Ladies of Harley Has a New Hag

Yep, you read that right. There’s a new hag in town and she’s ready to roll with her HOGgy sisters and brothers! Recently, I was nominated to the Ladies of Harley (LOH) seat for my Grand Canyon Harley-Davidson HOG Chapter. We had our Chapter Board Meeting today and planned all of the fun 2013 rides and activities for not only LOH but the entire chapter.

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Some of the good stuff that we have planned? A CPR Class, Road Captain training, a ride to Motezuma’s Castle, the LOH Bunny Run, an “overnighter” in Durango, CO, Harley Officer Training (HOT) in Salt Lake City, an LOH lunch ride to Jerome, AZ Bike Week, various feedbag chapter rides, and lots, lots more. I’m so excited!

I’ll post articles and photos up here from all the fun rides and shenanigans that we crazy peeps get into this year. The motto for Harley Owners’ Group is Ride and Have Fun. Well, we all sure know how to do that and it’s about to get real. Join us, peeps and let’s make this HOG Chapter and LOH legendary!

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Posted in Harley Owners Group, Women Bikers | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

BBT Landed in BC’s “The Province” News

Ha, guess what?! I just found out that Biker Babe Tours landed the cover on the print edition of the Cars/Riding column in The Province, a Vancouver BC newspaper back in August. Woop!

Following’s a screen shot of the article sent to me by the very cool and talented journalist, Alexandra Straub, who wrote the piece, and here is a link to the online edition of the article. Alexandra is not only a great writer, she’s into cars and motorcycles. She test drives and rides various cars and bikes and then writes super witty, fresh articles about her experiences. For the record, I love this chick and I want her job. ; )

Cover of The Province Article abt. Biker Babe ToursLastly, for those interested, here is The_Province_Tour_Companies_Article (print edition) in PDF format. This kind of stuff is really alot of fun! Hopefully, I’ll get to meet Alexandra out on the road one of these days and I can let her take Anja out for a spin. I, of course, will then test drive or ride whatever she happens to rolling in or on. : )

 

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2012 in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Biker Babe Summer Trip, Part I

Trip specifications: Biker Babe Summer Trip to the AMA Women’s Motorcycling Conference
Who: Rebecca P. and Liz C.
When: Tuesday July 24 – Tuesday July 31
Where: From Sedona and Flagstaff, AZ to Carson City, NV and back
Total miles: 1,700

Granted, this article is really, really late, it being just a few days before Christmas, LOL! But, a promise is a promise. I promised that I would write about this, so here goes! The day, July 24, dawned on a hefty rain storm in Flagstaff. Ha! Of course. Isn’t it always the way? You want to (and, let’s face it, have to) get a long day of riding in, but the weather Gods decide to test your wherewithal and grit right from the get-go. Having been woken up several times throughout the night from the monsoonal lightning and thunder, my friend Rebecca and I, more or less, just shrugged it off. I mean, we’re real bikers and a little (or a lot of) AZ rain isn’t gonna scare us off. Besides, we had many miles to put in and the only way to do that was by riding through it.

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So, while dodging raindrops, we finished loading up our bikes and gently headed east on Hwy. 40, carefully slogging through the wet stuff. After 40 minutes or so, the rain stopped, the sky brightened a bit, and we began to dry out. Our first stop was Seligman, AZ where we gassed up the bikes, grabbed some Gatorade, and hit the road again. Even at 8:30 am, we could feel a small preview of the soul-melting heat that was waiting for us further west. In Kingman, we stopped for breakfast and stripped off our layers. It was already uncomfortably warm, but with full bellies, coffee for me, and iced tea for Becca, we were feeling just fine and ready for more riding.

Needles, CA was, in a word, hot. We did another gas stop and while we rested and stood at the gas pumps (pounding copious amounts of Gatorade, I might add) up rode a gregarious man on a huge, fully-loaded BMW touring bike; the man greeted us and we got to talking with him. He turned out to be Christopher Baker (the dude who I wrote about last month), who travels all over this planet, largely by motorcycle, and writes travel guides for National Geographic and other prestigious publications. Christopher was on his way home to California from a BMW rally in Missouri. In no time, we were all chatting and laughing like old friends. That’s one of the things that I most love about being a biker. It doesn’t matter what you ride or where in the world you ride it, you always meet other bikers and have an instant built-in commonality that helps you form spontaneous bonds and lasting friendships.

On day one of our riding adventure, Becca and I made it to Ridgecrest, CA, an 11-hour, 450-mile ride in rain and triple-digit heat. We were pretty wiped by the end of the day, and my carpel tunnel was acting up. But, after a fairly good night’s sleep, we hit the road again, stopping for lunch at Schat’s Bakery in Bishop.

