Nashville Bound

Thursday, November 14. I’ve been looking forward to this particular Thursday for two months now. Why? Because I’ll be driving the eight and a half hours to Nashville, Tennessee, to spend a weekend with some of the coolest women I know.

These are women I’ve ridden motorcycles with, cried with, argued with, and laughed with. They’re good women and great friends.

Studly Doright and I have moved so many times that it’s been hard to maintain friendships through the years. The core members of this group of women, though, has been there for me for at least two decades. And even though we don’t see each other more than once a year, I know they’d be there for me in a heartbeat. All I’d have to do is call.

Most of us are in our 60’s now. For some of us, our motorcycle riding days are over, but the ties that bind us together remain. We’ve made some wonderful memories, like the time we bought fake ponytails that caused us to speak in weird foreign accents. Or the impromptu talent shows that have resulted in fits of uncontrollable, pants-peeing laughter. I could go into more detail, but I’d likely be uninvited to Nashville, and nobody wants that.

I’ll pack my bags this morning. Should I pack that ponytail? I think I can still pull off the accent.

Peace, people!

Motorcycle Memories

(Note: I did something to hurt my back yesterday. Today I’ve been taking it easy while reminiscing about better times when I was young and wild and free to roam the earth on two wheels. Okay, I was never wild, but I used to be young and relatively free.)

Studly Doright, my husband of 43 years, has been riding motorcycles since way before we met. When we began dating during high school many weekends were spent at motocross races all over the Texas panhandle. He raced, and I cheered him on.

After we married in July of ’76, he bought me my first bike. It was a little Yamaha scooter called a Chappy.

I loved that little scooter, and rode it all over Dumas, Texas. (By the way, all of these photos are from Pinterest.)

After I’d gotten my feet wet with the scooter, Studly decided I was ready for a real bike and bought me a 175 Yamaha Enduro. I had to learn to shift gears on this bike. While it was licensed for street riding we mostly took it to the sandy trails of the Canadian River between Dumas and Amarillo. On one trip I ran over Studly’s former girlfriend when she crashed her bike in the mud. I swear it was an accident. Honest.

When we discovered we were going to be parents, I took a break from riding, and not until our youngest daughter was bound for college did I begin riding again. After 20 years out of the saddle I was both excited and nervous to be riding once more.

After much shopping for just the right bike we ended up buying a new 650 Yamaha V-Star. This photo looks exactly like my bike. It was gorgeous. I bought leather chaps and a leather jacket and new riding boots to complete the ensemble. I looked like a badass biker (nope, I still looked like a geek), but the 650 had no oomph. Keeping it going highway speeds was exhausting.

We sold it and bought a secondhand 1100 Yamaha Virago from David’s former brother-in-law. Let me see if I can find a photo of one.

While the one above is similar, my Virago was much more gorgeous. It was Dallas Cowboy blue and silver, and ran like a beast. The Virago was getting on in age when I bought it, though, and Studly was concerned that it wouldn’t hold up mechanically. It remains my favorite bike.

We sold the Virago before moving to Florida, and soon replaced it with a used ST F650 BMW, in the appropriate color of Orlando Orange.

I don’t recall the year model, but the one pictured above is pretty close. It was a nifty little bike, and my first sport touring motorcycle. Unfortunately it had some electrical issues that were worrisome. I wanted to take a solo trip, and Studly didn’t trust the bike to carry me the distance.

By the way, when I bought this bike I began wearing a mesh jacket and pants with padding in all the critical places. While my leather chaps looked edgier, the mesh was much more comfy and lots cooler. Besides, the chaps fell off the back of my Virago onto the interstate on a blistering hot July day, somewhere between Denver, Colorado, and Salina, Kansas. I hope someone worthy found them. Oh, I wasn’t wearing them at the time. That would’ve made for a much better story.

