Author Topic: My First Ascot...  (Read 19909 times)


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My First Ascot...
« on: August 18, 2013, 10:54:15 am »
I was fortunate enough to be able to purchase a lightly used 1984 VT500FT back in the early spring of '88. It had a bit over 5K miles on it & had been kept in either an office, or a garage all its life. It was one of the black ones & I thought it was about the best looking motorcycle I had ever seen. It was my first street-bike, after being away from bikes for many years since I had sold my RM125 at 17 years old to buy a car. I was visiting my parents in Arizona at the time, when I found the bike. I'd had a bit of luck at the casinos a few nights before & had enough money to make a down payment. After visiting the local bike shop to purchase a new helmet, oil filter & some motorcycle oil, I changed the oil & checked out the bike prior to riding it home to Southern California.

I took off early in the morning with a small suitcase strapped onto the back & had to stop within about 10-15 minutes to start digging through the suitcase for more clothes, as I was freezing. I made it for about another 20-30 minutes & pulled over at a mini-market to buy a cup of coffee. It was just too cold & I was dressed to lightly. I sat there & warmed up for about a half hour or so, while waiting for & watching the sun come up. I took off after I finished my coffee & finally started to make some time. After about 50 miles I began to realize that I had another problem. My right hand was becoming completely numb. I pulled over & let the blood flow back into my hand & then hit the road again. And so it went for the rest of the trip. I stopped about every 50+ miles, or every fuel station, whichever came first. I didn't know what my fuel capacity or range was yet, so I stopped & topped off every chance I had. I was riding down a lonely road, across some even more lonely desert. Not a place to risk running out of fuel. I remember one extremely desolate stretch, where the only other people that I saw, was a couple riding expedition style bicycles uphill in the opposite direction! Suddenly I didn't feel so crazy after all.

The trip measured about 275 miles to my house & other than the minor set-backs that I already described, went off without a hitch. It was primarily two lane blacktop until I reached I-10. This was my first sign of real civilization & real traffic. I had yet to ride a motorcycle on a modern freeway with traffic & I'll never forget my first impressions of mixing it up with the cars on the road with me. It was very intimidating at first, until I realized that when I was sitting upright in the saddle I could see over the top of most of the cars & I knew that I could out-handle them if needed.  So... I forced myself to relax, concentrate on the flow of traffic & just go with it. By the time I reached I-15 south, I had become more comfortable & was in the home stretch.

It wasn't any epic adventure by any means, but it remains as my longest ride in one day & one of my favorite motorcycle memories. 8)

« Last Edit: August 18, 2013, 10:57:40 am by J6G1Z »