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.