I could hear it coming down the street and the noise seemed to get deeper and louder as it slowed down right outside my window. The roar of that vehicle was like nothing I had heard approaching my house before, and then it actually stopped. After a journey of more than 1300 miles the shiny, black and blue motorcycle pulled into my driveway and beneath the dark helmet I faintly recognized my sister Pam. She was here in Tammy World and it was a happy day!
|Mileage on Pam's motorcycle odometer from her home in Oklahoma to my house.|
Pam had a 2 week vacation last month and decided to get on her Yamaha bike and ride halfway across the country to see her son, who lives a couple hours from me, and to visit me here in Tammy World. She was already a day late because of rain that started when she crossed the North Carolina mountains and unfortunately that rain would be a harbinger of things to come.
I have written about Pam West in this blog before with this entry about friends being one instance as well as this one, Off to the Beach, about meeting her in person for the first time in Carolina Beach this spring, among others. We started chatting on the internet in late 2011, right about the time I entered therapy, and she had already started gender therapy. We bonded pretty quickly online and over the next year and a half our transitions have mirrored each other in many ways, with Pam seemingly a step ahead of me in most instances. When we started talking I had been going out presenting female for a couple of years and was more experienced and comfortable in public than she was, but she finished therapy, started hormones and went full time before me.
When Pam first told me she had a bike I wondered if it was a 10 speed. I hadn't known anyone with a real motorcycle since I was kid and rode a friend's minibike a couple of times. More recently I have met several trans Facebook friends that own and ride motorcycles so I am used to hearing about "bikes" now, but I guess Tammy World was pretty limited at that time and I was a little naïve, to not even know what a real bike was. After seeing Pam's bike and following the excitement of her trip east, then getting to take a spin on the back of it in my neighborhood, I have a sense of appreciation for the whole 2 wheels with a motor experience. In fact, next month for my birthday, I am getting a bike of my own! Mine will have pedals though and I don't think I will ever want a motorcycle but I do plan to get a helmet before Pam comes down on the bike again so that I can take a proper and legal ride.
|Out and about with my sister during her stay in Tammy World.|
Thursday I had a doctor's appointment in Cary for an annual physical and Pam rode up in my van with me. She had to sit in the waiting room for an hour and a half while I waited, then had my blood tests, exam and doctor visit. After all that we were both ready to relax and do something fun while in the city, so we went to my favorite place in the Raleigh area, Crabtree Valley Mall. I had been fasting since midnight so the first thing we did was have some Japanese from the food court for lunch. After that we did a lot of walking and window shopping and even bought a thing or two. When we left the mall I rode downtown to let Pam see a little more of Raleigh before stopping by Whole Foods for dinner. The dogs were really happy to see us and hungry for their supper when we got home a little after dark then we spent the rest of the evening relaxing at home.
|Pam and I in Crabtree Mall.|
|Taking a break from walking and shopping to get some ice cream and water at Highway 55 Diner. Pam is wearing the new outfit she got at Cato in Rocky Mount, doesn't it look cute on her?|
Mitchell came down to see me Friday afternoon and the three of us went to my parents' house for a little while then went to Wal Mart and the mall. I cooked supper for us, steaks for them and the dogs and some Mahi Mahi for me, and we hung out here at my house that night. Pam was waiting to hear from her son as to when she could go up to see him, so she didn't ride down to Charlotte with Mitchell and I on Saturday to attend our friends' birthday party. She stayed here Saturday night and ended up riding up to Virginia early Sunday morning to spend the day with her son.
After a long ride, some of it in heavy stop and go traffic, Mitchell and I checked into a nice hotel suite in Charlotte Saturday night and went to the party at a local pub. I got to hear him sing karaoke for the first time and I have to admit he mesmerized me even more singing in that public venue than he does when he sings for me here at home. Hearing my man sing everything from George Jones to Poison made that whole long trip worthwhile, but it was also fun seeing a new place, hanging out with friends and meeting some new people.
|Mitchell singing to me in the karaoke section of the bar. I really hate that Pam missed this party, but she got to see her son and Mitchell and I had a good little trip out of town.|
It rained all the way back from Charlotte Sunday and when we got back I heard from Pam that she was heading back to Tammy World and would arrive late that evening. Unfortunately it rained on her all day and apparently riding in the rain on a motorcycle is not ideal. On the bike, you don't have the comfort of a roof, air conditioner, radio and windshield wipers. But she did pull into my carport wearing full rain gear so at least she didn't get soaking wet. I appreciate her feeding and watching my dogs Saturday night and was happy to have another full day to spend with her before she had to get on the westbound highway for Oklahoma.
Monday was another cloudy day with rain off and on. Mitchell left early that morning to go back to work in Virginia and Pam and I did a little shopping and took a long country ride in the flat farmlands east of Rocky Mount. When we got back into town it was still raining so we decided to have an early supper at a local favorite barbecue and fried chicken buffet restaurant. I need to stay away from buffets and I need to stay away from fried chicken, but even though we ate too much (me in particular) we did enjoy a good last meal together in Rocky Mount. After supper the rain let up a little bit so we went to the park with big rock formations on the Tar River, where Rocky Mount got its name. These are tiny rocks compared to what we have in the mountains several hours west, but it is a nice spot. We got a few pictures, then came back to the house to enjoy a couple of beers and some good conversation. Pam is the type sister that I feel I have known all my life even though we have been talking less than 2 years and just met a couple of times this year. We were comfortable with each other from the moment we met. I hated that she had to leave the next morning but the good news is that we will get to see each other one more time this year, when she comes to Virginia Beach this fall for work.
|Pam and I on he "rocky mound" where Rocky Mount got its name.|
|Falls of the Tar River at the old mill dam in Rocky Mount.|
|Sisters on the Mount. Even though I live a long way from the mountains, the area around the falls of the Tar River in Rocky Mount where the Coastal Plain meets the Piedmont has some mountain like vegetation and rock formations.|
Tuesday morning rolled around and the sun finally came out. I was hoping for a break in the rainy weather system for Pam's long trek home that included a detour through the Smoky Mountains, including a ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway. After breakfast she packed up and gave me my first ride on the mighty Yamaha Star 1300 motorcycle. Since I don't have a helmet, we just took a short ride around my neighborhood, but I could feel the power of the bike and the pull of wanting to travel on 2 wheels. She took off about 10:00 am heading west on the interstate and I followed her trip on Facebook. Unfortunately I saw that by the time she got out of town good it started raining even though we had a fairly dry but cloudy day here.
|No, I didn't actually drive it, lol.|
|Sisters on the Star 1300!|
Pam made in to the North Carolina mountains by the end of the day and stayed in Ashville, at a hotel right off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Apparently, the Parkway is a mecca for bikers from all over and I can understand why. It is a winding, wide 2 lane highway with no commercial traffic, a leisurely speed limit of 45 mph, magnificent scenic overlooks and it can be a challenging ride with dramatic elevation shifts. The next day, Pam rode on the southern leg of the Parkway on what many consider the best section of the Blue Ridge Parkway and then took a similar road through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park into Tennessee. I was disappointed for her to hear that she experienced rain all day and really couldn't enjoy the scenery. It was a tedious ride going over the Eastern Continental Divide under those conditions but she did make it all the way to Nashville, Tennessee by Wednesday evening when the weather finally broke. She made it home the next night after a 12 day journey that encompassed over 3100 miles on the road. I am just glad that Pam got to spend a week here in Tammy World and I can't wait to see her again this fall!
|Pam on the Blue Ridge parkway.|
|End of the road, final mileage from Pam's June vacation odyssey.|