Sunday, September 13, 2020

A L O N E -tips for women traveling solo

 Just like everything else, there are pros and cons to traveling alone. However, as a woman traveling solo there are some things you need to know and to watch out for. 

The pros are numerous, which is why more and more women tend to be taking to the road on their own. You can stop when you want, take time to soak in the sites, eat where you want, and more: the freedom that comes along when traveling solo and the independence is something I got easily addicted to. 

The cons can seem overwhelming, but tackling those head on will help you get yourself going if you have yet to try solo travel. If you're serious about traveling alone as a woman, you'll want to make the most of it - have the most fun, the biggest adventure, while being safe so you can return home and share your experiences. 


In 2019 I rode my motorcycle from Northern New York to Milwaukee and back -round trip it was a little over 2500 miles all on my own! Even though I didn't leave the United States, I still found it fascinating to see how others like me lived their lives. And it gave me a chance to talk with others, learn about the area from more than just a website or travel book. 

So without further ado, here's my tips for you:

Before You Go-

  • Have your motorcycle serviced at the dealership -they have factory trained technicians who know your bike. If you're in-between services (i.e. you're at 27K miles & your next service is at 30K), ask about getting a "Pre-trip Inspection." Prior to my Milwaukee trip, I was told I'd definitely need a new rear tire when I got back since my wear bars where showing. I had them replace the tire before I left because I like tire traction! 
  • Make sure you have roadside assistance and I also recommend getting trip interruption insurance. I have both through the same company that does my motorcycle insurance, and it wasn't that much more either. Like the old saying goes: It's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Still, you'll want to read exactly what is covered, how to make a claim, and when you can expect to get your money - often times you'll have to fork out money for expenses until you're back on the road or at home, and then you'll be reimbursed. In other words, you've got to have 'emergency money' readily at hand.
  • Speaking of insurance, check on any limitations with your medical insurance. Of course in an emergency you'll most likely be taken care of, but what if you get sick (like stomach flu or food poisoning) and just want to see a doctor... will you be covered? These are the questions to ask before your trip rather than having to deal with the headache of wondering if the insurance company will foot the bill. 
  • Do your research as you plan your route. I leave it up to you -if you want to plan your stops out and make reservations or just ride until you feel like stopping. Either way, know the route you'll be taking, the areas to avoid, and the places that are safe. Personally I plan out about 8 hours (on the map) between stops, so research the places to stay -since I have rewards points with Best Western I'll look to see if they've got one in the area. Then I research that hotel in particular, pouring over the guest reviews to get a sense of the area. 
  • Pack light: take what you need to but don't go overboard. That dress or heels you plan on wearing one special night- leave 'em at home. Use pieces that go with several outfits -jeans, riding pants, moisture wicking tops, a cardigan, flats for when you're off the bike. Leave room in your bag for souvenirs you want to bring home!
During the Trip-
  • Eating lunch or dinner, I like to sit at the bar (if there's one) so I can engage in conversation, usually asking more questions than I'm answering. But even so, typically I don't speak to anyone unless I'm spoken to. I don't reveal I'm traveling alone, or where I'm staying. And I don't drink excessively, preferring to keep my senses intact. 
  • You'll definitely want to keep your head up!! Now is not the time to bury your face in your smartphone- look up and look around, and know what's going on around you. Off the bike, walk with your shoulder's square and a confident stride. Your body language sends lots of information out to the world, so you'll want to project confident strength. 
  • Have a Plan A, Plan B and Plan C, so that way you can keep moving. Plan A is what will most likely happen most of the time, but - if something goes wrong with that plan - you don't want to waste precious time trying to figure out what to do next. You'll want a Plan B, salvaging what you can to keep going (or to get back home). On my way to Milwaukee, I stopped to refuel in Ohio, only to find the power out so gas stations didn't have a way to pump fuel. I got back on the interstate to the next exit, only to find the same thing... I wasn't desperate for gas (my 'gas light' wasn't on), but it would be soon. Nothing left to do but get back on the interstate to the next exit, but if the power wasn't on there, I had my 'plan b': calling for roadside assistance for them to bring me enough fuel to get to a working gas station. Luckily at the next stop they had power and I was able to fill up.
  • Jewelry is something to consider -if you wear any at all you might want to wear a wedding ring (even if you're not married). For some reason, even when you're traveling alone, giving others the appearance you're attached and there's a 'significant other' waiting for you at home helps. 
  • Consider keeping a travel journal, taking a few moments each evening to write down what happened that day. Not only does it help preserve the trip for you but also for your future generations.
  • Get up early, start out early, and then you can get to your destination early -that'll give you time to get your bearings, see what you want to see, and plan out your next day. You'll also want to be your own best company -all too often our negative thoughts can squash the good time waiting for us. Be nice to yourself, relax and have a good time.
  • And of course the obvious: safeguard your credit cards, cash and travel documents (driver's license, passport, I.D.), whenever you're traveling. Never ever flash wads of cash around, and you'll want a way to shut off your cards should they come up missing (through an app on your smartphone or have your bank's phone number handy). 
  • Last but certainly not least: trust your instincts and act on them!! If something seems out of place or you're feeling threatened please seek help immediately. Many times women have went along when their gut told them not to just because they didn't want to seem rude (and that's what the perpetrator is counting on!). The kindness of strangers is also a real thing, so I'm not saying that you should shun everyone you meet. Just be aware of your surroundings, your own personal limits, and know when and how to get help should you need it.
The best travel advice I have for you is to be the type of traveler you'd like to meet in your own home town. Kindness, respect and a smile go a long way. 

