Part 2, written by Greg Schmitz
Greg, having just purchased his first 750 Honda continues his story… (if you still
haven't read part one - click here).
One of the first bits of stupidity on completing the transaction for my first
750 was that one of my roommates wanted to ride back with me, dumb, we made it, but still dumb.
The 750 was wonderful, plenty of power - for those days, totally reliable - I
never had a break down with it. It not only served as transportation, it was an adventure in its own right, I put
more and more miles on it at the weekends going all over Northern California, rain or shine, never a whimper, totally
That spring I got my commercial pilots license, though I'd realized by then it
was probably useless, I was competing in an area where there were plenty military pilots with thousands of hours
of multi engine time, going to school on the GI bill (government paid 80% of their costs). But I had a lot of fun
and became a lot more worldly. I also had a job to go back to, and no real worries. I loaded up my stuff, mailed
it home, rode the cycle up to Seattle and shipped it to Alaska from there (I had a friend who lived there so that
worked out well).
Not the most practical transportation in Alaska, but it was inexpensive, paid
for and with some determination (and being very young and strong) I beat my way through it. I had gotten an idea
how to handle some of it in California (we had one trip of 175 miles in 20-degree weather one night!). Solutions
were to have a fairing, wear lots of clothes (layers), saddlebags to pack the extras in and always have rain gear
plus heavier extra clothing that you thought you might need. The weather goes from good to bad (usually) and sometimes
back again, so it's always wise to be prepared. While repair assistance is not very available, there are lodges
scattered up and down the roads often enough that in the worst case you can limp into one and hole up for weather
or stash the bike.
I drove the 750 for two years up here, my brother was headed to Hawaii for his
permanent duty station, I was going to buy another vehicle, he offered to buy the cycle so I agreed and he took
it over there.
A few year later, I went out and spent the winter with my brother in Hawaii and
while I was there bought a Japanese market 750 that had been flown in (and legally licensed) by a Sub Hunter Aircraft
officer in the Navy. Another great machine, when I left Hawaii, Jeff - my brother - sold the older 750 and bought
mine (one of those 4 machine transactions where I wound up with all the money). I should have kept that one; probably
none left in this country any more, dang!
I had a camper trailer that was my living quarter on the construction projects,
the cycle was not workable at the beginning and end of the season so the 4-wheel drive rig I bought was a good
move. I also got responsible, and decided I really didn’t or shouldn’t be riding motorcycles, and while I looked
longingly at them, stayed away.
Then in 1982 I met the lady who would eventually became my wife. It's a long story,
but she had a Bronco like I had bought in 73. It was in tough shape and had far more problems than I could fix
or she could afford to have done. So she sold it in '86, and bought a used 1981 BMW R80GS without asking me. No
way could she drive it in the winter up here, I had only gotten away with it because I was working summer season
and was away in the winter. When I went to lecture her severely and she offered to let me ride it I couldn’t say
no. Part of the reason she bought it was listening to my tales of riding; she had ridden a fair amount herself
and thought it was something she could get me back into.
After a while I was borrowing her bike all the time, she suggested that if I liked
riding it so much maybe I should get one of my own? I realized by then how much I missed and enjoyed it and went
in search of a cycle that suited me. I researched my way into the Honda CB700SC Nighthawk S (I would have taken
the V45 Sabre also, but the S came up for sale first and I think the better choice for me). What sold me was no
chain and reliable hydraulic lifters (many nightmare tales of the problems with the bucket and shim adjusters in
those days, and I still think its a dumb way to do it - expensive and irritating at best).
So, since then spring, summer and fall - weather permitting - I have been running
the Nighthawk S, her BMW after we got married (she can’t ride it anymore at all, but I have kept it and keep getting
fonder of it all the time), and the latest addition a 71 Honda CB450. A friend my wife works with had it; she
wasn’t going to ride it and was willing to give it away to someone who appreciated it. Cosmetically it’s a bit
dinged but fundamentally its fine, underlying mechanics are real good. I wouldn’t have been able to turn it down,
it's almost the same year as my first 750, the same color and it's just such a classic looking machine, I took
it in spite of swearing off chain drive forever!
Greg Schmitz - Anchorage, AK