The Bumblebee and the Vespa 2014

I think it's time for me to redefine what this new blog is about. In the past I've posted individual blogs for motorcycle/motor scooter rides to places like Alaska, Nova Scotia, Key West, Mexico, Canada, New York, etc. That's all well and good but it seems nowadays I'm dividing my rides into shorter ones comprised of two or more weeks each on different bikes. The total time and mileage is about the same, it's just split into multiple rides with a break somewhere in the middle.

The summer of 2014 serves as a good example of that wherein I rode south to Tombstone, AZ on my '92 BMW R100GS Bumblebee/Ural sidecar rig, (phew!) then returned home for a few days and set out again on my '07 Vespa 250ie motor scooter to visit Canada. That summer has gone and the seasons have changed as will the reports, some will be about shorter rides, some will be about maintenance, and maybe on occasion I'll post a photo or two just for interest. I may even introduce other bikes, a few of which are lurking under cover in the barn...

Navigating this blog is easy, just scroll down the list of posts by date to whatever interests you, click on it and you're in. Photos can be viewed in larger format by clicking on them.

Finally, if you'd care to post comments please do so, I'd love to hear from you. CLICK ON "NO COMMENTS" TO ENTER YOUR REMARKS. That seems really silly but that's how it works. The entry window is located at the bottom of each screen. Thanks for visiting, I hope you enjoy your stay.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mar 07 - Yamaha XS-1 - Thinning the herd

Way, way back in late 1970 I decided it was time to give up dirt riding and take to the tarmac. The little Honda SL350 Enduro I owned kept trying to tell me something; namely that my off-road riding skills weren't adequate to keep me from serious injuries. After a final Saturday morning tumble down the mountain I limped home with the realization it was time to get real and get off the dirt.

Sorry, this will have to do, no pics could be found of my own SL-350

With that in mind I set about finding a suitable replacement that would make a decent road bike. I had in mind one of Honda's CB450s as the likely choice, big enough to haul me anywhere I'd care to go and reliable as can be.

I'd still love to ride one of these
My search through the local dealer network proved fruitless until I spoke with a salesman at Ray Garner Yamaha in east Portland. When I asked if they happened to have a used CB450 he replied with "Wouldn't you rather have a new Yamaha XS-1 650 instead?"

Wouldn't I! Sweet! And a shaker to boot!
Turns out they had one left-over model they wanted to move out to make way for the new incoming '71s. They offered it to me at a price I couldn't refuse plus gave me a generous trade-in allowance for my SL350.

Photo taken by George Olsen on the occasion of the Yamaha's 25th birthday
For the next 44-odd years I baby-sat the green beastie riding it south to California's bay area and north to Vancouver Island in BC. In between times I rode mostly around the Portland area, favoring rides up Mt Hood and along the Columbia River Gorge.

During this period I also owned a number of other bikes, ones that were more comfortable with better handling characteristics and so help me God, electric starters! I rode them back and forth across the US and Canada, north to Alaska, south to Mexico, it was crazy. Meanwhile the Yamaha languished under its cover, secluded in the garage or barn and only ridden occasionally.

The years continued to roll by until the spring of this year, 2015 when I decided it was time to let it go. What was the point after all of owning a beautiful and now vintage bike and never riding it? I started mentioning this to my riding buds and one of them, Jerry Smith, posted a small inquiry on the Adventure Rider's forum regarding this model and also commented that I'd been thinking about selling. Within hours a collector from Olympia, WA contacted him and Jerry forwarded my name & contact info to him.

Wotta sweetheart...and the bike ain't bad either! Eww...
kick start? Hell yes, I can still do it. Just stand back.
Woof! Wacha doin Dad? Your face is kinda red...
Never you mind, that popping sound was just my knee
The rest was history, he got in touch with me and we agreed on a price and scheduled a time he could call for it. The drive from his home east of Olympia was a long one, nearly 7 hours but he made it without incident and loaded the bike onto the back of his truck.

Me on the left, smiling new owner Vincent on the right
Young guys, lotsa muscle...whew!
Tying it down nice & snug
Moment of wistfulness...45 years is a long time
Time to head 'em up, move 'em out!
Bye bye baby...gonna miss you
Hey, ya still got me Dad, right?  -  Good point Riley, I still have you.
So that's that, the beastie's gone to a new home to live in style with a really nice couple. No worries about going under the saw and becoming a hack-job for a cafe racer wannabe, it's a new life of careful stewardship and the occasional show. For an old bike that's about as good as it gets.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comments & feedback [unless you're with the spelling police]