Saturday, August 29, 2020

It's all there -you've just gotta go get it 👍

 My apologies for my absence from blogging!! I've been very busy creating content for my and FXCHD's YouTube channels (here's my #LifeBehindBars, and the FXCHD channel), riding, and now editing, plus having fun. I did get some vacation time, and had planned to work on my videos while taking some time off, but the Universe definitely had other plans! 

Often I have my friends and co-workers asking how I can afford to live the life I lead -seemingly always riding here, staying overnight there, taking time off from work. Here's my secret: I just go do it!

The Universe loves to prove you right, no matter what you're mindset is, so make it a good one!! 

Of course there is a little planning involved, so I'll give you my tips & tricks on how I grab Life by the Handlebars and have a great ride-

1) It's not you, it's about how you deal with it

I've heard the phrases, "How could this happen to me?" "S/He's doing that to get back at me!" "If it weren't for _________ (insert who or whatever you're going to blame here), I'd be a millionaire by now." Guess what: things go wrong as often as things go right. It's all in how you deal with it... Is it a challenge for you to overcome? Or is it something blocking you from your goal? Your perspective is everything!! Do not allow something to destroy you - you have a choice on how to proceed. 

2) It's already all there for you

Sure there are times when it can feel that Life just dumped a load of crap on you. Realize that these are challenges designed to improve yourself, your well-being. None of us were born knowing how to walk, but we learned even though we fell a number of times. And learning how to walk gave way to other adventures. There's that old saying, "If it were easy everyone would do it!" By learning how to meet and overcome that challenge, you're developing skills that will definitely lead you on the path of abundance. The biggest lesson here is that you've got to do the work -no one else can do it for you, there is no magic wand or super pill to bring you what you're looking for.

person holding jar of different kinds of money

3) Money is just Money

For all those who think money is the root of all evil, that those who are rich must have done something 'bad' to get all that money, that all your dreams could come true if you just had the money you deserve, think again. Money is just a piece of metal (coin), paper, or numbers in a computer (online bank account) -it's the value that you're placing on those inanimate objects that's tying up your time and energy. And when you try to horde it, keep it all to yourself, you're really cutting yourself off from others and the potential for more. Think of a person trying to hold onto something -they're holding it tight to their body, often with their fists closed and their head down, and that very body language is telling everyone/thing that you don't want more. When you learn to see the true value of your worth as a human being, and the value that others bring to you, you realize how truly wealthy you are.

