Tuesday, March 30, 2010

No Joes but an incredible ride.

I knew today was going to be a good riding day. I was a little slow getting going since I was trying to work a first date into the ride. I missed a phone call from a potential Joe when I was in the shower, and then there was some messaging on the dating site with a few other guys, but nothing came together. Because I was hoping to get up to Rocky Mountain National Park with my laptop and do some writing, I wasn't disappointed that a date didn't materialize.

I decided to head east, almost to Windsor. Then I dropped down to 34 on 257 and over to Loveland.  Once I was west of the city, the riding got really nice. By the time I was passing the Dam Store and heading into Big Thompson Canyon, I was the only one on the road. Warm, sunny, incredible scenery, no sand, perfect curves... life doesn't get any better.

I took the Glen Haven route. I love the view of Estes Park and the mountains when you come over the crest after those crazy S-curves. In case you're thinking about riding up that way, the road gets sandy just before Glen Haven and it doesn't clear up much, including in the S-curves.

I stopped at one of my favorite quilt shops, which is next to the Shell station on the way out of Estes Park on 36, going towards Rocky Mountain National Park. I was ready to flash my National Parks annual pass at the gate to the park, but nobody was there. Bummer. I want to get my $80 worth, and I have until the end of July to do that. Trail Ridge was closed as I expected, but I was able to ride as far as I wanted. The road was getting very wet with the snow melting. I was getting wet, and it was cold and windy, so I decided to turn around.

On the way out of the park, I came across a herd of large animals with big racks. They weren't moose, and I don't think they were elk. They were awfully big for deer, but I suppose they make deer bigger out here than they do back East. Just after the herd of deer (or whatever they were), I ran into a herd of long horn sheep. Too bad the battery in my camera was dead. I guess two months on a charge is pushing it.

I took off towards Lyons via the Peak to Peak Highway. Again, it was perfect, and again, I got to visit another one of my favorite quilt shops.

I've found a new way home from the south that I really enjoy. County Road 13 is a good north-south route, and with a little zig-zagging at the end, I can end up at my favorite Greeley coffee shop, The Buzz, at 59th and 20th Street.  I finally got a little writing in and then headed home at sunset.

It was an amazing day.

Lesson learned: The last two times I've been riding, I've filled up the gas tank on my way home. I really like pulling out of the barn with all those blue lights telling me I can go a good hundred miles or more before I have to stop.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Joe4 - 3/28/2010

I met Joe4 on PlentyofFish. His profile and picture didn't do a lot for me, but he mentioned the miles he'd put on his bike, and I thought it would be worthwhile to meet someone who likes to ride as much as I do. I was working just north of Denver yesterday, so we made arrangements to meet for coffee after I was done.

I was ready to pay for my drink, but Joe4 picked it up. That was nice of him. However, he didn't tip the barista. A few months ago it might not have meant anything to me, but when he turned his back, I slid a dollar into her tip jar. When he turned back around, I think he noticed I'd done that. I'm not sure if that was rude of me. I didn't want to embarrass him, but my two months as a barista has made me painfully aware of how little they get paid for the amount of work they do.

We sat outside and talked for a while. There were a bunch of nice bikes coming in and out of the shopping center. There must have been a biker bar in there. I wanted to look, but I felt like I was gawking at the guys rather than their bikes, and I didn't think that was polite.

We traded a lot of riding stories. Because of the nature of the discussion, exes came up. There's a rule about discussing exes, but the context was OK. We weren't talking about relationship issues, just various trips we'd made. I probably gave too much information at one point, but it fit in with the conversation. I think if I'd felt any attraction for Joe4, I might have diverted.

The sun was heading toward the mountains, so we walked over to the bikes to leave. Joe4 saw the "Blessed '09" sticker on my windshield and went on a short monologue that belittled Christ. Way to impress, dude. I was really stunned that he would say those things, clearly without any thought.

Lesson Learned: If you see something on someone's bike that indicates some sort of affiliation, ask about it before you start trashing it. You should consider that if the person thought enough to put a sticker on their bike, it might mean something to them. I wasn't preaching. I wasn't asking him to go to church. The subject never came up. Perhaps the stereotype is that if I believe in God and go to church, that's going to be the subject of every conversation I have, and he was trying to head that off at the pass.

While I think it's good to know someone's feelings on such an important subject before pursuing anything further, it could have been addressed in a far more tasteful manner.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Joe3 - Snow Day

After I got back from my ride yesterday, I went over to visit my friend/neighbor/landlord, Judi. A guy had been over last weekend to buy some hay for his cows and horses. In addition to the animals, the man owns several motorcycles, including a Harley - or two or three. Judi told him that I ride, and he gave her his phone number with instructions to call. At any other time in my life, I probably wouldn't have. This is the great thing about the project. I had to call. It's work, right?