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I had never been to Schat’s Bakery. Becca was an old pro at it. I can tell you that the turkey sandwich I ordered was the very best turkey sandwich I have ever eaten in my life! Becca and I pointedly avoided buying any of the gooey, sugary madness (in the form of cinnamon rolls, pastries, cakes, etc.) also offered by Schat’s, but man, we were tempted. For the record, I’m still swooning over that yummy turkey sandwich. I might have to get my keister back over there this summer. So, who’s comin’ with me?! LOL!

Anyway, after several stops for gasoline, photo opportunities, and rest throughout the day, which included seeing Mono Lake, we capped off our second, seven-hour, 300-plus-mile day by pulling into Carson City.

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After finding our hotel, meeting up with girl friends from California (who were there for the conference as well), we booked it over to the Casino next door for some grub. I got out of that Casino quick, because I’m genetically unable to tolerate cigarette smoke, but it was so much fun to be there and laughing with our girls. Tune in next time for part two of this tale. I know, you just can’t wait, right?!

Posted in Motorcyclist Essays, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Motorcycle Tour in Cuba? YES!

Let me guess: It’s never occurred to you, has it? Cuba, for many of us, still feels forbidden, cut off, and slightly dangerous. It feels as if we could end up on some “government list” if we even so much as stand on the shores of Florida and look out across the water in its direction.

Cuba remains an enigma, an unknowable, mysterious, and exotic land that’s hidden behind a dark curtain of political machinations and propaganda, even to this day. For most of us, thinking about touring the island of Cuba on motorcycle, let alone visiting there, is loaded with questions, anxieties, and hesitations. But, we can forget our fears, because, guess what?! There’s a man who has done it and continues to do it. He also takes other people with him when he does it. And, he’s done it alot.

Allow me to introduce you to an amazing individual, who, in early 1996, courageously roped his 1000 cc BMW Paris Dakar motorcycle to the sagging, cracked, and heaving stern of a 58-foot boat and sailed with it to Havana so he could find adventure, document his travels, discover love (and lust), and lift the fog on Castro’s mysterious Cuba. Better yet, this man wrote an incredible book about his travels so we can share in the adventure. More on that in a minute.

Who is this crazy-brave, intrepid motorcyclist?  Why, he’s Christopher P. Baker, award-winning travel journalist, photographer, author, adventure seeker, and pilgrim of the rarely explored, whom I was lucky enough to meet, by chance, at a gas station on my way to the AMA women’s conference in NV this year.

Christopher Baker, travel journalist and expert on motorcycle touring in Cuba (among other things).

Christopher spent three months traveling by bike in Cuba, riding some 7000 miles all over the small island, meeting the locals, and gaining insights into a dynamic, sensual, full-of-life, but largely poverty-stricken people and culture. And, what a book he wrote!

Mi Moto Fidel, Motorcycling Through Castro’s Cuba is a seriously entertaining, amusing, intelligent, and down-to-earth read. Christopher is such an excellent writer. (And, this, coming from a several-decades-long, professional writer (me) with incredibly high standards, is really saying something.) I sat and devoured some 100 pages of the book, the very minute that I unwrapped it. I just couldn’t stop reading Baker’s entrancing story. I’m now pacing myself and slowly savoring the rest of the book, because, for just a little while longer, I want to live in these pages, feel the wind, taste the salt air, hear the near-constant, thrumming music that’s everywhere, experience the colors and the sultry heat, and feel the motorcycle rev beneath me through the pages of this masterful tale. I have to tell you that pacing myself with this delightful read is incredibly hard to do. Christopher’s sentences are lively and buoyant. They ripple with imagery, details, deeply felt emotion, and levity. His spirit is a joy to read.

But, back to the ” motorcycle touring in Cuba” part of this whole story. Yes, Chris holds 10- and 14-day motorcycle tours in Cuba through his business, MotoDiscovery. As his Web site states:

“Author of six books about Cuba, Baker has visited Cuba more than 50 times and has met Fidel Castro. He has been privileged to address the National Press Club, National Geographic Live!, and World Affairs Council. He has appeared on ABC, CBS, Fox TV, NBC, NPR, & dozens of other radio & TV outlets. Christopher also serves as a travel consultant and tour escort for such prestigious organizations as National Geographic, and has assisted many organizations in their applications to receive OFAC licenses for travel to Cuba.”

Further, “MotoDiscovery is the only company licensed by the US Department of Treasury to provide motorcycle travel through Cuba for U.S. citizens. Fly direct from Miami and tour Cuba legally.”

Um, yeah. This dude is the real-deal. His upcoming Cuba tours are: November 29 through December 12, 2012 and in the new year: January 26 through February 8, 2013; February 14-27, 2013; and March 2-10, 2013.

My goal is to be able to do one of these tours. But, due to my recent “death-match” with  lung embolisms and blood clots in my leg (not to mention having to be on blood thinners for the rest of my life), that will take some serious coordination and planning. Sigh. Getting old really sucks.  But, I digress.

