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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Chapter 1

This is all about what happened Tuesday morning...........but to tell the story, I must start in July 2007. That is when I bought my first and present cruiser, a '96 1500 Vulcan Classic. I had been looking for about 2 weeks. My previous street bike was a Yamaha 750 Seca that I had way back in '91. I took a friend with me the nite I went down to look at it........a friend that knew how to ride and had an M1 endorsement. There was no way I was going to ride it back for the first time....on the freeway......at nite. I have done some crazy things, but I am not stupid. I bought the bike.....my friend rode it to my place and I put it to bed......then I went to bed feeling very good and dreaming of how I would ride all over the countryside on that bike.

The next day, I went out and bought a helmet and boots. That night, after work, I suited up for the big ride. I started it up, duckwalked out the driveway, rode around the block, parked it and came to the conclusion that I would never be able to ride that thing. It was heavy, awkward, clumsy and just downright scary. I went to bed that night wondering if I had made a big mistake.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Chapter 2

I rode for well over a year on my permit. The DMV Skills test was far in the back of my mind. Although I had improved day by day, I just kept putting it off. I rode a lot. I rode every day. I went on a group forum ride to Calico in '08. It was fun, but was an eye opener in the fact that I realized that my skills were not up to par. Some of my friends were trying to get me to take the MSF course, but I always felt that it would be like buying your license. Some suggested that I take the skills test on a smaller bike. I was stubborn.....I wanted to pass the skills test on the bike I would be riding. I guess I'm just like that. It was a matter of principle to me at this point.

I finally figured that it was time, so I made an appointment to take the skills test at the Victorville DMV which is about 10 minutes from my house. The big morning came and I was there at 9am. It was a cold, windy November morning in '08. I was nervous and scared, but I figured that I could do it. I was very wrong. I passed the cone weave, but failed miserably on the circle. I was humiliated. I went home with my tail between my legs and wondered if maybe my friends were right. I had almost decided that I would take the MSF course when my stubborness reared it's head again and I decided to practice more. I did practice..........I practiced a lot and then I practiced some more. I practiced in the fairgrounds parking lot, weaving between half filled soda bottles 12' apart, just like the DMV test. Then I did them at 11', 10' then 9'.......I wanted to be sure I would pass. I practiced my circles too. I practiced and practiced until I was doing full lock figure eights. I wanted to be ready.

I decided that I would take my test in Barstow instead of Victorville. It is a smaller DMV office and a little more friendly. The only thing was that they only give the skills test on Tuesday mornings between 8 and 830, but it was a "just show up" deal....no appointment needed. I would have to leave my place at 7am in order to be there in plenty of time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Chapter 3

So here we are, 7am, Tuesday November 17th 2009 and I am leaving my place for the Barstow DMV...........and again, it's a cold November morning. It was 30 degrees when I left my place. I had on my thermal bottoms, Levis, chaps, boots, hooded sweatshirt, leather jacket, scarf, winter gloves and my full face helmet. I felt like the kid in "A Christmas Story". I was cold. I decided to to go the backway and stay off the freeway. I could cruise at 50 instead of 70, figuring that I could stay warmer. I got about 10 miles from home and was wondering if I shouldn't wait until summer. I pressed on........I wanted my M1 endorsement more that my fingers and toes at that point. I pressed on.........and got even colder. I found that if I rode with my finger straight out, covering the controls, that the stinging went away. I almost turned back again, but since my brain was going numb, I pressed on. I rode past people scrapping ice off their windshields. They watched me like I was some kind of nut.......I think they were right. After about 40 minutes of agony, I finally arrived at the DMV in Barstow. I got in line, stomping my feet and rubbing my hands trying to restore some feeling. The wind was blowing and I was starting to feel even colder. I was waiting for the line to move up next to the building so I could at least get out of the wind. About the time I did, a lady came out and asked if anyone was here for the motorcycle skills test...............I was the only one, the only one stupid enough to be there on that cold morning.

It felt good inside. I was shaking as I handed her a handful of aged temporary documents. This is one time that I wanted the DMV to be slooooooow. It felt so good to be inside, so warm. She looked at my papers and said, "Ok, drive your bike around back". I stalled by asking if I could use the restroom first..........she pointed to the corner. After 40 minutes in 30 degrees in open crotch chaps......Willie was AWOL. I gathered myself up, walked out and rode the bike around to the back of the building.

There it was...........the test area. They had just had a fresh slurry job and fresh paint. It was so new.....like they had done it just for me. The dark black surface made the orange cones really stand out and the fresh yellow paint looked like it was threatening me to go outside the lines. I stopped my bike, turned it off and put down the kick stand. She came over.....said, "Nice bike" and proceed to tell me about the HD that she had that she was afraid to ride. She had me sign some papers and then showed me a diagram of what I was expected to do. My heart started to pound. My mouth went dry. I felt dizzy. The moment of truth was finally upon me. 2 1/2 years, 27000 miles and not to mention my manhood was on the line. Judgement day was upon me !! I started my bike, put her in gear and slowly let out the clutch.
 

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So what was the outcome? And be glad you don't live in Texas as it is now mandatory for anyone getting their M license to take the MSF class, but the good part is once you pass the MSF class all you do at the DMV is take the written test, if you pass that then they give you your license.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Chapter 4

In 3 minutes it was over.....................It was the easiest thing I had ever done. She said that I did awesome as she handed me my temporary M1 endorsement. I felt good. I felt warm. I felt like I had really accomplished something. I got on my bike and rode out of the parking lot feeling very different than I had riding in. I wanted to celebrate, so I stopped and had breakfast. The biscuits and gravy tasted extra special that morning.

