The Road to Becoming a Gypsy (Part 2 - Starting Over) by Wild Bill

Gypsy Wild Bill in tug o war KIB rally 2007
"I think I am going to buy a motorcycle". I said one day as my wife and I sat at the the kitchen table.

"What?" she said, looking up from her plate.

"I said, I think I am going to buy a motorcycle." I repeated. "I have been thinking about it a lot lately, and I think I am ready to own another bike."

"You don't need a motorcycle. You'll kill yourself." she said.

"I used to own one, years ago. I sold mine back in '86."

"I remember you telling me that a while back. Why do you think you need a motorcycle now?" she said.

"I don't know, I just want to start riding again. I always planned on getting another one, I just kinda got side tracked over the years." I replied.

"You don't have any business buying a motorcycle. You'll get hurt."


2010 Ride to Papa Jack's Grave by Wango Tango

Last year, after Big “D”s Lifer Appreciation Party Raoul, Super Pickle, Eyeball and I struck out for Arkansas. We were following Raoul, and not really knowing where we were going. It was a wonderful “destination unknown” ride through the Ouachita, Boston and Ozark Mountains.

On the second day of our journey we found ourselves in the small town of Westville, Oklahoma. Just outside the town, we turned down a little country road and pulled up in front of a farmhouse for sale. Eyeball and I followed Raoul and Super Pickle into the property. We watched as they searched through the tall grass in an open field south of the farmhouse. Soon Eyeball and I were signaled to come over to a spot where they were standing.

They pulled the grass back and there was Papa Jack and Jaynie's headstone with the Gypsy logo and the inscription “Together for Eternity” on it. Raoul and Super Pickle had been to the gravesite before and probably knew what to expect, but Eyeball and I hadn't and I was moved, even awestruck, by this sight. Papa Jack was the man who established the Gypsy MC in Texas, and the club as we now know it today. I had no idea he and his wife Jaynie were buried in Oklahoma, actually I had no idea where they were buried. We cleared the weeds from the gravesite with our hands and took some pictures. Super Pickle told us that Papa Jack and Jaynie had lived in the farmhouse on the property, and Papa Jack had suffered a fatal heart attack while tending to his horse in the barn. His wife Jaynie had passed away  in 2001, and they were both buried here, with their infant son and Jack’s dog Pistol Pete. Their home was left vacant and had burned. It was torn down in 2007.

The Road to Becoming a Gypsy (Part 1 - My First Bike) by Wild Bill

In 1983, I bought my first real motorcycle, a brand spanking new Yamaha 400. I had a friend who had recently bought a new Yamaha with a loan from our company credit union, and after talking to him about how easy it was to get a loan, I decided that I would finally be able to fulfill a childhood dream of owning my own motorcycle. I sent off my $25 membership fee, along with the paperwork to have $25 each month direct deposited into a savings account in my name.

After receiving verification of my membership status, I quickly made a trip to our local Yamaha-Harley Davidson joint dealership known as the Texas Cycle Barn. This being my first time ever in a real motorcycle shop, I spent quite some time just admiring the shiny new bikes all lined up in rows on the sales floor. The Harleys were all chrome and steel, and expensive, so with a longing in my heart I drifted over to the Yamaha side of the show room. I really knew nothing about bikes back then, only that I "needed" one badly for some reason that to this day escapes me.

A sales man, most likely afraid that I was lost, came over and introduced himself. We talked for a while and, realizing I was a newbie, steered me to a little black and chrome Yamaha sitting at the end of the line of bikes. While I am sure he described all the finer points to me, I honestly can't remember anything he said. All I could do was stare in wonder at this beautiful machine sitting in front of me. I think the only question I managed to ask him was if I could sit on it. After receiving a "Sure, go ahead," from the sales man, I carefully swung my leg over the seat and sat down on my first "real" motorcycle.

Suddenly, visions of myself cruising down the highway, with people looking at me as I rode by jumped into my mind.

"How much?" I asked.

"Well, this is last years model," he said "I think we can knock of a little on this one. Let me check the list."

I remained on the bike, twiddling the control buttons and leaning over to see the engine while he went to the sales counter and checked. He walked back and said, "I can let you have this one for $1200, tax, tittle and license, out the door."

