My First Motorcycle Ride

Richard and Jean Champlin

Back about 1958 our circle of friends bought motorcycles and evening rides through the countryside were means of entertainment. My husband, Richard, and I did not own one but were always asked to ride along. Our close friend told us if we ever wanted to borrow his, we were welcome to. One long weekend we did.

This would be exciting a ride from Osseo, Minnesota (near Minneapolis) to Cresbard, South Dakota, 306 miles one way. The bike was a black Indian Chief about 5 years old chromed with huge windshield, double seat and saddlebags…snazzy! Weather this fall weekend was to be great.

Our attire was nylon jackets with drawstring hoods. Extra clothes and needs packed in one of the saddle bags. The other side was our slide projector and slides from a recent vacation to share with our friends the Wegners in Cresbard.

It was a straight shot westward Highway 12. All went well the first 180 miles or so which brought us to Milbank, just inside the Dakota border. THEN….we hit a gravel road detour. It had rained the night before and left rutty mud puddles. Passing cars were humored at our defenseless predicament and splashed us generously.

We arrived at the farm shortly after noon – a sorry looking sight to see. We were hosed down, cleaned up and fed a good dinner. Our two day visit was great and included the slide show to all the neighbors. Just used a sheet hung up on the dining room wall.

As the time to leave approached I asked Richard if I could return by Greyhound Bus. His reply was NO, you’ll want to always remember this event.  I do recall being given one of Pop’s caps to help keep the hood out of my eyes.  Also as we neared home it began to rain. We could duck down behind the windshield but where the rain hit you it felt like BB’s.

Yes, over 60 years later I still remember this event.  Plus…. rider, keep your feet on the footrests, let the driver balance the bike when stopped. Or you get kicked as he takes off. Hold on tight to his waist yet sit loosely if it wobbles. Keep your long hair covered. But, most of all enjoy the experience.

NB: Miss Jean wanted you to know the motorcycle pictured is NOT the one was she rode in her adventure.  The details on it closely resemble what she holds in her memory and may not be the exact year of her ride.  This stock photo was found on EBay and had free downloads.




Narrated by Jean Champlin

Print Friendly, PDF & Email