4) Recognize when to let go

Obviously there is some routine we have to follow in order to survive. Our ancestors worked to raise farm animals & crops so that they could eat. Now we have the convenience of stores to buy the food with the income we get at our jobs. There's heat & electricity for our houses, gas for our cars & motorcycles. We have bills to pay. That in no way implies that you have to stop living! The Universe will bring to you opportunities that will bring you happiness -you can take a moment and enjoy the little things. Often I take the long way home on my bike, taking in the summer sunshine. I'll splurge on that dress, even if I'll only wear it once (then I'll send it off to Thredup.com so someone else can enjoy it). I'll have that night out with friends. It's moments like that where I'm grateful that I can afford it that keep me going.

5) Get it out of your Head

If you're a typical American, you are bombarded with about 5,000 ads a day. Television, radio, emails, websites, streaming services, product placements in movies and t.v. shows, billboards, coupons, sales deals, etc., etc. Even when you go grocery shopping you'll get the commercial packaging blasting you from the shelves. All telling you what you want rather than what you need. 

Cut out all that noise, get quiet for a moment, and ask yourself if you really need to have that 60" 4K HDtv or if you can live with the t.v. you have now. If you get a new living room set now, will it add value to your life or can you live with the couch you have? Do you really need that carton of cigarettes or bottles of booze when both are slowly zapping the life out of your body??

You could blame me for adding to the noise, I am the Marketing Manager at FX Caprara Harley-Davidson after all. I'm devising ways to "sell you" something that you don't need for your survival: a Motorcycle. 

Although I say you really would benefit from having a motorcycle in your life -it's a connection to the Universe that I haven't been able to reproduce elsewhere in my life. Riding my Harley really brings me a lot of value, joy, and happiness into my life. Think of it as "Wind Therapy". 

And let's say that is your goal, to one day own a Harley of your own. By thinking "they're too expensive" or "I can never afford one" you are actually blocking your own path from obtaining the very thing you desire! 

Cut those negative thoughts from your head. As long as that's your mindset, you will continue to see 'roadblocks'. The Universe loves to prove you right, no matter what you're mindset is, so make it a good one!!


Photo by Paige Weber on Unsplash

Friday, June 26, 2020

Game Changer!! Helmet Communication Headsets

Anyone who has been on a motorcycle ride with one or more people knows what a challenge it is to communicate with other riders and passengers over the exhaust & traffic noises. Your passenger is yelling at you to turn around and go back to the scenic overlook. You're trying to tell your friend riding along with you that you need gas. Hand signals only go so far... 👋

Good thing we're in the 21st century! With today's technology we have the Harley-Davidson Bluetooth Helmet Communication Headsets. These are a game changer because with them you can easily talk to one another with just the push of a button - literally. 

Helmet headsets can be used with half, 3-quarter, full face and modular helmets. These headsets will also work with your bike, no matter what bike you have. It can be a Harley-Davidson Sportster, Softail, Dyna, Touring - or even another brand of bike all together. With or without a sound system in your bike, you can use these headsets.

Before you were screaming to be heard, making wild gestures, and then getting frustrated when the other riders didn't hear you. Maybe even just leaving the group all together and going your own way, missing out on the fun.

Now you can talk regularly, and the other riders in your group can hear you. And then they can reply. Newer riders can talk with experienced riders who can share their wisdom. Those in the front of the group can let others know about hazards in the road. 

Not to mention the fact that you can listen to your own music- through your phone, your MP3 player or your touring bike (but again, you don't need a bike with a sound system in order to use the helmet communication headsets).

You might think you'd only use it on the long trips, except for once you do use it, you'll wonder how you lived without it for so long. Being able to talk and be heard, all in real time as you're riding along, will have you grinning from ear to ear.

There are different headsets for what you want to do... Here's the breakdown:

All the headsets have ambient noise cancellation, automatic volume boost, 10 preset station memory for FM radio, audio from both speakers for all functions, the ability to connect with any headset via Bluetooth, and the ability to wirelessly communicate with other riders.

So if you're ready to talk and be heard, then stop by FX Caprara Harley-Davidson -we'll show you the headsets and break it down to see which one would be best for you. 

