11GTCS
11GTCS Reader
10/23/20 8:45 a.m.

I debated putting this in the picture thread but I thought my man Charlie deserved his own thread.   Car guy, motorcycle guy, fixer of all things and the best neighbor you could ask for.   Charlie lived a simple life, he worked hard, built his own house, took care of a great big vegetable garden and enjoyed it all.   We had the privilege of getting to know him over a 25 year or so period, we first met when I was just a kid with a new wife and house helping him clear the end of his driveway after a big storm. 

Charlie and his wife never had any kids of their own, they'd gotten married later in life.   His wife had some health issues and he was always worried about being able to get her out to the hospital if we'd had some weather; I made it my goal to make sure he never worried about that again.   Wore out a snowblower in the process but so, so worth it.

He was very shy in the earlier years but over time we became great friends.   His wife eventually passed and he ended up pretty much by himself.  My wife would check in on him a couple of times a day and I'd pop over after work to talk cars and so on and we got pretty close.   One day he told us the story of his life's greatest adventure.   In the summer of 1953 he bought himself a new Harley Davidson, took 3 months off from work and rode the bike across the country and back hitting a number of the national parks.   Camping on the side of the road, making do as only he could.   He took lots of pictures and when he returned from his trip he sent it in to the "Enthusiast" magazine which was at the time the official Harley Davidson magazine.   Below is the first page of the article with Mr. Awesome on his bike and the map of the route.  The original copy of the magazine was his absolute number one prized possession, I scanned the entire magazine to be sure it was preserved.

Charlie passed a year ago today, he was close to 96.   My last visit with him was just a day before he passed, he was in a rehab room and excited about being able to come back home soon.   We had a great chat about me fixing something on the snowblower with some tools of his that I'd used.  (Machinist's cross vice for the drill press, I had to drill out some broken studs on a bearing holder).  Big smile and a wave as we left which is my last memory of him.   Sharp and his own man right up until the end.   

If you're so inclined, please raise a toast to Charlie today.  He was absolutely Grassroots and would have fit right in with y'all.   Miss you buddy. 

 

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
10/23/20 8:50 a.m.

I'm sorry hes gone, but I'm glad you were his friend,  and he was yours. Any of us are lucky to have someone like that. Godspeed,  Charlie.

eastpark
eastpark HalfDork
10/23/20 8:51 a.m.

That's a great story and I will be sure to toast Charlie, a perfect excuse to celebrate 4:00 today!

Slippery (Forum Supporter)
Slippery (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
10/23/20 9:09 a.m.

What an amazing story and how cool of you to become his friend! 

If you have the whole article scanned please post it up. I'd love to read it and I am sure other people would too. 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
10/23/20 9:35 a.m.
Slippery (Forum Supporter) said:

What an amazing story and how cool of you to become his friend! 

If you have the whole article scanned please post it up. I'd love to read it and I am sure other people would too

Absolutely!

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/23/20 10:32 a.m.

I have had a lot of neighbors over the years but only 2 or 3 have become friends. I'm sorry for your loss, but what a blessing to have hung out with him and heard his stories. I'll raise a glass tonight. 

wawazat
wawazat Dork
10/23/20 11:21 a.m.

Sorry to hear about Charlie’s passing.  Please post the entire article as a rider I’d love to read it.  I hope to do some motorcycle camping next year.  

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/23/20 11:25 a.m.

That's awesome. Especially considering there weren't a lot of highways back then. Thank you for sharing and RIP Charlie. 

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy MegaDork
10/23/20 11:28 a.m.

What an inspiration!   Can't wait to read the article.  

Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter)
Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
10/23/20 3:32 p.m.

Sounds like a great guy and life well lived. May we all be more like that and have friends like you.

11GTCS
11GTCS Reader
10/23/20 5:26 p.m.

Aww, thanks all.   We made a quick visit to his grave and left a mum for him this afternoon. Just raised a glass in his his honor now.

Like I said above, he’d have loved y’all.   I know he had a ‘34 Ford V8 that he kept on the road for a long while, he put at least a couple of engines in it.  I remember him telling me he bought the last one new in 1954 from one of the local Ford dealers.  He had some relatives on his Mothers side that lived somewhere in Louisiana, I know he drove his Mom down in the Ford a least a couple of times. Supposedly the frame is still in the woods behind his house, I might need to go take a look.

I’ll post the Enthusiast article in a new thread in the motorcycle and bicycle forum.  It’s a short piece but it meant a lot to him. 

Slippery (Forum Supporter)
Slippery (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
10/23/20 6:32 p.m.

Looking fwd to reading it!

Skol!

11GTCS
11GTCS Reader
10/24/20 9:01 a.m.

Good morning, I just posted the article in the motorcycle and bicycle forum.   Thanks for the interest and I hope you enjoy Charlie's story.

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy MegaDork
10/25/20 8:43 a.m.

I read the article - great story.  This article inspired me to throw out a challenge to my daughter.  

She is a senior in high school and a Korean adoptee.  I told her I would pay her airfare and give her $2,500 to go to Seoul, Korea this next summer and spend a month bumming around the country.  The catch is she has to attend community college in her first year of college rather than a university.  

I figure the life-time traveling experience is worth more than a first-year living in a dormitory.  Your friend proves how awesome traveling can be.  

BoostedBrandon
BoostedBrandon SuperDork
10/25/20 8:57 a.m.

Someone is cutting onions in here.

thedoc
thedoc Reader
10/25/20 9:08 a.m.

Man, we need to become the person that that guy was.

Thanks

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