In Honor of My Dad

USAF retired MSGT Ronald "Doc" Colon served 30 years as a paramedic. He traveled the world with wife, 6 kids and a menagerie of pets. He taught us how to learn. When I wanted to be a cheerleader my junior year of high school, he transferred the family to Iran. He said he didn't have anything against cheerleaders, but I would gain more survival skills by seeing the world. The biggest lesson? "Don't judge, you never know what they're going through. And since you're so scrawny, don't fight. Run."


Had A Very Merry Blizzard

On Christmas morning I decided to go outside and found this

And this. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. So I went inside to get a cup of coffee and tried again..

And saw her. I got worried about my neighbor's rooster.

He was hiding inside his coop from this.....

Just in case I was dreaming, I got on my boots and went here....

And saw this...

and lots and lots of this....

I paused for a minute and read this. Does this mean the dog was found?

Next I wondered if any pioneers had also found this...

But I got distracted by these guys....

And eventually I went back home and made my apologies to The Mistress and then wondered how a beemer would handle herself in snow. Our Christmas day made us thankful for electricity, floor furnaces, running water and holiday food. Merry Christmas to our family and friends from myself, RD, and of course, The Mistress.


Is This Any Way To Treat A Lady?

After our last trip of 550 miles in 12 hours and 32 degrees, I got nervous about the seat warmer on the new BMW GS. Not to worry. The Mistress will take another cross country hike this Friday. The itinerary calls for 1603 miles in less than 24 hours. We will be going for an Iron Butt Bun Burner Gold. As usual, I'm going for the pictures and the food. Daily travel logs to commence on Friday. I haven't been this jacked since the 4810. See you on the road, Donna.


The Mistress

I remember the day our BMW 1100 RT came into our life. RD woke up and I realized he had that look. It’s hard to describe. It’s that far away look that always makes me pray that I will survive the coming change in my life. OK, it’s not that dramatic, but sometimes I get a feeling about stuff. RD had been taking me to different motorcycle show rooms for months. And I knew, without a doubt, the man was going to buy a motorcycle. I didn’t have any requests except that he do everything he could to get a safe motorcycle. I have no idea what I meant by safe motorcycle, but there you have it.

Sure enough, later that day, RD called and was whispering into the phone. Not a good sign. Apparently, he was in the middle of negotiating and things were going well. He really, really, really wanted this bike and by the way…this is OK right?

My mind flashed to the only motorcycle riding I’d done. In Germany, on the back of a Harley, I stepped on the driver as we turned, going uphill. We were castle hopping. He got road rash. I got jammed joints. I don’t think he appreciated me using him as a human landing pad. The only other experience I’d had was the time I wanted to learn to drive my own motorcycle. I remember the last thing my friend said, “Whatever you do, don’t hit a tree.” Of course, it was the first thing I did, though I thought I was practicing my shifting.

So I smiled and said, “Sure, honey, but if anything happens, I get the house.”

In the beginning I didn’t ride with RD. I didn’t say anything about him riding. He was having a blast. Getting to know people. Traveling. He was happy. God love him. RD had our daughter research B52 bomber art from WWII and draw a picture of a red naked lady in a very sexy pose. She would be painted on his gas tank. That’s when the Beemer became The Mistress. I knew I was in for a fight against this machine. I was worried. I didn’t look all that good as a red naked lady.

I started thinking about motorcycle fun. When I was a kid in Germany, I loved going to the motorcycle races. I envisioned myself as a “monkey.” I’d seen some of the women on the sidecars. I was intrigued. Hanging off a thin little platform, while driving 200 thousand miles an hour around curves, had a certain appeal to me. Call me crazy. It looked like fun. My father felt otherwise, and I was shipped back to the states. Eventually, I began working on a racetrack, but with horses instead of motorcycles.

