Rolling on a Dream Part V
The Dream Roll: The women on their wheels.
Rolling out of Portland and on to the Interstate 80 was one of the most exhilarating things I have ever done. The largest group I had ridden with prior to this rally had been about ten people; this was not ten people. This was well over a hundred. There was no real plan, no one deciding if there were groups or who was leading who, or even which fucking route we were taking; at first it looked like chaos, but it soon felt absolutely organic. Everybody watched as we rode by. I started out somewhere in the middle, praying that I wasn't going to be the girl who rode over a pedestrian because she was too excited – hoping that none of us would fall in our little victory lap. You see, it's not so much that we had to prove something to the world, but actually that we had exactly nothing to prove; we just love motorcycles too.
When we started, still in Portland, I was curious as to how we would take on street lights. This was an eclectic group of a hundred or so women, all from different roads of life; who's to say that every girl here is down for a little breaking the law? I got my answer when the light went red about a hundred feet in front of me and the girl on the new Scrambler at my left. Without a second thought, two girls slipped to the outer sides of the brigade and got traffic to stop with a little through-the-visor glaring action. I have never felt more gloriously entitled to run a red light. We lost some of the group on the merge into the 80 traffic. Traffic is where you learn people's limits. Things like who's willing to open the throttle to catch up with the group in front of her, which girls have separation anxiety and let thirty girls pass her so her friends can catch up to her, and who is still forgetting that they're not in California anymore so that's probably why the cars are honking at you when you split between them like there exists your own little personal road ornate with side mirrors – oops, my bad –, those are all things you learn at rush hour. And yet somehow, as if with a sixth sense, everyone – even the groups that got split off and stuck behind the commuter scrimmage – stopped for gas together about thirty miles down the road at a station hidden from the freeway. The little 250s gassed up instinctively while the rest of us idled, quitely estimating our mileage capabilities. There was little time for chit-chat and we were all itching to be on the road; so girls still running out from the toilet we geared up and tore out of the station.
We swept along the right lane for miles, stretching back as far as the eye could see. Our leader, the infamous Lanakilla MacNaughton, fronted the group at a steady and slow 55mph which kept our lines tight and our style simply magnificent. I couldn't stop looking behind me. I can still see it: two by two like a giant snake slithering over the hill behind me, vertebra after vertebra peaking over the crest. It looked right; it felt perfect. The toll bridge across the Hood River was a whole other experience. I've skirted my way across metal grated bridges before, but never really being fond of the slipping feeling of the back tire that I'm sure you've all encountered, I wasn't really looking forward to having a crap load of bikes following closely behind me as I danced my ass across the narrow mile-long slip n' slide. I noticed a couple nervous brakers around me, but I held a calm speed and we all made it across unscathed.
The road after that was blissful. The sun beat down and not one of us could complain. Lanakilla and the film crew – oh, did I mention there was a film crew? - directed us to a barn to take some photos. After some cool shots we set out in small groups to the campsite only fifteen miles up the mountain. My over-confident but undeniably reliable sense of direction led my small group of five through the forest; and what a ride we had! I was lucky to have Ruth – a bad ass chica who had just gotten back from riding in Nepal – right by my side as we burned around the open curves hitting seventy. Like two hounds playing chase, we bounded after each other; I could feel the corners of my mouth aching from a set grin.
It wasn't till we turned a corner to face a couple of spiraling red and blue lights that we decided, or rather, we were commanded to slow down.
“Oh, shit!” was my obvious reaction as I slowed the group down to a solid 55mph, but he didn't stop so neither did we. When we reached the campsite we laughed about it and attributed our luck to our good vibes. The campsite was stellar. A big welcome sign stating “Dreamy” that instantly conjured an ingrained Disney ideal sat high above the entrance.
Since childhood, “dreamy” was a word used to describe the kind of man who's very presence makes your vagina want to shrivel up inside itself and never open back up for business again. But looking up at the wooden sign that hung over the entrance, that word had taken on a new meaning. This was the ideal. It was a weekend of dancing, riding, revving, racing, drinking, and most importantly, it was a weekend of bonding. So many inspiring women with a burning passion, came together to ride. Not only did we overcome the barriers in society that keep the image of the woman rider as an “abnormal” concept, but we also overcame the barriers within ourselves. Most riders are introverts who have chosen to ride motorcycles because it forces them to be open to the world, but at the same time allows them to assimilate an image that stems from an exclusive culture. Judgment and ridicule are easy to ignore when you're riding down a country road with nothing but the blue skies above and a warm engine below, but it's even easier to fight it with a bunch of like-minded gal pals ready to jump on a bike with no pants and a heart for adventure because “fuck pants” and fuck your ideals, we've got ideals too.
Drop by next week for the last installment of Rolling on a Dream where we experience biblical rains and a time warp to the frontier!