Janet Downes “Just Jan”

 Diva Spotlight, Gone But Not Forgotten, Women Riders  Comments Off on Janet Downes “Just Jan”
Sep 012005
 
Janet Downes "Just Jan"

Janet Downes "Just Jan"

My name is Janet Downes and I’m a 7 year breast cancer fighter. I don’t call myself a survivor anymore as I’ve been truly battling this disease. We’ve gone many rounds in this fight but I refuse to give up or let it beat me. It may win eventually but I’m going to go down swinging hard and leave my own bruises on it.

I am retired from the US Air Force and currently working on a book about my battle with cancer. I had 2 aunts, maternal & paternal die of this awful disease. Along with a third aunt that survived. Cancer was a word that I was familiar with but you never quite understand until it taps YOU on the shoulder.

In 1998 I was about to celebrate my 40th birthday. I had a wedding theme planned for my party and everyone thought I was nuts. Maybe I am a little but I got tired of seeing everything in the stores that was related to ‘40’ being in black. So I decided to poke a little fun at society because I didn’t feel old. That coupled with the fact that after 19 years of adulthood, I was finally at a place in my life where I was happy with almost every aspect of my life. I’d been married & divorce twice at that time, yet I no longer needed a man to ‘fulfill’ me. I had 3 beautiful children (Nicole, Jasmine & Eugene Jr.) and for the first time, was satisfied with my body. You know what I mean ladies? We always seem to feel that our breasts are too small or too big. Always complaining that something is wrong with our hips, butt or legs. We can always find something wrong with ourselves when we look in the mirror. One day I woke up & decided, I was happy with who I was, just the way I was. So that led me to, marrying myself. I didn’t know it at the time but that little stunt got me international fame. It seems that I was the first woman to think of it and actually carry it out. It was a beautiful wedding and I am happy with myself, even now.

Two months later, I had cancer. I had a modified bilateral mastectomy and went through 6 months of chemotherapy. The way I describe 1998 is like this; I found myself, married myself, lost both my breast & all of my hair. Whew! What a yea!

I was on the mend and after looking at myself in the mirror and saying, put your money where your mouth is Jan. I knew that I didn’t have to have breast to be me. I was still Just Jan. I still loved me and I knew I would be okay. After coming to grips about being breast-less, I decided to get implants. When a doctor told me I could get any size I wanted, I figured, why not? That was my present to myself for enduring what I had just gone through.

Janet Downes - Diva Rider

I began living life to its fullest when in 2000; I felt a lump under my implant. It had returned. Looking back, the news didn’t devastate me as much as the first time, I did it once and could do it again. After taking that lump out, I had 2 months of chemo (all that I could stand because the side effects kicked my butt) and then 7 weeks of radiation. I lost my hair again but even that wasn’t as devastating as the first time because I knew it was coming back when all was done. I began to mend again. Smelling the roses if you will. Everything was beautiful. I was alive & that’s all that mattered to me.

2002, the cancer returned again, in my collar bone. In 2003 it returned again, twice. In 2004 and so on. That’s the short version. Here I am in 2005 and still fighting. I’ve had 16 surgeries in the past 7 years and am about to start on my 7th regiment of chemotherapy. As I said, I’m not technically a survivor but a fighter.

I don’t just fight the cancer; I try to help others through one of the most difficult times in their lives. I joined a group called; The Witness Project because they are a faith based group that goes into churches, schools, anywhere in the community that wants us and give our testimony to other woman. In hopes of teaching more woman about Breast Self exams and standing up for yourself when faced with a diagnosis of cancer. I personally talk to anyone and everyone that I meet. It’s all about being empowered. Cancer can, if you let it, strip away your life. I choose not to let it. As Tim McGraw’s song says, ‘live like you were dying.’ That sums up my life now.

Last year I applied to be a part of the group, Changing Gears but I missed the deadline and was heart broken. But I thank God that I was still around this year to apply and was accepted. Women from all over the world applied for the chance to ride. I’ve always had a special love for Bikes and used to ride years ago. But somehow, I got busy with life & kids and working and didn’t make time for it. When I saw the opportunity to get on a bike again, I jumped at it. Since being accepted I took the Riders Edge course and got my endorsement on my license. While I don’t have a bike of my own, I’ve rented a few bikes to prepare for the ride. There is no better feeling than being on the road on a Harley (or whatever you like) it’s just you and a powerful machine and the road. The thought of riding with 20 other breast cancer survivors, raising money to help other women smitten with this disease and meeting new people along the way has left me giddy with hope.

Janet Downes & Family

I tell people all the time that I’m lucky and blessed. When they hear my story they don’t understand how I can say that. The truth is, cancer can teach you if you let it. It’s taught me so many things in the past 7 years that I’m amazed every day. Cancer knows no color or age boundaries and because of that I’ve had to live that same way. I’ve found new friends and lost others that I thought were friends because of the cancer. I’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff because there is so much more to life. I’ve also learned to have less and less pity parties for one because when you think you have it bad, there is someone that’s always worst.

