Maybe it's just me, but the best ideas hit me late at night, on the couch with my phone and beer in hand. Midnight was approaching last Thursday when I was surfing through my Instagram feed. A white Moto Guzzi V7 caught my eye, posted by MotoLady. She mentioned being in Portland for something called "The Dream Roll." What the heck is that?

With my curiosity triggered, I checked out the event's website. This was the first ever Dream Roll event and was co-hosted by the Lanakila MacNaughton, the rider and photographer who created the traveling show called the Women's Moto Exhibit, along with Becky Goebel, the Vancouver based motorcyclist and creator of the blog site Them Road Apples.

From what I gathered, a group of free-spirited, tattooed, super tough women bikers were coming in from as far as Florida, Los Angeles, and Vancouver B.C. to camp in the Pacific Northwest woods and ride. The location was just over the Oregon border in Washington's gorgeous Gifford Pinchot National Forest. It looked epic, and was about to go down in less than 24 hours.

I've got to do this.

It would become my first women's motorcycle camping trip. Anticipation rushed through me that night, and was admittedly a little worried about fitting in. It didn't help that my boss pointed out my shortage of tattoos. Fortunately, I received enough support from co-workers and my sweet husband to relinquish my fear and go for it. By 11:30 a.m. I was racing home to pack in order to catch up with one of the group rides up to the camp.

Photo by: John Waller and Uncage the Soul Productions

Simultaneously, my first article, a Ducati Scrambler Review, was being posted. Perfect timing! Now to follow that up with an assessment of the Ducati Scrambler's road trip worthiness and perhaps even an inclusion about its off-road handling characteristics.

The things I do for work.

The Dream Roll site had posted a rendezvous location with three separate group rides taking off from the White Owl Social Club in SE Portland. Hoping to beat Friday traffic, I took a stab at making the second group at 2:30 p.m.

It was T minus two hours before take-off; I was in my garage, scrambling to secure just enough equipment to survive a night. The list started off with a tent, sleeping bag, water and whisky. Of course, there were some vital things missing, and halfway out the door I threw in an extra pair of pants, a sweatshirt, a flashlight, my toothbrush, and water. Oh yeah, and my digital SLR, which unfortunately had a dead battery. No time for the conventional "here's what's in my bag all organized and arranged Zen-like on the floor" photo.

How not to bungee your bag

I nearly lost an eye as I struggled to tie down the large roll-top dry bag and tent with my bungee cords. With no experience in strapping anything other than race transponders to my dirt bikes, I must have looked like quite the squid. Miraculously the pack stayed on and I made a mental note to observe how other riders tied their pack down. By the end of the trip I had it figured out. It's all about crossing the straps and placing the bag sideways. This has since become one attribute that helps separate my "to" and "from" photos.

With my heart racing and sweat rolling down my back, there was zero time to over think this. I reveled in the fact that there were so many unknowns, and that the whole thing centered on riding. The adventure called and I shouted back, which is something I haven't done since my early twenties.

Eager to pass on some tidbits of wisdom, there are some essentials that I suggest in packing for a similar type of last minute trip. It's not meant to be a comprehensive list - just a few reminders to reference come next year.

Photo by: John Waller and Uncage the Soul Productions

5 Essentials for Embarking on a Dream Roll Trip Last Minute

1. Pack Rain Gear. It was Washington after all, and I should have known better.

2. Wear riding boots. I took off in Vans and they got wet. Then Dry. Then Wet. Several times. Not to mention they wouldn't have protected me if I took a spill.

3. Don't be afraid to go alone. Even if it's intimidating, getting out of your comfort zone and forcing yourself to meet new people is what it's all about.

4. Go rain or shine. I promise you won't melt in the rain, and getting through a storm on your bike will make you a stronger person.

5. Go with the flow. Give yourself room in your schedule for spontaneity. Wonderful roads and new friends are waiting.

More details of the Scrambler's performance, along with some revelations about women motorcyclists will follow this up next week. Until then, check out some of the crazy beautiful photos posted on Instagram, tagged #dreamroll. Oh yeah, and start spreading the word, we need more of these events!