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  • Chief 9:49 am on July 31, 2008 Permalink |
    Tags: vulcan drifter riders found in barn   

    What were we (they) thinking!!! 

    This is another in the Drifter Life category. This entry is for all those vintage-in-the-barn stories, sold a $50,000 bike for an RC and moonpie, etc.!!

    If we knew then what we know now…  <LOL>

    • Chief 9:52 am on July 31, 2008 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      My fellow Drifter riders. Ron Ottow (Dancing Bear here)

      I would like to share a story with you that is not only true, but made me sick to my stomach.

      Last weekend I was out riding and stopped at a place for a bite to eat. I had been by this place quite often and decided to give it a try.

      Candy and I went in and suddenly struck a conversation with the owners, there wasn’t many people in there. They mentioned thy would like to get more of the biker crowd in and asked us what we thought should be done. We gave some suggestions what to do to get them in, but the food was so fantastic it would bing them back.

      The lady likes to collect old things and She took us to Her warehouses to look at some of the items, totally unbelievable!

      She then said She had sold 2 motorcycles She had. She had gotten them from some relation and they had been kept covered in a building out of the weather. She said they had an Indian head on the front fenders. I described the front fenders and founf out they were 2 original late 40’s Indian Chiefs both Indian red and in great condition. They both ran and the people who bought them actually rode them.

      She thought She just had 2 old motorcycles and sold the pair for $1500.00 (750.00 each).

      I immediately started to get sick to my stomach.

      When I informed Her of what She had and how much they would actually be worth then She was also sick to Her stomach.

      The moral of this true story is if you don’t know what you have, a little reseach can go a long way to helping avoid a blunder such as this one.

      We saw Her tonight, She is still sick about this.

      Ron Ottow (Dancing Bear) VDOG #1621

    • Chief 9:53 am on July 31, 2008 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      happens more than you would think… got out of the Navy in 1982.. came back to Kansas to visit the folks for a vacation.. Dad tells me there is a Sunday auction, with a 69 Chevy listed, from an estate sale, my Dad wants to go look at the car for my neice.. we are thinking some “Impala” or Caprice” nice BIG car she can learn to drive…. get there late… bidding is closed… it’s a 69 CORVETTE!! WITH 39,000 ACTUAL MILES!! went for 3,700 dollars!! her son had bought it before he went to Vietnam, she had kept it for”keepsakes”… and “IT was taking up to much room” … we talked to her after it was all over.. she said and I quote…………… “that’s what the used car dealer, told me a 69 Chevy was worth” ……….. frzb

    • Chief 9:53 am on July 31, 2008 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Had a mechanical breakdown one time in Oregon, had to hitchhike back to Ca.
      Stayed one night at a place where they had a big black motorcycle in the barn.
      The guy said he’d do the top end, then take it to San Francisco & get $1,200 for it.

      Vincent black shadow, 1953, all original.
      $1,200 seemed a like a lot of money for an old bike in ’72.
      I’d never heard of Vincents.

      It’d be worth maybe $45,000 in Ca today.

    • Chief 9:53 am on July 31, 2008 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      When I was 19 I was married and had our first child on the way…. ya 19…. ! You’ve all heard of the “Harley in the barn” thing, well it does happen and it did happen to me. Heard about an old fella that my dad knew that supposedly had an old harley in his barn…… after persuing several of these wild goose chases i was skeptical but since the old fella did have a model T Ford that he’d bring to town on sunny days I thought ” well just maybe ” so I went to see him. ” Yup I do ” he said…. ” actually I got two of em in there…. my brother and I both went to Toronto many years ago and bought em “………… my heart rate went up several notches. Turns out they were Harley “Hummers”…….. not real Harleys I guess but the price was right … $150.00 for the pair. Took em home and the one actually ran…. the other needed some tlc but I was in no hurry and enjoyed riding the running unit around the house. The timing was off I guess on the one that ran and sometimes the motor would start and run “backwards”….. what a riot…. get my buddies over and have a few cold ones and see who could make the most laps around the house “backwards”.

      After several months a fellow that worked at the same factory as did heard about them. He was …. and still is…. a vintage British bike collector. Anyhow things being what they were with my situation ( being an expectant dad and all ) I decided to surrender to his offer to buy both of the Hummers. I thought I was making a super profit…. he came and looked them over and gave me $500.00 for the pair.

