How in the world did August, September and October 2016 already arrive and speed away, leaving really great memories in their dust? It’s true that “time flies when you’re having fun.” Honestly, life has been throwing so much opportunity at this Fashionista this past three months that it’s wearing her Iron Butt out…but I’m certainly not complaining! Now that riding season has slowed for a brief respite, I’ve got so much to say and will be posting much more information in the coming weeks. But for now, I’m letting the pictures tell some stories! 💋
Just like that, feeling like a snap of the finger, the final sunset of June 2016 is upon us. I literally just stopped for a moment today and took all of that in. It went by so fast. Why is it that the older we get, time slips by so much quicker? A-N-Y-W-A-Y…I must say that I did get a good bit of riding in this month. It wasn’t as much as I had hoped for, but pretty decent considering the amount of rainout days.
My new-to-me, pretty little teal-colored ride (nickname to come) got ridden quite often this month. In fact, I have logged just over 1,000 miles in the last few weeks on it. It definitely handles a little different than “Henrietta,” my pearly white steed of the same year and make, but is still sweet, indeed. Due to the after-market exhaust on my teal-colored BMW ’94 R1100 RS, it’s got quite the fierce “growl.” I find myself calling it “The Growler,” but not so sure that’s going to stick. (I’m thinking a craft beer container, rather than that “other” reference 😉.)
During the first half of this month, I spent many days rolling all over my local area of “The Grand Strand,” near the Conway/Myrtle Beach area, testing out new products for women riders. Following my visit to Mountain Moxie in early May, and getting the opportunity to try on a pair of Worse for Wear’s Crosstown Curvy Jeans, I received a lovely USPS box in early June that contained a pair made just for me. You can just imagine the happy squeal that resonated that day! (Not to mention the shipment of AMSOIL, my big sponsor, that came the same day!!!)
I slipped on those sweet jeans and did a happy dance all over the house…and then proceeded straight for the motorcycle garage where I promptly perched on the seat of Henrietta to get a feel for these new riding pants. WOW! They were super comfy, and honestly felt just like a favorite pair of jeans…except they are made with Armalith abrasion-resistant denim, which is a super-fabric made to protect motorcycle riders in case of a skid across the asphalt due to an unplanned dismount. PLUS, these Worse for Wear Crosstown Curvy Jeans also have highly rated protective padding in the hips and knees, but are not bulky and uncomfortable. Summary: I LOVE my Worse for Wear Crosstown Curvy Jeans!!! (Read more about them in the August 2016 issue of BMW Owners News magazine! – Want a pair? www.worsewear.com)
Besides those rockin’ jeans, I also had the opportunity to test out another really great ladies’ product from a very wise and savvy lady out of San Francisco, California – Debra Chin. She is the founder and CEO of MotoChic Gear, and produces two super-sassy products: the Lauren Bag and the Valerie Bag. Her beautiful creations were produced out of desperation of the lack of women’s backpack/tote bags for lady motorcyclists/scoots/bikers. Deb Chin nailed it, too! I spent a couple of weeks trying out her luxurious, yet super-functional, Lauren bag…and LOVED IT.
Although both of my motorcycles have saddlebags and tank bags, I found this product very efficient on the “around town” commute, as I was able to pack it with all of my motojournalist work stuff AND the usual things I carry around in my purse – wallet, makeup, lipstick…you know, ladies. I suited up in my motorcycle gear and threw that beautiful “Lauren” on my back, and off I rode. When I got to my destination and shred the “superhero” suit to reveal my true identity full of fashion accoutrements, that sweet MotoChic Lauren bag fit right up with me and carried on with my social calendar…all in high fashion! I mean, what’s not to like?! (Want one? www.motochicgear.com)
Mid-June meant fun for me, as I anticipated my first girlfriend gathering where we both soloed on motorcycles and met in the middle to spend a crazy-fun weekend together. My close friend Karen and I met up in Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia, for a long weekend to enjoy the annual “Lyrics By the Lake” music festival and to have fun…and believe me, we did! We enjoyed our accommodations directly on gorgeous Smith Mountain Lake, and shared many laughs as we made great memories through our hijinks that weekend. Believe me – it was more like “Thelma & Louise By the Lake!”
Karen and her sister, M.J., are very special to me as they were the two women motorcycle “pioneers” who inspired me back in 2006, where I completely grasped the concept that “ladies” also can ride motorcycles. These two naturally beautiful sisters (with the most magical eyes) have uber-magnetic personalities that light up the world…and, consequently, will shove your ass in a hat before you know it. I mean, true legends with a giant dose of sass! I am spilling my guts here to say that they have been my true inspiration to ride a motorcycle on my own. Really! My gratitude for these two is beyond words. Love you two ladies!
