More bike riding stories

Published 11:32 am Thursday, February 1, 2024

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We boys built a dirt ramp on the school ground so we could fly through the air briefly after a high-speed run-up to the ramp. When one young Owens boy pulled up on his handlebars, the front wheel slipped out of the fork. The fork dug in, and Owens went headlong over the bike and landed in a heap.

All of us gathered around Owens, and he did not move. One asked, “Is he dead?” About that time he opened his eyes and we helped him to his feet. Undaunted, we all began to circle ‘round and take the jump like nothing had happened!

Owens even reassembled his bike, and used a “bike wrench” out of his pocket to tighten up the axle nuts. Most of us had a similar wrench: a flat piece of steel with several hexagonal holes that fit the nuts on bicycles.

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My friend Carl Beust and I were into airplanes, so we rode our bikes like fighter planes, maneuvering to get on the other guy’s tail and “shoot him down” with suitable machine gun sounds from our mouths. Ah, the games young boys play!

Carl had a Colson bike that needed painting. He took it apart and painted all the pieces red with a small brush. When reassembled, his bike looked brand new! I decided to paint mine, too, so I bought a small can of red enamel and slapped it on my bike with a brush that I already had.

The white wall tires were the only thing that made my bike look sorta like somebody cared.  I don’t remember what happened to that bike when I went into the Air Force.

In December, Fran and I went on the White Oak bus to see the Christmas lights in Forest City. On the way over we passed the Nelon pasture with a great many more bison evident than in previous years. It was dark by the time we reached Forest City, and the lighted trees were a sight to behold.

Beth Thomas, across the aisle from us, was knitting, and I just had to comment as she continued to knit as it got dark! That must be the only needlecraft that can be done with no light!

On the way back we entered a drive-through light show that had an admission charge. The displays were indeed spectacular and colorful.

Christy Rowe was our driver and she is a very good driver indeed. She plans ahead and therefore uses the brakes gently. And we hardly realize that we are going around a curve, as she has planned her speed to suit. Would that there were more drivers like our Christy!

Resident Linda Stevenson says I need to write about my hat. OK, it is a black Stetson given to me by our son Thomas. I call it my “Clint Eastwood hat” because he wore a similar hat in one of his Western movies. Fran says nobody else comments because it looks so natural on me!

On our cruise to Alaska, I bought an excursion to a restaurant on a river. I selected a De Havilland Beaver on floats, and when Fran told our pilot that I am also a pilot, he put me in the right seat. Friend Judy North took a photo of me which she calls, “The Happy Copilot.” I use it on the back cover of all of my books!

In my youth, I had wanted to be a bush pilot in Alaska, but never saved up enough money to buy a Beaver. Too bad!

Garland would like to hear from you at 828-859-7041 or