So, (I know, you’re probably sick of my bike reminiscing. Sorry, not sorry!) we sold the BMW and bought me a 400 Yamaha Majesty scooter. I loved this bike, as well.

No shifting required, plenty of get up and go, lots of storage. I rode it from Mahomet, Illinois, to Dallas, Texas, and back all by myself just after celebrating my 50th birthday. It was a crazy trip.

I’m still not sure why I sold this bike. Maybe I felt like I was getting too old and klutzy. Heaven knows I’m getting older, and I’ve always been klutzy. Once it was gone I didn’t really think about getting another bike. But then a friend bought a CanAm Spyder, and I thought maybe it would fit the bill. I wouldn’t have to worry about falling over or putting my feet down at stop lights, or any other of a million things I tended to stress over.

Studly got all excited that I wanted to ride again. He began researching bikes and soon a Spyder was sitting in our motorcycle garage. Let me rephrase that, a Spyder was dominating our motorcycle garage. The thing was massive compared to all of the other bikes in Studly’s stable. He could’ve parked two and a half bikes in the same area.

And, after riding it around Tallahassee and on backroads in the area I had to admit I didn’t love the Spyder. It was too clunky and I didn’t enjoy riding it. Plus, after a distracted driver rear ended my car last November I became a bit paranoid about riding a motorcycle. I didn’t shed a tear when the Spyder left the garage for that of another rider.

If you’ve stuck with me this long, thanks. Hopefully my back will feel better tomorrow, and I can get out and about. Honestly, I’m kind of proud of myself for remembering all my bikes. I might be old and klutzy, but I remember the important stuff. Just ask Dudley. Er, Studly.

Peace, people!

The Need for Speed

Are you an adrenaline junkie? Do you feel the need, the need for speed?

Not me. I’m the opposite of an adrenaline junkie, but not quite a couch potato. I don’t feel the constant need for speed, but I do enjoy having a bit of horsepower at my beck and call when the situation requires a burst of power.

I like cars that can get up to interstate highway speeds well before the entrance lane ends, but that don’t always feel like they need to be running at the Indy 500. I felt the same way about my motorcycles when I was riding.

After my car was rear ended by a distracted motorist back in November of last year I suffered from a bout of mild PTSD. Certain traffic situations made me flinch, and I couldn’t sleep without having vivid nightmares of being smushed between two vehicles. I sold my motorcycle as a result, knowing that had I been riding it the day of the accident I’d likely have been killed.

So, what’s the point of all this you ask? Well, Studly Doright and I are at a motorcycle rendezvous with some of our favorite people in the whole world. None of us are youngsters anymore. Most of the husbands in our group are still active riders, while some of the women, like me, have either stopped riding altogether, or have become passengers on their husbands’ bikes.

I’m okay being a non-rider most of the time, but when I hear the sounds of sport bikes my heart skips a beat and I start wondering if I gave up on being a rider too soon.

Yesterday I helped at one of the events at the rendezvous, pointing out the direction bikers needed to go for lunch. And I have to say I was eyeing bikes with a bit of desire. There was one BMW that stole my heart, made my pulse beat a little faster. All I’d have to do is mention to Studly that I was ready to ride again and I’d have a new bike within a week. So, I won’t, and I trust my readers won’t breathe a word of this to him. Shhhh.

Peace, people!

Out With the Old

A few days ago my car was rear-ended as I was driving home from the happiest place on earth. No, not Disney World–Target. One second I was singing along with Chris Stapleton on the radio; the next second I had a Toyota Corolla lodged firmly onto my trailer hitch.

I was stopped at a red light behind a small truck and at least one other car. In my rear view mirror I saw the Toyota driver’s face as he realized that traffic in front of him was stopped, and that he could only slow down enough to lessen the impact, but not enough to avoid hitting my car. I firmly believe he’d been texting or looking at his phone, looked up to see a green light, but didn’t realize that traffic hadn’t moved yet. I’d been tapping on my brakes, so if he’d been paying attention, he’d have seen them.