And, then…….there was the finality of June. It was a blur. July is literally one day away. WOW. In two weeks, I will be departing for the mack-daddy of all BMW MOA rallies in Hamburg, New York. I’m busy readying so many things for that gathering…and just occasionally trying to stop and to see and breathe in – life. I never want to be so crazy-busy that I forget that sweet smell of life.
I challenge you to do the same…take just a few moments of your day to stop, close your eyes, breathe deeply, reflect on what makes you happy, smile big, be thankful, pause….and then carry on and do good things in this world! 💋
It’s hard to believe that the second month of the “official” riding season has almost ended. There is sweet anticipation for the next few months and all of the great rides I have planned, but also a realization that two out of the seven months from the “season” are gone. Shoot! I’ve got five more months to accomplish a lot of miles towards my goal of 15,000 + from April through October.
I must admit, it’s been an amazing May…big things happened this month! I believe the biggest boost to my soul and career was attending Mountain Moxie 2016, a women’s motorcycling conference hosted by Moto Girl Cafe’s Robin Dail. Approximately 100 women, including myself, gathered at the Little Switzerland Inn in Little Switzerland, North Carolina (just off of the Blue Ridge Parkway) and spent the weekend learning from each other and building each other up. We came from all walks of life, rode different makes of motorcycles, and were all across the board in ethnicities and orientations…but wove a beautiful tapestry together that exuded our collective passion for motorcycling. My participation in Mountain Moxie was one of the best things I’ve done for myself to date. I rode away from the conference that Sunday with new friendships (especially my new friend, Heather!), a better understanding of my fellow lady riders, and many new opportunities that continue to blossom in strange, new ways. Big kudos to Robin Dail (Moto Girl Cafe’) for taking her vision and making it a success…and thus empowering more women riders to make their visions and passions a reality. Looking forward to Mountain Moxie 2017!
One of my favorite memories of Mountain Moxie 2016 was spending time with my friends Laura and Scott from Worse for Wear. The morning I pulled up to the conference, riding totally solo, I was immediately greeted with a huge hug from Laura who recognized the sweet engine sound coming from our twin BMW R1100 RS’s and knew it was me. Laura and Scott were at Mountain Moxie as one of the big sponsors of the event, showcasing their hot, new Crosstown Jeans. Sometime during this first week of June, I will be receiving my very own pair of those sexy riding jeans…and you can be sure that I will be yapping like crazy about my new fashionable, yet super safe, riding jeans. And, they are made in America by a totally grassroots company…do yourself a favor and check out Worse for Wear!
And, the exciting news of recent is…my first big sponsor – AMSOIL!!! I am so grateful that they have joined on with this Fashionista with an Iron Butt. I’ve got a fun-packed, big mileage schedule planned for the year and am so thrilled to have a product behind me who I trust and know will never let me down. I’ve been using Amsoil products exclusively since I started riding almost seven years ago, and I truly believe in the reliability of Amsoil. A huge “thank you” goes out to Scott and Delores Brauer, Amsoil dealers, for believing in me and noticing my article in the March issue of the BMW Owners News magazine (changing my own oil and using AMSOIL!!!).
And last but not least, with the month of May almost totally in the history books, I must say that I have edited my website to be of better use to the traveler in general…two wheels, four wheels, wings, tracks, however your wanderlust takes you on your future adventures. I totally gravitate towards great accommodations and “foodie” worthy dining spots and really want to share my experiences with you. Why not pay it forward? I also will be more actively reviewing motorcycling products, so be sure to check out my menu tab “Reviews” for the big scoop on all things travel and moto-products!!!
I’m currently taking the most beautiful “sabbatical” in the Blue Ridge Mountains in order to take a much needed pause, rest and retreat before a very aggressive riding schedule. And as we all say “farewell” to May and “hello” to the official start of Summer 2016, be sure to count your every blessing and make every moment count…adventure awaits us all if we will only open our hearts and minds. Throttle on!!!
(Originally published in BMW Owners News Magazine – March 2016. Please visit the online copy of this issue for full spread/pictures: BMW Owners News – March 2016)
Most of us have heard the inspirational saying at one time or another – “Carpe Diem” (seize the day). As Eleanor Roosevelt thoroughly explained it: “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
One frigid day this past January, while trying to keep the winter “blahs” at bay, I sat through my morning coffee yearning for a “newer and richer experience.” I wanted to learn something remarkable and functional. I wanted to color outside of the lines. I desperately wanted my being to be placed way outside of the box. As I racked my brain trying to figure out what I could do to excite and enhance the stalemate of a day that was ahead of me, I had an epiphany. I suddenly recalled all the ribbing I had gotten over last year’s riding season from a few close friends about the lack of my ability to do my own motorcycle maintenance. My favorite comment – “You may be the Fashionista and can drive thousands of miles across the country in a few days, but can you change your own oil?” That was it! There was my answer! That January day, I was determined to join the small world of women who wrench.
