Quote of the Day: “The important work of moving the world forward does not wait to be done by perfect men.”
- George Eliot
I finally parted ways with my bike.
The journey has been a long and embarrassing one but as of today, I had to bid farewell to my motorcycle and to be perfectly honest, I’m a little sad about it.
It all started back when I was stationed at 29 Palms and I had an XO I didn’t like all that much. But I thought it was cool that he rode a motorcycle into work every day. I got it into my head that there was no reason I shouldn’t own a bike. I mean, I was living in the desert where there was miles and miles of open road just waiting for me.
I’m not a daredevil by any stretch of the imagination and I figured that I could be safe on a bike because I was overly cautious by nature. I even signed up for a class and did it on a Saturday…in the summer….in 29 Palms!!!!
I thought I was going to melt but I passed.
When I got the idea about even getting a bike, I was hesitant to bring the news home. I thought my wife would freak ten ways to Sunday but when I told her, she surprised me and said “Sure, if that’s what you want.”
I was floored.
We went to the Harley dealership even though an actual Harley was the farthest thing from my desire. It just happened to be the only bike shop in town and when we walked in, I looked to my left and saw the bike I wanted. Knowing that you NEVER go with the first thing you see, I dutifully checked out all the bikes but kept going back to the Suzuki 500GS.
By the end of our visit, I was signing the paperwork for that very bike.
I was pretty happy with it at first and loved the feeling of driving the wide, desert roads, especially through Joshua Tree National Park.
But there was that one time at the beginning when it wouldn’t start and I did a slow motion lay down of the bike, got really pissed off, ripped off my helmet, and threw it at the bike making a mark on the helmet.
That was a bad day.
But I put the most miles on it that year I had it and really enjoyed the long rides to clear my mind after the tough work as the Adjutant for First Tanks and 7th Marines.
We then moved to Monterey where I rode it quite a few times with friends. We would go on all day rides and it was the first time I rode in a “pack.” The adventure of riding all around the central California area was epic. Through wine country and places right out of Hemingway novels.
I was there for two years and that was the first year. The second year, it sat under a tarp in my open garage and the salty air didn’t do it any favors. I got bogged down with school work and after my friends moved on, I just didn’t get it out and ride anymore. Each day I would see it in the garage and felt a deep stab of guilt.
Our next move took us to Virginia and it was worse. I would periodically take it in to the shop and a few hundred bucks later for a tune up, it would once again sit in the garage. And because it would be so long between rides, even with the tune ups, it would konk out of me often and I would have to take very long, very pissed off walks home.
The guilt factor of it sitting in the garage was still there too.
When we left Virginia, I had to drain all the fluids so the movers would take it. While using a pump to get the rest of the gas out of the tank, I lost the plastic tubing and thought it went into the tank. I could not retrieve it and my neighbor helped me take the tank off. We didn’t find it in there after turning the tank upside down and when we tried to put the tank on, I wasn’t confident I got it on just right.
I should point out what I’ve neglected to share with you up to this point. I have the mechanical know-how of a blind baby gerbil. Not a great trait when you own a motorcycle.
My neighbor finally found that tubing. Seems it somehow got into the plastic gas can we were using which I gave to him when we moved. Then it must have dissolved and he used that gas for his riding lawnmower and it ruined his engine.
Oops, sorry Skip.
When we got to California, the bike sat in the garage for over a year. The tags had expired and I didn’t even bother to put the fluids back in on the assumption that as long as it was dry, it would be better preserved. Baby gerbil, people.
That brings us to the present when I finally had to accept that I needed to sell it. It deserved to actually be used.
I put it on Craig’s List and got a few calls. What I SHOULD have specified was “cash only” and “as is.”
But I didn’t so when the guy came to look at it, he had all kinds of questions. I was upfront with him and told him the history. He wanted to come back the next day and put fluids in it and drive it away.
I should have stuck to my guns better than I did but just like I folded on the price, I went against my better judgment and told him I would hold it for him.
Then I lost a couple of nights of sleep because I just knew he was going to put oil and gas in the damn thing and then it wouldn’t start. Then we would be at an impasse because I already had his money and I didn’t want to say something like “Look, you bought it, get it off my property.”
I was so stressed about this that I didn’t even want to deal with him. I stayed in the house while Carrie dealt with him and in the end, they came with a truck and loaded it up while I watched from an upstairs window. I couldn’t even watch them finish and came down a half hour later.
“Are they gone?”
“Did they load the bike?”
With compassion and understanding, she told me,
“Yes, they took it. It’s gone”
And at that moment, I had two emotions hit me at the same time. Relief that it was over and sadness that my motorcycle was gone forever.
A few links to past motorcycle mentions in this blog.
Free Advice for Today: “When in doubt about what art to put on a wall, chose a framed black-and-white photo by Ansel Adams.”
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.