Day 3, Leg 4, 2012-2013 Winter Motorcycle Adventure

March 30, 2013 – Awake at 6:00 a.m., on our bikes by 7:22 p.m. in 54 degrees and cloudy weather. Failing again to find a mom and pop breakfast joint in Mountain Home (well actually, we found one but they were closed today, to prepare all the bakery orders for Easter), we stopped at McDonald’s for a latte and WiFi.

After traveling east on Hwy 62 a few miles, we stopped at Southfork Cafe in Salem AR, for the first real breakfast of the trip. I mean the kind where I can order the special of the day (2 eggs, country ham, hash browns and toast or biscuit for $6.95 (of course, I have to waive the bread for the meal to meet my gluten-free needs), and the server calls me darlin’ and you can almost hear the country song being written as she shares tidbits about her life. Such as “Between you and me, I went to culinary school and won the top prize in a baking competition at the school, and then I won fourth place in a state competition. . . My daughter asked me to bake a cake for a memorial service for a friend who was a trucker . . .” And now she appears to be the owner/operator of  a nice breakfast/lunch/dinner joint in Salem, Arkansas. I bought two framed pieces that are on display by local artists for a total of $30. That’s the kind of mom and pop places we love to find! This one was worth the lack of them the past two mornings!

Then on to Mammoth Springs, shortly after which we entered Missouri and near where we turned onto Hwy 9, then to MO state hwy 19 for much of the day — and take note bikers — it is a dream of a highway! Forest, lakes, mountains, curves, hills  —  miles and miles and more miles of ribbony two-lane highway along beautiful scenery. It’s even better than Scenic 7 yesterday! Towns along the way included Alton, Winona (gas), Eminence (home of Eminence Ozarker 4-H Club), Round Spring, and Salem, MO, where we stopped again at McD’s for another latte and WiFi break, but mostly to thaw out my numb finger. Renaud’s syndrome is a bummer when it comes to biking in chilly weather. And OK, I have officially been at McDonald’s more in the last 30 days than I have in the past 5 years!

We continued North on 19. It started raining lightly at Cherryville, and by Steelville the rain began in earnest, so we stopped to put on our rain suits. It’s consistently 50 degrees most of the day, so the extra layers feel good. It’s chilly and the wet pavement slows us down, but we can’t complain since we’ve dodged rain 98% of the time on our travels for nearly four years! We pass Cuba, then stop at Owensville about 2:00 for lunch and to warm up. Then on to Hwy 50 East for 30 miles, Gerald, Bueafort and Union. Gerald appeared to be a very cute little down with lots of fun businesses.

We travel interstate highways as little as possible on our travels, but there are times when it is unavoidable. Today was one of those days – for time, convenience and given the cold, wet conditions, we got on I-44 for 35 miles to I-270 to the West end of St Louis, North to I-70 East, past airport to Comfort Inn. Freeway driving terrified me when I first started riding. As my skills improved and my experience developed, I was no longer terrified of freeway driving (or I wouldn’t have been able to manage the L.A. or Dallas freeways!) but they are still not fun, and given the wet conditions, my muscles were tight by the time we pulled into the Comfort Inn. My sweetheart is often thoughtful of my advanced beginner status, and left me at the front door with the bags after I slid off my bike into a puddle of weariness, while he parked both bikes.

A hot shower, rest, glass of wine and nachos later, I’m feeling recovered, but still looking forward to a massage back at home next week! It was another incredible day, with a total of 302 miles – all of it beautiful, most of it fun, and the last of it, mentally and physically challenging. I’m always learning and growing, and these trips offer so much material for that growth. I learn geography, experience different ways of living, engage with and learn from people who live very different lives than mine. I learn the thrill of accomplishment and fun when I’m able to take curves comfortably without slowing way down, and I conquer fears of heights and freeways. I’ve learned how the sun, wind and freedom make creativity flow through my brain, when I though 18 years in Corporate America had rusted my creative circuitry. So, I’ll take a little rain and a few miles of freeway and be grateful for it!

Wishing you, me and our families and friends a blessed Easter, as we marvel at the mysteries and miracles of life and death.

