Three months ago I bought a 1973 125cc Yamaha enduro motorcycle from a co-worker of mine for $300. This motorcycle came from a farm in South Dakota, and it had been given to my co-worker by an ex-girlfriend twenty years ago.
This motorcycle was not running, it had not been started in the past twenty years, and my co-worker did not have a title for it. I already owned an almost identical motorcycle, a 1976 125cc Yamaha enduro that had been in a repair shop for the past ten months because it was seemingly impossible to get a replacement generator. ( It doesn’t have an alternator, it has a generator, which not only charges the battery, it also allows “electric start”.)
I told my co-worker that if I could get this 1973 Yamaha that I was buying from him to start & run, I would pay him an additional $100 if he could get the motorcycle title for me. With the title, I could register this motorcycle in North Dakota and legally ride it on the street with a license plate. Otherwise, if this 1973 motorcycle wouldn’t run, I could use it for parts for the 1976 motorcycle that I already owned.
Three months later, both my 1976 125cc Yamaha enduro that I already owned, and the 1973 125cc Yamaha enduro that I just bought from my co-worker, were both repaired and ready for pick up from a shop in Dickinson. Each motorcycle had $500 worth of repairs, and now each of them would start in less than 1/2 second using the electric start, and their generators were charging at 13.5 volts. Honestly, I was surprised how well this shop got both of them to run, they did a lot of diagnostic and repairs.
I picked up both of these motorcycles using my trailer. All week the weather in western North Dakota had been rainy, snowy, windy, and cold. Last night it got down to about 34 degrees Fahrenheit, and it felt like 21 degrees due to the wind-chill. But today, this afternoon it was supposed to get up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. So I would be able to test-drive the 1973 Yamaha that I had doubted if it would ever run again.
I wasn’t really worried about not having registration and a license plate for this 1973 Yamaha just to take if for a test-drive. All I had to do was get on the side street beside my house, drive five city-blocks heading west, then it was all dirt country roads for the next 20 miles until you reach Hwy 85.
I have seen other people in the area where I live drive electric golf-carts on the street, four-wheelers, and moto-cross motorcycles that are not registered and do not have license plates. Where I live is under the law enforcement jurisdiction of the County Sheriff. The County Sheriff, unlike City Police, do not try to stop people for any reason they can. The County Sheriff will only stop someone suspected of a significant crime like burglary, robbery, assault, reckless driving, or a major traffic violation committed in front of them.
However, what I was worried about, was not having insurance on this 1973 Yamaha. I did not get it insured yet, because I didn’t even know if this motorcycle would run or not. In Idaho where I had been living, failure to have liability insurance results in your driver’s license being suspended for 30 days, you have to re-apply after 30 days, and you may be required to get “SR-22 Insurance” which is way more expensive. In North Dakota, I think that the penalty for not having liability insurance is 12 points on your driver’s license, which results in a driver’s license suspension.
Like I said, the Sheriffs in this area don’t try to stop people for minor violations, and other people ride off-road vehicles on the street where I live, it doesn’t appear to be a big deal. But I don’t know if a Sheriff would try to persecute me and cause me to lose my driver’s license. So I called my insurance agent right before I left on my test-drive. (Plus also, maybe I am making this whole story up, maybe I never did test-drive this motorcycle, maybe it was someone else, not me.)
I rode in 3rd gear, 2,000 rpm, at about 20 mph going west through the five city-blocks and first mile out of town on the dirt road in order to not make much noise. Then once I was far out of town, I ran the motorcycle through all of its gears up to 7,500 rpm, below its 8,000 rpm redline. It did O.K. After riding about ten miles, I turned around and headed back. I was careful to try to stay in 3rd gear, 2,000 rpm back through the five city-blocks towards home.
I parked this 1973 Yamaha close to where it was going to be put away in my yard. It wasn’t readily visible from the street in front of my house, or the alley behind my house. Within about five minutes, here comes a Sheriff Deputy driving in a hurry through the alley behind my house. This is very, very unusual. I might see a Sheriff Deputy drive down this alley once every six months. On the city-block where I live, my house is really the only house that has a driveway in the backyard off of the alley.
Because this blog post is becoming longer than I intended, I will not try to begin elaborating on the other time that I arrived home after a motorcycle ride recently, and I saw one of my neighbors repeatedly peaking out from behind a tree trunk looking at me, then moving to behind the corner of a house looking at me, while on the telephone, appearing to be describing me and what I was currently doing to someone like a Police Dispatcher.
In both of these cases, the one where I had just come from Hwy 22, and this one where I had just come from west of town, the Sheriff Deputies appeared to be operating under the procedure that they need to actually witness me in the act of doing something wrong, in order to give me any kind of citation. The reason being, it would be too easy for me to make the statement that whatever it was, it wasn’t me, it must have been someone else.
In my case, the Karens that are calling Law Enforcement on me, I believe that they are just trying to cause problems for me personally, in any way that they can. I don’t think that they have anything against motorcycles. They don’t like me or my blog post articles.