I needed something with longer legs and found it in the classifieds of the local paper. It was a red 1972 Kawasaki Mach III. This bike was a 350cc three cylinder two stroke. I remember seeing it for the first time and thinking how big and fast it looked. After giving it the once over it was time for me to take it for a test ride.
It fired up on the first kick. No problem. I gently pulled away and headed down the road. Once out of earshot of my dad and the owner I let er rip. WOW! The front wheel came up and stayed there for what seemed like a whole block but was probably only a few feet. That was my first accidental wheelie but by far not the last wheelie I would do on this bike. Oh, it was also the last time I would gently pull away from a stop.
This bike proved to be very reliable. Ya if I over-revved it too many times it would blow a head gasket or two. No big deal to replace them. My point is that I realized I could go anywhere I wanted and probably make it home without relying on a friend with a truck to rescue me. On a weekend I would spend a half day just riding away from home and the other half riding back. I covered a lot of ground and discovered a lot cool roads.
This bike would be my first touring bike.
|Its funny how that small rack on the back made this a touring bike in my young eyes. These days I seem to require bags, trunks or big racks to haul all my stuff.|
I missed the bike after I traded it and longed for that rush that you get from a multi-cylinder two stroke. I picked up a 500cc version later in life but it just wasn't the same. The bike followed me around for a few moves until I found out a friend needed the engine for parts. I loaded the engine into a small trailer I towed behind my Kawasaki Voyager, hauled it 950 miles to a bike rally, and traded it for dinner. I was on a budget and considered it a fair trade.