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3-Wheelin' (a KG story)

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The year was 1983, I'm 13 years old. I remember it like it was yesterday. My parents, with no advance warning, take me down to the local Honda dealer on a sunny Saturday. We look at the new models available, specifically the ATC185s. First year that the 185 had front suspension. Wow! What a machine! I think it was like $1,600 out the door. I had NO IDEA my parents were actually considering buying one. For our family, at the time, $1,600 seemed more like half a million, at least, to me.

Then they pop the question.

"Do you want one?"

I was floored.

"Mom, Dad, you can't be serious. There's NO WAY we can afford that."

"Well Doug, we have been saving some money, and we think you deserve it. You've proven to be a good rider on those 3-wheelers we rented, and we want you to have your own."

Now keep in mind, my family was not well off. I raced BMX at the time and had to work my butt off washing cars and mowing lawns to afford upgrades to my BMX bike. For my parents to offer to buy me something so expensive was a major shocker.

"Yes I want one. I really, really want one!"

"You know Doug, you will be responsible for doing all the maintenance on this bike. Are you willing to accept that responsibility?"

"Yes, yes! Oh God yes! I will take the best possible care of it!"

So the deal was done. We bought a brand spankin' new 1983 185s. I was the happiest kid on Earth! The dealer agreed to deliver it to our house... two days later. Those two days were probably the longest days of my life.

So the Honda guys drop off the ATC and I'm in Heaven. All my friends come over to check it out. I'm the most popular guy in the neighborhood on that day. Shiny red plastic, brand new tires, this thing is lookin' good!

Stickers! I must have stickers on the new bike! 3-Wheeling magazine stickers, DG stickers, any and all of the stickers I could get my hands on. Stickers make it faster, don't ya know.

First trip to Glamis. I feel like a super star. I have a brand new Honda ATC185s. I'm the king of the world. You have a 110? Sorry buddy, I'm faster. [big Grin] No paddles yet, but I don't care, this is a modern 3-wheeler that can tackle any terrain, any hill, any time. I attack the dunes with a vengance. This ATC is fast! It can easily wheelie in second gear. Third gear too if I do it right. I AM IN HEAVEN!

Time to hit the big dunes. I've ridden passenger in Dad's buggy a thousand times through the big dunes. I've even been allowed to drive the buggy a few times. But now I have my OWN machine. And such a grand machine it is.

Reality check... these dunes seem bigger riding by myself on a 3-wheeler. I'm not afraid, but I am cautious. Don't want to scratch the brilliant red plastic with a stupid crash.

Body english. I quickly learn that these little three wheeled things require a LOT of body english in the dunes. I'm cool with that. I can do this. The dunes are my conquest. I MUST conquer every dune at Glamis. This proves hard. As much as it wants to, the little 185 with no paddles has a hard time dealing with the powder soft sands and steep slopes that I'm asking it to climb.

A strategy must be employed. How do I get my ATC to the top of that huge bowl behind Comp? That hill is SOOOOO BIG, it must have a great view from the top. I MUST get to the top.

Straight up the face doesn't even come close to working. I try though. Up, up, up, tires spinning, losing speed, losing speed, not going to make it. So I turn around before sinking the rear tires into doom, and head back to the bottom. I need more speed. I go as far back as possible, turn around, and click the shifter into first.

Take off, hit second, hit third, click into fourth, WAAAAAAHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOO, I'm moving now, I'll make it for sure. The balloon tires "squish" as I transition the bottom of the hill. In a few short feet fourth gear is done, downshift to thrid. I can make it! Nope, third runs out of steam, so down to second I go. Surely second gear will pull this hill, I had a huge run at the hill! Nope again. I hit first and my little ATC engine is wailing to the moon. Tires spinning, I'm leaning forward... I can make it, I can make it!

Shoot! No can do! The hill is too steep, the sand too soft. Once again I turn around on the hill at the last possible second before the tires dig for China.

I try again, this time with a new plan. I will zig-zag back and forth across the dune. This will surely work. So I get a good run at the hill, and when the bike starts to slow I head left. Sideways across the dune with major uphill body english. When I get towards the left side of the dune I make a quick turn to head back to the right. This will work. It WILL! I'm hangingWAY off the side of the bike, making sure I don't roll it, and negotiate the side of the dune, making a little progress towards the top. Reaching the right side, again I switch directions, side-hilling it like my life depended on getting to the top of the hill. But alas, the little 185 ran out of steam once again. I turn down hill again, not frustrated at all, this is fun!

