Posted February 26, 2013 in Oxx Tales by Jim Markel
Say your prayers.
The first set of wheels I ever purchased with my own money was a 125cc 1970s Kawasaki Enduro. As the world’s worst paper boy, I had worked hard slogging through the ice and snow to earn enough cash for the bike. I was thirteen years old. My father was in a quandary, he told me I could have a motorcycle if I paid for it myself, but I don’t think he really anticipated the degree of my drive to acquire said dirt bike — until I had actually bought it. At the time, Pops was riding a sweet Harley Davidson Super Glide, one of many bikes he owned during my youth.
The freedom of being on the open road in the wind was quite intoxicating to me in those formative years. So he shouldn’t have been surprised when I showed up with it one day. He was due to rotate off Marine Corps recruiting duty and leave behind the gritty coal mining town of Scranton, PA. Along the way I would be spending the summer in Idaho with the grandparents while the Gunny set up the family in Camp Pendleton. With the promise of an Idaho driver’s license at fourteen years old I was slightly mollified as I rolled my new prize into the garage.
Tearing across the foot hills on a hot July day I discovered my bliss, but it was not to last. At the end of the best summer I ever experienced, it was time to leave the farm and move to Cali. "Time for the bike to go." Visions of riding down golden beach dunes evaporated quicker than the sweat on my brow. Father knows best but this really sucked. California was just too dangerous for a fourteen year old kid on a motorcycle, license or no license. As a consolation, I would be getting my own transportation in the form of a well-worn Subaru Brat.
Just a few short years later I too, would join the Marines and was soon shipping out to Japan sans vehicle. It wasn’t until after my enlistment that I would get the bug again, and this time it was an all American Harley Davidson. The next decade flew by as I built and rebuilt a couple of bikes and rode off on adventures. Back when the Oxx was tiny, it was easy to shut the doors and head off into the wind. I counted myself lucky on surviving thousands of miles without a serious accident and cashed out before getting crunched.
I found I was astride a rented Suzuki Enduro with no license and a big smile on my face. Riding around the perimeter of Lago Atitlan with my friends for the day was the highlight of my trip to Guatemala. After returning to the states I even visited a couple of dealerships but nothing felt quite right. As the new factory project consumed me, I forgot about motorcycles again. Eating dirt and steel for a few months during a Montana winter will give anyone a hankering for some palm trees.
My friend Jordan and I had been slaving away on the demolition and the metal work for the factory renovation here in Montana. We were finished with the worst of it when his cousin called with a brilliant idea. He’d been taking a group of Carolina boys on semiannual trips and we were invited to join the fun. You don’t have to ask me twice to go to the beach and luckily we had some down time while they were polishing the concrete flooring inside the building.
This trip would be a quick jaunt and required no excessive equipment or clothing. I began with the basics, my trusty C-Ruck and a Tri-fold shave kit. Then as I was sorting my gear, I spotted our now defunct fanny pack lurking in the back of my bag closet. Yes, I have a huge collection of Red Oxx bags from the past and present, all stashed in their own little home.
One thing you learn early on about riding is that you’re going to get rained on. Time to hit the outdoor store for a waterproof pack cover and a small waterproof bag for my camera gear since the Oxx does not build these type products. I find these items to be somewhat disposable in nature when used hard. One tiny little hole or tear and the waterproof bag becomes a water funnel. With a wide assortment to choose from I was on my way in ten minutes with the "latest" in waterproof kit from