The accident could’ve been much worse had I not been braced for impact and able to keep my own car from ramming into the truck ahead of me when the Toyota hit me. That’s why I NEVER text when I’m the driver, not even when I’m sitting at a stop light.

Since the accident I’ve been waking up in a cold sweat, reliving the moment that he hit me, only in my dreams I’m on my motorcycle instead of in my car. And I die. Smashed between the truck and the Toyota.

I told Studly Doright that I think my motorcycle riding days are over. Distracted drivers, obsessed with getting in one more text or looking at one more photo, are so common that I just don’t want to put myself in that position. Maybe that’s cowardly of me, but I don’t know how else to make those dreams stop.

Peace, and put down the phone, people.

S.D. Phone Home

Yesterday was interesting. I’d had a good night’s sleep, albeit with a somewhat frustrating dream, detailed here https://nananoyz5forme.com/2018/10/29/library-dream/ to top it off.

Studly Doright called from work mid-morning to tell me he was going to Panama City after noon to look at a motorcycle, and that he’d need me to accompany him in case he decided to buy the bike. I happened to be at the mall when he called, so I finished shopping and hurried back to Doright Manor, where I waited, and waited, and waited. In retrospect, I guess I should have had him clarify what he’d meant by “after noon.” Unbeknownst to me Studly had a dental appointment to attend to before he could get away for the day.

When he was finally on his way home Studly called telling me to be ready, that he’d just run in and grab his riding gear to put in the back of my car. I’d already filled the car with gas, so we could head to Panama City without that worry. His goal was to look the bike over, pay the seller if he liked the bike, and get on the road in a timely fashion in order to avoid riding too far in darkness. My goal was to leave him with the bike and drive home, keeping my phone near in case I needed to double back to offer aid.

I know, to non-motorcyclists that sounds odd, but a car following a motorcycle at night can be a dangerous annoyance. I never want to be that, and Studly certainly doesn’t want me driving behind him. The system has worked for us for many years. He’s only needed me to come back for him once, and that was a long time ago in a galaxy far away.

On our separate ways home I took the interstate while he traveled backroads. The new bike didn’t have a windshield, and he didn’t want to drive in 70 mph traffic without that protection. I stopped at a McDonalds for a sandwich, and somehow Studly arrived home minutes before I did.

He looked a little sheepish when I came through the door. “What happened?” I asked.

“I think I might’ve left my phone in my back pocket….”

“And it might be somewhere between here and Panama City?”

“Yep.”

We went out to check the interior of my car, and found the phone stashed in the storage area of my car next to the shoes he’d exchanged for riding boots. So much for our plans of staying in touch. Thank goodness he didn’t need to call me.

I was too lazy to walk the 75 yards to his shop this morning to take a photo of the new bike, but this one is almost identical. It’s his first Harley, something I never even knew he wanted.

Peace, people.

The Grandkids are Coming! The Grandkids are Coming!

Studly Doright and I have been getting Doright Manor ready to withstand a visit from our Texas grandkids, Dominique and Jackson. The two, along with one of their friends, are flying in to Panama City Beach on Sunday evening to stay with us in Havana for a week. The guest rooms and baths are ready, the cupboards are full, and the refrigerator is stocked with Jackson’s favorite root beer.

Each year when the kids visit, Studly, who goes by “Poppa” around the grands, has motorcycles ready to work on and ride. I usually take the kids to a water park. However, Jackson broke his foot at the beginning of the summer and will still be in a cast. We might have to get a bit more creative with our activities this year.

Arts and crafts, anyone?

Regardless of what we do, we’ll have fun. I’ll post something if I have the energy!

Peace, people!

A Golf Widow’s Lament

My husband, Studly Doright, is a Golfer. Note the capital “g.” Normally he plays golf every Saturday and Sunday with an occasional Wednesday evening thrown in unless the weather doesn’t permit. And in Florida, the weather permits roughly 98% of the time.

