Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Fly Over?

There was a road behind Millersville College that if you hit the first peak around 60 miles per hour, you would fly to the second hill, jumping about 60 feet. All the local bikers knew about the thrill of jumping there. Weekends the police would hide during the daytime to catch us. At night it was easy to jump and get away.

I mentioned to a group of fellow bikers about jumping about 4 or 5 in the morning. Only one officer was cruising that late. There were no houses close so if we jumped and took off it was easy to not get caught. We worked out a plan. I was best at jumping, if you pulled up on the handle bars you got higher. I always pulled up when I would pull wheelies, you got more straight up.

We would go at first light.The guys said about 5 guys would take pictures. Both sides of the jump and landing spot. I of course, my bi-polar brain always going a million miles a second, said, "How about one guy lying in the low spot in the middle and snapping a picture as I jump over him". They said a big YES!!

We used two more guys to watch any cars getting in the way, or if I crashed they would prevent me or the guy lying on his back in the middle of the road from getting run over. Now I had an inkling of what Evil Knievel felt before his many over 100 foot leaps.

Finally THE Saturday morning arrived. Bob tuned up the "Quarter Hawg" so it ran good. I prayed GOD let me do this and live. I did not know HE had many better uses of my talents later in life. We stayed up all night, caffeine and nicotine kept us going. About 10 bikers converged on the road. A couple rode around checking for the nightly patrol. No cruisers within several miles, it was a go. I do not remember who was there, but the volunteer that would lie in the road, I told him to take lots of pictures.

He laid down on the road, the side bikers took position in the middle of where I would fly. In Glen Moore Circle was a hill with a manhole cover. You must hit about 50 miles per hour and you would fly about 30 feet, the hill went down the other side, it was a hard landing, and fork dampers and good shocks were years away.

That is why Evel Knievel crashed so much. But like a dedicated biker he kept jumping. I think he had 7 or 8 crashes over nearly 300 jumps. But the misses are very painful. I was 18, nothing can happen to me??

The lookouts signal was GO, I revved the tac to 10,000 RPMS, and dumped the clutch, my tires screamed. We glued the tires to the rims, soft rubber gave good traction, but slid the tire about 1/8 of an inch each takeoff if tire not glued. Yes in 1966 there were only tube tires. The tire moved and pulled the valve stem out. A flat at 80 MPH meant instant road rash.

I did not look at the speedometer, I knew how fast I was going by the tac as I went thru 1st, 2nd,then 3rd gear. I figure I was going over 60 MPH, Evel did well over 100 MPH, and his takeoff ramp threw him VERY high. I saw the last guy standing at the takeoff point. He would point at the guy on his back when to start hitting the button. His camera would take multiple pictures.

The guys on the sides started taking pictures when I took off. I remember the feeling on takeoff. Yes, I am an adrenaline freak! I do not remember flying, but the landing was hard. There was only about 3 inches of rebound in bikes then! I do not know what happened to the pictures. Maybe some old guy somewhere is telling his great grand children, this is Hoss, a real dare devil. This is the worst life risking stunt I did so far.

Please do not tell Mary, she would say, I believe it. Almost 47 years nothing I did or do stuns her. Lloyd, my dad, raced the train to the crossing, the train ripped the tire and back bumper off his model T. That same model T they used to drive across the iced river in York,. Whoever did not break the ice and fall in, car and driver won. Guess where I got my craziness from??

Yes, GOD had better plans for me. Marry Mary, have 3 great kids, we lost one at 2 months in the womb. Help all three with education and 2 get houses, so far.  I think of all idiot stuff I did. THANK YOU GOD!

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