Traveling across the country to a boat show (or for any reason) is always a fun experience if you make it fun. Here’s the Pop Quiz for today – “Anybody here today old enough to remember these old gas pumps?” I have to admit that I do…
You pulled up to the pump, if the gas jockey wasn’t around you simply turned the small handle on the upper left side of the pump in a circular motion to re-set the pump dial to Zero, then you take out the nozzle and slide the gadget down to power up the pump motor, and you started filling. It was done on the honor system. No swipe cards, no pre-pay, just start pumping. For few years now, in the State of Oregon it’s against the law to pump your own gas – period.
But I also remember that the first car I ever owned at 16 was a 1955 Chevrolet 210 (2 door sedan, we referrred to them as a 2DR-Post). It had a factory ignition switch that was found in many late 50’s Chevrolet’s, that allowed you to remove the ignition key, but if the ignition switch wasn’t locked, the switch was designed in a way that and you could still start the car without the key. Anybody remember those? I remember driving for weeks without ever using the ignition key, that’s just the way it was then. That old ’55 Chevrolet also had a 450HP 427 L-88 Aluminum Head Chevrolet big block with a M22 (Rock Crusher) 4-speed, I took my drivers test in that car… a story for another day.
Fast forward to 2011 – How technology has changed from those days. My Harley-Davidson has a throttle by wire, no more throttle cables – just an electronic pick-up on the throttle that sends a signal to to the electronic fuel injection. The Harley doesn’t actually have an ignition key… It has a key fob that you keep in your pocket and it disables the security when you get within 15 feet of the bike. You turn a big retro looking knob on the gas tank, hit the starter and ride away, so I guess some things never change really… I still don’t need a key in the ignition to start the motor just like the ’55 Chevy… Just don’t loose the key fob, and if you do – don’t shut the motor off, because it won’t start again without the key fob. (you can override the security with PIN Number if you know the procedure and remember your 5 digit PIN)
Well I managed to cover 900 miles today, covered Northern Idaho, Washington State, Oregon, a slice of California and now in Nevada just north of Reno. An easy 1 hour ride down to South Lake Tahoe on Saturday morning so we can get to the boat show and start reporting on boats instead of old cars & bikes.
Hot August Nights, one of the largest car guy gatherings in the west is also happening in Reno & the South Lake Tahoe area starting next week, so I am hoping to spend some time there between the South Lake Tahoe boat show and the Lake Tahoe Concours which is on the week of August 13th.
As the Woody Boater banner says, this week we are on the Hagerty Fantasy Road Trip, and our objective is to provide a few interesting “Travelogue” stories as we travel along the highways and biways in the Western United States. For me this isn’t so much about selling Hagerty Insurance, or promoting the brand as it is for Matt & I to give something back to Hagerty Marine Insurance for everything they do for us and the hobby. To show our appreciation for their support.
Do you want “Regular” insurance or “Premium” insurance from Hagerty?
Motorcycles certainly are not for everybody. People must read these stories and think “Why would Texx ride a motorcycle 1,400 miles in the blazing heat and rain, when he could take a 3 hour flight to Reno or drive an air conditioned Mercedes Benz to Reno?
Well for me it’s all about “Windshield Time” – It helps me to clear my mind, do some mental housekeeping. If you treat the ride like an adventure and not just another form of transportation, it will become an adventure. I know where my destination is this week – South Lake Tahoe. But there are dozens of diffferent routes to get there without just barreling down a dangerous Interstate Highway.
My adventure today was when I decided to take an unknown road (unknown to me) south of Tri-Cities, Washington (Richland, Kennewick, Pasco) along secondary highway 395 through the entire length of Oregon.
After a couple hours I came up on a group of about 30 Vietnam Vets all riding motorcycles, two by two on the narrow single lane highway. They were riding about 10 MPH slower that I like to ride, but I just joined in at the back of the pack beside the last guy, he looked at me and smiled briefly to indicate that I welcome to join along. We rode together for about 1-1/2 hours along the long, lonely stretch of road. They were getting in some “Windshield Time” with their fellow vets, maybe what helps keep them sane.
As we rode together, I had to stop and think about what they went through all those years ago. Last fall I was asked to write a eulogy for one of my best biker buddies Peter, who died in a motorcycle accident last year. We rode thousands of miles together, and he was a Vietnam Vet. He didn’t like to talk about his experiences in Vietnam, and I never asked. But on rare occasions, late at night or sometimes in the middle of the night, after a long day of riding, when he needed someone to talk to about Vietnam, I was there to listen. The stories he privately shared with me still haunt me today. I miss my best biker buddy Peter, but riding with those Vet’s today was my way of paying tribute to my buddy Peter and his memory.
After 1-1/2 hours, the group of Vets pulled in to a campground and I rode past. Every one of them waved goodbye to me as only bikers do.
Oh by the way, some folks have reminded me that my TEXX licence plate is expired. The Village of Woodyboaterville has given me a special exemption, Matt knows the guy (Wilbur) at the VOW – DMV Licence Plate Department. If you are ever in there, he’s the guy behind the counter with the classic Captains Cap.
Stay tuned to Woody Boater for some Live-ish antique & classic boat show reports from South Lake Tahoe this weekend.