Arkansas 2017 | Bikes, Blues and BBQ

Dear Arkansas,

You are stunning.

Love, Me

September 20-24th | 2017 Annual Bikes, Blues & BBQ rally in Fayetteville, Arkansas came and went.   And in the 10 years that Clint and I have been going on big motorcycle trips, this one wins for the most unique, challenging and entertaining of adventures.

Wednesday

We packed, we loaded, we headed out.   En route with us: Tyree, Cole and Tyree’s brother, Clint S., riding my Clint’s old bike.

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Part 1, 2 and 3:

Uneventful.

  1. St. Joe with fumes to spare for fuel and to hook up with Erika and her trusty Jeep.
  2. Harrisonville for some grub at The Garage Burgers and Brew
  3. Gas station just 90 miles out of Fayetteville for a top off of the tanks and some much-needed hydration thanks to the cool and crisp 95-degree fall weather.

Part 4:

24 miles out of Fayetteville… the true adventure began.  As we pulled away from a small connecting community I noticed we were down half of our crew.   Over the course of a handful of minutes, slow riding on a four-lane waiting for them to catch up, a mid-traffic exchange between Clint and a friendly caged passerby we found out our trio were landlocked due to a bike malfunction.   A phone call exchange once stopped at an exit ramp we came to realize that the bike Clint S. was riding was unfortunately beyond any type of repair, and in addition to that major breakdown, Clint simultaneously had a gear shifter malfunction that caused him to have to get creative with some RPM timing and shifting.   So, with nothing any of us could do but make it to our destination, our half of the crew (Clint, Tyree and I) limped into Fayetteville while the other half (Cole, Clint S. and Erika) went on their own adventure of locating a Uhaul.   I should mention that during the Uhaul hunt,  ColeMan’s engine and oil light also came on, but that took third place in the line-up of current issues adventures.  Surely just over-heated, ya?

Totally.

Fast forward several hours and the second half of the trio made it into camp with one functioning bike, one Jeep and a trusty Uhaul with the untrusty bike, John made it in from Eastern IA and Clint fixed his bike issue.  With the crew together and camp set up, we all settled in for an evening of ice cold beers, conversations, and a little hackysack.

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Nothing but smooth sailing from here on out…

Or something like that.

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Thursday

The Uhaul had to go.   Thanks to our buddy Vern, the Uhauled bike found a temporary resting place in his garage in Oklahoma, so Clint, Erika, and Coleman took off in the AM to take care of that ordeal while the rest of us went cruising the beautiful Arkansas landscape.

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We set out in a general direction and ended up landing on Devil’s Den Road.   If you are looking for a lot of curves and switchbacks, add this short 23 miler to your list of roads to find.  Bonus: a few miles outside of it we found Backwoods Beer/Goods where we stopped for a 6pack and to finalize lunch plans once back in Fayetteville.

With the entire crew back together early afternoon, it was high time they got some open road under their belt.   With Erika riding bitch with Clint and Tyree with John (her bike went to her brother since his was having a sleepover in Vern’s garage), we set out towards Devils Den Road so they could experience those curvaceous 23 miles.

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Lean with it, rock with it…

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We had to visit our friends at the trusty Backwoods One-Stop-Shop for a cold brew and a view of the landscape before deciding to head down to Dickson Street for some grub, evening entertainment and of course, more beer.

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But ColeMan’s bike had other plans for us.

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Come to find out, he wasn’t holding a charge.  A little over an hour of being side-lined, some battery swapping and fingers crossed, we made it back to camp where we hunkered down for the night and enjoyed some entertainment courtesy of the Mr. BBB’s contest and odd camper sales pushing from an equally as odd salesman.

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My fear was these weirdos tipping the camper over and us getting stuck purchasing it.  She was a pretty little penny for not being able to stand up in it.

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Friday

I’ll spare you the details of the events from the evening prior through the course of 18 hours, but there was a lot of diagnosing, replacing, tearing apart, putting back together, test runs and the like before succumbing to a motorcycle repair shop to get Cole’s bike back in running order.

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Erika’s Jeep for the win, take TWO!   While ColeMan and Tyree set out on their “bring ColeMan’s bike back to life” adventure, we set out on our own towards Pig Trail Scenic Byway.

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The view on this byway never disappoints.

