1
Springfield, MA to Sayre, PA
2
Sister’s Centennial Ride
3
Black Girls Ride Kickoff Party at Eagle Rider
4
Sierra Rally 2016
5
Ride for Steak at Jocko’s!
6
Time to get dirty at RFK DualSport 2016
7
Field Trip to Champion Sidecar in Garden Grove
8
Less teeth, more wheels!

Springfield, MA to Sayre, PA

The first real day of riding started with a quick trip to the tire place to get the lug nuts tightened before I took off. If you are ever in Springfield MA, the guys at Tire Warehouse are great!  I then realized that the only GPS route that was not loaded was today’s route, even after I spent so much time the night before checking everything. So it took me a while to get out of the Springfield area. I may or may not have take a few wrong turns going through some traffic circles. My GPS and I were not in agreement on a few things, but I finally got out of there. I was fairly certain that these delays put me about an hour behind the main group. I  went west and north, following Jacob’s ladder scenic road.  I am loving how lush and dense all the tree are in this area. It is like a non tropical forest/jungle. Amazing what a little bit of rain can do, right? California needs some of that!  At the next gas stop I actually caught up to the last group as they were finishing up. The next battle was getting through numerous toll roads.  I am certain we were quite a spectacle going through those toll booths. We finally got farther out, and we had mile after mile of curves, hills, green farmland, hay bales and more trees.  I lost count of all the big red barns that dotted the rolling hills.  Our lunch stop was Shirley’s Stoney Creek Restaurant, for food and ice cream. At that point I decided to break off from the planned route to make a side trip up to the south end of the Finger Lakes area.  I was not expecting upstate NY to look like a “perfectly groomed” hilly version of Nebraska. Absolutely gorgeous area. I headed to Burdett, NY to visit my old friend Dr. Roberta Mann, from my days working at Torrance Memorial. She now owns a cute little restaurant in town, that she runs during the summer season.  After, we said our goodbyes, it was south to Sayre, PA for a well needed dinner and shower. The kids did great, they have not started complaining, and they are reading lots of comic books on the iPad. We covered over 300 miles yesterday, but tomorrow will be less. To view more photos, click here: 

Read More

Sister’s Centennial Ride

Many thanks to our friend Wayne, and fellow LABiker, for driving out our sidecar rig from California, and picking us up at the airport in Connecticut.  We took the red eye on Sun July 3rd, and landed in CT at 5:30am. We were lucky to have breakfast followed by a 3 hour nap at Waynes’ house. Then we drove up to Springfield Massachusetts to check in for the Sister’s Centennial Ride. We had a riders meeting and got to meet all the riders who would be going all the way to California. Some had some amazing stories to tell, and one gal had heard about it the day before and signed up! We will have many members of the Van Buren family on the ride with us, and it was emotional to hear them talk about their famous relatives. The night continued with a dinner banquet, videos, more stories, press pictures, and more. And of course we can’t forget that it is 4th of July, and we had a spectacular view of the fireworks in Springfield. Tuesday morning, I awoke to see that it was raining outside, and had not covered the bike or put the windows on the sidecar. So I frantically went down to try to prevent more water getting on the leather seats, sidebags, and inside the sidecar. I did such a good job that it stopped raining.  Note to self: we are not in California anymore, and other states do have rain. I will need to check the forecast more diligently. Today’s events included a visit to the Springfield museums and Andover Air Force Base. We had a great time meeting more of the Van Buren family, and having the Mayor of Springfield give a proclamation. See more about the morning here on Masslive.com. The kids and I had a fantastic time wandering through all the exhibits and museums. The kids had two favorite areas; the Milton Bradley game exhibit, and “the Scoop on Poop” exhibit in the Science Museum. Who knew poop could be so exciting?  I, of course, loved looking at all the Indian Motorcycles, but I also loved all the Dr. Seuss info I learned as well as seeing the Dr. Seuss sculpture garden. After lunch we headed out to Westover AirReserve Base, I was treated to the view of Robert Pandya of Indian Motorcycles, riding the other sidecar on this journey. He is talented enough to balance his sidecar up in the air even with a passenger in it!  Pretty sure my goal is to not have that happen with my sidecar. Once we got on base,  we had more amazing stories from the Van Buren family as well as the female base Commander Karen Magnus. It is truly fascinating to hear how things have changed over the years and how inspiring so many of these women really are. I am surrounded by awesomeness today that is a fact!  The them for today is how we really should keep our history alive,[…]

Read More

Black Girls Ride Kickoff Party at Eagle Rider

I have a lot of people tell me how amazing it is that I’m driving across the county with my kids, and some people are even kind enough to tell me I’m a “Bad Ass” Well guess what? There are some other women that are even more Bad Ass than me. I saw a post on Facebook  about a local event. It looked like I had a chance to meet some other women that were doing the Sister’s Centennial Ride. So we all went to the Black Girls Ride Kick off party at the Eagle Rider in Los Angeles. They know how to throw a pre trip party. DJ spinning some great music, food, dancing, my daughter was in heaven. The “wow” moment of the night was meeting the ladies and finding out that they were doing more than just the Sister’s ride. They were riding from California, to Miami, then to Key West, then up to New York, THEN they were going to ride all the way back to California. Holy Cow! So impressive. It was great to meet fellow riders, check out all the bikes in the parking lot, as well as all the gorgeous Indians inside for sale. Thanks to Eagle Rider for hosting the location. To see more photos, click here: 