When I was a younger woman I detested the many hours his golf habit kept him from home. I felt like every couple in the world was out strolling with clasped hands at farmers’ markets while Studly and I were separated by a chasm comprised of eighteen holes. I complained a lot. He ignored me.

Then one day about a decade ago I began to enjoy those times when he was on the course. I took myself places he wouldn’t enjoy like public gardens and parks, tea rooms and chick flicks. I went to local nurseries and learned about butterfly gardens. I roamed the aforementioned farmers’ markets and attended art exhibits. In short, I happily cultivated my interests.

Then eight weeks ago Studly had surgery to repair an extrusion of his sciatic nerve. He was in excruciating pain prior to surgery, but managed to play golf right up to the day they cut into him. Golf allowed him to focus on something other than the pain.

The weeks after the surgery have been tough. While his pain has lessened, he has jumpy nerves and restless legs that keep him from sleeping well and reminding him that he’s still recuperating. Worst of all, he won’t be cleared to play golf until the second week of August. That’s about to drive Studly, and me, nuts.

Perhaps if he felt better we might enjoy a few couples’ activities like I used to dream of us doing. But nowadays I really prefer doing things by myself. He’s my favorite guy, but he isn’t a farmers’ market aficionado. Still, if he was up for some outings, I’d gladly include him in my plans

Last evening Studly said in his saddest voice, “I’ve missed at least 16 rounds of golf, but who’s counting?” Broke my heart.

Maybe I can cajole him into going out for breakfast this morning, and we can browse through a motorcycle shop. That’s about as close to a farmers’ market as he’s going to get. Never thought I’d say this, but I am so ready to be a golf widow once again.

Peace, people.

How I Spent Saturday Morning

Studly Doright has successfully slept more than four hours at one time for the past three nights. Hopefully this indicates that his nerve endings might finally be settling down after his back surgery. He woke up practically jumping for joy this morning, and hurried me through my shower and breakfast so I could accompany him on his errands.

His first stop was at a golf shop. Studly hasn’t been released by his surgeon to swing a club yet, but he likes to look. Then we went to a motorcycle shop to buy new grips for a bike he’s working on for the grandkids to ride. Motorcycles are much more fun to look at than golf clubs.

Afterwards I mentioned that I could really use a new pair of sandals. When Studly is in a shopping mood it’s good to put in a request.

The cats like them. They might slightly resemble their scratching post.

Peace, people.

My New Toy

Studly Doright took Friday afternoon off of work and we drove to Crestview where I purchased this beauty:

It’s a 2010 Can Am Spyder RT and it’s stunning. Both Studly and I took our riding gear along. I’d intended to ride the bike home, but after Studly took it for a test ride he suggested that I drive the pickup home while he familiarized himself with the quirks of the Spyder.

The three wheel configuration requires a completely different style of riding than a standard motorcycle, and my guy didn’t want me getting used to it on a busy interstate. I didn’t grumble much and we took separate paths home.

Once we were both back at Doright Manor Studly gave me a tutorial and I put the Spyder through its paces on the narrow, twisty roads running through our neighborhood. It’s a blast, and while I still have a great deal to learn, I think the bike is a good fit for me.

Now, though, since the Spyder is definitely a “want” and not a “need” I have to get rid of four extra items on this 17th day of February, in order to meet the requirements of the Minimalist Challenge. Might be time to clean out the holiday closet. First I’m going for a ride!

Peace, people!

Last Day

Today I'm driving the Texas grandkids to the airport in Panama City, Florida, for their flight home to Dallas, Texas. Neither of have them have ever flown unaccompanied, and there are some jitters. Not on their parts, mind you, but underneath this calm exterior I'm going a little nuts.

We've had a good time these past two weeks spoiling these kiddos. Doright Manor will be awfully quiet once they leave.