Thursday, July 23, 2015

2015 Blogger to Blogger Tour - Ms. Quezzie, I presume

Copyright - Stephanie Yue
Imagine reading about someone you've never met. You share some things in common that set you apart from most people you meet in your day to day life. You are curious. What makes them tick?

How far out of your way, how far from your comfort zone, what sacrifices would you make, to meet that person face to face? To share a slice of your life with them. To share their path, if only briefly.

I can answer those questions.

This past Monday, July 20, 2015, I set out on a two day 600 kilometer road trip to meet Stephanie Yue. She is known online as Quezzie, an avatar she adapted from a video game that proved handy online, chiefly because it was unique enough that it was never taken when signing up for online forums or e-mail services. I think that's how I stumbled on her story, most likely on ModernVespa, maybe on the adventure riding forum known simply as "ADV".

Stephanie is an illustrator by profession, and an avid martial artist and climber in her spare time. She is also a prolific diarist, a blogger as we know them these days.

On May 5th, 2014, Stephanie put her life in Providence Rhode Island to one side, pared her everyday belongings down only to those things that could travel with her on her Vespa, and set out to see America. Solo. All forty-eight of the contiguous States. All four corners. Key West, Seattle, San Diego, and Lubec Maine, her ultimate destination for this chapter of her life.

Her riding blog began with her departure preparations. I have followed it pretty much from the beginning. Online diaries are powerful. You follow a person, you get to know them. The best bloggers are candid about their trials and tribulations. Stuff that went well. Things that took a toll. Stephanie is one of those.

Like an astronomer tracking a comet, I knew that inevitably Quezzie would approach my orbit. I reached out to make contact. Could we meet?

The answer to that question, deceptively simple, involved layer upon layer of planning, set backs, contingencies that could not have been predicted, potential mission-scrubbing glitches, and, in the end, depended on courage and determination. Hers, and mine.

This past Sunday I spent, by Susan's reckoning, four hours prepping my Vespa. I gathered gear, checked my touring checklist, swapped in a large windscreen, filled the tank, filled the spare tank, picked up my loaner tent and mattress, loaded my saddlebags, and strapped it all on the Vespa.


On Monday, July 20, 2015 at 08h00, I raised the garage door and launched. It sounds simple, doesn't it? Rendez-vous was at the Adirondack Museum, a place I was now familiar with. Three and a half hours distant, in the very heart of America's largest national park.

I plan to take my time telling this story. It was only thirty-six hours out of a remarkable year in my life, but if I tell the story well, put you in my shoes, lend you my eyes and ears, I will do you, and I a favour. That's what I believe. If you have come this far, you believe it too.

Do you think it's weird, that a 63 year-old newly-retired guy, very, very happily married, would set out to meet a single woman half that age far, far from home? On a motorbike? For an overnight camping trip? In the wilderness? Some people thought so. If you are one of those folks, read on. You may judge for yourself.

How about Stephanie? Do you think it's weird that a young woman in her prime would knowingly venture deep into a vast forest, well beyond cell phone coverage, to spend a pitch black night camping with a man twice her age, a stranger she had never met? You wouldn't be alone if you thought so, I'm sure you'd have plenty of company.

Could you, would you, do what either of us did?

Stay tuned. No intimate detail will be spared.

--------- PS ---------

To read this story from Stephanie's perspective, click here.

14 comments:

  1. David,

    I think i know several moto bloggers who would do this, afterall we aren't predictable people, we enjoy adventure and have a zest for life that most shy away from. scootering and motorcycling changes people, it goes to your heart & soul and I think it encourages you or gives you the courage to go beyond what is ordinary by most peoples conventional standards. Looking forward to reading your posts.

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    1. Dar I think you expressed that very well.

      It's hard to explain to non-riders, and non-bloggers, just how compelling meeting with our peers can be.

      Delete
  2. David, she's an awesome artist and an adventurer. Of course she would! (Besides, she's been watching who you are via the rest of us for a long time.) Glad you got the chance to meet her. Looking forward to more.

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    1. Karen, as you well know, there is that magic moment when the virtual becomes real.

      When I rode into that Bellafonte campround and you snapped photos of my arrival you capture one of those moments.

      I returned the favour similarly when Stephanie arrived at the museum.

      Those moments are treasures.

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  3. Of course! She would, you would, and so would I. Two-wheeling makes us a great big family where gender, age, colour of skin, profession or creed don’t matter. These special encounters enrich our lives, and seem to bring out the best in us. Must be a karma thing.
    I am very much looking forward to your next installation. Soon please?

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    1. Sonja, I learned from the very best, you and Bob.

      There is more to come.

      Delete
  4. Ha motorcyclists will do anything for a ride, and you have at least two things in common regardless. Bikes & Blogs. Isn't that enough?

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    1. Steve, anything for a ride?!?!

      You Aussies are truly awesome!!!

      Imagine the possibilities if you are ever in my neck of the woods looking for a bike to ride ;)

      Delete
  5. David this was great and I'm really looking forward to more. I didn't but should have known that DM would meet "our" Scootering Artist.

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    1. Stephanie will be tickled to think of herself as a citizen of our little worldwide community of moto brothers and sisters.

      Delete
  6. Great tale so far....not unexpected from you, David.

    I met Stephanie at Amerivespa last month. Unfortunately (I blame the heat) I embarrassed myself by remembering her name wrong.

    I find the scooting community pretty awesome. Not in the least surprised to read of your meetup. Maybe in the real world may seem strange, but not to me.

    Waiting for the rest of the story.... ;o)

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    1. Dave, I got to know Stephanie a little, and I am sure that she wasn't in the least put off by the name calling ;)

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  7. Why yes, David, yes I would. Looking forward to the details of the meet....

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    1. Dom, I think that moto people are just different from most folks. We're special people.

      Delete

The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.