Get Burt Munro to ride for you, that is if you caught him before he passed. He did the speed
thing in 1967 after turning a 600cc engine into a 1000cc engine. The original 600cc v-twin with
side valves together with a hand change gearbox had no rear suspension but there was a leaf
spring that allowed 2” of travel. Imagine 200mph on that?
The fabled Indian sits in a hardware store in New Zealand. Most parts of the 1919 Indian
were custom made by Burt over a period of nearly 5 decades. He bought that bike for $150.
Even so, got her to go 183 mph which set a land speed record. Burt passed at age 78 and the 183
speed was his last try.
If you happen to be roaming around Invercargill, New Zealand stop at the hardware store and
savor a moment of motorcycle glory. And if you run out of things to watch, catch Anthony
Hopkins as Burt in the critically acclaimed film “The World’s Fastest Indian”. You will thank
Spoke with long time ABATE member Jack Devine about a government issue involving his
mother, Cora. I reminded him that in dealing with the adverse, especially the government, it
does not count unless it is in writing. So always get the email of the other side and send a polite
confirmation of what was said and what they were to do. And show a cc to Rod Taylor Attorney
at Law. Sometimes that works to let the other side know you have a consigliere working on your
side. All ABATE members have the authority to use my name in that way.
Jack reminded me how well that worked a few years back. He had a girlfriend who moved in
and left her place largely unoccupied. The bad guys discovered that fact and cleaned her out,
including a handgun belonging to Jack. That gun wound up in the hands of a bad guy from
Rockford who was arrested, and that gun was seized. A cop from there filed a claim for the
handgun, so the local gendarmes refused to turn the gun back to Jack, the rightful owner. Jack
called ABATE LEGAL -and my sought advice. I prepared a draft of a letter Jack was to send
setting out the law and demanding return of his property – with a cc to Rod Taylor Attorney at
Law. Jack called me the next day and advised the cops just delivered his handgun. So having a
consigliere in the background works. Just another benefit of belonging to the best motorcycle
organization in the world. Just ask Jack.
Not only is motorcycling fun, but it offers a variety of ways to have fun. Like many other
riders, I find it is fun to go fast.
In 2015, the late great Gus Miller offered me a chance to pilot his 1977 Harley-Davidson
XLCR on the Bonneville Salt Flats and attempt to set a new land speed record. Ever since I
learned about Craig Breedlove setting amazingly high-speed records at Bonneville in the early
’60s, I dreamt of doing the same. After watching “World’s Fastest Indian” in the theatre, I was
even more enthused. Without hesitation, I jumped on Gus’s offer to ride his bike.
Speed Week at Bonneville in 2015 was literally a washout with rains making the race areas
too sloppy to be used. I put away all the special items I bought for Bonneville and waited for
better weather. The next year was dry and bright, and Gus’s generous offer was still good.
When Speed Week arrived, I loaded my gear in the Dakota and headed north to get Gus, the
XLCR, and the trailer we used to haul it.
Traveling through the West roughly following the path taken by the ill-fated Donner Party was
a joy. The truck and trailer were much faster, more reliable, and more comfortable than the ox
and horse drawn wagons of yesteryear, but the scenery was pretty much the same. Sometimes
the journey is the destination.
This time, however, the Salt Flats was a destination beyond my expectations. Riding Gus’s
fine old Harley was an important part of the adventure, but the experience of joining an
international assembly of fellow gearheads was fantastic. As a fellow racer, I was automatically
accepted in the inner-most areas of mechanics and drivers. Sharing experiences and the
smattering of various foreign languages I had retained over the years was ‘way past cool.
Riding on the salt was not that much different than riding on the dirt and gravel roads where I
learned to ride a motorcycle, except I had never ran 100+ mph on gravel on a bike. I had to be
careful accelerating and letting off the gas because the sand offers little traction. The sand also
gives high rolling resistance that robs the bike of performance. Even so, the idea of riding for
miles wide open with no obstructions, no crossroads, no deer waiting to jump out, and no traffic
was the essence of what beats in every hotrodder’s heart.
Well, I did not come close to reaching, much less breaking, the speed record for the class in
which I was running. Even so, the total experience of traveling through the West, of being
admitted to the inner circle of international contestants, and riding on the challenging salt surface
was a biker’s dream come true. It is a dream that will stay with me forever.

  • by George Tinkham, the Thomas Jefferson of A.B.A.T.E. of Illinois

    A mule is an independent animal. A few years ago in Wayne County, Illinois, Pure Oil
    Company leased a pair of matched mules to help retrieve oil field equipment in flooded areas.
    Not much time is needed to discover the great qualities of the mule. Sorry, horse lovers; there is
    no comparison. Some say the mule is stubborn; I say he is principled. Some say a mule does
    what he believes is right, correct and proper; regardless of what anyone thinks. A mule takes the
    proper path, chooses the best footing and is reliable. Sound like a good motorcyclists? Mules
    don’t like people that take the wrong path.
    And mules talk. They have a word for “right”. It is “gee”. When you hear a mule go “gee –
    haw”, the first word is “gee”, not “hee” (some have been getting that wrong for years). So it is
    “gee haw”, not “hee haw”. Many people, and horse loving people in particular, have been
    mishearing mules for years. Teamsters, when handling mule teams adopted the mule words –
    “GEE” FOR RIGHT AND “HAW” FOR LEFT. Both terms are defined in Webster’s
    Dictionary. Look them up – notice the “origin unknown” part. That dictionary claims that the
    origin of “gee and haw” is “unknown”. Mules know better. As far as I can tell, these mule words
    are the only animal words in the ENGLISH language that are defined in Webster’s. I have
    requested that Webster’s change the origin of the words “gee and “haw” from “unknown” to
    “early mule speak”. I have not received a response – yet.
    If you want to test my mule theory, next time you visit a mule, just whisper “gee” in his
    “right” ear. I predict you will have an immediate MULE friend. His ears will perk up; he will
    look at you like you just bonded. If I ever start a motorcycle club, I am thinking about naming it
    the IRON MULEMEN. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  • Ride Safe.
    Rod Taylor

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