We, of course, stopped at the lookout point for a few beers and photo opportunities.  What we learned from our 2016 trip is that if you want a beer at any time during your time out on the road, you must bring it with you in your saddlebags.   Bars are non-existant and convenience stores are hard to find.

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PBR girls. 

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Somewhere out there is a photo of me with some random dude at the scenic overlook.  I had wandered away from our group to take some videos of bikes coming out of a curve and he asked me to take a pic with him.   All I know is he was from Iowa, coincidentally.

So, if you find that photo roaming around out here in the interwebs, lemme know, k?

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After a short delay descending Pigs Trail due to a motorcycle accident, we landed in Ozark, AR for the #1 Rated TripAdvisor BBQ joints,  Rivertowne BBQ!

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Delicious grub.
Amazing sweet potato fries.
Sweet and savory BBQ sauces.
Big Appetites.
Belly’s full.
Bliss.

At this point, we were into the mid-afternoon and knew it was time to head back up towards Fayetteville.  The LAST place you want to be after nightfall is in the Ozark National Forest area, let alone any backroad in the depths of Arkansas.  You are just asking for it, on many fronts.

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Back at camp we reunited with the Sejhaur’s and headed on down to the famed Dickson Street.   Let’s give THREE cheers for Erika’s jeep now, shall we?

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You guys… I don’t know if I need to apologize, try to explain what is going on here, or just let you come up with your own elaborated story.   Apparently, this means #BBB17, or something.  I don’t know.

Whatever.

It’s Clint and John.

No one ever quite knows.

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Dickson was a street.   With bikes.  And Vendors.  And Bars.   And people.   We met up with some Omaha peeps (hey, Adam) before heading back to camp for the night.   The majority of the group was definitely OVER it by this point in the day.  Peace out Dickson.  Maybe we will try you again another day.   Also, can this happen when we are there next time?  I feel bad for whoever’s bike this is, but that’s legit!

Hey Progressive – I don’t see Flo helping out.

What gives?

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Saturday

Up and at ’em by 7:30, we made our great campground escape for a hot breakfast before heading up to Eureka Springs for the first half of the day.

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Beautiful backroads, quaint little Eureka Springs for beers at The CatHouse, good company, a few random stops for souveniers and a group photo before Erika packed up and headed back to Des Moines.

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Please note Clint’s facial expression.

Now note mine.

What is that?

#nerdingit

Meanwhile, is Cole trying to look like a badass, frozen in fear, or just holding one in?

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Bonus points for rocking the Pirtlefest shirt.

Take off 10 for the Husker shirt.

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What a GREAT day Saturday turned out to be.

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Mid-afternoon we headed back to camp to allow Erika to pack up her belongings to get back to Des Moines.   The rest of us headed to lunch where we inadvertently ran into Adam Sandoval and Scooter on his Mission: Thank You tour.  Click HERE to find out more.

Tyree didn’t know who he was and asked a question that perhaps gave that away.

I say she was just humbling him a little.

😉

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Saturday evening consisted of campground cleanups, cold beer drinking and lawn mower pulls for a low-key end to our adventerous Arkansas vacay.

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Sunday

Time to head home.

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What’s this series of three photos with someone pushing me back you ask?   Just adding some flare to our Sunday departure by nearly running straight into that pole you see in front of me. Listen – the sun was GLARING, I couldn’t see anything and instead of taking the sidewalk path like we had taken over the course of the last three days, I wondered why no one ever went straight.

That would be why.

And thanks to the incline behind me, I had to be pushed out by some folks standing by while the rest of our crew snapped photos and laughed at my expense.

Hey, what can I say?  Just adding to the adventures.

Wait, wait.  What is this photo about?

Like I said… Just adding to the adventures.   Mere seconds after getting assistance from my near decapitation, my front tire went down and Fix-A-Flat had to come to the rescue due to a leak in the tube.

Seriously guys.  This trip.

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Tensions were a bit high for me at this point because I had little control over the front end.   Looking back, I am thankful for my dumbass move of nearly running into a pole in the campground because I think it was during that incident that my tire went all the way down and had just been a slow leak up to that point.  I had forgotten that on Thursday ColeMan asked me if my front tire was a little low… but we dismissed it.

And so we forged on.

The Kansas City outskirts provided us a stopping point for some fuel and drink and to check the tire pressure.  All was looking good!

