It was the summer of 1967, Canada's centennial year... I was twelve.
What a year that was.
|Tank stickers say "Ban the Bra" and "Shower with a steady, saves water"|
Myself and two other boys in the company of Hungarian friends of my folks made an epic road journey from our homes in Edmonton to sunny California. We had a station wagon packed with camping gear and drove the back roads all the way down. We passed through Twin Falls Idaho, the salt flats at Wendover Utah/Nevada (it straddles the border) all the way to Disneyland. On the return leg we tubed the Russian river, chucked rocks into the Pacific off high cliffs, viewed a strange creature in S.F. wearing brightly colored costumes, long hair and 'granny glasses' proclaiming for all to "Make Love not War"
I remember having to shut the engine down while we coasted long descents in the Mojave, running very short on fuel in the middle of the night. Then there was the abrupt 'panic' stop downhill in Downtown San Fransisco that dumped everything in the back of the wagon, sugar, coffee, cooler items... into the front of the wagon, what a mess that was!
|Granny glasses, bell bottoms and peace signs...|
Our driver and his wife had no kids of their own so Laci took the time to teach us three boys about what else... girls. I came back to Canada a different "man" from that trip.
Which brings me to Kelly.
Kelly was 15, it was the late sixties, her red hair was long and straight and the bikini was in. Kelly would lounge out back catching some rays (these were the days before SPF 900) and teasing the hell out of me! I'd often glimpse a bit of tantalizing flesh that in those days you could not even see in the movies! She was B E A U T I F U L, gorgeous in fact and I was totally in lust, I mean love, well maybe lust too. Not only was she friendly and open but she had a boyfriend. He was the Arthur Fonzerelli of Wellington and district. He rode a black and chrome HONDA CB 160 with the pipes cut off right where the mufflers would have been. Now I will tell you that you didn't need a 1200 Harley to rattle the windows, the CB would do it just fine.
Butch (yes that was his name and in those days it was a tough guys' moniker) would come roaring down our street (133 rd avenue) and screech to a halt in front of her house. Blue jeans, white T black leather jacket for the cooler days.
Cigarette pack under the sleeve.
|One of my favorite bikes VX 800 and Krauser bags.|
I do not recall even a single time, that Butch would ring the doorbell to her home. Nope, he'd pull out the smokes, either sit on the bike or the curb and she would bound out, luxurious red hair bouncing after a fresh shampoo... then saddle up.
Butch would flick his butt into the gutter and kick start the twin into life, no electric leg for him! At night I'd see the flames pop out of the headers as he would shift gears winding that engine to max revs.
|22,000 km over 7 months and two years in Europe, riding 'Lil Red'|
The following year I convinced (being European and greatly responsible) my parents to buy me a Honda S 90. It was a 1966 model year, had four speeds and a clutch... more so , it had on the right side of the engine case, a kick starter, just like Butch's!
|900 T Bird|
I rode the little Honda everywhere from the first sign of thawed pavement till the snow fell in the fall. She would be the beginning to my many getaways from the complexities of life as I found growing up.
Since then I have owned many, many motorcycles of every description, from basket case Bonneville's to Venture Royales and BMW's to trials bikes to ice racers to scooters.
|7000 feet up the Senator highway from Prescott to Glendale|
Much as I was in love with Kelly and in some ways all the incarnations of her down through my years, what I really love more than anything, is sitting on my bike of the moment, twisting the throttle and going, well anywhere...