I got back on Rt 66 and headed home. I checked my gas gauge and it read about 1/3 full..............hey, no problem. I had to travel a stretch of road back to Victorville that had no services or very few. The people that live along the route are of questionable virtue. I mean, there are a lot of shacks and mobile homes that don't look very friendly, but I had plenty of gas, so I thought. Besides, I had just passed my skills test, I was feeling great.

I was cruising about 55, feeling good, fat dumb and happy. I would periodically glance at my gas gauge..........but everytime I did it seemed to move. WTF....what's happening? My gas gauge has always kinda had a mind of it's own, but this is ridiculous..........so, I figured that I just wouldn't look at it anymore. After about 20 minutes, I couldn't resist......I looked........Empty !! Let's see, I haven't hit reserve yet so I'm still ok. I tried to figure how far I had to go, how much I had in reserve and do the math in my head to see if I could make it. It was still pretty cold and I think my brain was being affected by the cold as I couldn't come up with any conclusion, so I rode on. Then it happened..........the bike sputtered and popped........out of gas. I fumbled with the fuel selector in my winter gloves. My fingers felt as big as bananas as I finally got the thing switched to reserve. The bike came back to life as I continued towards my destination.

As I contemplated my fate, I was starting to hear things. The bike seemed to sound like it was hungry for fuel....like it was eating it at an alarming rate.....like I could hear it draining out of the carb. I backed off on the throttle a bit in hopes of stretching the most miles I could. I started thinking weird things too. "What would happen if I ran out of gas". For some reason I thought of the Movie "Deliverance" and Ned Beattie crawling around the woods in his tighty whities. I remember how lame he looked. I occupied the next few miles trying to remember what color underwear I had on. The mind is a terrible thing at times. I was thinking of what the headlines would say "Biker found dead, 20 minutes after he passed his skills test".

I finally made it over the last ridge and knew that I would be able to live. The sun came out and it instantly jumped, what seemed like 30 degrees. I pulled into the gas station relieved. I realized that I was way overdressed as I watched other bikers ride by in their tshirts, but I didn't care. I had passed my skills test !!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So what was the outcome? And be glad you don't live in Texas as it is now mandatory for anyone getting their M license to take the MSF class, but the good part is once you pass the MSF class all you do at the DMV is take the written test, if you pass that then they give you your license.

Read Chapter 4.................Here in CA if you take the MSF course, you get a waiver on the skills test and you just have to take the written test. The MSF course is not mandatory.
 

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Read Chapter 4.................Here in CA if you take the MSF course, you get a waiver on the skills test and you just have to take the written test. The MSF course is not mandatory.



Great write up. I enjoyed the posts.

I got my endorsement a long time ago at age 15. I rode my little shiny 100cc Kaw, a new one I had bought from paper route proceeds. Funny thing is that I still remember how badly I wanted to pass that test. Of course, back then it was basically ride around for 5 minutes or so with a MVD person following in a car. I think the lady told me, "just ride out and make a few turns". My license still carries the 100cc restriction. lmao. I just haven't seen a need to get that corrected.
 

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I hear Beattie is trying to revive his acting career - maybe you can make a west coast version of Deliverance and he can play you? :) Call it "Delivered"
You should look into writing stories for a motorcycle magazine - seriously. It was entertaining.
 

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I hear Beattie is trying to revive his acting career - maybe you can make a west coast version of Deliverance and he can play you? :) Call it "Delivered"
You should look into writing stories for a motorcycle magazine - seriously. It was entertaining.
+1 Better then some of the stuff I read in the mags!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I hear Beattie is trying to revive his acting career - maybe you can make a west coast version of Deliverance and he can play you? :) Call it "Delivered"
You should look into writing stories for a motorcycle magazine - seriously. It was entertaining.
.............or maybe "Shivered".
 

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Good for you and nice writeup.

I got my M1 'grandfathered' from before they had M1 and M2. Back in '81 I took the DMV ride test on a 49cc Honda express - it was then technically a motorcycle (motor driven cycle) since it didn't have pedals, and I passed with flying colors too. I didn't take the MSF until last year after coming back from a multi-decade hiatus. My first bike (GS450) was totaled in a wreck.

I have to admit it - there's no way I'd pass the test on my 900 today; not without practicing like you did.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Good for you and nice writeup.

I got my M1 'grandfathered' from before they had M1 and M2. Back in '81 I took the DMV ride test on a 49cc Honda express - it was then technically a motorcycle (motor driven cycle) since it didn't have pedals, and I passed with flying colors too. I didn't take the MSF until last year after coming back from a multi-decade hiatus. My first bike (GS450) was totaled in a wreck.

I have to admit it - there's no way I'd pass the test on my 900 today; not without practicing like you did.
Thanks......I am not going to let it get stale either. I want to keep practicing and get even better.
 

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Read Chapter 4.................Here in CA if you take the MSF course, you get a waiver on the skills test and you just have to take the written test. The MSF course is not mandatory.
Glad to hear it went well. Chap 4 was not up when I read last night. It's a great feeling when you can walk away with that little M on your license. Even more so knowing when you get pulled over there will not be a cop yelling at you for not having one.
 
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