I keep holding on, waiting for the Cure. I will ride as long as the good Lord lets me and I will enjoy my life as long as He lets me. I wouldn’t have made it this far without God, my family & friends. Especially my brother Ronn who has been like a sister to me. I have two beautiful grandchildren now, Giavonna 3 and Westyn 7 months. No one can tell me, that I am not blessed.

 

Janet Downes
Departed this life Thursday, March 8, 2007 at 7:44am.

Jun 272005
 

Kathy (HM2 Kathryn Van Hooser) is a Corpsman with the Navy Reserves out of the Reserve Center in Springfield, MO for approximately 15 years. She initially went into the service as Active Duty Army then, Army Reserves and finally, the Navy Reserves. Kathy was the 2nd oldest member of her Basic Training class so they called her “Mom” instead of Grandma (a nickname given to the oldest member of the class).

Kathy was in her early-mid 30s when she joined the Army. Even though she loved her Army unit at the Reserve Center, Kathy is always hungry for knowledge and the Navy offers substantially more training and diversification than the Army so, she moved to the Navy Reserves. She has been on AT to several different bases including Camp LeJeune and Camp Pendleton and a few others. I believe her MOS is still out of Pendleton where she passed her 8404 School. This is the training that qualifies a Corpsman to be attached to the Marines. A Corpsman that can’t do what a Marine can do is a liability to that Marine unit. There were a number of men that ‘rang the bell’ and dropped out of this intense, physically and psychologically, challenging course. She sustained her own injuries going through it and still completed the class successfully.

“Devil Docs” are sent to places that are much higher risks to personal survival to take care of the medical needs of the Marines that are in harm’s way.

Kathy ‘raised her hand’ when they called for volunteers to go to Iraq both times. She was part of the initial invasion’s second wave and was one week from being moved into Baghdad to replace the Alpha Company (she was part of Bravo Company) when the war was declared over. It just happened that her father passed away that same week. She went on her current tour with the Navy Mach Team that is in Al Asad, Iraq to support the Air Cargo branch of the Marines and Air Force of that airfield. They manage distribution of nearly all of the components of supply to the war.

Kathy is very proud to serve our country and, since she isn’t one to sit around waiting for someone in her unit to need medical care, she operates a number of heavy equipment units such as, a 10,000 pound fork lift, a ‘heavy’ truck to unload cargo planes of equipment that includes items like jet engines, helicopter parts, etc.

Kathy’s son, Justin, is Active Duty Navy. He is a MA (Master-at-Arms – the Navy’s version of a MP) and is currently stationed in New Orleans. Justin is scheduled to go to Iraq or GITMO in August. Kathy lost her 26 year old daughter 4 days before she was to ship out to Iraq this tour. She had to stay behind for the services and then shipped out to catch up with her unit 10 days after Jennifer’s death.

When Kathy isn’t in the Big Sandbox, she is a Deputy Sheriff for Greene County and has served as a Med Tech in the County Justice Center, a Bailiff for the Probate Court and is currently assigned to protect Criminal Judge Tom Mountjoy of the Greene County Courts. She has also served on the DWI Task Force and appreciates the effects of their service for taking drunk drivers off of the streets.

Kathy graduated with her BS Degree in Psychology right after returning from Iraq the first time and had just completed her 1st semester in the Master’s Degree Program when she was called to duty this time. She left the end of January ’05 with orders that state she will be deactivated the end of January of 2006. There is reason to believe that her unit will be coming home sooner – possibly October of this year.

Kathy’s children at home are our 3 cats. They are all rescues and all three are Tuxedo Cats (black with the white chests). She gets to hear their purrs over the phone sometimes and it brings a sense of home to her.

We bought our bikes the year Kathy got back from her first tour of duty (2003). She originally didn’t want us to have a ‘big bike’ when I wanted one. I had waited until my kids were out of home before getting my dream ride. Well, after months o
Kathy is now a member of the Blue Knights (an International Law Enforcement rider’s group), Women on Wheels, Lady Cruisers and enjoys riding whenever possible. In fact, she enjoys riding her bike so much that I really miss her on the back of mine. I am also a man that enjoys his bride’s arms around him when riding. What can I say? I am very proud to be her partner in life and of her determination to do anything she sets her mind to do.f trying to convince her (along with several of our friends working on her), she relented and I had my VTX 1800 Retro in the driveway a few days later. After only a couple of months of riding with me, meeting the nice people that also ride, and enjoying this new freedom of spirit, she went out (without EVER letting a clutch out before) and bought a Yamaha Roadstar Silverado 1600cc. Within less than 200 miles of training on a Shadow 600cc, I had to sell it because she was already riding the Roadstar. Part of this accelerated process is due to her taking the Rider Course that our friends, Gregg and Donna Routh provide with their SW MO Motorcycle Training Center. They gave her the training and confidence to ride. The other part of her success is if she determines she wants to accomplish something, regardless of the level of challenge, she will not only succeed, she will excel.