      Being the meticulous fellow he is he spent several months refurbishing both of em and taking them to several bike shows and coming home with lots of trophies and prizes. It wasn’t till years later I discovered that one of the most unique things about these bikes was that they had ” consecutive serial numbers “.

      Man my butts still sore from kicking my own &$$….. but $ 500.00 paid for a whole lotta diapers and formula back in 76.


    • Chief 9:40 pm on July 31, 2008 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Keith Ramsay (KARamsay)

      It has happened everywhere. I used to ride occasionally with a fella that had an cherry old 53 HD. His story was basically as follows:

      I saw and ad for an old Motorcycle in the paper. Curiosity got me and I went by to take a look. Old lady led him out to the barn and said it has been her husbands. She wanted $500 for it and he needed to take it today. He knew what it was, told her that it was worth more than $500 and told her to call her son or a neighbor and they’d work out a price for it. She then told him that another gentleman was coming to look at the bike in a short while and if he had $500, it would be that guys motorcycle.

      My story:

      At the age of 13, I dug a 1938 National Duolian out of my grandmothers neighbors basement. she sold it to me for $25. I later went back and found all the original parts except for one (The tail bridge). In high school, I later traded that guitar for the top of the line Ovation Guitar. Probably about a $1200 value. Biggest mistake I’ve ever made.

  • Chief 8:26 pm on July 27, 2008 Permalink |
    Tags: Drifter Denny Berg   

    July 27 Chat with Denny Berg 

    Check out the page with a transcript of our conversation with Denny Berg on July 27. We will be doing this again in 2-3 months.



    • Chief 9:35 pm on July 26, 2008 Permalink |
      Tags: Drifter, Kawasaki Vulcan Drifter, life, stories, Vulcan   

      Nice Bike Dude! What is it? 

      Ok, we all have our stories… some guy pulls up at a redlight and drools over your shiny big fendered Drifter. “Nice Indian, Duuudee!”, he yells over the death rattle of his ragged 72 Ford pickup.

      “Not an Indian…”, you shout back. He just grins back at you… “Vulcan Drifter… Kawasaki…”

      He looks at you blankly, never losing the cigarette stained grin.

      “Really nice Indian,” he shouts after you as you pull away when the light changes. 


      Cruising down the rural road… tunes playing… rumble of the pipes… sunshine… then a SCREAM, TWO SCREAMS… you almost jump outta your skin and jerk your head to see what is causing the hellacious racket. There on a small deck next to a pool are two not too young, not too old, not too bad-looking, half naked young ladies jumping up and down screaming… “Give me a ride on your Harley!”… Oh, well – I can pretend its a Harley for a few minutes… <LOL>

      So, What’s your story.


      • Chief 10:44 pm on July 26, 2008 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        A guy stopped by our house to pick up canvas for his boat from my wife. He was a total Harley guy. Harley truck, Harley jacket, the whole thing. When I walked into the garage he nodded toward my Drifter and said, “I’d love to own an Indian. What a great lookin’ bike.” I said, “Yeah, me too. Maybe some day.” His puzzled look prompted my wife to say, “That’s not an Indian, it’s a Kawasaki.” It was absolutely precious! He didn’t know how to get around the fact that he just complimented a Kaw, so after a brief pause he said, “The only Indian I know about around here is that yellow and burgundy one down the road on the left. That’s a real beauty!” To which my wife replied, “Oh, you mean Mike’s bike. That’s a Drifter too.” Without saying another word he simply shook his head, turned around, got in his truck and drove away! It was a wonderful Drifter moment!


      • Chief 10:45 pm on July 26, 2008 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I have told this before.. but about 2 weeks ago, I am at the local gas and gulp, BIG harley guy with his riding buddies are there, I’m gassing up and over he walks…. ” man that’s a Nice Indian, what year is it? I’m thinking oh man here we go, I tell him “It’s not an Indian, It’s a Kawasaki Drifter” He looks at me like I didn’t hear him right… I say it’s a kawasaki drifter, “they don’t make them anymore”… He walks around it, looks it up and down, and says “Kawasaki MADE THAT!!? and walks away with this stunned look on his face. I finish fueling and as I ride by, 2 of his buddies give me the “thumbs up” I wonder what he told them after I left!!? LOL
        frzb 🙂

      • Chief 10:46 pm on July 26, 2008 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        2 stories from Canada……………..

