A Walk on the Freeway in Carson City

It’s not every day you get to walk on a brand-new interstate. Pristine pavement. Sharp, fresh striping. Hundreds of bicyclists, roller-skaters, skateboarders, and runners whizzing by you. I had that […]


Awake: Finding my Inner Thelma

I imagine most of you are familiar with the movie Thelma and Louise and its tale of two women finding their strength through a series of unexpected and escalating ordeals. In one of the […]

val in real life

Life After Trauma

Today marks an unwelcome anniversary: the second year since my near-fatal motorcycle crash at the hands of a negligent driver. I intended to write this last year on the first anniversary. It […]


Going Off-Road at the BMW U.S. Rider Academy

I’m a fan of proper training. The value of learning from qualified instructors is not lost on me, particularly when it comes to photography and motorcycling. Unlike photography, proper motorcycle […]

baja mañana spirit - val in real life

Bringing Home the Baja Mañana Spirit

I recently returned from my first trip to Baja, Mexico. Intent on living my life as well as I can in the moment right now, I rode my motorcycle 1,500-miles […]

birthday - val in real lie

My Forty-Fifth Birthday: Celebrating with Adventure

I’ve published a birthday post every year since 2011. It’s a reflection of my outgoing year as I consider the new year ahead. In that first birthday post, I confessed […]

motorcycling california and oregon

Motorcycling Through Northern California and Southern Oregon

“Shit!… are you kidding me?!? I don’t know about this. Shit-shit-shit-shit-shit!” (Or possibly stronger oaths.) Those are the words I gasped in my headset to my riding partner as the pavement […]

Moto Metaphor - Val in Real Life

Motorcycling: A Metaphor for Life

Throttle therapy is an amazing thing. Lately when I’ve been out on the bike to clear my head, I’ve been musing on how much motorcycling is a metaphor for life. […]

Carson City Sheriff's Office Extreme Motor Officer Challenge 2016

Carson City Motor Cop Competition

Each year, the Carson City Sheriff’s Office hosts the Extreme Motor Officer Training Challenge. This year marked the 13th anniversary of the event, designed to bring motor officers together for friendly competition, […]

Horizons Unlimited - Val in Real Life

Embracing Community with Horizons Unlimited

When I attended my first Horizons Unlimited Travellers meeting in April of last year, I didn’t know what to expect. It ended up being a delightful feast of adventurous souls, […]

motorcycle safety - val in real life

A Motorcyclist Wonders… Can You See Me Now?

It’s no secret that, in spite of a lot of effort by motorcyclists to remain visible while riding, the all-too-common scenario of “I didn’t see you!” is still the predominant reason riders […]

val in real life

On Being OK

Today is the anniversary of the crash that changed my life. And yesterday I was out riding my motorcycle. It was an eerily similar scenario as far as weather and […]

eat the cupcake - val in real life

Forty-Four: Eat the Cupcake

Tomorrow marks my forty-fourth birthday. I view birthdays as personal new years: a time to reflect, assess, and consider the previous year. Birthdays are usually safe from the turmoil of other […]

Overland Expo East 2015 - Val in Real Life

Overland Expo East 2015

Even for adventure travelers, the conditions were somewhat daunting for this year’s Overland Expo East event in North Carolina. The rain and winds were the courtesy of Hurricane Joaquin. At […]

GeigerRig 710 - Val in Real Life

Hi-Viz Hydration with GeigerRig

For the last 3,000+ miles on Nina, I’ve been testing out the GeigerRig RIG 710 hydration engine. Here’s the scoop… What’s a GeigerRig? Hydration packs are largely the domain of […]

Bikes, Blues, and BBQ - Val in Real Life

Joining Progressive for Bikes, Blues, and BBQ

A couple of weeks ago, I partnered with Progressive Insurance to ride to my first major motorcycle rally. Since my motorcycling interests skew towards adventure travel, most of my experience […]

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

On the Road to Bikes, Blues, and 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 […]

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

Back to the Throttle With Moto Guzzi…

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 […]

The Journey Back to Riding - Val in Real Life

The Journey Back to Riding

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 […]


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 […]

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