A Memory Revisited

This week is a special one for me. I have a very special birthday coming up. It was a year ago this Friday that I bought my motorcycle. I thought that I would take a moment and record the magic moment.

It was a sunny Summer day in Las Vegas. Richard Miller and I were enjoying a new but promising business that we started. We worked out of an extra room in his house and I would drive over there each morning. I was driving down Cheyenne Blvd and just enjoying the early morning. It was 6:30 and there were very few people on the road. I noticed a car full of young ladies driving down the street next to me. As I approached Rampart Blvd the light turned red and I slowed to a stop. I was in the right lane, to my left was the car full of pleasants and in the far left lane was a old and greasy Harley with an equally old and equally greasy man sitting on it.

As I glanced over to my early morning road mates, I noticed two things. First, those girls were better viewed at 50 mph. And second, all four of them were staring at the motorcycle and it’s occupant. That taught me something. Every guy wants a bike, and every girl wants a guy with a bike. Those who don’t fall into one of those two categories only miss it because of ignorance.

That was it. My mind was made up.

I got on my cell phone and made a call to my business partner Rich. With a voice to make Barry White seem feminine Rich answers, “Why are you calling me so early?”

“I need the day off.” I requested.
“You got it!”

I proceeded to give him the day off as well. I filled him in on my traffic-light enlightenment and then revealed to him my plans.

“Rich, this is how it breaks down. You get out of bed and hop into the shower. I will be there in three minutes and I will reserve two one-way tickets to LA. We are going to fly out there with no plans, only a goal. We’ll catch a cab at the LAX, make a stop at the bank, end up in Englewood and roll out on our brand new motorcycles. We’ll ride the PCH until we are about to fall off, then we will find some young ladies and ask them to ride with us to keep us on.” At first, silence was his only response. But then it came, “ I’m for it. Let’s roll.”

I got to the Miller household and got the action started. I got two flights to leave from Vegas at 10:30. There was no turning back now. Rich finished his shower and joined me. He hugged his mom Michelle and said, “ Brian and I are going to go and run some errands. We will be back in a bit.” So maybe it was a little bit of a stretch, but it was ok for Rich to start living the life of a rebel; he was a future motorcycle rider.

I remember thinking that perhaps we were not thinking straight. We have been entertaining the thought of buying motorcycles for a while, but were never quite able to make the leap. It was a big decision that was not real popular with the pocketbook or with the parents. I wondered if we would regret our purchase. Nevertheless, the plan went on as designed.

Just three hours after I woke Rich with a phone call we were waiting at Gate C27 in the Las Vegas Airport. Still wondering if it was really going to happen, Rich and I were bouncing around and not thinking straight. We sat a few rows away on the airplane trying to act as relaxed and natural as possible. Every now and again I would take a peak over my shoulder to see how Rich was holding up. As my eyes found him, they would be greeted with Rich’s signature “bug-eyed-waggling tongue- dare-you-to-call-me-crazy” look.

We landed at the LAX and grabbed a cab. We gave the address to the driver and requested that we stop by a Wells Fargo Bank. It probably wasn’t the smartest thing to tell a cab driver to stop by a bank to withdraw thousands in cash and then drive you into downtown Inglewood and drop you off. Oh well.

After searching for a bank for a while, we finally made it to the motorcycle shop on Hyde Park in downtown Inglewood. As our salivary glands went into high gear we tried to stay as responsible and laid back as possible. After talking to a salesman he told us to go around back and they would have our bikes there being prepped and about ready to leave. We walked out the side door and around the corner. Walking along the side of the building our walk quickly turned to a run, dueling each other to be the first around the building. We rounded the corner and both immediately stopped so as to not look to anxious.

As we surveyed the motorcycles parked everywhere we desperately searched for our colors that we had requested. With excitement rising and nearing unbearable, our eyes finally met the shining chrome under the California sun. Have mercy! It was even more beautiful then I had hoped for in my mind. It took about thirty more minutes to get all the papers signed and the helmets for safe riding. They pulled our bikes out to the street and pointed them towards the coast. The man who sold us our bikes gave us a quick overview and handed us the keys to freedom.

Finally, the moment I had been waiting for all day. Like a baby being handed to a mother for the first time after birth I put my arms around that bike and felt the magic. The Laborious task and numerous details were complete and I was one with my bike. I turned the key and the first words to leave my baby’s mouth were something to the effect of “Chug ,chug ,chug ,chug , let’s rock and roll!!!” I turned to Rich with a smile that would make Batman’s Joker look like an angel. I saw the same face coming back at me from Rich. Rich’s mouth slowly opened and he uttered his first words as a motorcycle owner, “So how do you drive one of these things?”

“You’re kidding right?” I replied
“Well…” ,was his only response.

I gave Rich about 30 seconds of coaching and we were ready to go. If it were anyone else I might have been worried. But I have been around Rich long enough that what he doesn’t know, he learns very quickly. So with nothing but a motorcycle full of gas, and hearts that were equally filled, we took off for the coast.

We drove until our legs were numbed, then we shrugged it off and drove some more. We nodded to every person who looked our way and punched the gas near every girl who came near us. We did our best James Dean look as we passed each car and flexed our arms to seal our manhood to our audience. We continually complimented each other’s bikes and followed it with a laugh that plainly said, “ Don’t worry, I know that I am on one just like yours.” We took freeways and surface roads from Inglewood to Oceanside and didn’t care if we got lost on the way there. Things could not have been any better. We stopped near the Oceanside pier and took pictures with our motorcycles. The sun was sinking behind us and seemed to be saying that this is the end of a boy, and the beginning of a new phase of life. Those would be the pictures that would be shown to our kids and be so perfectly titled as, “ The day your father became a man.”

We spent the next couple days visiting friends and driving mile after mile on our bikes. We brought them back to Las Vegas the following day and have never looked back. We have owned our motorcycles for a year now. We still enjoy them quite a bit. Richard commented to me the other day, “You know, I love this motorcycle more and more each day. If my marriage is anywhere near this rewarding then I will be a happy man.” A comment with which I could not agree more.

Take a look at the video here