Monday, June 22, 2015


There are days I feel like I am wandering aimlessly. Attempting to talk about nothing but who I am, feels like one of those days. A storyteller by trade, dry stats feels wrong. But what stories are suitable for discribing the eclecticness that is me? It is easier to get a feel for my thoughts and emotions just through the general stories I tell. However introductions are usually warranted. 

 I am female, in my mid 30's, big blue anime eyes, and was born a corn silk blonde. Some time in my twelfth year of life, a discovered I was truely a purple headed kid, and haven't seen a natural hair color in the mirror since. I have had many jobs over my life, everything from intake at a morge, to pizza slut, to writer, to wrench. 

Writing has been a passion, excuse me I should amend that, storytelling has been a passion since I could form sentences, and cooking since I could reach the stove. Wrenching came on slowly, 18 years of study and watching, tinkering and assisting. I have been trained by a master technician, one on one, for close to 20 years. I only had to sleep with him nightly. Not too shabby of a deal, since I am married to him.  Homesteading, writing and wrenching has taken me on some amazing adventures. 

I have not been yet honored with a road name, unlike many in my stories. Road names are much more than nicknames, and are worn with pride. No matter how silly it may sound to civilians. Road names can tell you a lot about a person, you just have to listen. Not having one after 20 years in the saddle can tell you a lot as well. I have a nickname, but it is irrelevant to my homesteading or biker lives. And those lives intermingle on a daily basis. 

May I help you? The toe headed teen boy demurely quizzed me. I stood in front of the cashier at the local feed store. Since I hand milk my cows, I buy sweet feed to treat them with in their stanchion. It is the only time I grain feed them. And those girls are junkies for it. At this point I truely believe that they would learn to do cartwheels and moo the "Midnight Sonata" just to get some grains. I smiled at the boy. Even though 50 lbs of feed was nothing to throw over my should and walk out the door, I accepted his help. He ended up carrying it a bit awkwardly. I accepted his help because of his sincerity, no smirks, nor butch jokes that I have frequently heard from the mouths of farmers, and clerks. I had him place it on the fender of the vintage FXR. He looked at me questioningly. I thanked him, and used my budgie cords to strap it down. With a kick start and low rumble of the bike, I smiled and winked at him. His eyes lit up and he shook his head. He had never seen feed strapped to a motorcycle before.

As the two gentlemen approached the bay door, I groaned slightly from the ache in my pinned together leg and blown apart knee cartridge, and got up from the concrete floor. Grabbing the nearest red rag, I systematically rubbed the used engine oil from my hands, all the while beaming a welcoming smile to the newcomers. May I help you? I asked.  The man on my left immediately looked me up and down, and declared there was nothing I could help him with. The welcoming smile never wavered from my face. I actually had to bit back a laughing snort. What? Not sexy enough for your needs? Oh, but to say that aloud wouldn't have bode over well with potiential clients. So would have been the reply, try me.  Instead I swallowed any witty retort that might have found its way to my devilish tongue and informed them that I would retrieve another mechanic. 

This behavior towards me is not unusual. I have dealt with it in many bike shops, as a customer or wrench. I did make a parts guy cry once. There are times I just am unable to contain my bitch bile. Words tend to vomit from my mouth, projectially toward the intended victim. I am never regretful of what occurred, except maybe a missed remark that would have been even more perfect than my normal dry and dark humor. So, I find it humorous, others not so much, hence the bitch remark.  

The two gentlemen talked with The Doctor at length. The diagnosis was simple, one I could have easily explained. With a handshake, a deal was struck, and the imported motorcycle would be gracing our doorsteps the next day. On arrival I did my intake ritual, explaining to the the initial diagnosis, and what it would entail. If anything else should arise, we would notify him and get permission to proceed. Turned out, a lot more cropped up. The simple fact that the man was charged $500 for a repair at another shop, and said repair was never attempted, pissed me off. My sexist gentleman and I became fast friends over this debacle. Part of my job is dealing with clients over the phone. My telemarketing skills from a teenaged life helped get me this wonderful promotion. And it is usually here were I begin to receive respect from our iffy clients. The man that thought because of my tits meant that I knew nothing, now calls and talks to me personally about any bike issues he has. I win.

