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Bill Androws


GWRRA#:  166953
Date of Birth: Ground Hog's Day
Place of Birth: Stockton, CA
Day Two to Present: Livermore

Being a Livermore country boy, I learned the essentials of driving from my father at age twelve; the essentials being how to let out the clutch of his 1949 Chevy pickup without killing the engine. At age fifteen and a half, with driving permit in hand, I finally made good use of this skill in the form of a brand new 49.6 cc Sears Allstate scooter. I bombed around on this scooter for about six months before I did myself in with some off-pavement shenanigans which resulted in a broken left clavicle. Two months later, I was back on it again; this time staying out of the mud. Three years later, my mother gave it away. At the time, I was struggling to keep it running and she was tired of buying parts for it.

Some years later, I had saved some money from serving in the military for three years. With my new found freedom and $800 to spare, I bought a 1966 Triumph TR-6. Now this was a real motorcycle. All those years at fixing the scooter came in handy. Anyone with a British motorcycle knows what vibration does to metal parts. I kept the pop rivet gun close at hand and used it often. And the riding was superb but I don’t know how I survived the early seventies. At a mutual friend’s wedding, Linda and I met and eventually married and started a family. At that point, I was forced to move the Triumph out of the living room??? Even though I kept this bike in the garage for a lot of years, it got little to no use after our first child arrived. There was just no money for this kind of thing.

Flash forward twenty years: I friend of mine told Linda and me that he put a $500 down payment on a Harley Fat Boy and was expecting to pick it up in the next month or two. With that, Linda says “Why don’t you get one”. I can still hear her saying that. I think it was the next day that I was looking around for a Harley. At long last, I bought a new red  (not my favorite color) ’96 Harley Springer from Fremont Cycle Center.  I had it custom painted, modified the engine cam and pipes, and added lots of chrome and leather bags; large leather bags. However, Linda could not ride this bike very far because of the patch of foam and vinyl that they called a back seat. With the addition of a large Corbin seat, it became rideable for many hours without fatigue. I think the longest ride on this bike was three hundred fifty miles in about twelve hours. At the time, that was doing somethin’.

Several years later, the same friend that told me he was buying a Harley, showed a few of us in the office a sport bike video tape which included a 1999 Suzuki Hayabusa; a sport-touring machine with one hundred sixty horses at the rear wheel. This was a must have. Six months later I was the proud owner of a 2000 Blue/Silver Busa. On this one, I only changed the windshield and the seat covers to match my new two piece leather suit from Helimot in San Jose.  Man, could that bike accelerate! About a year and a half later, that capability got the best of me while I was coming into a turn. I down shifted into second and just then my glove (with my hand in it) caught the accelerator. Before I could shut it down, I was flying at 70 MPH into a 15 MPH corner on Mines Road. Hard braking while leaning into a turn is a bad combination. When I woke up, I was in the middle of the road and my son was riding up to help me. We figured that I had to have been unconscious for at least five minutes because he was ahead of me when all this started happening. I have no memory of going down. I made it to the hospital thanks to a passing motorist. This time, I shattered the left clavicle along with a few other broken bones in my foot. The Arai helmet saved my live; it was also totaled but my head didn’t have a scratch on it. Since I didn't remember going down, I decided that I would leave fast bikes to the younger crowd and would not replace the Busa. But what to buy…

During my recovery I remarked to my friend that had moved me to buy the Harley and the Hayabusa that I was thinking along the lines of a large touring bike. Jose told me more than once that he had owned a Goldwing at one time and loved it. He just wouldn’t let me heal in peace. After looking at the Harley, BMW, and the Honda, Linda and I finally decided on the Goldwing. Jose looked for the best price around and then put the order in for two Goldwings (one blue and one black) at LA Cycle Sports in Inglewood, CA. Seven weeks after the death of my Busa, we (Linda and I plus Jose and friend) flew to the LAX, took a shork cab ride, and then rode out of the dealer’s lot: two-up, full luggage, onto I-405 on a Friday at 3:30 PM. I was a bit shaky to say the least. We spent the next two days on the road making our way home. What a great maiden voyage!

Back tracking a little bit: after the bikes were ordered but before we picked them up, my son-in-law told me about the GTA and GWRRA. I signed up for both. Then I looked for those groups locally. I found GWRRA-CA2Q that meets at Athens Burger on the third Saturday of each month. So, I showed up there in June of 2002 riding my Harley. As I walked in looking lost, Bob Hole (the Chapter Director at the time) walked up and introduced himself. I explained that I was about to fly down and pickup my first Goldwing the following week. After the meeting got underway, Bob introduced me to the group and invited me to tell my story which I did. After the meeting, even though invited, I declined to ride with the group. Did I mention my Harley was loud!!! I just had a feeling that this wouldn’t have been fully appreciated. About two weeks after I picked up the Goldwing, Bob asked me if I wanted to join a small group on a ride. This would be a four day / twenty four hundred mile trip to Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. I accepted even though I had never done anything close to this amount of mileage before. During the trip, I lost sight of Lisa Kappenberger who had stopped with vision problems. We  finally met up again several hours later with Lisa but my lack of action will never be forgotten. For this I got the Wingnut award at my first official GWRRA meeting.  Lisa made sure of that. To this day we still talk about that event. Linda was there for our ‘first’ official meeting as GWRRA members to watch me get adorned. After the meeting, we spoke to most of the CA2Q members and enjoyed the subsequent chapter ride. Linda and I agreed that joining the group is something that we wanted to keep doing. It’s been ten years and counting and it’s still working well for us.