I got my GPz from a girl I knew up in Topanga Canyon, CA. We’d just come back from the beach when I saw an old motorcycle parked under some tall trees in her yard. It was so covered in leaves and stuff that I couldn’t make out the model. The girl said she hadn’t ridden it in years, and that if I wanted it she’d sell it to me cheap. “Just watch out for black widow spiders,” she said as I began cleaning it off. With the battery charged, the bike f red right up. I hopped on for a ride up and down the canyon roads. When I got back with a big smile on my face, she said I could have it for $400. Sold.
Not loving the GPz red, I bought two cans of f at-black spray paint and shot the whole bike on a sidewalk. Not long after that the battery died on 3rd Street in Downtown LA, and while I and another motorcyclist who had stopped to help were fiddling with the bike, a black widow crawled out from under the seat! I guess the girl was serious. I bought a new battery, and to this day that is the only repair I have had to make to the old Kawasaki.
At one point, I decided to go on a road trip. I bought a cheap tent and sleeping bag from an Army surplus store, stuffed some things into my old hockey bag from high school back in the ‘70s, and hit the road. Without a map or really any plan, I ended up at Burning Man in Nevada. The highlight of the trip was riding across the Black Rock Desert at over 100 mph with one girl straddling the gas tank in front of me and another girl on the seat behind me. Hey, it was Burning Man!
On the way back to LA, I got stopped by a California Highway Patrol officer. At first he couldn’t tell what kind of bike I was riding, what with all the gear loaded on it and flatblack paint, but when he saw it was a GPz, he took off his aviator sunglasses and said, “A GPz, well I’ll be. Best bike I ever owned!” I didn’t get a ticket.
It may be corny, but I call my bike Horse. I have a ritual before I head out on the road of strapping my old cowboy hat to the tank, tapping the gas tank, and saying, “So, where are we going today, Horse?” I love the freedom of riding, and I can’t imagine a better way to have spent $400.