A few weeks ago, a friend of mine was commenting on my blog, and said that I shouldn’t be afraid to change things up. Post a recipe, or whatever. Thanks Steve. Here is a change-up.
It was the winter of 2009, just after New Year’s Day. We were driving from Elko, Nevada to Twin Falls, Idaho, with the single goal of finding a new china hutch. We were in for a long day of shopping. On the drive, my wife (Ellen) looks at me, and says, “I dreamed that this is the day when you go ahead and buy your Harley”. Far be it from me to be the ruiner of dreams. First stop: Snake Harley Davidson in Twin Falls. Dream activated. Snake Harley was running a very attractive offer that fit exactly what I needed. You see, for a long time (years?), I’d been looking at Harleys. I was attracted to the big bikes for their beauty, but to the smaller ones for their price. I was told that if I bought a small one (a Sportster), I’d bring it back, to get a bigger bike pretty soon. This seemed like a terrible waste, but since I was going to be new to riding, the smaller bike seemed like the way to go.
So, this program they were running, was a trade-in/trade-up program. Buy any bike, and trade it in for a bigger bike within 2 years, and get the full MSRP on the trade-in. Wow, was this deal ever made for me! I found the bike I wanted. It was a black Sportster 883. I had the foot controls moved forward, and it was ready to go. I knew it would be a ton of fun, and I had answered my wife’s dream. Wonderful. Hmmmm, now how are we going to buy a hutch when there is a Harley in the back of the pickup? But dream accomplished, don’t forget that part. Well, we looked at a couple of stores, and found nothing, so at least the day wasn’t a complete loss.
My wife tells this story without the part about this being driven by her dream. Women. I faithfully add that part for her each time the story is retold, and remind her that she actually found the hutch of her dreams not too long after that, and not in Twin Falls.
Once back home, I unloaded the bike the next day, onto our freshly plowed driveway, and parked it in the garage until snow was cleared. Please don’t tell anyone, but I rode it once or twice or so before getting my motorcycle endorsement. I’ll edit this part out, because it goes against the safety message that comes up next. Then, before too long, it was off to the Harley store in Vegas, so I could complete their motorcycle safety training course. I highly recommend this course for any first time riders. Why Vegas? So I could get my endorsement as soon as possible, and start riding, of course!
I rode whenever I could, and I soon took it back to Twin Falls for its first routine servicing. Just before it needed its second servicing, I was ready to trade up!
And, even though I’d looked at a lot of bikes at other Harley stores, Twin Falls once again had the perfect bike for me: a 2009 Heritage Classic with a 2-tone root beer candy paint job. It was beautiful, and I knew it would be even more beautiful with a couple of additions. Different seats, modified exhaust, a new tailpipe, handlebar grips, passenger floorboards instead of pegs, highway pegs, a sound system, and a dozen more modifications.
Today, the bike has somewhere over 25,000 miles on it.
It’s so different than driving a car. Not always as quick. On one ride from Elko to Tahoe, I had the unfortunate bad luck of having the rear tire blow out, on the interstate, just west of Battle Mountain, Nevada. I’d just had the tires replaced at a dealership that I won’t mention. They had less than 100 miles on them. “Fortunately” I had an emergency roadside service from a provider I will also not mention. I waited many hours for them to find a tow truck that could get my bike to the motorcycle place in Winnemucca. The tow truck driver was a really good-hearted person, as was the highway patrolman who protected us from traffic while the bike was getting loaded onto the truck. I’m always so thankful when you come across people like that. So, I overnighted in Winnemucca, got the help I needed from their motorcycle shop, and completed my trip to Tahoe.
I actually had an incident on a previous trip to Tahoe, where I’d failed to secure my travel bag snuggly enough to the bike. The bag blew off while I was driving on the interstate. I just caught a glimpse of it in the rear view mirror. I couldn’t safely stop there, so I traveled on for a way, always hearing a horn honking behind me. I pulled off the highway, cursing myself, thinking that I’d have to return for whatever was left, and probably head back home. Then, a gentleman pulled up in front of me. He had collected the scattered remains of my bag and its content. I asked the man if I could have his business card so that I could call his boss and let him know what a terrific thing I thought his employee had done. He refused, saying that it wasn’t what he was doing this for. I knew that, but I wanted to return the favor. I guess some things can truly only be paid forward.
Certainly not all trips have a rotten part!!! I’ve had many memorable rides that were completely without incident. I’ve ridden from Elko to Tahoe a few times, Elko to Las Vegas, and Elko to Challis, ID, on a business trip. I’ve had it in Sturgis. I’ve ridden in snow, rain, lightning, hard winds and on gorgeous days. Many gorgeous days. Once, at a gas station in Wells, Nevada, a little girl, maybe 4 years old, told me that I had a beautiful “car”. Bless her heart.
I love the sense of freedom I feel when I’m on that bike. It makes me feel like a different person, in many ways.
When we sold our house in Elko, I rode the bike to Denver, over a 3-day period. That was a good ride!
Just last Sunday, we took it to Red Rocks, for their Easter Sunday brunch.
Not long ago, a very good friend of mine named the bike “Awesome”, and that name has stuck. Awesome, it is.
If you haven’t found Awesome, then you really need to start looking. Life’s too short. Smell the roses.