Rev. Dr. Monte Canfield

Rev. Dr. Monte Canfield
Newcomerstown, Ohio, USA
December 28
Rev. Dr. Monte Canfield
Retired Protestant Pastor and Theologian, credentialed in the United Church of Christ; licensed by the Moravian Church . Education: BA, MA, M.Div, Thd. Public Service: NY State Office of Executive Development, Management Intern; Federal Exec. Branch: Executive Office of the President, Budget Examiner, Bureau of the Budget; Interior, Director of Energy and Minerals, Bureau of Land Management; Non Profit: Ford Foundation, Deputy Director, Energy Policy Project; Congressional: Director, Office of Special Projects; Director, Division of Energy and Materials, General Accounting Office. Private industry: Vice President, Grow Group, Inc.; Chief Executive Officer, US Paint; Owner, the Energy Center, St. Louis. Christian service: Pastor, First Congregational UCC, Ottawa, Illinois; Pastor, St. Paul's UCC, Port Washington, Ohio; Pastor, Moravian Church, Gnadenhutten, Ohio. Interim Pastor, the Baltic Parish UCC, Baltic, Ohio; starting 08 2014: Interim Pastor, St. John UCC, Strasburg, OH


Rev. Dr. Monte Canfield's Links

DECEMBER 9, 2008 10:57PM

Motorcycles: A Magnificent Obsession, Part Seven

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Kansas: The Flint Hills in Spring
Washington State: the Palouse in Spring
What life looks like in Kansas when you grow up poor.
It looks just the same if you grow up poor in the Palouse.

Related Posts - Motorcycles: A Magnificent Obsession

 Part 1   http://open.salon.com/content.php?cid=46840

 art 2    http://open.salon.com/content.php?cid=47571

Part 3   http://open.salon.com/content.php?cid=50371

Part 4  http://open.salon.com/content.php?cid=51765

 Part 5  http://open.salon.com/content.php?cid=55723

  Part 6  http://open.salon.com/content.php?cid=56994

I subtitle this section of this memoir: “Where the Hell are The Directions?”

Part 6 ended with two very drunk, and one very tired (me!) motorcyclists finding that the two bikes they had bought from the Montgomery Ward catalog were completely unassembled. At that point I was feeling that I had taken advantage of Earl by talking him into this fiasco.  But then something dawned on me that made me feel stupid, and angry. Here is the end of part 6.

Just a little note:  After pushing the wheel barrow up the drive with the pieces of his new bike, it dawned on me that we could have just put the pieces of the bike into the back of Earl's pickup and driven it to the garage!
At that point I was the one who was drunk and pissed off.  I had been too stupid, or drunk, to think of that when he first rolled the wheel barrow down the driveway.  He never, to his dying day, admitted that he did that on purpose.  Like hell he didn't!
Any way, we put the pieces of crates in the back of Earl’s truck and called it a day.
I wobbled into Earl’s living room and fell down on the divan. As Earl walked by from the kitchen to his bedroom, Wild Turkey still in hand,  I yelled out, “G’night, Scarlett. We’ll think about this tomorrow.”

Part Six

It was late, after midnight, when we got all the parts of the two bikes into the garage, kept them in two separate areas, and had gone to bed.  Earl, always the early riser, was up and cooking breakfast by 7 the next morning.  Such disgusting activities are anathma to a night owl like me. I had crashed on the living room couch in the clothes I was wearing the night before.

The noise and smell, ugh!, woke me and once Earl saw me stirring he always made sure that there was no way in hell he was going to let me sleep.  So he puts on a vinyl album of Johnny Rivers and turns it up.  Unfortunately, Earl had a great stereo system with 15” Infinity base boxes.  So my hungover brain is treated to a nice 120 decibel concert of "Maybellene," "Baby I Need Your Loving," "The Tracks of My Tears," "Tunesmith," and "Help Me, Rhonda."  By the time we got to "I Washed My Hands in Muddy Water" I was up and staggered to the bathroom to die. The problem is that at that age you don’t die, you just feel like hell.  I kept some minimum toiletries at Earl’s for just such occasions and I brushed the fuzz on my tongue and walked back into the dining room.

