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Checkpoint

END OF THE TRAIL

By Matt Cuddy

END OF THE TRAIL

 

BY MATT CUDDY

 

I just got off the phone with my good riding buddy Dave Brown. Dave’s a great guy, helped me drywall my bathroom when the contractor flaked out on me, was always the guy who squished the rings together on my CR500’s piston, while I held the barrel so they wouldn’t hang up on the big

square holes at the bottom.

 

He’s helped me drink lots of beer, and talked me into buying a Buell

instead of another Kawasaki street bike. Dave is also dying of lung cancer. They have him on the home hospice program, he’s got about two months left.

 

Dave was telling me about almost overdosing on the morphine the doctor had left him, said it knocked him out for a day and a half. But what was so weird it was actually funny, just Dave telling another crazy story.

 

Dave is mostly a street biker anymore, has a big Harley and a Yamaha that

makes the Harley look like a mini-bike. Some big V-Twin monster that Yamaha decided to out-do Harley with. A BIG bike. His last dirt bike was a TT500 Yamaha that was so trick you couldn’t start it. The self preservation option.

 

When we were talking it didn’t dawn on me, here’s a guy looking the grim reaper square in the eyeballs (or eye sockets, being it’s the grim reaper) and he’s not complaining, or sad or anything morbid like you might expect from someone who doesn’t have a lot of time left.

 

What pisses Dave off the most is, he can’t breathe that well anymore, so he can’t ride his bikes. I offered to let him try out my Honda wheelchair, but he declined, said he didn’t want to look like “some crazy cripple out trying to break something else.” Thanks Dave, I’ll remember that.

 

After I got off the phone, I flashed back to all the friends I’ve lost over the years, all of them motorcyclists of one sort or another. And I wouldn’t trade any of the rides or experiences I had with them for a mountain of gold plated CZ parts (I’m a CZ freak…)

 

So when my time comes, I hope I can hold it together as well as Dave has, because to me, that’s one tough son of a gun.

 

And now I’ve got to come up with some ram-air device that crams the best Los Angeles has to offer in the way of O2 down into Dave’s windpipes. Can’t let him check out without one more ride.

 

I mean, what are friends for?