Sunday, May 2, 2010

Jim and Ted's Excellent Adventure

My son's maternal grandfather is real quiet guy. A lifer at Pratt & Whitney, retired and low key. He didn't like me at first, but has warmed up over the past 6 years.

He has admitted having a secret desire for a Ducati, he even went to the local dealership this past month. I was slightly shocked by this, as I am sure Mrs. Munley would never let him ride.

He then told me about some color slides he had stashed away. The slides are from a long time ago. A time a bit more innocent, before the Vietnam war.

It was 1963. Ted and his older brother has skipped out of Coal Mine, Pennsylvania and headed to California. They worked for a while doing construction, but then the work dried up in 1964.

They had to return back to Pennsy, but had no car and little money. Jim, the older brother had a 1963 Ducati 125 motorcycle.

Beyond any measure of common sense, these two skinny, broke miners got on that little 7 horsepower steed and proceeded to ride back home from Long Beach to Scranton, PA.

They rode across the desert in the Summer, over mountains at a crawling pace and even hit a deer on a night time mountain pass. Lodging was in sleeping bags on the side of the road, a luxury not available to us anymore.

They broke down in Amarillo, Texas and the local Ducati/Norton dealer put them up at his house, fed them, gave them a ride to the airport to pick up the needed airfreighted parts. He opened up on Sunday, got them going and only charged them for the part.

Upon stopping at their Aunt's house halfway home, they were so skinny and roadworn, the Aunt found them unrecognizable.

This sounds like a nightmare of a journey to me, spoiled as I am with big twin luxury. To Ted, it brings a gleam to his eye and reminds him of adventurous youth.
I hope he goes and buys a new Ducati and takes another grand trip across the continent. This time with more than 7 horsepower.

In MacArthur Park the day before they left for back east.

Jim Munley, older brother and co-rider. In the desert in Nevada.

All geared up for the road.


Doug Klassen said...

Very cool story. I hope he gets the Duc 'cause it's never to late to be crazy again.

Hacksaw said...

just goes to show folks shouldn't waste their youth being normal. get out there kids! there is a whole world to see IN PERSON!

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