Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Whoa, It's An Indian!

Since the weather finally took a break from establishing new rainfall records, tremendous flooding and life and property loss, I feel that I need to take a weather break as well. I rode to work in what is being called the "Hundred Year Flood". And I'm glad I did.

So I thought I'd yak a little about what inspires me to ride, and who. One time about three summers back, while camping at a place called South Beach on the Pacific coast of Washington, I met a guy named Ian Davidson.

My wife and kids, my in-laws, and a group of friends make a trip to camp at South Beach on the third week of July every year. It's called "primitive" camping because there are no RV hook-ups, running water etc., just open space above the beach to pitch a tent, or park your trailer. It's beautiful there.

Well, It's been my custom every year to load up on motorcycle magazines to read and share with Corndog, (my father in law) while hanging around camp. And on one late afternoon, I was drinking coffee and reading about a 1945 Indian in American Iron Magazine, when I heard it. Putt, putt, putt,...and I looked up to the road just beyond Corndogs rig, and there it was. A 1939 Indian Sport Scout.

Green and cream, with beat up leather saddle bags, and a windshield that looks as if it had been on since new. The rider was wearing a puddin' bowl helmet, and a weather worn letterman's style jacket with an original Indian patch on the back. I had to meet this guy.

I waited and watched as the rider got settled in on "the hill" at the end of the camp area. I grabbed two cups of coffee and walked up to where the rider was sitting at his picnic table, and offered him a cup. We exchanged introductions and talked about his bike, and where he was going. Ian was on his way to an AMCA event in Oregon, and was taking the coastal route US 101. He had begun his trip in Deming, Washington, about an hour north of Seattle. Having been in the logging business, Ian was now setting up shop to work on old bikes he told me. His newest bike in years of vintage was a 1948 Harley Davidson.

I asked Ian to join my family at our campfire for dinner and he accepted. We spent the evening talking and sharing stories, and I tried to absorb as much as I could, because I recognized this as one of those moments that I wanted to remember. The next morning was just as interesting.

I woke early to look up on the hill and find Ian under the picnic table. As I found out later, he had just rolled his sleeping bag out on top of the table, but found himself in the drizzle coming off the water in the early hours, then moved underneath to stay dry. Corndog had walked up with me to visit and bring coffee, and had pretty much leaned in a bent position on the table while Ian and I talked. After coffee, Ian suited up in his old jacket and rainpants and I thanked him for spending time with my family.

It was about this time that old Corndog stood up and said in a strained tone, "I gotta crap!", and took off in the same bent position about 200 yards to the outhouse. We watched him shuffle away as Ian kick-started the Indian with hand painted logo's on the tank to life. He put on the old helmet and goggles, then shook my hand and putted away.

I've spoken to Ian since that day, and told him that he was an inspiration to me. When I think about the weather being too tough, I think of that guy on the old Indian sleeping out in the middle of it. And then I put on my gear and putt away.

Have fun,


Anonymous gary said...

You know, it was the old-school biker types who captured my imagination back in the early 1970s, and put me on the road I ride today.

Ian sounds like one of those, an endangered species in this age of the weekend warrior.

Nice story...

Ride well,

9:44 AM  
Blogger Bill Sommers said...

Gary, Ian was about as real as it gets. He's the "In living color" person from those old black and white photos that I like to look at.

I think we're supposed to meet guys like this every now and then to help us grow.

Have fun,

8:41 AM  

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