Saturday, September 27, 2008

Riding with the boys

This morning we got the bikes out and rode to the coffee shop and then to the Harley dealership. It's exciting for me anytime I get to ride, but these are two places I've already ridden to. I'm not in a hurry to really get out and go crazy, but I do want to expand my horizons just a little bit every time.
Dave knows me so well, he already knew what I was thinking. He asked if I wanted to ride for a while before I had to go to work this afternoon. He had an idea where he wanted to go, and asked Bernie and Dale if they wanted to go with us. The thought of riding in a group, even if it was just four bikes, was a little bit intimidating to me. I'm used to riding with Dave, and he knows where I have problems and what he needs to look out for. I would never want to cause anybody else to go down if I were to make some stupid move they weren't prepared for. I told Dave I wanted to pick the order we rode. I wanted Bernie to lead and then me, Dave behind me, and Dale in the very back. I mean no offense to Dale, but he doesn't have as much experience as Bernie and Dave, and I didn't think it was a good idea to have the two riders with the least experience right next to each other. And the reason I wanted Dave behind me was because like I said before, he knows where I have problems, and where he may need to back off. I felt good with Bernie leading because he is a great rider, but I knew he wouldn't push me to go beyond my ability.
We decided to take a ride down River Road. River Road is kind of a backwoods type road. It has some long straight shots, some mild curves, some small hills, just a few bumps, and usually very little traffic. And I have a new high speed, 60 mph.
It was such a nice day and we did see some other bikes out, and guess what? I waved! Yeah! I had already told myself not to expect to be comfortable taking my hand off for quite awhile, but when I saw a bike approach I would assess the situation and if I felt ok and the road was clear ahead I would go for it. It's funny how something as small as a wave can be so exciting.
I felt good about going for this ride. Some of my nervousness is slowly starting to be replaced with just good old fashioned cautiousness and awareness. I am learning more about my bike every time I ride. I'm getting comfortable with how she reacts to certain situations, and how I react to her reactions. LOL. Although I really can't wait to take the basic riders course. I know it will help me a lot, especially with my maneuvering in parking lots and driveways.
I did notice that I eased up my grip on the throttle, and didn't rev when I was trying to stop. Every time we go out Dave gives me very honest feedback about how I'm doing and what I need to work on. I take his advice seriously and everything that I've done that he's told me to has helped with whatever the problem has been.
I'm getting more confident, but not too confident. I know that I still have a lot to learn and I am still very inexperienced. I'm just so excited that I'm progressing in a forward direction. And I hope that you all aren't getting sick of me spouting off about my accomplishments. I worry that this may be taken as me patting myself on the back, but it is really meant to be an encouragement to any body else who's in the same position, as well as a progress report for myself. :)

Oh, and one more thing...I made it into the driveway without stalling, or dropping her, or ending up on the neighbors grass. Whoo hoo!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Today's accomplishments!

1. I rode Miss Patience to the Harley Davidson dealership. It isn't far, but I had to ride on a couple of BIG streets to get there, with traffic and everything. LOL.

2. I got up to 5th gear and almost 50 MPH. Previously I had only reached 3rd gear.

3. I was able to downshift when I needed to without any trouble.

4. I changed the bulbs in my turn signals. I know it isn't hard, but it's the first semi-mechanical thing I've done myself to my bike.

5. I rode to one of my jobs. Dave was nice enough to escort me, and then come back when I was done. (He's so awesome!)

6. We rode over to the hospital to see our friends and their beautiful new baby girl. Dave took me through the hospital parking lot, which was far scarier than any road I've been on.

7. I got a "thumbs up" from an elderly woman who was stopped next to me at a light.

Okay, now, so you don't think I'm just patting myself on the back, I'll tell you the bad stuff. (Well not bad, just things I need to work on.)

1. I have this really bad habit of gripping the throttle very tightly while I am stopping, and/or stopped, so at the same time I'm braking, I'm giving it throttle and revving up the engine.

2. I have some kind of mental block when pulling into the driveway at Dave's house. As you may recall that is where I dropped my bike. Well, today, I pulled in the driveway and then ended up on the neighbors grass. It sounds worse than it was, he uses it like a driveway anyway.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My Saturday Ride

Last week was a busy week, with that and my broken toe, I didn't ride. Since Riley would be at his dad's house this weekend I was looking forward to getting on Patience and getting out for a little bit of practice.

Well, plans changed, as they sometimes do. We ended up riding with Bernie and Carol over to Seaside. Since Seaside is 20 miles away, and you have to go on the freeway, it looked like I was going to be bitch for the day. (Some might say I'm a bitch every day no matter where I sit.) But it was ok, we had a nice ride over there. I was kicking myself that I didn't have my camera, there were some great photo ops. After we got to Seaside we made several stops just for trivial stuff and then took the long way home.

