Born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I lived in New Hampshire most of my adult life and moved to Arizona five years ago. My employer proposed a terrific new position in Arizona. I accepted the position, bought a one-way ticket, and never looked back. Moving to Arizona alone was the most empowering experience of my life.
After working in software sales and marketing for 15 years, I resigned last summer to go to school full time to finish my bachelor of science degree. It was sad to leave my work family but I welcomed the challenge. Fulfilling a dream I had to put aside many years ago is gratifying.
I enjoy running, hiking, golf and exploring this beautiful state on my Harley. I have become fond of trying new ethnic restaurants (which necessitates the running). I consider myself a late bloomer -- I started motorcycling, running, scuba diving and taking part in other adventure sports in my 30s and 40s. Traveling is one of my greatest passions. Whether it's immersing myself in a different culture or seeing the historic landmarks of this country, I find it so fascinating. My partner, Diane, and I enjoy going for walks around the neighborhood with the unofficial mayor, our Schnoodle Julio. He rides, too!
Why I ride
There is no better way for me to end the day than to hop on my motorcycle and chase the sunset. As soon as the engine jumps to life, my mood is instantly elevated, and off I go. There is something about the sound of the engine that is simultaneously soothing and exhilarating. As I release the clutch and set the bike in motion, my heart rate increases from the excitement. It never fails: Even after 15 years, as soon as I get rolling on my bike, a huge grin appears. The ride can be 15 minutes or five hours; it doesn't matter. It is my time. I let the day melt away, become grounded, and have some fun. This is one of many reasons why I ride.
How I learnedIn 1994, I took the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Basic Rider Course in New Hampshire. Riders Edge didn't exist back then. This course provided me with skills needed to confidently ride the streets of New Hampshire. In the interest of full disclosure, the course provided me with the skills; the confidence took a little time. It took weeks for me to leave my neighborhood. My neighbors were starting to give me funny looks. I am sure they were asking themselves, "Is she ever going to leave the neighborhood?" I wonder if they noticed that I could leave my driveway and go around the neighborhood and return to my driveway making only right turns?
Why I wanted to learnWhen I was a teenager, my brother and several of my male friends had motorcycles. Riding a motorcycle was the epitome of "cool." As an awkward, very uncool teen, I considered riding a motorcycle as my fast track to coolness. I rode on the back often and thought that, not only did it increase my cool factor exponentially, but it was very fun. The thrill associated with riding and the dream of owning a motorcycle never faded.
Fast forward to 2009. There is a Harley-Davidson Road King Custom in my driveway, I have taken many, many left turns. And I have learned that walking confidently in the direction of my dreams is, in itself, very cool.
See more photos of Darnell and her Harley-Davidson
More Hit the Road with Harley-Davidson