Come on over -exit 42 from I-81 in Adams Center, NY. 

Let's talk.


Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Finding Your Right Road (aka Finding Your Authentic Self) -part 1

The world today... Viruses, terrorism, climate change and the stock market fluctuations to name just a few. And the media in all this, with their hype and conjectures certainly isn't helping anything. 

There you are, just cruising along when all of a sudden you find yourself in a ditch. It's real easy to find yourself stuck there, with all the hate and anger at the situation, at everyone around you. 

Or maybe you found yourself in a rut -doing the same thing again and again and again because it feels safe. And you didn't even realize you dug this rut yourself, but now there you are. 

Photo by Wil Stewart on Unsplash
With all that doom and gloom that seems to be looming over us, it can be difficult to see the positive things in life. You might even be tempted to fall for the negative bullsh*t, allowing it to mess with your self-esteem.

That's where knowing you're on the right road sure comes in handy. And by that, I mean you know your authentic self: who you are and what you stand for. 

But what if you haven't found it yet? What if you did but then lost site of who you are? That's where this blog comes in 😁

Unfortunately there are many people who live in a constant state of fear. They're stuck just like you, except they aren't ready to move forward -it takes a lot of courage!! And staying in 'the negative' is a lot easier for some than doing the work to get and be better.

I'm telling you that because those people that I just described might just lash-out at you. They might even be close friends or family. It's just with you moving forward they're reminded of how stuck they are. Remember: their resentment and negativity is not yours to try and fix; only they themselves can do that. You stay in your own lane.
Photo by Fernando Jorge on Unsplash
Now, if you're ready, you'll want to take the next step. Find a way to get quiet; find a way to be still. Clear out all the noise and distractions. Of course the easiest way I can do that is by riding my Harley... except it's winter and my bike is in storage. So for now I meditate and hang out at the barn with the horses.

It's very important for you to find the quiet, where your mind is still -be it through riding, meditation, in your man cave/she-shed, maybe even shaving! That's because it allows you to tap into your creativity. It's been proven that when people do something as simple 'turning off their mind' they were better able to make decisions and be more effective. There's just something about letting your brain relax that allows you to open up to possibilities and creative discoveries. 

See that you are a fierce human being and learn what does and doesn't work for you. This isn't about you trying to be someone else. It is about finding your purpose, your frequency, your energy. And when you do it'll feel like a pair of comfy slippers, a cozy sweater, the perfect easy chair to kick-back in. In other words, pure happiness. 

Sunday, February 23, 2020

7 Out-of-the-Way NYS Destinations where Bikers Ride to

The boldness, grittiness, the intensity that is New York State. We might have more people moving out than moving in, but we still have some pretty great destinations that 253 million people visit on vacation. 

Sure we've got the Statue of Liberty, Times Square and Niagara Falls that draw the BIG crowds. And if that's where you want to be - following the crowds - then great. Of course they'll be crowded as well as priced accordingly.

But if you're wanting an authentic New York experience AND have a bit of money left over afterwards, then you'll want to ride the same roads and enjoy the destinations that we do.


BBQ

Dinosaur BBQ got their start providing good food to Bikers at motorcycle rallies and festivals all over the northeast before settling down in Syracuse. They now serve some of the best bar-b-que in eight locations across New York, Stamford, Connecticut and Newark, New Jersey. 

Providing fresh, homemade, high-quality BBQ in a great place to have some fun is what runs the Dinosaur and keeps loyal customers coming back for more.

Coffee

Knowledgeable staff, great prices (a cup of coffee & a fresh bagel are under $5!) and delicious coffee and other treats make The Brew Ha Ha in Watertown our pick for the java juice.


Live Music

Celebrate the good things in life -that's what the Lovin' Cup in Rochester is all about.  A comfortable environment, that transforms from morning to night with deliberate attention to detail when it comes to the vibe: handcrafted tables, rotating local art, ambient lighting, and most prominently their beautiful wine rack. A crew of people who not only take care of your needs, but get to know you. A wide-range of events and music every night of the week! 

