finest work. I don’t have the power to string together a sentence that could do justice to describing just how much I love that kid. The idea that she likes spending time with her ole Ma, well… it makes me feel like a million bucks.

Out for a winter evening ride in Ural

Last night we rolled the orange rig out of the garage, suited up and went for a ride. Mountains of snow lined the roadways. A wet spray pinwheeled into the air as cars drove through the trickling melt. She could have been tucked away warm, playing video games at home, instead – she wanted to go for a ride.

As we rode along under the street lamps, I kept stealing glances of my girl in her chair. She just sat quietly, watching the world go by.

I often wonder what it is that she’s thinking about when we’re cruising along. And yet, part of me doesn’t really want to know because whatever it is, it belongs to her alone.

What will the memories of these ride be like for her years down the road? As a mom, I wonder. My hope is that riding in the big orange sidecar will become one of the many happy threads that weave through her childhood.

Only time will tell…

A Christmas Ride with Mom

A Christmas Ride with Mom

You just never know how a day will unfold when you get up in the morning, do you? On Christmas day, our family gathered to celebrate. We ate and laughed and listened to stories of the past, of hopes for the future.

During lunch my dad asked about the Ural as he often does. This was his first visit to our house in months so he’d only ever seen it in photos. Kenny quickly wheeled it out so that my pop could get a good look at it.

I made a promise to my dad that if he is feeling up to it in the spring that I will take him for a ride. That idea really must have tickled him, because he hung on to it for the rest of the day and every conversation we’ve had since Christmas. He has been reminding me that he’s excited to go for a ride. That makes my heart happy.

While we sat and chit chatted at the kitchen table – my mom, my sweet, awesome mom, didn’t bat an eyelash when I asked her if she wanted to go for a ride. There was no hesitation, no wavering, just YES! 

I’m proud to say that after nearly 20 years of riding motorcycles, I finally took my mom out for her first ride with me.

I threw my riding jacket on over my dress, slipped a pair of jeans and with the biggest smile in the world on my moms face ~ away we went putt-putting down the road.

mom, me and the ural

When I glanced over at her in the sidecar, it was like looking at a 20-year-old version of my mom. Her gray-blue eyes were busy smiling away through the helmet. The magic and youthfulness of wonder had captured her. She was thrilled and that was the best feeling in the world for me.

mom , me and the ural

When we arrived back at the house from the sidecar I heard, ‘Oh, I love it! We could ride across country. Would you ride this to California?’   Yes, mom. I think I would 🙂

Seeing my mom so happy made my Christmas.

Have you ever had the pleasure of going for a ride with your parents?

My Dream Came True

My Dream Came True

I don’t know that I believe in fate or destiny but sometimes it seems like you were just meant to stumble upon something, doesn’t it?

On Saturday when I was out doing battle with a constantly blowing wind, I made a right turn and headed down a small road that I never had before. While riding down the lane I saw something printed above a barn door out of the corner of my eye. I pulled a quick u-turn to get a better look.

“My Dream Came True.”

My Dream Came True

In that moment it was like a message that was just for me.

Earlier in the week while I sat talking with my dad, he looked and me with his infinitely deep brown eyes and asked,“Did you ever imagine that your life would turn out like this?”

His question centered around his memories of taking me for rides perched on the gas tank of a trail bike before I was even able to talk. Slowly and steadily we’d go around in the field behind our house. When I wanted him to take me out, I would reach up to him with both hands upward and make “brrmm brrmm” noises.

My dad is not well. But… he has the heart of a lion – fierce, proud and strong. Every time I see him or talk to him on the phone, every. single. time – he tells me a story about us going for a ride in the field on that old motorcycle. And each and every time he tells me that same story, he does it with a smile. I just want to weep when I think of how he carries that memory of us in his lion-heart each day.

Though I am adult with a child of my own, I’ll always be daddy’s girl. That swell of pride that comes when your dad looks at you and says he’s proud of you is a timelessly wonderful feeling. Maybe it is even more important now than it ever was.

A huge part of my life was set on a path by him. He put a dream in motion in those toddler days. It was a gift I didn’t even know I wanted but I cherish it like no other. I think I carry my dad’s dream forward in my heart.

