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In January 2012, I turned 54 years old.  That means, I was 28 years old when the movie, “Top Gun”, was released in 1986.  After watching that film, like most other males of that time, I wanted to be Tom Cruise too!  I also wanted to ride an obscenely powerful and fast motorcycle!  (In the movie, he rode a Kawasaki GPZ 900R.).

There are many motorcycle riders of today, that can attribute their journey of obtaining a motorcycle endorsement to their license, to the inspirational moment of seeing Cruise rip down an airport runway on the famous “Ninja 900”.  For those individuals, who have a bent towards adrenaline injections, induced by forms of non-pharmaceutical speed, it was love at first sight!  Cruise also ended up with the quintessential “beautiful girl” too!  A perfect fantasy that fed the hunger pangs of testosterone ravaged souls.

I was captivated, and held hostage, by my own fantasy of wanting to ride a motorcycle like Tom Cruise did.  There were a couple of barriers in my way though.  One obstacle was, I couldn’t afford one.  The other obstacle was, I was married.  (I had to scrap the idea that a, Kelly McGillis “look-alike”, would fall madly in love with me, when I ripped by her at 100+mph!).

But, with some small “adjustments”, my motorcycle fantasy developed into this:  My wife and I wanted to start a family.  We both knew that the birth of children would significantly rearrange our priorities; one where a motorcycle would end up last on the list.  We were both employed by the same company where we had fairly decent benefits for the economic environment that we chose to live in, (Mount Desert Island, Maine.).  If we bought a touring style motorcycle, (something like a Suzuki Cavalcade.), took a one, to two month’s leave of absence from work, and rode as far as money would allow during that time, then we, (Read that as “I” !) would feel fulfilled.  I would have that dream out of my system before the children arrived on to our scene.  It sort of made sense to me…..

Even with adjustments to the original “Top Gun Fantasy”, to help bring it closer to a reality for me, there were more barriers.  My wife and I were broke.  We couldn’t afford to purchase a motorcycle, let alone, quit our jobs for two months, to go riding around the country as free as a soaring bird, riding the currents of the wind.  The other barrier was, she had become pregnant.  As my mother once said to me, “The cart got put in front of the horse!”

I did receive a motorcycle endorsement to my Maine driver’s license, back in the mid-1980’s though.   I achieved this by borrowing a friend’s “Honda-something-or-other”, his helmet, and his riding jacket.  I remember that, with a wide open throttle, I was doing all of 45mph on my way to the rider’s test, in a 50mph speed zone!

I passed the test, but it was nearly 19 years later, after my eldest daughter was legally an “adult”, that I purchased my very first motorcycle.  My first “ride” was on board a 2003 ZZR-1200.  It was the fifth fastest production motorcycle manufactured in 2003.  I bought it in 2004, with 2,300 miles on it.  That is the motorcycle that I learned how to ride, and learned what “fast”, (Really fast!), was!

After two seasons of riding, and accumulating about 10,000 miles of riding experience, (and no speeding tickets!), I traded the ZZR-1200 for a brand new Kawasaki Concours, (the old style), in 2006.  I rode the Concours for 14,500 miles, in one season, then traded that in for a brand new, 2007 Suzuki DL-650 V-Strom.

If it is possible to have a mechanical “soul mate”, then the DL-650 V-Strom is that to me.  And, that is what this website is about.  I would like to share the relationship that I have had, with this incredible machine, over the past five years, and 100,000 miles of pure riding pleasure.  Out of the stories that I will write, (with accompanying photographs and video footage), I will share the scenery that I have witnessed, the people that I have met, and the experiences that I have had; experiences that have taken me way beyond the simple fantasy of, ripping down a runway, on a motorcycle, at an insane speed, and having the quintessential “beautiful girl” fall in love with me.

My “Black Lab” stories will dribble forth, when time allows.  You see, if you truly want to “rip-down-a-runway” with a motorized machine, it is best to choose the correct one to do the job right.  The stories of that adventure can be found here: www.sonex1504.com.

UPDATE: 06-26-2014 – I am no longer pursuing building my Sonex experimental airplane.  Instead, I have purchased a 1968 “Golden Hind 31” sailboat.  I figure that I have a two year restoration project ahead of me!  Here is a link to that project: 1968 Golden Hind 31′.

Regards,
Barry Buchanan
“Black Lab”
Mount Desert Island, Maine
February 2012

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