New Mexico’s Bandelier National Monument

Bandelier National Monument - Val in Real Life

When it comes to our National Park system, national monuments tend to be sorely overlooked compared to the marquis parks that visitors flock to in their travels. Bandelier is not one of those overlooked monuments. Except by me. I’ve passed by it countless times as I’ve traveled through northern New Mexico. This time, though, I was determined to take Fred …

On the Road to Bikes, Blues, and BBQ for Progressive

On the Road to Bikes, Blues, & BBQ for Progressive

Today is a big day here at Val in Real Life HQ. My Nina is loaded and ready to roll to Arkansas for the Bikes, Blues, and BBQ rally in Fayetteville. I’m taking on this challenge with the support of Progressive Insurance and I’ll be sharing the journey as well as the excitement of the rally over the next 9 …

Back to the Throttle With Moto Guzzi…

Back to the Throttle With Moto Guzzi - Val in Real Life

Last time I talked about the physical and emotional process of getting back to riding after a crash. With that out of the way, let’s talk about the technical aspects of re-gearing and choosing a new motorcycle. The logistics of starting over… As a result of the crash, my motorcycle was totaled and my gear was destroyed in the effort …

Roadschooling at Arizona’s Meteor Crater

Meteor Crater in Arizona - Val in Real LIfe

As you know, we here at Val in Real Life like to learn when we’re traveling. Fred and George don’t travel with me as often these days but when they do, I still like to sneak in some learning that doesn’t feel like education. So when George asked if we could stop at Meteor Crater on our way through Arizona …

The Journey Back to Riding

The Journey Back to Riding - Val in Real Life

How do you make a comeback? An epic one. I don’t have a formula for you. I can only share my experience. I do know that mine has had three important pieces to the puzzle so far: logistical, physical, and emotional. And they’re all intimately connected. For those of you who need a recap, the short version is that on …

Nevada’s Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge

Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge

Tucked off of the very busy Highway 93, 80 miles north of Las Vegas, you’ll find Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge. This Nevada oasis seems horribly overlooked by the cars and trucks hurtling by. I’m sure they see it. There’s really no way to miss it. The lush landscape is a startling contrast to the Nevada desert surrounding it. I myself …

Camping at Cathedral Gorge State Park

cathedral gorge state park - val in real life

Now that I’ve given you a peek at exploring Cathedral Gorge State Park, it’s time for a look the camping facilities. After the bare-bones, but not quite primitive, offerings of Great Basin National Park, the promise of a shower at Cathedral Gorge was very exciting, as you can imagine. Camping… The nature of the landscape at Cathedral Gorge means the …

Exploring Cathedral Gorge State Park

Back in May, I set out on another mega road trip to regain my Val-ness. After Overland Expo in Arizona, I mozied my way to Great Basin National Park in northeast Nevada. I then headed south to Cathedral Gorge State Park and a vastly different landscape. Cathedral Gorge State Park… Cathedral Gorge is a popular Nevada destination for it’s dramatic, …

Six Months to Life

Today marks six months since I was hit by a car while riding my motorcycle. I’ve written a good bit about this ordeal so far and again I find myself uncertain how much to share. In fact, I had a very different version of this post almost completely crafted. Then two days ago, my dear friend Sarah sent me a …

Full Throttle at Tellus Science Museum

Last Saturday, Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, Georgia unveiled it’s new Full Throttle exhibit. So I rode my groovy Moto Guzzi there to meet some fellow riders and check it out. This new presentation explores the evolution and design of motorcycles. It’s a fitting addition to the museum’s existing permanent Science in Motion exhibition that spans the history of transportation …