It was also here that Tyree and I switched riding situations and I hopped on the back with Clint, and she hopped on my bike to finish out our journey home.  She needed to stretch out after being the bitch on back for the entire vacay and I am sure she was itching to get some miles in, even it was just interstate miles.

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This provided me the opportunity to take some videos and stupid snaps of our journey home.  And check work emails.  Cuz work goes on, vacation or not.

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What a crazy adventure we had.   Hands down the most unique trip I’ve expereinced in the years we’ve been going on large motorcycle trips.   Omaha was certainly a happy sight to see with everyone accounted for and all safe and sound.

 

Cheers to #BBB17 and to the many trips yet to come.

 

 

 

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Life Lately – A Glimpse Back to August and September 2017

Summer 2017 flew by like all summers do.  But for those who liken summer to just the months of June, July and August are selling themselves short.   Why stop at August?  Because school starts up again?   Hellooooo… who lives for the week when there is always a weekend?   September is always an extended summer month for this girl and it’s been slammed full of awesome. Plus, let’s just note the horrid temps we’ve been having lately.   Mid-90’s at the end of September?

 WHAT WAS THAT?!

Let’s take a step back in time.

{August}

The first part of the month was Jessica’s annual girls trip to the Ozarks with a few newbies along for the ride but minus a few previous attendees who were unable to make it.  The Ozarks trip looked quite different than years prior (recap of previous years here and here), however, you can guarantee fun was had, drinks were ingested, a few belongings were lost at the bottom of the lake and a hangover or two may have happened.

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Thanks again, Jeff and Donna for opening up your home to us.

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August 11-12th

Clint officiated a wedding in Red Oak, IA the second weekend of August so we headed down on the bikes Friday the 11th to help with rehearsal.

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Added bonus: one of the best meals we have had in a long time courtesy of the Red Coach Inn Lounge.   Had NO IDEA their food was so legit.  I take back my Red Roach sentiments.  *shoulder shrug

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The wedding on Saturday was absolutely gorgeous and everything went off without a hitch!

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And I, of course, loved every second I got to hang with Sara’s cute little fam.

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The entire month of August provided a lot of two-wheel time.   The number of sunsets captured was pretty spectacular.  This particular night we were just leaving The Twisted Tail after dinner and headed straight into the sunset.   I can’t get enough!

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Mid-August we had the opportunity to take my in-laws to dinner and we picked out the Driftwood Inn and Blair, NE.   The views during our pre-dinner drinks and appetizers were enough to make me want to go back for another evening cocktail anytime!   If you head that way, be sure to check their hours and give yourself plenty of time.  The seating is limited, the days and hours are limited and the wait time to get in is long, but clearly, worth it.  The place was packed!

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HOLD THE PHONE!

Did you know Clint has an award-winning truck?  At some point in August, we popped over to a car show with this man-manipulated beast I lovingly call Mater.   Listen, it’s apparently a thing because it was quite the conversation starter.  All I know is it’s a former dump truck (I think) that he put a box on.   It won best unfinished.

To me, it wins the title of “just another one of Clint’s unfinished projects”.

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And then around came my 37th birthday weekend.   Plans?  What plans?   Friends, let me tell you, August hit me like a ton of bricks!  I was out of the office traveling every day for over two weeks and facilitated 17 orientations where I was front facing students, parents, and administrators.  That’s a LOT of people and questions… and repeated answers.

So, I started to make plans, I didn’t like them, I changed them, I didn’t commit to anything, then I committed, people were busy, and then I uncommitted from it all because dang it… I just didn’t want plans.   None.  So, that’s what I did.  Whatever the hell I wanted on a schedule that didn’t matter if I was late or early too.

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And it was glorious.  

I got a solid long run in at my fave Zorinsky Lake and then we put some more miles in on the bikes.   Two-wheeled therapy, beers, dinner, and a nightcap to watch the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight at Tyree’s.   It was absolutely perfect and what I needed.

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And let’s not forget about this ooey gooey bowl of sweetness!  She makes every day a great day! ❤

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And then Tuesday the 29th hit and all of a sudden I’m 37.   THIRTY-SEVEN!   And super proud of it.   If you are one of those who keeps aging backwards… yo.   Stop it.  Own it!   Look at all the cool things you’ve experienced in your life to this point.  The things you’ve learned.   The mountains you’ve moved.   I proudly state my age.  Who gives a shit anyway?   Life friggin ROCKS!

