The quest... a military man... his motorcycle adventures -- all are weaved into a life's odyssey of war and peace that culminates in the answer to his lifelong search, and perhaps yours as well.
Book Description of First to Last - The Tale of a Biker by Dennis W. Lid : It is the true story of a soldier’s life through the motorcycles he has owned and the most prominent action events that have occurred on those bikes and during his lifetime. The manuscript has an international tone with a heavy accent on Asia, is action oriented during peace and war, and spans the generations in its common appeal to motorcyclists, hobbyists, adventurers and romanticists of all ages. It is a factual, first-hand account of the tale of a biker, a warrior and an incurable romantic. The book includes maps and photographs with captions that follow portions of the story line. Its theme combines historical nostalgia with adventure romance to yield an avant-garde, neo-classic novella of the two-wheeled conveyance -- the motorcycle. The weave of motorcycle, man and events is nothing less than a lifelong search for the Holy Grail that culminates in answering the question of where one’s treasure lies. First to Last - The Tale of a Biker, ISBN: 978-0-9781162-9-3 (print version) may be purchased from Barnes&Noble.com, Amazon.com, Powells.com or a book store near you. It may also be purchased in e-book format from the following online retail bookstores: Mobipocket.com, Powells.com and Amazon's Kindle Store. Year Published: 2007. Your Price: Print book - $14.95; e-book $8.95.
Outline and Table of Contents
Sale of last bike
End of riding days
It happens to all of us
First bike -- A Rube Goldberg learning device
Tommy Llewellyn's Influence
An introduction to a biker's way of life
Years of drought without a bike
Finishing school and beginning work
Acclimatization to army life
Resurrection and Resumption
Back to motorcycling
The Ducati years
Bike shop and drag strip
The Missouri Connection
Initiation to off-road riding
Trail riding on earth and ice
Leave and restlessness
New Honda scrambler
The trip from San Jose, CA to Fort Bragg, NC
Preparation -- Special Forces training
Okinawa assignment, promotion, temporary duty and staff work
Scrambles racing and stress release at Kadina and Naha
The military exercise - Forward Thrust
Night maneuvers - downtown
My Hakka gal and the Kawasaki scrambler
Years of Drought
Last tour to Vietnam
Peacetime in Hawaii with my worst bike
Active duty finale in Panama with no bike
Japan civilian venture
The Honda touring and cruising years
The European aberration and the dream bike acquisition
Return to Japan
The Kawasaki Ninja experience
The Camp Zama Motorcycle Club (ZMC)
Comradery and sport touring in the land of Nippon
The gradual demise of the ZMC
The incident, age degradation, and an attack of spirituality
The closing of a chapter in life
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First chapter follows:
"For where thy treasure is, there also will thy heart be." (MATT. VI. 21.)
We spend our lives searching for answers. There are many questions to be addressed in life, but the most important one that must be answered by each of us is, "Where does my treasure lie?" The answer to this question is of the utmost importance, since it results in the culmination of our search for the Holy Grail. Do you know where your treasure is?
This is the tale of a biker . . . a soldier . . . a man whose life's adventures are intertwined with the motorcycles he has owned and the experiences he has had. This saga will take you on a journey through the highlights, episodes and travails of that near-lifetime sojourn and the interesting events that occurred along the way. Perhaps when we have finished with this trek, you will be able to answer the key question in your own life -- "Where is your treasure?" I think I know, at long last, where mine is.
And so the journey begins -- at the end. It happens to all of us sooner or later. Your time will come as well. It's the dreadful event or occasion that ends your riding days. For some, it's an accident or injury; for others an illness, and for still others it's old age or just plain loss of capability or interest that brings on the occasion. Whatever the reason, it happens, and your riding days are over. It's time to "hang up the spurs." For a true rider, a real biker, an aficionado of the two-wheeled conveyance called the motorcycle, that happening would seem to be an absolute tragedy . . . like the end of the world -- except for the memories, that is. We have spent so much time collecting those memories throughout our lives, and carefully storing them in our brain-cell databanks, that we are not about to forget them. The memories sustain us after the actions and adventures have past. We recall them at will to lift our spirits and help us carry on with life, or existence, as the case may be. Consider a fellow like Evil Knievel, who has reached the point of no return. He has been a daredevil to the extreme all of his life, and successfully so. Yet, multiple injuries, age, loss of flexibility and estimations of consequences have caused him to finally lose the edge. Now he tutors his son in the art and technique of extreme daredevil riding and exhibitionism. His son has become his alter ego. The master dreams his dreams and relinquishes the reins of control to the younger generation out of necessity. His time has come. His memories, indeed, are sufficient to endure what lies ahead on the remainder of his life's journey. Yet, I wonder where his treasure is now.
My time came in Japan about 12 years ago at the age of fifty-six. It was a fateful day in the fall of 1993 for yours truly, and all five-feet-eight inches of my brown-haired, blue-eyed, athletic, wiry and, otherwise, nondescript self. I remember standing on the sidewalk in front of the house watching a friend by the name of Jack Owen drive off on my last bike . . . as its new owner. Jack and I had been riding companions for many years in the Camp Zama Motorcycle Club of Sagamihara, Japan. It was a U.S. Army, Japan (USARJ) sponsored club located South of Tokyo -- but more about that later. I was surprised that Jack bought my 1987 Kawasaki Ninja 750 R, since he already owned a Yamaha 1150cc Virago. Perhaps he wanted to try a sport bike with the front-leaning driving position for a change, or maybe he just liked the looks and performance of it. One year later, however, he sold the Ninja and kept his Virago. I guess he didn't like the front-leaning-rest position after all. It takes some getting used to as compared to the upright sitting position of the Yamaha. The difference in posture equates to the difference between a sport bike and a cruiser. I never asked him why he sold it, and he never divulged his rationale. We parted company that day and had infrequent contact with one another for the next few years. The bike was the common denominator, you see, and when that link was severed, there was little basis for continuing our relationship. Work and other interests caused our paths to diverge and diluted our friendship. I eventually transferred to a new job and location back in the States and totally lost contact with my friend for several years.
As Jack drove the sleek, black, Kawasaki Ninja away from me and into the sunset that fateful day, he took a piece of my heart as well. He drove up the sidewalk and onto the road. I watched until he was out of sight, shading my eyes with my hand as bike and rider were silhouetted against the setting sun. Even after I could no longer hear the turbo-like drone, the heartbeat of the vertical four, I stood in place for a long time holding the check from the sale of my geisha, as I was fond of calling her. Now she was gone; there would be no replacement. The impact of that fact began to sink into my consciousness, as I stood there motionless. My eyes looked without seeing anything, like the "thousand-yard stare" of a warrior after the battle subsides. It dawned on me that the time had come to "hang up my spurs" and end my riding days. It would take awhile for me to really grasp the significance of that realization. After sharing the better part of my lifetime with the iron horse, what would I do without one? The weekends would seem to be a bit listless and empty; the camaraderie of riding companions non-existent. Good-by to new motorcycle adventures, the adrenaline rush and the accumulation of fresh memories of the good times. Why, then, must I stop riding now? The reasons that contributed to that conclusion will eventually surface during this journey of a biker's tale. Part of it has to do with the challenge, the search, the quest that I mentioned earlier, but there's more to it than that. All that's left now, and since that fateful day, is the memory of the motorcycles I once owned and the great times I had on all of them . . . from First to Last. Yet, the quest for the Holy Grail continues. Perhaps it's a relentless search until the very end -- until one draws one's last breath.
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