We ride a number of rides to benefit many organizations. We also do long distance bicycling for causes including the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks ride and the MS 150 Bike Tour. Kathy will miss out on riding on a Toy Run to the Shriner Children’s Hospital (in St. Louis) this year. I founded a new motorcycle unit at our local Shrine (Abou Ben Adhem Cruisers) hence, the Lady Cruiser membership.

Read more about this amazing Diva

Submitted By: Buck Van Hooser

Leesha

 Diva Spotlight, Motorcycle Clubs, Women Riders  Comments Off on Leesha
Jan 212005
 

I am 36 years old and a mother of 3

My name is Felicia and I am from Austin, TX.

When I’m not riding and travelling with the club to motorcycle events – – I love spending quality time with my daughters and boyfriend of 5 years!  I also enjoy cooking and gardening.I am the Founder and President of an all female motorcycle club “Brown Sugar MC”.

Brown Sugar MC was introduced to the Bike World in 2003.

We are a group of women that have a different image to portray in the Bike World and we wanted to start the first all female club in our area.

We started as a group of Women Riding as passengers with our Significant Others, and just decided it was time to get our own two wheels and do more than just ride around for fun. We are focused on community involvement and charitable causes.We recently celebrated our first anniversary in November 2004. There were 150+ guests and riders in attendance with only 4 members to facilitate them all.

Leesha and Lamar

We are dedicated to involving women and children in all our everyday activities, and are well rounded with volunteer work for the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Organization and the Austin Safeplace-shelter for women and children of Abuse.We are now 5 members strong with a new edition of a very intelligent, well organized individual, whom is a member of the Eastern Star Organization, of the Masonic Community.

Brown Sugar left is Leesha President, middle is QuietStorm Business Manager, and right is Baby-Girl Vice President at Ruffriders Friends and Family Day. We got wet on the Ride and had a lovely time all the way to the Ride home, which was a lot drier!

Brown Sugar in Houston, TX for the Bikefest 2004 in August

Brown Sugar with Ashanti Queens out of CT and QT's out of NC at Female Sportbike Weekend in Miami 2004

Brown Sugar with Vice President of Lady Ridaz, accepting the Furthest Distance Travelled Award

One of Brown Sugar Fun Rides in November 2004

Brown Sugar MC Fundraiser at Lone Star BMW- one of our Sponsors

 

Jeanne Placon “HDGirlee”

 Diva Spotlight, Women Riders  Comments Off on Jeanne Placon “HDGirlee”
Dec 132004
 

I took the MSF course when I was 39 in May of 1994. I signed up with four other women I worked with at the police department along with one of our motor cops. He was the one who had encouraged us to take the course.

In August I bought a used Suzuki 450. I remember the very first time I rode it – I didn’t even get it out of the parking space before I dropped it. I stalled it out; the front fork was turned; it leaned and that was all it took.I picked it up and tried again and realized I had never been out of second gear. So for several days I just rode around my townhouse development parking lot until I realized I needed gas. I had two options – drive my car to the gas station a mile down the road and fill up a gas container, or ride the damn bike there and fill the tank up. I chose to ride. I made it there and back without incident. And got out of second gear! I woked up to riding to and from work 24 miles away. That is how I found out just how cold you can get on a bike. I was working the night shift and it was tee shirt weather when I rode into work one evening. But when I left to go home at 6am the following morning it was only 40 degrees. I did have a light jacket with me, but still had to stop at a couple 7/11’s on the way home to warm up. Lesson learned!

In April of 1995, I bought at new Honda Shadow 600. I enjoyed riding around by myself, even heard of a poker r but often wished I knew other women to ride with. I kept searching for women’s riding clubs, but there was nothing local at the time.

In May, I was in a local cycle shop and the woman working there told me about a ride out of their shopthe following morning. She suggested I come because I would likely meet other women riders there. The event was called Rolling Thunder. It was drizzly out when I got up the next morning and I almost decided not to go. I didn’t know anyone else in my area t

hat rode and I had never been on a group ride. At that point, I had never even heard of a poker run. Looking back now I’m still amused at my initial reaction to the 500 or so riders that were gathered at the bike shop to do this run. Little did I know that soon I would be in a sea of bikers as far as the eye could see. Sitting in the Pentagon parking lot in the middle of 300,000 bikers was overwhelming to say the least. I didn’t want to walk away from my bike for fear of never finding it again! I didn’t know it at the time, but there in the midst of all those bikers were a small group of women that would change my life.

