AS Father’s day approaches, I think about how my father impacted my life and who I am today. There were always pros and cons to the approach my father took to parenting, but he said something to me once that helped my understand that, and I’ve never forgotten it. He said “We do the best we can with the tools we are given”. The reason that struck home I think is because I know he was basically given NO tools at all; he wasn’t taught how to be a man, or how to raise children, or provide for his family. So he did the best he could, and it turned out ok. My sister and I are both relatively successful in what we do and always had a roof over our heads and food to eat. Not always a lot of food or the kind we wanted, but we always ate.
Larry, Me, and Dad at Yellowstone 8-2010.
My dad was in the Navy and spent a lot of time at sea away from home, but when he was home he always tried to take us to great places during the summer, like amusement parks and such. He did his best to spend time with us when he could.
When I was a small child (like kindergarten) my Dad had a BSA and used to give us rides while we sat on the tank, perhaps that’s why I have an affinity for Triumph motorcycles today. When I grew up I had a couple of bikes, but my first street bike was an ’82 Honda Silverwing, which I rode for about a year and a half in the mid ’90s. Life interfered and neither of us rode for a long time until I started riding again in 2007 and my dad began riding again shortly after that.
In 2010 I made what was at the time (for me) and epic road trip with my Dad and brother in-law. We were all on old bikes, an ’83 GL1100A (me), an ’84 GL1200I (bil), and a ’95 Virago 750 (dad). We rode from Lacy, Wa, where we gave the truck and trailer to my then 17 year old daughter, over Mount Rainier, through Yellowstone, stopped off in Sturgis for 3 days during the rally, and then home to Texas. While I hated that my dad was up at 5:30am every morning and forced everyone else to be up by 6am, it was a great adventure.
This ride is what got me into LD riding. I realized i loved it and I’ve always loved travelling and seeing new things and parts of the country. I also realized that I could probably ride longer than the 400 miles a day we did. When I returned home I started looking into motorcycle travel and eventually found out about the Iron Butt Rally (IBR), and by extension the Iron Butt Association (IBA). The IBR immediately went on my bucket list, but I knew I couldn’t be ready by 2013, so I targeted the 2015 IBR. By the end of the year I had decided on what bike I wanted, and picked it up on April 1st of 2011. On May 21st, 2011, with less than 4K miles on the odo I did my first Saddle Sore 1,000 (1,000 miles in 24 hours or less) and earned my IBA membership number. Since then I’ve done numerous rides, a few rallies, and I’m on the starting grid for the Poison Rally (Very complex 32 hour rally in Nevada), the Butt Lite 7 Rally (6 day rally starting and finishing in Minnesota), and the 2015 IBR (11 days and 11,000 miles starting and finishing in New Mexico). I’ve learned alot, and still have lots to learn, but I love this sport and, at least partially credit my dad for that. His health is fading and he is about to sell his bike and never ride again, but I cherish that I was fortunate enough to have had the chance to take that simple, epic ride across the country with him.
Happy Father’s day Dad, I love you.