Monday, June 20, 2005

My First Motorcycle was a Mule

First published in Trail Rider Magazine www.trailrider.com

Published for the first time in its unedited form to celebrate
the 19day anniversary of My Mule.

A long time ago I started riding dirt bikes, a long,
long time, yet like most exciting events I am left
with vivid memories, better and more accurate than
what I had for breakfast this morning.I am reminded of
me mum telling the story of how she had lost a gas cap
to something? her car? a lawn mower? Something in the
internal combustion family. Her being a college
educated woman she stuck a potato in the gas hole and
fixed the problem. We all laughed at this story and to
tell you the truth I knew that if I ever lost a gas
cap the first thing I would do would be to riffle
through the potato cabinet for such a elegant
solution. As luck would have it I was riding my Yamaha
60cc Mini enduro and one day I noticed my gas cap was
missing, I swear I did not pull this stunt on myself
its just one of those be careful what you wish for
things. Well my brother Charles Chadwick was keen on
the idea of the potato solution and me not being very
mechanically inclined enlisted his help. We found a
fine potato but had to whittle it into a taper to fit
the hole proper, I found it would not stay put when we
raced so we took some duct tape and taped it over the
gas hole and this worked until the potato shrank or I
ran out of gas and had to un-tape my potato. Again
fate came a knockin' and we found a gas cap that fit
the bike but it was a little over sized so it looked
like I had a pot pie pan on my gas tank, no problems
it worked better than the potato. I need to call my
mum and find out what sort of gas hole a potato works
on, I'm just not ready to take this one out of my bag
of tricks.
This was back in the late sixties early seventies
when motocross was in its infancy and Evil Knievel was
the image of motorcycling. I moved to a town called
Lizton in Indiana and lived on 9 acres of land, my
folks,brother and eventually my sister (first girl of
European decent born on the Beagly dump Road) joined
me which was pretty cool since I was only seven and
had no real education or trade I could support myself
with so my folks house and money came in handy. At the
time of the move me Da bought me a Sears mini bike,
basically a lawn mower engine bolted into a rigid
frame, later I grew into the 60cc mini enduro and that
was when things really began to gel. My brother
Charles Chadwick and myself quickly befriended all the
other kids nearby that had dirt bikes and spent most
of our free time laying out in our back field a state
of the art moto cross course, we had access to two
Ford tractors both with grader boxes and disks and
other homemade trail groomers and soon had a motocross
course and a respectable oval flat track. We had about
three other neighbors who had natural terrain courses
set up, some trail, some European style motocross.
This was pre "Pong " technology so we made our own
fun. Sometime during all this my dad traded a guy he
found in a newspaper ad his 25 caliber pistol for a
1955 Packard, they guys wife protested claiming her
husband was just going to shoot himself and not to
trade him, but the car was pretty sweet so spit and a
handshake and the deal was done. My dad proclaimed it
was my car and gave me the keys, I was around 11 and
was pretty proud to be have given the responsibility
of owning a car. Seems my ownership also meant he
could drive the thing? Anyway one day my brother and
our friends and fellow moto freaks the Leak boys
decided it would be fun to drive the old Packard
around our track, when my turn finally arrived I hit a
wide sweeper at such momentum that the battery came
loose and tumbled across the engine block, the car
stopped dead in its tracks mid slide. Being more
mechanically minded than myself I let my brother and
Big John tow my car off the track to work on, they
could not get it running so naturally they removed the
hood and pulled it behind the tractor as a sled. For
some reason my dad seemed a little perturbed, he
apparently was not as impressed by our resourcefulness
as we were, as winter set in he grumbled even more as
the bare engine sat open to the winter elements and we
whooped and hollered riding around on the Packard hood
behind the tractor, the snow was the best for land
sledding. He got over it eventually and I forgive him
his pouting.
I remember when my Da had a guy that did dirt work
for him bring his bulldozer out one weekend to help
build some jumps on our Moto-Cross course. I also
remember thinking a few years ago he probably lied
about the guy doing it for a six pack, I don’t think
you can run a bulldozer for two days for a six pack, I
think he made this story up just to appease me Ma.
Two days of bulldozer work cost more than he probably
wanted to admit so he did what was necessary, he just
outright lied. As the old saying goes you should only
lie to two people your boss and your wife,
unfortunately I’m my own boss and I’m not married so I
suffer an emptiness that could only be fulfilled by
having someone I could honestly lie to. This
bulldozer guy built some nice jumps and a mighty fine
mud/water hole for us to jump over. We caught a carp
and put it in the mud/water hole. We think the thing
died.I remember my sis Cait was awful fond of that
pond, and still to this day maintains that we jumped
over her on our bikes while she was playing in the
pond.(She likes to call it a pond and I don’t blame
her I’d hate to tell people that I used to play in a
mud hole with a dead carp) We found an old bathtub and
built a wooden ramp out of about 4 -2’ x 6"s nailed
side by side and propped up against the empty tub, we
used it to jump the mud hole, good fun was had by all,
even my sister (who was never in any danger).
I reckon I was a pretty talented rider since I
could beat around 75 to 80% of our neighbors racing so
I got serious and went to my first sanctioned race in
Red Springs North Carolina, there were three people in
my class and I finished 2nd. Not to bad if you think
about it right, my brother I cant remember how he did
but he did win the jumping contest, I think he won
around $25.00 , however he doesn’t brag about this
much since after the race we watched some kid on a
bicycle out jump his best effort. Back home in Indy I
was on a roll so being my da was heavy into flat
tracking we entered ourselves in a classic flat track
race, my brother again I dont know what he was riding
nor how he finished but I pinned my mini enduro full
throttle and ran the mile course with out so much as
braking, the officials waved me in and told my dad
that I needed to sign up for the mini bike class,
which we reluctantly did, they set up our course on
the front stretch a tiny little oval as I recall I
finished 3rd out of 9 riders! I think I won a first
place trophy somewhere but cant be sure where or when
since your not my boss or wife.
Skip forward a few years and I’m on a 1978 Husky
WR250 oh so very very sweet! I had come to the
conclusion after catapulting myself into the ground
numerous times that moto-cross and even hare scramble
forced me to exit the envelope and beat the living
hell out of myself. So when I had a chance at enduro I
thought cool I can ride my own race, I’m not out to
win I just love to ride trails. Upland Indiana
November 1981, having no idea what time keeping was
and really no interest, sporting my original tires,
chain, rings etc. I may have put a new plug in the
bike and cleaned the air cleaner,bark buster I dont
need no stinking bark buster! What’s a bark buster? I
should have been better prepared, would have been
better prepared but I lost my sponsor me da finally
came to his sense’s. I set off on what would be one of
the coldest, longest most miserable days of my life.
Mud, wet leather gloves steaming as I rotated hands,
the lucky one got to steam on the engine until I
regained feeling which was pain, trees that were to
stubborn to move, bark busters I think I see the
wisdom now, I lost my shifter towards the end of the
ride, putting along in 2nd gear wondering when this
thing would end…eventually it did and well I finished,
did not hour out no less! It beat me up, I know now
what the hood of that Packard covered with
hillbillies drug around behind a tractor all day must
have felt like. I was hooked, I knew enduros and
trail riding was where I belonged.
Twenty eight years after my last trophy in moto cross I
trophied again 5th place in an enduro by god and that
my friend is pretty damn good!