The day started with getting absolutely SPOILED by my INSANIANCS and a 6 pack of beer from Jordan L.

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{Ok for real.  The number of people who actually thought I drank that bad boy at 5:30am after posting it on FB was a little ridic.   5:30am is a bit early don’t ya think?}

I mean clearly, I waited until the more respectable hour of 10:30am to crack it open.  #duh

 

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Thanks to Kelly for the extra steps in making my morning start off just right.  Look at that load of goodness.

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And the day of happiness continued with fresh out of the oven muffins from Bridgette, lunch with my mama, Dave and Gabe, goodies from some very special co-workers, flowers from the hubs, a hand-delivered cookie from Jess, love from the cat and sushi dinner to close out the night.

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37.  

You fine.

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{September}

I am still continuing working on my photo taking skills and fortunately for me had two more incredible test subjects.  Check out a few sneaks below!

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Pirtlefest Preps started happening on September 2nd and lasted through September 16th.   The weekends preps consisted of truck repairs, hole digging, pole barn cleaning, cabin sweep, human fooseball construction while also consuming a fair amount of food and booze.

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Friday, September 8th was Clarinda’s homecoming and my beautiful cousin was part of the Homecoming Court.  I made a last minute decision early that morning to take a 1/2 day off work and make my way to Clarinda to see her in action.  Fortunately for me, I caught a gorgeous sunrise on that two-wheeled beauty.

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And speaking of gorgeous!  Megan- red is your color!

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No trip to Clarinda would ever be complete without a stop to see Kayla and fortunately for us, Nicole stopped by and joined in on the fun as well!

An afternoon of beers and besties?  YES, PLEASE, ALWAYS!

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I timed my departure to coincide with the sunset.  The backroads of Iowa never disappoint, so there I sat, by myself, no traffic, the only sounds coming from the low grumble of my bike and the chirps of bugs, watching the sunset ever so softly until it disappeared.

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You all know how I feel about finding time to reset and self-reflect.   For me, the best time to do that is on the bike at sunset with nothing but miles ahead, miles behind and the only sounds heard are from the bike and my own thoughts.

Be comfortable being by yourself.  Get comfortable having hard conversations with yourself.   That’s where true growth begins.

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Saturday the 9th was the annual Scroggs memorial run out of Clarinda, so instead of heading to the farm to continue helping with the Pirtlefest shenanigans, I took off on the bike BACK to Clarinda to enjoy an afternoon of riding.

The weather was perfect, the miles long and the company a treat.

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Sunday, September 10th marked 6 years of marriage.

Killing it!

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Monday, September 11th marked my first day back as a playing member of the Nebraska Wind Symphony.   It had been 6 years since I had touched my clarinet and 11 years since I played repertoire that challenged me. I was a member of NWS from 2004-2006 while still living in Clarinda but left the group during a transition period in my life and then actually left music altogether in 2011 when I stepped away from teaching.  Joining the music world again had definitely been on my heart for the last year. In fact, my Christmas present to my Gr’pa Goecker last year was a written promise to see what I could do about becoming a playing NWS member again… and Monday the 11th I fulfilled that promise. He’s delighted as he’s certainly been the one to consistently bring up how he wishes I still played.  It’s been GREAT to be back… but I’ll admit the Monday evening 7:15-9:15pm rehearsals are an adjustment for my 4am Tuesday alarm clock.   Ouch!!

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Mid-September brought some changes at work.  The details are unnecessary, but the love I feel for my colleagues and the future of my position is promising.  Thanks to many special people for helping lead into that transition and through the changes yet to come.

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And with that, I’ll leave you be.   We’ve got Pirtlefest and an Arkansas trip to round out September, but those adventures certainly deserve their own post.

… Oh, the stories and photos to share!  🙂

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

Killed Our Liver on the Elkhorn River | July 2017

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Thanks to Tubing & Adventures, our crew had a killer time this past weekend floating down the lazy Elkhorn River.  6.5 hours of floating, sunny 92 degree temperature, minimal humidity and loads of beer consumption leaves little room for error, in my opinion.

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We had 19 in our crew (we missed you Kruse’s) and throughout the morning everyone trickled in to set up tents and crack open those first drinks before we set out for our all afternoon adventure.

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Seriously, days like this need to happen far more often.  Why is it that available weekends are few and far between in these summer months?