        Summer 2002 my two brothers come over to my place riding their HDs, one is a BRAND NEW 100th anniversary Road King ($32,000 back then) and the other is a year old Ultra Classic (again over $32,000). Both of my brothers have harley disease real bad, shirts, hats, rings, likely underwear, and the attitude to go with it. They tolerate me and my “goofy” bike and rib me a little bit but we get along. So I lead them on a nice Sunday afternoon ride to a local tourist spot and we park along the street, they profile their bikes together and I park Drifter about 6 feet away, and we go for a walk down the street.

        We come back 20 minutes later and can’t see our bikes for the crowd of people standing on the street and sidewalk. As we get closer my brothers’ chests are inflating and they assume the harley tough-guy walk, and you guessed it………………the crowd is looking at the Drifter! There is circle around the Drifter and they had their backs to the Harleys! One brother says “damn it, they are all looking at the f*ckin Kawasaki!” I had just bought the Drifter for $6900 and it drew more attention than $64,000 of HDs. I smiled at them, but I laughed real loud inside my full-face helmet all the way home.

        And today, I went for a little ride and parked along a street to get a drink. I’m standing about 10 feet from Drifter when 2 HD dudes and their dudettes walk by, one lady says “Now that’s a REAL bike, why don’t we get one of those?”


      • Chief 10:47 pm on July 26, 2008 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        And another story………

        A few years ago my buddy Gary and I are on a bike trip in Colorado, he’s on a Nomad and me on Drifter. Gary is a Drifter enthusiast but does not own one and is always on the lookout for one. We are walking down a street after dinner and he spots a guy beside a parked bike and goes over and says “Hey, nice Drifter!” It was a nice shiny new Gilroy Indian………..

        Those guys must really hate Drifters.


      • Chief 1:14 pm on July 27, 2008 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Two summers ago my wife and I rode our V-Star, & Drifter, respectively, down to a newly opened “Mike’s Famous HD” located in Smyrna Delaware. We rode up to the place and parked in a Motorcycle Only lot that sits right up next to the front of the building.

        The new building is very big and very impressive. The whole front is made with large sliding glass panels. This particular day the panels were open so the the show room was open to the outside. The place wasn’t that busy, there were just a few people milling around (maybe 10).

        Karen and I had just entered the show room and were weaving our way around the new bikes to get to the accessories section so I could get a new doo-rag, when someone said, “Oh look, a new Indian”, so before we got to the doo rags the whole place had emptied out into the parking lot to admire the new “Indian!”

        As we shopped in a building that contained at least a million dollars worth of HD, we kept an eye on the lookers that stayed around our bikes. The small gang inspected both of our bikes, even to the point of touching things, which made me little uncomfortable. I found a a new doo rag and I was waiting in line to pay for it when someone yelled to a salesman still inside the building, “It’s a Kawasaki!”

        At that point the “Biker-Honey sales clerk” finished waiting on the Proud American Harley owner in front of me and then turned around and took her overly tight pants and overly exposed cleavage and just walked away from me. I was so pissed I just dropped the doo rag on the counter and walked away.

        We got back on our Godless-communist-made- Jap bikes and had a nice ride home. Later that night it got to eating at me because Mikes’s is “Famous” for great customer service. I came down to my computer and sent Mikey an email telling him this story.

        The next day I get a call from a lady who ID’ed herself as the store manger. She apologized all over herself and promised me that if I came back down to her store she would. “tighten me up”. I don’t know what that means and I guess I was just too shy to ask her. I guess we all can let our imaginations be the guides on that…

        That’s just one of my Drifter stories.


      • Chief 5:29 pm on July 27, 2008 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        My drifter story happened in Late May early June this year. It was a great day out to ride to work. As I passed Smith College I saw a Red Indian up ahead. Full fenders etc. I got up alongside at the red light and told the guy how much I like his 40 (something)Indian, dont know all the nomenclature of the Old Indians. I did realize how much “Olive” looked like a real Indian at this time. He then said he like the Kawasaki and wondered why Gilroy Indian couldn’t have done something like that, water cooled/shaft drive etc.

        Of course it fun when someone shares your opinion. Not so fun when they oppose you. As Wilmac will attest.


