In early June, as I was getting ready to head West, I was suddenly grounded in NW Florida with serious back pain – bad enough I had to postpone my road trip. Because if I took off, I knew I might get only half way across Texas. And I didn’t want to be stuck in Texas, especially in the summer. Not alone, with miserable back pain.
Dr – “How did you hurt your back?”
Me – “I’m not sure. Maybe it was 69 birthdays, 600 skydives, over 100,000 miles on a motorcycle, some of which was off-road and a deer in the Rockies who totaled one of my favorite rides. All well-seasoned with large doses of stubborn. Do you think that may have done it?” The doctor didn’t even smile as she ordered a bunch of tests, and I began to reassess what really matters to me.
I’ve grown somewhat accustomed to the lines and droops I see on my body, but I was deeply offended to see on the MRI & X-rays that even my insides are OLD. Damn! So now what? Well, I do not have to drive a 4×4 dually diesel pickup; I don’t have to wrestle with a travel trailer or a motorcycle lift to get my bike into the back of that big truck. But I REALLY do need to travel. And I’m NOT ready to give up my motorcycle.
So I traded in my beloved Arctic Fox travel trailer and Chevy 3500 diesel truck for a setup that an aging gypsy can handle – a 31 foot Class C motor home by Jayco. And to my amazement, my back is so much better now that I’m not climbing into and out of the cab or bed of that tall truck.
I’m not willing to give up the bike, so I’m experimenting with ways to make lemonade from aging lemons. And for me, it’s the idea of NOT having a car or truck. Just the motor home and my motorcycle. I’ve borrowed an open trailer from a friend to pull the bike behind the motor home. So far – it’s all good. (The logic includes a mitigation of my huge carbon footprint with the motor home at 10 MPG, since the bike average 53 MPG. Plus, I love the bike and am willing to ride it almost anywhere, anytime. And when I need to take my dog to the vet, etc., we’ll just go in the motor home.)
Right now, I’m back in Northwest Florida in August – they’ve had 48 inches of rain this year; 8 inches in the first 15 days of the month. I’ve ordered new rain gear. Today I rode into town in a misty rain. It felt good – fun — like walking in mud puddles. When the rain is horizontal or the lightning strikes make me duck and cuss, I sit it out. I have large bags or panniers on the side of my bike. Tacky friends refer to them as my metal filing cabinets. Call them what you may, I can carry groceries though I do keep an eye on the volume. I have a cargo net that secures boxed wine to the rear seat but crushes potato chips. I don’t have a washer/dryer in the motor home, so I’m learning to not let the laundry pile up. I go the Laundromat on the bike, with clothes in the side bags and strapped to the back seat if needed. They come back to the motor home clean and seriously compressed. So far, my attitude and patience are intact. I’d like to be able to buy an enclosed cargo trailer for the bike, but I may abandon this plan and get another truck – pull the truck with the motor home and put the bike in the back of the truck.
As soon as my back pain tapped down a little, I left in the motor home with my German Shepherd, Misty, pulling the bike on the open trailer.
But then after only a couple of weeks out West, a much-loved friend became critically ill, and I turned the motor home back to the East. Sadly, Hilda died. I’m staying around a little while to help Tom, with an eye on the road and maps.