The ups and downs of owning a classic motorcycle
Rider: Steve Anthes
Occupation: Retired video producer
Rides: 1978 Honda Gold Wing GL1000, 1981 Yamaha XT250, 2003 Honda Nighthawk 750
Steve’s story: “I’ve always loved the first generation Gold Wing. It’s naked and powerful with classic Japanese styling. To celebrate my 65th birthday I decided to ride solo across the country. So last year I bought a 1978 Honda GL1000 Gold Wing that included a Vetter Windjammer fairing, then spent the winter refurbishing and repairing it. I stripped it down to the motor and frame to check, adjust and replace what I could. New head gaskets, fluids, tires, brakes and a Corbin seat got me ready to roll. In June I rode from my home in northeast Washington back to the old neighborhood in New Jersey. It’s been 42 years since I’ve been to the Garden State and now I was attempting the trip on a 36-year-old classic. I couldn’t wait!
“Traveling interstates and secondary roads I headed east through the Midwest then back home on US 2, the most northern federal highway in the continental U.S. Those who appreciate classic bikes knew my ride was a challenge. I lost count of how many guys asked about my GL or told me they owned one — or wished they had. I took it easy, cruising at 60-70mph while averaging 35mpg. The Gold Wing proved its worth and had no mechanical problems in what turned into the trip of a lifetime. I was on the road for a month and saw the destruction from a tornado in Iowa that I missed by one day. I rode through the storm of the century after departing the Lake Michigan Ferry, and passed through Glacier National Park on the Road to the Sun.
“Some thought I was crazy to ride an old bike across the country and back, but the journey is the reward. My advice to anyone thinking of taking a classic bike on an extended trip: Ride ‘em, don’t hide ‘em!” MC
Photos courtesy Russel Anthes