The perfect couple goals. Benny and I laughing it up on the road, hugging at Cedros Peak in New Mexico, and hard styling above Albuquerque!
Our trip to New Mexico was for an all female camp and ride event put on by In~Cahoots Moto Community. ALL FEMALE except Benny was invited to be the Photographer for the first year event, volunteering his time to capture moments we would never forget!!
The Southwest Quest was located in the Tijeras range just south east of Albuquerque. I got involved through friends I met years ago on my solo moto trip to California. The area was insanely beautiful, and I loved being able to ride through the desert again! The skies are just gorgeous and the roads are prestine and curving up and down...
We look like we are having the time of our lives in these photos (because I know I was) These are the Instagramable and printable ones we have to hang on our wall- photos that we all strive for- Some see my feed and think, UGH more lovey dovey crap from Amy and Benny.. lol.. or so I've been commented to... It doesn't matter to me- online relationships ARE fake, they showcase the best of times and the most happy, missing what really lies beneath- and you know, all it normally is, is a normal relationship. Yeah we argue, yeah we disagree- like normal humans- It is all in how we end up afterwards that matters- and ultimately we chronical the good times- and there are MANY- but the bad times, the few times we don't see eye to eye- we had one of those.
What it amounted to was 2.5 days of stress, learning lessons about long trips, and trying to find OUR jive on the road. It was once said, that being on the open road together, will either make your relationship stronger, or tear you apart. The strong and the weak, the novice and prepared, the stubborn and the flow... everyone who has ever been on a seven day + trip like this knows what I'm talking about.
Benny is a STUBBORN person..bless his man heart... The clock is his enemy, he has to go atleast 90 mph on the highway, or he's just not living. He rides until he is too tired to continue, no matter how dark it is, and he could care less about getting a photo of a state sign. Pound miles and focusing purly on the destination- missing all that lies between. It's no wonder he was so stressed our first day.
Immediately making a mountain out of a mole hill, for example, our first 100 miles in - he ran out of gas. It wasn't an emergency stop, we were on a pretty safe shoulder next to a dead toad... no biggie! I had a bike, I turned around to go get a gas can and gas.. he did learn that first 100 miles, he could only GO 100 miles until a fill up, and I had the odometer on my bike- he has removed his. When I returned, be had become so angry that he broke the gas can spout in his rage of cuss words and hysteria (most of which I recorded for Instagram stories) And he CHUCKED that can as far into the ditch as it would go.. which wasn't very far into the wind... which also pissed him off...
We rode hard until way past dark, and had no choice but to get a hotel, since all camping was closed, Ben didn't want to sleep in the ditch we pulled over in, and it was too dark to set my tent up alone. It was tiring, and late.. we got to shower, but that was the only perk- it was not a good first day.
Day one I let him have the reigns, I had no idea he was in such a hurry- honestly we had an entire week to cruise the 2560 miles out and back from New Mexico. That is not a hard thing to do. Recovering from flying 100 MPH across 800 miles in one day- into night in the 50+ mph winds across the plains.. that was almost impossible.
I wasn't going to let someone else determine my mood throughout this trip.. I was going to have a good time on my vacation that I LET Benny come on- I love my solo trips.. Its my ONLY sanity in this world.. it makes me believe in people again, humanity exists- the planet is alive, and it makes you recharged with a sense of being and purpose.. I pulled strings to even get him invited to this all female camp out. My attitude was starting to poke out- I was ready to tell him what I thought of his takeover of my trip. At this point I felt like I had sabotaged myself. WHAT the fuck did I do. I ruined a perfectly good time by inviting a fucking stubborn MAN to suck at life the entire time.
NO.. I WONT LET THAT HAPPEN.
It was obvious, we just couldn't get together the first two days. He wanted to pound miles, stay in hotels, eat fast food, sleep in, and break his bike.. I just wanted to lolly gag and sight see, and take my time, not ride in the blistering heat of the desert, eat healthy so I wasn't visiting a rest room every ten miles, and experience our surroundings because- after all- we had 3 days to make it there.. and 700 miles are 700 miles, no matter how you ride them, the sun sets at the same time-ish every night, so I know when I have to get to camp and set up, finding one on the free camping site I use, we get food at the grocery on the way to camp, and sleep and recharge with mother nature until sunrise, when we get back on the road. Our separate ideas of a bike trip weren't aligning.
After the disaster that was: Day One... the second day I decided to be proactive, by NOT making a huge deal out of my first day being a total stress factory and to offer to be lead bike, primarily just to try to bring back some of my own ride, some of the feeling of my OWN ride anyway, not following someone whos pounding 100 MPH across the humid sub-tropical Oklahoma plains at high noon to rack miles. It would've worked, in theory it was glorious- but - we started the day super late.