Earl was sitting there bright and chipper eating a huge breakfast of eggs, sausage, toast, AND, a huge Bloody Mary. His drink looked pretty pale to me, but that happens when you make a Bloody Mary out of 4 ounces of vodka, a splash of tomato juice, an dash of worchestershire sauce.

I fixed a Bloody Mary that had 8 ounces of tomato juice, a splash of vodka and a lot of worchestershire.  I didn’t mind a bit of the hair of the dog at 7 am, but I didn’t want to start the day eating the whole dog.  Since I never eat breakfast and was sure to get heartburn as soon as this went down I checked my pockets to see if I had any Tums.  Yep.  (I carried Tums the way some people carry a billfold or Sen Sen.

So we worked out a PLAN.  We prided ourselves on always having a plan. We would unwrap each piece, guess where it went on the bikes and lay them out in the rough outline of a bike on the garage floor.  Actually, this stroke of genius came to me from watching, a few days before, the way investigators piece together a crashed airplane.  Only in this case we would be putting the bikes together.  

What we both thought was that in one of the packages would be a nice, fat, Assembly Manual.  Who, after all would ship a complete motorcycle in parts without including instructions to put it together.  Plus we would need the Owner’s Manual, and the set of tools that, back then, that came with every bike.  The tools were irrelevant, but the Owner’s Manual was important for telling us how much oil to put in the bike, how loose to set the chain, amount of air in the tires, how to adjust the shocks and chain tension, and such stuff, plus the manufacturer’s recommended break in procedure.

So we eventually got started after Earl had another anemic looking, but oh so potent, Bloody Mary.  He was happy as a pig eating……well, you know.  He always was after a breakfast that would make a lumberman barf and a couple of stiff breakfast drinks.

As soon as we started unwrapping the parts we found out that any part that could possibly rust – and some that would not– were coated in a thick, dark brown layer of cosmoline.  I swear it looked like some were dipped in that crap, not just sprayed on.  If you have ever tried to clean up anything coated with cosmoline you will know that, while it is the best product to keep a metal part from rusting, or aluminum from corroding, it is absolute the compound from hell to get off the part.  If you doubt me, just Google cosmoline and the first 400,000 entries are about removing this evil gunk.

Cosmoline gets on your hands, on your clothes, on anything it touches.  So now we have, laid out on the floor, two Italian bikes, totally in parts and covered with brown, waterproof, crap.  We are so pissed about finding the overkill on the cosmoline application that it wasn’t until we quit cussing, yelling, and throwing things that I said,

“Hey, Earl.  Uhhhhhh.  Was there any Assembly manuel in your bike parts?  How about an Owner’s Manual?  No.  Me neither.”

“Shit!” (Don’t wince, that was over 25 years before I went to seminary.)  By now we had been at this mess for about an hour. It was around 9 AM, and I knew just what to do. I said nothing, turned and went into the kitchen and fixed me a pale, Earlesque Bloody Mary! Well, I was pissed and somewhere the sun was just going down.  Here’s to where ever that was!

Thus fortified I plunged back into the garage prepared to attack the cosmoline with, with,  with what?  Gunk engine cleaner would work but wouldn’t do painted parts any good and had to be sprayed off with water. Gasoline would do it, but I wanted nothing to do with that in a garage with two guys who were more likely than not to forget and light cigarettes.  We tried kerosene which worked pretty good, but was pretty smelly and tend to hang around in the air and make me sick to the stomach when I use massive amounts of it. So I decided to go down to the hardware store and get a couple gallons of mineral spirits, to the auto supply and get some spray cans of brake cleaner.  Earl was glad to see me go.  It gave him time to fix another “not so Bloody Mary.”

