When a normal person makes an impulse purchase, it is usually in the form of something small like a snow globe or a suede skirt. Well, since we’re anything but normal, our two impulse buys this year were not so small – one was our RV Margaritaville and the other, a beautiful 2006 BMW 650GS motorcycle to complement the RV. On my first few times riding it as a passenger, I was scared to death and held on to Justin for dear life until my fingers went white. Then I graduated to holding onto the side handle bars. Nowadays, I have one hand on the camera and the other hand free to scratch my butt, and sometimes even falling asleep.
During our three months on the road, when Margaritaville is comfortably resting at a campsite, we would take the motorcycle to explore every nook and cranny, especially the twisty windy roads. While encountering countless other riders, we noticed that they usually travel in packs and seem to fit a certain stereotype – older men (and some women) in their 50s and 60s, covered in skull tattoos and geared up in leather chaps and vest and a ripped up Harley Davidson t-shirt. Then there’s us…when we get off our bike and remove our helmets and motorcycle jackets, we look like a couple of pansy yuppie posers in our Helly Hansen baselayers and Merrell hiking shoes. I’m sure it doesn’t help that my helmet is pink as I aspire to be a Pink Power Ranger. But when we get on that bike and ride, we seem to belong to a new club that I never knew existed. Just about every other biker we pass by gives us a wave or a head nod as if to acknowledge our fellow biker status. And if it is another BMW bike, we receive an extra special recognition for belonging to an ultra exclusive club. Sometimes when I am standing next to the bike waiting for Justin to go to the bathroom, people would drive by and shout out things like “Awesome!” or “Cool bike!” Of course I didn’t know what all the fuss was about until I realized that these people thought I was the one driving the bike. Little do they know, I can barely ride a bicycle, let alone a motorcycle. Nonetheless, it is fun to pretend that I am a cool biker chick no matter how far off the mark I am. (This is usually when reality hits and self loathing sets in.)
Another great thing about motorcycles is that not only are they incredibly fun and thrilling to ride, but also highly fuel efficient! The only problem is we never know exactly how much gas it holds because the tank is so small. One time when we were on our way to the south entrance of Yellowstone, the empty gas light came on. Knowing that we could go for at least 70 miles before filling up, we kept driving until we reached our destination. We were riding uphill for miles when the engine completely shut off which meant we were totally out of gas. We didn’t know how much longer we had until the next gas station, so we coasted on sheer momentum and sheer luck. Thank god we were going downhill all the way, so we crouched down low on the bike to increase our aerodynamics. We even passed by three cars in a no-passing zone because we couldn’t afford to slow down and brake. After five long miles riding in silence with the engine off, we successfully reached the gas station at the south entrance. It was quite nerve wracking but we laughed ourselves to tears, marveling at our dumb luck.
But motorcycles aren’t just for riding. When we picked up Justin’s parents to travel down the Oregon Coast, they were worried about our safety. While they wanted nothing to do with the motorcycle, Justin’s mom found a safe way to use it – hanging her hand-washed undergarments on the handlebars to dry. Who would have thought!
This post is dedicated to our dear friend Jimmy who is terrorizing the mean streets of Sydney on his Vespa. Vroom vroom!