Seeing America Her Way

Uploaded 3 Oct 2007 — 16 favorites
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© D L Ennis
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Photo Info
UploadedOctober 3, 2007
TakenOctober 2, 2007
Exposure1/400 sec at f/13
FlashNo Flash
Focal Length21 mm
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Q: My sister in-law recently gave me a Canon EOS 10D digital camera body. Having only used point and shoot cameras, what would be a good beginners lens to get for this camera? Should I get kit lens to start with?

A: Do you know?

Photo license: © All rights reserved

I love the Blue Ridge Parkway for so many reasons. One is that you get to meet so many interesting people, and recently, I met the most interesting, and fascinating person to date; meet Sandy Miller.

Sandy lives in Washington State just north of Seattle. I saw her bike first-photo op-and thought it was military surplus at first, and then here come Sandy exiting a trail near the overlook where she was parked.

Right from the first word we spoke it was like talking with an old friend. Is that your bike I asked…”Yep!” and then she proceeded to tell me about it.

She told me she designed it herself and had a mechanic she knew build it for her. It has a modern Volkswagen engine in it, four forward gears and reverse, and a Harley front-end. She did the leather work herself. She said when it was finished she took it for a test drive-she had been a passenger on a bike but had never driven one herself. She said, “I took it out on the road and pushed it to 115 mph,” after which time she said she figured that both she and the bike were ready to start her journey.

Her journey…to see America; She told me, “I’m fifty-nine and I’ve never seen America…I thought it was time to do it before it’s too late.”

Sandy left Washington in April, 2007 and headed south to see the Redwoods; where she said it rained the whole time. In Arizona, while sitting at a stoplight, a woman talking on a cell phone hit her left rear finder and broke the bikes axel. She was having it repaired when she looked out the window and it was snowing; that night it went down to 19 degrees. She told me things got better after that.

Taking the back roads as much as she could to see the “best of America,” she said some kind folks in West Virginia had told her about the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway. So she decided to take the Parkway to Tennessee.

I asked her how much longer she planned to be on the road and she said she had told her daughter that she would be home by Thanksgiving, “But, that all depends on how many times I stop…there’s so much to see!”

Now, you have to be tough to make a journey like Sandy is on; especially at fifty-nine years of age. However, Sandy is no stranger to “tough.” She told me she started her working life as a commercial fisherman and then became the third woman to enter the Pile Drivers Union in Oregon. She divorced at thirty-five and raised her own children while doing this kind of work.

When I asked her what she was going to do after this trip she said, “Visit my daughter and grandchildren and rest, but…this is my first trip. She said with a wink.

When she gets home she will be putting together a book about her adventure-she already has a publisher. She said, “Just look for my bike to be on the cover.” You can believe, I will be looking for that book!

12 responses

  • Paul Cassidy

    Paul Cassidy said (14 Oct 2007):

    She seems like quite a character! Nice picture and inspirational story. Thanks.

  • Michael Billert

    Michael Billert said (7 Nov 2007):

    Great storey, I am 60 and want to get out, this may help me to make that jump. mjb

  • geraldine gallagher

    geraldine gallagher said (6 Dec 2007):

    lovely story...wish I could thumb a ride on her bike it looks fantastic, I hope I am full of that much courage and adventure when I'm in my 50's, she is a true character

  • j parker

    j parker said (13 Jan 2008):

    great photo, great story, and great admiration for sandy.

  • Angi McGuire

    Angi McGuire said (1 Jun 2008):

    What a fasinating individual! thanks for sharing her tale... I ill be watching for that book too!

  • Christopher Miles

    Christopher Miles gave props (30 Jun 2008):

    Wow! That is a great story. Thanks for sharing that with us.

  • William Moore

    William Moore gave props (14 Jul 2008):

    terrific story and photo.....

  • Mal Stewart

    Mal Stewart gave props (17 Nov 2008):

    It's all been said above, but yeah, what a great story and photo. Love it and well done.

  • jean-francois

    jean-francois said (16 Mar 2009):

    Woww, nice picture and what wondeful story. It must have been nice to meet this great person, I bet you won't forget that day !
    Did you find the book by the way ?

  • Gebber

    Gebber said (28 Mar 2009):

    Wow. Great shot and story.

  • Heidi Morris

    Heidi Morris (Deleted) said (12 Dec 2009):

    fabulous all round, I've shared this with a few friends who deep down... i know ... would love to be as brave as Sandy.

    Great Job with the story - did you make notes? or were you able to remember all the info ... i think i'd need a note book or a Dictaphone , lol >;O)

  • June Rhodes

    June Rhodes   gave props (18 Dec 2009):

    neet story, I enjoyed reading it

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