The mineral spirits worked, as did the brake cleaner on the smaller parts where it got into spots that were impossible to get a brush into.  But it still made a hell of a mess and did not give up its attachment to the parts without a sticky fight.  It took several hours to get all the parts clean and placed in the spots where they looked like they should go.  I decided not to thank the geniuses at Benelli for most of the rags we used.

At this point I need to point out two things. While you couldn’t tell it by looking, neither Earl nor I had just fallen off the turnip truck when it came to motorcycles.  While we had never seen this particular motorcycle, we had, together and by ourselves, stripped more than a few motorcycles down and rebuilt them.  Here we at least had the engine and tranny completely assembled, the forks were assembled, the main wiring harness was in one piece and was color coded to the connecting wires in the headlight, etc. 

The tires were already on the wheels and we assumed, and were right, that they had tubes in them.  They would need balancing but that is not difficult.  And, the rear sprocket was already attached to the rear wheel. The drum brakes and shoes attached to the wheels.  These were not modern disk brakes which made it easier with no hydraulics to contend with. 

 And, my biggest fear was unfounded:  Instead of just throwing all the nuts, bolts, connectors and fasteners into one big confusing package, each package had a small cotton pull string bag in it with the small connectors and fasteners associated with each part.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciated that.  When I found that out I was almost, but not quite, willing not to kill the first representative of Benelli I ever saw, not that any were likely to come to Bowie, Maryland.

So, in fact, it took us longer to get the parts out of the boxes, get the packages open and to get the damned cosmoline off the parts than it did to put the bikes together.  Another surprise piece of good luck was that the oil sump had a dipstick in it so we could figure out how much oil to put in it.  We started with Ethyl gasoline.  Later we learned that regular would be fine.  We took the top cap off the forks and found that they were prefilled, all to the same level.  So we ran a dowel down inside the fork and recorded how far to refill the forks if we needed to later.  We added distilled water to the batteries and were pleased that they did not need any additional acid , so we put them on the charger for an overnight trickle charge.

We started putting the bikes together in late afternoon. We had mine together by about ten that evening and Earl’s together by about midnight.  They looked good, looked like they were put together right.  Everything seemed to work.  Even the primitive balancing we did of the wheels looked good, which ran free and true on the bikes.

I was grateful that Earl had, according to me, “wasted thousands of dollars” on one of the best garage shops man had ever seen.  I wasn't going to give him the pleasure of admitting that.  But there was nothing that we had to go out and track down in either tools or parts.  Miracles do happen!  Or, in this case, Earl was the miracle by having put together a state of the art car and bike repair shop.

Since it was getting late and we had only been drinking, or  as we called it, sipping, since 7 AM, we looked at each other with a Cheshire cat grins and said almost in unison:  "This calls for a drink!"  Turned out he meant a celebration.

He dug out an unopened bottle of Remy Martin VSOP aged brandy, not the best, but far better than I would ever buy (I told you I was cheap a few dozen times, didn’t I?).  Anyway, as I have hinted in earlier posts in this series Earl had this admiration for... no, that is not strong enough, Earl has this "need" for certain standards of civilized behavior that at first confused me, but that I later found to be both rather quaint and endearing. 

He, to look at him, just didn’t look like he gave a damn about much of anything.  But there were these rules he made up for himself that over the years he had made a part of who he was.  Perhaps, and I am just guessing here - but it's a good guess - perhaps he needed to prove to himself that he wasn’t really a just a worthless hard scrabble kid from the Palouse of Eastern Washington, and that he could feign class with the best of them.  He had no illusions that the acts of the high and mighty were rituals that meant much to them. But Earl had never been high and mighty and rich and well born, so as he chose the ones that would be his, these pretenses meant everything to him.