The Doctor has become my Jimminy Cricket. I wait unladylike for that nod. The one that lets me off my leash and allows me to explain in my robust vernacular what I truly, honestly think about a person, or the act of stupidity they just committed. He has kept me from fisticuffs on more than one occasion. Being polite hurts me deep to the core if I feel you are undeserving. Most days I am gentle, but once my hackles are up. . . I do need to be restrained. And it is not lost on me that I discribing myself as a dog, bitch. 

I will give the shirt off my back, to anyone in real need. I have literally done that twice in my life. Once to a human, and once to an animal.

February, several years back, found below freezing temperatures and a thick blanket of snow. I had settled in to watch the late news, hoping for better weather. I heard dogs barking, but brushed it aside as the neighbors kennel was always full. But the barking was getting louder and closer to the house. I opened the backdoor to investigate. And there under the barn light, another one of my neighbors dogs were pouncing on a bundle of white. My young pups barked and barked, unable to scare off the larger older dogs. My mind took a moment to register what was happening, my angora goat bleated out, and I screamed, neglecting to grab the rifle that was perched above the door for instances like this one. I ran barefoot through the snow, my plaid pajama pants where quickly covered in the wet, sticky snow. I screamed again, waving my hands madly about. The dogs took off, and The Doctor peeked out the door. I threw myself down on my knees in the snow, skidding to a halt in front of my goat. My hands shaking from adrenaline rather than the cold. Her neck was bleeding profusely. With nothing else handy, I yanked off my Vandals t-shirt and pressed it against the would. The puppies whimpered as my goat tried to stand. Rolling her over, I straddled her, as if I was going to shear. This calmed her down, and I was able to keep pressure on the wound. She didn't survive the attack.

It was May, even more years back. I was slumming under a bridge. A homeless teen, in what seemed at the time, a sea of homeless teens. Few of us were able to escape the hands of pimps and pushers. I was one of the lucky ones. My stint at homelessness was short. I would be rescued within a few days of meeting the poor girl who had found out the hard way who she should trust when hitchhiking. She rolled down the embankment, her clothes tattered, torn and dried blood flaked away from her jeans. No matter how hard my heart had become, my soul wouldn't allow her to suffer. It's an easy thing to give something away, to lighten ones heart many years after the fact. Only a couple of us found our way to helping her. My last clean shirt, another girl had a skirt to give. We fed her what little we had, and kept her warm through the night. I never knew what became of her. I mourned her years ago. Most the teens I knew in the period would never be seen by friends or family again.

This is who I am. This is the only introduction I can give. I am a mother, a homesteader, a baker, a writer, a biker and a wrench. I am loyal and loving, I am mean and vindictive. I am nameless, but you can call me Shovelhead.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

A story without a beginning

All stories need a beginning. It was a dark and stormy night. . . Once upon a time. . . Call me Ishmel. But to find the beginning of my story will try all of our patience. It will have to stand that I have had an interesting life so far. One full of joys, tears, blood, broken bodies, and exploding motorcycles. 

I am female, in male dominated "lifestyles". That much is very important to the sorry that unfolds. Let us call that the beginning of this taradiddle. Married to my head mechanic, The Doctor, who fortunately sees me closer to an equal rather than an ole lady with a wrench in hand. After dominating the flat lands, we are now mere babes in the woods. 

Isolated, unfamiliar, struggling to get noticed in a small town in the foothills.  Only a few brave souls trust outsiders here. It's a good thing that we don't have to rely solely on locals for our income. We build bikes via phone calls and Skype, our furthest customer, so far, has been 1,200 or so miles away. And we service and repair motorcycles from up to 2 hours away. But it hasn't been steady. What has been is the work on our homestead. 66 acres of wilderness.  

