“Everybody Has a Story” April Contest Winner

Riding is her healer

By Carla Curtis, Salem, Virginia

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Why do you ride motorcycles? Arent you scared? Dont you ever worry about being alone on the road? What on earth made you want to travel alone on a motorcycle? Is that big motorcycle yours?

Carla takes a break on Route 66 in Oklahoma on a “girl trip” in May 2005.

If you are a woman who rides, I am sure you may have heard any or all of the above questions at any given time. Normally they are posed to us as we pump gas, or as we are entering or leaving a restaurant or motel. In the past two riding seasons Ive had the opportunity to ride through all 48 states on two wheels. At times I rode with others, sometimes with only a single other companion, but mostly I did so alone.

Crossing the border into Arkansas. Another state to check off the list.

To understand the scope of this accomplishment you have to know my past. I was in an unhealthy marriage for 17 nearly 18 years. During my marriage I gave birth to three sons. Why did you stay so long? My answer is simple, and one many abused women can relate to. I had been so manipulated, and controlled and bullied over the time I spent with this man; I had no idea how unhealthy our situation was. It took several unsuccessful attempts to leave, but with the support of good friends, a wonderful lawyer, and my parents I finally escaped with my life, and the lives of my children.

Carla on Route 66 at the Silver Moon diner in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.

However, the emotional and mental damage done by my ex is long lasting. When I discovered motorcycles, riding wasnt something I ever thought I could ever be interested in until I was introduced to motorcycles from the inside out. A co-worker invited me over to watch and help him do a top-end on his 85 Harley-Davidson FXR one Sunday afternoon. Having always been fascinated with what makes things tick, I sat on an upturned five-gallon bucket which was imbedding concentric circles on my butt, asking a thousand questions and getting my hands greasy assisting him. I fell in love with bikes that day; it took me a lot longer to fall in love with him!

Carla somewhere in the desert between Durango, Col., and Moab, Utah, on day two of an incredible 7,000-mile journey. “I accomplished so much on that ride. I honed my riding ability and skill level to what I had only previously dreamed to accomplish! Amazing what mileage in the saddle will do for one#39;s confidence.”

It would be two years before I decided to ride my own. It has now been 12 years since that fateful Sunday. My ride is a 2003 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic, which I purchased new. This bike and I have gone 30,000 miles in the past few summers together. Some of our highlights together have been: Watching a beautiful sunset in Oregon knowing I still had more than 200 miles to travel to my final destination for the night. Riding across Wyoming, Montana, and South Dakota I could feel the spirits of the settlers and the cowboys and pioneers who died trying to tame the West riding alongside of me.

I experienced the desert for my very first time. Seeing the beauty and rawness of this desert knowing it had claimed lives of many travelers in the past, I marveled at how pioneers survived it. Watching the water flow from the banks of the mighty Mississippi, conjuring up visions of days gone by when life moved slower. Eating seafood in Maine and smelling the salt air, listening to the accents of those around me wondering how on earth they could live though a Noreaster during the harsh winters. Having tears stream down my face shamelessly as I rode across my 48th state line knowing how far Ive come, and how much further I want to ride. Riding is my healer. See you on the road!

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1 thought on “Everybody Has a Story” April Contest Winner

  1. Congratulations on all your miles! Traveling on two wheels is a great way to see this wonderful country. our article was inspiring on so many levels. Thanks for writing and sharing it.

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