      • Chief 8:30 pm on July 27, 2008 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I was out riding in Delaware one sunny day on Rt. 9 which runs along the Delaware River. Getting hungry I headed back west to Rt. 13 in Smyrna for a bite to eat. Realized how close I was to Mike’s Famous Harley, I thought I’ll stop in & eat, get to see his new place for the first time. (Same place that Wilmac got a bad time at when he stopped in to buy a new Do-rag.) Had my lunch & chatted with a nice lady who was having service done to her beautiful Harley & sidecar rig. After lunch I walked outside to see a young man looking over my bike like he wanted it. Walked over and started getting ready to ride and he says, “Hey nice Indian”. To which I politely replied well it’s actually a Kawasaki Drifter. He replies No Way Man. I said yes it is, just styled like some of the older Indians. Turns out he was a Salesman for Mike’s, just coming on duty. At this point he says man that must be the best looking bike Kawasaki ever built. At this point I feel relieved that he likes the bike. Then the shock sets in, he says do you mine waiting here for a couple of minutes. I said no problem & he heads off to his car. Comes back holding a camera & asks if he can take a few pictures. I thought this can’t be happening at a Harley shop by a Harley Salesman. He finishes taking about five shots & then hands me his Mike’s Famous card & says if you ever want to trade this in on a Harley, please look me up. I said well I doubt it but thanks anyway. He grabs me by the arm & says, no you don’t understand, I want first shot at getting your bike before someone else buys it. I did him a favor, & just thanked him. If he had bought my bike, he probably would have been looking for a new job.

        2ND Story. I’m in Delaware again, on Rt. 40 West in Bear, DE. Stopped for a light in an area 4 lanes wide. A gentleman pulls up in his SUV, 2 lanes away, rolls down his window and shouts “Really Nice Indian”. I tell him is not an Indian, but an “02” Kawasaki Drifter. He wrinkles up his face and says “What?”. I reply it’s an “02” Kawasaki Drifter. He shouts back, “Like I said, Nice Indian”. I thanked him for his comments to which he replies, I don’t care who built, it is a really nice looking bike.

        Later, Rick

      • Chief 8:30 pm on July 27, 2008 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I pulled into the Applecover on Wednesday afternoon, soaked right down to the undies. Most had already arrived at Drift-in 08. I check in with the owner Derek. He comes out side and hands me a room key saying go get dried off first and check in later. He looks over at Nikkie ( 99/1500/07 prize winner) and sez Hey Wow!!! You got a “Real Indian”

        On the Saturday ride we all stopped for some time at a Gas-n-Go. We are all parked in front of the main door. ( Pics of this are posted on the site. A guy comes out and starts talking to Nick. He is complimenting all the Vulcan Drifters. He knew what they were. Finally he spots Nikkie and turns to Nick and sez ” Hey look you have a real Indian in the Group”.


      • Chief 1:46 pm on July 28, 2008 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Here’s a quick one for ya. Some here know I commute daily on a Drifter, be it 800 or 1500, rain or shine. A couple months back on my way home North on U.S. 1 in Rockledge FL I see the familiar front end 3 headlight array of a Harley dresser in my left rear view mirror comin’ up fast. He had to have been doing 80 mph+ easily and passed me a little too close for comfort when there was absolutely no traffic on the road. From my 55mph casual cruise I drop a gear on the 1500 and roll on the throttle blowing by him, leaving an equal wind in his wake like the one he left me a mile or so back. He pulls up to the light I’m sitting at and say’s ( this is classic ) “Man, I didn’t know them old frickin’ Indians had such balls!”. I replied, “They don’t”. With my response fresh in his ears he runs the red light, never to be seen again.

        They just don’t get it do they?

        Ride safe, big fenders saves lives!