12 Comments:

At 5:20 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your my hero dude.

 
At 1:57 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tell you, it's all a lie. I was the first "european" child born on the Beagly Dump Road. I was during the depression years, 1932. And me folks lived in a carboard box on the dump road. I was born in 1933 without the help of a doctor or hospital. Just a cardboardbox and some discarded newspapers.I was the first to be born thre. It wasn't even named until the 1940s or early 50s after an early settler. Ernest T Bass Beagley. A wonderful man.
So there.

 
At 8:31 AM , Blogger josh williams said...

A fancifull tale but a bold face lie.The road was named after the Reverand Al Sharpton Beagley and he opened a dump on the road in 1921 long before your arrival. Nice try anonymous, please dont try to steal my sisters glory again.

 
At 3:37 AM , Blogger Euphorbia said...

As an objectionist, I must believe that in the writers mind this is all the complete truth(which doesn't make it a lie) In reality however...one must come to their own conclusion.

 
At 5:13 AM , Blogger josh williams said...

Thats all well and good but I right anonymous is wrong. If you don't beleive me its all at the Beagly Dump Road Museum Campground. There is a statue of Reverand Beagly in the fountain!

 
At 10:05 AM , Blogger Euphorbia said...

HA! Having checked the national registry of fountains, there is NO fountain listed at the Beagly Dump Road Campground! Perhaps what you thought you saw, was your old pal Smedley standing in a wading pool. Which brings us back to the fact that 50% (or less) of this posting is actual truth!!!

 
At 10:14 AM , Blogger josh williams said...

My friend Vickie Leak, after much field research did indeed find a Smedley fountain.

 
At 5:05 PM , Blogger josh williams said...

Now I can finish I was interupted during my last posting, work people just don't get things like...proving Euphorbia wrong. I have photos and a signed afterdavid which states that the Smedley statur/fountain is genuine. Case closed! I have half a mind to close this page to further comments but I recgonise Euphorbia (who I once called Euphy, before he began questioning me) will accept utter and complete defeat with grace and honor. Thank you Euphorbia for your future "My Mule Promoting" input.

 
At 5:37 AM , Blogger Euphorbia said...

NEVER!!! And you're welcome, don't mention it.

 
At 7:09 AM , Blogger josh williams said...

Thata boy!Thanks for not pointing out all my typos, I was in a hurry. Lets hear it for a declawed and more civilized Euphorbia! Hip Hip! Hip Hip!

 
At 9:15 AM , Blogger Euphorbia said...

So when you had the dream that you won all of those races, those were really the statues in the fountains you were racing against. Right?? That would explain how you could think that you won. The typos came at a weak moment. Don't get ahead of yourself. I noticed.

 
At 10:53 AM , Blogger josh williams said...

Lay off you know I'm senstive!

 

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