My other roommate Mark brought a 450 Honda Scrambler from Dayton OH to school in Athens. His was gold and looked something like this. This is the bike I spent most of my time on in the hills of Ohio around Athens and developed my initial riding skills.
Graduated school and Harold, Mark and I parted ways. Harold went into the Air Force. Mark disappeared to someplace around Butte, Montana artificially inseminating cows. Was married to Rita in school and about 2 years after graduation our marriage ended. Moved to Boston in 1979 owning a house in Ohio, a 1960 TR-3 being restored in Maryland and no money because the house did not sell.
In 1980 my house finally sold, paid off all my accumulated debts and went to the nearest Harley dealer in Framingham, MA. I had cash in my pocket and they wouldn't give me the time of the day, so off to my the local Honda dealer. I wanted a sport bike, so this caught my eye. At 5'7" (or is it 5'6") I simply did not fit this bike. But I sure did like it.
So after spending some time reading the cycle mags of the time, one bike seemed to keep coming up over and over again. Off to the local Honda dealer to look at this bike. My girlfriend at the time and future wife, put a small deposit down on the 1980 CB900 Custom at the Honda dealer in Pittsfield. I arrived at the dealer with a certified check for around $3,200 (again recollection on my part). The only request I had was for them to put a sissy bar (thats what they were called) on it so that Jo Ann did not fall off. I remember riding that bike back to Jo Ann's house in Cummington, not particularly in control what I was doing. It had been awhile since I had been on a bike and all the previous bikes I had ridden were all under 650. This was a monster of a bike to me with its 4 carbs, 10 speed transmission, shaft drive. This was the fastest vehicle I had ever been on.
Harold bought a 1981 CB900 Custom and rode all the way from Harrisburg PA to Plympton MA. It was our plan to go to Nova Scotia. I was amazed at how far he had ridden. Little did I know this was the Beginnings and the planted seed to, today. My daughter Tavana was born in 1982 and when she was around 4, she and I took that last ride on the 900. With her sitting in front of me, essentially on the tank, we rode from our house to the Upland Sportsmen Club and back home. The whole trip was a whopping 1/2 mile at most. The bike went up for sale and that ended my 2nd riding life. I used the money from the sale to buy some really high end audio equipment.
So now we have to fast forward to 2000. After a relatively successful career, raising 3 kids, and a very comfortable suburban life, it all came to an end. Chapter 11 has a way of messing things up. Out of a job, financially strained, turning 50, life seem to be playing a nasty trick on me. My marriage to JoAnn after 23 years came to an abrupt end. So did life at home for my daughter Tavana, my ex asked her to leave on the same day as me. Go figa.
Tavana had her first job and just wanted a motorcycle. As a parent I was saying no way, but as a previous rider, I was secretly saying go for it. So out we go to visit the various motorcycle shops. I remember we tried to close a deal on a Yamaha 750 at Performance Cycle in Shrewsbury, but she simply couldn't qualify for a loan. Then she found this bike in the some paper and got one of her friends to co-sign a loan with her.
I got on this thing and it scared the crap out of me. Remember when I thought the CB900 was fast, well this bike was fast. I had not been on a bike for over 20 years. Boy had things changed. How was I going to teach Tavana how to ride. I was self taught. We just got on the dang things and off we went. Being a parent now, that did not seem like the responsible thing to do. Tavana had the solution, she had signed up for the MSF course. According to her story, she graduated at the top of the class and came home with a motorcycle license. What was really neat, Dad finally was enjoying his kids toys, while she made the payments on it. I really liked this bike, but it did kill my wrists and shoulders after a day of riding. This was the Stage 1 of my 3rd riding life.
Stage 2. I have this very very good friend Steve Dodge. I was unemployed, going thru a divorce and just generally feeling like 5.25 feet under the Grand Canyon while everyone else was standing at the top looking down at me. Read really really depressed. Well Steve being the good friend he is goes out and buys one of these, registers and insures it and says here go for a ride to make yourself feel better. The day he presented his offering we went for a great ride thru Connecticut and Rhode Island. Tavana who was living with me at the time, say me pull in the driveway where we were living and noticed I was grinning from ear to ear.
My divorce started in 2001 (well that was be beginning of the legal process) and I would visit various dealers from time to time. One can dream can't they. I can remember I was in Reading, MA and visited the Kawasaki dealer. In the showroom was what must of been a 2003 Vulcan Nomad. The one I remember was red and champagne. What a awesome looking bike that was. Steve probably is the one that influenced me into looking at V-Twins because he owns a really beautiful 2002 Road King.
Stage 3. Divorce is finally final, March 2005. The monies for the house (that had to be sold, because the ex said the bank told her she did not have to make the payments on it) (read foreclosure) were dispersed, I have a job, and it is one of those 70 degree days in early April. It must of been a Friday afternoon (the company I was working for had half days on Friday, how kewl is that). I got nothing to do, the temperature has warmed up my spirits to a euphoric state of mind. Let's go visit Performance Cycle in Shrewsbury, just to look. I am kicking tires (for like the 25th time) and Buzz the sales person comes over and starts chatting. Performance sells Yamahas as well. We are comparing the Nomad to some Yamaha. Buzz says well the Nomad has hydraulic lifters (like I really know what that is) and they are self adjusting thus the maintenance on the Nomad should be cheaper. Some more technical stuff is talked about, that really doesn't matter one way or another. All of a sudden I found myself saying do you have one in stock. Answer Yes. Can't get any money off, but Buzz throws in $400 of accessories if I buy today (and probably would have thrown the 4 the next day and the next day and the next day). I said LET'S DO THIS. Woo hoo I am gonna own my second motorcycle that belongs only to me. I put the deposit on it and said can I pick it up tomorrow. Buzz says, "we have to assemble the bike and I don't think we can get it done by tomorrow, but maybe by the middle of the week next week. I already made the decision, I was not gonna let this small twist, change any thing.
The BEGINNINGS started with the purchase of the 2005 Kawasaki Nomad. I never could call it a Vulcan. I am just starting the 4th year of riding of my 3rd biking life, have over 50,000 miles from the last three years, have one SaddleSore 1000 from the IBA, been to a million places (well maybe not that many) I would have never gone to if it were not for the bike, suffer PMS (Parked Motorcycle Syndrome) during the winter, reads maps instead of books, love treasure hunts (more on that later), and other great stuff that I will expand upon. LIFE IS GOOD.