Their biggest driving force? They truly take pride in their conscious understanding of what a community-driven environment is all about.



Gastronomy

The sense of community, sharing and connecting over food, drink, and oftentimes desserts, keeps us going back to Gram's Diner in Adams week after week.

Their place in the historic row buildings of downtown Adams was carved out many years ago. However, their mission has always been the same: Serving people homemade food, at good prices, that makes them feel like they're eating just like they're at home.
French Onion Chicken -just one of many weekly specials at Gram's

Lakeside

Natural beauty with towering mountains and glistening waters make up Lake George, NY -right along the shores of a lake of the same name. Fun and recreation are always mere minutes away with untouched wilderness that is destined to remain "Forever Wild."

It's also home to Americade -proudly known as "the world's largest multi-brand motorcycle touring rally" drawing an estimated 100,000-200,000 visitor days each year. It truly is an event you have to see for yourself, whether as a rider or a spectator.


Outdoor Voices

The name Adirondack is thought to have come from a Mohawk word meaning 'eaters of trees,' and the earliest use of the word to describe the mountains between Lake Ontario and Lake Champlain dates back to the 1700s. The Adirondack Park is a place of great relaxation, which is probably why it is also home to many of the Great Camps.

With GoTourNY.com you can discover scenic country roads that piggyback along mountain ranges, through pristine wilderness areas and travel old logging trails. For a few dollars in gas - the six million acre Adirondack Park is yours to explore. Find quaint towns without stop lights or villages with more cows than people.


Street Party

That award goes to the Thousand Islands River Run -it takes place towards the end of each June in Alexandria Bay. Located in the "Heart" of the Thousand Islands, A-Bay (as we call it) is home to Boldt Castle and a short ride to Canada across the Thousand Islands Bridge -all of which you can see with an Uncle Sam Boat Tour.

During the River Run you can visit the vendor area where custom bikes are displayed, update your Biker Gear with vendor products, enter a "Ma and Pa" Custom Bike Show, and enjoy the "Live Music Fest" throughout the day and into the night on James Street. Not to mention the local flavor of unique gift shops to search for the perfect gift to bring home.



Saturday, January 11, 2020

How Bikers Survive The Winter Months

When your passion is living a life on two wheels, but you live in an area where snow dominates the landscape four to six months out of the year, you learn certain survival skills. 

Here are some crafty ways we in the north endure:

Making plans to escape:
There are numerous motorcycle rallies throughout the year: from Daytona Bike Week to Laconia, from Laughlin River Run to Sturgis, and all the small town rallies in-between. Our own local bike rally, the Thousand Islands River Run takes place in Alexandria Bay, NY every June. 

There's also weekend trips, week long, cross country - how ever we plan on riding, Bikers are plotting where and when we'll be riding to this upcoming season.

Windows into other worlds:

Even though we're surrounded by snow covered hills, we still have ways to ride - it's just through others in print or on the screen. Reading books like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, your H.O.G. Magazine, The Harley-Davidson Reader allows us to escape through our mind's eye.

Or there's television series, documentaries and movies that provide a nice break. I recommend Harley and the Davidsons, 21 Days Under the Sun and The World's Fastest Indian. If we can't ride, then at least we can watch other people riding.

Out and about:
Riding ATVs and snowmobiles - for some of us just the fact that we are outside and moving is enough to help us get through. At FX Caprara Harley-Davidson always has events throughout the winter as well. 

Adding that special something:

Now is the time of year most of us have our bikes up on a lift adding new exhaust, a sissy bar backrest, doing an engine upgrade, adding extra speakers to our sound system so we're ready to spring from winter's lock down. 

Saving some dough:
Hotels, dinners, gas, gear and the like - bikers tend to save some extra money now to help offset the expenses later. Having a friend cut our hair or just cutting it ourselves, grabbing a free cup of coffee at the dealership rather than at the dinner or coffee shop, taking on a side job or two -all ways we keep our expenses light so we can live large in the Riding Season.

