Having triumphed over the biggest problem and getting the bike to run, there really wasn’t much left to do. As all good things seem to do, the story came to an end not to much later.
I did manage to score some parts from a motorcycle nut and get POJ on the road. This guy makes me look like an amateur. He had probably more than 100 bikes in various states of decompose. Waterbuffalos, Suzuki ram airs, Honda scramblers, dirt bikes, dual sports, street bikes, you name it, he had it! In his pile were two or three old Yamaha 100’s. Unfortunatley, most of them were Twinjets and built more for street. The twinjet is one sweet looking maching. Looks just like POJ but they had a TWO CLINDER 100cc oil injected engine sits under the tank! He “lent” me a back wheel that turned out to be too small but still worked and a few other little bits and pieces.
Armed now with the major missing piece and enough bicycle parts that I thought I could get it “on the road”, I set to work. The end result was a ratty old bike with a teeny back wheel, a rats nest of wiring hanging out from under the seat, a CAR BATTERY tied on to the rear rack with an old bicycle inner tube, bicycle cables cut / bent / tied on to get working throttle and brakes, and positively no silencer. Quite the opposite, in fact… It had a pipe in the shape of a megaphone, and when I say POJ was loud, POJ was LOUD.
The maiden voyage… I don’t recall exactly how well it went, but if my memory serves me correctly it was something like this: Dump just enough gas in for it to run for about 3 minutes. There was no fuel petcock, so we had just jammed a rubber stopper in the hole and ran a line from the special crossover bungs on the underside of the tank directly to the carb. The needle in the carb didn work worth a hoot so as soon as you put gas in it, it started spraying gas all over the place out the overflow. Once the gas was in and leaking (pre-mix, of course, cause the oil lines were long gone even though the tank was still there), hook the piece of extension cord we cut up over the positive terminal on the car battery tied to the back. Wiggle said connection until the dash lights came on, and then kick the starter! It started relatively well- usually first or second kick. Drat. Forgot earplugs. Shut bike off by removing extension cord from battery. Find helmet / ear plugs or roll the bike outside so the echo in the shed wouldn’t cause my head to implode. Re-attach cable. Kick. Kick. Kick. Kick. Dump in more gas cause it all leaked out. Kick. Hey, its running! Click it into first, slowly let out the clutch, annnnnnddddd we’re moving!!! Give it a little gas and shift into second. What?! Neutral? Where’s second? Oh. Who the heck does the shift pattern ALL DOWN!?
At this point, POJ’s story gets a little blurry. Life, as it is said, is what happens while you are busy making other plans. I had grand dreams for POJ. Like a dying fire, they cooled and eventually went out with the onset of winter. It was a running bike, true, but it was ancient, heavy, loud, and unreliable. Turns out a fellow student at school was looking for something ancient, heavy, and loud. Well, he was really just looking for something that ran and he could actually ride. We eventually struck a deal- I gave him POJ in return for a ’76 Kawasaki KE175 that someone had taken great time to polish, shine, and update, then promptly blew the motor. I do remember taking POJ for one last spin on a VERY cold February evening.
The next evening I was pushing the Kawasaki into POJ’s special parking place on the dark side of the garage- the side where my Dad piled all of his really REALLY useless stuff. That’s sayin something.
I was getting pretty good with wrenches. My parents had sent me to live with a friend of theirs in the summers that had a lawnmower repair shop and I had a learned a thing or 3 about engines. Mostly 4 stroke lawnmowers, true, but a thing none the less! I was confident I could figure this bike out in no time. Heck, it was practically brand new!
Little did I know. I never did come up with a good name for the KE, but if I had, it would have been something like Money Pitt, Pushmehome, Purgatory, or something along those lines. I should have just doused it in gasoline, lit a match, and walked away.