In December of 1995, I finally found a newly formed chapter of Women in the Wind. I showed up at their first meeting and one girl had hair that was the color of an eggplant and another one looked just like Janis Joplin.
And so began the best era in my life. I could go on and on with great rides and memories. But wouldn’t you rather be out riding and making your own memories than sitting here reading about mine?
Check it out at www.geocities.com/hdgirlee.I still ride with my ladies from Women in the Wind but since my wreck, I don’t ride as much as I want too. My web site has the story of my wreck and recovery if you are interested; and pictures of my current ride; a 2001 HD Sportster 1200 with a Lehman Trike Kit.
It’s my dream to ride cross county some day. With my physical limitations though, I need a bike a little more comfy than my sporty. My plan is to sell the sporty trike and then buy a Harley touring bike and have it triked out. When I finally make that trip, I look forward to maybe meeting some of you along the way.

Ride Safe, Ride Free
Jeanne Placon

 

 

 

“Blondie, the Black Widow”

 Diva Spotlight, Women Riders  Comments Off on “Blondie, the Black Widow”
Nov 012004
 

"Blondie, the Black Widow"They call me Blondie! I am the President and a Founding Member of The 5150 Girls M/C, an all American Iron Motorcycle Club located in the San Joaquin Valley.

I love to ride and attend all kinds of runs, events, and rallies. One of my favorite weekend activites is to take off on the bikes and go camping. Hollister and Mid-State Rally are two of my favorite runs.

"Blondie, the Black Widow"

I have been riding on bikes since I was three years old with my Father, who has since passed away in 1997.

 

(I can remember riding in front of him while sitting on the gas tank going all over the city. I bought my own bike about 6 years ago and it has been the most wonderful experience. I have had so many great times and met fantastic people along the way!

 

"Blondie, the Black Widow"

I am a single mother of three children.  My youngest son has Autism and is quite the character. My middle daughter is going to ride someday I am sure.  My oldest son is a freshman experiencing his first year playing football. My three kids are just the BEST!  They make me so proud each day in everything they do.

I work full time as a Special Educator of Severely Handicapped Children who have Autism. I love my work and feel so lucky to be involved in such a fulfilling profession.

I have an Associates Degree in Sign Language Studies and presently go to school full-time working to complete my Masters Degree in Special Education. I also serve as Vice President of the Tulare County Autism Network, which is a resource and support group for families with children affected with this disorder.

Bev is one of my best friends and co-worker. She works with me in my classroom as my Instructional Assistant. I can never let her know how much I appreciate all that she does for me and the students during the day. Because of her hard work the day goes much smoother. She also comes up with many creative ideas that really help make the classroom a positive learning environment.

Bev doesn’t ride a bike, but at a recent party at work I got her all decked out in leather and she made quite an impression! I’m still working on her though; keep checking back here because one day she might get a Harley and be the next “Diva of the Month”!

"Blondie, the Black Widow"

I would love to share the experience of riding with her!I started playing music in 1984. I play music part time in two bands. The April Skye Band is the one that I work in most of the time. Blu’ Onyx is a big band full of a bunch of wild and crazy guys who keep me laughing all the time! I grew up in the Los Angeles area and began studying piano at age five and started performing when I was six. While living in Los Angeles, I modeled on the local modeling circuit and was featured in Western Photographer Magazine.

"Blondie, the Black Widow"
While I attend many runs, it is difficult or not appropriate for the kids to come along with me. There is one run a year though that they look forward to camping at during Memorial Day Weekend. It is the Motorcycle Jamboree hosted by the Loners from Southern California. Here we are this past year, you can see from their smiles they are having a blast!

"Blondie, the Black Widow"

I have a background in classical voice and enjoy singing all styles of music such as Blues, Top-40 Dance, to High Energy Rock. I have been the lead vocalist and front person for bands in the Hollywood – Santa Monica area and also in the San Joaquin Valley. I have also studied Jazz, Modern Dance and Russian Ballet.

While living in the Valley I have appeared in several local television commerials and done promotions for Budweiser, Coors and Carroll’s Tire. I love to parasail and have also skydived before. My other hobbies include riding my HD, boating, jet skiing, shooting pool and making boys cry.

You never know what you may come across while on a run. Since I am a vegetarian I had to take a picture loving the giant hot dog! My motto is “Hey weiners need love too!” As we rode further towards the Coast we saw this fun bar that had a pirate theme. This is Patty, myself, and Froggie hoping that Jack Sparrow might appear.

