As I write about the women that rode this year I find myself humbled.
“I have been riding since I was 10. Riding is a passion with me.”
Meet Junie Rose. Hoka Hey rider #383. A single mom and two-time cancer survivor. Junie’s first Hoka Hey was in 2010 and this is what is so awe-inspiring to me. I copied her story off the Hoka Hey site.
2010, Junie writes: While sitting in a cancer center in Mattoon Illinois, in March of 2010, receiving chemotherapy I read about the Hoka Hey Challenge. In a room filled with other cancer patients, I related what I had read about the 7000 mile motorcycle challenge going from Key West Florida to Homer Alaska with a prize of half a million dollars in gold. When my oncologist walked in I asked him if he thought I would be strong enough to do this ride. He said go for it, go live your life. He handed me a hundred dollars to get things rolling. Riding to Alaska was on my bucket list.
Within two days my friends had started a campaign to make it happen.
Fliers were printed and distributed around Mattoon and within a week people were donating things for a silent auction. T-shirts were made with my name on them with the famous pink ribbon in the center. A poker run was planned. And so it was to be that I would ride this amazing ride.
Although I have never met Junie personally, I have much respect for her.
From what I gather talking to Carla [rider #612] and Junie, and also from what I have learned observing people in general, when one mentions the possibility of entering the Hoka Hey you will inevitably hear from the nay-sayers. You know the ones that look at you like you have two heads. And I imagine, for a women who decides to take the challenge and actually dares utter this dream out loud, the wide-eyed “have you lost your mind” looks are ten-fold. All I can say is thank God for friends. You know. The friends that all though they may think you’ve lost your ever lovin’ mind they will stand behind you and do whatever they can to make your dream come true.
Junie: Was I scared? Sometimes. I was by myself quit a bit and I never went into camp grounds until it was dark. I didn’t want people knowing I was by myself. As far as advice for other women, I can only speak for myself but I did not like being out there alone. Even having another woman along would have maybe felt better. Just not alone.
The scariest moment was when I wrecked in Yellowstone. Not so much because of the accident but because I thought it was over for me. Fortunately we were able to bend my handle bars back down and I dusted myself off and kept going.
The funniest thing happened after Chuck and I started riding together. I woke up to find I had been eaten alive by fire ants. That in itself is not funny but Chuck turned it into a Saturday morning cartoon. “Mmmm is that Hoka hay”? I don’t know, I’ve never had Hoka hay, but I’ve heard it’s very tasty. I’ve heard there is a lot of it on the west coast but it’s pretty rare here on the east coast. Chuck was able to take a bad situation and turn it around and make me laugh. He helped me forget the fact that I was fodder for a bunch of ants.
Used to be a girl on a motorcycle was a novelty. Not so much anymore but I know there are still neanderthals out there that believe a woman is a possession who is destined to view the world from a p-pad. I had to know how the guys treated her.
Junie: The guys were great. There were those who were “in it to win it” and rode very hard. But I would almost bet if someone needed help they would have helped. Those that wouldn’t are not real Hoka Hey warriors. They have missed the whole reason for Hoka Hey.This is the Hoka Hey Challenge: The challenge celebrates all that is good, pure and powerful in the warrior spirit. The courage to plunge headlong into untested waters. The strength to confront seemingly insurmountable challenges. The confidence and skill to tackle enormous tasks. The drive to continue the quest in spite of brutal physical elements. The selflessness and humanity to assist other warriors during the battle. And the ability to seek out and welcome spiritual balance and harmony.Junie: I was never in it to win it, it has always been about the ride not the money. When I found out last year how people in our very own country were living without water right under our noses, it broke my heart. I spent last year and this years ride telling people about the Lakota Sioux. I made friends with the homeless. I made friends with people who will probably be my friends forever now. Chuck and I were fed by the homeless in a rest area in Colorado. We were fed by a guy in Nova Scotia because he said he felt led by the Lord to buy us breakfast. We were tracked by thousands, cheered on by thousands, and will never forget the friendships and relationships that were formed because of a couple named Beth and Jim Durham.
Funding: Remember, paying the entry fee is just the beginning. Figure in oil changes, tires, gear and I’m not saying it will happen but I’ve seen too many pictures as proof that it does, so better to figure in extra bucks for breakdowns on the road. Imagine preparing for a possible life changing and challenging ride, training and actually setting out on your course, only to have your dream end because your wallet is empty. I asked Junie how much she figured it took to complete the Hoka Hey. She estimated it costing around ten cents a mile, plus food, plus another $700. To raise $$ this year, Junie did a bike-a-thon raising awareness for the Lakota Sioux and a group called the Serve Veterans fund (sorry, I don’t have a link). She was also sponsored by HogGaiters in Springfield Illinois, Woodstock HD ,and Lipowear.com who provided her with riding shorts called sitrelief.
P.S. Pack some Sting-eze and a sense of humor. If you find yourself out there with none of these remedies, get yourself a Chuck!
Thank you Junie for who you are. Rider #383, Survivor, Warrior.