Category Archives: My Story

Before you play judge & executioner…

1 of 3 girls will experience some type of violence in her lifetime.

            Just take a moment and let that sink in. One out of every three girls will encounter violence in their lifetime. Now think of three women in your life. Odds are, one of them has.

The average response time for an emergency call is 10 minutes.

            It takes 10-15 minutes to bleed out via a major artery. If you weren’t killed instantly that is. So if you’re lucky, you have five minutes left before its too late, right?

I am that 1/3. At the age of six I escaped a would-be kidnapper with my younger sister and older cousin from a park. At ten I watched my cousin’s new junkie-boyfriend pull a .38 on my grandfather because he disagreed with him.  In a room full of women and children. At twenty-seven my now ex-husband threatened to kill me if I left him. We have two children. At the time they were four and eight months. And this ladies and gentlemen, is why I chose to carry.

I’m not here to argue gun laws or endorse the NRA or whatever debate of the hour is floating around at the moment. I’m here to tell you this shit happens on the daily. Now, most of you are probably thinking I had a terrible childhood, I grew up in a rough neighborhood, or I’ve made horrible choices in my life. Wrong. Well, mostly wrong to be honest. The ex-husband wasn’t my finest moment.

I grew up in a respectable middle class neighborhood where everyone knew each other. I went to church every Sunday. I am a white thirty something mother of four. I have a decent Monday through Friday job in a limited liability company. Now let me see, I think I just shot about four common myths about violence against women all to hell.

  • It only happens to minorities. Check.
  • It only happens to women with questionable morals. Check.
  • It only happens to people who live in the projects or 3rd world countries. Check.
  • It only happens to women who have certain types of jobs. Such as strippers, waitresses, etc… Think I can check that one off too.

If that’s not enough of a reason to protect myself I have plenty more to choose from. A couple years ago a woman was taken from the side of the road while jogging one town over. My sister’s good friend was just recently murdered by contract killers hired by her husband not 2 streets down from me. He was a retired professional hockey player for a well-known team and had a thriving construction business. He wanted the insurance money. He had them murder his wife with their children in the house. When the cops showed up her two year old son was sitting with her dead body trying to “wake mommy up”.

I carry a gun because it’s my responsibility to look out for myself and my children. I’m not asking for your permission or your approval. I am doing what’s necessary to insure that when something does happen, and it most likely will, I’m prepared for it. There is nothing worse than being in that type of situation and feeling helpless. I carry because it’s a lot easier for my family to get me out of jail than a grave six feet under.

“A gun is a tool. No better or no worse than any other tool, an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it.” -Shane (1953)

I’m 5’6″, 120 lb’s. To put that in perspective here is a photo of myself and my 11 year old son. 20170516_200619

 

 

 

 

My Brothers Keeper

For the past couple of years my younger brother has been trying to get me to sell him my Kawasaki Ninja 250 R. FB_IMG_1493123431460Every time he’s brought it up I cringe a little. He’s not a bad driver. In fact, he drive’s like Morgan Freeman in Driving Miss Daisy. So why is it so hard for me to support him getting his license? I feel like this makes me a hypocrite.

The reason is pretty simple. My brother is 28 years old, balding and stands over 6 foot. But in my mind he’s still this kid I practically helped raise.20170425_082051

My father passed away in 89 when I was five years old. You grow up fast when tragedy strikes. I’m the oldest of three kids. It’s my job to look out for them. My brother is the baby of the family, he could be 90 and I’d still think of him as that chubby, curly haired kid running around the yard in his tighty-whities.FB_IMG_1493121159651

If anything happened to him I would never be able to live with myself. Let alone look my mother in the eye again. Yes, I know it would not be my fault but my mind refuses to be reasonable about this. I think when you’ve endured the loss of someone integral to your life it affects you in many ways. Sometimes that shit jumps out of nowhere. For me, this is just one of those side effects that creep up on you that you didn’t even know was lurking in the shadows.

Against my better judgement I have been allowing him to make payments with the stipulation that I won’t hand it over until he takes the MSF course. It gives me a little peace of mind.

Jeeps, Motorcycles & the Wave

When I was a kid my cousin had a Wrangler YJ. 3 inch lift riding on 33’s with a spray can camouflage exterior, it was redneck royalty. In the summer we would take the doors off and rip around town with the radio blasting some CCR or Zeppelin occasionally dodging the law on an old access road in search of the next great party spot. To this day I’m amazed we didn’t get pulled over more often. I didn’t know it then but that was the beginning of a lifelong love of the Jeep brand.

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Straight out of high school I purchased my first Wrangler. It was a white 2001 TJ. This thing was stripped down. Rug ripped out so the drain holes were easily accessible, no back seat, and the soft top wouldn’t zip closed completely. It was love at first sight. You never forget the first car you ever bought with your own money. Since then I’ve owned several more.

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Now, if you’re familiar with Jeep culture you will have noticed that when two Jeep’s pass each other both drivers wave. The history behind this is a little muddy but the common belief is that during war time military Jeep’s would wave instead of salute when passing each other so as not to give away high ranking officials. Thus started a tradition still held to this day. A tradition that I’ve only noticed shared with one other culture, motorcycling.

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I’ve been riding motorcycles since I was in short pants and had a hobby horse. I can remember my father taking my little hand and waving to passing motorcyclists as we circled my grandma’s block. Back then the wave was up high, not the two fingered salute that’s thrown low nowadays. When I bought my first motorcycle years later I remember how excited I became when another rider waved at me for the first time. You realize your part of a community.