One day, when my doc clears me for air travel, I will take one of Chris’ Cuba motorcycle tours.  And, I encourage all of my Biker Babe friends to do the same. You’ll fall in love with Cuba and there is no better way to do that than with a tour guide who feels exactly the same way and happens to kick-ass at his job. (When you girls get back, post photos on the Biker Babe Tours Facebook page for the rest of us schlobs who couldn’t yet make it. LOL!)

Posted in Motorcycle Touring Company, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

MADMaps Make the Ride More Fun!

At this year’s AMA conference, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting the founder and COO of MADMaps, Jenny Lefferts. This amazing, gutsy, funny, out-spoken, and tenacious business owner and motorcyclist is an inspiration to everyone who meets (and knows) her. Ms. Lafferts started MADMaps (single-handed) over thirteen years ago.

Since then, Jenny Lefferts and her staff have grown the company considerably and established a massive, proprietary database of scenic roads all over the nation. MADMaps offers conventional paper road maps, laminated road maps, packages of maps (grouped by area, state, or interest), and even technology-centric maps for smart phones and GPS devices like Garmin and Navtec.

What’s ingenious about the company is that they employ road scouts who physically travel their local areas documenting the most scenic, interesting routes available. The scouts come up with the best day-trips in their area and then the company compiles the data and creates a map. MADMaps contain not only great scenic roads but information on local attractions, visitor information for an area (complete with phone numbers), mileages for each route, information about the type of terrain and driving conditions, and local anecdotes about the area that the particular map covers. This makes for maps as entertaining as they are useful.

Some of the MADMaps titles include: California Dreamin’, Smoky Mountains, and Adventure America. The California Dreamin’ package is a series of four maps that explore the entire state from the LA basin (and points further south) to the central California wine country, the SF bay area, and the eastern Sierra Nevadas. The Smoky Mountains map explores the southern Appalachian area and provides 20 different scenic routes through some of Tennessee’s most gorgeous country.

The day of the AMA conference, Jenny was giving away the, what I call “soft-laminated,” Adventure America map. And, I was lucky enough to snag one. The map includes nine scenic road trips in various locations from CA to New England  The routes include: Pacific Challenge, Wild West Ride, Four Corners Connection, Texas Roundup, Ozark Odyssey, Florida Escape, Smoky Mountains Adventure, Great Lakes Excursion, and the New England Independence Run. Each route is boldly highlighted in a contrasting, easy-to-see color and the map is soft, water-proof, and extremely easy to re-fold. I absolutely LOVE this map and can’t wait to get some of the others for our Biker Babe Tours.

Whether you are on a bike or in a cage, MADMaps are key to being informed, having fun and being inspired on the way, and traveling well. Get your MADMaps and go! Oh, and send us photos. ; )

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A Snappy Hat for Every Biker Head!

Ladies! During the AMA Conference in late July, I had the distinct honor of meeting Team Diva founder, biker babe, and artist, Amy Skaling. Amy is one of the coolest, nicest people you could ever meet and a true artist to boot. Amy makes hand-painted, hand-decorated cowboy hats in every color imaginable and which she festoons with shiny studs, crystals, rhinestones  feathers, patches, and various richly colored ornaments. She has outfitted the heads of musicians, movie stars, and bikers all over the nation (both male and female).

In Amy’s repertoire are hats for every taste, in a variety of price points so everyone can sport a gorgeous Team Diva skull. I chose a silver and black hat (Raiders, baby!) at the  conference and Amy sweetly offered to mail it to me after the conference so I wouldn’t have to worry about fitting it into my saddle bags for the long trip home. What a doll. I love my Team Diva hat! It makes my grey hair really stand out; and, there is no missing me when I walk into a room wearing an Amy Skaling original! Here’s a snap:

My Team Diva Hat!

Diva Amy travels to bike shows, women’s events, and rallies to sell her wares, champion female ridership, and present her story. And, what a bike this woman rides! Her incredible motorcycle, that she calls the Diva Glide, literally takes one’s breath away. Amy has attached thousands of crystals to her Road Glide, which is a custom painted, shimmering work of art. It’s seriously drool-worthy! Check out her ride:

Diva Glide in all Her Glory!

Amy and Her Diva Glide

Amy and Her Diva Glide

The Back of the Diva Glide

The Back of the Diva Glide!

I had such a blast talking with Amy, drooling over her hats and gaping at her luminescent Harley. Getting to meet this amazing, sweet, and funny biker babe legend was awesome. I met a few other biker babe legends on this trip, too. So, stay tuned for future posts about them. And, if you get a chance to visit Amy, please tell her that Lizzy sent you. And, buy a hat. You’ll be Team Diva gorgeous!

Posted in Female Motorcyclists, Motorcycle Clothing | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment