Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Forests, Fundraisers and Firearms!

The Nimble Collective
It has been an incredibly busy week and yet I have still had time to stop and smell the flowers - or in this case - look at the trees! One of the striking things about parts of California and Oregon is the abundance of trees! The Spanish Moss in parts is delightful to see. The silvery grey strands that dangle from each branch create a wonderfully spooky appeal. The only other place I have seen this is heading towards Ushuaia - the windswept and Southernmost tip of the Americas. The Redwood, of course, cannot be ignored. You must not miss the Avenue Of The Giants if you ever find yourself riding between Lakeport and Eureka. Get off the 101 and take the 254 around Myers Hill, rain or shine and...well.....enjoy the ride! The famous coastline is wonderful, but it's not the only treat in store for you if you choose to ride this part of the world.


The Avenue Of The Giants
My last couple of weeks has been a whirlwind of forests, fundraising and firearms! I am falling in love
with this little corner of the States.  You can't help it due to its miles of on and off road riding, its natural beauty and its abundance of friendly, creative and dynamic people who put a lot of energy into life. Despite my many miles, aching shoulders and my tight schedule,  I have been carried along by their enthusiasm and found myself learning a lot about what lies beneath the American social surface.

In each stop I have found a home-from-home and each ride leaves me wanting to see more.

Drinks with Rex
My time with Rex and his family was amazing. Rex runs a fairly new project in the world of animation, helping up-and-coming talent realise their full potential through various types of support and advice. It was very inspirational to see how they work and I am looking forward to watching their ideas and influence growing over the coming years. The team put on a wonderfully creative fundraising event for my benefit. Along with my presentation, they had also organised a silent auction, food and drinks. Rhonda, of course, was the star of the show and she lapped up the attention whilst I stood in her shadow once again! I was reluctant to leave but time was not on my side and so, after a few short days here, Rex and his daughter Grace rode with me along the beautiful Skyline Drive towards San Fransisco. Here we waved goodbye as I rode solo once more, down into the Redwood forest and back towards the coast.

BMW San Jose Audience
A few more miles and a successful presentation for BMW in San Jose saw me heading towards
Lakeport. I met Frank (my next host) on route, and after an invigorating ride over the Golden Gate Bridge, along the dramatic coastline North of San Fran and then a bit of dirt riding through the trees, we found ourselves in this sleepy little town on the west shore of Clear Lake. We were still in California, but it felt very different up here and a total contrast to the south side of the state. California is about  half the size of the UK and yet it holds a great deal more diversity in terms of its weather and its terrain. If you throw neighbouring Oregon in as well, then you have vast mountain ranges, deserts, coastline, sprawling cities and forests that offer accessible and rideable fire roads that stretch for miles.

Shooting with Frank
My stay with Frank was fun. We put on a presentation at the local Honda dealers for the town folk, and Frank took me for my first ever shooting experience! Frank is the local Pastor. I found this fact hilarious and very 'American' that he should be taking me shooting! We shot only plastic bottles of course, but it was great fun and an education in the gun scene in America. It seems everyone here exercises their second amendment right. An act that was introduced in the 18th century giving the citizens of the US the right to keep and bear arms for the purposes of self protection and for use in the event of a tyrannical government (Is there anyway we can write 'also in the event of the successful election of Donald Trump'?). This act is very much the topic of conversation around the world right now. Should this right be revoked? It seems the popular consensus of the majority in this region is a resounding NO! I came to see how important it is for many people to keep this right and how it is part of their culture. Taking this right away would be like telling a Brit that they can no longer drink tea! It is a tough call and I am glad I don't have to be the one who decides!

Stunning Redwoods
A journey of a thousand goodbyes pulled no punches as I tore myself away and headed further north once again - richer for my experiences and for the generosity of those who have attended my talks.

The rain did not stop as I rode North towards Eureka. My clothing and luggage were no match for the
amount of water that fell on us that day.  I wound up my heated grips and took to sheltering under the reach of the magnificent Redwood along the Avenue of the Giants. By the time I got to the coastal town of Eureka, I was drenched to the bone and shivering. Luckily my next stop was with John and Georgiana who were no strangers to riding in Oregon and because of this they were prepared for my arrival with a glove and helmet dryer, a dehumidifier, towels and a hot shower! My visit was just long enough to dry out, present at the Black Lighting Bikers Cafe, sample the local beer, and head out once more, north towards Corvallis.

Photo By Grace Gringon
Throughout my journey so far, I have found that the cost-saving exercises are what have led me to the best bits! Camping, eating street food and staying with local bikers and families. The need to earn money on route has also added a whole new dimension to the journey and led me down roads and into towns I may never have found otherwise. It has allowed me to share my story with people from all walks of life and introduced me to businesses and communities that have taught me a great deal. Perhaps if I had started this journey with pockets full of cash, I would not have learnt or experienced half as much. It has encouraged me to be sociable, it has pushed me forward, and I have found friends and experiences I might otherwise have missed.








Drawing by Rex Grignon (part of the Auction)

Frank and his all riding family

Riding towards Eureka




The Black Lighting Cafe

Random bikers at the Alice's Restaurant (bikers cafe) on Skyline Drive

Saying goodbye to Grace and Rex

Presentation at Nimble Collective

10 comments:

  1. Brad and Brandy Lawrie are moto bloggers in Corvalis.

    It would be totally cool if you got to meet them.

    http://trobairitztablet.blogspot.com
    http://troubadourtriumph.blogspot.com




    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi again Steph,
    Hopefully you found my other message. I discover you tonight on YouTube and I check your blog entry for... TODAY and you're essentially in my very own neck of the wood out of all the places you could be on Earth, this is incredible. Check www.RespectfulRevolution.org to see what I'm doing all around the country on a Harley Sportster 883... If you're still in Eureka and the weather holds, I would come and pay you a visit tomorrow.
    Take good care, and ride safe and always excited.
    - Gerard

    ReplyDelete
  3. Cool Stephy, thank you to make's me dreamin' with your travel

    ReplyDelete
  4. Welcome to Oregon! Looks like you're experiencing a great cross section of American culture. Looking forward to your presentation at Downward Dog on Sunday!

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  5. Great to have you come by Nimble and inspire everyone Steph! Safe travels and we look forward to riding with you again sometime! rex, patti and grace and the whole Nimble Collective team.

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