Buttface & Me on Harleys

We were “over” Waco, Capt. Buttface and I.

Well, actually, me more than Buttface.

I hated Waco with a black passion. Buttface was simply ready to move on.

Our grand plan was to buy Harleys and travel across America in 1981 or 1982.

Getting our kicks on Route 66.

Fear and Loathing on the Biker Trail.

Sleeping under picnic tables at roadside campgrounds.

Eating leftover pizza after clean-looking families left their booths at the Pizza Hut.

Maybe sweeping out bars (me) or working as a bouncer (Buttface) for a night’s room and board.

Experiencing and chronicling the rawness and promise of America, as only two stud hoss ex-journalists from the Waco Tribune-Herald could do.

THAT was the plan.

But first we had to buy bikes. The detail work, like learning to RIDE them, would come later.

My only previous experience riding motorcycles were less than spectacular, possibly because I have a hook instead of a left hand, which made using the clutch a challenge..

I remember almost getting killed once on a friend’s Suzuki when I pulled out onto busy Main Street.

I revved too high, popped the clutch, and stood the bike almost 90 degrees straight up. 

I panicked and completely let off the throttle, and the front end slammed onto the street, sending the bike bunny-hopping down the road.  A big Ford came uncomfortably close to making me its hood ornament. 

There were three fundamental problems with my Go West Young Man motorcycle plan.

First, I had no money. I mean, I was a reporter in Waco fricken Texas earning about $200 a week. So I figured I’d worry about that later.

Second, I had a 28-inch inseam. This was significant because motorcycles, unlike cars, have only two wheels and have a real problem with gravity when you stop.

Third, we’d decided that we needed at least 650cc’s worth of bike to travel across America. And when I sat on one of these suckers, Point Two became something of a stumbling block because my feet did not reach the ground.

But when you are a young man, all testosteroned up and on a mission, trivial details do not deter you.

Every day for weeks I looked in the classified ads.

Then, finally, I spotted EXACTLY what I needed — a low-mileage, one-owner, urgent-sale, no-reasonable-offer-refused Honda 650.

Note: Hondas had replaced Harleys in our plans when we discovered Hogs  cost three times what our cars were worth.

So with the Honda ad in hand, as soon as I got off work I rocketed over to a mobile home park outside of Waco.

Big Red Brute

And that Honda was beautiful. Big. Red. Brutish.

I could just SEE myself on it, blasting down the highway at 120mph.

Damn right.

The Honda’s owner was missing one or more teeth, wearing a stained white undershirt, and drinking a bottle of beer. His woman was pregnant and well over 250 pounds, but she had a lovely smile.

Her fella, noticing my hook and 28-inch inseam, was not overly happy about me taking his bike for a test ride.

“Dwayne, give him you damn keys,” the woman said to her man, then she flashed me a smile that said, “I’m with you little feller, go for it!”

Moments later, after the big Honda had fallen over and I could not lift the damn thing back up, she hollered again at Dwayne, “Well don’t just stand there! Hep him pick it up.”

Embarrassed? Yes. Put off the Grand Adventure? Not even.

I set about researching for a highway-worthy motorcycle that had a very, very low slung seat. I knew it was out there.

Because it was our destiny, Buttface and mine, to go totally Hunter S. Thompson across America, gaining fame and fortune and tatoos, in equal proportion.

But I was wrong. That was not our destiny.  Buttface had fallen in love with the little blonde reporter who had recently joined the paper, straight from Texas A&M. 

I was pissed off. Boy, was I pissed off. But fate is fate.

Capt. Buttface’s fate was to get hitched to the fiery young blonde reporter who is the one who lovingly nicknamed him Buttface.

Mine was to go to Singapore and meet my missus.

More Capt. Buttface stories here, here, here and here

9 Responses to “Buttface & Me on Harleys”

  1. Vesta Vayne says:

    That is a fantastic story.

    My dad had a Harley and a BSA, both of which he sold when I was born for a down payment on a house.

    I hope to be able to replace one of them for my pops before he gets to old to ride.

    • hams says:

      Thanks. Men NEVER get too old to ride a Harley. Just duct tape them on and crank the throttle wide open. At least that’s how I want to go out.

  2. J-P says:


    Favorite line: “But I had absolutely no motorcycle riding skills and even less good judgement.”

    I love it!!!


    • hams says:

      Yay, you are here, J-P! I thought I’d hit the Pollock button on my unsmart phone and nuked your comment. Now, let’s be clear. That “even less good judgement” bit was totally a literary device, and absolutely NO EXCUSE for you to ignore the vast amount of wisdom that flows from your UBP’s mouth. Alongside increasing amounts of gas. Braaaaak. Stupid 56-year-old stomach. (And Happy Mother’s Day, by the way.)

  3. Lillian L. says:

    The trouble the two of you would have gotten into is absolutely mind boggling!!!

    • hams says:

      The carnage and body count would have been high. But the offset would have been a marked increase in global awesomeness, at least until we ‘sploded all over the road.

  4. Kris says:

    The best story, babe.

    Just the best.

    Thank you.

    • hams says:

      Without doubt, this epic Buttface Across America motorcycle tour would have ended with us being roadkill, not Pulitzer winners. But at the time, it was the dream. And I was shattered that it fell over because of a gurl.

    • hams says:

      Thanks, Kris. I’d been meaning to do a Buttface update, but nothing came to mind until this. And If I could write everything, whoa.

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