Even though I don’t believe the motorcycle wave was born out of military origins, it was initiated as a sort of acknowledgement of solidarity against convention and the shared experience of being on two wheels. You could argue about which came first, the motorcycle or the Jeep wave but honestly I think that would be a waste of time. The first series production motorcycle to be made was Hildebrand & Wolfmuller (Motorrad) in 1894 in Germany. The first concept of the jeep was in 1940 when the Bantam Pilot was delivered to the US Army for consideration as a light 4X4 reconnaissance and scout vehicle. From 1941-1945 the Willys MB beat out Ford’s GP’s and Bantam’s BRC-40’s and became the military’s preferred vehicle. I’ll just let the facts speak for themselves.

Now that I’ve probably lost you with my history lesson let’s get back to the point here. We are unique. Both motorcyclists and Jeep enthusiasts. Others have tried to imitate our culture but they are missing that time honored tradition. I believe the wave is rooted in respect and comradery. Hopefully, it will continue long after I’m gone. So when you see a motorcycle or a Jeep remember to wave!

Where my girls at?

Have you ever stood in a crowded room and felt like you were totally alone? Or worse yet, you stood out like a preacher at a porn convention? Of course you have! If you haven’t you should just quit reading now.

I don’t fit in anywhere. At least that’s what I thought for the longest time. Everywhere I went I was that girl. The lone female in a group of men at a bike night or run. The one who needed toilet paper or a freaking leaf for Chrissakes’ at the bathroom stops.

One of maybe 3 girls in town who didn’t ride pillion, I would scour social media for girls just like me. I had questions and I wanted feedback. I needed advice from someone, anyone, who was dealing with the same issues I did. I wanted a sense of belonging. I felt like throwing a big ol’ sign on my back saying “HERE I AM! COME FIND ME!” 

Then I was introduced to Instagram. Thank you Jesus! I found women riders just like me and finally, finally, I let that freak flag fly. And the most wonderful thing happened. I was being flooded with information that I had been starving for, I was being inspired and I was being encouraged.

But still, something was missing. I still wasn’t getting that feeling of belonging. I was still looking for my tribe. I realized I needed to start looking outside the 607 if I wanted to find them.

Now about this time an up and coming all-women’s group had been starting to make waves in the motorcycle community and it just so happened a girl from my hometown, Dana Cooley, was one of their core members. Being a fan I started following the group she was affiliated with, The Iron Lilies.

This past February they opened up their membership to women across the globe. I jumped at the chance. I mean, who the hell wouldn’t?!

Of course there are other groups out there that are just as kick-ass. Among them are The LitasThe Motor MaidsThe Dahlias and The Missfires. Each is unique in their own way.

So why did I choose The Iron Lilies?

1. I knew one of them personally.

2. All of the members are near to my age.

3. Being a newer group it didn’t seem so overwhelming.

4. Their CTA  (Call to Action) spoke to me.

5. There was no need to start a branch or chapter in my area. (Kind of hard when you’re solo most days)

Do I regret it? Hell to the no! Already I’m connecting more with these ladies than I have with any others in the community. I finally got what I’d been looking for. If your struggle sounds anything like mine I hope you start looking for your tribe! Our little sub-culture is growing ladies!

Harley Davidson Dealerships

I try to hit up a Harley Davidson shop everywhere I travel to. It started when I was looking for a gift to bring back from my trip to the Caribbean for my ex father-in-law about 9 years ago. It’s our common ground. Little did I know it would become almost like a compulsion.

I usually get a dealership shirt (a shirt specific to the dealership, usually with landmarks of the area the dealership is located) and a pin. Each dealership is unique and has their own style. No 2 dealerships are the same.

The purpose of this post is so I can keep a record of the dealerships I visit. I will update it every time I add a notch on my dealer belt. Where’s your favorite dealership? Let me know I’d love to hear from you!

Lakefront Harley Davidson/ Caribbean

Corning Harley Davidson/ Painted Post, NY

Harding Harley Davidson/ Corning,NY

Eisenhower Tioga County Harley Davidson/ Mansfield, PA 

Performance Harley Davidson/ Syracuse, NY 

Three Rivers Harley Davidson/ Glenshaw, PA

Ithaca Harley Davidson/ Cayuga, NY

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Atlantic County Harley Davidson/ Outskirts of Atlantic City

Lancaster Harley Davidson/ Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Best. Decision. Ever. (previously posted on former site)

My first memory is of my dad sitting me in front of him on his Honda Magna and riding me around my grandmother’s block. I had to sit on top of the tank to reach the bars because I was that small. I couldn’t have been more than 3 or 4 years old. Just like that, I was hooked.

Growing up you could find me tearing apart my bicycle just to build it back up again, handing tools to whichever adult was working on a piece of machinery or on the back of an all-terrain or dirt bike. It wasn’t until I saw Leanna Creel in Saved by the Bell that I realized I could be the one in control. Her first appearance on the show she rode a motorcycle to school and came in wearing a helmet. No one knew it was a girl until she took the thing off. I remember my sister and I looking at each other in excitement and me thinking that was going to be me someday. And yes, I watched that show, just like every other kid at the time.

Despite the nay-sayers or maybe in spite of them (I was never any good at being told I couldn’t do something), I signed up for the motorcycle safety program and received my license in 2011. Best. Decision. Ever.

If you are thinking of getting your license or are feeling apprehensive about getting your license, I’m telling you, take the course. Take the course even if you aren’t worried or inexperienced. I promise you’ll get something out of it. I signed up with my boyfriend at the time and we had a blast! Harley Davidson also offers New Rider and Experienced Rider Courses at select dealerships. You can find locations here http://www.harley-davidson.com/content/h-d/en_US/home/learn-to-ride.html . If you want to find locations for your state Motorcycle Safety Program check this link out http://www.msf-usa.org . It was definitely the confidence booster I needed. It literally changed my life.

Oh yeah, shout out to the guys at Groton Cycle Center, you’re the best!