Tag Archives: Harley Davison 125cc Hummer

Happiness is Flying Model Airplanes-Part 3

24 May

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Note:  I didn’t fly model airplanes during the years after I got my first motorcycle, while in the U.S. Navy, or while I was going to college.  This ended up being roughly 11 years, between 1954 and 1965.

At age 14 my interest shifted from airplanes to motorcycles, cars, and girls, in that order.  With my parents’ consent, I was allowed to get my driver’s license when I was 14 years old.  Back then the state of New Mexico allowed a person to obtain a driver’s license at age 14 because of all the farm kids in the state who needed to help with ranch duties involving driving tractors, pickup trucks, and cars.  At first my parents were not happy with the idea of me riding a motorcycle, but I assured them I was a careful and responsible driver.  I started small with a used Harley-Davison 125cc Hummer.  The next year, I traded that motorcycle in on a new Harley Davidson 165cc ST Hummer.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

As you can tell by the photo above, by this time I was a Marlon Brando follower (The Wild One) and dressed appropriately.  That was all the rage at that time.  My next and last motorcycle was my favorite: a 1955 Harley-Davidson KH Sportster (Flat-head 888 cc).  I rode that motorcycle for ten years.  I used it for transportation during my years in the U.S. Navy (when I was home) and during my collage years.  During those years my wife, DiVoran, was a frequent passenger on that motorcycle as we were living on a very tight budget.  I never did get a ‘Buddy Seat’ for that motorcycle: ‘Riding Double’ involved me sitting on the gas tank while DiVoran got the seat.   I don’t know how legal that was, as we were never stopped while riding double.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Around age 16, when my interest in girls began to grow, I realized I was going to need a car.  My first car was a 1940 Chevrolet Coupe that I paid $50 for.  It took a lot of time, work, and most of my money to fix up that old car into something I wasn’t embarrassed to take a girl out in.  During our senior year in high school this car was the first car that I took my (then) girlfriend, DiVoran, out on a date in.  I only kept that car until I finished high-school and started my tour of duty in the U.S. Navy.  The photos below are a fair representation of my 1940 Chevy.

               Left:  When I bought it        –>       Right: When it was restored

Photo Credit: https://yahoo.com/1940-chevrolet-coupe

During the latter part of my tour of duty in the U.S. Navy I ended up being stationed in San Diego, CA.  It was during this time that I got a chance to live out one of my teenage “Bucket List” items: to own a 1932 Ford five-window Coupe (Hot Rod).  As it turned out, the Master Chief of the engine shop I worked for was an antique car restorer and he knew this guy who had a ‘32 Ford for sale.  I bought it (basically a shell with an 85-hp flathead V-8 engine) and the fun began.  My ’32 had the top ‘chopped’ a total of 4” and the body was ‘channeled’ a total of 7” with one very basic plywood driver’s seat bolted to the frame.  The rest of the interior floor was nothing but a sheet of plywood covering the frame (no passenger seat).

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Photo Credit: amazingclassiccars.com/1932-ford-5-window-coupe/

I didn’t have time to finish the interior, the engine, and a beautiful new paint job as things in my life were about to change.  The photo below is pretty much what I wanted my ’32 to look like when it was finished.  However, a few months after I started that project, I married DiVoran, ‘The Love of my Life’ and she didn’t like sitting on that plywood with nothing to hold on to.  Very soon after we were married, I traded the ’32 for a nice 1950 Mercury Sedan (much more comfortable).  We kept that Mercury until after I got out of the Navy, finished college, and we were ready to move to Florida.

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 65 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

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