Sunday, March 12, 2006

My first motorcycle...

When I got out of boot camp at Memphis in '73 I went "southside" (the base was divided by a highway) to attend my aircraft mechanic's schools. There was a band and drill team, "The Flying Rifles" and I tried out and was good enough to make it. Playing trumpet, marching in parades and practicing got me out of "standing watches" and other duties, so I was happy to do something I loved and profit!

One of my roomates had taken a few flying lessons and desperately wanted to continue them. He had a '71 Yamaha 650 with about 4200 miles on it he had tried to sell to everyone else; when he got to me I offered him $500. He took it! He also paid our airfare from Memphis to Omaha, then the Amtrak ticket to his hometown, where I stayed with him at his parents for 2 days while I figured out how to ride it (I'd ridden a mini-bike one afternoon 4 or 5 years earlier, never a motorcycle). Since I had graduated my jet engine school that Friday, on Sunday he left to go back to Memphis. On Monday I went to the courthouse and used his parents address to title and register the bike in my name so my Dad couldn't make me sell it (I was only 17) and then rode it home from Hastings, Nebraska to Kansas City.

When I left Nebraska it was 37F and drizzling. I was so cold my teeth chattered, and my nose was running, the draft past the bottom of the helmet turning the inside of the face shield into a snotty mess. Finally after what seemed like a lifetime of cold and bucking a 25 to 30 mph crosswind, I broke into 70 degrees and sunshine when I hit Topeka, Kansas about 70 miles from home.

I pulled into the driveway of Mom and Dad's house, rode up onto the curved sidewalk that led to the front door, and as I stepped off and started to pull my helmet off Dad came out the front door to see who had dared to do that...

My "little" sister also came running out and thought I was the coolest thing ever!

When Dad figured out he couldn't make me sell it, he let me leave it there while I went on my WestPac cruise on the Kittyhawk. When I came back after my cruise we had another minor skirmish. Dad wasn't happy I was smoking (though he did) and said if I was staying there I would still live by his rules, he didn't care if I had been 2/3 of the way around the world. The next night as I went to leave on a date, he told me be home by 12. I came home at noon the next day...

After a few days he calmed down and started speaking to me again. Dad painted the metallic blue you see in the photo.

The bridge in Pierson Park, KCK, where this was taken is long since gone, as is the Yamaha. I let a roomate in San Diego ride it and he blew the transmission up trying to speed shift it with the kill button. I got $400 for it and bought a '64 Falcon 2 door...

Happy Photo Sunday!



sttropezbutler said...

Great post Alan. Really terrific.

I love the stuff we remember. I am really happy you share it and share so well!


I n g e r said...

That's wonderful--and it's a beautiful machine. I've always wanted to own a motorcycle, though never really lived in a place where it could be enjoyed; too much traffic, etc. Plus there's that whole fear-of-death thing. But I get the allure.

Great memory.


Jen said...

Wonderful post, I always look forward to them, thank you for sharing.

kath said...

I told you that cory was on the kittyhawk, right?


motercycles? hmm

i would be with your dad I guess.. a convertable is about as wild as i would want to be.. my few rides on a harley scared the bejeebers out of me !

good story tho....


dragonflyfilly said...

fab photo and story (well, after all he did not specify noon or midnight DID HE? lol,
-- i love the shiny blue (it's the same colour as my new phone!)

love the bike; yum!

i'm a bit of a scardy cat now-a-days, but i would not mind taking a ride of the back!!! (i could not handle the weight to drive it myself)

hope you are having a fab Sunday.
Kath has re-kindled my wild woman, so watch out!
a.k.a. pj

p.s. love the brige scene too. (so where is the bike now?)

dragonflyfilly said...

p.s. ops, just remembered you said you sold it! (ah those happy memories, doncha just luv 'em)

Jon-Marc said...

Ok, first of all, I have never riden a motorcycle because I am a chicken...but...I have always wanted to. I think it would be oh-so much fun

Secondly, I love that your dad painted the stripe. How cool is that?

When I first moved to NYC my dad told me I should not move but after 2 years of living here he sent me anniversary gifts for each year of living here. Dad's have a way of surprising us!


Totally Cool Man!

My first car was a turquoise '64 Falcon.

We have so much in common.


sjobs said...

Motorcycles, something that we weren't allowed to have or ride in my mother's house. I have only been on one in my life and I think that was enough.....

Great memories Alan. Thanks so much for sharing.


TDharma said...

i love the photo, and the story. I love love love that you came home at noon the next day! Parents are funny...did you ever pull something like that on your kid?

My partner rides a used, modified highway patrol bike. She loves it, loves to ride up along the ocean on Hwy. 1. I worry, but she has been on motorcycles since childhood, and she loves it so much, I can't put my foot down.

sdRay said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a motorcycle site/blog. It pretty much covers ##KEYWORD## related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

See Ya There!!!