Wow, it’s been ten days since my last post, and I’ve officially completed one week of the spring semester. Last Monday’s class was canceled due to Martin Luther King Day. I find comfort in knowing the first day of classes will always be the same: syllabus, overview of the course and sometimes, professors nail us with a primer assignment, just to see where we’re at. Last week, a few professors circled around the room calling for brief introductions, drawing slight groans from the shy students. But I never mind talking about myself, and it’s especially delightful when I get to mention riding dirt bikes and motocross.

In travel writing, the professor asked our name, major, hometown and something interesting about it and then asked about our all-time favorite trip or vacation. Thankfully, she started on the other side of the room because I had no idea what I was going to say. What’s interesting about Orlando, (Disney?) but more importantly, how on earth could I pinpoint just one trip or vacation? “Lord, I was born a ramblin’ man.”

Plus, after hearing everyone else talk about their travels to India and Europe, and knowing I had yet to leave the country, not counting Mexico and Canada, I was nervous upon making my decision. At my turn, I said I didn’t know anything thing interesting about Orlando, except it’s nickname was “The City Beautiful.”

Then, I found myself describing my favorite vacation: a trip all by myself to the hills of Tennessee, where I was surrounded by nothing but rampant sunshine and greasy machines for a week. Yes, it was my first time at the Loretta Lynn’s national motocross race in Hurricane Mills. My professor asked, “Were you racing?” And the class turned their eyes back to me. I laughed, “No, not that time, but I can tell you about another time when I used to race…” I thought about my first race on the XR100, my first win on the YZ125, my first trip to the hospital, which turned into a week’s vacation, the vacation to Hatfield McCoy, where I was the only female rider…

My professors eyebrows shot up. “You race dirt bikes?” I nodded, telling her how I started riding at the age of four. “And I was hooked,” I said. “Wow,” she said. “I got my first bike when I was seven and I thought my parents were crazy rednecks, but I’m glad your redneck parents thought it was okay to give you a motorcycle at age four. Makes me feel better.” The class errupted in laughter and her use of the word redneck.

In political reporting, the professor prompted us with the usual name, hometown, major but she added dream job to the end of the list. So, when my turn came, I told the class my dream job is to write for Esquire or GQ magazine. The guy next to me turned and said, “Wow, aiming high?” I smiled. Of course.

Sun setting on Newhouse


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