We can do it!
By Tammy Mathews
And with those motivating words from Sue Childress, seven time Three Flags Classic veteran, a motley crew of nine ladies from the Gold Country Riders (GCR) Chapter of Women On Wheels®, plus two support fellas, were inspired to participate in the 2015 Three Flags Classic (TFC).
“Now this isn’t just any Three Flags,” she warned. “This is the 40th Annual Classic, so be sure you register early!”
Thus, at the stroke of midnight on December 31, while many were either sleeping or ringing in the New Year, several of us attending a New Year’s party hosted by WOW member Lisa Melendez, asked our hostess to pause the count down until we successfully signed up and could toast the New Year and the TFC adventure to come.
What next? Well, of course being women meant that for the next eight months we had fun gatherings to plan our 2400 mile journey, create team shirts and make sure we were all ready to undertake the adventure. Thanks to newbie Three Flagger and WOW support member Max Van Orsdel for graciously hosting our parties. We are, after all, strong, independent women who gladly accept the help of men.
After a few meetings, a GPS clinic, and hundreds of emails and Facebook posts later, the day finally arrived and we gathered in San Diego on September 2. How cool to see so many riders in one place with the same goal. And what a bonus it was to get to embark on this amazing journey with WOW friends. One of the best parts was getting to experience how warm and welcoming all the riders were to each other and us ladies in particular. As a TFC first timer, I had previously heard stories about how nice the Southern California Motorcycling Association (SCMA) members are and how “well done” the event was, my expectations though were truly exceeded! Everyone was wonderful, fun loving and seemed genuinely happy to see us ladies turning out for the event in record numbers!
Once the ride began, it wasn’t without its challenges for some. “This TFC was a true test of patience, strength, and perseverance,” three time TFC veteran and WOW member Denna Patton said. “We had just about every kind of weather, and some mechanical problems, but we made it because people pulled together and didn’t give up. It makes the finish that much sweeter.”
Denna’s riding group, which included Crazy Jane Lynch and Ronnie Sorgi, had difficulties in Prairie City Oregon when Ronnie’s bike began idling very high. “Jimmy, a TFC veteran and friend who used to be a Harley mechanic, tried to help us, but it didn’t work,” shared Denna. “So Ronnie got towed to his hotel in Baker City where we luckily got the last room available for the night. The next morning Jimmy woke up, found us and shared a dream he had about what might be the problem. He then proceeded to tear Ronnie’s bike apart under the Super 8 awning while it was pouring down rain. Jimmy was right, he fixed the problem, and thanks to him, we made it to Victoria without any further issues!” Now that’s the Three Flags spirit, riders helping riders.
While most in our motley crew buddied up to ride together, some, like WOW member Jennifer Hughes and myself, decided to solo it (for the most part). As Jennifer shared, “This trip was a personal growth opportunity for me, but with the bonus of having a safety net.” I couldn’t agree more. I also appreciated that it felt like all the other riders were looking out for me. Many times, when I stopped along the side of the road to take pictures, Three Flaggers would slow down or pull over to make sure I was okay. This was my first attempt at a solo long distance ride so knowing that other riders had my back gave me the confidence that “I can do it!” And if something went wrong, I wasn’t alone.
See page 20 for the rest of the story…