Read More

Sierra Rally 2016

Memorial Day Weekend is our annual Sierra Rally ride, that takes place with Porterville CA as our home base as we ride all the twisty in the southern Sierras. We have gone every year since 2000, but this year would be our first with the sidecar, and the first time the kids would join in the adventure! In the past we just hired a babysitter to watch them while we were out riding. This year is the 21st annual Sierra Rally. The fantastic Lorraine Aldort organizes the hotel, the catering company, and provides maps and such for all of the attendees.  As I said this was our first year bringing the sidecar, and it would be the longest all of us would be on the bike, or in the sidecar. Four days of being on the road for many miles. Boot camp continues! SIERRA RALLY DAY 1:  We started out on Friday morning, and because we are bad parents and pulled our kids out of school for the day. We did our usual route of eat, ride, repeat. I had to sit in morning traffic on the 405 as I unfortunately can’t lane split with the sidecar. We had breakfast at the Ranch Side Café in Sylmar. Our route loosely followed Sand Canyon- Soledad- Valley Center -Golden Valley- Plum Canyon-Bouquet- San Francisquito, then across the desert to Willow Springs, over the windmill speckled hills to Tehachapi. We made a quick stop at the world famous Tehachapi train loop, but no luck, there was no train. Next we were dodging cattle on Caliente Bodfish rd before going over the hill to Lake Isabella. Mandatory lunch stop at Nelda’s Diner. They have the most amazing milk shakes. Of course the food is good too. After lunch I had a real test of the bike going up the 155. I had to stay in 1st or 2nd gear the whole time going up the hill. It was a lot of work getting that rig with all the weight up that hill. The rest of the group left me in the dust.  Unfortunately, I caught up to them when one our our riders went wide on a turn and crashed into the dirt hill. The bad news: was the forks were bent and the bike was not ridable.  The good news: the land barge had just arrived and I was able to take all of the gear from 2 riders, so they could ride together the rest of the way to Porterville. SIERRA RALLY DAY 2: The plan was to go to the annual Posey BBQ and raffle, because we love the small town fun and they have a gun raffle.  No kidding. Plus it would be less miles than Friday. So a win win situation. SIERRA RALLY DAY 3: Today was to be our most ambitious day. We decided to go to Kings Canyon and Cedar Grove, then go through Sequoia National Park. No matter how many times I have dropped down into Kings Canyon, it remains[…]

Read More

Ride for Steak at Jocko’s!

“…Lovely watching the elegant yellow Tug negotiate said twisties with precious cargo aboard, while squids launch themselves over guardrails failing at same test. This I will never forget….”    George B.   My husband grew up on a cattle ranch in the sand hills of Northeast Nebraska, where they grow their own corn, soy, and alfalfa to feed their cattle. He states that the best steak he has ever had is at Jocko’s Steak House in Nipomo, CA.  Our motorcycle club, LABikers, tries to get up to Jocko’s once a year, and we make a 2 day trip out of it. Our group motto just happens to be ride, eat, repeat, and this trip would not disappoint. Another reason this trip was important is that we needed to “practice” with the kids to make sure all or our systems were in place and worked. We had the iPad, books, camera, new apps on the phone and iPad, and our new helmet communicators. We also needed to test out the comfort factor of the rig for all of us. This would be the first of two weekends in a row that the kids would be in the sidecar for long periods of time. We were putting the kids (and me) through sidecar bootcamp! We all met at Cactus Patch restaurant in Moorpark for breakfast. Good food and good company. For most of our friends it was the first time they saw the sidecar. Once all the tire kicking was over we hit the road. I would always be the slowest, so I took off knowing they would catch up. The quick details: Balcom Canyon, S. Mountain Rd, the 150, the 33 into Ojai for a gas stop, then continued on the 33 over the mountain, into the valley going north past Taft. Our lunch stop was the McKittrick Hotel and Penny Bar. This is one of those iconic, out of the way but totally worth the drive diners, with a bar in the back where everything is covered in pennies.  The place was packed and those ladies were hopping to get all the orders out. Lots of good food and great stories where shared by all. Time to get moving! We hit the 58, did a quick loop on the 229, then eventually got on the 101 to head south to Nipomo. We made great time, so we had the chance to hit the pool and hot tub at the hotel before dinner, since or reservation was not until 7:30pm. To read more, click here: 

