Linda Crill's travel-memoir, Blind Curves, should be part of your book collection if you ever find yourself at a point in life when you want to make yourself over.
Linda, 57 and two years widowed, was tired of sympathy and all the things suggested she do after losing her loved one. But even she was surprised at the distance she went to break free of one life and ready herself to move on to a new one. Invited by a long-time friend, she joined him and two others on a road trip that would take them 2,500 miles in ten days on a scenic loop through Washington, Oregon and California.
As one who sold her home and took off down the road in a small RV, I personally know how the rejuvenation of seeing things for the first time in real life can change a person's perspective. The time I spent on the road alone with a small canine companion changed me in ways that can never be fully explained.
After I successfully handled my first on-the-road emergency, my confidence to handle whatever else life handed me grew substantially. However, Linda's journey went far beyond mine. Hers was no sit-back-and-enjoy-the-landscape vacation. She made it on a rented Harley.
The motorcycle was rented because Linda didn't own one. Except for the time and miles necessary to get her two-wheel license, she had never straddled a motorcycle in her life. And she didn't know if she ever would again.
On the first page of Blind Curves Linda shares the thoughts that make her seem like a bigger-than-life woman when she enters a Harley store to take a three-day class to get her motorcycle license:
I was tired of sympathetic looks, reminders to walk gently and pamper myself. Instead, I craved thundering noise, the thrill of speed. I wanted icy air whipping against my face, making me know I was alive. I wanted crescendo, vibrato, to drown my screams and tears behind the roar of a large engine.
But Linda's machismo is halted by her frightened inner voice as her stomach muscles tighten in panic: "How am I supposed to learn to ride in just three days...what was I thinking?" Then she stares at a couple of t-shirts on a rack, one with a metallic skull and the other with the profile of a busty woman that would have made Barbie blush, and asks herself, "What about all of my 1960s feminist protesting? Am I supposed to violate all of my values for this?"
Her questions are moot, though, because Linda fails to get her license. Although it takes her a little while to come to grips with the fact that failure is only another opportunity to get up and try again, Linda eventually gets her motorcycle license. Her triumphs over the initial failure and her pride in exchanging her Halston suit and executive career for motorcycle leathers is testimony to the power of not giving up and playing life safe.
While Blind Curves will educate you about the pleasures and dangers of motorcycles and let you see the Pacific Ocean and the Redwoods through Linda's eyes, the book is really about change. Blind Curves refers to the many she faced as a motorcycle rider during her ten-day trip. But it also refers to the way each of us can handle the blind curves that life throws us.
I enjoyed Blind Curves on various levels—as a travel book, and as a book that taught me all about what it would take if I ever decided to ride a motorcycle. But most of all, I enjoyed Blind Curves for the way it spoke to me of what the human spirit can accomplish even when we're afraid.
Read an excerpt from this book.
Blind Curves is Linda Crill's first book, but she intends to write more. She facilities businesses, and coaches individuals about reinventing themselves. She is also a sought after inspirational speaker. Visit her website.
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