The overly warm water streamed down from the cowboy shower that was hefted up into a tree, creek side, feels almost orgasmic, or maybe I just have to sneeze.  Either way, I was enjoying the sensation. It seems to be the only way to rid one's self of the clinging humidity that dwells in these parts. As long as you are under running water, it stops being so sticky. Once you step out from under the man made pitiful waterfall, the air wraps it's stale, heavy fingers around your flesh, pressing it down to the point of oppression. 

Paranoia quickly rears it's ugly head, as the feeling of being watched caused the light blonde hairs on the back of my neck to rise slightly, only being impeded by the sun heated water. I shyly forced my eyes upward, into the steep hill that stood ten feet away, just across the creek. The densely wooded hillside could easily obscure any hikers that may wander down. It is a strange feeling to be buck ass naked in the middle of a national park. I shook my head, this wilderness was private property. My new home.

Shot over hollers is overgrown, neglected. Honeysuckle and poison ivy cling to anything within reach. Windflowers, wild roses, raspberries, blackberries and stinging nettle make it almost impossible to navigate unscathed through the bottom acres. No one has lived here before us in over 50 years. We see no neighbors, we only hear them when they are showing off their rednecked engineered Diesel engines. The isolation is almost complete. Anyone to wander down is either lost or looking for trouble. We have few unannounced visitors. 

The abandoned house was built badly, no ceiling, no interior walls, the floors are rotting, and the floor joists are broken. Yet we make it a home, for now.

Our bike shop is in only slightly better condition. We had little options in the small town we wanted to set up in. People keep a tight fist on their money here, stingy is the most appropriate word to describe them. Some have opened their wallets and hearts to us, and we our forever indebted to their kindness. Our shop sits surounded by an abandoned downtown of an once prospering town. In the 1980's this quant suburb was booming. Then the factories left. Little work is to be found within an hour of the area. Most men work out of town on the week days, some are gone 3 months at a time on barges. You can't blame them for keeping money close to hand. Luckily they love their toys. The women tend to work in more traditional careers, teachers, nurses, waitresses. If they work at all. Life in the 50's under massive poverty.

The first time I saw our new shop, the feeling was a mixture of excitement and dred. The two bay car garage would be our first step to no longer having to rely on the man, ever again. 

Walking into the retail area, nausea swept over me. The smell of 30 years of cigar and ciggerette smoke mingle inelegantly with booze and humidity induced sweat. The walls of peeling flora wall paper streaked in yellow stains, the windows coated in dried lines of nicotine and ciggerette tar. Even though I am world famous for my chain smoking, this was more than disgusting. I must have made a "Bewitched" face, of the crinkly rabbit nose variety, for the Judge chortled. I looked over to him and shrugged. He looked me up and down, not slowly as in leering, but a quick assessment and thoughtfully informed me that I looked like I was use to hard work. I still am not sure as if that was to be taken as a complement. At that moment I could only agree out of confusion. I shook his hand, we had a deal. The cleaning, scraping, disenfecting, and painting took a month. Now we were open for business. 

All was right with our world.

  If only Nightrider hadn't entered the equation.  

A Biker's Homestead

There are days I feel like I am living a Mad Max movie scene. No electricity, gas so expensive it might as well be scarce, creating self suitability with little resources, motorcycles echoing off the hills as dust, or mud or leaves, fly about as we attempt to make it up our suicidal driveway. I even have my own version of Nightrider.

We have been on our new homestead for 2 years now. Although we have been homesteading for 13 years, this move onto raw land has proven to have it's challenges. Much more than was ever expected. We came here without a community, without family, without any real support. But we are bikers, and homesteaders, we are use to being able to do things without help.

A biker homestead doesn't make us unique of course. There are many of us out there. Raising and butchering our own meat, raising gardens and families. Canning, and building, creating and riding. We are just not as outspoken about our dual lives as many of one side can be. Homesteading is a perfect lifestyle for the old school biker.

The following pages will reflect just that. Our homestead as we build it up from nothing, our motorcycle shop that we build up from nothing, and the unique visions, builds and our rides. 

Our past has been filled with heart ache, trials and tribulations. The foreseeable future shows us that this will remain a constant. But we will overcome this obstacle as we have so many others.