Daredevil or Mouse?

propic11_1_1This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

Do you take life by the horns? Do you use the opportunities presented to you to enjoy unusual places and experiences that you might not otherwise? Are you outgoing and fearless or quiet and reserved?

It’s interesting that personalities differ and it definitely makes the world a better place. I watch kids skateboarding and biking on my street and say to my husband, “They’re going kill themselves!”

When my siblings and I were growing up I was the “good” one. Not to say that my siblings weren’t good but the three of them caused my parents headaches by doing things I never would have thought of. I was always worried that my mom and dad would be disappointed if I did something they didn’t like. Since I was interested in reading and singing it wasn’t much of a problem for me. I did, however, try smoking with my cousins behind the railroad depot in our little rural town. Bad choice. Everyone knew my dad and before I got home someone had called him to report me. He took me to my room, sat me on the bed and looked at me. I think I was twelve at the time. The sadness in my father’s eyes broke my heart when he said, “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to trust you again.” I was broken-hearted and very surprised when the next day he allowed me to go spend a week with those very same cousins. Believe me, I was a changed person. Every time I got offered a cigarette or a copy of True Confessions (my mother’s rule was that they were trash and I was never allowed to read them) I said no. My cousins thought I was nuts but I came home with a clean heart.

dirtbikeFast-forward to 1967. I married a real daredevil. At first I shook every time we powerline tried something new but soon realized I loved the thrill of it all. We had a nice dirt bike and spent our weekends riding the power line. It was in the boonies and ended at a place called Rattlesnake Hill (yes there had been some spotted there) and then we’d start back down. My husband took the bumps and humps at breakneck speed as we flew over the hills and I learned to hang on tight and be ready to stand when we hit a bad spot.Yamaha

We bought a 750 Yamaha motorcycle and took road trips. Usually we ran 70 – 80 mph, but 70 was the speed limit back then. We always wore helmets but I’m not so sure they would have helped much. Next we got into snowmobiles. I loved driving the snowmobile and we went often with friends on day trips. If there was a hill I’d jump it and if we were on the flats I’d gun it.

rollercoasterI loved carnival rides and my favorites were roller coasters. The bigger, the faster and the higher made me scream with delight. I went on every roller coaster I could. Even my niece begged me to take her on the roller coaster because her mother wouldn’t. At Disney World MGM my favorite ride was The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. If you’ve never been on it, you should. It’s the scariest fall ride I’ve ever experienced. If you’d like to read about it here’s a link. MGM Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

We got a boat and it had a little speed. We’d skip across the water of the Ouachita River in Arkansas holding on for dear life.  We broke down a few times and have some hair-raising stories to tell. (We didn’t drink in case you’re wondering.) We bought another boat in Florida on a channel to a large lake. We spent many happy hours fishing and cruising. There were alligators and water moccasins in the lake. Since we were from Michigan where the water is clear and there were no dangerous creatures to fear, we weren’t worried about swimming in this lake.  We’d roil up the water by running the boat around and around in an area, then jump in to swim. One time the DNR came by to see if we needed help. We said, “No we’re just swimming.” The officer looked at us like we were out of our minds.boats

We had a lot of fun on the Gulf of Mexico when we got a bigger boat but all we did was get beached on an island once. The tide went out before we realized it. Lucky for us there were others to help us push it back into deep waters. The best part was watching the dolphins race alongside us as we motored back to the launch site with a beautiful sunrise making the day picture-perfect.

