Posted tagged ‘Honda 90’

“My first car was a motorcycle.”

July 23, 2015

Today is lovely with very little humidity and a cooling breeze. I slept in until nearly 10 o’clock. Last night I was tired so I went to bed early (for me) but was still awake at 3. To pass the time I watched a movie on my iPad, A Foreign Field. I kept thinking I’d finish it in the morning, but I watched it through to the end.

A flicker, a bird I haven’t seen in a long while, and a huge woodpecker were the stars this morning at the bird feeders. The usual complement of birds also dropped by, but they, especially the chickadee, looked tiny compared to the flicker. The red spawn hasn’t been by in a long while. I think it has to do with the spawn having gotten caught a few times inside the wire feeder while the full brunt of the jet spray of the nozzle was directed at it. The spawn just couldn’t escape fast enough to avoid the spray.

In Ghana, during my second year, Peace Corps relaxed its rules and allowed us to buy motorcycles. I bought a small motorcycle, a Honda 90. It was designed for modesty, with no middle bar, perfect for me as I had to wear dresses all the time. I learned the gears and the brake when I bought the moto, as it is called it in Ghana, and then rode it over 100 miles from Tamale to Bolgatanga. It was exhilarating. I loved the road and the wind on my face. The bugs were not so welcome. I learned to be exhilarated without smiling. A few inhaled bugs and a choke or two taught me that lesson. I rode along singing out loud to pass the time. I figure a few villagers told stories later about the crazy baturia (white woman) on the moto screeching as she rode.

The road home was a good one, paved all the way. It was called the road to Bolga and it went straight there so I never worried about getting lost. The ride was a long one so I stopped to stretch my legs and once I bought a warm coke at a store along the road. Kids from villages beside the road followed a bit and waved. I was even comfortable enough driving by then to wave back. When I got to the school gate, I honked so the gateman would let me in. He smiled a toothless grin and pointed to my bike. I smiled back and nodded.

I would love to have another motorcycle, but I dare not given how often I bang my leg or fall up or down stairs. Traffic here goes far too fast and hugging the sides of the road is a recipe for disaster. I’m liable to hit a giant rock or branch or have something from the sky fall directly on my head, such is my luck.

That’s all the motorcycle is, a system of concepts worked out in steel.”

July 24, 2012

I thought I heard rain this morning, but I just turned over and went back to sleep and slept in. I didn’t wake up until 9:30. I even went to bed early for me last night so this was a where’s my prince sort of deep sleep. It wouldn’t have surprised me to see the Seven Dwarves standing by my bedside. The streets were damp when I went to get the paper so it had rained, and that little rain brought us a cloudy day and thick humidity. The sun is appearing infrequently as if it doesn’t really care one way or the other. The paper predicts a hot day.

Sounds are always muted in the humidity. The thickness of the air drowns everything and brings a sort of lethargy. Even the leaves on the oak trees barely stir. The house is cloudy day dark and the window here does little to lighten the room. It’s morning nap time for Fern, Maddie and Gracie. The loudest noise in the house is the tapping of my fingers on the keyboard.

When I lived in Ghana, I had a Honda 70. It was the demure moto, as the Ghanaians call motorcycles, for a woman who always wore a dress. My first year volunteers weren’t allowed motorcycles, but when that changed my second year, I bought one. My first trip, just after learning to ride it, was the hundred miles from Tamale where I bought the bike to Bolga where I lived. I loved that ride. It was a freedom I had never felt in a crowded lorry with every seat taken, people sitting in the middle on small stools and a few chickens and goats along for the ride. That moto gave me the freedom to take back roads leading to the small villages which ringed Bolga. I always brought a canister of extra gas. My friends and I would usually go together; Bill took the baby Kevin safely tied in a backpack and I took Peg his wife on the back of my bike. We’d often bring lunch and stop for a picnic. Those were fun days as we found ourselves in amazing places. Once some guys hauled our bikes across a small pond and we sat by a village watering hole to have lunch. Small boys stood around and watched us. The guys at the pond waited for us to finish as we had given them half a cedi for one way and told them we’d give them the other half if they waited to take the bikes back. That was a lot of money in those days. Another time we went to Tongo. We had brought a small charcoal burner and hot dogs that came in a can to cook almost like at a real barbecue. We set up the burner on a rock. A bit later a man came and yelled at us in FraFra. The small boys in school uniforms who had been standing around and watching us translated. The man wanted money to appease the gods on whose rock we had rested the burner, but the rock had bird poop on it so we didn’t buy his story figuring it was another scam for money. His response was something along the lines of  misfortunes would follow us, but that too we ignored. We finished and packed up to leave. Not far from the rock, Bill’s bike stopped suddenly for no reason. We looked at each other wondering, but Bill’s bike restarted with no problem. We were just glad the old man hadn’t seen it.

“Old hippies don’t die, they just lie low until the laughter stops and their time comes round again.”

April 26, 2010

The day is rainy, just as predicted. The birds seem especially noisy this morning. I can hear their raucous calls through the closed windows. I suspect the blue jays are responsible for all the noise.

I need to score some weed, some Mary Jane, some grass. I’m late to the party. I read in the paper a while back how the use of illicit drugs among baby boomers 50-59 rose 63% from 2002 to 2005. People are rediscovering it, for its medicinal purposes of course. This morning I read an article entitled “Vroomer Boomers” which said the average age of motorcyclists is on the rise. After I finish here, I’m going through the boxes in my cellar to find my ponchos, my fringed shirts, head bands and beads. They can’t be far behind.

Today’s article reminded of my Wild One days, not my Easy Rider days as I missed that movie. In Ghana, I had a motorcycle. It was small, a Honda 90, and modest as we had to wear dresses all the time. I learned the gears and the brake when I bought the moto, as they called it in Ghana, and then rode it over 100 miles from Tamale to Bolga. It was exhilarating. I loved the road and the wind on my face. The bugs were not so welcome. I learned to be exhilarated without smiling. A few inhaled bugs and a choke or two taught me that lesson. I rode along singing out loud to pass the time. I figure a few villagers told stories later about the crazy batura on the moto. It took hours to get home though I went as fast as I dared. The road was a good one, paved all the way. It was called the road to Bolga and it went straight there so I never worried about getting lost. I stopped for a warm coke at a store along the road and to stretch my legs. When I got to the school gate, I honked so the gateman would let me in. He smiled a toothless grin and pointed to my bike. I smiled back and nodded.

I only had one injury from my motorcycle, a round burn on my lower leg. As I was standing and waiting for goats to pass, they turned and ran into me. I dropped the bike out of surprise and burned my leg on the exhaust pipe.


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