We stopped at the coffee shop to get some coffee. Duh! We were just sitting around talking and Dave asked if I wanted to keep riding (with him) or go and get my bike and practice. I definitely wanted to go practice. Bernie had some work he was doing on one of his bikes so they were going home to do that. He has a windshield that he said would fit on my bike and we could put it on and see if I liked it, so Dave told him we would ride over to his house. What? He lives five miles away, and I have to ride across busy streets to get there. Hmmm, can I do this?

Dave assured me that I could do it. He told me just to stay calm and relax and I could do it, but could I try to increase my speed this time so we were at least going the speed limit. LOL.

So we went to get my bike. I started her up and tried to stay calm, telling myself I could do it. As soon as we pulled out of the first street I almost popped a wheelie, oh no. That freaked me out, and I really got nervous. Then Dave turned left, I went to put on my turn signal and hit the horn instead, it startled me. Dave heard the horn and pulled over thinking that I was honking at him. He asked if I was ok, and I said, "No, I don't think I am. I'm just really freaked out." He didn't know about my little stunt so he couldn't figure out why I was so nervous. He gave me a little pep talk, and calmed me down, and then we were off again.

I relaxed a little bit and told myself to just take it one stop sign at a time. And guess what? I remembered the clutch every time. I have this little mantra now when I go to stop. It goes, "Clutch and brakes, and downshift, clutch and brakes, and downshift." Hey, it worked. My stopping is getting much better, and I didn't have any problems with the turns this time, even some that were a little bit harder than what I'm used to. I was starting to feel really good. I had a few assholes that got on my ass, but I just kept my cool and kept going. Before I knew it we were at Bernie's house. Yeah! That was the farthest I had been away from home. I felt good. We sat and chatted for a little bit, and Bernie put the windshield on for me and we were on our way again.

We decided to stop by and see Wolf before we went home. The ride from Bernie's to Wolf's was even better. I felt totally comfortable, ok, almost totally comfortable. No wheelies, no stalls, just riding. I was keeping up with Dave (for the most part), and I was happy.

While we were at Wolf's, Dave asked if I wanted to try to make it to the coffee shop. Well, it isn't as far as Bernie's and I did that ok. One of the streets we would have to go down is kind of busy, but not too bad. I figured I could handle it. By this point, the nervousness was gone, and I was aware of the other cars and stuff around me, but not paranoid.

As soon as we pulled up to the coffee shop, I turned off my bike, and let out a "Whoo hoo!" People were looking at me like I was crazy, they had no idea what an amazing accomplishment this was for me. But I knew. This was so exciting for me. It's a great feeling to know that I just go a little bit further every time.

The ride home was good, although I did stall a couple of times, just a reminder not to get too cocky, I am still learning.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Baja Cantina

This post was meant to go up over a month ago, but somehow with all my excitement I over looked it. This was one of our rides over to Baja Cantina. Sorry, no music, I'm lazy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ouch! Don't vacuum barefoot!

Last night I got a shot of motivation right before bed and decided to vacuum the living room. We have this little tray table, like for serving breakfast in bed, Riley uses it for a homework table. It was in the middle of the floor in my way, and I didn't want to turn off the vacuum to move it, so I just kicked it with my bare foot. Well, the wrong part of my foot, hit the wrong part of the table, and I jammed one of my toes pretty hard. At first I didn't think anything about it, just hurt like any time you hit your toe. But then I was up most of the night in pain, and this morning I could tell it was broken. I didn't go to the Dr., because for one thing, I don't have insurance, but also I've had broken toes before (I'm kinda a Klutz!) and I know all they can do is tape it up. So, that's what I did.
The first thing I thought was, "I don't think I can ride, I won't be able to shift." But this week is pretty busy so I probably wouldn't have gotten out anyways. And in my experience with my other broken toes, they all healed up pretty quickly.
So, anyways, the moral of the story is....