 

Surprise! Look who Froggie and I caught up with! None other than Mickie Jones from Tool Time’s Home Improvement Show. He is the Grand Marshall each year for this event which focuses on bringing toys to kids each Christmas Season. We decided to give him a big “5150 Welcome” this year! I think he enjoyed it as much as we did!
At the Laughlin River Run there is a contest hosted by the Flamingo Hilton Hotel each year. 2003 was the 21st Annual Run and I was chosen Ms. Laughlin River Run, 3rd place winner. This is backstage getting ready to go out and “strut my stuff.” We had to model a few outfits, do a little dance, and answer a question.

"Blondie, the Black Widow"

 

The contest was a blast and all the woman who participated were so pretty and nice. I won a Harley Gift Certificate and tickets to see my all time FAVORITE George Thorogood and the Destroyers! I would love to open for them one day. They are a band that ROCKS!!!

"Blondie, the Black Widow"

This is my best friend since 1985, when we first met we HATED each other. But it wasn’t long after that we became very close. Even though she lives over 200 miles away we talk almost eveyday. She has been there for me through thick and thin; I would do anything for her. Years ago she used to say, “Becareful on that bike April.” Then she met somebody special to her who rides and she got bit by the bug! YEAH! Now we are even closer that we have become “Sisters in the Wind.” If she looks familiar, yes it’s Audrey, one of the past Diva’s of the Month!

"Blondie, the Black Widow"

Here we are, Froggie and I camping out in Santa Maria. Froggie is my VP in the 5150 Girls M/C and my main partner in crime. We are always having somekind of adventure together, and those good times always involve our Harleys! (and sometimes her husband’s when she steals his!)

"Blondie, the Black Widow"

To me riding is something I can’t live without, I rank it right up there with air and having a pulse. I have developed such a close group of people who have become my extended family through the years. These two pictures reflect just a few of the friends that riding my Harley has brought me. They are my treasures and I wouldn’t trade their friendship for anything!

"Blondie, the Black Widow"

Wide glide front end, forward controls, drag bars to drag pipes, and everything in between. Chrome, chrome, and more chrome was the saying while we redid this Sporty. It turned out great and I am really proud to say the bike looks very sweet and is a blast to ride. A BIG thanks to my buddy Courtney for all his hard work!My bike started out as a stock 1989 Sportster with an airbrushed tank. This past Summer it got a complete overhaul from front to back.

"Blondie, the Black Widow"

Courtney’s long term goal is to open his own bike shop. You can see from my ride’s overhaul that when he does he won’t be hurting for business! There is nothing like being out on the open road alone or riding in a pack. It is a time to have fun and reflect on the wonderful things that life has given to you.

Or it is also a good time to clear your head from the everyday goings on that happen during the day. When you see the beautiful sites from your bike or stop and enjoy them, that is the time when you realize…..I need to quit my job and ride full time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Donna Rice, Rider Coach “SW MO Motorcycle Training Center, LLC”

 Diva Spotlight, Riders's Edge, Women Riders  Comments Off on Donna Rice, Rider Coach “SW MO Motorcycle Training Center, LLC”
Sep 082004
 

Donna Rice, Rider CoachAfter doing research in the area for need of the course and what we would need to do to bring the course to this area, Gregg and I decided to start our own business and both become instructors. We would be able to relate to the male & female population as well as the experienced, re-entry riders and the new riders. Everything we were being told by friends and fellow riders was telling us we needed to do this. The courses would greatly benefit to our community of riders, making everyone more aware as motorcyclists and motorists. We started working on it in December 2003, and it became a reality in April 2004.

Donna Rice, Rider CoachWhen I’m not training, I’m running our business. We have a store that includes protective gear, t-shirts, helmets, gloves & headwraps. It is small but it is ours. I maintain the scheduling and managing of our school/store, visit the dealerships and other retail that may cater to the motorcycle industry. Gregg & I also participate in the bike nights & visit riding groups to continue to promote this course and the importance as well as the incentives for taking it.

Donna Rice, Rider CoachIt is such a great feeling to see a rider go across the range for the first time. What a joy to see them smile from ear to ear when they have accomplished a difficult skill. This is such a rewarding place to be. No matter how hard we work through the week, this energy comes over us when we meet our new students for the first time and getting them ready to “Enjoy the Ride”. We work really hard to make the course fun and yet really stress the importance of each and every lesson, every skill.

Students have come to us at events and said, “it’s like you’re a little guy/gal sitting on our shoulder reminding us on how to go through a curve or how to stop correctly.” We even had a student come up to us after a class one evening stating “you saved my life.” When asking what happened, he explained a car was coming at him head on and when he saw he was running out of road, he was able to get his bike slowed enough that when he went off the road, instead of 35 mph it was at 5 mph. No damage to the bike, and just a bruise and small cut on his hip and arm was the result. As I said before, what a rewarding job.

