We have been sorta busy little beavers at Casa Awesomesauce lately!
With the (hopefully soon) passing of yet another disgusting Ohio winter, Spring is starting to show itself in gradual peeks here and there. The temps have been in the mid to high 50’s for about a week, and today they’re promising a record-breaking 71 degrees! Did I mention this warm snap has come after months of sub-zero temperatures and above average snow falls? Why, just three weeks ago, I slipped and fell on the ice walking across the street to work. That ice patch has been there since early January. But today, I’m wearing flip flops.
As the saying goes, “if you don’t like the weather in Ohio, just wait a week or two.” Ain’t that the truth!
But enough about the boring small-talk. With spring comes the renewal of… motivation. So we have been starting to turn the wheels (literally and figuratively!) on some of our bucket list items.
A few weeks ago, I watched this amazing 1971 documentary called On Any Sunday. It’s mainly about three motorcycle racers in the 1960’s, Mert Lawwill, Malcolm Smith and the famous Steve McQueen. These guys were hard-core. They raced come hell and high water and proved to be amazing athletes!
And I’ve always loved motorcycles! Every summer there were motorcycle races at the county fair. This was my favorite day of the fair (a close second was the Sunday night Demolition Derby!) I always wished I could race like they did. I always thought how cool the younger kids were who competed, and on the rare occasions when they announced a heat with a female rider in it, I was green with envy! How completely bad ass those chicks were!
I grew up riding four-wheelers. I could ride 125cc when I was 3 or 4. It was an automatic, but you still had to change the gears with a foot peg. I couldn’t reach the gears or foot brake, but I could reach down and change the gears with my hand and use the hand brakes! When I was older, I used to do laps for hours in the field behind our house pretending I was a mini Evel Knievel. I always thought I was so bad-ass when I would manage to ramp the four-wheelers over a hill and get maybe an inch of air. My dad always laughed watching, because after I landed you could hear the tools in the seat compartment clanging around.
Four wheels were fun, but I always wanted a dirt bike! So last Sunday, my childhood dreams were made a reality. HA HA!
Not because I wanted to fulfill my lifelong dream of flat track racing… but because everyone has always told me that in order to get some experience with a clutch and two wheels, (I’d never driven a clutch on anything but a car) I should try out a dirt bike before moving on to a street bike.
I admit it. I’m a pretty big chicken. I drove a motorcycle once about 7 years ago and the person who was “instructing” me pretty much convinced me that I’d kill myself on a bike. They told me “on a motorcycle, it’s not a matter of if you wreck, it’s a matter of when.”
Ok, hold up. Maybe if I were a 16 year old know-it-all-kid starting out, that may be the truth. But I feel like if you respect the machine, stay off the sauce and pay attention to what the hell is going on around you, you are no more likely to bite the dust on two wheels than you would if you were on 4.
So I’ve ridden a few times since last weekend. I feel like I’m making progress. Travis has had the patience of a SAINT! He has been an absolutely amazing help. He took a rider safety course the first year he had his bike, and that has helped him to be a much more confident and capable rider. He’s been using a lot of the stuff he learned there to help me.
My first ride, I was petrified and really shaky, I barely made it into 2nd gear. The next day, we did laps around Travis’ work’s warehouse building for a couple hours and I made it up into 4th gear. One night last week, Travis put me on his Yamaha V Star 650 and I managed to cruise through a parking lot in 1st gear. And just for shits and giggles, Travis felt brave enough to ride on the back seat. I only wobbled a little!
Just like riding a bicycle.
A 500 lb V-twin bicycle.
Yesterday I took the dirt bike up to my mom’s and took it on grass for the first time. I did laps for a couple of hours just trying to get more comfortable. My mom sat in the driveway hollering “Wheelie! Wheelie! Wheelie!” every time I went past. She’s not right. <3
It’s not quite as scary as it seemed a week ago. Of course once I get to the point where I’m riding on the street, it will be quite another story! I’ve been studying for the permit test and I’ve managed to get a 100% on a 150 question practice test. (It’s like the first thing I’ve ever gotten a 100% on. I’ve never been a good student.) So Travis too me to take the permit test on Saturday, but the wait was over an hour and I had an appointment to get my hair did in an hour. Boo! We’ll try back again sometime this week on our lunch hour!
Cross your fingers!
I had to leave the bike at my mom’s last night. We had to haul the camper home, and after all was said and done, we spent more time than anticipated getting the camper tow-ready and didn’t want to take the extra 30+ min to unhitch the camper, move all of the crap out of the bed of the truck into the cab of the truck, load the bike and rehitch the camper. So we left her in the garage at my moms. :(
But the silver lining to that is THE CAMPER IS FINALLY HOME! After I posted almost a whole year ago that we were going to re-do this camper, we had to replace leaky pipes in our basement, had to buy a new washer and dryer and then had to pay for a really expensive surgery for our dog, Carli. Then when we finally went to fetch the camper, we learned that the wiring was bad and couldn’t haul it home with no tail lights. :( So last summer was not a good summer as far as finances go.
But we’re going to give ‘er another go this year. We’re going to sit down tonight and figure out all that needs to be done (there’s some water damage, hopefully minor) and what we want to be done. We want to accomplish kind of a lot of stuff on a very small budget. We’re hoping to at least repair the damage, paint the interior and update the curtains and cushions. I’ve already bought some cheap accessories to cutesy things up a smidge!
Last spring, we named her Hell on Wheels! (Hellen for short… get it?) I started a “Smash book” that we’ll keep in the camper and put in fun little things we pick up or do on our trips when we hit the road. We mainly hope to a lot of Boondocking since we like to take one of our dogs with us, and a lot of camp grounds and state parks don’t allow alcohol and enforce “quiet time.” Not that we’re loud-ass drunks, we just enjoy a few beers around the campfire at night with a guitar or music. And to be honest, we’re not totally crazy about camping right next to a bunch of randos. We live in the city practically on top of our neighbors, so camping for us is a chance to get the hell outta Dodge and get some fresh air and peace and quiet! I’m sure as it gets hotter in the summer, I will enjoy the A/C in the camper, so we’ll try to find some more spread out camp grounds with hook ups!
Well that’s it for now! Hope everyone has a great week and is able to get out and enjoy the wonderful weather! And happy early St. Patrick’s day! Don’t forget to wear your green!