A look Back

What was left of my Yamaha 250cc Enduro after I crashed doing an Evel Knievel type jump in 1973.

While I was looking for some photos I had sneaked in the Sistine Chapel many years ago and did not find, I found the above photo I had been looking for for many years of my motorcycle after I had a spectacular crash doing high jumps. I thought the photo was lost. What happened is that after flying about 15 feet in the air, I landed on the front wheel first. Surprisingly the impact didn’t bend the front wheel, but it did torque the front forks, broke the frame under the gas tank, and bent the downtube on the frame by the engine. If I had collision insurance on it back then it would have been considered a total loss. What was even more surprising is that I was relatively unhurt by the incident. If I remember correctly, the impact split my helmet, which would have been my head if I wasn’t wearing a helmet. My friend, Mike Rhoades, who was watching from another vantage point rode his motorcycle over and said: “That was cool. I want to see you do that again!” There was no replay, as we had to find a few strands of baling wire to twist together so he could tow me home.

One of the first stories Joel Lewis will tell people about us is how I rode up the dunes with Joel on the back of my motorcycle at full throttle (about 70 mph) and how we flew through the air like madmen. The first story Mike would tell people was about my spectacular crash, also. My wild motorcycle riding gave people lasting memories.

After the crash, I took the motorcycle to Mr. Haagenson’s shop and he helped me bend the frame back into shape, line it up, and weld it back together. Then I took the engine apart, rebuilt it, souped it up, painted it black, got a tuned exhaust, a desert tank, new fenders, and made it into a really fast and cool-looking dirtbike for the time. It wasn’t long after that Yamaha introduced motocross bikes with mono shocks that we taller, faster, and much better at high jumping. A few years later I got a Yamaha 500cc Enduro and then graduated to a 750cc street bike.

The same motorcycle after I got the frame straightened out, and rebuilt it with new hardware.

I also found this self-portrait from 1979. I had a lot of muscle in those days.

Nora, the mama owl to the north, still sitting on her eggs, which should be hatching out soon. I did not see Osric, daddy owl to the north.

Moma Owl showing the top of her head and her ear tufts this morning.

Daddy Owl giving me a one-eyed look this evening.

49 thoughts on “A look Back

    • “Did have” is the key phrase about the pecs. After the cancers I really lost muscle mass. So now I’m a weakling. A couple of years after that photos was taken, I was still in great shape and strong. I did an installation with a radio tower as part of an art class. I moved and assembled the project with the tower by myself, and didn’t think anything of it. In 2012. two years after my first cancer, I was cleaning up the property, I tried to move that radio tower, and I couldn’t budge it. It probably weighed 200 to 250 pounds. I thought back to my youth, and how easily I handled that tower back then. I was amazed at how much strength I had lost.

  1. Now that is a “don’t get any ideas!” look from a daddy owl if I’ve ever seen one ha! Ironically a coupling of a “wise” bird and a probably “notso-wise” idea.

  2. … and, Laurie’s reaction to your adventures???

    In 1979, I was entering basic training at Naval Recruit Depot in Orlando. Didn’t know much of anyone in those days, not unless I count Teresa, who was a Naval ROTC student who was receiving her commission.

  3. And look at what diging for Sistine Chapel in storage, brought to life! Wow! Blessed helmet and good fortune!!!!
    I believe Daddy Owl is winking for the same reason!! πŸ˜‰

    • Getting old and dealing with health issues take their toll. But we never give up, change gears, sometimes we change directions, reflect, change our perspectives, adapt and carry on. Thanks, Mary Jo.

  4. Wow Tim, I’m glad you made it through that crash! And through the later medical stuff too. Lovely glimpses of the owls!

  5. Fantastic photos from the past, and great ones from the present! It sounds like you were quite the daredevil, I’m glad you survived! We used to make jumps to ride off with our bicycles, I crashed a lot, luckily never broke anything! πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‰

    • The thrill is real and so are the consquences. It was all simple fun when we were invincible teenagers. Thanks, Tiffany.

  6. You were crazy, crazy and crazy in your youth. Well, you must have been invincible, because you are still here! Do you ride anymore, or is it just your sports car?
    Always neat to see something from someone’s past.
    That Mama Owl is amazingly camouflaged. Neat shots of both Mama & Daddy!

