With all the negative things happening in the airline world recently and my impending lay-off from United Airlines, I've been fairly obsessed with finding a new job/career. This new obsession has prevented me from getting much riding done and due to the lack of flying jobs, it hasn't been very conducive to a positive outlook on my life. So a couple days ago I just made up my mind that I needed to go out and just ride for a bit to clear my mind of all the negativity.
I had to haul a few things out to my friend Tony's house in Enumclaw so I hitched up the motorcycle trailer to my old pickup and off I went. After dropping off the items at Tony's, I unloaded the WR and headed off toward my old stomping grounds.
My family moved to Enumclaw when I was in the 2nd grade. My dad had purchased a 1974 Honda XR75 about that same time and as a young boy, I thought that it was too big for me to ride. I tried it but after crashing it once, I was afraid of it, so it sat buried in our basement for quite some time.
I don't remember how old I was but sometime in the next few years, I was inspired by our neighbor, Jerry, who was (is) the coolest guy I ever met. Jerry had an old Honda 100 and rode it around our neighborhood, (we lived on a dirt road). I distinctly remember that as I watched him ride past our house one day that I thought that I should be riding a motorcycle... and then I remembered that in fact we already had a motorcycle.
I proceeded to uncover the old XR from the piles of crap in the basement, (a feat in of itself), and eventually got it out in the driveway. I'd like to say that it fired right up on the first kick but I honestly don't remember. I do remember that once I got it running, (probably with help from Dad), that I started out VERY slowly. I remember that I would ride up and down the dirt road in front of our house in FIRST GEAR. I was afraid of going faster. This lasted for at least a day or two. I finally got the balls to actually shift into SECOND GEAR and I was progressively getting bolder and bolder. I don't know how long it took but I eventually was able to actually use ALL the gears and at some point in the following months I actually was wanting a bike that would go faster than the XR was capable of. My brother started riding as well and we would take turns on the little gray bike until Dad decided that we needed another one. We went and bought a brand new 1979 XR80... it was red... and it was cool. It also had a 5th gear which was one more than the old 75 had. Dale and I rode these bikes every chance we got and spent many an hour in the trails and dirt roads in the hills near our house.
Fast forward nearly 30 years (holy crap!!!, am I really that old???)... I turned on to the old neighborhood road (it's still dirt) and as I left the pavement I remembered the time I was spinning a doughnut in the gravel when the neighbor, Gary, drove up on his way home from work and he scolded me for tearing up the road that he had just fixed. I also remembered all the dips and mudpuddles from those many years ago, even though they had changed a thousand times over, I could see them in my mind. Actually, aside from a few trees that were missing, the old neighborhood hadn't changed all that much.
I rode slowly up and down the entire length of the old dirt road and just took my mind back to a time where jobs and stresses of adult life were non-existent. I was 9 years old again, even if it was only for a few minutes, and just living each moment to ride my motorcycle.
Here's what our old house looks like today.
It was a nice diversion and it did take my mind off of the negative stuff that is going on in my life. I'm glad I made the journey and hopefully I won't wait until another 30 years go by before I swing by again.