We got into dune buggies and I loved them. The Sleeping Bear Dunes (in MI) weredunes one-half mile from our summer cabin. There were lineups of dune buggies early in the morning until the park closed in the evening. We had all kinds of fun on the dunes. On Saturday nights were drag races on the flats. There was a huge hill to climb and there was always a line of people waiting for their turn to try to get to the top. We equipped our buggy with nitrous oxide and when you kicked it in it was like we were flying. Well, we flew a little too fast a couple of times. The dunes shift constantly and we really should have taken a practice run but we roared on up, only to find the flat top where we usually landed had shifted and there was no place to stop. We turned end over end three times, breaking our Tie Rod in the mishap. We always wore 5-point harnesses and the best helmets you could buy and, lucky for us, we were protected. We extricated ourselves (we were hanging upside down) and assessed the damage. What we thought was gas leaking on us was the ice water from our cooler tied to the dunebuggyback. We had to have the buggy towed and fixed that time.

There was a spot to go mud bogging and we usually headed there too. I hadn’t tried it before so hubby and I changed places. I started from quite a distance away, put my foot on the gas pedal and we flew right into the big puddle. And sank. The water was up to our necks.  Looking back it was really funny, but at the time we hastened to remove our seatbelts and get out. As luck would have it a man with a four-wheel drive was on the other side and he pulled us out. Hubby was irritated that I hadn’t made it through the puddle and said he’d show me how it was done. We went back a little further, he gunned the gas, water flew up and over us and we sank! I laughed so much I cried. The four-wheel drive was still on the other side and pulled us out again.

Other things I’ve done are to swim in shark infested waters, jellyfish infested waters, and stingray infested waters. I’ve fallen off a few horses and lived to tell about it and climbed a few tall water towers. I’ve swung from a rope across astingray barn from one haymow to the other. And of course I’ve done the rope swing out into the water. You’d think I have a death wish or something but actually I’m pretty mild-mannered and still a readaholic who is very much a homebody.

Those days are long past and if I’m to be truthful, they’re probably the reason I’ve had two back surgeries. I think I was experiencing my youth a little later in life because my parents were so strict and I was always afraid I’d get in trouble. Case in point: My father wouldn’t let us climb trees and I couldn’t have a bicycle until I was ten years old because he was afraid I’d kill myself on it. I’m glad I love to write and have no desire for that type of thrill any longer. What those days did give me were lots of things to write about and every so often I open my box of memories and fish something out to put in a story.

How about you? Are/were you a daredevil? Have you used any of those experiences in your stories?  I’d love to hear about it!

Picture Credits: Motocross bike – FreeDigitalPhotos.net

All other pictures courtesy of Morguefile.com

Books by L.Leander:

Inzared Queen of the Elephant Riders Video Trailer

Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders

INZARED Book Cover_1







Inzared, The Fortune Teller Video Trailer

Inzared, The Fortune Teller (Book Two)








13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing








13 Extreme Tips to Marketing an ebook








You can also find L.Leander here:

L.Leander Website

Amazon Author Page

Facebook Author Page

L.Leander Books Blog

L.Leander’s Book Reviews and Interviews






23 thoughts on “Daredevil or Mouse?

    1. Thanks Abbie. I think I probably used the wrong term. Mouse creates a verson of a very timid person who has no self image and is afraid of everything. I didn’t mean for it to sound that way. I just thinking new things is so much fun!


  1. Linda,

    No physical daredevil, but I like to think I take my fair share of risks. Still you post gives a person a lot to thing about.

    What fun you had, and thank you for letting me live through your experiences. *Smile* Doris


    1. Thank you Doris. Taking risks is a part of everyday life, and is definitely so with our writing. I don’t think everyone has to be a “physical daredevil.” I have taken risks in music and writing that were far more scary than some of the things I wrote about.


  2. You really blossomed into a daredevil, perhaps because of your fear of doing so before. Interesting experiences and I would not have expected it when you started your story. Good for you and I’m glad you didn’t get hurt! My dad was strict also and I am still upset my mother wouldn’t let me ride the huge steep roller coaster at Salt Lake Flats when I was 12, because I might be too scared! But I never became as brave as you did! Interesting and way to go! Neva


  3. Thanks Neva. I actually was pretty fearful of things in my childhood, probably because of my parents always worrying that something would happen. I remember how upset I was when the movie “Gone With The Wind” showed at our local theatre and all my friends were going together. My dad said I was too young (I was 13) for such trash. Of course, I’d already read the book although maybe he didn’t know that. My first husband was a real risk taker and I’m glad I had those opportunities later in life. So sorry you couldn’t do the roller coaster – I didn’t get to ride one until I was 15 or so and visiting my cousins and it was an old wooden roller coaster. What a thrill!


