Yamaha 360 1972

Ahh… one of my favorites.

This motorcycle was a hand-me-down from Dad. All those years growing up, this bike was considered the “Holy Grail,” – it was the coveted 360. It was an honor to call it mine, when the time came for the bike to be passed on. I convinced my dad to let me change the color from gray to yellow. This was the only change I made during my turn at ownership. This bike was amazing: after all those years, miles, and riders, it didn’t require much mechanics. This was the bike that always started. It was predictable and never let me down – just like Dad.

This is also the bike I was riding when I met my future wife Judy (Maya Huckleberry). When she found out that I had a motorcycle, she was interested in hanging out with me. I hoped that she saw more in me than a motorcycle and a two-wheeled adventure. After 30 years of being together, it’s safe to say she did. Believe it or not (even as a teen), the memory of teaching Judy how to ride and spending time with her on the 360 was not the first that comes to mind. That memory is one of my fondest of growing up with bikes and one that I will always treasure. The memory was of a kid spending time with his dad.

My dad was the manager of a small garage in Salt Lake City, Utah (Premium Oil) during my childhood. On the weekends, and days there was no school, he would alternate taking one of his four boys to work with him. Sometimes we would take the truck but, most of the time the 360 was the preferred method of transportation. On those days, it seemed I was the only one that mattered. I remember them like it was yesterday.

Those days would start out early; a finger in the ear or the dreaded nose pinch while I slept. That was Dad’s way of rousing me out of bed at 5 a.m. It was early and I struggled to wake up and get going. With helmets on and coats fastened, we would head out. I remember my teeth chattering and holding on to Dad for warmth and safety. I recall my helmet would constantly hit the back of his, drowsy as I was, the helmet was too heavy for my weary state. The trip was about 25 miles to the station, but dad always stopped for breakfast at the local greasy spoon. I would always have two eggs over-easy, hash browns, a big slice of ham, toast, and milk. Then, I was awake and ready for the rest of the trip – no more helmet banging. Work at the station was hard but it taught me the business. Mechanics is what I have done all my life. I always looked forward to the ride home. I was not tired, it was usually warmer in the evenings, and there was the joy that resulted from conversation and the freedom that only two wheels can give. I have to admit that I loved those days when I had Dad to myself.

I rode the 360 for several years even when I had the Husqvarna. Riding the 360 was like revisiting that connection with dad.

Yamaha 360

Yamaha 360

Yamaha 175 1971
Husqvarna 250 1978

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