At the morning fuel stop I was greeted by Vincent (memory jog - Vincent Black Shadow [a classic motorcycle]). We chatted for a bit and then he led into a closely held story from back in his motorcycle days…… (A detail or so might be left out but the story on a whole is written as I recall it).
It’s been years now but I had a bike – 25 years of riding – a small single cylinder model. One night, back when we were in the military, we were out drinking. As the evening grew late we were to the point of being “sober drunk”. The point where you’re drunk but start to think you’re sober. Well, we needed to get some sleep before getting to the base in the morning. Too awake to sleep we decided to hop on the bike and head down to the beach for a bit. Down at the beach they had this nice boardwalk. I always wanted to take the bike out on the boardwalk but it wasn’t allowed. My buddy said – who’s going to catch us – it’s late late night / early morning – nobody’s going to see. So out on the boardwalk we went… Only to be greeted by the only other person who’d be out all night – the town cop sitting in his cruiser.
Fortunately he was a motorcycle enthusiast and didn’t give us a ticket for what we did. Soon enough we got to talking with him on which was faster – my small lightweight cycle or his big heavy V-8 cruiser.
I said ‘give me a 10 second lead and we’ll see who gets to the end of the boardwalk quicker’. The cop agreed and my buddy got into the cruiser with him. Off I went flying down the boardwalk.
One little detail that none of us knew is that the day before the city crews shortened the boardwalk by two blocks. I couldn’t stop in time and off I went. Bike and I separating on the way to the water (which fortunately was at high tide), things ended up in a cold splash. The cop, seeing me ahead disappear over the edge, was able to get the cruiser stopped before going over.
Getting back up to the boardwalk the cop’s reaction was “we have to get that bike out of here before anybody finds out”. Off we went to one of his friends – one that had a tow truck. So now the tow truck was there and we picked my cycle out of the cold water. That done the cop turned to me and said – you don’t know my name and I sure as hell don’t know yours”. With that we all parted – he with his job and me with my wet bike and story.
It took a few weeks of work to get the bike back up and running but fortunately – who’d have figured the odds – the bike stopped running with the valves closed – no salt water in the cylinder.
One parting comment from Vincent – as most every grandparent is – he’s very proud of his granddaughters. Nice guy, great story. Thanks Vincent – I wish you well.