  4. I was the opposite. I took a lot of very dangerous chances, skipped school, smoked, and did a lot of fighting when I was young. After I had kids I slowed down on the danger, but not the adventure. I’m still adventurous, but no roller coasters for me. I do love biking, motor and pedaling, and boating. Fun post, I would never have taken you to be so adventurous. Cher’ley


  5. Ha, Ha Cherley. I knew you were a kindred spirit. But I had an idea you might be the adventurous type. What type of little bitty woman is a truck driver, painter, author? The adventurous one, of course! If I had skipped school I hate to think what might have happened to me. I never fought with anyone but the smoking seemed cool so I tried it. What I didn’t say in the post is that my father was a 2-pack a day smoker. I guess he just didn’t want me to make the same mistakes he did!


  6. Reading your column got me to thinking about my daredevil past. I haven’t had back surgeries, but I’ve broken a hip so now that I’m in my early 60s I’m quite happy to sit before my laptop and write. But back in the day …. I backpacked, and hiked the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina and Virginia; know the importance of hanging backpacks on a high branch so a bear can’t get at it. I’ve hiked a steep switchback trail in Glacier National Park and enjoyed the winter beauty of frozen waterfalls in Old Man’s Cave area of southern Ohio. I’ve been on one whitewater rafting trip on the New River in West Virginia (I slammed my side into another person’s knee and rafted the last half of the trip in teeth-grinding pain). As a kid, I climbed a tower next to our neighborhood in Norco, California; didn’t scare me at all as a 12-year-old but today I’d be one scared geezer.


    1. One of the things I have always wanted to do, and haven’t, is white water rafting. I think now I’ll let it pass but it always sounded like fun. I’ve done a lot of hiking too and love it. Isn’t it good now that we’re in our 60s we can have such good memories and yet be very content to sit at a laptop and write? And what a wealth of information we have! Thanks for commenting Mike!


  7. I was a dedicated tom-boy as a kid and did lots of stuff girls weren’t “supposed to” do. But one thing did limit my activities–I was deathly afraid of heights. Probably due to having fallen one story onto concrete when I was about 3 or 4. Have a compressed vertebra as a souvenir. So no roller coasters or high places for me. I did lots of stuff on my horse that I now know was dangerous, but it didn’t occur to me at the time. Was fascinated with planes and flew with a boy friend in college. (My folks would have had a fit if they’d known). And I did zip line down a mountain in South Africa a couple of years ago! Almost lost it a couple of times, but I did it.

    For me, the scariest things involve other people. I was shy and introverted, so putting myself forward was a big step. It’s easier now, but still takes effort. Good post.


    1. Thanks Kate. Another thing I’ve always wanted to do and haven’t is zip line. My sister went in Honduras and said it was a blast. She is so afraid of heights I couldn’t believe she even tried it. I am deathly afraid of heights but have usually managed to get through it. The worst was in Germany when we were visiting a castle. We were in an area I suppose we should not have been in and the only way to get out was jump across to the other side from one ledge to another. We were up pretty high and the three people with me did it with no problem, then coaxed me through it. I was scared to death but I made it and it helped with my fear of heights. Also, all the swimming I did as a kid and jumping off the high dive helped. I wasn’t really shy, but very introverted as a child. Somewhere along the line that all changed!


  8. Amazing post, Linda — amazing from the standpoint you’ve done so much in your life! You’re the author of “Fearless Fiction” — must be for a reason: cuz you’re FEARLESS! I wouldn’t attempt, or even think about doing, most of what you’ve done. Guess I’m a mouse! LOL Thanks for a look into your life.