Sunday Trail Riding With the Family

Sunday Trail Riding With the Family

Every time that we go out trail riding as a family, I come home with a little more amazement about how children learn to do things.

Chloe looking innocent

Riding along behind Chloe I’m so fascinated by watching her pick her lines through the terrain, making the decision of which mud she felt she could handle or which she should avoid. But, most of all there is a confidence that I really admire. A kid has the ability to just take everything in stride as it comes their way.

Have you ever been dusted by your own kid on a dirt bike? It’s the greatest thing ever. Cracks me up every time.

Chloe in the woods

The big kids were out playing, too.

GLantern1098 gets some air

They amaze me for nearly the same reasons.

Big kid toys

I on the other hand continue my streak of just falling over when there is nothing but air under one foot. My riding is much less glamorous and exciting than the folks I ride with. Pretty soon I think they’re going to outfit my helmet with a dunce cap attached to the top of it.

sleepy drz

These motorcycles… I tell ya. They’re such a great way to share time with the people in your life. You learn so much more than just getting from point A to point B. <3

Riding Motorcycles With My Daughter is Heaven

Riding Motorcycles With My Daughter is Heaven

This year marked a big change that bridged the gap of family and motorcycles when my daughter Chloe started riding.

As a motorcycle lover and a parent the opportunity to ride motorcycles with your kid is nirvana. I wish that there was some way for me to open up my soul and channel out the feelings because I don’t have the power to put the words together that would adequately describe the greatness.

There were moments on our last ride that had me laughing and giving Chloe props out loud in my helmet. Watching her stand up, ready herself and then head for the lumps in the earth to take like a jump… it’s really a wonder that my head didn’t explode.

Hanging out in the woods

Riding in the woods, Chloe worked on navigating through slippery leaves, tackling hill climbs and going down hills.

There was only one moment that made her stop and say, “Mom! I don’t wanna go down that hill!”
I knew it would be coming so as we approached it I stopped at the top. I told her to shut her bike off and that I would go down and walk back up to her.

Chloe at the top of the hill

When I got back up to the top, I stood in front of her bike with my hands on the the handlebars. I told her to put the bike in neutral and put her foot on the rear brake. We were just going to roll forward a little bit and move over the crest of the hill together. I have no idea what the right way to teach someone to go down a hill is but my thought was – like a roller coaster, getting over the crest of that first drop takes the fear of the unknown away and then the fun comes.

With her foot still on the brake I stepped aside and stood next to her. She then started to roll forward, pumping the brake a couple times and then… letting go. I watched her roll to a stop at the bottom of the hill and look back at me. That was the first and last time she wavered going down a hill for the day.

I was really proud of her.

There is a grace that a child seems to have that as an adult I wish I could master. I was saying to Kenny later on in the evening that Chloe will be a far better rider than I could ever hope to be. She will have the mechanics weaved into the fiber of her being. I think it must be different when you learn to do something as a kid compared to picking it up as an adult.

the best day ever

Though we were riding with a bunch of other people, we would split apart and then meet up with the group throughout the day. Chloe seemed to like it best when it was just the two of us, which was fine by me.

Hanging out in the woods

This is my favorite photo of the day – Chloe and I riding off in to the sunset…

Chloe and me riding off into the sunset

I watch Chloe ride and I can see that the love is there. Not because I want it but because it already exists in her. That little flame that was passed down to me from my dad is burning in my daughter.

me and my girl

I passed the torch.

Blast From The Past: Emblem, Wyoming

Blast From The Past: Emblem, Wyoming

My parents were vagabonds in the early 70’s, crisscrossing the States in my mom’s ’68 Firebird. I wrote of it a few years ago.

This past week on the heels of my photographic trip down memory lane, I asked my mother for a copy of a photo that was burned into my mind as a child. It was a picture of my dad standing near the Emblem, Wyoming sign.

This photo was taken in 1971:

Emblem Wyoming 1971

Here is the photo I took while on our bike trip to Yellowstone, 34 years later:

Emblem Wyoming Sign 2005

In over 3 decades the town never grew in population. I find that fact pretty amazing.

How about You?

What is the “smallest town” you’ve ever been to?

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