Sleeping in is higher on some people's priority list than enjoying the ride, or relaxing, or burning to death .. apparently. And once we got on the road, that someone couldn't follow me. My speed was fluctuating from 75-80mph and he had to pass me to 'stay sane'. Yes; he said that. Here is the drama he claims to never embody- and we don't show on Instagram. He litterally couldn't handle my speed fluctuation- so he would pass me, and miss exits. (like GAS exits, remember I have the odometer)
Moving into Oklahoma, we missed an exit for gas, not knowing that Turnpike meant, no exits- and also knowing that the TURNPIKE was NOT the way we wanted to go, but dictated by the FASTEST route and once again, my husbands decision- we were taking the Turnpike. New lessons learned- causing Benny to run out of fuel, on this god forsaken Turnpike. At least this time he didnt break the gas can I illegally turned around for, carefully scooting through the concrete barriers in the center. He attached it to his bike, luckily, because not only did it come in handy for himself- AGAIN, but we used it at camp to power a generator that was charging cell phones! (the FLOW person in me says, it was all for a reason, the universe knew we needed a gas can- but not Ben)
When we FINALLY get to camp for the night, after stopping for gas every 100 miles listening to Ben complain his bike just wasn't working right- I figured it was because he wasn't running at 100 mph and this is just how it runs at speed limit speeds.. LOL... (He had rebuilt his entire top end and put new compensator shims in to combat a noises he heard weeks prior to this trip- the entire engine was out of the bike and reworked to make sure it was bulletproof for the ride)
The camp I located on my free campite website was RAD. It was by a lake with REAL SHOWER bath houses and power, I set up the tent- alone because someone was STILL on YouTube searching about his bike issues- too busy to be involved in that moment, with his wife... tensions grew. I just wanted to hang out and enjoy our campiste- I felt like Spongebob in the episode where he goes to Sandy's underground dry tree house and he can't breath and he dries out into powder- thats me after Oklahoma kicked my ass. All I wanted was water, shower, sleep.
Unfortunately the campsite was home to HUGE spiders- one such had blocked the ENTIRE tent opening the next morning after we slept- I screached a little as I rose with the sun to go get in a shower and GET ON THE ROAD at a decent time, so we didn't have a repeat of the previous heat drenched dehydrating day- today we were crossing desert. "umm SPIDER!!!!" I screeched as I unzipped my tent (which had never happened, because I never set up the little roof, the rain guard shelf, that you have to insert an extra little rod into- to create an awning- yeah fiuck that it's a tent- but Ben, bless his heart, jsut had to put it up- I'm thinking who needs curb appeal?!) So Ben woke up SUPER SHITTY calling me a BITCH for wanting to get out of the tent and shower without combating Pennywise.. HE KNOWS I HATE THEM. It wasn't new, it wasn't odd- he was just being a grouch. So I got to the shower and had a chat with myself... I knew that my day was going to be MY DAY. The previous day had already gone SO MUCH BETTER, since I was the lead, I picked the camp site, and I got to relax sleeping in nature, truly my purist form of rebirth. Cut back to Ben, two hours later- my bike is packed, I am showered, I am ready to GO EAT BREAKFAST, and he is STILL on his phone searching for things to fix his bike... Tension is high but at this point I have no fucks left in my bucket for any attitude. My TRUE vacation started at 5am in that shower.
We hit the road on day 3- Benny's bike is fucking up, and I've had it. Hes on YouTube all night and morning refusing to take his carb off at camp with my tools and rebuild it right there, to find the issue- but more than happy to complain he cant find a plug to charge his phone.
At our first gas stop, as he fumes over his bike, I go rouge. I wandered inside and made friends with the locals- something I love to do on my solo trips, but being with Ben - I hadn't met a single new person. So I chatted, had coffee.. they suggested a few things in the area, and I wandered outside- Now hes on his phone with someone about his bike... I sit down, have my coffee and doughnut on the curb -just in time for my loving husband to reach full on PISSED about his bike- so he has to go NOW.. BYE I said- I'll catch up- see you at Cadillac Ranch!
Suprised by my answer, and that I didn't immediately jump up and throw my half eaten breakfast away to suffice his whim- He does a burn out and succeeds in looking so cool leaving a gas station in a town of 4 people. I felt better.. like a weight of judgement was lifted from my shoulders.. like- I was free to ride my ride agian! I finished up my breakfast, checked my packs, saddled up and hit the road. I was just rolling into Texas, decided to stop for a picture of the sign,
Ben was so far ahead of me, I couldn't see him, and didn't care. I rolled further, I guess at some point I passed him getting gas on the side of the highway- I would guess about 100 miles fom the start- and just kept going.. somewhere around Albuqurque, benny caught up saying he was going to the dealership to fix his bike. OK have fun! But he's sorry now and wants me to go with him. For moral support? or maybe just to ruin my day... Cautiously I decided to exit behind him...
Sometimes, you just have to let the road teach you a few new things, whether those things are "slow down and smell the roses" "Haste makes waste" "a penny saved is a penny earned" or "your wife isnt always full of shit" every time... and the newbies find their lessons on their own.. you can't teach them.. and I guarantee they wont listen anyway.
So, by the end of it, by my birthday- we were one cohesive team, traveling, and seeing sights, taking fun pictures, and YES we got a super nice hotel with a hot tub. Marriage is a game of learning each other and compromise.. And we learned how to do just that with each other on this trip.
We are now looking FORWARD to our next cross country adventure, and Im sure- more learning opportunities!