Gregg and I are a team. We really enjoy each other and enjoy our time together. We have to, we are joined at the hip from 5 p.m. on Friday to 7 p.m. on Sunday almost every weekend.

SW MO Motorcycle Training Center, LLC offers both basic and experienced motorcycle instruction in Springfield, Missouri. The Basic Rider Course is perfect for the person who has never ridden and always wanted to or the re-entry rider who rode years ago and is just getting back into riding. The Experienced Rider Course is for those riders who have ridden for years and just want to improve their skills and their personal awareness of safety on the “common road” with other motorists. They also have leather protective gear, helmets and other items in their store location at 1147 S. Glenstone.
SW MO Motorcycle Training Center, LLC is a Missouri State Certified and Motorcycle Safety Foundation certified site. The Rider Coaches, Gregg Routh & Donna Rice are also Missouri State and Motorcycle Safety Foundation certified. Being Missouri Certified and part of the Missouri Motorcycle Safety Program allows them to offer the course and upon completion the driver’s portion of the Missouri testing is waived. Just show them your completion card after you have taken the written test and you are ready for your “M” endorsement on your license.

SW MO Motorcycle Training Center, LLC is also able to assist in training for scooters; for those using scooters as transportation on the city streets. Safety is important regardless of the mode of transportation and awareness is the key.

Gregg and Donna have a passion for motorcycling. They enjoy teaching and sharing that passion with their students and others. For more information and course availability, contact Donna or Gregg at (417) 869-4899.
Visit their website at www.learntoride.info
or email them at info@learntoride.info

 

 

 

Susan Foss “Road Magic”

 Books, Diva Spotlight, Women Riders  Comments Off on Susan Foss “Road Magic”
May 062004
 

Yes, I believe in Magic
by Susan Foss

The office area was plush and expensive. I was working as an executive secretary for the controller of a prestigious computer company. The location was in my hometown area of Boston, where my goal was to build a career within the massive corporate world. Suddenly, my life changed forever – for I bought a motorcycle.

Spring brought rainbows of beautiful flowers bathing in vast warm sunshine. The trees grew full with lush green leaves dancing with the wind. And, that’s when the fever hit me. How in the world, I thought, could I ever live most of my life working indoors? I’d be missing out on these everyday miracles, the sky, the land, all bursting with the magic of life. I walked into my boss’s office and told him I quit, got on my motorcycle and rode off…and never looked back.

That motorcycle ride is ongoing, mostly riding solo for years and years and covering many, many miles. The journey has taken me all over North America while learning to survive. When money gets low, I stop in a town to find some kind of temporary job, rent a space to sleep, then save a few dollars as a means to go on the next ride, that next adventure in time and space. My motorcycle has granted me the opportunity to spend a large portion of my life experiencing the Magic of the open road.

One day while riding into the sunset, I thought, “How beautiful these living moments are, happening before my eyes while etching beauty into my soul.” That’s when I decided that I needed to let others know what I’ve discovered, and decided to share these experiences by writing a book. As the miles grew on, the book got longer and longer and longer. To this day, ROAD MAGIC, has gone from one book to six!
Along the journey I found an abandoned pup, her name is Commanche. I love her very much, and she’s rode with me for 14 years. Now, I would like to share a few experiences while living for the moment, riding around the next bend, and feeling the magic of life unfolding everyday.
~

“Route 395 ran north and parallel along the snow-capped Sierra Nevada Mountains. We were engulfed in absolutely breath-taking country, one of the many spectacular faces of the Earth, magnificence peaking. Our USA has a full capacity to amaze this female biker, making access the ability to crusade into wild and free landscapes, unknown to her until the moments present themselves. Living within the open arms of the giving land, relishing upon the multiple planes of physical and emotional highs, is obtainable to all who probe with their senses, seeking a natural education of life. “All this” is available to the one who seeks it out! Relinquishing my life for a quest for freedom, searching for an understanding of physical and emotional being, endeavoring to give love and to receive love under the guidance of the Great Spirit, this is my pursuit to happiness, this is the direction my heart yearns to travel, this I believe, is my calling…” (Road Magic, Part One)
~

“Night closes in on the last of daylight. Dark clouds blanket the moon and stars for a while before breaking, exposing a full moon in tantalizing celebration. Dissipating clouds glow with brilliant silver edges. And I am a part of this scenario, for some special purpose.

