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A new maniac joins the family

Hello Maniacs, my name is James Parker and this is my first post for the Maniac Blog.I have dreamt of doing something like this for many years. I want to take the opportunity with this first blog to introduce myself and give you a summary of what I know about off roading.

I have owned a motorcycle since March of 1983, when I was in the sixth grade. My brother and I talked our parents into letting us buy some dirt bikes. Mine was a 1979 Yamaha MX 100; I still have it in my garage and it does still run. My brother bought a 1978 Yamaha DT 125 dual purpose back then they were called dual purpose instead of dual sport. We putted around on those for a few years at our family farm and vacant lots near our house.

Around 1987, he purchased a repossessed Honda XL 600, which rode much like a tank.I went a different route by purchasing a clapped out KX 250 motocross bike on which I would make some unsuccessful attempts at racing. My “racing” career ended when I crashed while practicing and broke a wrist. This was during my freshman year of college; and as most college students do, I found other interests and moved into street bikes, selling my motocross bike.

During the early 90’s, I thought riding a street bike was much cooler than riding dirt. I made several trips to Sturgis and the Colorado mountains. I met many nice people and had some awesome adventures for a good portion of the 90’s. After college, I got busy building my life and career and did not have much time for anything else, so motorcycles were put aside for a few years.

I had been married to my wife Jennifer for a year when I decided I wanted to get back into dirt bikes. I bought another clapped-out bike, a Honda XR 600R, about two weeks before my thirtieth birthday in 2001. That bike was great for what I was using it for at that time. My wife’s parents were living in Grand Junction, Colorado, which is considered a desert. So I had one of the best desert bikes ever made to cruise around the vast BLM land of the Grand Valley of Colorado. My wife became hooked; we purchased a 1981 Yamaha DT 175, much like my brother’s first bike, for her to ride.

We rode those for about three years until we got serious. Then Jennifer bought a 2001 Suzuki DRZ 250 and I bought my first brand new bike. It was 2004, but I bought a new 2002 Honda XR 650R (or as it is commonly called, the “Big Red Pig”). My brother, who will occasionally still ride with us, has a Yamaha WR 450.

When our son Joey came along, he eventually needed a bike, too. In 2008, we purchased a 2007 Yamaha PW 50 for him. He chose the Yamaha over a Honda because his favorite color is blue; I wish my choices were all that simple. The first two years he had training wheels on the bike I decided to keep the training wheels on the motorcycle until he could ride his bicycle without training wheels. Even then, I hesitated taking them off (I tend to be nervous father) – but at least he still has to wear his helmet! Joey did just fine without them; in fact, that first day without them he told me, “If you want, I could give you some pointers!” I may have to take him up on that some day.

For summer vacations we like to combine our two passions: camping and off roading.We started out tent camping, then upgraded to a truck camper and then to the fifth wheel camper that we currently have. In future blogs, I plan to tell stories about our adventures.

This is where I stand today: I have nearly thirty years of stories and tips that I can’t wait to share with you; but I am even more excited about going on new adventures so that I can share those stories as well.

James Parker

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