And so, Earl decided that getting those bikes together constituted a special event.  A Sinatra album goes on the turntable and old Frank starts swinging with "I Get a Kick Out of You," "Luck Be a Lady," " My Kind of Town," "New York, New York" and "My Way."  At least those are the ones I remember he liked best.  My memory isn’t that good after all these years but I remember the things that count.  I remember that was one of the things we both agreed on was this: there was nobody who could sing like Frank, then and now.  He was still playing “records” when we visited him shortly before he died and Frank was still numero uno with him, and still is with me.

Then Earl disappears into the kitchen and comes back with the brandy, two giant Washington State yellow delicious apples (sent by one of his kids from “Home”?) and some Brie, already at room temperature and very soft, which means had this in his mind sometime earlier in the evening and took the brie out to soften!

So there we are.  Two guys who grew up dirt poor half a country apart, him a hard scrabble kid of the Palouse and me a tenant farmer’s boy from the rolling plains of Kansas, both of us filthy dirty sitting in two leather chairs, listening to Sinatra, sniffing and sipping VSOP brandy from huge brandy snifters, smearing Brie on crisp, juicy, genuine Washington State apples.

Neither of us say anything for the longest time.  Earl opens a drawer and comes up with an unopened pack of Gauloises, opens it and shakes one out for me and one for him.  Now, I HATED the taste of Gauloises, but this was his moment, his proof of conquering the Palouse and all the people who told him he couldn't, his proof that he could be as sophisticated as the best of all those who held him in disrespect as he grew up, all those who told him he would grow up to be nothing worth talking about – and I wasn’t about to spoil that moment.

We lit up.  He lifted his glass, and I lifted mine.  He is pretty sloshed by now, but his voice is still clear, his movements show no sign of being drunk, and he says, not looking at me but at someone a continent and decades away, “How do you like me now, you pricks?”

Then he turns to me and says:  “We’ll have those suckers running tomorrow!” (Actually the word wasn’t “suckers,” but it sounds similar.)

“You bet we will Earl, but as soon as I finish this brandy I’m going home, going to take a shower, sleep in my own bed, and not set the alarm.  Nobody there is crazy enough to wake me.”

A few songs later Earl walks with me though the garage to the Honda. I start it up, put on my leather jacket and strap on my helmet.  “Good night. See you tomorrow afternoon.”

“Good night.  Careful with that Honda, we got a big day tomorrow”

As I am riding away I look in my mirror and Earl is standing there in the driveway, brandy in hand, Gauloise perched between his lips looking up at the starry sky.  I’m not sure what he was thinking but I imagine it was along the lines of non illigitamus carborundum. The kid from the Palouse was finally in a world of his making.  That was worth celebrating.  And I was glad to be part of it.


  1165 page views 2010 02 03 

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Bravo! Makes me want a bloody mary and good weather to ride (and I would probably kill myself!) This would make such a good book. Consider it.
Thanks, Sig. You are always encouraging me and I appreciate it. When I started this chapter I had no intention of saying anything about how Earl, and I, were both shaped so much by our dirt poor start in life. But the memory came to me when I thought of that beautiful little conceit of Earl's with the brandy and brie. Funny how I had forgotten that.


Those moments when you know you've arrived are worth celebrating.

Hey, LT: I really appreciate you sticking with this series. It clearly isn't for everyone, but I hope to touch some chords with some people. I am surely learning that I remember a lot more of those days than I think I do. As I start writing it seems to pull it up. The stuff about Earl's need for certain rituals and conceits was something that I flirted with in a couple of the earlier posts but I didn't connect it together until I wrote this part tonight. So this is as much a revelation to myself as to anyone else.


Booze, GREAT music, friendship and a lot of parts and tools...That's a recipe for further male bonding Monte. My grandfather taught me when I was young, when putting anything together, get ALL of your parts out, thoroughly read the directions and visualize the sequence of assembly (something you guys weren't privied to) and then have the right tools that will be needed. "Do that Gregory, add a little common sense and elbow grease, and you'll be just fine." I've never forgotten that grandpa.

