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Old 11-13-2007, 01:46 PM   #1
OldSchoolMike OP
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Jay's Ride

A ride report - sorta...

In 1975 I bought my first BMW, a 1975 R90/6. I always think of it as one I bought new but it actually had nearly 3,000 miles on it. It was the classic black with white pinstripes and I thought it was beautiful (and I thought I was mighty cool riding it ). My wife and I toured all over the midwest and southwest on it.

I knew that the bike had belonged to the husband (Jay) of one of my junior high school teachers. He was kind of a larger-than-life character in our small town, a WWII hero who, before the war, had bummed around the country as a hobo and before that as one of those guys who, with a promoter, came into small towns and set up a boxing ring in the street, taking on all comers; anyone who avoided being knocked out won $50 bucks. I used to wonder how many $50 bills Jay and his promoter gave away.

Even though we were almost neighbors, I had never spent much time with Jay. He was gruff, grouchy and pretty darned intimidating .

After I bought Jay's old bike, he sort of mellowed towards me (he even sold me the saddlebags he had used when he owned my bike) and we eventually became friends and rode together. I was the slender dashing young guy (if you don't believe me, look at the photo below - don't I look dashing? ) on the old-phart fully-faired /6 and Jay was the paunchy old guy (who could ride rings around anyone I ever saw) on his sleek and beautiful Silver Smoke R90S.

At the time it seemed kind of backwards to me...



ATGATT 1976 style!
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Old 11-13-2007, 01:48 PM   #2
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Fast Forward 32 Years...

About three weeks ago I saw on ebay a 1975 BMW R90S in Silver Smoke. With only 24k on the clock, I knew I had to have it. Throwing fiscal caution to the wind I bought it and drove immediately to Florida to bring it back.

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Old 11-13-2007, 01:50 PM   #3
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those old airheads

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Old 11-13-2007, 01:51 PM   #4
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Proving Thomas Wolfe wrong...

30+ years ago I spent many hours chasing Jay's Silver Smoke R90S through the mountains of Arkansas. Last weekend I got to ride my own Silver Smoke R90S through those same mountains. And now I'm the paunchy old guy on the sleek R90S I guess you CAN go home again - sorta...

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Old 11-13-2007, 01:54 PM   #5
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I thought a lot about Jay on that ride.

Jay's been gone more than twenty years now. In 1985 I had just checked into a motel in Russelville, AR on my way to a rally in Hot Springs. When I called home my wife told me Jay had suffered a heart attack and was in the Hot Springs hospital. I pulled my wet riding clothes and boots back on and rode the rest of the way to Hot Springs in the dark and rain to be with Jay's wife.

Jay died later that morning. I helped his wife make the necessary arrangements and then drove her back home, leaving my bike in Hot Springs. Went back to pick it up a week later.

I love riding in Arkansas and I especially enjoy Hot Springs - but I never go to Hot Springs without thinking of Jay. This past weekend, while riding my new S through the same curves where Jay taught me how to ride in the mountains more than thirty years ago, on a bike just like Jay's, the nostalgia was especially strong.

I still miss you Jay.

I thought this ride was going to be for me - but it was for you.

Mike


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Old 11-13-2007, 03:36 PM   #6
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Thanks for sharing your sentimental journey.. and here's to you and Jay. RIP Jay.
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