"Can I use your phone to call my bank?" I said.

"Sure, it's right over here." he replied, walking over to the counter.

I fished the card out of my wallet and dialed the number. The lady who answered asked me my account info, then the price of the bike. When I told her $1200, she said " We have a $1500 limit on loans.

I said I would call her back, and turned to the salesman and said, "They have to make the loan for $1500 at least.

"Well," he said, "maybe we can get the price up a little. You will need a helmet, and you might want a windshield or luggage rack."

By the time we finished talking, we had added two helmets, a windshield, a luggage rack, and an adjustable backrest to the bill, bringing the total to $1497. I called the lady back with the new figure, and she agreed to the new number. I gave the phone to the salesman and paced around in front of the desk while he talked to the lady, occasionally writing down notes on a pad. He hung up and said, "I think we got you all fixed up, come back to my office and we will get the paper work finished. On the way back to his office, he yelled at a mechanic in the back to pull my motorcycle off the floor.

In his office, we finished up the paper work and he told me that I could come back the next afternoon to pick up the bike.

I honestly don't think I slept that night, I was so excited. My wife, tired of listening to me, went to bed early, and I sat up until after midnight before retiring to the bed, still thinking of my "new" motorcycle.

The next day at work, the day seemed to stretch out forever. Finally 5:00pm arrived, and a buddy dropped me off at the dealership. It was at this time I realized I had forgotten one very important thing. I had no idea how to ride my new prize!

Sure, I had owned a mini bike back when I was 12, and a friend had allowed my to ride his Honda 90 trail bike when I was 14, but this was a "real" motorcycle. Gears had to be shifted and clutches engaged and disengaged.

As I walked in the door, the salesman said, "We got you ready to go, come on back to the shop!"

We walked into the shop, and I didn't see my bike anywhere. The salesman walked over, slapped the seat on a bike and said, "Here ya' go, we filled the tank too. She's ready to go." I didn't recognize my bike with all the accessories bolted on. It looked much larger than the day before with the windshield and luggage rack and backrest.

"I know this sounds stupid,"I said," but can you kinda go over the controls with me?"

"You never rode a motorcycle before?" he asked.

"Well, not one like this. I have ridden a Honda trail 90, but they’re automatic. I have never shifted gears before on a bike. I know how to drive a manual transmission car, though."

He laughed and said,"well, sit down on it and I will go over it with you."

He showed me the clutch lever, explaining how it needed to be pulled in, and how the gears shifted, with a one down and three up pattern, and where the starter button and kill switch were.

After about ten minutes, I said, "Ok, I think I got it now."

I turned the key on, checked that the bike was in neutral by looking at the little green indicator light and hit the start button. The little vertical twin engine turned over several times but didn't crank.

"Pull the choke out and try it again," he said. "The engines just cold."

I pulled the choke out and thumbed the starter again, and the motor came to life beneath me. My excitement returned, and I pulled in the clutch lever, toed the bike down into first, let out on the clutch, and the bike lurched and died.

"Let the clutch out a little slower, and give it a little gas this time." he said.

I reached up and hit the starter again, and the bike lurched forward, taking me with it about a foot.

"You have to pull the clutch in or put it in neutral." my new found mentor said.

To shorten a long story, I made it out of the shop on the fourth (or was it the fifth?) try.
By this time a couple of mechanics and the salesman had followed me out to the parking lot to watch. I am sure they were taking bets on whether I would make it out of the parking lot.

Well, I fooled them! It only took me three tries to achieve the street in front of the shop, and I was on my way home!

Cruising down the street toward the highway that would carry me home, I easily made the turn onto the on ramp and managed to shift up through the gears till I was flying down the highway at over 40 miles an hour! I was so proud, looking to make sure all the people in their cars were looking at me as they went by, some honking their horns and waving, at least thats how I remember it now.

As I approached the turn off to my street, I realized I didn't know where my brakes were. I found the clutch, and as the motor revved up because I had not remembered to let off the throttle, my turn off loomed.

