Wild Hogging in Colorado
Unless you knew me back then (2006 – 2007) you’d find it hard to believe that the Real Truckmaster was at one time a Wild Hog-type. We didn’t call ourselves that but every time I watch the movie I find myself drifting back to a time when my buddy (who will remain anonymous) brought over a ‘83 Honda 750cc Magna and asked if I wanted to buy it. He knew I needed a bike I could straddle the seat with both feet on the ground.
It was a basic no frills bike and riding it that first morning over to his place where we were going to ride somewhere was an eye opener. What I mean was riding in 37 degree weather with no windscreen at 45 mph made my teeth chatter and my face felt like it had been frozen.
It was nothing like my younger days of riding my ‘63 moped in sleepy Boise, Idaho during my high school years. Nor was it reminiscent of my Thailand days riding my Blue Honda 125cc with my “ol’ lady” on the back on that 350+ mile drive from south from Northeastern to Southwestern Thailand with a suitcase strapped on the luggage rack. Or the red 90cc Honda I brought back from Japan and rode it in Colorado Springs, up Powers Blvd at 35 mph looking like the Pillsbury Doughboy on a pedal bike with traffic whizzing past at breakneck speeds in ’91.
I had great plans and ideas of endless riding without a care in the world until one day I got on the interstate I-25 and wound that bike up but couldn’t get it to the posted speed limit of 75. It felt like it was starving for fuel even after I had topped off the tank. Another time riding with a friend we stopped in at a Loaf n Jug to get fuel, a cup of black coffee (not that fufu stuff I drink now) and a doughnut. As we’re sitting inside just beginning to talk I look outside and my bike is peeing……a stream of fuel like I’ve never seen before. Lucky for me my riding buddy was a Honda mechanic and was able to locate a hole in the fuel line and get it stopped. After we got back to his garage we stripped the fuel line with an unauthorized or unneeded inline 2nd fuel filter and replaced it with a new fuel line. Man that bike had power and 75 was no problem anymore.
I went whole hog with leather jacket, chaps, gloves, boots and we did a number of rides from Colorado Springs to Westcliff, Pueblo, Limen and all points in between. Sometimes there would be 3 or 4 of us riding to Canon City for lunch and back. I was able to ride with a men’s church group a few times after church.
I got involved with the Patriot Guard for a time riding for funerals of US servicemen and veterans. One time during an escort from DIA to the church the entire escorted convoy was on Hwy 70 in stop and go traffic. It was hot and my bike overheated. I couldn’t get it started and had to find the nearest exit, head down the ramp I got it running. I took an alternate route to the church and by the time I arrived everything was done and the guys from Colorado Springs had already headed back home. Had a few protest groups show up but they were only a small nuisance.
I had a two instances occur that really changed my focus on riding and the first occurred as I was returning from Parker on Hwy 85/83. I was southbound and as I approached the Northgate Road a motorhome pulled out in front of me. Not panicking I prepared to shift right an around him then encountered a vehicle and a boat he was pulling and was still able to shift right around them all and still stay on the apron. It was a close call.
The second occurred in 2007 as I was headed out to meet other bikers for a final ride before a predicted incoming storm was scheduled for our area. I was in town and decided to turn onto a side street, as I was turning I hit the curb causing the bike to fall on top of me. A passerby came over and pulled the bike off of me. I stood up and attempted to push the kickstand down with my left leg and found that it was broken and I almost passed out from the pain. Someone said they were going to have to cut off my chaps and boot. I said no way, reached over and unzipped the chaps top to bottom and upon removing my boot and found that besides my broken leg my femoral artery had been punctured by one of the engine mounting bolts.
When the ambulance and the police had arrived they asked which hospital I wanted to go to, so I said I wanted to go to the USAFA hospital because I’m retired military. The hospital refused to accept a motorcycle trauma patient so I went to one of the other local hospitals and landed on the operating table of Dr. Storm. I received a titanium rod in my leg to secure the bone.
On a follow up visit to his office I was behind a guy in a wheelchair with a metal contraption called a Halo affixed to his head. He had been in a motorcycle accident and I decided I didn’t want to end up like that. Plus my wife said either the bike or she goes and to be honest – that bike didn’t cook.
My last interaction with the Patriot Guard was during the Veterans Day Parade that year when I showed up in a wheelchair to watch the parade and speak to some of the PG riders. I miss the bike and the rides and have learned on valuable lesson – “It’s not the destination but the journey”! – I am the Real Truckmaster!
(The picture is me sitting on my uncle Gene’s bike a few years ago).