    • Two Mama owls in this one. It’s really surprising I survived beyond my teen years. I do not ride anymore, but I still have my motorcycle license. I got my first motorcycle license when I was 13 years old. My driver’s license has a really low number on it because I got it so long ago, and the number transferred to my general driver’s license I got when I turned 15. You don’t drive at all do you?

      Tristan started riding about 3 or 4 years ago and when she discovered she had great riding skills that she must have inherited, she asked me why we didn’t have motorcycles when she was growing up. I told her to talk to her mama about that. She keeps pestering me to get another motorcycle so I can go riding with her and Craig. At the moment my sports car is the only sporty indulgence I have.

      • Well, you had fun!
        Yes, I do drive. I have a licence, but I’m not a huge fan of traffic. Pre-pandemic traffic in Toronto was a sick joke.
        I get a production vehicle, when I work.
        Part of my job as a Designer is/was shopping for clothes, fabrics, whatnot.
        Even with assistants, it was almost impossible to get anything done.
        Now, I know enough people who work in film, who have contracted Covid. One of my sewers is fighting for his life in the hospital.
        At least one has died.
        By the time the damn thing is over, I will only go back for small intimate projects.
        Mostly, I want to do an art show of sorts, with my drawings, paintings and Art Gowns.

        I live in an area with village style shopping, so I have not much need to drive.

        Holly likes riding. I always think if I got on a motorcycle in Toronto’s traffic, I’d come home without a leg.

        Your sports car is a wonderful thing. Do you ever go to a racetrack and open up?

      • Holly is my hero for riding Old Route 66 from one end of the country to the other on a motorcycle. Traffic is bad out here and it’s still the wild west. Drivers are unpredictable and can be very dangerous. Years ago one of our architects was hit by a serial hit and run motorcycle antagonist. Jim was very seriously injured and is lucky to be alive. They found out the driver who hit him and purposely hit at least 6 motorcyclists, killing one before he hit Jim. Why was the guy still on the road you might ask? The same reason people who have a dozen or more DUIs get into deadly accidents out here. I live in the wild west.

  7. It’s interesting looking back isn’t it. Sometimes feels like another life. My hubby used to ride one of those, before I met him. Thanks for sharing the memories Tim. Love the owl pics!

  8. It is really nice to have news from the owl family every day or so. And to discover your past feats (dangerous feats!). Did you enjoy your visit at the Sistine Chapel? You seem to be interested in Art, aren’t you?

  9. Wow I took care of too many guys when I was a nursing student that had gotten seriously messed up in accidents with motorcycles. I was always afraid of them. Although I have been on the back of one a couple of times when I was nineteen.
    You were strong and all bulked out. It is so fun to look at old photographs. We had a neighbor that had a Ducati, Indian and a Harley. You two would have had fun together.

    Sounds like you were really lucky. The crazy things we do when we are young.

    The first photograph of the owl is amazing. I didn’t even see her. Such a gorgeous photograph.
    Sending lots of hugs. β€οΈπŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ¦‹πŸ¦‰πŸ¦‰πŸˆπŸˆβ€β¬›πŸŒ³πŸŒ³πŸŒ΄πŸŽΆπŸŽΌπŸŽ΅

    • Thanks, Joni. When we are young we feel invulnerable. I look back and I’m amazed I lived long enough to deal with cancer.

      • I am so glad you are with us. I am sorry you had to deal with something so awful and I would never wish that on anyone but I am so glad your here.

        You were a wild one. Haha I can just see you on the sand dunes now. I bet you had a lot of fun traveling with your music too. β€οΈπŸ€—β€οΈπŸ¦‹love and hugs to you two

      • One of the first story my friend, Joel, will tell you is about being on the back of my motorcycle doing those jumps. They left an impression.

      • I bet they did. I can’t even imagine. It takes real guts to jump from a bike through the air. At least in the sand you have some give. Thank goodness you had your helmet on when you crashed your bike. God was watching out for you. Sending many warm hugs. β€οΈπŸ€—β€οΈ

  10. Misty water colored memories . . . I used to jumpy Schwinn, with the banana seat, over ramps. Until I landed sideways once. Bike was unharmed. I have a few scars to show for it. Wish I still had the camdy apple red bike too.

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