My First Motorcycle Trip [SPOILER ALERT: I hated it]

Rebel Road Company | My First Motorcycle Trip

I took my first real 2-wheel road trip over Labor Day weekend of 2005. Myself, my then-boyfriend (now husband), AND most importantly the motorcycle all returned home unharmed, but man... I'm surprised I ever agreed to sit on another bike after the experience.

It was perfect weather when we left Tulsa on our exceptionally ugly (brown with red flames) Yamaha V Star. This was the 2nd bike Chris had owned during our time together (the first, a black Kawasaki something something). We were both wearing jeans and t-shirts (mine white with a little pink rose pin fastened to the front) and nothing in the way of jackets or riding gear. I don't believe I owned any leather at that point. I put ZERO thought into planning or packing, we just headed east. Hwy 412 would take us through Oklahoma and Arkansas and then north 65 into Missouri.

About 25 miles out of Tulsa... torrential rainfall. Cats and dogs. A gully washer. A toad strangler. And a super pathetic looking pink rose drooping from my newly transparent white t-shirt. Suddenly it wasn't so warm outside, so we pulled into the Burger King rest stop on Hwy 412. Ever notice how pretty much any food tastes incredible when you're soaked to the bone and shivering?

Rebel Road Company | My First Motorcycle Trip

The rain was certainly a setback, but onward we went through the hills and curves of northeast Arkansas with reasonably high spirits. Around Springdale, my hips and knees were killing me, so we stopped at a grocery store parking lot to do some stretching and walking around. We did NOT stop to fuel. Only by pure miracle did we reach our next stop, Alpena. Our gas light came on after we rolled past Huntsville and more of the last 35 miles than not were spent coasting on a curvy 2-lane highway with no shoulder. Always. Stop. For. Gas. In. Arkansas.

We visited with Chris's family near Branson and they all looked at me like I was nuts. By that time, I felt a little nuts. I was hurting and still a little damp! But... onward we went, continuing north on 65 to visit my family near Springfield, spend a night, and check out my old elementary school (go Bingham Bluejays!). I reminisced, Chris cooperated.

Rebel Road Company | My First Motorcycle Trip

Rebel Road Company | My First Motorcycle Trip

And then this happened. See that back seat? It was akin to a barely padded leather brick.

Rebel Road Company | My First Motorcycle Trip

The stretch home from Springfield to Tulsa seemed like the never ending journey. The wind, the super slab (I-44), the semi trucks, the horribly uncomfortable bike, and my crappy joints created the perfect storm. I cried. I schemed. I screamed to Chris that he was leaving me in Joplin... 'or else!' We stopped. I threw a fit. No, really...

Rebel Road Company | My First Motorcycle Trip

And then I succumbed to the healing powers of a Ruby Tuesday turkey burger. I like food. Food is good. It got me through to Vinita, OK, where we stopped at the McDonalds over I-44 ("You know the one that's built up on that great big ol' bridge across the Will Rogers Turnpike?" Ray Wylie fans? James McMurtry? Anyone?). They're currently (as of February 2014) rebuilding it, but here's a look at it then.

Rebel Road Company | My First Motorcycle Trip

As it turns out, ice cream has healing powers too. We made it back home without any more fits or rain storms or fuel issues, but that was the last 'big' trip we ever took on that bike. Chris admitted later that it was also pretty uncomfortable for him, so we sent it down the road the next spring.

Take-aways from this first big adventure:
  • For God's sake, at least BRING a jacket.
  • Travel with someone you like and that can take your screaming and ridiculousness.
  • Always refuel in Arkansas.
  • Food heals.
  • Buy a Harley-Davidson.
Do you remember your first road trip?