A time and a season for everything! I grew up fascinated with mechanized vehicles...and the dangerous thrill inherant in riding or driving them. I have early memories of doing some crazy things on a big wheel. I think I wore out the plastic tires and that sweet pull up brake within a month or so (what we lived on a steep hill).
I also remember, always loving when my crazy uncle (I'm sure he wasn't really my uncle, but filipinos think everyone is family) rode up to our house on his motorcycle. He would always take me for a ride, which on second thought wasn't good because he always smelled strange (which I later realized was beer). For some reason, he had a really huge leather belt and he'd strap me on to him as I sat behind and we'd go for really fast rides "around the block." So much fun!
I remember also jumping my banana yellow (I'm sensing a theme throughout my blogs) bicycle with banana seat. It was so 70s, but it was so rad! For some reason I remember riding up and down my street with my cousin and I was disgusted by some dry dog poo. She kicked it around like it was nothing and I thought she was from mars...but I digress.
I was driving at a very early age...like right around puberty. My dad would let me move the car, then I graduated to driving the family buick around the block, and at 14 years old my dad let me drive the banana yellow Nissan Sentra to Palmdale. (Can one be arrested for such things 24 years later?)
At 15 I had my drivers permit and in the 80's you know what that meant? I could ride a scooter. I had a Honda Passport C70. It was a 70CC "scooter" that had 3 clutchless gears so I thought it was way more like a motorcycle than my friend's Honda Elite. I rode around in a scooter gang and we terrorized Foothill Blvd (back in La Crescenta/La Canada not the one in SLO) to school and back. I would draft buses and cars and get my Passport up to 60 MPH (all without helmets...it was cool back then to be stupid).
I think my Mustangs are well chronicled in this post. Those cars, especially the Mach I were super fast! I once got the Mach I past 120 MPH. I'm not sure how fast because the spedometer stopped at 120 and the needle went past that all the way to the 0 on the other side!
About that time I bought a Yamaha Banshee. For the uninitiated, that's a four wheeled 350cc 2 stroke joy machine. It brought me many times up to the Oceano Dunes from the Glendale-Pasadena area where I grew up. That thing was so fast! It also gave me the opportunity of a life-time...to jump a car (well technically a sandrail). On a trip, to the Mojave Desert, with some of my brother's friends I got to drive a street legal sandrail. There was a natural place to jump it, so my brother and I made like Bo and Luke Duke and jumped that bad boy. I still remember that to this day!
I tell you those stories to say that was a season in my life, from about 1980 to 1990. Right after that, I started another season in my life, just as good, but different. A season of duty and fiscal responsibility. In that time, Linda and I got married, were able to purchase a home before the market got crazy, Praise the Lord, and with just a few bumps and bruises the Lord has given us financial stability...for now.
He gives and takes away and we are ready for whatever he has for us, I'm just saying from about 1991 through 2008 there wasn't a whole lot of Mustangs and Banshees and that sort. And that's totally good! I wouldn't trade where Linda and I are right now for all the fast machines in the world! In fact, in that season, Linda would often ask me why I didn't have some kind of Mustang, Banshee, or what not. My answer was always the same, those things cost a lot of money, not just to purchase but to maintain etc (as I'm sure my bro can attest!) Tens of thousands of dollars could have been poured into 4x4 Trucks, Weekend Warrior Trailers, gas, oil, mechanics...you get the picture. Instead they were poured into the fam.
Well I'm in a new season...as chronicled in this post...I have a 2007 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom (pictured above). And you know what? I am super suprised at how much fun I'm having riding it! Linda isn't surprised...but I am. I had forgotten the inner biker that lurkes within me...buried under almost 20 years of not having a fast, somewhat dangerous, piece of machinery. The other day I was riding through Shell Beach with the clear blue sky, our clean Central Coast air blowing through my full faced helmet and ventilated motorcycle jacket, the gorgeous ocean in my peripheral vision...it just doesn't get better than that! Well except when I'm riding Ruby (that's what I think I'm gonna name the Vulcan) through the 227 on some windy curves.
Oh...words can't describe the joy...thank you Lord! The motorcycle has been a complete surprise gift tangibly, but spiritually it has been too. See, I believe a man is made for duty, that's for sure. We should provide, bring security and protection...safety. But I also think there is a time for the gift of joy, even if it's a little dangerous and impracticle. This motorcycle isn't exactly like my 1980 through 1990 days...I'm a much different person, a lot less reckless. But I still enjoy the speed and thrill...and it seems a sweet reward for the years of duty and responsibility. It doesn't have to be a selfish thing...sometimes it can be a reward for selflessness.
So I hope that answers the question, "What is an almost 40 year old responsible man doing with a motorcycle?" All the while thinking MLC (Mid-Life Crisis). I hope this blog entry puts it into percpective. It's a kick in the pants!