Motorcycles and Dune Buggies

The east side of our property was along a roadway that originally ended at Jimmy’s driveway. The property on the other side of that road belonged to Nick and Muriel who lived just to the south of us. Eventually, Nick had a stone road put in that cut through the field then turned left to meet where Eden Street turned into South Seneca Street. At some point in time the road was widened, paved and extended so that homes could be built – God forbid there be any field left where we might be able to build a house.

Before (and even after) the stone road was put in the field behind Jimmy’s house was where all neighborhood games were played. Yes, there were other games at other homes, this was just the best place to play as the field was dedicated to these types of games. Football, baseball, kickball and the like were played here as the field was big enough to accommodate the game.

The field just across the road that led to Jimmy’s driveway had a bit of grass as well and the rest was farmed. Corn, beans, wheat, or whatever was planted there periodically throughout the years. Sometimes it was even left alone and was nothing more than a plowed field. When my brothers and I were a bit older he bought us a motorcycle. Not just any motorcycle, but a Honda SL70 off road motorcycle. The plowed field just became a motocross course.

I’m certain that motorcycle was the most worrisome thing to mom. She never got on it even if dad was driving, and dad only wrecked it once that I can recall. He and Mitch were riding it in town (dad had it licensed so he could take it anywhere) and somehow they hit loose gravel and laid it down. Neither were injured but it just went to reinforce mom’s anti-motorcycle stance.  Come to think of it, I put that bike into the dirt many times as well…and most of those times I’m had no idea.

It didn’t take long and I became an old pro on the SL70. I pushed both the bike and my circle of use to the limit as much as I could. After conquering the back field I went across the creek to the next field. Then across the railroad track past the lumber yRd and into. Buckeye Village. This was a neighborhood at the Far East side of Attica. At the time I didn’t really know anyone in Buckeye Village so my motorcycle trips there were few and far between. Dad eventually sold the Honda and somehow ended up buying a moped. They were becoming the preferred method of economical travel and dad drove that thing into the ground. He’d probably still have it today if it would have held up.

Staying on the trend of fun modes of transportation dad got hooked on dune buggies in the mid/late 1970’s. The local Methodist pastor Malcolm Brooks was very handy with an arc welder and he was making buggies from scratch and adding a Volkswagen engine. Dad bought one and we took it with a group of other buggy fanatics to Mears Michigan where we played in the sand dunes. We took a few trips to the dunes and each time it was the best way to get away with a group of guys. We would play in the huge sandbox all day and cook over an open fire while swapping stories all night. Eventually dad upgraded to a buggy with a Pinto engine which had more power than the Volkswagen. Like all good things the buggy phase came and went but not without leaving a lot of fun memories…more to come.