Sunday, October 26, 2014


Being laid off can seem like the end of the world to most folks. Yet for me it was a great blessing. I had long tired of 100 mile round trip commutes. These were sucking the life out of me. Many of my motorcycle friends would try to encourage me to ride my motorcycle and enjoy what I could of being on the road. Yet, I felt taking the motorcycle into crazy traffic jams each day would have marred my love of riding. So it was the four wheels I confined myself to each day.

Then dawned December 3, 2013; the day I was handed my walking papers. Someone filled a box of my belongings for me while HR had their little chat. I heard the exit interview only as a buzzing in my ears. Their voice was crowded out by another voice in my head that was cheering at the prospect of never driving into the city again! I nearly skipped out to the parking garage. As I rolled out into the sunny morning, I swear I heard angels sing.

That day began a wonderful 10 month sabbatical. Yes, that’s right I said sabbatical. We all have choices in how we look at our lives. Wayne Dyer tells us "If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." So not working was not “laid off” but a “sabbatical to me; a desperately needed sabbatical. Instead I chose to feel set free. Then I looked closely at all the thought loops that had run through my head daily. My biggest complaint of all was not having time for this or that. I promised I would have time for it now.

My first task was to reconnect with my hometown community. Staying connected with people has become more important to me having felt cut off from them by distance for so long. I’m proud to have made great headway, in not only reconnecting, but making new connections as well. We are after all social beings, and staying connected is not only good for us, it contributes to our longevity.

Next, to keep my brain from atrophy, I tasked it with learning new things. I had dabbled in web design before, but now I was determined to teach myself how to use certain programs and applications. This led me to start my own small company “Sojourn Publications”. This satisfied another wish; that of being of service to the little guy. This new venture was barely off the ground, when a new job opportunity came my way. Yet, I haven’t put it to bed, but it’s there waiting. My plan is to work small, until such time as I want to resume in a bigger way.

I dragged more of those “if I only had more time” to the surface and did them and added a few other wishes to the list. I spent more time with nature including eating my lunch outside every day it didn’t rain. I discovered our garden and had Andy plant herbs in addition to the regular fare. I helped nurture these plants and discovered that gardening is meditation in motion.

My Dad, at 86 years, is teaching me lessons still. You see Dad has been given a very short time clock these days. While it is distressing to think your Dad will soon depart this world, his wisdom has become more important for me to hear. Recently in a conversation he said “we are all given a slice of the pie. I think I’ve been given a pretty decent piece.’ He’s talking about life of course. And as the tasks of the day sometime conflict with an enjoyment of life, I now take the enjoyment piece first. After all, the tasks will still be there when I get back from a spontaneous ride in the country. Being on the bike, connecting with friends, and loving my family are the pieces of the pie I want for myself. The dust on the furniture will still be there when I get home. While I have a new and very wonderful job, I will not forget that it needs balance. Because when my piece of pie is finally consumed, I don’t want people to say. “Wow, she showed up to work every day”, but more like “she was present in my life.”

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Best Motorcycle Road Big Horn Mountain Loop – Wyoming

By Guest Blogger Kiara Wilson

While traditional motorcycle routes typically follow just one or two state and national highway systems, Bighorn Mountain Loop in Wyoming challenges riders to follow three different state roads in order to fully experience this area's natural beauty. The directions are not too difficult to follow, and the payoff is well worth the ride. At 230 miles, Bighorn Mountain Loop covers a variety of different terrains, from the Big Horn Mountain range to the Wyoming plains that make this area so significant. No matter what bike you're riding, you'll surely find a way to make this a thrilling ride for all.

There are a few sharp turns that make the Bighorn Mountain Loop a white-knuckle ride for even the most veteran of riders, but that's certainly not the purpose behind this famous motorcycle journey. Strap in and hold on, because your eyes will begin to wander almost as soon as you begin your journey. Starting on Alternate Route 14, you'll immediately find yourself among farmland as far as the eye can see. While other areas of the country can offer a boring, scenic ride, this type of farmland is a bit different. It's reminiscent of generations past, of how things used to be. This is the Buffalo Bill Reservoir irrigation project at its finest, and this is the very backbone of this nation's farm industry. Eventually, you'll come upon the Bighorn Lake, 40 miles south of Billings, MT. This national recreation area is the site of many tourist gatherings and lodging options, therefore a night spent here is well worth the journey alone. Of course, there is still plenty more of the Bighorn Mountain Loop to be seen, so let's press onward until we cannot go any further.

Anytime you come upon a visitor's center along the Bighorn Mountain Loop, by all means stop. You could learn a little bit about the roads you're traveling, as well as the rich, natural history that the area boasts. There simply aren't territories like this in the United States as often as there once were, and it's synonymous with the present times. Before you reach Burgess Junction and after you've left the lake, you'll come upon a national monument known as the Medicine Wheel. Although little is known about this giant, circular rock formation, it has become one of the area's largest attractions, and for good reason. With mysterious origins present even before recorded history, some think the Medicine Wheel helped ancients with healing and astrological powers.

Turn south onto US-14 at Burgess Junction to continue your Bighorn Mountain Loop trip. You'll soon ride upon lush wilderness trails and Shell Canyon, an absolutely breathtaking collection of plateaus and other large rock formations. If you'd like, you can even stop in Shell Canyon for some educational trips along the area's ridge line.

It may be best to bundle up and bring some heavy clothing with you on this Wyoming motorcycle excursion, because it can get rather cool during the day, even in the dead of summer. River Road makes a great line of jackets to stay warm and protected during your ride, and the Mesa jacket may be perfect choice. After all, you are entering the northern part of the United States with higher elevations, so it's safe to pack clothing that fits this vacation. If you're more comfortable in jeans and a ski jacket, then wear what suits you best.