Shootin' the Breeze

by "Bummer"

bummer @ abate

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May 2016

    Greetings from Newton Falls,

    I just returned from our annual Legislative Seminar held on March 19th at the Mohican State Park Lodge and Conference Hall. The really cool thing for me about these things (aside from the information gained) is reconnecting with old friends from all over the state and beyond whom I rarely get to see.

    A buddy named “Bones” I’ve known for many years rode down with me and of course we got there late because we missed a connection of two interstates on the way and it took us a while to get back on track. And as we were returning home later that night, we took some more wrong turns a few miles out of the park and got so lost I was thinkin’ about pulling over and crashing until daylight.

    Going anywhere with Bones is always a fun adventure! Think Cheech and Chong on a road trip! Now, imagine getting so damned lost in the middle of the night that for miles and miles we didn’t even see any houses or road signs, though crossroads kept popping up going every which way. If it wasn’t for the kindly directions from a couple of coon hunters with their baying hounds, we’d probably still be driving around the wilds of Ashland County in the dark screaming, “WE DON’T NEED NO STEENKING GPS!” LMAO! I guess as I approach my twilight years I really should just go ahead and get an IPhone. I still don’t even have a damned cell. Bones had his with him, but it’s an old flip-phone without internet stuff (GPS). Old guys....sheesh! Anyway, moving on.....

    Remember that this is May, Motorcycle Awareness Month, and just as you might have to reacquaint yourself with riding, so will car and truck drivers have to reacquaint themselves with sharing the road with bikes. That’s precisely why this month was chosen to be proclaimed “Motorcycle Awareness Month”. Many of us have had our scoots out on the blacktop for months, but May is when the most people really get out there and start racking up the mileage on their odometers.

    I rode over to another old friend’s house the other day. Everyone calls him “Norton” because he often rides one. This guy is very much into British bikes and he’s also a top notch wrench. In fact while I was there he was tearing into the bottom end of a motor someone had sent him all the way from California. He gets so many jobs to do that he doesn’t even want any new customers because he just doesn’t need the bucks and he’d rather be riding than working on other people’s rides.

    He pointed out to me that newly designed HD air-cleaners like mine (though it’s a ’99 and not so new) aren’t like the old ones where you just change the filter for a few bucks, or you blow it out with air if it’s not too bad. You need to buy a special kit made by “K & N” that only costs about twelve bucks at an auto parts store and lasts for numerous applications. You pull out the air filter and run it through a simple process of spraying, letting it soak, and then using a different spray on it that comes with the kit. If you closely follow the directions it’s very quick, and that same air-cleaner will last you for a million miles easily! We did that and now my bike runs like it hasn’t run in years. That filter musta been full of all kinds of shit that I’ve just been blowing back and forth with my air compressor. Now she breathes like she’s supposed to. Maybe they’ll make something like that for humans someday.

    Norton owns more Nortons, Triumphs, BSAs, and Royal Enfields than I have fingers on both hands, and they’re all in great shape. I think he even has most of a Vincent Black Shadow stashed away somewhere. He told me that the 1965 750cc BSA Rocket 3 that I used to own in the early 1970’s would now be worth well over $25,000! That was the only bike I ever really wanted to sell and I think I got something like $450 for it (and glad to get rid of it). Of course it wasn’t show-room, but it would have been if I woulda known what it would be worth someday.

    Isn’t that the way it goes?

    When I think of some of the bikes and other vehicles I let out of my hands over the years I could just... well, I try not to think about that. But back in 1972 I owned a primo ‘64 GTO in great shape. 1964 was first year for the Goats, and that’s still considered king of the muscle cars. I know one recently sold for over $250,000! Mine was certainly clean and could bark in all four gears, but I woulda had it blue-printed, super-detailed, and completely restored bumper to bumper if I would have thought it would someday be worth that much money!

    Among other collectibles I had over the years (but didn’t treat as collectibles) were: A 1957 Triumph TR3 Roadster (I about lived in that little baby-blue sucker for over a year). A ‘62 Austin, a ’56 MGA, and a 1967 Triumph Spitfire (I was WAY into British sports cars for a I couldn’t even fit in one). I also owned a really cool ’65 Chevy van, a sweet 1964 Chevy ½ ton pickup, and a 1962 Ford Galaxy Police Interceptor (drove that to Woodstock).

    Some of the bikes I had beside the BSA were: A ’64 Triumph Bonneville, a ’65 Triumph Trophy, a really hot ’72 Sportster XLCH with an 8” over front end, and my favorite and longest owned bike, a 1974 Shovelhead which I gave to my oldest son (my other son, Ben, will get my Road King when I’m done with it). Out of all of these cars, trucks, and bikes, the Shovel is the only thing that I still hear of, and IT’S now a show bike down in Louisiana with Jason.

    If there’s a point to any of this, I think that it’s maybe best to fondly remember things of the past now and then, but not to remember them too often LOL. It’ll drive ya nuts because back then all cars, trucks, and bikes had “class” designed into them, and everything turned out to be a collectible if you held onto it long enough. I just can’t imagine today’s bikes and cars ever being worth more than what you pay for them now. Besides, when it comes down to it, we’re talking about “things” here.

    Things can be bought, sold, and replaced if you really want. Unfortunately most of the vehicles and bikes I’m talking about here would be too expensive for me to replace. And I guess if I really wanted them that bad for any reason other than money, I wouldn’ta let ‘em go.

    Things.... I often think that I have too many things. In fact my house, my garage, and my small barn if so full of stuff that if I get something; I have a hard time figuring out where to put it. I don’t consider myself a “hoarder”, but I admit that I am a pack rat.

    For instance I went out riding the other day and near to my home I noticed a 6’ tall mirrored curio cabinet someone had set out with their trash. As I passed it I thought, ‘Now THAT is cool, but I don’t need it nor do I have anywhere to put it.’

    After a few hours ride I passed it again on my return home thinking, ‘Wow! It’s still there! Too bad I don’t have anywhere to put it.’ A few minutes later finds me home putting the scoot away, jumping into my Blazer, and promptly returning to get the cabinet. Now it’s standing in my garage.

    I’ve spent the last few days or so re-arranging furniture in my head with the intent to place all of the souvenirs that Ben and Jason have sent me from their over-seas military duties....stuff from Iraq, Afghanistan, Belgium, France, Guam, Germany, Korea, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar....and I’m sure there’ll be a few more. In this rare case, maybe adding something might actually help to organize some of the things that are already here and scattered around the house. Besides, what better way to display how proud I am of my sons and their service to our country? Worrying about them coming home safe is a separate thing that nothing can be done about.

    Well, I’m gonna get off my ass and go riding, it’s a beautiful day. Have lotsa fun because somebody’s gonna and it might as well be you...........

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