The Charlie Bravo Story

The Honda CB500X

Let’s go back to the beginning for just a bit, shall we? We can do the Cliff notes if you prefer: a recent motorcycle incident had left me severely injured with a colostomy bag, an open abdominal scar and an empty bank account as constant reminders of my
personal position in life. I remember the cold, rainy day in January, sitting on the couch in horror as my stoma was spitting out nuggets from my side like some sort of unholy Pez dispenser when Zach showed up and suggested we go for a ride.

Why not? It surely couldn’t get much worse. It was on this ride that we discovered Charlie’s crate. Not to be melodramatic or anything, but the first word that flashed through my mind when I first saw her hollow eyes and emaciated frame was “Auschwitz”. It is said that those that don’t know their history are destined to repeat it. For those that need reminding, Auschwitz was one of the most notorious of the Nazi concentration camps during World War II; Charlie was in that bad of shape.

Most followers of this page know the rest of the story: how we had to leave her to rush home to pick up the truck, a bag of dog food, and a .22 pistol. How when we went back, she was initially nowhere to be found, as she had crawled back into her crap-filled crate, as we had SHOWN HER NO BETTER OPTION. How she and I recovered together, and by the time I went back into the hospital to have my plumbing reconnected, she was also well on her way to global domination; first the bed, then the Casa del Whackos, then the world.

As Zach and I were riding Honda CB motorcycles at the time, it seemed to make perfect sense to name her Charlie Bravo. She was dissatisfied with this, as it wasn’t regal sounding enough to her entitled ear, and lobbied to have it officially changed to Charlemagne Bravissimo, but it didn’t “stick”, and Charlie she remains.

The bike that I was riding that day was a 2013 CB500X; when Charlie started showing an insane desire to ride, a swapped this for a Moto Guzzi to fabricate a sidecar rig. This was a fiasco and a story for another day. Then came a string of bikes that were to become the next Charkstreams, a ST1300, a CB750, a DR650, another Guzzi, and ultimately the bike that would take us across the country, a CB1100. Unfortunately, the 1100 got totalled by a mini van upon our return, and it was back to the old drawing board.

Charlie’s saddle time tolerance is lessening a bit as she ages, but she is in no way ready to hang up her spurs. This is the reason that it was not even an option to take her with me to ferry Marty’s cremains to the Rockies; the 10-12 hour days across the magma-like stretches of Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico would have surely done her in. As I would be riding solo, the CB500X of yore seemed to be the perfect choice to get out there, ride up the dirt passes and then get me back home to the Casa. And while most would think that this is a pathetically undersized motorcycle to take on a 3000 mile trip, I believe that you can make almost anything work if you want it bad enough. When Sunrise Honda made me an offer on a 2021 I couldn’t refuse, I jumped on it like a duck on a June bug.

After all, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog. The bike did great, just like I believed it would.

Then yesterday I took the 500 out for a ride with Zach and my posse of ADV riding compadres. When I got home, I started looking at the bike, and thought, “What if…”. It just made sense. The 500X is what I was riding when I found her, and what she should be riding now towards the end of her career. I found a way to mount the Charkstream to the back of the bike, and Charlie immediately bounded up and commenced doing what she always does: charking her goofy head off in an earsplitting demand to GOGOGOGOGO!!!

But where? I think you know; back out to The Spot, the place where we initially found her crate. But usually, she wants to jump down as soon as we get there and go flouncing about for something aromatic with which to anoint herself. But not this time; she was not ready to stop. She planted her big black butt cheeks right where she was and her CHARKS! contained a special stridency, as if she knew the clock is ticking, and we needed to keep moving. Because in movement there is life, and if you’re not green and growing, you’re probably ripe and rotting.

As the Queen decrees, so shall it be done, especially as I have little say in the matter if I hope to preserve what’s left of my hearing. As the golden daylight continued to soften around the edges, we carved all over Little Rock until we both said “no mas” and headed home to the madness that is the Casa del Whackos. I then had to atone for my obvious favoritism by performing acts of contrition before Titus, Claire, Mr Stubb and Micro Polo.

They say that there’s no rest for the wicked; I just had no idea that I was this wicked.

We be of one blood, ye and I.

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