Years ago when I lived on the Gold Coast I owned a GSX250 Suzuki which I soon upgraded to a GSX650. I lived in a share house with 3 other women who all rode motorbikes (OK so one was a scooter, but we let her think it was impressive). I had planned to ride around Australia on my motorbike with a girlfriend only to find out at the last minute that we didn't share the same objective. I wanted to take months or years, she wanted to be in Sydney in a couple of days.
Looking back on that it was one of the best things that ever happened to me, because I made a new years resolution "not to wait for anyone" and that proved to be one of the best years of my life. I travelled by myself with my tent and telescopic fishing rod and clocked up tens of thousands of miles, riding mountain roads and stopping off at little country pubs and every national park and bike rally I could find. (Lots of longest distance female trophies and prizes along the way!) I had a pair of red leather jeans and I think you could say it was a memorable experience, with way too many stories to tell in this session.
People used to ask me the same questions over and over again because I travelled alone...don't you get scared and don't you get lonely. I always answered...scared of what and lonely?? how could that ever happen? They were normally asking that when I was trying to set up my tent or take time out to update my diary or write letters, sometimes it seemed difficult to be alone let alone get lonely. Stopping off at pubs was always a great way to meet people too. Everyone wanted to talk to me and ask where I was travelling to. I got lots of invitations to family homes and farms and met some lifelong friends. The national park experiences and mountain byways allowed me to see just how beautiful our country really is.
I remember having to make a couple of trips home to work for a while and top up the bank balance, but it was never long before I was starting another segment of my trip. I did Qld & NSW in one segment, lower NSW, Vic & Tasmania in another; SA & WA; then NT. Just to give you an idea of the kms I travelled I recall doing about 25,000kms in 3.5 months on the south of Sydney/Vic/Tas section spending 6 weeks of that time in Tasmania.
I guess I have never really got rid of the travel bug, but have progressed along the way with motorcycle changes. I bought a 1000cc ironhead Sportster and rode it to death before buying a 1988 Lowrider which I owned for 9 years. I thought that was the best bike ever and until one day I decided, out of the blue, to buy a brand new Lowrider without ever even test riding one. I bought it over the phone when Wackers were not interested in uncrating one for me to test ride and flew to Melbourne to pick it up. I picked it up around lunch time on a Saturday and was home the next afternoon with it due for its first service.
The old Lowrider had been good to me and I just couldn't bring myself to sell her for quite a long time. I had actually shipped that bike over to Los Angeles in 2003, with my boyfriend at the time, and rode it around for a year before shipping it home again. The last 3 months of that trip we purchased a 34ft RV (campervan) and a bike trailer when the weather got too cold. It was so convenient to have a home on wheels, a safe place for the bikes and to not have to search for accommodation each night. The rig was a total of 40 feet and was incredible to drive, I just loved it. We trailered the bikes stopping overnight in Walmart carparks (which allowed 2 free nights of camping) lowered the trailer gate, rolled the bikes out for a day trip and back to the RV for a hot dinner and shower each night.
This story is all over the place because now I am going to tell you about how I was already a seasoned RV traveller. In 1996 I flew to the USA by myself, bought a 24ft RV and travelled around for 12 months. After 6 months I parked the RV in storage, backpacked around England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales for 6 weeks then flew back, picked up the RV to continue my travels; selling the RV after a total of 12months and flying home. I can't begin to tell you how many tales there would be to share with you from that trip!! Especially the mandatory Friday night pub stops to meet people to party with each weekend.
So I have been to Sturgis - twice; to the 100th Anniversary of Harley Davidson parties in Sydney and Milwaukee; Daytona Beach Bike Week - twice; rallies in more states of America than most people I met there; and been to countless National Parks, Lakes and Mountain ranges. I have seen the longest single drop of water (waterfall) in the northern hemisphere and one day will do the same in the southern hemisphere. You see, I believe that wherever there is a waterfall chances are the countryside will be pretty spectacular and that has proved all too true. My favourite places there would be the southern states where people are always friendly & have an incredible drawl in their speech that I love; the Grand Tetons; Denver & the Rocky Mountains; Montana and South Dakota; Yellowstone & Yosemite (seems I could just keep listing them..)
As you can imagine I have left out huge pieces of information in telling you about my bikes and travels, but hopefully in the process I haven't bored you to death. I have a very diverse lifestyle because I have a high profile job in the IT industry and the things I love to do (apart from biking and travel) range from staying in a cosy cabin with a fireplace in winter, camping any time of the year, catching fresh fish to grill on the bbq; oysters Kilpatrick while watching the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race on Boxing day; hiking to a waterfall for a picnic lunch; a game of golf (as long as I'm allowed to take a six pack along); staying in a 5 star hotel and lavishing in the day spa; boating or yachting and diving; or just riding with friends to a country pub (oops back to bikes again); so I might as well add that I love overnighters with a great band playing.......and so much more.
When I was asked if I would like to contribute a blog, I don't think Beaker had any idea of how many stories I have already forgotten about let alone how many I could still recall to write about. Looking through my photos to pick out just a few was a challenge in itself. But today I just wanted to give you a summary of who I am and what I do, so that when I write future stories about rides I go on, you have some understanding of where I am coming from.
I currently own two motorcycles. A 2006 Pearl Black Lowrider and a 2005 Pearl White and Pearl Blue Softail Deluxe with white wall tyres, so look out for me on a ride and be sure to say hello. My next ride will be the Dump the Dice Bike Run leaving the Glamorgan Vale Hotel (30 mins from Ipswich, Qld) at 10:30am on Saturday 21st March. If you are coming along be sure to bring your swag or tent, because there is a band playing and free camping available and it will inevitably be a great night.
I’m looking forward to sharing stories of rides with you and also of meeting up on those rides. Enjoy a few of my pics, take care and bye for now. Donna
My 2005 Deluxe
My 2006 Lowrider
No helmet laws
Camped at Daytona Bikeweek
Riding on Daytona Beach 2004
A quick overnight stay on the way to Sturgis 2003
The worlds highest suspension bridge (1053 ft)
No a good pic to view here, but at the Hog party at the 100th Anniversary in Milwaukee
(no I'm not Hog member but I got myself into that party!!)
Wind blown at Niagara Falls
I think I acquired some extra gear along the way (for a while)
Biketoberfest in Florida
Too many Tequila's in Mexico
The RV I travelled alone in for a year in 1996/97
The trip in the RV (96/97)
I even got to see an Apollo lift off and felt the ground shake!!
'97 at a rally somewhere in the USA
The 650 Suzuki (from what now seems a lifetime ago)
I called this - Tasmania you'll love it.