Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Beginning: Part Deux

The Beginning: Part One briefly mentioned my great friend E. R. Sprague and a little shout out to him. I quickly switched to a back story and never came back around. By then it was 2 a.m. on Friday morning and decided to instead of fix it, I would call it part one and follow it up with a part deux tying it all together.

This is part deux.

Five years after that accident and I hadn't touched a motorcycle since that day. Partly due to my friends feigning for my safety and not letting me touch their bikes, but I think they were truly more worried about their bikes. My fascination with motorbikes didn't change at all. I can't say that I was passionate about them yet, but they certainly hadn't left my mind. For my senior project, which everyone had to do to graduate high school, I made an extreme sports video. Truth be told, I video taped a lot of extreme sports that year but never learned how to put it all together.

At this point, five years later, is when I ran into Eliot. R. Sprague at my new job. I knew several people at this place before I started, and one of my good friends James told me, "You'll get along great with the guy that sits here. He hunts, and rides motorcycles." Truth be told when he got back from vacation and I did meet him I was very intimidated.

Some how over that next year we became friends. He bought me a cordless drill and shop light set for my birthday and started to ensure I had all the things I needed to be a man out on his own. One day while at his house for lunch I noticed he had a big dirt-bike in his garage. I didn't ask about it. Simply took note and muddled along. I believe he told me it had a broken frame, and consequently he had also broken his foot at the same time. I think.

Throughout that year, James, whom had introduced me to Eliot, and I started looking at buying motorbikes. I was mostly just dreaming, although if I had had any money I probably would have bought new, and I think James was just dreaming to. At least he was after his girlfriend found out about it. She wanted none of that! Too bad really, I think he would have been a lot of fun to ride with.

I think one of the things that solidified it for Jen, James' girlfriend at the time and now wife, was when James, his friend, and I went down to the local Honda shop because his friend wanted to test drive the new 600F4I. Twenty minutes later, after wondering where he went for a joy ride at, he rolls up missing 1/2 the fenders, a bloody arm and a bent steer bar. He rode home that night with the same bike. Not sure if it was due to feeling bad that he had wrecked it, or if he just loved it that much regardless of the fact that he just wrecked it. Either way, Jen was fanatically against bikes at that time. Exit James, enter Eliot full throttle.

It wasn't a few months later that I started looking at craigslist and simultaneously noticed that Eliot was riding a motorcycle into work. It wasn't the dirt bike I once saw in his garage, this was different. This was a 1982 Honda CB650. It looked old, and tired, and not at all like the bike I envisioned myself on (at the time a 97' Honda Magna 750).

It wasn't but a short time later after seeing Eliot do some performance upgrades to it that I started to fall in love. A few more craigslist ads and a two hour lunch later and we rolled back to work with my own 1982 CB650. What I was thinking I have no idea. I had just received a large birthday gift from a relative after a family deal had gone through. I had no endorsement, had never ridden a street legal bike before, wasn't even sure where I was going to park it.

The bike was as old as I was. It was not at all what I had envisioned starting out on. But immediately I knew it was my long lost brother. My twin. Separated at birth. But that was just the beginning.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Beginning: Part 1

Earlier tonight I gave a shout out to my good friend, and sometimes confidant E. R. Sprague. If you haven't yet seen it, check out my Facebook page. (yes, this is a shameless display of self promotion)

I'll see how quickly I can get through this back story. I don't want to leave out details, yet I'll refrain from boring either. It was my jr. year of high school. Many friends and I had been planning to go camping up the Kilchis River for quite some time. We arrived at Aaron Wiricks house. Aaron lived at the foothills of the Kilchis basin. Several miles still from the pain, where the river wove through the open valley before mixing it's freshness with the saltiness of the ocean and bay. The foothills. That's all they were really. You could drive for miles. 70 miles approximately is all it would take to reach the great Willamette Valley. Aaron lived right at the foot of them. Close enough to the ocean to smell the salt air and feel it's mist, but far enough away you didn't smell the seaweed.