There must be a way. I KNOW I can make it to the top. So I think. What would Dad do?

AAAAHAAAAAAA! I've got it! Take the ridge! Dad often takes the ridges of the dunes in the buggy, so that's what I'm going to try.

Speed. I need speed. I scope out the hill and find a good path where I can get a good run up the ridge that leads to the top of the dune... the top that I am determined to reach. OK, I have a plan. It will work. This time I will conquer Mr. Big Dune that has defeated me repeatedly.

I make a run for it. Fourth gear haulin'! I hit the ridge, leaning WAY off the side to keep the bike upright. My tires are spinning fast. I point the front tire towards the top. The side of the ridge is so steep the rear tires beg to go downhill... I'm in a straight-ahead slide. The rpm of the engine drops, time for third gear. I'm still going up, this is it! Wow, rpm drop again, time for second gear. But still climbing the ridge! I can see the top, it is attainable, I CAN DO THIS!

When the engine ran out of steam in second gear my confidence was dwindling. Is it possible to conquer this massive dune? I click the transmission into first gear and hold the thumb throttle wide open. Keep spinning tires, keep spinning.

The engine wails with all its might. The tires spin and spin and spin. I'm still going up! I ride the ridge with the utmost concentration. No mistakes, this is it, I can make it! My mind ponders what will happen if I mess up and roll the ATC down such a big dune. No more perfect plastic! With all my might I hold on to this wild ride, trying to remember everything Dad had told me about how to negotiate the dunes. Don't give up! Don't give up! You can do this!

With a sigh of relief and a scream of victory, I make it all the way to the top of this huge dune. I park right on the peak, the small 3-wheeler resting precariously on the ridge, just waiting to tumble down the face and destroy itself.

WOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

I made it!

I'm sitting on top of one of the tallest dunes at Glamis, looking down on all the other "smaller" dunes. The view is breath taking. Well worth the effort to get here. I'm so proud of myself. I didn't give up. I kept trying and trying until I figured out a way to get to the top.

I must have sat there for at least half an hour, just enjoying the view. I earned the right to enjoy that view, and you better believe I soaked it up for a lifetime memory.

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NOW THATS A STORY!!!! One thing you should of tried was sticking your tounge out a bit. I'm not sure how it helps but all the cool people do it.

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I didn't mention sticking my tongue out? I must have forgotten.

OH yeah, sticking the tongue out definitely helps a guy to ride better! [big Grin]

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Slapptacious KG, downright Slapptacious...You took da Slapster back to when he got his first McSlappmachine, and da feelin he got when it came home...OOOOHHH how tickled Slappy was...Then of course dat reality check; you gotsta do a lot of da work and not rely on just da bike...Great piece KG, McScrappbook bound no doubt... [big Grin]

[ 08-10-2002, 11:04 PM: Message edited by: Slappy ]

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Awesome peace Doug, Like Slappy said it brings back memoir's of when I got my first bike. A brand new 84 ATC200x. Back then that was the Cadillac of 3 wheelers. I had a fever, I had to ride every weekend. Damn they were good times. [big Grin]

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Sweet story, Doug. I started on a ATC 90' when I was 6 in 1976. Good times and thats where the addiction started [Disturbed][Disturbed][Disturbed][Disturbed]

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Wow, I forgot all about writing this story. Once in a while I love to go back and read old threads. Tonight is one of those nights.

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BTW I still own that very same 3-wheeler.

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Fantastic story Doug!

I bet the 185 still looks great too!

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Sweet, nice story that brings back memories. I totally remember trying that same zig-zag approach.

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Cool story! The King used to BMX? blink.gif Orange Y?

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great story KG thumb.gif

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I still own my first wheeler also, needs the motor gone through, but still fun to ride. My dad bought it for me when I was 8 and on Christmas one year I got a 6 pack cooler. I won't ever get rid of it.

Might have to clean it up and customize it though.

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Great story!

Wow you still own the same 185?

I have pics of my dad doing wheelies on a 185 before I was around. Damn old farts...

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Great story KG I remember those days when you had to earn where you got in the dunes and not just point and shoot

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A fast 185s for sure.. thumb.gif

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icon_biggrin.gif Great story!

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great story

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thats a great story KG

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Dang, I was searching for another thread and by chance saw this in the search results. Hard to believe this story is over 6 years old.

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And still a good story.. :yay:

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Oh yeah, a great story. Time is flyin, which means Slappy is looking prettier and prettier every day. It must be the sunscreen.

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That was an awesome story! :thumbup:

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Thanks for bringing it back up, Great story. :thumbup:

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