By Patti Hulsey

I was sitting on our patio on an exceptionally clear April morning having my coffee and pondering over the different possibilities for our very-much-needed vacation. Cruise?? No, that's been our vacations for the past several years. Car Trip??? Done enough of those over the years too. Fly to the East Coast and tour the New England States?? No, I'm not ready to fly again, just yet (9/11).

While deep in thought, I looked down and saw a man pull up on a big pretty motorcycle, dismount and pull his helmet off. My first thought was that I'd like to be on that motorcycle right now, letting the wind hit my face, feeling carefree and adventurous….."That's it!!!"….Excited about my new revelation, I called Troy at work (which I never do) and told him I want to buy a yellow Goldwing and hit the road for two weeks. His reaction wasn't at all what I expected from a veteran M.C. rider, who had wanted to buy a motorcycle for years but couldn't get me interested in it. He was quiet and didn't sound excited at all. What I didn't realize, though, is that he was in complete and total shock at the time. By the time he got home from work that evening, the shock had wore off and he was ecstatic about it!

There was a problem though. He wanted a Harley Electra Glide and I still wanted the yellow Goldwing. So we agreed that we would go look at both of them, with open minds, and that we would not buy one until both of us were in agreement. As it turned out, we never did go look at the Harleys because Troy encountered a man on a yellow Goldwing that was loaded with accessories, stopped and picked his brain and was sold on it. We managed to get one of the three yellow Goldwings left in the state of California.

We picked up Tweety , complete with our choices of accessories on April 10th, and on the morning of May 22, we were on our way to Victoria, Canada for two weeks of total bliss (lesson learned: Don't go North until warmer weather). We went up the California Coast (lesson learned: Don't go UP the coast, come DOWN the coast). We went at a leisure pace of about 250 miles a day, enjoying the sights and the history of California. We had only allowed ourselves 5 days up, 5 days there and 5 days back By the 4th day though, we were behind schedule, because we had not allowed for all the twisty roads on the coast, so we had to jump over on Interstate 5 in Oregon (lesson learned: We should have taken I-5 until we got to Northern California because we've heard the Oregon Coast is beautiful).

On the 5th day, going from Portland, Oregon on into Washington, we had LOTS of rain. I'm not talking about California rains…I'm talking about REAL rain. Complete with our four layers of clothing.. silk underwear (as good as Thermal, and thinner), our jeans and shirts, then our leather chaps and coats, topped off with excellent rain gear, we kept plugging along in the rain, just as dry as if we were in a car. We did have to stop at a rest area for a short time, because the traffic was moving so slow, that Troy couldn't see through the windshield with the cars throwing water on it. When the rains let up a little, we got back on the road and we managed to get all the way to Port Charles, Washington, where we would take the ferry over to Victoria the next morning. So we put in about 480 miles that day. Up to this point, the weather had been varying from 52 to 75 degrees, and of course on a motorcycle, it feels colder.

We took the Ferry to Victoria and spent 4 days enjoying the island. We spent a day at Burchard Gardens, which is a MUST-SEE, we watched a big sail boat race with hundreds of boats, toured the Parliament Building and their Museum, shopped and had pleasant dining experiences. Then we took a different ferry over to Seattle Washington where we spent some time with Troy's sister. The next day, we headed back South on I-5 until we got to Roseburg, Oregon, where we took the 138 and headed to Crater Lake. From there, we went though Klamath Falls and down to Mount Shasta then we took off on the 89, stopping at the historical railroad town of McCloud, McArthur Burney Falls, Lassen Volcanic National Park and Lake Tahoe. We spent some time at Virginia City and then took the 395 to Mammoth where we spent our last night on the road. Ahead of schedule by a day, we rode on into Burbank the next day, barely escaping a heat stroke going across the desert from China Lake through Antelope Valley.

For someone who hadn't ridden a motorcycle in several years, Troy did amazingly well. I felt completely comfortable being his passenger. There was just one incident on the last day of our trip that shook me up pretty good. We were the second vehicle behind three slow semi trucks, on a two-way road. Although it was evident that the vehicle ahead of us wanted to pass the trucks, she wouldn't, even though there were opportunities to pass one at a time. Getting impatient with her, there was a clearing and Troy gave Tweety the gas and proceeded to pass the car, then one truck, by this time there was a motorhome in sight coming towards us, still Troy kept going past the second truck, and it was very evident that he was going to overtake the third truck as well, and I started screaming "Not this one! Not this one!" But knowing it would take longer to slow down and pull behind it, than to go ahead and pass, he gave it even more gas (last time I looked, we were well surpassing 100 mph) and overtook the third truck. After making it safely back into our lane, there was complete silence between us. (That's because I thought I was going to need CPR momentarily). Finally, after at least a mile down the road, Troy asked "Do I need to pull over so we can clean the #@*! off your seat?" He wasn't far off!!!
We've been on Tweety every single weekend since we got it, exploring new roads, going on poker runs, and eventually joining the GWTA and riding with other Goldwings. No matter if they were on Goldwings or Harleys, Yamahas, or whatever, all along the way, we have met so many nice and interesting people, made new friends, and opened up a whole new world. Buying Tweety was the best decision we ever made. Besides the GWTA, we have joined HRCA, ABATE, and SCMA.

We found our "home" with Wings of The Phoenix after being invited to a meeting by Tom Wilson, who we met at Bob's Big Boy. After previously going to another chapter a couple of times, we finally managed to get to a Chapter S meeting, and knew immediately that this was the one for us. Besides the fact that everyone has been just terrific and a lot of fun, we share a common interest with this group of people…WE LIKE TO RIDE!!!