We all arrived at his house as a last place to park our cars and carpool up the river about 5 miles. As a junior in high school 5 miles was an eternity away from home. Now, as an adult, it doesn't come close to breaking into the wild.
I can't remember who all was to go up there that weekend. The departure day is a bit of a fog. I remember Aaron. Amy Schild, whom later (or before) I had a huge crush on. I even remember her kissing me once, briefly, but she'll never admit it. Jacob Hoyt I believe. Perhaps Sonya. Jacob Day. Ezra? No, I don't think he was there. And Daniel. Daniel Lusby.

I remember showing up early. Those later years of high school I recall much more time at his home than my own. Although now that history has past my mind vaguely remembers that and responds fondly to my own house hold. But that is another story. I always showed up early to the Wirick house hold. In 6 years I can only remember not feeling welcome 2 times. Shortly after I showed, Jacob Hoyt, then Amy, then Daniel arrived.

Daniel showed up in a pick up. In the back he had a motorbike. I don't remember what year. But if I had to guess I think it was a 1974 Yamaha 550. It was a street bike, but had big knobby tires. It was Daniels fathers. His baby. and it hadn't been ridden in years. I was enamored by the bike, as I had never ridden one.

Jacob started it up for Daniel and shortly Jacob was riding around the field. I presumed he knew what he was doing. To this day I don't know for sure, but I think he was fairly mechanical. Those Hoyt boys. I think Daniel rode it around the field a time or two and the more and more I saw these two riding the more excited and anxious I became.

At one point I think I was jumping up and down, hardly able to contain my excitement not only for the camping trip, but also for a chance to ride the bike. They continued to ask me if I had ridden before, and I had not. But that did not come close (or even cross my mind that it should) to deterring me from getting on that bike. I quickly asked Jacob what controlled what and was on my way. I rode around the field. At no greater than 30 miles an hour. Tall grass laying everywhere from the heavy wind and rain. I could feel my back tire slipping among the slick grass. I was shifting. I was accelerating, it was excellent!

I rounded about and came back toward my friend. As I approached I laid off the throttle and put my foot on what I now know to be the rear break. Nothing happened. I don't know if I wasn't pushing hard enough or if it wasn't connected. All I know is I didn't stop. Fortunately I was going slow enough that a great rhododendron bush in the front yard stopped me completely. We quickly had the bike out of the bush and back up on the gravel drive. I was so full of adrenaline and excitement. I was acting more like a 3rd grader in a comic store than a jr. in high school. I grabbed the bike from Jacob again, hopped on, and hit the throttle.

I'm certain that between that moment, and what I remember next, time froze. Somewhere, between turning that throttle and waking up I had a) spun gravel a mile behind me b) blazed narrowly past 2 friend c) T-boned a fence post d) lately realized it was a barbed wire fence post e) took a foot peg to the ankle and finally f) missed the entire camping trip for a trip to the hospital and 13 weeks in a cast.

I didn't ride again for 5 years. But that, is another story.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Rare Opportunity

Well, a unique opportunity has presented itself to me. Something I have always wanted to do. I have a chance to ride a motorbike across the country, from east coast to west coast. But before I get into that, let me give you a little history.

I have four brothers. Zach, Chad, Josh, Cole aged oldest to youngest. We may not say it much, but after my lady they are my four closest friends. Call it a brothers bond or whatever you will, but I'd lay down my life for these four.

Cole and Josh are years younger than Chad, Zach, and I due to the fact that we have different fathers. Cole and Josh are still in high school and progressing through with much more success than I. Cole is a ladies man, kind hearted, meek, loving, always thinking of other people. Josh, well, I think he's a mix between myself and my great friend Aaron. Josh takes after me in looks. Not to say we look alike. We don't. I look like my father, he looks like his. But, I'm dashing and so is he. Yes, this is said with a bit of arrogance. But, this is my story so I'll elaborate where I want to. Josh is a jock, playing baseball religiously; a choir boy, singing in the vocal ensemble; an avid music lover, recently picked up an electric keyboard and taught himself how to play; a book worm, he gets good grades with a relative amount of ease. Neither one know how to clean their rooms.

