All my good stories start out with “once upon a time…” This one is no different, I suppose. 🙂 Once upon a time, before I was born, my grandpa bought a brand-new motorcycle. It was the original Honda Goldwing, which set the bar (defined a new genre?) for all forthcoming “touring” motorcycles. It was 1975, and it came in two colors: cherry and teal. He got the teal one.
He and Gigi toured all over the place. Roadtrips to visit relatives, scenic trips to the mountains or coast, camping or bunking with others… One night the fog was so thick they couldn’t see any of the freeway except for the white line along the shoulder. They inadvertently took a rural exit, and didn’t realize that until they were very lost!
Fast forward to 2005/6ish. Grandpa had divorced Gigi more than 15 years before, and was living five blocks away from her. His subsequent wife had passed away, and that same Goldwing that he gave my brother and I rides on was rotting away in his backyard. It was leaning (lying?) over and a large shrub or small tree had grown up through the front forks. It hadn’t run in ages, but Hubby laid eyes on it one afternoon when we were visiting, and he and Gramps made a deal.
Hubby would come back with his pickup one day and carry the bike 2 hours to our place where he would work on it over the winter and try to get it running again. Gramps would pay for the parts and supplies, and would then take one more ride on it, to say goodbye. When he was ready, he would sell it back to us for the total price of all the parts. He would win; getting a beautiful old bike roadworthy again, getting to take one last ride if his replaced hip held out, and we would win; getting a chance at a lovely motorcycle (which Hubby wanted so dearly), an ‘heirloom’ of sorts, and at a great price.
Well, that winter Hubby worked on it. I kept Gramps supplied with letters and updates, and he’d send $100 checks so we could pay for the next needed part. Hubby changed out fork seals and cleaned out the old gas and replaced wires and tubes and parts and things I don’t understand at all. He added the horns that Gramps had never installed, and left the ‘fog lamp’ – what was actually an old aircraft landing light – where Gramps had put it on the fairing.
Spring came, and the bike was running. Hubby ‘test drove’ it to work and back several times, and soon Gramps – and my uncle and some others – came to retrieve it. We watched with bated breath while Gramps got on and rode out the driveway alongside my uncle. “Well, now we wait!” we thought. My uncle intimated that he’d be surprised if Gramps could ride it at all, let alone all the way home, and that we should expect to hear from him soon. We’d saved up some money…
To be continued…