They are all packed full of happy and goodness is why!

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We drank, we floated, we stopped at sandbars, we relaxed, we laughed…

we enjoyed the day.

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Unfortunately, a few things got lost in the great Elkhorn.  My earrings, my sunglasses, some skin thanks to debris, John’s sunglasses and the biggest loss of all: Tracy’s phone.  A few others may or may not have lost their bellies in the river too, but we won’t go into detail on that.

What’s an all day float down the river without a few hazards?

 

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Tubing and Adventures provides a GREAT service and I highly recommend using them for your next adventure.  Cheap entertainment, top notch customer service (thanks Brock and crew), high-quality tubes, complimentary beer cooler floats for every 4th person, perfect primitive camping options, and a gorgeous view to wake up to!

 Is it too early to book our 2018 float?  T&A has my vote!

😉

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Cheers to a continued great summer!

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Biker Feature {Liz}

Three Christmases ago, Clint bought me a really nice Canon Rebel.   I was stoked!   Took it out of the box, attempted to figure out the manual settings, and then put it back in the box and let it sit.   Thanks for the Christmas present, babe!

This summer I am making a concentrated effort to start learning the ropes, with the end goal of being able to use my camera in the manual settings to produce quality photos of my biker friends that they will enjoy.  Fortunately, I have some pretty great friends who are willing and eager to serve as my guinea pigs and Liz raised her hand to be my first experiment.

Holy crap, I was nervous!  What if I was unable to translate what I saw in my head to my camera?  What if I botched it, completely?  And what about putting it out there for others?   What about the judgement?

All of that aside, we scheduled a date, I chugged a few beers and we went to work.   200+ photos later, I am pleased with what was captured and am excited to share with you a few of the highlights.   Now, to continue to learn and grow.

Thanks, Liz for being the PERFECT “first” for me.   It was a ton of fun.

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Cheers!

12th Annual Biker B!tch Run | 2017

The 12th Annual Biker B!tch Run rolled in hot.

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And rolled out even hotter.

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Literally.

It was 9 million degrees that day. But who ever let a little sun and heat index of stay-inside-and-hydrate stop them?

Clearly, not us.

 

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The Beginning – Sugars in Council Bluffs, IA

Sugars provided us with our morning cocktail blends of bloody mary’s, screwdrivers and red-bull vodkas.  Logical drinks of choice for the 10:30 brunch hour, right?   And can we take a moment to appreciate this pretty BA sign that Candy and Marcy got for me???    This girl has some pretty incredible and oh-so thoughtful friends (even if I had to be reminded WHO actually went in on this bad boy.  Early on-set of Alzeimers, friends.  It’s real.  And I was just so excited for the day!)  Thanks again Candy!  ❤

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After cocktail hour, hugs, hellos and good-to-see-ya again’s… it was time to make that day our b!tch.

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Stop 1 – Tailgators Bar and Grill in Oakland, IA

A smorgasbord of lunch, ice cold beers and temperature regulation, Tailgators served us well.  And leave it to these naughties to find an opportunity in the dumpster.

Because where else, right?

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Finding fun in every moment is what these chicks excel at.

I dig.

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Stop 2: Cruisers in Griswold, IA

I believe we have Cruisers to thank for the kick of feel-good-endorphins.

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It’s a strong possibility those endorphins were brought to you courtesy of little cups of jello thanks to that wild child, Elise.  A little jiggly bucket of magic dust is what we will call it.

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And it’s our civic duty to follow clear directions and common law…

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So we made sure to oblige.

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Cruisers also provided us with a long stretch of street where we could actually set up and snag a few photos while melting under the fiery glare of the sun.

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Oh, but honey…

Griswold never looked so good.

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Let’s not forget our fun little crew taking space in the fun bus.

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I have Hunter to thank for many of the group photos from the road.  I gave her my camera and said “have fun”.

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Anyway, let’s roll on, shall we?

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Tyree always serves as my right-hand woman.  On the road and in life. ❤

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Stop 3: The Rainbow in Red Oak, IA

There is always one community that doesn’t know what to do or how to handle us when we come rolling in.  This year was definitely Red Oak.  Upon entering the town we came up on a sheriff.  Said sheriff pulled into the center turning lane and sat there while each and every one of us rolled on by, following the trusty 25mph speed limit and providing smiles, winks and a few head nods.

