Friday, August 14, 2015

Motorcycle Beginnings

I mentioned in my last Post that I'd have more to share about and around the Sport Touring ride that I took last weekend.  There was more than one reason that I decided to ride the 60's era Honda Trail bike and, more importantly, more than one reason that I decided to go where I did.  It really was a sort of Two-Fer Touring Adventure.

Topography was mentioned, an almost endless choice of small paved roads to ride was as well.  The area and the bike took me back more than 45 years ago to where my riding roots began, a place and time I wanted to revisit and remember.  It wasn't really my brother or I that were the first riders in our family.....Gramp did it, he and Gram starting everything off.

Dad did it.......

Then WE started doing it.....

Gramp was the one that bridged the gap, reintroducing motorcycle riding to the 3rd generation.  Here he is in 1969, not with Grandma but with the neighbor lady :)

It wasn't just Gramp, Dad and our Trixie made it go too.

Dad gave me rides .....

My brother got rides....

As you can imagine, it was a lot more satisfying for brother and I to actually do the piloting ourselves......that little 1964 Honda 55cc Trailbike with the overlay sprocket got ridden a lot by my brother and I, to the point that we had trails worn in the small-town lawn.

The next season, Gramp went and bought a brand new Yamaha 125 Twin Scrambler and that's when things really started to change.

It wasn't long and there were 4 machines spread between 3 generations.....then only a couple of years later, 4 having grown to double digits in number, shuffling necessary in the garage at home.....In this photo, we both had our "Endorsements".

Before we had our "Endorsements", there were rides taken on neighboring roads, the distance of those loops from the Pea Green garage growing ever larger as we gained Experience....

What the place looks like now.....remodeling, more (lots of) "stuff" where Gramp's zinnias and glads used to grow.....45 years later.

Gramp carried Rural Mail, most of the time in summer finished his Route early afternoons and that left Lots and Lots of time for his flowers and vegetables.

Summers weren't the only time that we did our riding.....


But northern Wisconsin winters gave way to summers, after a few more of them....

Dad's '76 Anniversary HD Electra Glide....(sorry Dad, end of the film roll)

Mom reminded me last month that it had been 65 years ago that Dad had almost met his demise at the intersection just to the north of here on WI 25 so I stopped to get a photo, a corner I'd been told about and still remember.  Following a milk truck that was signalling right, dad passed on the left and was run over.  The milk truck driver was drunk, dad was in a coma for months and eventually, years later when his boys wanted to go, Got Back On.

The rural roads around Hillsdale haven't really changed all that much, the farms, many if not most of the buildings, names on the mailboxes, etc. just don't look all that much different.  Summertime and the fragrance of oak burning in more than one stove as I passed by common, unconfined livestock and freshly cut hay smell like they always will.  It was a pretty good trip back in time on my Sport Touring machine.


  1. Awesome post. Great to see all the old photographs and bikes through the years...

    1. Thanks Erik, it took some digging to locate these old slides but I was confident that some like them would turn up somewhere. I honestly don't remember any of these being taken but expected there would be photographic evidence. Gramp's old Agfachrome slides are in very nice shape.

  2. Your family has quite the two wheeled history. Thanks for sharing the old photos...

    1. Richard, I've shared bits and pieces before but thought it was a good time to tie more of the history together. Early summer I started thinking about doing something like this and last weekend everything gelled. The stop to see Kevin was a happy coincidence; he and I had spoken at the Wisconsin Guzzi Rally so he'd been warned that I'd show up. :)

  3. I loved this post (well except for your dad being hit by a milk truck) but all the old photos. So great to see the history of riding in your family.

    1. Some of the family will see this, a few of them will probably remember those days better than I. It's been a fun story to remember and share Brandy, thanks!

  4. What an incredible moto-history Coop! Thank you for the links back to your 'before I knew you' posts. My moto history begins with me (my mother being hysterical when I began and my father saying 'be quiet, let her do what she wants to do!.') Perhaps my granddaughters will one day decide to ride as well; okay with me as long as they are responsible and do it safely!!!! (I have a whole double standard going on here.)

    1. Karen, I hear lots of stories not so very different than yours. As much as it seems like this was part of our destiny, mom, still single at the time, went through weeks of turmoil, sitting bedside waiting for her then-still-beau to heal. I can only imagine the thoughts that must have run through her head when her little boys discovered that little yellow Honda and were so excited that they couldn't see straight.

      I wish your granddaughters many thousands of safe miles! I wouldn't worry about the Double....we surround ourselves with them.

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks Dar, it was an easy one to do....once I found those old slides :)

  6. Yikers.. who's the bearded dude.. :)

  7. Why do I ride? Why does my 2-stroke smoke?
    Why do I have to put on that leather coat?
    Well, if get on and ride all night long,
    it’s just a family tradition.

    Another great post,

    Happy Friday!

    1. Nicely done Jason....and thanks!

      Friday was a happy one, hope yours was as well.