My Life, My Words: Liz Davis — ‘Mental health on 2 wheels’

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Liz Davis stands inside The Giving Tree, her store on Yampa Avenue. Davis moved to Hayden in 1978. She and her husband, Russ, are avid Harley Davidson riders.

Occupation

Owner of the Giving Tree, 525 Yampa Ave.

“I’ve lived in Hayden for 32 years now. I’m originally from California

“I’m old enough that I’ve been on Route 66 from Chicago to (Los Angeles) three different times. The first time, I was three months old. My dad knew I didn’t want to be (in Illinois) where it was cold and icy and nasty, so we moved to California. My mother was an amazing woman. She’s driving a car, following my dad who’s on his Harley (Davidson) and they’re driving from Illinois to California, and she has a three-month-old infant in the car. Amazing woman. I’m not sure I could have made that trip without losing my mind.

“(My husband, daughter and I) moved here in 1978 and he went to work for T&H Parts.

“My husband had reached his limit with what we thought was the overcrowding then … We sold our home in California, we put everything in storage and we just did a three-month trip while our daughter was not in school for the summer. We did Illinois and we did Yellowstone and Yosemite (National Parks) and the Grand Tetons and all those things. We wound up here because my husband’s uncle and aunt lived in Hayden. It was just one of those things — he had been coming here hunting since he was in junior high.

“It was a real culture shock, where I had a mall on every corner practically in California, I didn’t have a mall on every corner here.

“I didn’t even own a coat when I moved here, I truly didn’t. Now I own several coats and lots of smart wool socks and snow boots and many gloves and hats and scarves and things like that, all the accoutrements of winter.

“The first winter was an extreme revelation.

“We had motorcycles in California, then we got horses here, now we’re back to the iron horses. We try to take as many trips as we can, but with this business and my husband’s business, we don’t get away as much as we’d like.

“I don’t normally ride it to work because I carry too much stuff. I carry a briefcase and a laptop and I don’t want to wreck my hair with the helmet.

“People that know me well, it just didn’t quite fit the picture of the Liz they know.

“I was practically born on a Harley and we rode in California before every vehicle was out to get you, so to speak.

“When you get on a Harley, you don’t have time to worry about your business, the stuff that needs to be done at home. (You don’t worry), ‘Gosh, I need to paint the trim on my house,’ I need to do this, I need to do that. It’s mental health on two wheels.

“You’re just rolling along, enjoying things. You’re watching for vehicles, you’re watching for animals and you’re enjoying the beauty.

“I love the fresh air and the freedom. Riding, it’s like people that ride horses. It’s just one of those things. You get out there by yourself and you stop worrying about all these things I should be doing. They’ll wait.”

— Interview by Scott Schlaufman

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