…time to check in with you all and catch up on all thats been happening!

It’s been four months since my last blog post. I’m not doing too well at this blogging lark am I?!?! So much has happened in those months. Allow me to update you;

After the palaver of the bike export and all the delays and drama involved with that, we didn’t hold our breath that she would make it back Stateside without any hiccups! How wrong we were!
Kudos to David at Shippio for making the return trip so painless!


On the expected date and without any hassle at all, Iain was reunited with his ‘baby’. Opening up that crate, he was just like a kid at Christmas!

We arrived home just in time to celebrate the wedding of our lovely friend Audra to the wonderful Gary! We were all so happy to see Audra glowing again.

New friendships were made and another new town, Mishicot in Wisconsin, was added to our list of places that we now have to visit!

After 14 weeks away, we settled back in to the routine of Tampa and work life. Baby girl turned 20 and I was faced with the reality of turning 50 at Christmas. FIFTY?!?! Seriously…someone check the birth certificate. Damn sure there’s been a mistake!

For some reason, after years of being content to ride pillion, a crazy idea wormed it’s way into my head and I decided it was time to learn to ride! What the what?!? 

Pandering to my impending senility, Iain obliged my request to try out his DRZ400, just to see if I’d like riding, and we headed off up to Croom ATV park to see how this would go.
It was a day of firsts for me all round. When we got there, the way to the ‘beginners’ section was blocked off so I had to take a quick lesson in ATV riding in order to trail through the woods to get there! When taking a trip to Croom, I’ve always been content to fix the picnic and read while the others belted through the woods. Man, I came to realize I’ve been missing out all this time!


Anyhow, that new skill learned, we arrived at the training area and I hopped on the DR to see how it would go. It didn’t help that I couldn’t touch the ground! Nevertheless, I persisted 😉

Having been a ‘stick’ driver in the UK, I picked up the whole clutch/gear thing pretty quick and set off gingerly on my way – turns out it was turning corners I was going to have a problem with! A couple of inelegant offs later, I still was not put off and decided that it was definitely time to get my license. Preferably on a bike I could actually touch ground on!

Within four days of making this momentous decision, I found myself sitting astride allow slung triumph with Chad from Pasco Motorcycle Training, patiently coaching me round and round until, two days later, I emerged triumphant from his classroom and skipped off to the DMV to get my shiny new endorsement added to my license!

The next dilemma was choosing the right bike. I don’t really care to ride the tarmac so much as puttering through the trails. I’d prefer to hammer a path through the woods and enjoy my day rather than having to be aware of all the idiot drivers out there that forget bikes are allowed on the road too.

So we were looking for something that wouldn’t be too bad on road performance but allow me to really handle trailing well. Not for the first time in my life, my height was a stumbling block. After much research, Iain had narrowed the choice down to two bikes that seemed they would do the job for me. The Yamaha TW200 or the Yamaha XT250. Turns out everyone who has had one must really like them because we had a very hard time tracking down a used one (at a reasonable price) in our local area. Seems that as soon as they went on sale they were being snapped up. Finally we just sucked it up and headed off down to Barneys to try out a new XT. Loved it! It was destined to be mine! A new toy was added to the stable right there and then 🙂

Devastatingly, just a few days later, instead of being out honing my newfound talents, I was on a plane, heading back to England to be with my son after his fiancé suddenly and tragically passed away. I swooped him and my fur grandbaby up and we ran away back to our old home down by the sea for a few days while we tried to come to terms with everything.

There is nothing like the sea to soothe the soul.
We took long clifftop walks and embraced the energy the sea brings as we worked to process through our grief.
Evenings spent with good friends and the loving support of so many others helped us get through this difficult time.

Back home again three weeks later, Iain and I took a few days out to visit one of our favorite Colorado cities, Durango. The idea of moving to Colorado has long been on our minds and Durango was the top spot on our list of relocation cities. However, we realized that we had never been during the winter so off we trotted, arriving just after their first snow fall of the season in town! We were not put off! The roads are well managed and the snow did not interfere with anything majorly. We fared fine with the cold and got around easily enough, even if driving up snowy paths did scare the bejesus out of me! Something I’m just going to have to get used to I guess!

We visited some old haunts and I got to view my first frozen waterfall which was just spectacular! The trail ride up to Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride was quite butt clenching(!) but oh so worth it for the views 🙂

The trip cemented our desire to move and we came back to Tampa buzzing with ideas and ways of making this work…watch this space for progress on that plan!

As the saying goes, ‘there’s no rest for the wicked’, and there certainly wasn’t for us. Caught up now in the whirlwind of baby girl’s graduation, it was full steam ahead to celebrate the girl who was told by her college advisor “not to bother applying to University”. Hmmm, let me see, is the girl who is now graduation 18 months early? Good job we didn’t listen to his advice!

After two years of being a ‘Bulls Family’ I finally attended my first tailgate and football game . The game was a wash out loss, I definitely wasn’t a good luck charm. However, the tailgate was certainly entertaining and this mamma learnt some new drinking skills!

Three lots of visitors arrived from the UK to join in the celebrations and soon the house was full. The day before graduation, we all headed back up to Croom ATV Park to burn off some nervous energy careering round the trails for a few hours on the ATVs and bikes! Iain took my Aunt Monica, a mere 80 years of age, out on the back of his ATV and she had an absolute blast. She could be heard shrieking with laughter all the way through the woods!

Like the fabulous God-Mother I am, I just couldnt say “no” when my other girl decided that she wanted to try out riding!

She took to it like a natural with only one small spill before she was whizzing around like a pro! 
She did way better than me the first time…but in my defence she has longer legs than me!

The big day arrived and went off without a hitch. She didn’t tumble across the stage and the announcer got her name right, read exactly per her instruction!
Have I mentioned, I’m SUPER damn proud of my little star shine 🙂

The absolute best part of graduation was the party the following night. Bloody brilliant! Months of planning came off well and a marvelous time was had by all!
I learnt new drinking games and got the winning shot at beer pong when teamed with “the boyfriend”. I’m fabulous mother-in-law material!


I have to give a big shout out to Michelle of “Sweets So Chic” for the amazing cake she made. She worked with me to get details like exact replicas of Beths camera, passport and boarding pass included. It was not only perfect but tasted devine too 🙂

With graduation behind, there is one more thing to focus on before settling back to enjoy the festive season; a christmas tree needed to be chosen and decorated! I even managed to let the girls help me at the end…when there were only four ornaments left!

On Friday, we’re heading off up to Georgia for Christmas.
I will be spending my 50th birthday careering around on an ATV and my dirt bike at Durhamtown Off Road Resort – never let it be said I aged sedately tongue-out

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS 

everyone!

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