Our conversation was a little awkward. He was messing with me at first, and I didn't quite get it. I wasn't expecting that so soon, and I was caught off guard. We talked a bit, and somehow the subject came up about drinking. I can't remember the context, but I mentioned that I don't drink. The conversation screeched to a halt. There was a short recovery period, and then it was over. I expected that I wouldn't hear from him again.

Lo and behold, Joe3 called just after noon today and asked if I wanted to go to lunch in Kersey. It's snowing, so it wouldn't be a motorcycle trip, but he'd stop by and pick me up. It was nice that he already knew where I live, since it can be hard for people to understand just how far out in no-man's land I am.

When Judi gave me the number, I asked for a little information. She said he was older than me, probably around her husband's age. That was reasonable. I'm 48, and her husband is around 60. When we'd spoken, Joe3 told me that he had horses and cows and motorcycles and an airplane and all kinds of neat toys. I expected him to show up in a big sexy dually, but alas, it was a beat up old Ranger. OLD Ranger. When he got out of the truck, I quickly estimated about a 20 year age difference between the two of us. People are often shocked to find out that I have a son that's 25, because they think I couldn't possibly have a kid that old. I love it. I imagine this guy was thinking, "Score!" I was thinking, "I'm sure he's a very nice guy, and I'll enjoy lunch."

It turned out we were meeting a friend of his there, which was fine with me. We all had fun and laughed a lot. We got back in his pickup after lunch, and Joe3 showed me some pictures of his horses, cows and motorcycles. His antique bikes are very nice. We drove back to the cornfields in the snow, and he dropped me off.

I immediately went over to the neighbor's house and told her that I appreciated her participation in my project, but this was more of an age difference than I am interested in. Then the rest of the story came out. It wasn't Judi that thought this up. Her friend from Denver, who I've never met, volunteered me as a date when she found out that Joe3 owned a few Harleys. Judi wasn't paying a lot of attention and went along with it. We both agreed that he might be fun to take a ride with from time to time, but that's about it.

Lessons learned:

1. I don't pay a lot of attention to my car, and it tends to get cluttered and dusty. I really need to keep on top of that. A trashy car doesn't make a good first impression.

2. Guys, if you're going to be showing your date pictures of you draped over scantily-clad women at Sturgis, make sure they're hot. I've been around rallies and the biker scene for a long time. This doesn't offend me. However, if you're hanging all over skanks, it's a turn-off.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Joe2 - March 12, 2010

I met Joe2 on the Plenty Of Fish dating site. Before I get to the date, I'd like to comment on the site. I really like it, and it's totally free. Not deceptively free but just plain free. I haven't found a way to search with keywords like "motorcycle", but the broad search function returns lots of small pictures, and guys like to pose with their motorcycles. I've looked at many profiles of guys with Harleys, and very few of them I would automatically eliminate from the pool. I'm pleasantly surprised.

I had contacted a different guy before Joe2, and it looked like we were working towards a meet-up. In the meantime, Joe2 and I had started writing back and forth. Joe2's writing skills are... not his strong point. His pictures were OK and one included a very nice Road King. At one point, he messaged me and called me Melodie. I was ready to write the whole thing off at that point. I wasn't offended that he got mixed up because he was speaking with someone else, but it was one of those red flags that I'm so good at identifying and reacting to. Over-reacting to.

Joe2 clearly didn't like messaging through the dating site and asked that I call him. I'm not crazy about talking on the phone. I'm a writer. In the midst of me deflecting his requests to call, we somehow decided upon lunch on Friday. Friday morning came around, and I procrastinated calling Joe2 until after I'd completed a couple of hours of work.

As happens in these situations, we struggled to come up with a place to meet. Joe2 took control and suggested the Harley dealership at noon, and we could make a decision about lunch then. He asked if I was going to ride. That's when I realized what a warm, beautiful day it was and confirmed that I'd be on the bike. On the way into town, I decided that everything else I had planned for the day was on hold. It was going to be a great day for a ride - with or without Joe2.

I thought I was running late, thanks to a fingernail disaster, but I got to the dealership before Joe2 did. I was checking the time on my cell phone when I heard a Harley approaching. It was him, and unlike Joe1, he was much more attractive in person. Yay! Joe2 suggested Old Chicago, which was a block away, and off we went. The pizza bar was perfect seeing as how I was eager to hit the road. I fought a piece of cheese that wouldn't let go, and we both had a good laugh over it. Joe2 insisted on paying for my lunch. Not even an hour in, and things were great, far better than I expected. After lunch, Joe2 chose a route and we headed out.

I'm very patient with new riders when I'm teaching a class. I'm extremely critical when riding with a guy I'm thinking about dating. My potential riding partner does not impress me with his skills by riding really fast and taking chances. What that tells me is that he's more wrapped up in his ego than hanging out with me. You want to ride with me, ride with me. I have skills. I'm a confident and assertive rider. I will not take unnecessary risks because I think it will make you like me.