I digress from my fond thoughts from memory lane, but this was a great piece Monte. I could visualize and audibly hear the music playing. I think I may have even smelled the alcohol a couple of times. Most of all I felt the adventure.

Memories are like precious jewels that can't be stolen.


Peace and Love,
I can see me in the garage with you two, sitting on an upended cinder block, watching you guys do battle against the unseen forces of the motorcycle world. I remember cosmoline, but haven't seen any of that stuff in years and years. Do they still make that evil crap? Yuck!
Although this story may not be for everyone, I am enjoying it immensely and don't mind saying so. It's very entertaining for me and takes me back to places long forgotten. (Very funny, too!)
The loyalty and friendship you and Earl shared is hard to find and should be cherished. I think I would have really liked Earl.

'Til next time.
Thanks, Monte!
So much richness here, Monte! I can smell the Wild Turkey (don't ask), see all of those crazy parts all over the place, picture you and Earl eating your crispy apples with brie on them, and hear the banter between two friends as they attempt to assemble two bikes while clearly inebriated. Thanks for the Montgomery Ward memories, too. You could buy ANYTHING from MW in those days! Your pictures are beautiful, even if the one in Kansas isn't supposed to be. I look forward to learning more about Earl.
Thanks, Greg, for your comments, your encouragement and your unfailing ability to conjure the essence of the images and memories that I try to articulate in this series. Your grandpa had it right and I use exactly his formula whenever I can. It seems to take longer. But it really doesn't because you only have to do it ONCE. ;-)

Right on Monte ... never let those basterds get you down!!!
(I have had an affinity for Latin ever since I read somewhere that things spoken in Latin carry the highest level of vibrations thus ... well ... it's kind of goofy ... but I've learned lots & lots of latin ... lol)
I love Earl. I think Earl and my friend Ashley could spend an eternity together ... first of all they share the same "not so bloody mary" recipe and secondly, they only operate well with the volume at 10. They would be perfect together.
I also think that Cosmoline sounds like the name of a celebrity child ... perhaps the love child of Courtney Love and David Arquette!!!
Thanks for carrying the torch, Monte ... I have loved this story from beginning to end.

ps ~ I'll be singing "Luck Be A Lady" all day now ...
Michael, thanks for reading and commenting. I think you would have liked Earl too. He was a kind of no nonsense guy who cut to the chase and threw out the crap. We were fortunate that on the big things, the things that really drive the world: values, purpose and motivation, we were in perfect harmony.

Unfortunately, in both our cases, we later lost our way for a number of years because we did not realize that alcohol was a value that we both also shared. And alcohol ultimately became the best friend, the reason to be, of both of our lives. I quit almost 19 years ago and we drifted further apart, him believing that he needed booze more than he needed my friendship and me becoming, as the sober years added up, more uncomfortable being around people I cared about who were plastered most of the time.

I was glad that, toward the end of his life, and even though he still literally needed to drink, he was able to see the need to reestablish a deeper friendship again. We got that to a great extent, but never to the depth we knew in the Washington DC days.

But, when all the dust had settled and Earl passed on, in large part due to his alcoholism which he never admitted, I knew then, as I know now, that he was a male friend like I had never known before -- or since.

I also want to say that my closeted OS reading father is your biggest fan ... in fact I think he comes to OS to read you and not me anymore.
I think the two of you would be fast friends ... you both have the same outlook on life.
Thanks again for sharing your life this way ... and not just for those with commenting privledge ... but for guys like my Dad ... that read & enjoy anonymously. :)
Lisa: you are always such a positive influence on me with your kind and enthusiastic comments. I can't tell you how good it is when I hear you talk about how you can picture the scene and hear the banter.

A story is really not very good if the reader can't place himself or herself in the action. I know that a lot of times I think I fall far short of that and it is so good to know that now and then I get it right. Michael said something very similar, of his being in the garage watching and listening to what was going on.