Do you have a way to get through winter? Let me know in the comments below!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

3 Things to Know as we get into the Shopping Season

Since Halloween is happening pretty quickly, and the fact that I already put my bike up in Winter Storage, that means the Holidays will soon be upon us. And with that, holiday shopping is about to kick-off.

This list is to help you get through the so-called 'silly season' and keep your sanity intact.

1) Shop early, shop often, and get it done

It's going to be a looooong November and a short December. What am I talking about?? November still only has 30 days, while Deceber has 31... BUT, this year Thanksgiving comes late, November 28th, right at the end of the month. So there's only 3 full weeks in December before the week of Christmas. The sooner you can get done with your shopping, the better off you'll be.

2) Love 'em? List 'em!

In the interest of time, I am definitely creating my lists of who I'm shopping for and what I'd like to get them. And when it comes making THAT decision, I go to one of my favorite guidelines: Want, Need, Wear, Read.
  • Want -something that THEY say they wanted and not something you think they will want. There is a difference! I was given a book once for my birthday -not from any of my favorite authors or on a subject matter that I usually read... but the person who gave it to me said, "But you love books!" Which I do, it's true. Although when it comes to giving a gift, I want mine to be in line with what they person has said they actually wanted, not just what ever is "hot" at that time.
  • Need -it might not be fun or fancy, but if it's something they need then the gift will truly be appreciated. Spark plugs and an oil change kit might not seem sexy, but if they need it to help get their bike back on the road, then wrap that shit up!
  • Wear -pretty self explanatory... although this is your chance to get something that speaks to that person's style. See a scarf that'll go perfectly with that new dress? Get it. A dress-up Harley-Davidson shirt for him to wear to the party? Absolutely. The only caveat is to get a gift receipt so that they can return it for the right size if needed. 
  • Read -again, pretty self explanatory. That being said, a cookbook is still a cookbook guys. If you're loved one really loves Harley history, then I'd suggest getting her a book like "The Harley-Davidson Reader" and NOT "50 Shades of Grey" (yup- looking at you Mom!). Get them something from their favorite author, or a subject matter you know they enjoy.  They don't have enough time to read? Audiobooks would work in this instance.
Another favorite guideline is the Holiday 50/50 Rule for the other side of the coin (them shopping for you): one for them, one for you. For each gift you're giving your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend, you also treat yourself. You're there anyways, it'll save your significant other the trip and the time, and you know it's something you'll like.

3) Protect and Defend

Even though I work at a traditional brick & mortar store, and would absolutely love it if you came in and do all your shopping at FX Caprara Harley-Davidson, I know that's not going to happen. It's far more easy and less time consuming for you to go online and get at least part of your list checked off.

However there are just as many bad guys out there waiting to take advantage and steal your money. Phishing scams, fake websites, and those rip-off artists who have pirated a brand name to 'sell' you items that don't exist. Here's some tips to help keep you safe:

  • Pay with a credit card rather than using your debit card (easier to dispute transactions).
  • Don't save your credit card info online. Some sites will offer to keep your card info in order to speed up the check out process on your next purchase, but remember those data breeches over the last year or so? Yeah- enough said.
  • When buying, selling or even checking your bank account do not use public/open Wi-Fi. Just imagine someone looking over your shoulder whenever you think about doing a quick purchase while on Starbucks open network.
  • Check the website address -bogus sites subtly substitute similar characters (AMAZ0N.com versus AMAZON.com). 
  • Same with the brand logo - I once got tricked by a Harley-Davdson jacket I bought online (well before I started working at a dealership of course) because my mind saw what I thought was a complete logo.
  • The price is simply too good to believe. Cuz if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Check the seller -if an individual has 20 of the same handbag just in different colors, you should definitely think twice. Individuals are not licensed by the manufacturer to sell, they're most likely selling fakes.
Of course the best way to get a good deal online, along with the real product, customer service, and easy returns, is to shop with an authorized dealer. Go to that brand's website directly, like H-D.com/store or RalphLauren.com. 

And, to be ultra secure and know for sure that you're getting the real thing, head over to the actual, physical store location. You'll get a more personal shopping experience as well as an actual human interaction.