One Wife, Many Motorcycles

Tim Kessel talks about his love for his wife and collecting classic motorcycles.

| July/August 2010

  • parting shots

  • parting shots

Having just celebrated another wedding anniversary — my 27th to be exact — I must accept the fact that I am a living dichotomy. Monogamy and stability have been the earmarks of my marriage. Tempestuous philandering has ruled my relationship with motorcycles.

If I were to recount the full list of motorcycles that have spent time in my garage, it would read with the same seeming endlessness of the biblical “begats” in the Old Testament.  Rest assured, I will only recount a few of my 2-wheeled trysts. Since this is an exploration of my double life, I will start with the first motorcycle that involved my then-future wife.

The year was 1979, and I had $350 burning a hole in my Levi’s 501s. I was 18, and fully enamored with the tiny ball of fire, Cheryl. I threw a couple of tie-downs in the back of my dad’s old Ford truck and headed with Cheryl (clad in her cutoffs and halter top) south from northern Arizona to Phoenix to buy a dirtbike. I visited several used motorcycle shops, and was starting to get frustrated. My $350 was beginning to look woefully inadequate. However, near the end of that hot Phoenix summer day, I found a race-worn 1976 Suzuki RM250. After a spin around the sweltering parking lot, I was sold. The loud, smoky, unruly 2-stroke was going to be mine.

I offered the salesman $300, and with a smirk, he accepted. I was so blinded by passion that I promptly handed him all $350 and was ready to load up the bike. It was Cheryl who whispered to me that I had just over paid. Embarrassed, I asked the guy for my $50 and headed back home.

What could be better? I had a sun-tanned beauty sitting beside me in that Ford — her blonde hair dancing in the open-windowed breeze. In the rear-view mirror, the RM’s blonde tank glistened in the Arizona sun. This was an 18-year-old’s version of heaven.

The next year, Cheryl and I enrolled at Northern Arizona University. I sold the RM and bought a 1975 Honda 550 four. Cheryl still sports a burn scar on her calf courtesy of that Honda’s right muffler. We married before our senior year of college. We both knew what we wanted, and it has worked — love, friendship and monogamy.

Gigi Brown-Trujillo
8/12/2012 1:06:09 AM

I love it, Tim! You both have the right idea!!! :) Gigi

Mark M
7/12/2010 8:00:39 PM

I like this. Some may call it sappy. I call it good writing.

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