        Space Coast Drifter

      • Chief 1:08 am on July 29, 2008 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Leonardo (Lionardos) Jul-28 5:56 pm

        I have a story to tell… I finally have one! Waiting in line to pay for gas I was approached by a guy who looked like a biker. He said that he & his girlfriend were passing by, noticed my bike & made a u-turn. He wanted to take a picture of her on my bike. I told him to go right ahead. He was a good looking fella so I figured that his chick had to be a looker. I yelled after him to email me that picture & gave him my email address.
        When I finally walked outside I was dumbfounded. His girlfriend… all 350 plus pounds of her was still straddling my bike while he was trying to figure out how to work the camera. My big beautiful fenders were almost touching the ground! Other bikers were passing by… few yelled-out rude comments & wolf whistles but mostly they just stared (mouth wide open) at the sight. Unphased, he finally snapped a shot & helped her to dismount my bike (which rose at least 6 inches). He gave me thumbs up, helped her into his pick-up & left. I stood there for a minute, checked the welds for fractures, determined that the bike has survived the ordeal & went home.
        If he does email the picture I will post it… you almost have to see it to fully appreciate just how small 1500’s look when paired up with certain body types.

      • Chief 9:30 pm on July 29, 2008 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Here I am again, I am work and I got a little time so here is another “Drifter Story”

        Back when Kamac first got her motorcycle licence, we were taking ever increasing short trips away from the house and back. As you all remember she had some problems at first.

        We needed to get gas and we were hungry so we decided to go to a Pilot truck stop near us, get gas and enjoy a Subway sub. The place is easy in and out with the Subway in the same building so it was ideal. When we got there the pumps were all being used so we just pulled up to the store and went in and ate.

        While we were eating I noticed a guy walking around the Drifter checking it out. We finished eating and exited the store and the guy was still there. I said “hi” but got no response. I guess I expected a,”nice bike” or “nice Indian. Oh silly me! I jumped on Karen’s bike and rode it to a pump so she could start pumping gas.

        As I returned to my drifter the guy says to me,”ain’t if a F__king shame that Indian let the japs build that thing”. I looked up in disbelief and he said it again. I was just about to say something when I noticed that sitting in a small import car parked next to me was a pretty little Asian lady and two of the prettiest little Asian/American children you have ever seen. I could tell by the look on their faces that this nut was their husband/daddy and they were afraid of what he was getting himself into. Can you believe the irony!

        He continued on about japs, outright shames, import junk and so on as I climbed on the Drifter and started it up. As I was backing out of my parking space he climbed into his import and was still mouthing off as he drove away.

        Kamac could hear most of it and she was amazed that I handled it so well. The guy was a lot smaller than me so I guess I could have tried to teach him some manners. But I tell you, the look of relief on the faces of the women and kids as they drove away was worth the self control on my part.

        That poor woman and those two pretty little kids has to live with that punk everyday. I am glad I didn’t add to their miserable lives.


      • Chief 11:51 am on July 30, 2008 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Last summer I had a fellow approach me while I was sitting at a picnic table enjoying a burger and some fries from a roadside Fry Truck. My Drifter was parked about 20 feet from me and I had noticed him looking it over. He said ” Nice Indian” and I replied ” Well thanks …. but it’s not an Indian… it’s a tribute bike made by Kawasaki ”

        ” Oh ” came the reply and he turned and started to walk away so I called after him and said ” Well I’m truly sorry to disappoint you but it is what it is and I bought it knowing it was a Kawasaki and I’m happy with that so I guess if you’re disappointed at least it didn’t personally cost you a dime “……. he just kept walking.

        A friend of mine that used to ride a Yamaha Virago bought a new Harley FLH Standard in 04. Since then he’s become a hard core Harley worshipper….. which is fine as that’s his choice. What really got me though is that when I bought a Harley Police Special last spring he showed up at my workplace all excited and said ” Man… ya finally bought a Harley eh”…… it’s great to see you on a real bike…. you’ll enjoy it so much more than that jap scrap… blah… blah … blah….. bash… bash … bash… till I finally said ” Look…. I haven’t FINALLY bought a Harley…. I’ve had 3 of em since I started to ride way before you met me….. this is my 4th one….. I still have my Drifter as does my wife and we love them…. I like the Harley as well but it isn’t my first love….. I bought it cause I’ve never had a Police Special and always wanted one… not because I was embarrased to ride a Jap bike…. and by the way, that Kia Sportage SUV of your wifes that you pulled up in just isn’t cuttin’ it in my opinion…. whats up with this Korean junk….why don’t you buy her a Ford or a G.M. or Chrysler product…. then you’d have a REAL vehicle”

        The only time I see him now is if we meet each other going the opposite direction…. and he has a hard time lifting his hand to wave.

        So be it . As my dear ole dad used to say ” If ya don’t like my yard …. don’t swing on my gate”


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