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Jim Smith


GWRRA#:  207396
Date of Birth: Aug. 14, 1948 (Same as my mom, and my nephew)
Place of birth: Belmond, Iowa
Presently living in San Ramon, CA.


My motorcycle diary begins in 1966 – that would be the year I graduated from high school.  My older sister’s boyfriend had purchased a Honda 90 to enable him to get to San Jose State for classes from his boarding house address on 14th street and to enable him to get to and from work.  He would ride it over to our house in the Cambrian Area and I would ‘borrow it’ to ride around the neighborhood and over to impress my then girlfriend just around the corner.  The love affair with that little screamer lasted for the next two years wherein I moved into the same boarding house with him and, while he had progressed into a 1955 white 4 door Chevy I still loved ‘borrowing’ the scoot to get around.

1969 I got married and one of the first purchases I made was for another little Honda ---  I want to say it was for a 100 CC something or other,  but honestly don’t remember anymore.  That lasted for about 2 years before I traded it for one of the original ‘dual sports’ – which was a mistake as I only really wanted to ride on the street and was just never able to get the hang of off road riding.  In 1971 my buddy Keith bought a new Triumph,  and I ‘just had to have’ a new CB-350!  It was Freeway Legal!!  I kept the 350 for just 2 years before selling it to concentrate on the pressures and financial responsibilities of being a father.  I remained ‘Bikeless’ for the next 7 years.  In 1979 I bought my first ‘real’ bike.  It was a Kawai 500 LTD.  Oh  how I loved riding that bike.  I used it for commuting and it also took me for my first ever cross country ride – 8700 miles from Ca. to Washington DC – to Atlanta and back via Dallas and Las Vegas.  That ride was followed 2 years later with another ride, this time  I headed up to the National Parks of Wyoming and Montana and Devils Tower and Mt. Rushmore.  I waved to everyone.  Everyone waved back.  I remember being in a very small town in Idaho and, it being breakfast time, stopped at this truly ‘greasy spoon’. I was the only customer – probably for obvious reasons – but only for a short while,  before I left there had to have been at least 5 other bikes that had stopped and were eating there too – Heck I must have started a trend!!  I sold the 500 in 1986.  I was again ‘Bikeless’.  In 1989 our middle son was looking for a car.  I was out looking for one for him,  and just happened to stop by a new Motorcycle dealer in the Tri Valley,  and there it was --  a Kawi 700 LTD – looked just like my old 500 and it was love at first site.  I bought it without even talking to Lynda about it.  It was a salvage title bike. It rode and performed perfectly.  I rode it as a commute vehicle (son got my Toyota Celica – eventually) and also back North through Glacier and up to Canada.  It’s also the first bike I’ve ever had an accident on.

The accident was at the intersection of 580 and 680. During the morning commute. I rear ended a PG&E car. The car was fine. The bike had 2 bent forks, broken fairing windshield, broken stator cap and a destroyed right saddle bag.  As for me – well I was even then a believer in ATGATT so other than having hyper extended Arms, shoulders and back I was in fine shape.  I rebuilt the bike, and continued to ride it up to 2002 when I finally sold it for parts.  ‘Bikeless’ once again.

Now,  I’ve aways wanted a  touring bike.  I’ve always wanted a Goldwing. I could just never afford one. In 2004 I saw my first Gl1800 at the Milpitas Honda Dealership and knew I would be the owner of one before the summer was over.  In July I found the ‘bike of my dreams’ at Fairfield Honda and after a two week negotiation we finally arrived at a price that got me the bike and the accessories I most wanted and the deal was struck.  I’ve not looked back, and now with better than 100,000 miles on it I have to say it was one of the best investments I’ve ever made.

I bought the bike in July and was attending my first CA2Q in August.  Alan and Kay Freebody were the CD’s and were very welcoming. Now, 4 years later I find myself still riding the bike as often as I can and taking the responsibility of the newsletter editor seriously.

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