Joe2 was awesome. Not only was he a thoughtful riding buddy, but we seemed to mesh effortlessly in the traffic between Greeley and Loveland. I told Joe2 that I expected sand in the curves in the canyons, and I'd probably be taking it slow. Joe2 was very courteous and led at a reasonable pace. We stopped a couple of times for small talk and some photos. It was an incredible day and a memorable ride. We eventually parted ways with a couple of hugs and plans to see each other again.

I came up with the idea for this blog while we were riding. By the end of the ride, I thought it might not be a good idea. I do want to see Joe2 again, but how will he feel when I tell him I'm doing this? How would I feel if he was doing the same thing? Eh, that's tough. But if I go back and look at my motives for doing this, I'm trying not to get serious with anyone, anytime soon. Also, I'm a writer, and I believe this is going to be a fun and interesting project. So I'm doing it. 

Lessons learned:
  1. If a guy is a bad speller, it doesn't mean he's a serial killer. 
  2. Chivalry rocks. Getting the nod that I'm ready to go before heading out means a lot to me, despite the fact that I've ridden across the country by myself. 
  3. Even if you have 110 inches, it'll make me feel good if you let me blast by you when I'm feeling a little frisky. We both know you're the man ;-)

Joe1 - January 30, 2010

The guys are all going to be called Joe, with their respective numbers. I can't imagine that many guys would want to be identified in this little project. So here goes with Joe1...

I "met" Joe1 on BikerPlanet.com, a dating website for bikers. As far as the site goes, it's OK. It seems pretty good when you first look at it, but there isn't a lot of change. Joe1 lives out of state, about 150 miles from me, but he has adult kids that live in my area. His pictures looked pretty good. There was one with a baby. It was cute, but it made me wonder if someone told him that chicks dig guys with babies. We made plans to meet at the swap meet in Denver.

Joe1 showed up. He wasn't bad looking, but I felt that the photos were definitely more flattering than real life. I don't think there was any effort to deceive though. Had the interaction been different, I wouldn't have thought twice about it. Our conversation was strained. He bought a baby hoodie from me, which was really nice, and walked away. We haven't spoken or e-mailed since.

I'm glad we met, but I wasn't compelled to meet again. He must have felt the same way.

Intro to Biker Chick Adventures: 50 First Dates

I'm a biker chick. I'm also single. I hear over and over about women who get into riding because of their boyfriends or husbands. For me, a motorcycle has always been a requirement in a boyfriend. Some people think this is silly, but if there's something you love to do more than anything, and if it's your favorite hobby and your job, doesn't it make sense to want a significant other that shares the passion?

The problem here is that there aren't a lot of single women riding around on Harleys. Maybe that's an opportunity and not a problem. Guys can find women who don't ride, and if the women have no desire to ride their own, it isn't a big deal. Throw them on the back. While it's not impossible for a woman to do the same with a man, well, forget it. If you think that's an option, this blog is not for you.

Having a stringent requirement for dating cuts the pool down substantially. Because a lot of bikers go out for a ride and leave the wife/girl friend at home, finding a guy alone on a bike means nothing when trying to figure out who's single. I thought a place like eHarmony, that sells itself on how well it matches people, would have no problem coming up with some matches. Wrong. Even though I added "motorcycle" as a must-have, I never got any matches who rode. Good thing I didn't pay for that service.

I'm an extremely independent person, so making concessions on who I'm going to hang out with doesn't happen much. I've probably turned away far too many opportunities for minor reasons, probably because I feel like I have to work towards the end, the big "M". I've been engaged three times since 2001, and they're the only three guys I've dated in that time. I've broken off all three engagements, and I don't regret any of the break-ups. However, if I'm being honest with myself, I have to wonder how I manage to get into these committed relationships that should never have happened. Clearly I'd like to get married, but I'm not willing to compromise.

The answer: date without considering commitment. Just have fun. Meet guys. Drop the standard that if I don't think I'd marry him, I won't date him. Be more proactive in finding single bikers to date. Date 50 guys before the end of this riding season. Write about it. I might learn something about myself, and it will be entertaining, maybe even educational.

The rules
  • No sex (which I feel is a given, but it should probably be stated right up front in case you're thinking about volunteering)
  • The guy must be single: never married, divorced, widowed are all good; separated or "it's complicated" are not
  • I can date the same guy more than once, but dates 2 through ? are not counted in the total
  • No trashing any of the guys unless they're real jerks or placed less-than-honest dating profiles. Even then, I'll do my best to refrain.
  • Do my best to meet on the motorcycles
  • Write stories that could help both women and men learn something about dating
  • Anonymous for the guys
  • List subject to additions
Hang on! This should be fun.