I signed the wife and myself up for motorcycle classes back for Memorial Day weekend, 2017.  We wanted to our licenses so we could see if riding was for us.  We started looking at bikes a month before.  I’ll be honest here, I bought the bike before I had my license. I didn’t test drive. I didn’t even sit on the bike! I bought it purely because it was within my budget (having just paid off the car), and the wife and I both loved the look of the 2016 Harley-Davidson Softail Heritage Classic.

Our 2016 Harley-Davidson Softail Heritage Classic. (Not quite custom, even with this early picture…)

Would I recommend buying a bike without test driving it? Nope. Never in a million years.  What a ridiculous idea to purchase a vehicle without test driving it.  Especially something like a motorcycle where height, handlebars, weight all are major factors!

But I’m actually glad I did, because now I love this bike. If, however,  I had realized how heavy an 800 pound bike is, I’d never have bought it!  When I rode it home from the dealership (they’d been hanging onto it for me) — oh my god. What a beast. And being inexperienced (other than some dirt bike racing when I was 19) I was pretty freaked out riding that monster home. The dealer put the bike right in front of the Harley store when I went to pick it up, on an “everyone’s here” Saturday. I had to ask the sales guy to move my bike to the edge of the lot, because there was no way in hell I was going to try and maneuver around everyone, nor run the risk of dropping it in front of all those people, those experienced bike riders.  Or, heaven forbid, hit someone, or worse, hit another rider’s bike.

I brought it home, not yet having my license, and did just fine.  I parked it in my kitchen for two weeks until I finished the classes and got my license.  The classes?  Oh, I highly recommend them, even to an experienced rider.  Where I was freaked out bringing the bike home….after the classes I had so much more confidence, as well as learning the course and classroom lessons to make it a safer ride for me, my passenger and other folks on the road.  Looking back, it was really pretty dumb of me to bring the bike home when I had it scheduled for delivery just two days later.

As I type these words down, we’ve been riding since I got my license on May 30th, just after Memorial Day, as soon as the Texas DPS office was open.  So, writing this on August 17th, and while it’s felt like so much longer, turns out it’s only been two and a half months that I’ve been riding.  I was sure it had been longer!  But we’ve already put over 5,000 miles on the bike, spending almost every weekend riding out of town, visiting Harley-Davidson stores to browse the clothing sales rack and obtain a poker chip.  (I now have 22 poker chips, a bit more than in this picture.)

Each Harley-Davidson store will sell you a unique poker chip with the franchise’s name on one side and the location on the other. They run anywhere from 50 cents to $2.00+.

I’m finding riding more fun than I ever expected.  Even when we have to stop from “iron butt”, I get off the bike, walk around a bit, then we jump right back on and return to the road.

In addition to visiting HD stores, we also stop at “World’s Largest….whatever”.  There’s a giant Bowie knife in Bowie, Texas.  A giant bronze (or concrete?) jackrabbit in Odessa. Soon we’ll see the “Eiffel Tower” in Paris, Texas!

World’s Largest Jackrabbit, Odessa, Texas.

World’s Largest Bowie Knife, Bowie, Texas.

My advice?   Get your license.  A Harley-Davidson class, if you pass, means no test at the DPS/DMV, just go, stand in line, get your “M” endorsement.  Then, go test ride bikes at a Harley store.  (Or whatever brand you like best, be it Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki…doesn’t matter.)    Find a bike you like….. and hit the roads!  (And take some pictures, you’ll be glad you did!)

Welcome! Here’s my intro story…

4 thoughts on “Welcome! Here’s my intro story…

  1. Since this is an old thread, I’m not sure you will get this but our stories are very similar. I grew up in northwestern KS in the 70’s. Learned to ride a Bridgestone 175 two cycle street bike when I was 9. We had those big ballon tired three wheelers & CB350’s also. I rode bikes in my 20’s (one was a 76 Sportster) and never even had a license. It wasn’t until about 3 years ago that my younger brother told me about the MSF course at Harley Dealerships. I took it thinking I already knew there was to know. How wrong that was. I recommend that course to everybody now. Since I took the course I have owned about 12 different bikes trying to find my unicorn. (there isn’t one for me) The closest I have come is a 2006 Honda VTX1800s and a 2008 Suzuki V-Strom 650 (that I bought at the Harley dealership in Tulsa which I find comical) for little local twisty road riding (I live in southern Missouri now).
    Anyway, I’d love to pick your brain about blogging and such some time as my wife and I are making some major life changes and one being I plan to tour & blog.
    Keep the rubber on the road and your knees in the breeze.


    • Andrew,

      Not sure why I wasn’t getting notifications of comments, but I’m here now. Feel free to reach out to me at CaptainPalapa at the Google mailz if you still have blogging questions. Honestly, not super complicated. I’m a programmer, but opted to use WordPress. There’s also Wix, not sure of pricing. (I’m not paying anything for WordPress.) Just sign up, see how it goes or reach out if you’d like some initial help.


    • Super correct, @Zed14. Three years now, finally hit 30,000 miles. (First 20K was in the first year, my riding tapered off a bit.) But now we’re full time RV’ers, and we bought a toy hauler, and 50% of the decision was to ride new roads! (And hit Sturgis this year, so excited!)


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