Filtering by Category: Motorcycle Adventures

a quiet day

My days seem to be made up of peaks and valleys, of quietness and busyness. The weather has been much the same, brilliant warm sunshine and blue skies one day, hard freezes and dreariness the next. We're still wearing winter clothes and running the furnace most nights, but I did have a fleeting sense of hope the other day, bent over weeding my garden in the late afternoon, with a flyby of the first hummingbird of the season. My heart jumped for joy as my head tried to decide if it really was a hummingbird or a really large bumblebee.

My heart decided that it was a hummingbird in the end.

I have been doing a lot of shooting lately, and that has filled up my days. 

I have photographed sorority sisters, full of life and freshness and youth, their stories still waiting to be told.

I photographed a 103-year-old senior, whose stories have been told and whose story is still being told by the gleam in her eye and the smile lines surrounding her face.

I helped my best friend's little girl turn 5 years old after watching my own big girl earn her yellow belt in kenpo, the latest martial arts discipline she's going to master.

I visited the farmer's market for the first time this year, meeting a wood worker who made the most beautiful spoons out of persimmon wood, ash, and maple. She demonstrated how she carved the utensils, straddling her work bench and chopping away at a piece of wood with a small ax and I could begin to see the spoon coming to life. She wore a small stocking cap and work boots, her shirt soaked already from the early morning sunshine. I asked to take her picture and she said yes, swinging her leg back over her bench and showing me once again how she brings life out of wood. I purchased the smallest spoon made out of persimmon wood, the smoothness of the bowl reminding me of my silky blankie I used to use to suck my thumb with when I was a toddler.

Dave and I have been yearning to hit the open road, seeking out new places to explore on the back of his motorcycle. Tuesday evening the light was soft and golden as we meandered the backroads around nearby Tonitown, the dirt that his bike kicked up beautifully highlighted in the lovely light. We didn't really have a destination, taking turns deciding which dirt road to follow. We passed cows and new little calves, some shying away and galloping back to their mommas as the roar of the motorcycle passed their pastures. We came across a creek, an unexpected surprise, but one that David successfully navigated, giving me an excuse to wade across to join him, the cold water instantly soaking my shoes and filling me up with delight.

My weekend is full and the coming week looks to be filling up as well, as I begin to plan an upcoming photography project with a friend and take high school senior pictures for a neighbor girl. I feel blessed lately, blessed with all the goodness that seems to have enveloped myself and my family. I don't know if my sister has anything to do with it, but I like to think that she does, that she is looking down on all of us and taking care of us.

A certain kind of quiet guidance.



Adventure On Two Wheels

We set out with the best intentions last Monday morning and with high hopes for the beautiful weather that the weatherman predicted. We had the route programmed into Dave's GPS unit on his motorcycle. I had both our cameras fully powered up with fresh batteries and extra batteries stowed away in my camera bag. My big lens was tucked into the camera bag as well, in hopes of photographing the buffalo and any other wildlife we might see as we toured the wildlife refuge outside Lawton, Oklahoma, our final destination. It was a beautiful, clear skied morning with the pear trees in full blossom up and down our street and the sun was beating down warmly upon our backs as we headed out of our neighborhood and began our first overnight trip on the motorcycle.

We headed south, taking the backroads down to one of my favorite spots, Natural Dam, where we pulled over for our first leg stretcher of the day. We were happy and having a lot of fun. I threw rocks and skipped a few for each of the kids like I always do when I come across water. Dave was busy taking "hero" shots of his bike with his phone and seeing what was next on the GPS.

We climbed back on the bike and crossed into Oklahoma about 45 minutes later. 

And that was when everything changed. The skies clouded over, the wind picked up and the temperatures started to tank. At first we thought it would all blow over because the sun was fighting her way though the thick overcast every now and again, giving us a little bit of hope, but the warm weather we left behind in Arkansas and that we were hoping to return never materialized. With every stop along the route, I downed hot chocolate and cappuccinos by the gallon; in fact, I can't remember the last time I drank so much coffee during the day. I'm normally a two-cupper-black-only kind of coffee drinker and only in the mornings, but I made an exception that afternoon. 

But we pressed on, with me willing Lawton to hurry up and appear on the green highway signs and Dave battling the strong headwinds and keeping the heavy motorcycle upright on the small country roads. We were exhausted, cold and getting discouraged when we pulled into the tiny town of Pauls Valley for gas and yet another hot drink. I was standing inside chatting with the clerk behind the counter when Dave walked in, looked at me and said the most magical and wonderful thing I had heard all day: "I made a command decision and found us a hotel ten minutes away and canceled the one in Lawton. We're staying here tonight."

I would've hugged him except I was too busy wrapping my arms around myself to stay warm.

So, instead of photographing buffalo and elk, the next morning we got up and I photographed downtown Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. We toured the the working train depot (an Amtrak train pulled in during our visit and a freight train roared past 15 minutes later) and heard stories of the depot and the town from the museum's sweet curator. She had the most twinkly eyes. 

Dave and I got back on the bike, this time with new directions taped to the gas tank, hand written directions for a quicker ride home (the GPS on the motorcycle had our route to Lawton taking twice as long as it should've been, thus the overnight stay in Pauls Valley). Dave pointed the motorcycle towards home and away we went, both agreeing that Pauls Valley more than made up for the lack of any big wildlife we may've seen at Lawton. The wildlife we did see from the back of the bike were coyotes roaming the pastures, dozens and dozens of red tailed hawks, herds of deer and I even spotted the white head of a bald eagle high in the tree tops sitting on her nest. We saw brand new calves grazing near their mommas and little foals near theirs in the fields as we flew past. We chatted to each other over our intercoms until the batteries died, leaving us to our own thoughts. We crossed small creeks and big rivers. We drove over flatlands that reached as far as we could see and drove curvy roads that gave me tummy tickles. We met the nicest people along the way, all of them sending us off with good wishes and "be careful out there"'s. We never complained, seeing that there really wasn't anything we could do about the cold weather and the gusty winds. It was what it was and we experienced it together. 

But I have never been so cold in all my life!