Chad is a year younger than I. For this, we fought a lot. I remember throwing him across the room when I was in 6th grade and he in 5th. Not sure why. I also remember him pulling a knife on me and threatening to stab me. So...I did the only rational thing at the time and pulled a bigger one and did try to stab him. I should be careful here not to elaborate too much for fear that I'll paint our childhood a violent one. It was not. But to also show love for my brother, it was that same year during a bus ride home that a neighbor, and I say that loosely as we lived in the country, was picking on Chad. I was tired of it so on the way off the bus I punched him in the face as hard as I could. His head hit the window, it broke, although I'm not sure if the cracking sound was his head or the window. Chad is now grown. As successful, if not more, than I am in business. He's much better looking and could grow a beard to rival mine if he ever got up enough courage.

This leads me to Zach. Gregory Zachary Scott Lucas to be exact. It's hard to tell where to start with Zach. He's the oldest child. Always looked after us, but never carried us, always made us walk through life. He was smarter than I growing up, as far as books were concerned. I remember him wearing Jesus sandals and rainbow belts and shoelaces, etc in high school. I thought he was trying to be a hippy most of the time, but also heard that he might have been trying to take the rainbow back from the gays. Apparently he didn't think it was fair that only gays could wear those colors. A bit of a rebel that one.

He went off to college. Randomly drove across the country to visit a girl. Dropped out of college. Moved in with our father. Worked construction. Joined the Marine Corps and that is where he is at today. 6 or so years after joining and he is now an officer, married, two beautiful kids, strict, passionate about numbers, business, motorcycles, the Marine Corps, and his family, in no particular order.

My older brother, who I never fully understood, and still don't is the same today that he was 15 years ago. He always stood, protecting us as best he could, watching, keeping the worst at bay. He is still doing that. Today, though he keeps us all safe, guarded. He's the shadow on top of that wall, with the big ass gun pointed at any outsider who wanders too close. I don't care your politics, what side of the isle you are on, or if you are standing in the middle. That is the life of a marine. The life of an older brother.

For this reason I am honored to have been asked to guard something that led to this great opportunity I mentioned earlier. He's asked me to watch over his motorcycle. His only motorcycle. His brand new Harley Davidson. To be exact it's a 2009 Harley Davidson Sportster Iron 883.

To give you an idea of what this means to me. I was into bikes long before he. I own two Honda CB650's. One sleeper, the other is slowly on it's way to being a street tracker. The monetary value of both combined, after all the work, is still less than half the value of my brothers Iron. Last year I started this blog to document my longer rides. Not my daily commute, or even Saturday runs around town, but really getting out and hitting roads I've never seen. I live in Portland, Oregon. The Iron is in Stafford, Virginia.

I knew one day in the next few years I wanted to take some time and ride around the United States. I didn't think that the opportunity would present itself so soon after, and on a bike I have to worry much less about breaking down along some back county road in Alabama.

This is an opportunity I plan to never forget.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

False Insecurities

I have so much to learn. She's afraid, my wife, of the risks of trying. Not the money, well that too, but what it will do to me if for all my trying I just can't win.

I say bullocks! Don't you win just for trying? Maybe not the prize you initially envisioned, but certainly something just as valuable.

Just like riding a motorcycle, the same thing could be said about horses, and probably was, you always get back on. What I think I never told her was that my first time on a bike I crashed. Right into a post of barbed wire fence. We were supposed to go camping that day. Instead I rode a motorcycle and landed in the hospital with a broken ankle.

I remember sitting at home the next day, foot in cast for 6 weeks, and thinking about all the things my friends were saying as they still went camping. What jokes were they making? What fool did they think me to be?

I grinned and didn't care...I rode that steel horse and I was going to get on it again. It didn't matter the destination or how I stopped, simply that I took it for a ride.

The risk is there everyday. A fool be the man that stands on false securities. Me...I'll stand on those foot pegs, 8 inches off the Tarmac at 65 M.P.H. headin straight into the sun.