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Much Needed Motorcycle Therapy

So... it's been a while since I've had the time or the inclination to visit many of the various forums that I frequent due to what turned out to be a VERY blue Christmas indeed. I took the family to Disney World for the week of Christmas this year and things were going well when I got a call from my Mom who said that my sister had been trying to get in touch with me for the last few minutes. I was in the Rainforest Cafe at Animal Kingdom and it was quite loud so all I got after that was; Sister... Dad... vehicle... unconscious. I left the table and headed for the door while dialing my sisters cell number, when she answered she was hysterical. She had made plans with my Dad to meet him at his long time (35 + years) girlfriend's home to exchange gifts and all of the normal Christmas things families do. She found him where he collapsed in her driveway half in and half out of his car (passenger side) after seeing his girlfriend safely inside (she was diagnosed with MS 20 years ago) and returning to his car to retrieve packages. My 18 year old Nephew had been performing CPR on him until the ambulance arrived and the paramedics were working on him when I contacted my Sister.

I did my best to calm her down while my wife began looking for the next flight to Pittsburgh or Buffalo. As they left in the ambulance I asked her to keep me informed... not 20 minutes later I was informed that my Dad had passed away at 67 years old.

There was no need to rush to PA as there was certainly NOTHING that I could do, so we did the best we could to insulate the kids from the news until our time at Disney was complete and then we drove to NWPA. We buried my Dad on New Years Eve and I began the new year starting the process of settling his estate as his appointed executor. I was astounded to discover a couple of things that Dad didn't share with me; first being that in 1977 he earned $10,100+ and spent over $3,900 that same year on a lawyer fighting for custody of my Sister and I. Second... the most my ol' man earned was the year he retired (2006) and that was only a bit over $44,000. EVEN with his meager earnings my Dad managed to put away about a quarter of a million dollars in two IRAs not to mention two separate deeded (paid for) properties one that has a house and large detached garage. He only finished the 8th grade before his Dad died and he had to go to work... but he had more financial sense than the lion's share of Wall Street. I wish he would have taken my advise and used that money to live his life, but he lived the way he seen fit and in doing so insured that my sister has a chance at a real future if she doesn't just blow that money. He had his flaws and some were deep... but his idea of fatherhood was providing for the safety and material needs of his children and there is no doubt that he did that beyond his means.

My Dad bought this 1980 Yamaha XS850SG on June 30, 1980 and it was loved more than life itself (I once believed more than us kids) until he began having problems with his back in the mid 90's. At that point the bike sat in the corner of his garage and collected dust. It hasn't been started in at least a decade perhaps more like 15 years. Unfortunately I have inherited this bike much sooner than I should have but now that I have I intend to honor my Dad by bringing her back to life. I trailered the bike from Northwest PA to my home near New Orleans where I intend to restore it and keep it as a memory of my Dad. It's really a shame that he let her go considering that she only has 5,350.3 miles on her after all of these years. Anyway, here she is before I figured out how to tie her down without access to the handlebars.


Oh... and the drama didn't stop there. The night of January 4th Dad's girlfriend went outside to smoke, fell down and couldn't get up again (MS is a ****). As she was living alone she spent an estimated 10 hours outside lying on her porch. Her family found her the next morning and got her to the hospital where she was treated and transported to Hammett Hospital in Erie PA because, not only did she have frostbite, but her muscles had began shutting down and therefore were not absorbing protein. Her blood protein count was over 9,000 (I understand it should have been under 300) which ran a high risk of shutting down her kidneys. She is doing better and still undergoing intense physical therapy to regain what little use of her muscles she had before. She's just damned lucky that didn't happen a couple of nights before or after as the temperatures were below zero on those nights.

Christmas will NEVER be the same.

So... anyway... it's been about a month now and I realized that I needed to get on with my life so I've spent the weekend submersed in motorcycle therapy. It really dose help to be out in the garage working on my Dad's bike.

It took me a while to figure out what I needed to buy to get the bike off the ground to work on her... then I discovered the  J & S Jacks Big Wheel Motorcycle Lift. This thing is the bomb... and it took less than 48 hours from completion of order until it was on my doorstep.

Anyway, some folks pointed me to the Yamaha Triples forum and they've been invaluable in my quest to figure out what I need to do to get this old bike back in like new condition. So... here's what I've been up to...

She cleaned up pretty well with just a bucket wash.

I've made quite a bit of progress over the weekend tearing her down. I'm looking to tear her down clean her up and put her back together in sections so I don't end up with a pile of parts that I have no idea how to put back together. I have a few boxes of parts and all of the boxes and the Windjammer to clean up so that should keep me busy for a while. While I'm cleaning I'm also inspecting and making a list of the things that will need to be replated with chrome or replaced beyond the typical wear items.

Every time my elbow bends my mouth flies open.


  • henapplehenapple Posts: 15,986's been a rough trip. Enjoy the bike and good memories. Thanks for sharing.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • Bike is looking good. Good luck with it. Keep us posted. It's a good way to honor your old man. 
  • TUTTLE871TUTTLE871 Posts: 1,316
    Beautiful job on the bike, after I read this it made me reflect on certain things in life with my parents and I got on the phone with both and told them I loved them.

    "Hold my beer and watch this S##T!"


