Thursday, August 07, 2008

From The Past To The Past and Back Again

Okay, okay I know your thoroughly confused now. Let me explain the title here of the story. Back in the early nineteen eighties, I saved up my nickles dimes and dollars when I could as I was living in an apartment with an older brother and money was tight. Well, money is still tight but back then I was only bringing home two hundred a week. The truck payment was two fifteen, rent was three hundred or so not to mention all the other bills, food, insurance and all that boring stuff. The only way I made it at all was by having a brother for a room mate.

Anyhow, I worked a part time job too, six days a week, for almost two years. Uncle Sam one year took back almost everything I'd made working part time. The company I was working for had been keeping our tax reduction money and not paying it in. So we all got fined and penalized and that amounted to most all I'd made. Somehow, even after all of that I saved up some money.
Survival depended on Ramon Noodles, oatmeal and macaroni & cheese most of the time for awhile. Ramon noodles were good and cheap at four for a dollar; pretty good tasting little things they are. So I saved up and bought me this nineteen seventy five kick start only Harley Davidson Sportster, fresh red paint, some wrenching and cursing and I was happy as hell with it. The spokes were rusty, the rear wheel wobbled, she was a pain to start when cold, the drag pipes were loud as hell but she ran like a scalded dog. My brother trued up my rims for me right there in our apartment with a make shift truing stand using jack stands. I had watched him rebuild my Suzuki's rear wheel before in our apartment after I had broken the rear hub. He was a master at doing it having done MG wheels in California. Sitting there on the floor with a beer, eating his greasy fried chicken, looking at the television he worked his magic yet again on those Harley wheels not long after. Only pausing now and again to puff his cigarette, lick the grease from his fingers and tugging on his beer. It was fun to watch him work those spokes without even a struggle. Me, I got lost in the porcupine look after he had the first ten or so spokes in as it was so confusing to me.
He had me done up in short order the next day after getting the wheels trued up and we mounted them back on the bike. Straight and true she went down the parking lot with him aboard. I was pleased as hell with his handiwork.
I rode the bike all over Georgia with my, lets say, small group of friends. That is until the primary chain gave up right when I was pulling out into heavy three lane traffic to catch up with some of the riders. Not a good feeling at all let me tell you. Back at a friends house we began pulling the primary cover and chain off to see what all I needed to get er fixed. The bike had to sit there with other bikes that ran until I could save up some fixing money. Sometime very early on Columbus day nineteen eighty four, someone came up and stole my bike never to be seen again. All that was left were the parts we pulled off, some trail of oil and red paint on the street where they dropped it. I was pretty stewed about the whole thing needless to say.
Then came my Panhead that I've had all these years which took a back seat to a couple of hot rods. A big block sixty six Ford Galaxy then a big block Camaro like I'd always wanted in high school. Now I've sold off the Panhead and found this nice nineteen seventy five Sportster, red, king and queen seat and electric start. What I was looking for was a larger Shovel head and for a decent price. There were a few to be found after much looking but something about this Sportster just reached out and grabbed at the shirt tails of my memories. Fun times with my friends, my brother helping me work on it until the wee hours and my Pop heading to the house when I first rode it over there to visit after a long hiatus. Riding that old motorcycle was more fun than a brand new bike would have ever been. I think that when it comes to me, having an older machine that I have to tinker with makes it feel like it's mine. Sure, I could get something newer that needs nothing but then it would not feel like mine until something broke.
Now I can go motorcycle camping with new friends and write about camp sites and trips and places to see in my new home state.
So with this bike, I've gone from the past with the 75 sporty to the past with the Forty Eight Pan and back to the past of 75. See, not all that confusing now is it?

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