I am certain he was just enjoying the view…

Wouldn’t you?

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The Rainbow provided us with some eats and treats before it was time to leave the fine diners of the Rainbow Cafe to themselves again.

Ya, I see you Cyndi.

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Liz was being a badass a few weeks prior and broke her ankle so instead of two-wheels, she got four, courtesy of this little scooter.  And what kinda mode of transportation would it be without a license plate?

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Y’all.  This is my aunt Marla.  My dad’s sista.  I have this B!tch run to thank for getting us connected again.  It’s been so fun having her along for the ride.   Fun fact: she trailored down my dad’s old bike so I could use it in senior pics back in 1999.   Fun new fact: she fed me pizza when I was a toddler and got scolded.   This new fact is brought to you courtesy of Jessica’s conversation starters in the fun bus.

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Let’s ROLL!

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Stop 4: Jaime’s Tavern on Main in Essex, IA

Oh, friends.  FRIENDS!

You don’t even know…

Let me elaborate via visual effect.

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Our smart mouthed but huge heart friend Jenn couldn’t make the run due to work (we were also down a few others due to a trip to MX, a float trip, work and family time) BUT, Jenn busted her butt to get to Essex to have a drink and see us off to the next stop.

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And it’s always about this time where I become huggy.  I believe we can thank those little buckets of magic from earlier.

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Or maybe these baby beers.  Seriously.  Have you HAD THESE YET?

You are missing out.  Don’t miss out.

Don’t be that guy.

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Alright, Alright.  Let’s move along while we still can.

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Stop 5: The Hangout in Malvern, IA

It’s always about this time where folks start tearing off to head home for dinner with their s.o.’s or various other reasons.  It took me a minute to get used to that as the OG days we stayed together until alllllllll hours of the night.  But, a larger group now-a-days equals a wider range of home locations and miles in between plus family obligations, so I have embraced it as the new standard and can totally dig it.  It’s us.  It’s the new way.

And this last official bar always brings the onslaught of photo opps, as for many of these girls, this B!tch ride might be the only time each year that they ride together, which makes the moments and memories even more special.

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A little fact about the below pic.  Cyndi (left) rode in from Cedar Rapids!  I met Cyndi during the summer of 2007 at the Conesville Motorcycle Rally (R.I.P to the #2 ranked most epic of rallies… click here and here for the #1 ranked) so to have her join up this year on her own ride was pretty friggin’ sa-weet!

And Ashley (right) was a Jeeper during the 11th annual and decided then and there that she was going to be on her own two-wheels for the 12th annual.

A woman of her word.  My kinda peep.

Tyree- does this make her MY friend now too?

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Is the photo fuzzy, or have you just been drinking?

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The official stops may be over, but the unofficial stops were just beginning!

Peace out Malvern!

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Unofficial Stop 6: The Backroom Lounge in Lake Ohana/Glenwood, IA

We didn’t stick around here long.  Just enough for Tyree to join some kids in a bounce house, eat some grub, laugh at something on a phone that I am sure wasn’t funny, pass out the lollipops.

GANG, I am SORRY (not sorry cuz more for me) I forgot these earlier in the day… fail.

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OFFICIAL stop 7: Cara’s SURPRISE 30th BIRTHDAY PARTY!

We cruised into her nice quiet neighborhood, frightened her husband, rolled back the throttles because no birthday is complete without the sound of motorcycles hitting their rev limiters and surprised the hell outta this girl.

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We done?

duh.

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Some fuel and then I took up whip while Liz led us out to The Mile Away where you should also go for the chairs alone.

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Strong possibility they’ll put you right to sleep too!

Soon after the Mile Away we made our way to Crescent for some grub and good tunes and a final end to the night brought to you courtesy of Kimi’s famous split.  It wouldn’t be a B!tch run without it.  BUT, I shall spare her the pic.  There may be some shirt slippage in there and that’s just reserved for us. 😉

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Year 12 brought the fun.  It brought the renewed spirit.  It brought new friendships and reunited old.  It brought a sense of complete camaraderie and sisterhood that makes the B!tch run what it is and what it was built from.  Friendships united on trust, love, honesty, loyalty, a lil booze, wind and complete and total nonsense.

And 100% fun.

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CHEERS!

 

 

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Special Thanks to:

Courtyard Ink

And all the bars visited, linked above.

 

 

 

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