091- Motorcycles, lap two

I used to go to spend a lot of time at my cousins, the Bjuir’s (the “j” is silent). They lived on top of Chehalem Mountain a ways up from our farm. They had a lot of acreage with different orchards on the slopes. The house was really big with a pool. Mike and Matt, the two boys, both had dirt bikes.
1970 Greg

Greg in 1970

There weren’t a lot of people on the mountain back then. The roads were rough gravel roads. We would be gone all day riding all over the mountain. The gravel roads were really fun because you could drift around the corners real easy. The back wheel of the bike would be spinning out to the side of us as we rounded the curves. We would go over to the Gardner’s, or the Colby’s, or to the Clark’s place. We hardly saw any traffic up there. One time Mike and I were riding the gravel roads coming down this long straight hill. Mike was in front and he decided to ride with no hands. Well, you know how gravel roads get those washboard bumps…. I remember thinking, why isn’t he grabbing his bars, he knows those bumps are coming doesn’t he?!
I can see like it was yesterday, like it happened in slow motion.
He hit the bumps and his front wheel slammed to one side while he was just reaching forward. Then the wheel slammed back and forth and he was headed over the handlebars. We were going a pretty good clip and he was delivered some pretty good road rash on that gravel. Mike had some “choice” words for it all. The front forks had dented his tank on both sides from whipping back and forth. His chain came off the sprocket and his paint was scrapped up pretty good. We got the chain back on and he “hobbled” the bike back to his place to “lick his wounds.” I had pretty much out-grown my bike a while ago, so I sold it. Oh, I wasn’t giving up riding! My brother-in-law, Richard and his family were good friends of a well-known Indian Clan in Washougal Washington called the Walooskas. Chief Walooska’s son rode a 250cc CZ (a very fast Czechoslovakian made bike). European bikes were way ahead of all the Japanese bikes at that time. Well the Chief’s son crashed really bad on the bike and broke his back and possibly was going to have some paralysis. The Chief wanted to just get rid of that bike while his son was still in the hospital. Richard and I talked my dad into buying it for 400 dollars. It came with all the leathers, helmets, extra wheels and tires, extra parts and specialized tools to work on it with in a heavy duty tool box. Even dad knew it was a smoking deal, so he gave us the cash to go get it. I was still pretty small at the time; I didn’t grow until I was a senior in High School. Anyway when we got there and Richard told him the bike was going to be for me, he was really hesitant to sell it to us. He didn’t think I could handle the bike. Truth is, I was really scared of it. I didn’t let it show, Richard had coached me ahead of time, and we convinced him to let me “take it for a spin.”  First I got the bike under me and tilted it over both directions to look like I was trying to get the feel of it. Then I took off – the power was amazing! The tire spun and the bike whipped around and I was flying down the dirt road just barely hanging on. I hit this rock that was sticking up a little and my hand twisted the throttle wide open by accident. I caught some air off the rock then had to jam on the brakes before the end of the path. The bike quickly spun around and just like that I was heading back. I skidded to a stop in front of them and the Chief was impressed.
I was happy my pants weren’t wet!
It all happened really fast, mostly by accident, but he was satisfied I could handle it. I was even more scared of it now. We loaded everything up, paid him and headed back home. Richard was the first to ride it the next day. He took off across the field and gassed it. The front end immediately came right up and back over the top of him. He and the CZ bounced down the field the tank one way, the rear fender another, and the rest of the bike still another. It looked like it exploded! I couldn’t believe it. Richard was ok, just a little banged up. We picked it all up and wheeled it back to our machine shop. We were lucky Richard was a good mechanic and body man. It took a while to get it all “put right” so we could ride it again. I hadn’t been on it since picking it up. We fueled it up to start it. That wasn’t the easiest thing when you don’t hardly weigh enough to kick it over. With those powerful bikes, if you didn’t do the kick start right it could buck back and really mess up your leg.
It was like those old hand crank Model A cars that could snap your arm.
Anyway, we screwed up putting the fuel in. You have to mix oil and gas together before you put it in the tank. We poured the oil in the tank first and then the gas. The thick oil had already gone to the bottom of the tank before mixing with the gas. So we kicked and kicked and kicked to try to start it before we figured out what we had done. Geniuses! I don’t like to tell about that because it’s embarrassing. The oil had gone through and gummed things up and fouled the plug. We had to tow it up and down the road in gear to work the oil out. Eventually it started in a cloud of blue smoke. It didn’t hurt the bike any – just our pride. It took me a little while to get past my fears, but once I did I couldn’t get enough of that CZ! The power was unlimited. You could just keep the throttle wide open and it would continue to wind up till you stopped. You had to stop because that CZ would not, it would keep on climbing forever. We never could find its limit. One of the most amazing bikes I’ve ever been on. The cop happened to have a son that rode so we ended up talking mostly about riding. He said there was nothing they could do as long as we stayed on our own property, so we were good. A little while later my parents needed some cash. So, dad took the CZ and all the related parts, boots and tools, etc. and sold them for 800 dollars. He doubled his money even after we rode it hard for almost two years.  

One Response to 091- Motorcycles, lap two

  1. Don "The Snide" Schneider (alias Peanut) January 21, 2015 at 4:41 am #

    Hey Greg: I was happy to look through this site. However no photos of you when we were racing motocross back in 1981-83. I must find a shot with your Honda CR125