Read More

Time to get dirty at RFK DualSport 2016

Today was going to be a great day to take part in the Southern California Ride for Kids Dual Sport. Why is that you say? Well two reasons, and both were exciting. Today’s ride was my friend Steve Squire’s first ride as the new National Campaign Manager for Ride for Kids. So a bunch of us LABikers were on hand to help support Steve as well as the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. The second reason was rain was in the forecast!! Rain? In California? Inconceivable!! Last year at LA Barstow to Vegas banquet I had won a full Icon Raiden suit that was waterproof, so I was eager to test it out. The day started out with pancakes, and just got better from there. We really enjoyed the routes this year. The first big hill heading up the mountain has some tricky areas though from water run off.  I almost ate it when my front tire got swallowed up in a big ditch. Luckily I was already standing up and had enough speed to push through it.  It was foggy once we got to the top and we needed to stop and defog our goggles. No fun if you can’t see what you are doing. At the lunch stop: hot dogs, snacks, gatorade, regroup, and it started to rain. I learned that rain hitting face hurts.My first time in the rain wearing my dirt helmet. My new Icon Raiden gear worked like a charm, no leaks! The single tracks by Lake Arrowhead were perfect, especially because of the rain. We all made an agreement to go back this summer to camp and ride those trails again. Overall there were 180 folks and we raised just under $40,000 that day with an additional $6,000 that came in after the ride. To view more photos, click here: 

Read More

Field Trip to Champion Sidecar in Garden Grove

So today was my first day taking the land barge on the 405 freeway. The plan was to get to Champion Sidecar in Garden Grove CA, to get some new parts. We wanted to get a new windscreen that was tinted, and replace the rubber weather stripping, some snaps and other miscellaneous small parts. I was just going to pick up some parts and bring them home for Frank and I do do the install ourselves. The ride down was uneventful, I did not have any problems. But on the way back, I definitely had a moment where I was on a right hand curve, and I felt that I just couldn’t keep the bike in it’s lane. That was not a good feeling. Because the bike doesn’t lean, it kinda messes with your mind, and you sometimes feel that the whole thing is going to tip over. It is just weird, and hard to explain, something that you have to experience. Anyway, the folks at Champion Sidecar are all fantastic and very helpful. Frank had called ahead to make sure they had the items in stock. And they where able to do the install on the new windscreen for a reasonable price, so after a few texts with Frank we decided to let them do it. This was a great thing, because they do this sort of stuff everyday, and did it in less than 2 hrs. It would have taken us much longer. They were also nice enough to let me watch during the work, so I got to see everything they did, and talk about all the parts. The guy who put the sidecar on originally still works there and he remembered it. So we talked about it. One of the sales managers even gave me a tour of the whole facility, and explained the step by step process of how they fabricate, sand, paint and cure all the trikes and sidecars. Not only that, but I got to take a peek at some beautiful classic cars that the owner stores there. A fun morning! I got the sidecar all spiffed up, got a tour of Champion sidecar facility, and still made it back intake to pick up the kids in carpool! To view more photos, click here: 

Read More

Less teeth, more wheels!

Today was an interesting day. I had my wisdom teeth pulled out, and we bought a motorcycle and sidecar. Not your typical Valentines weekend, that’s for sure! Here is the back story: The reason we were in the market for a motorcycle and sidecar was I was planning on doing the Sister’s Centennial Ride. I heard about the Sister’s Centennial Ride from a friend on Facebook. It is a cross country trip that commemorates the 100 year anniversary of the Van Buren sisters, Augusta and Adeline, riding their motorcycles across the country in 1916.  These 2 sisters wanted to show the government/military that women could help the war effort by being dispatch riders in the military. So they drove across the country, on bikes and roads of 1916 quality.  I am currently reading the book Grace and Grit, that tells the tale as well as other amazing women of that era.  In 1915, Avis and Effie Hotchkiss ( a mother daughter duo) traveled from NY to SF on a Harley Davidson Motorcycle and sidecar.  So much awesomeness back then! So, back to the ride.  I loved the idea, but just couldn’t imagine taking off 22 days from work and my family. My original plan was to join the ride somewhere closer to home, maybe Colorado, and just do the last part of it. But as time went on and I kept thinking about it, the whole point of the ride is to go across the whole country, honor these women who did something amazing 100 years ago, and to be part of something special. So I started to convince myself that maybe I would do the whole ride. Now I would just need to convince my husband. So we were talking about it, and I expressed interest in doing the whole ride, but I was worried. Not only did I think my VFR wouldn’t be the most comfortable choice of bikes to go cross country, but “I don’t know what we are going to do with the kids for a whole month!? I am going to need to find a bunch of summer camps for them that have extended day care”. My husband said, “Why don’t you take the kids with you?” We had often talked about getting a motorcycle with a sidecar, but never tried that hard to find one. I joked many times that I could be that crazy mom in carpool that takes her kids to school in a sidecar! So what the heck! Let’s look for one. On my very first search on Craigslist, I came across only a few ads that were good leads. I even came across an expired ad for a rig that seemed too good to be true. What did this have to do with my wisdom teeth? Well, this morning I had scheduled to get my wisdom teeth pulled out, and this was the day the seller was available for us to come look at the bike and sidecar. We were[…]

Read More

© 2016 MotorcycleMama.org