You know I was never much for reminiscing or for writing before I came here. I was good at writing and giving sermons, and some people think it is the same as this, but it really isn't. So much of the impact of a sermon is in the delivery more than in the words. Words count there too, but not in the same way. There the congregation gets to hear them only once so there is no time to let it sink in, and no way for them to go back and re-read some paragraph that touches them. Writing, I am finding is a whole different ball game.


You are a great help to me by encouraging me to continue with this series. Thank you.

I agree with Sig. A great book just waiting to get written. I still have scars on my knuckles from wrenching a Bonneville, and I spent many a night deadening the pain with various concoctions.

How long did the Benellis last before disintegrating? FYI http://www.khulsey.com/motorcycles/vintage_motorcycle_benelli.html
I have been reading this series and consider making a comment more than once, but as this is going along I wanted to wait.

So much of interest here, so much harkens back to my crazy youth as well, not so much with alcohol but more of the herb substance with occasional Wild Turkey and Corona’s chased with Jack Daniels.

The Jack Daniels and Corona is a story in itself for sometime later.

This memory of a different lifetime is what makes us all. As you and I have managed to stumble our way in the last six decades to our present and still be alive is in itself a wonder. As you and I can honestly say we have had multiple lifetimes with ups and downs that have left us wiser and appreciative these remembrances are of important to you, I and many others. For me each of your writings triggers a memory. So many things are flooding back into my consciences that I have put way back in the closet. I thank you for these.

I mentioned in an email very late last night of my difficulty writing a piece on one of that part in my life, my musical journeys in the world of Folk Music. It is so varied with so many stories. Perhaps like what you are doing here I should serialize it. I am just wondering where to begin, at the present and work back or from the beginning. The present and working back may be the most interesting.

Oh, and that Vincent Black Lightning I mentioned last night as I l was listening to the live concert broadcast of Richard Thompson at the Sierra Nevada Brewery Big Room. The song he wrote, “Vincent Black Lightning 1952” he played at the concert during that live concert broadcast. Only 30 were built during 1949-52 and I understand all are on the road. Up until the Kawasaki 500 it was the fasted bike in the world.

The Muse
1 I M: Thanks for your comments, they are always a boost for me.

I think I will never rise to that level of rich and often hilarious humor that I always look for in your work, and always find. You have a rare talent in finding just the right combination of words that capture the levity or the craziness of a moment. It is a gift you have and I am glad I found your blog so I can enjoy it.

Tell your Dad that I am glad that he is enjoying my writing. I am humbled that anyone who was not an active member would take any interest in my writing, so I really appreciate his "anonymous" appreciation of these stories.

Based on reading your work I know how important he is in your life and you can tell him for me that I think he "done pretty good" as a parent. Then again, I might have just told him that if he watches for the comments and replies as well as reading the posts.

Many thanks,


Wonderful memoirs!!!! I can't wait to read about how those Benellis start up and run the next morning!
boaneres1: first, what a great name: Son of Thunder! How can anyone beat that!

Since I don't believe you have commented on my blog before, I checked your blog and see your avatar is a Triumph logo, so you are a man after my own heart.

Do you still have a Bonneville? My first new bike was a '68 Bonneville and my second, and likely last, new bike is an '05 Bonnie Black. There is a nice symmetry to that for me. They are great bikes but the big difference for me is that the '68 was only about 350#s and had such beautiful and classic lines and the engine was a thing of beauty just in its very design. But I too busted a lot of knuckles working on that bike.

The new Bonnie, while it has captured the essence of the older Bonnies, yet is much heavier and bulkier looking, has given me virtually no problems through 20,000 trouble free miles. The work I have done on it has been to add touring items, remove the AI system, and partially debaffle the pipes -- and I had to get rid of a mouse nest in the air filter! Hardly the fault of Triumph.

Thank you much for the link to that Benelli site. I have bookmarked it and intend to spend some time there.