Now, this is a four lane divided highway I was traveling on known as Loop 286 that runs all the way around my town of Paris, Tx. I was headed south and needed to turn east, which required that I turn into a crossover lane, check for oncoming traffic, then cross over the two westbound lanes of traffic.

I quickly realized that there was no way I was going to make my turn at my present speed, and without the aid of brakes I could not slow down. Thinking fast, as it were, I decided to make my own crossover. I turned before the crossover, went down into and across the grass median, up into the opposing lanes of traffic, narrowly missing an oncoming car, or rather it narrowly missed me as I careened across the highway at about 25 miles an hour.

Suddenly I was on my road, headed in the right direction! I swerved to the right to miss another car that was blowing it's horn at me, probably because I was in his lane instead of mine, and leveled out, with heart racing and soiled underwear, towards home. At the leisurely pace of 20 miles an hour, I looked for and found the front brake lever, and practiced using it several times in the last mile before my next turn. I made that turn fine, and managed to make that last mile without any more incidents. I spent the next two weeks riding up and down the street in front of my house, learning how to start and stop so that I could take the test for my motorcycle license.

I rode that little bike for the next three years, finally trading it to a friend for $300 and two pistols.
It would be 13 years before I owned another motorcycle, even though I kept my motorcycle license that whole time, always with plans to buy another "someday".

Gypsy MC Girls "Not Lake Trip" by The Flash

You want to see a Gypsy woman’s head turn, say these four words “Girls Not Lake Trip”. Then you may here a few giggles, and will, for sure see some smiles. If you are lucky you may be able to hear a few tidbit stories from the adventures.

The Kansas women have been getting together since 2005, just us, no men, no kids, just us women. We take a weekend camp just for ourselves, and have a good ole time. Then I got to thinking, why don’t we share this experience with our other sisters. That is exactly what we decided to do back in 2009. The original “Not Lake” was held at Turner Falls in Oklahoma (you know that state that is between Texas and Kansas). The trip got its name because the first outing to Turner Falls had the usual Gypsy refreshments and I kept saying I wanted to go down to the lake, and I kept getting told it’s not a lake, so then I started saying “let’s go down to the NOT LAKE”. Then everyone else began to say let’s go down to the Not Lake, hence the name for the Gypsy woman weekends “Not Lake Trip”.

Our woman’s weekend, if possible, will always be held in Oklahoma, never at a lake. For the past two years it has been in Tahlequah on the river. No stress, no responsibilities, no schedule, well all except for the Saturday morning pick-up for the river rafting. Oh and no make-up! The only thing you need to do this weekend is to get to and from the camp site safely.

If you need something, one of us will have it. If your bike isn’t working, we’ll get it working somehow, someway. You have a flat tire, it will be fixed. I am so proud to be part of such a large family, watching my sisters step up when needed - without being asked. Setting up camp, and then tearing it down - we work as one unit. It is awesome, no one directing, but if you were an outsider looking in you would think that someone is coordinating the whole thing. Oh, and I pity the person who decides to mess with anyone of the Gypsy women, they have no clue what they are asking for – it you mess with one you mess with all of US!

During the river rafting we run into all kinds of wild life, anything from anacondas to beavers, and maybe a few crocodiles (which we call crotchadiles - because they are little minnows that like to swim up your shorts!), just talk to Lady Dale about the anaconda, or Cherri-O about the beavers. Floating down the river is an experience in itself. The phrases you hear the most throughout the rafting trip is “where’s the red cup?” and “I’m okay!” If you are wondering about the red cup, well, after a few drinks from the red cup the anaconda, beaver, and possibly a pterodactyl may show up.

Next year will be our fourth year, and I am telling you Gypsy women need to experience it at least one time. Last year I sat back and watched as everyone sat around the lantern – I say lantern because it is to dang hot in July for a camp fire – we talked, laughed, nothing serious except, if we couldn’t find the Apple Pie, then it was serious digging in the coolers trying to find it! I wish I could explain in words the feeling I had in my heart as I looked around at all the smiles, hugs and genuine love that everyone has toward each other there just aren’t words for this.

That is all I have for now – can’t let out to much of our weekend outing – you ask why? Because what goes on at the Girl’s Not Lake Trip stays at the Not Lake! Read More...