To celebrate her fiftieth birthday, Hellen decided to buy a Moto Guzzi motorcycle, pack her sleeping bag and tent, and ride through all fifty states – one for each year of her life.
Preparing for a three-month adventure was no small undertaking. Hellen had never been alone. After a marriage that lasted seventeen years, her two sons lived with her for the next ten. Her oldest son was in college, and the nineteen-year-old would need to find a place to stay. She worried about his lack of experience and if he would be ok. Finally she knew the woman who returned would not be the same woman who left. That bothered her. A 15’00 mile journey would clearly be a life-changing event. Hellen liked the woman she was. „In what ways will the trip change me?“ she thought. „Will I return?“
The trip was magical. Hellen swam with the manatees in Florida, encountered a tarantula on her bathroom in Oklahoma, saw the high plains of Kansas, rode through howling winds in Montana, felt the magnificence of Bryce Canyon in Utah, and touched the glaciers of Alaska. But the most important part was that she met Miss Wonderful, in, of all places, that small foggy town of Cape Disappointment in Washington. When Hellen first saw her, she was leaning against her Harley-Davidson, surveying the crowd at a local festive day. As she pulled off her helmet, their eyes met. Hellen knew what she was thinking: „Is it really possible to meet another great woman who loves to ride bikes?“
They married four weeks later, back in New York.