  • SkiddymarkerSkiddymarker Posts: 8,443
    Nothing like turing a wrench to put the world in perspective, nice bike. Had a '79, the Hitachi carbs were a **** to sync - good luck with her and enjoy. 
    Delta B.C. - Whiskey and steak, because no good story ever started with someone having a salad!
  • GogogordyGogogordy Posts: 460
    Thats both a sad and touching story, and I believe lavishing that classic UJM is the perfect way to honor your father, and how he recreated. Its a beautiful bike which will hold more meaning for you than most can imagine, and I hope you enjoy it in any way you see fit (me? I'd pamper it, ride it as it meant to be ridden, then pamper it, and ride it again) Regardless, Im sure he will "speak" to you through his beloved chrome, aluminum, and plastic contraption your now custodian of. Oh, and in my estimation he had great taste in bikes!
    When I'm not Eggin', I'm scootin'   Eggin' and 'cueing from Temecula Ca; an hour from San Diego, an hour and five minutes from Palm Springs, and an hour and a half from Los Angeles (yeah, right. With THAT traffic?)
  • hapsterhapster Posts: 7,502
    Sorry for your family's loss...

    Enjoy the bike, remember your father, especially the lessons and perspective that his passing has shed light on for you.

  • minniemohminniemoh Posts: 2,128
    I'm very sorry to hear about your Dad and his girlfriend. I will certainly keep your family and her in my prayers. 

    The bike is certainly a gem and will hopefully put many smiles on your face in the years ahead. I believe a guy needs a little "garage time" to keep centered so this should do nicely for you. Maybe you can even get the kids involved a little bit so they can see how much your Dad is still in your heart. Hang in there and remember all the little lessons he shared with you - then make sure you pass them on. That's what life is all about...

    Best wishes from MN. 


    L x2, M, S, Mini and a Blackstone 36. She says I have enough now....
    eggAddict from MN!
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 28,817
    Very sorry for your loss. It is not easy.


    Caledon, ON


  • RACRAC Posts: 1,688
    Very sorry for your loss.


    Boerne, TX

  • Chris_WangChris_Wang Posts: 1,254
    sorry for your loss...

    Ball Ground, GA

    ATL Sports Homer


  • BYS1981BYS1981 Posts: 2,533
    edited January 2014
    sorry for your loss, I'm sure he's smiling down on you as you work on that bike.
  • Very sorry for your loss, nice work on the bike, cherish the memories.
    Large BGE Middletown, MD
  • sumoconnellsumoconnell Posts: 1,471
    Sorry for your loss.
    Austin, Texas.  I'm the guy holding a beer.
  • BYS1981BYS1981 Posts: 2,533
    edited January 2014
    Sometimes my children will say they had a dream about my mom, which is hopefully her talking to them. Neither of my children met my mother, so if your children ever mention something about your father think twice.

    He will still be around.
  • shtgunal3shtgunal3 Posts: 4,080
    Sorry for your dude. Remember the good times.



     LBGE,SBGE, and a Mini makes three......Sweet home Alabama........ Stay thirsty my friends .

  • calikingcaliking Posts: 12,110
    So very sorry to hear what your family has been through. Wishing all of you strength as you grieve.

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • Sorry for your loss enjoy rebuilding the motorcycle in you fathers honor 
    2 Large Eggs and a Mini 2 Pit Bulls and a Pork shoulder or butt nearby and 100% SICILIAN
    Long Island N.Y.
  • otterotter Posts: 286
    My condolences on your loss. It will be 7 yrs. 1.31.14 since I lost my wife, hard to believe...Peace
    Pure Michigan
    Grand Rapids, Michigan  LBGE, SBGE
  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 7,763
    So sorry to hear about your loss. Your Dad sounds like a great man and I know you are doing him proud by restoring his bike. If it were me, I'd leave that front thingee (Windjammer?) off. Think it looks better without it. Regardless, cool bike.

    Rowlett, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings


  • Sorry for your loss, as long as you have him in your memory your Dad lives on . To have a memento such as his bike is indeed very good therapy.I lost my Dad a year ago , he too had less than an 8 th grade education but was much smarter/wiser than many educated people.Have fun with the bike and be careful !
    Ova B.
    Fulton MO
  • Mr HollowayMr Holloway Posts: 2,034

    Sorry for your loss

     Your Dad would have been proud of the work on the bike

     She is a beauty. Looks amazing.

     I have an 81 Virago, that needs some attention


  • bigguy136bigguy136 Posts: 1,259
    I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm a big Yamaha motorcycle fan. You have a great looking bike. Today is my dad's birthday but he died 9 days ago. He would've been 89. My dad got me interested in motorcycles at a very early age and now I ride a lot. He was cremated and I will now be able to take my dad on all my road trips. Sorry again for your losses.

    Big Lake, Minnesota

    2X Large BGE, 1 Mini Max, Stokers, Adjustable Rig

  • johnkitchensjohnkitchens Posts: 5,193
    I am very sorry for your loss. Your family has had a rough month. You will enjoy riding the bike when you are finished. Your dad would be proud! 

    Louisville, GA - 2 Large BGE's
  • MrossMross Posts: 338
    Sorry for your loss. My father passed away last year also. I now have my step mother living with us.
    Enjoy the motorcycle and remember your father every time you ride it.
    Duncan, SC
  •  Thanx for sharing your story and his.  I love how he provided for his thats a MAN.  Great job on restoring the bike.  
  • FaceDanceFaceDance Posts: 242
    Thanks for sharing.  I am very sorry for your loss. 
    South Florida - Large BGE (DOB:  12/07/2013)
  • cazzycazzy Posts: 9,062
    I appreciate you sharing your story with us.  Sorry for your loss!
    Just a hack that makes some $hitty BBQ....
  • pkaboo1pkaboo1 Posts: 115

    I am the oldest living male in my family. ( 70 ) I've seen alot of that.

    You and your family are in my prayers


  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 14,235
    My condolences. Good work on restoring the motorcycle.
  • CanuggheadCanugghead Posts: 6,456
    @Parallel @bigguy136 @Mross  Sorry for your loss.
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