I don’t feel so lonely now. In propelling along that fine plane where sky meets land, I’m in a state of limbo within this comfortable array of intrigues. The landscape silvers as moonbeams travel to illuminate the surface, and we voyage a long way through a desert valley. Dark silhouettes of mountain ranges flank the edges of the valley. I am in complete unison with the night.
Rarely do I see other vehicles. The ride is within a sphere of radiant loveliness and solitude. I do not worry about my place in the man-made world, the beauty I am cradled within is much too overpowering. Commanche and I travel through the night, etching an unusual passage through time by means of the land and the space that contains it. This desert and this night allow me a broad spectrum in which to be thankful. (Road Magic, Part Two)

~

Prior to the Alaska trip coming up in June, I feel it appropriate to venture forth into Florida, take a test ride and check out a few palm trees. Plus, I think Commanche would enjoy playing in the “Gulf of Mexico” before we wet our skin in the salty waters of the “Gulf of Alaska…”

 

(The Alaska Highway) Commanche and I are only a few miles northwest from the breakfast we had at the roadside stop at Destruction Bay. And, without our knowledge, at this very moment, the face of a gigantic Mountain nearby quivers ever so slightly before Exploding!!! A massive landslide leaves the Alaska Highway in a deadlock grip!!! The road we just traveled is gone!!! Totally wiped out! Bulldozed into the lake at Destruction Bay!!!
So in all the years and years of dreaming of going to Alaska, Commanche and I make a near miss of a few miles from getting buried alive, preserved like fossilized dinosaurs, wrapped in a mud-tomb to be mummified in what we wear…and as I read the story on the front page headlines of the Alaska Daily News…I’m glad I didn’t have the winning ticket by a landslide.

My feet, Commanche’s feet, and my two motorcycle tires are on the soil of ALASKA! I struggle with an effort to fathom this reality, these moments, as a transcending ecstasy is born and flourishes, creating a far-reaching liberty I never knew existed, something no academic school was capable of ever teaching me…
Commanche and I make the goal from the Gulf of Mexico to the Gulf of Alaska! A dream set free! The struggle, the challenge, the goal – are now set free to fly upon the breath of the wind! To embrace me with a personal pride storming ever so wildly upon the rapid beats of my heart! I will never forget these very moments of my Life!…
We stop many times to inhale the beauty abounding constantly, and I cast my gaze into the distance while my thoughts are preoccupied with attempting to absorb the Power of Creation…
And as we head further north to Tok to our camp for the evening, we carry a full load, not of tourist junk, but a feeling born of Magic, bathing us in an avalanche of great AWE, a feeling no money can every buy, a feeling no one can ever take away, a feeling of absolute oneness with Nature’s immense purity…

~

(Ontario, Canada) A short ride takes my pup and me into Chapleau…hot coffee sounds real good. That cup of coffee brings me face-to-face with two very handsome Canadians…One of them starts conversation with a hello, and he continues, “I notice you’re American, are you going to be in town long?”
I smile and say, “Oh for a little while.”
“My name is Jacques,” then he gestures toward his friend, “and this is Franz. We’re stopping here for lunch, would you join us?”
During lunch Jacques tells me he is a pilot having served on the Royal Canadian Air Force and currently owns a bush plane. He says, “Since you’re here, you really should try out the fishing…This afternoon, I’ve got to take equipment back to Timmins…if you’d like to come along, I’ll take you flying then we’ll do a little fishing.” Ooooh, la, la, this is turning out to be a very nice morning!

(Nineteen days later) Frost begins to appear on blades of grass in the early morning hours though we are only mid-way through August. The further North one travels, the shorter the summers become. Commanche and I spend final hours with Jacques as we bask in warm sunshine on the dock by the river. I glance at Jacques’ airplane gently resting upon its floating pontoons. We’ve had so much fun flying, fishing in wilderness lakes, making Love.

Jacques and I have spent in incredible nineteen days together. We have been inseparable. And now, the time is nearing when the call of the road begins to take over…

~

(Road Magic, Part Three, is a truly magical, solo motorcycle ride from Florida to Alaska then across Canada and back south, taking approximately 4 months and encompassing 20,000 miles upon the open terrain of North America. This book series is about becoming one with the United States, its Landscape, its People, its Magic…An incredible ongoing motorcycle ride that has become my way of Life.)

~

Road Magic is a series of self-published true adventure books. You are welcome to visit our web site at www.roadmagic.com or write to Road Magic, PO Box 1743, Woodward, OK 73802, or call 580-254-3608. See you on the road my friends!

 

 

Terri ‘Peachy’ Jeffries

 Diva Spotlight, Women Riders  Comments Off on Terri ‘Peachy’ Jeffries
Nov 272003
 

I started riding March of 2001. I had gotten my license the previous year, but never seriously thought about riding until I saw others riding that spring. I found a bike (Suzuki Savage) and my life took a different path than I would have expected. It’s definitely for the better though. I immediately joined the Motor Maids. It is the oldest women’s motorcycle group in North America and there are women representing each state and several provinces. I am also a member of the Southern Cruisers Riding Club. I find that joining riding clubs and groups is a great way to meet people, and find people with common interests.