Your comments are much appreciated and I hope you will continue to follow these misadventures as they unwind. And the fact is that the next post in the series will include some discussion of the durability of those little beasts.

Let me know through a PM when you decide to post on your blog. I will look forward to reading it.

Muse: You capture the essence of writing here on OS that we have spoken about and that we both share:

"As you and I have managed to stumble our way in the last six decades to our present and still be alive is in itself a wonder. As you and I can honestly say we have had multiple lifetimes with ups and downs that have left us wiser and appreciative these remembrances are of important to you, I and many others. For me each of your writings triggers a memory."

It is always amazing to me, and I shouldn't still be shocked by it any more, but I am, how when I write, or when I read many of the things you write, memories that weren't really memories because I had forgotten them, just seem to flood unbidden from some well in me that I didn't know I had. I know you share that feeling.

And I will continue to encourage you to start that memoir and history of folk music. Write the first chapter and the rest will come. Write it from front to back or from back to front, it matters not. Or, as I have mentioned to you in PMs, just pick one of the giants in the genre and write on that person. If you do any of that the flow will come, and I and many others will read it, and enjoy it.

I have one of those big coffee table picture books called the Encyclopedia of the Motorcycle that has a great section on the Black Lightening. They were beautiful, powerful bikes, at least a decade ahead of anybody else at the time. They are now, as you know, a lusted after item in the heart of every true collector of the great motorcycles of all time.

I have seen one at the AMA Historical Museum in Pickerington, just outside of Columbus and about 85 miles from here. And I see them occasionally at the Vintage Motorcycle Days 3 day meeting at Mid Ohio Raceway in Lexington, OH. I would like to go down to the new Barber Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham, Alabama and see what that now greatest collection of bikes in the US has to show of them and the other great classic bikes.

Thanks for your constant support and for our good dialogues via PMs as we wrestle with what and how to write. We are good sounding boards for each other.

Jesse Lee: thanks for dropping by and jumping into this series. I try to write it so that people can jump into any one of the posts and not feel lost without going back and reading the whole thing. So I am glad you got a chance to read it.

In a couple of days you will find out IF those evil little bikes started up the next morning! How is that for a tease? It isn't much of one because I have no idea what is going to come out of my fingers to the keyboard of this laptop until I start typing it.

Maybe that is the good thing about blogging, at least for me. If this were writing for a book knowing my perfectionist and compulsive nature it would take at least a week to write and rewrite and edit and redact and start over and..........well, you get the picture.

Also. WELCOME to OS!! And do let me know when you post your own first post. I would like to be there at the unveiling! Just drop me a PM and I will.


I don't have my Bonnie, but I wish I did. It was a 1973 750 five-speed. I've talked (briefly) about it in a couple of articles I wrote for classic bike mags over the years. I started to write something for OS about cracking the ton on it, but found I got too sidetracked onto other issues.

I have a 1970 Triumph TR6 (the single carb version of the 650 Bonnie) in the garage that I'm seriously considering putting back on the road this spring. Needs new skins and a carb overhaul after sitting for a few years.

I do like the looks of the new Bonnevilles (except for the weird kink in the exhaust) -- they've done a good job of evoking the original. But I'm not sure, if I had the money, that I'd buy one -- too much of a masochist at heart. Things haven't been the same since Meriden closed in 1983. The triangular plate is from one of the new versions, though, but I'm thinking about changing it out for something perhaps more appropriate (a bloodstained 5/16ths Whitworth wrench would do it).

Boanerges, as you rightly point out, is "Son of Thunder" (I have no doubt you know who used the expression first and under what circumstances) but I decided on it in remembrance of a lifelong hero, TE Lawrence, who gave his succession of Brough Superiors that name.