Love, Tomboy Tam

Day 1, Leg 4, 2012-2013 Winter Motorcycle Adventure

March 28, 2013 — It’s a beautiful day for a motorcycle ride! The Super Shuttle that my sweetheart (SH) had pre-scheduled picked us up at DFW and dropped us off at a Public Storage in Dallas. Our bikes started right up, which we no longer take for granted after our Phoenix to El Paso leg started with a dead battery. We headed to High Five Cycle to get the front tire on SH’s bike replaced. He had researched the cycle shop and ordered the tire ahead of time, so that was a pretty quick service stop. We walked about a half mile to Cheddar’s for lunch while the tire was replaced. This exception to the “no chains” rule qualified because 1) I’ve never been to one before, 2) time and convenience – near enough to walk to and 3) the food was good! I bought a couple t-shirts there, one that commemorates Leslie Porterfield, who holds the world record for woman with the fastest speed on a motorcycle at 253 mph! Two of her motorcycles on which she achieved speed records were on display at the shop.

We were on State Hwy 75 North by about 1:15 p.m. and survived the freeway traffic and construction until exiting onto Hwy 121 North. The countryside is quite different from the stretch between El Paso and Dallas, and includes a combination of flat farm land and rolling hills, and more trees than I expected. The towns included Honey Grove, Paris, Detroit and little Chicago, perhaps indicating a lot of transplants from those areas? At Bonham we turned onto Hwy 82. We stopped for a break at a gas station in Paris, and based on that 20 minutes and our observations while driving through, it doesn’t come anywhere near living up to its namesake!

At Clarksville, we went north on Hwy 37 to the Red River and the Oklahoma border. The river is extremely low, and looks like red desert sand dunes on both sides of the actual water. Near Idabel, OK a second rest stop resulted in a conversation with a trucker who currently hauls products from an area paper mill. He used to haul potatoes from the Red River Valley of ND, so is familiar with our home territory. We also talked bikes – he has a Harley.

It was cloudy most of the day, but we soaked up the consistent 70 degree temps with appreciation. It has been a late, cold spring at home, where we finally hit 40 degrees this week for the first time in more than 100 days! I am LOVING the communication systems we bought at the start of this adventure. So much more fun to be able to share our thoughts and interesting points along the way!

Broken Bow, OK, is our day’s destination, about 180 miles from our start. Not a whole lot going on in Broken Bow, but the hotel is clean and I’m excited to be visiting Oklahoma for the first time. We took an unintentionally long walk along the highway looking for a steak house that we got a recommendation for, but couldn’t find it. So we walked back and went to the Choctaw Cassino across the street from our hotel where I had a chef salad and SH had a burger at the cassino cafe.

I’m also looking forward to what promises to be beautiful scenery and interesting riding roads Friday.

Good night from Broken Bow, Oklahoma!

Love, Tomboy Tam

Day 1, Leg 2, 2012-2013 Winter Motorcycle Adventure

Day 1 of this motorcycle adventure started January 17, and actually entailed trains, planes and automobiles and a “side trip” to Los Angeles to pop in for a quick visit with 103-year-old Uncle Walter. My sweetheart (SH) and I left my place in downtown Minneapolis shortly before 5 a.m. and walked quickly in 5 degree temps (probably below zero wind-chill) to the light rail station. The train took us to the Humphrey Terminal where we boarded the 7:55 a.m. Sun Country flight to LAX.

I used the flight time to finish some deliverables for a current communications consulting client and enjoyed the beautiful sunrise views from the airplane window. After an early arrival at LAX, we rented a car and headed to Redondo Beach where we had brunch at one of our favorite places – Redondo Beach Cafe. Who would expect a hockey-crazy diner in Redondo Beach CA?!

Then we headed to The Coffee Bean in Redondo Beach in our favorite neighborhood. They have a lot more seating and outlets for all our electronics than nearby Starbucks, where we often hang out – next to Trader Joe’s. After emailing my work in to the client and attending a conference call, we jumped into into the car to pick up Walter. We had a lovely afternoon with him, before heading back to the airport to catch our Delta flight to Phoenix, where the motorcycle part of the motorcycle adventure will begin. We dropped into bed at the Best Western where we have stayed a couple times before at about midnight.

It was a grueling, but rewarding, 20 hour day – work, family time, enjoying a beautiful, warm environment (mid-70s) and the anticipation of a great long weekend of fun on bikes in relatively warm weather in JANUARY! First time these Minnesotans will ride motorcycles in January! Hang with me over the weekend, and I’ll share our route and some of the planning that results in an affordable adventure. I am so grateful to have the work flexibility, fun partner and modest budget to do it!