My greatest accomplishment since I started riding was when I rode to Milwaukee, WI from Baltimore MD. I rode by myself and stopped each night at various friends’ houses. I put 3500 miles on my bike and had no problems whatsoever. When I think about it, it seems like a dream because I just can’t believe I was able to take two weeks off from work, and ride at my own pace and do what I wanted to do. It was very freeing and I can’t wait to do it again. I went to Toronto, Niagara Falls and other big cities along the way. Those places were all nice to visit, but there is really no place like home.

When I’m not riding, I work as an engineer for a pharmaceutical company. I also like reading and watching football in my spare time. I have one dog, who I try to spend as much time as I can with in the winter, so come spring, I can hit the road and not feel too guilty.

In addition to my other hobbies, I am an active member of www.motorcyclecity.com. I have been a member for almost two years now, and I am also one of the moderators for the site. It’s tough being the only female moderator, but someone’s gotta do it!

If I had to give one word of advice to a woman that is interested in riding, I would say ‘Just get up and do it.

“Rearrange your priorities and follow your dreams. Things just don’t happen on their own, you have to make them happen.”

Bobbie ‘Puddin’ Tyler

 Diva Spotlight, Women Riders  Comments Off on Bobbie ‘Puddin’ Tyler
Sep 302003
 

In the late 70’s I spent so much time on the back of a 56 panhead I decided to get my license & ride my own, unfortunately I got the beginner’s permit & got single about the same time. I never dropped the ‘licensed motorcycle rider over 21 in site’ from my license-greatly confusing the guys at the DPS,lol! I spent the next 27 years working in chronic care geriatrics, traveling alone & always remembering how it felt to watch the stars chase the moon to with the orchestra of motorcycle pipes singing in the wind…

When I met my husband, the 1st thing he asked was if I liked motorcycles- I told him I could kick-start a 56 panhead & it’s been an incredible journey ever since!

After kicking around on a used 1500 Vulcan, I took the MSF Course & finally thrilled the DPS with a license upgrade & bought the 750 Honda Ace that has opened up a new world for me.

I think women riders have a more special bond with their machines-it’s not just a way to get around, it’s a freedom and a release from all things holding us back in our quest to discover who we really are. On a winding road with a perfect sun kiss, the life blooming out in flowers and crops, I realize how lucky I am to have traveled this journey, and dream of all the adventures left to discover.

Having an amazing husband that encourages me every step of the way just heightens the pleasure!

We have traveled 2 up on his Valkyrie Interstate across 12 states, from the twisties of Arkansas to the bright lights of Vegas-to the silent majestic of Mt. Zion, the sheer immense of Lake Powell in Utah, rode in perfect days, relentless rain, blowing dirt & got lost in a dark night where the stars shined like diamonds on black velvet.

Now that I am riding my own, I love sharing the joy of being a Diva on wheels with everyone I meet-besides it’s just a blast ‘doing the wave’!

Every woman should experience this kind of freedom-now if they could just find a cure for ‘Helmet Hair’!

Enjoy the ride-& share the word with everyone you meet. We truly have become . . .

‘I am Woman – Hear me Roar!

Carol Youorski aka “Skert”

 Diva Spotlight, Uncategorized, Women Riders  Comments Off on Carol Youorski aka “Skert”
Aug 272003
 

aka "Skert"

I started riding motorcycles in ’94. I have ridden over 200K miles on BMW’s. I got the Iron Butt fever in 1995 while listening to this guy tell of the Iron Butt Rally over a camp fire at Daytona bike week. I had already been riding long distances to get to rallies in my short little weekend hours. Next thing I know I am competing in Long Distance Endurance rallies. I made it into the 2000 ButtLite and by skin of my teeth made it into the 2001 Iron Butt Rally. The first day of the 2001 Iron Butt, I turned 50. It is all history and on my web site. I have calmed down a bit on the LD riding, but have continued to blast to upstate NY from GA to do my dropped bike demo at Americade every year and around the country for the BMW Nationals.

I was so inspired by other women at a BMW National Women Who Ride seminar. Listening to other ladies made such a difference in how I perceived riding instructions. I immediately went into action to spread the word to other ladies about sharing our knowledge. I have continued to host Women Who Ride seminars at most every rally I go to.

'03 BMW K12RS, "Dancer"

I saw an easy way to pick up my bike when it fell over and vowed to share this simple technique with anyone who would listen. I have a web site that is used all over the world in teaching anyone how to pick up your bike. It is on the AMA web site. I encourage anyone to copy my tech page and share it with their clubs. If I can’t make it to a rally I give a volunteer the instructions over the phone and internet. This is all about sharing and teaching.

Skert’s Pink Ribbon Rides

I am a member of:

  • BMW Motorcycles of America
  • BMW Riders Assoc.
  • BMW Motorcycles of GA
  • AMA
  • Twisty Sisters
  • WOW
  • Motor Maids