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.