    1. Gayle, like I told Abbie I think that was a poor choice of words. Maybe I should have titled this Are You A Daredevil or Not? It does seem funny to me that I morphed from a fearful child into a fearless adult. I’d try just about anything once unless it involved snakes. Deathly afraid of them! But even though I blossomed late in life I can see my parents turning over in their graves, still worried their oldest child is going to kill herself riding a bicycle. My father once had a nightmare that involved me drowning in our local lake, where we spent just about every day as kids. Thankfully, he didn’t ban me from swimming. Instead, our parents made sure all four of us took Red Cross Lessons and I even got my lifeguard training! Go figure!


  9. Great energetic post Linda. Those are awesome experiences and I hope they’ve filtered down into your writing. Nothing like letting out the latent wild child. I have several scars from younger daredevil days when I thought I was invincible. My knees have convinced me that’s not the case. My biggest stunt was walking across a frozen pond on a dare and falling through. But I lived to tell the tale.


    1. Thanks Travis. I feel very lucky to have had such awesome experiences! How scary to fall through a frozen pond. It’s a wonder you weren’t killed! Things like that really teach us, don’t they? We took our friends to the lake one afternoon and it turns out that one couldn’t swim very well. She did allright going out to the raft with all of us around her, but coming back she freaked out and went under. Of course, she was flailing and screaming. All that Red Cross training had served me well, but not before she almost drowned both of us! Once I got out of her grip I was able to go underneath her, come up and get her in a hold and swim back to shore. Boy, was I ever glad it worked out that way. We weren’t even supposed to be at the lake that day!


  10. I love all those things you’ve experienced, Linda. I’ve done a lot of sporty type activities but there’s always something new to try- though as I get older it’s a bit more difficult. Even the name mud bogging is brilliant and I love it- want to try it – though my snowmobiling wasn’t too successful. Great memories! 🙂


    1. Mud bogging is really fun in a dune buggy. I’ve never done it in a truck. I’m glad I did all that long ago. I don’t think I’d care to put myself through all that fun at this point in my life. It’s always a thrill to see what kind of thing happens when you hit the bog. Either you drive right through or end up all in like we did. Thanks for the comment. I agree that there are always new things to try. Maybe I’m not done yet!


  11. L. so it’s true: It’s always the quiet ones. 🙂 Funny that some of things you did, i.e. bikes, dune buggies, Husband and I got into all that when we were younger. Brought back memories. I wasn’t a daredevil, that’s for sure, it was more of, “Come on, I dare ya.” However, I never swam in shark-infested waters, Yikes! Never.


  12. You’re right Sherry, always the quiet ones are those you have to watch out for! lol I didn’t swim in shark-infested waters KNOWING they were shark-infested. We found out afterward that the area we were in was the most shark-infested waters in Tampa Bay. Helicopters and small planes have documented and photographed the activity there and it’s just plain scary. I never swam there again!


  13. Fun post, Linda! I’ve never been much of a daredevil, so I haven’t tried many of these things. I do love roller coasters and I have swum with stingrays. I’ve ridden on the top of a rusty fishing boat across the shark-invested waters of Egypt’s Lake Nasser. My tour group had to find a round-about way to get to Abu Simbel after locals had blocked the roads in protest. I rode a camel when I was in Egypt too. It took me a long time to feel like I wasn’t just going to tumble off it though.


    1. Wow Stephanie! You’ve done some incredible things! I’ve always wanted to ride an elephant. Sounds like a camel would be fun too. I would never have swum with stingrays if a friend hadn’t coaxed me into it but it was awesome! One time we were swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. It was a hot day and the beach was crowded so a lot of people were in the water, including me. All of a sudden a fin came up, someone yelled “Shark!” and you’ve never seen people scramble so fast in your life. Turned out to be a dolphin! He was very friendly and just wanted to join us.


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