Monday, March 21, 2005

and some more Recycled items....

While the last entry in the piece from the old group was from January of last year, not much went according to 'plan' after that... As spring came to the Carolinas, and I was gearing up for the work on the old Chevy, Micah had an accident with the IROC. I spent a frantic four days cutting the front end off the IROC and grafting on a replacement.

Amazingly, once his ride was fixed, Micah up and left to get 'out on his own'... sightings of him, or his assistance have been few and far between since... too bad actually as he had real potential in the mechanical arena, I would have enjoyed the chance to share with him what I've learned over the years (oh but to be in my early 20's again!!)

The '78 pickup is in the garage, totally (well almost totally) disassembled, all the new parts stacked to the ceiling and the truck bed nearly completed in front of the garage (I'm sure the neighbors love that!) ... as of today, the weather appears to be taking a decidedly spring-like turn... with any luck at all I'll be back on that project by the weekend!!

So with no further commentary, one more page from the old group... that dates from late in 2003.

"Ride to Work... Work to Ride" -Aerostitch

Life is an amazing combination of events... one of the most significant to me, was the discovery of my love of motorcycles. I have primarily two people to thank for that, Merle (Buddy) Smith, and Rich Denny, two of my closest friends at a time when I really needed two close friends.

Bud and I succumbed to an over indulgence in alcohol on his birthday in May of 1971... The following morning found us both in hospital beds... the logical result to mixing two wheeled transportation and indulging in substances notorious for having negative effects on ones ability to balance.... It was a lesson well learned....

When I learned of his passing about a year ago, the first close friend of mine (that was also close in age) to move on... it hit me fairly hard, and I realized that, besides the guys I'd served with, I'd never come closer to dying with another, than Bud and I both did that cold May evening....

Despite the years and that we'd rarely even seen each other in the past 20 years or so... I suppose it was that bond that pulled so strongly at my heart. I wrote a poem shortly after I got his obituary in the mail from my mother (yep.. that's how I found out, not a call while he was ill, or when he died, just a clipping from the paper in the mail) that tried to express my feelings for that man. One day I'll dig it out, and post it here.

Rich and I shared a much different time, Rich picked me up when they released me from the hospital, and drove me directly to Bud's bedside at another hospital (how we got past the nurses/security after visiting hours is yet another story) so I could put to rest my fears he had actually died that night.

You see my last recollection of Bud the night of the 'crash' was the ER crew rolling his gurney out of the ER, with his very still and very pale body on it, my mind played tricks with me over the next few weeks as to his 'actual' condition...

I will be forever grateful to Rich for that ride, and for the one the following day, where we went to the local Honda dealer so I could buy a bike... yep... that's right, out of the hospital and back in the saddle... many people have asked me 'why' I did that... and I've actually thought about it a number of times over the years.. I did it, because the accident so traumatized me, I was afraid, if I didn't get "right back on the horse" I would never be able to....

Well, it also served to do a number of other things, not the least of which was to alienate my parents, and drive even deeper the wedge that had developed between us... but that's also yet another story.

As is that incredible summer Rich and I enjoyed before leaving for the Navy in the fall of 1971. The last I've heard about Rich, he'd moved out toward Schenectady, NY with his family and is doing very well... If anyone reading this happens to know Rich, and would invite him to the blog, I'd love to reconnect with him one day before either of our journeys is complete.

The latest motorcycle buddy I had was Tim White, and he and I certainly shared a passion for two wheel travel... Tim and I talked about getting new bikes, on the way back from a UNC basketball game, in the winter of 96-97... And subsequently went out and each bought a new Honda Shadow ACE in June of 1997...

We then proceeded to tear up the North Carolina and Eastern Seaboard asphalt at the pace of nearly 12,000 miles a year (all this on weekends mind you, we were still working a day job to support our resurrected habits)... for the next couple years.... that epic too deserves its own page.. As the places we went, the people we met, and the sights we saw, simply deserve to be put in a place of their own!

With the dawn of 2001, I began to think about getting a new bike... the Shadow had served me well over the past 4 years, but with Maryan along on nearly all the rides, we both were looking for something a 'little' bigger. Well, we found it in the new 2002 Honda VTX 1800 twin. We took delivery shortly after we got back from our honeymoon in April 2001, and have been enjoying it ever since.

The old Shadow? That went to Greg, (Oarlock) on which he intends to continue his new journey. I can only wish it serves him as well as it did me! I'll upload a pic or two of the new scooter as soon as I get a chance.


Riding... motorcycles... they do get in your blood. Recently I've been having some conversations with friends and associates that have centered on custom bikes, the demand for them and the scarcity of folks building them.

My son Micah and I have had some pretty serious discussions about starting a 'customs shop' as a sideline/hobby and seeing where it takes us. Cars, trucks, bikes... they've all had my heart since I first heard that distinctive rumble of an internal combustion engine.

Time will tell, but, with any luck by this time next year I'll have loaded up pics of at least two and hopefully three projects we're currently planning. A 1970 Dodge Challenger Street Rod, a 1978 Chevy 4x4 pickup truck and a 1977 Ford F150 pickup. All are currently on the drawing board...

We should be posting "before" pics of all three before the end of October if we get the go ahead.


Well Micah and I have had quite a go around with vehicles... The short of it being we were too busy keeping us both mobile that none of the projects got started. We did however go through the garage, clean it up and get it better organized. As soon as all this cold weather and snow leaves us (it can't be too long we are in North Carolina after all!!) we'll be building the tool shed so all the lawn and garden equipment will have a new home and the shop will be truly ours!

1 comment:

Ilene said...

Wow! There is a lot under that software cover! Have you read the "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"? It's a great read!
I have decided to add more to my posts also - a little of my recent experiences.