Finally, RD realized I was jealous and wanted to travel with him. For Valentines Day, he suited me up, gave me a few pointers and off we went. It was a clear, cold night. We went out into the country. Everything smelled wonderful. The streaming landscape was awesome. I looked up and saw a blanket of diamonds on top of us. He shifted gears. I went dead calm. It was one of my feelings again. I knew we were going 100 miles an hour. In that moment, I knew I was experiencing perfection. I was in heaven. I wondered if this is what it felt like when an angel flew. After we slowed down, RD got the big hug. He grinned and said “110.” I said, “Can we do it again?”

See you on the road,


Airplanes, Motorcycles and "S" Curves

While I still favor our BMW 1100 RT, a.k.a. The Mistress, I get curious about other forms of mechanical mobility. For years a friend of mine, who thinks I’m crazy for getting on the back of a motorcycle, has been asking me to experience the absolutely safe and sane world of aerobatic flying. We both eye each other with a healthy dose of skepticism when it comes to defining safe. For example, I wouldn’t have put me in charge of flying the Bellanca Decathlon within the first 15 minutes of flight. But Michael Way out at Sundance Airpark in Piedmont is a man who obviously pirouettes on the edge. Even more than he realizes, since I’ve been neurotically afraid of heights since the age of 13.

While moving from one duty assignment to another, my family took a rest stop in a natural forest reserve in Alabama. Six kids – four boys – in a station wagon meant lots and lots of leg breaks. Otherwise spitting contests would be the entertainment of the day, and I never won spitting contests. I saw a tower with stairs and thought it would be cool to climb to the top for a look. Which then turned into a dare, which of course had to be taken. Up I climbed. That was the easy part. I always felt obliged to follow my older brother, David. If only to prove to him that he was not near as cool as he thought. The view was spectacular, and when I looked down, my other brothers looked like ants standing next to one big ant that was bellowing something incomprehensible – probably our names. My stomach lurched. At what height did humans begin looking like ants? While doing the math, I panicked. Then David proved he was totally cooler than me. He calmly told me the trap door above us was locked. We had to go in reverse. I found out at several hundred feet up; I don’t do reverse. I don’t know what big brother did. I do know Dad yelled at us all the way to Florida.

Which is why I have no idea why I love flying. I especially love the take offs and landings. So I reasoned, when I took Michael up on his offer, that I would be OK for the beginning and the end of our adventure. I just had to get over the middle part. I have to say that he was excellent company at 3000 feet. He took his time to explain an overview of the basics of flying. I had no idea, for example, that steering involved 2 rudder pedals and a stick. After only a mild bout of tipping wings and slight nose diving, I actually got a feel for “flying by the seat of your pants” as Michael put it. The cockpit of this truly fun and fully aerobatic aircraft sat a lot like a motorcycle. Pilot in front; passenger behind. Michael is a tall man, and I’m tall for a woman, but I still couldn’t see the plane icon on the control panel. The one that shows when you are tilting. When I design airplanes, I would give each person their own control panel. For a few minutes I was in control, and it was exhilarating. The day was clear and sunny. Oklahoma looked like a palette of colors and designs at high altitudes. I tried not to think of birds.

One thing that all future pilots must respect is the barf factor. Looking out across the horizon and keeping it in sight, as opposed to staring at the “ants” on the ground, definitely helps keep lunch where God intended it. I turned the plane not only left, but right, without crashing. Then Michael took over, and we did some serious tight turns and a wing over (a mild aerobatic maneuver). We were moving over 120 mph at 3000 feet. Hallelujah! There is something about S curves at high speeds that just gets my rocks off.

And when you perform that maneuver 3000 feet over the earth it is just as fun, until you hit turbulence. We’ve hit major wind slaps on The Mistress. I shouldn’t have felt the need to grab the pilot by the throat. I never grabbed RD by the throat. Well once, but that was when I was delivering our daughter. It had to be the “distance from earth” fear left over from my Alabama tower incident. After we safely landed, Michael gave me a brief lecture on never ever getting in the plane with someone who doesn’t have many hours in the cockpit. He also stressed, “no hot dogging.” Like he says, “There are old pilots and bold pilots, but very few old and bold pilots.” And even fewer that remain calm when grabbed by the throat.

See you on the road,