So off I marched to the wondrous “man cave,” where my husband was in deep hibernation, and shouted “Carpe Diem!” He jumped, sighed and with a pensive look on his face asked, “what are you up to now?” He knew my winter antics were in play again…scheming and dreaming. Following the big reveal of how I wanted to learn simple motorcycle maintenance, he smiled and was actually very proud of my decision. After a brief consultation, it was decided that an oil change and tire pressure check would be a great starting point. I bundled up and took my two-wheeled steed out for a quick, brisk ride to warm and circulate the engine oil. Upon returning, and after the engine case was cool enough to touch so as not to burn my hands, we began the lesson. I am sharing my instructions and photos in order to empower others out there who also may want to learn some light maintenance. (Note: I put on some rubber gloves so as not to end up with oil-stained hands and fingernails – that would not be Fashionista-worthy!)
1. Unscrew the oil cap. This allows air in to allow the oil to drain out freely.
2. Place a container under the engine case to catch the used oil. Make sure it’s large enough to hold all of the old oil that will drain out (my ’94 R1100 RS holds approximately 3.5 liters).
3. Locate the oil drain plug under the engine case (right side on my motorcycle).
4. Using a wrench that fits your particular oil plug, carefully unscrew the plug (check your M.O.M. – Motorcycle Owner’s Manual – for specifics on tools and oil capacity). As the oil begins to gush out into the holding container, try to keep ahold of the plug so you won’t have to fish it out of that black, gooey mess.
5. Allow the old oil to drain completely out. It will take several minutes.
6. Clean your oil plug with a rag or paper towel and then wrench it back into place when the oil has stopped flowing. (Make sure you also have the small washer that fits on the oil plug.)
7. Check your M.O.M. to find out where your oil filter is located (left front bottom on my motorcycle), and with your oil waste container in place, use your oil filter wrench to remove the filter and allow this area to drain. Try to catch the old oil filter with your hand as it’s exiting so as not to make an oily mess all over your workspace.
8. Once it has completely drained, use a few paper towels to thoroughly wipe out old oil and black sediment in the recessed area where the filter sits. Here are two types of filters that can be used for my bike. (I will use the one on the left.)
9. Pour a bit of oil into the filter (about 3/4 full) and using your finger, lube the rubber seal on the filter with a bit of oil, as well.
10. Screw in the new oil filter with your hands until it feels tight, then tighten it about another 1/4-1/2 rotation with your wrench (you want it snug with a proper fit).
11. Add fresh oil with a funnel (again, check your M.O.M. for type and amount).
12. Be sure to pour in small increments and allow a few moments. Then check your oil level so as not to overfill! The level of oil should be level with the red dot in the center of the sight glass located just in front of the engine case on the left side of your motorcycle.
13. Replace the oil cap!
14. Start your engine and let the bike run for a minute or two in order to circulate the oil. Shut the engine off, wait about 5 minutes, and then check the level again. Add additional oil until it is again level with the red dot in the sight glass. Replace your oil cap, and you’re all set!
15. Now, tires! Get your tire gauge and air source ready. (Your most accurate reading will be when your tires are cool.)
16. Unscrew your valve cap and check the pressure in your tires using the gauge. The correct amount of pressure will again be determined by checking your M.O.M. Also note that a change in the outside temperature will affect your tire pressure, as well as any added weight on the bike (passenger, camping gear, etc.), so be sure to check them right before you’re ready for departure.
17. Using your air source, put in the needed amount of air, and then recheck the pressure one more time to be sure the amount is correct.
18. Recap the valve stem, and you’re ready to go!
The ice is melting, the air is warming and we are all busy mapping out our adventures for the new riding season to come. I challenge you to take a time-out, step into your garage and shout “Carpe Diem!” Then get those gloves on and “experience to the utmost”…“without fear,” some simple wrenching on your two-wheeled steed. Hey, if The Fashionista can handle it, so can you! 💋 💋
Happy March 2016! Did you know that prior to the year 1752, March was the beginning of our calendar year? (It’s true…research it!) And that’s so fitting, considering it’s the beginning of Spring…we shake off the frost and welcome the warmth…and the beginning of RIDING SEASON!
Well, back in the chill of winter it was my goal to learn something new and productive in my motorcycling life. Actually, the truth is – I got tired of my guy friends ribbing me about not being able to change my own oil! Seriously! So, I took it upon myself to make it happen…and you can check it all out in this month’s issue of BMW Owners News magazine! 💋
Click the link!:
Carpe Diem…in Your Garage! (pages 64-66)