Love, Tomboy Tam

Day 3, Leg 1, winter 2012-2013 motorcycle adventure

Another great day of adventure, although it’s hard to remember this is the first leg of a winter adventure, given the temps we’ve been enjoying in California and Arizona! My sweetheart (SH) and I stopped at our favorite Starbucks in Redondo Beach for a latte, and then I had my favorite huevos quesadilla (with corn tortillas substituted for flour to convert to gluten-free) at one of our “usual” spots when we go to visit Uncle Walter — Redondo Beach Cafe. We got a bit of a late start, due to some challenges filling tires with air and the tanks with gas, but nevertheless, we headed east on the 91 freeway at about 9:50 a.m., enjoying the 73 degree temperature.

Our path included: 60 east to I-10 to 62 North, lunch in 29 Palms, CA. Then Adobe Road north to Route 66 to Needles, then I-10 to AZ 95 South to Lake Havasu City. Love the history of old Route 66, and it’s a little sad to see all the abandoned businesses and towns along that route. This is truly desert country!

The temperature got to 92 degrees at one point (hot for us, cooler for the locals!) I had a reunion with my cousin Dave, whom I haven’t seen in – I’m guessing – 30 years, at dinner in Lake Havasu City.

We put about 340 miles today – between the heat and the distance, I’m tired, but it’s a satisfied tired! I’m reflecting on the desolation of the desert landscape, wondering about who lives in the middle of nowhere in this at-times inhospitable climate and environment, and why they are here. How do they make their living? What are the relationships between far-flung neighbors? I saw one sign that said “Next services 90 miles.” WOW, that is remote, even for this North Dakota-born girl!

Until tomorrow,

Tomboy Tam

Hello, thanks, how do you do, and why the heck does the world need another blog?!

Hello! Thank you for visiting The Adventures of Tomboy Tam.  I am Tomboy Tam. I picked that name to represent my personal brand because, although I love being female, ever since I was a kid I felt I was a tomboy. After reading the definition of “tomboy” on dictionary.com (an energetic, sometimes boisterous girl whose behavior and pursuits, especially in games and sports, are considered more typical of boys than of girls), I feel that the definition is relevant to how I am currently living my life. I’m not sure that definition is applicable to girls today, who I think are a lot more boisterous and energetic in their behavior and pursuits than I was raised to be in the 1960s and 70s. Go girls! (And while you’re going after what you want with all that energy and boisterousness, consider the possibility that there may be some ladylike characteristics that are still relevant and valuable today, that may complement your tomboyish ways – another day’s blog topic!)

But, I digressed! Back to Hello, Thanks for visiting, and How do you do, I’m Tomboy Tam, and on to Why the heck does the World need another blog?! I figure I’m at about the halfway point in my life. (For those of you who can’t resist trying to figure out a specific number for that point, it’s 53.) I’ve learned a few things that I’d like to share with you, dear World, so that you may have the opportunity to learn from what I’ve learned and am learning every day, and apply those learnings to your own life and reap the benefits earlier than I did. And if you’re already older than me, perhaps you can also learn and apply the relevant points – better later than never!  That was reason number 1, by the way, for why I have created this blog – to help others, especially women, but certainly not excluding you men, because I like you too! Reason number 2 is because I expect that I will also learn from you, World, and benefit from applying those learnings to the second half of my life. And because this is a public blog, all of us will learn from and be inspired be each others’ experiences! Cool, huh!?

OK, Blogging 101 says to KISS, which in this context means Keep It Short, Sweetie! So to wrap up my first blog entry, I want you to know that the topics I intent to categorize my blogs under are:

  • Relationships
  • Health and wellness
  • Spirituality
  • Career
  • Lifestyle
  • Personal growth

Here comes the interactive part – you’ll see this at the end of every post. Give me your feedback, please!

  1. What do you think of my blog categories?
  2. How do you feel about sharing your learnings with me and the World?
  3. Do you relate to the term “tomboy?” Why or why not?

I’m looking forward to our journey together!

Love, Tomboy Tam

As you’ll see, as we get to know each other, I’m a woman who wears many hats. This one represents my North Dakota roots and my historic love for the romantic aspects of the cowboy life, even if in the real world, that’s a bit of an oxymoron. Perhaps the concept of a “romantic cowboy life” is a good metaphor for life in general – nobody said it was going to be easy, but the rewards are worth the hardships.