The Worst Gift I Ever Gave My Husband...
It's true... I bought this pile of motorcycles for Patrick's 30th Birthday in 2002. Let's have another look, shall we?
Yup, there they are... All 12 of them. Two of them actually ran. Well kinda... sorta...they may have needed a little finessing to get them going, but Patrick has those sort of man skills. But honestly, I think he may have started them... once.
It wasn't because he didn't like that kind of bike. In fact, his very first dirt bike was a 1972 Honda CT 70. And here he is with it.
Gosh, even with all the stains on this photo, doesn't he look adorable? Oh sorry, there might be guys reading this... I meant to say, doesn't he look like the happiest kid on the planet? Isn't this the stuff that little boy's dreams are made of? Well, that's what he's always telling me anyway. And the joy he got out of this bike... Hmmm, lemme see.
Toting his lil' bro, Jerry around in the snow yard. That looks fun!
Trail riding through the farmers field, exploring new territory. Protecting his shins from the brush with those tall knee socks.
Taking his friends and cousins for rides. Man, everybody wants to go for a ride on the long seat of a Honda 70... They even have pegs for the passenger to put their feet on!
I think some of his very best memories are of taking the bike to his family's mountain house in Potter County Pennsylvania. Just look at the expression on his face... I can read his thoughts from here, "hurry up and take the picture, Mom! I'm READY to ride!"
Just check out the air he could catch on that thing.
There's Mommom in the background. Probably telling him to get his butt inside and eat dinner before it gets cold. Oh, I can picture it now... Everyday, off the school bus, grab a snack and out the door to ride.
Ok... So, back to this. Fast forward to 2002, even though this photo looks like it's from the 80's.
I came up with a fabulous plan. This was my thought process... Patrick was born in 1972. Patrick's first dirt bike was a 1972 model Honda CT 70. Patrick was turning 30. What kind of cool Birthday gift can I get him? Are you hearing me people? Thinking what I'm thinking? That's a no brainer! Doesn't that sound like a fantastic idea? Oh... but, wait... A restored 70 is how much? At least $2500! Say what?! I can't do that... That's way too much money!
Now, what you have to remember is, this was all before Craigslist and smart phones. I did my research, looked in the local newspapers, checked ebay, and asked around but I wasn't having any luck. I DID happen to find a guy who was selling a whole Lot of them in Eugene, OR. It's about a 2 1/2 hour drive from us. He was asking $3K and firm. It was a treasure in his mind. He had been collecting them for years and had tons of parts, too. I stewed about it and contemplated the pros and cons. But, in the end, I loaded up my two little kids who were 5 and 1 at the time in our big extended cargo van and made a road trip to go get them. I had cash. My grand idea, looked kind of like this in my frugal mind.... This is a lot of money, but...We'll get the bikes, Patrick can fix them up, we can keep 4 for our family (mine will have custom paint and a fur seat) and make all our money back if he can JUST restore 2 of them to sell. That leaves 6 other bikes to use as parts, etc. It almost makes sense, right? And, how fun! Another creative project for me making custom seat covers! We'd be the coolest kids on the block!
Only problem was... He didn't want another project, because I had already talked him into this one↓....
Our first house! She was an old craftsman in a great neighborhood with a spare lot. I'll be posting about her soon, I don't want to get ahead of myself but let's just say, she needed a LOT of work! And, Patrick was just the guy for the job. So while major remodel and overhaul was going on, I was out buying 12 dilapidated dirt bikes for him to fix. Do you see one of my fatal errors here? Timing!! But, he was only going to be 30 once?! And, this was going to be the gift of a lifetime!
Anyway, the house was in this stage when I pulled up with a load of run down motorcycles.
It was bad... Not to mention, the same day that I got the bikes, Patrick discovered that there was still old "hot" knob and tube wiring in the house and he had to tear the whole ceiling out of the first floor. Imagine his dismay when I pulled up and he was standing in 2' of rock wool and newspaper insulation from the 1920's! Let's just say he was p r e t t y upset with me. He tried to make me return them, but the guy wasn't going to have it. And, poor me, I had to go back to Eugene and get the second load of bikes and parts. I wanted to vomit! My heart was crushed... I was getting slapped in the face from my good intentions and hopeless vision for seeing potential in a warn out pile of metal! All I could do was promise to make it right by selling them. Um, yeah...sounds great? Is there anyone out there as crazy as me? Patrick was sure I over paid, too. Darn it, he's usually right in those matters. It did take me a few months, but I eventually found a buyer. Two collectors came down from Seattle and whittled me down on my price, but they were the only ones who showed any interest and I needed to let them go. I think I lost $800! Not including travel expense and the emotional toll of it. Now... Looking back, we laugh... Pretty hard! He still wants one of those bikes, but I'll be damned if I'm going to be the one to buy it. That's his department! Here's a photo of the dream bike.
"The best gift that I never gave my husband was surely this 1972, Candy Ruby Red Honda CT 70."
I'd like to give a special thank you to my mother and father-in-law for all the photos that they have taken over the 35+ years of Patrick riding and racing dirt bikes. It's so fun to go through the old ones and see where his passion began. Also, a side note about Patrick's first bike... His parents actually repurposed 2 of his uncle's worn out 70's to make his one complete first bike. Patrick was 7.