Don't vacuum barefoot.
Or don't be lazy and kick stuff out of the way.
Or just don't vacuum at all.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Out of the parking lot, into the dump

This morning Dave asked if I wanted to ride my bike over to the Harley dealership. I don't think he expected me to say yes, because when I did he said, "Really? Are you sure?"
So we decided that we would ride around the neighborhood for awhile and see how I felt. Dave was a nervous wreck, Riley was a nervous wreck, and to be honest, I was more nervous than I let either of them know. Before today I had only ridden in the parking lot. No traffic to worry about, plenty of room, and speed so low I never had to shift. But, I needed to get out of the parking lot sometime, right?
We rode around the neighborhood for about an hour and a half. I was feeling good, except I kept getting a cramp in my left thigh. Dave said that's normal, just part of getting used to the ride. I felt confident in my starting out, stopping, turning, and even the shifting was going pretty good. The only thing that was really bothering me was the other traffic on the road. Since we weren't on any busy streets, there weren't a lot of cars, but enough to make me nervous. I decided that I need more experience before I got out onto the main streets. The best piece of advice I have received since starting this journey is, "Never out ride your ability." I was keeping that in mind.
I told Dave we should ride the bikes home, and I could get my car and we could all still go over to the dealership to get our Saturday hot dogs.
I pulled into the driveway okay, but when I went to stop, my brain forgot to communicate with my left hand telling it to pull in the clutch. Well, you all know what happens when you forget to do that. She tried to keep going while I was trying to stop. I could tell we were going over, so I jumped off and tried to control the dump as well as I could. She went down slowly, landed on the mirror, and thankfully it held up. No major damage. There are a couple little scratches on the pipe, but no damage to the engine or the tank. I'm amazed that the mirror didn't break. All I could say was, "Aw shit!" And all Dave could say was, "Clutch baby, always remember the clutch." Then he and Riley both asked if I was ok. I'm ok, just glad it happened in the driveway and not out on the road.
Then I got a demonstration on the proper way to pick up a dropped bike. I thought that the first time this happened to me I would be upset, but I really wasn't. I have heard many stories about people dumping their bikes so I know it isn't just me, I'm just starting out, and I feel good about riding. Even with that little mishap I still feel really good about my ride today. There was one point while we were going down the street that I thought to myself, "Wow, look at me, I'm really riding a motorcycle." I'm proud of myself for taking on this adventure, it's something that I never would have imagined just a couple of years ago. And I have to admit, it felt really good riding by the little boys who were all looking at me like I was a cool chick. I'm not into this to be seen as a cool chick, it's about the ride, but it still felt good.
After we got my baby settled in, and I got my car, we went over to the dealership and got our lunch. Dave ordered my engine guards, ha ha, that's one way to get them sooner rather than later. LOL.
Ever since I got my bike, I've been thinking about giving her a name, I just couldn't think of anything that would be perfect. Well, I came up with one today....I have decided to name her Patience. She is very forgiving, I can't imagine a better bike to learn on. I am very happy with the choice I made when I decided to buy this bike. I look forward to being able to share many more stories about our adventures together, one baby step at a time.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Wells Fargo can suck my big.......

I have to vent. I am extremely pissed off at Wells Fargo Bank. I recently opened an account there because it was convenient. Some of my clients bank there, and if I couldn't get to my credit union, it made it easy to cash their checks. I hardly use the account but for that purpose. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to have my Netflix fees deducted from that checking, rather than putting it on my credit card and paying finance charges on it. I made sure to have enough money to cover the Netflix fees and haven't paid attention to the account since.
Well, last night, for whatever reason, I decided to check my account on-line. Imagine my surprise to see that my account was negative a significant amount. It appears that Netflix charged my account twice. Now, this is not Wells Fargo's fault. However, when the second charge caused my account to go negative, I never received any notification from the bank informing me of this. So in addition to the $35.00 fee for the initial negative balance, I have been charged $5.00 a day for over a week for a "reoccurring negative balance." WTF?
I am pissed. What pisses me off even more, is that I supposedly have on-line alerts from Wells Fargo, and should have been emailed immediately that my account was negative. If that would have happened I could have taken care of the matter, and then dealt with Netflix about the double charge, but now I'm out a bunch of money, almost enough to make my bike payment. Uggghhhhh!
Okay, now that I have vented to all of you, I can go to the bank on Monday, and in my sweetest manner explain the situation and try to get them to reverse some fees. Maybe I'll wear some of that perfume that seemed to help Ann land her job! :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Just a little update

This is going to be short and sweet, but I just wanted to post a little update. I got my motorcycle permit last week. Whoo hoo!
I went online to enroll in the Basic Riders Course, but the one that is closest to us doesn't have any open classes until November...Ugghhh. But then somebody told me just to enroll, then go up there and if someone doesn't show up then I could get it sooner. So I think I will try that.
I got out on the bike a little bit on Monday. I was more nervous than the first time, but I think it's because Riley was there watching me, and I know he would freak if something happened. After awhile I got more comfortable, and I'm feeling pretty good with my turns, after some great advice from my hot motorcycle man!
Anyways, that is pretty much where it's at right now. I will post a better post in a few days, I've just been super busy with all sorts of crap! :)