Have no fear -- I'll be following the adventures with interest. Here's another blast from the past to keep you motivated (like you need it):

"If there's one thing that I like
It's a burn up on my bike
A burn up with my bird
Up on my bike.
Now the M1 ain't much fun
'Till you try and do the ton
A burn up with my bird
That's what I like."
Boanerges1: sorry I left the g out of your pen name last time. I never could spell that word even when used it in sermons or Bible commentary.

I did not know that was what Lawrence used to call his Brough Superiors. Learn something new every day. I don't know what you thought of the movie, with Peter O'toole but it is one of the few DVDs I actually bought. Mostly I don't like to watch the same movie over and over, but there are a few that I watch a few times each year. Lawrence of Arabia is high on that short list that includes Casa Blanca and Das Boot. I have absurdly eclectic taste in films.

I had not thought of that song in decades. I couldn't remember what it was called or what all the verses were. So I looked it up and some Aussie down under had a page on it. It is called Just for Kicks and I did find the lyrics but could not find a video or audio anywhere on the net. I'm sure there must be one out there in the ether somewhere that I missed.

I have some good Triumph logos around somewhere on one of the computers, including the script of the old Triumph name where the rocking R goes around the H and ties into it as a cross bar. Its a small thing but I think that script is far more elegant than the modern one where the rocking R goes basically to nowhere. Funny how something so inconsequential seems important.

If I can find them I'll figure out how to send the pics to you or see if I can find the same ones on a couple of site I haunt on the web..

Larry of the Dunes, you have the movie. That was what we called the movie with my hip friends back then.

I just got off the phone with someone I had not seen in thirty years, back in the years in which I acquired my theme song at one of he and his wife’s wonderful parties. It was the late 60’s in the Bay Area and as often in that time I would walk into the haze of sweet herb being burnt. Inside would always be the regulars plus some newbie’s the regulars had come across and invited to these hip parties, fondue, great food, fine wine, great music playing. Both in art and music it was an eclectic group, more bohemian than hippie.
Oh Oh, another life to revisit. But I also purchased that DVD and have forgotten it as I had been so busy and as it is long have not set aside the time to see it. Now I have to.

The theme song? Well another great story. Hint, is a Frank Zappa song.

This is what I love about your writing Monte, it continues to bring back stuff I have put in my attic of a mind as I moved from life to life and often forgotten where it is in that attic.
Muse: thanks for reminding me that I will no doubt also dig out more memories than I can possibly think of writing down. The real question for both of us is whether we will remember them after we have remembered them? Perhaps not; if we don't write them down! A Catch 22, no?

Go watch Larry of the Dunes and tell me whether you see something new, different, exciting, brilliant, that you hadn't seen before. THAT is how I judge whether a film is great. Larry of the Dunes has never failed me. Always something pops up, either on the screen or in my head, that wasn't noticed before.

Monte - What exhilarating tales of adventure...man and his bike. And the amazing scenery and places you've been! I am in awe with this but have a phobia about motor cycles. While fascinating to imagine the fresh air and open road adead leading almost anywhere, I have fears from past near accidents and my father's admonition that we never ride motor cycles because of how he saw his best friend die. So, for now, I will enjoy your adventures and live vacariously on the back of your bike!
Cathy, I write these memoirs for people who have no real knowledge of riding motorcycles, or the life style it entails, as well as for the few who have an interest in bikes. If I can give you a feel of its beauty and fun then I have done what I set out to do.

We do not have to be an symphony conductor to appreciate good music, or when we watch travel shows on TV which show lands we will never be able to see in person we don't have to go there to appreciate the beauty before us.

Thank you again for your wonderful words, and do not worry a bit about having a phobia about bikes. In 1976 I developed a phobia about flying in airplanes after three near misses within 90 days when I flew often. Since this I have flown once, in 1983, to get back to the funeral of my mother who died unexpectedly. I was still drinking then and it took about a pint of vodka to get me on the plane. So I know what it is to live with certain things I will not do. It is no problem to me, just like not wanting to ride bikes really doesn't affect your life at all.

God bless,