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What was your first new bike? Does it have a story? Did you name it? I did!

Let me introduce you to my 2006, HD Sportster Custom 1200, which I call BOONE!


There are three things I wanted to be since I was a kid. I always wanted to be a motorcyclist, a ship Captain, and famous. As far as dreams go, to echo the immortal song words of one of my favorite performers of all time (Meatloaf) I have to say, “Two out of three ain’t bad!”


So, after having ridden riding mopeds a few times and experimenting with small dirt bikes in the Dominican Republic, I got hooked by the wind on your face and the road flowing rapidly beneath your feet as you rush from one place to another.


I was enthralled by the ability to go places faster than on a bicycle and the feeling of fear and rush of adrenaline taking a fast curve on a two-wheel vehicle gives you! That’s when I told myself that once I could afford it, I would buy myself a brand-new Harley Davidson motorcycle. I was 17. Dream #1, to be a real Biker!



Not these kinds of bikes! But I would eventually have fun at the Super Bike School Level III class! A story for another bike!


Focus…

Having joined the Navy right after HS, and then being unable to drive my first couple of years in college, getting married right after college, with a kid on the way (had to get a car) and given the small military paycheck I got in the beginning, getting that new motorcycle would have to wait. Time went by and between Bootcamp, college, Navy deployments, raising my kid, a wasteful first wife, money troubles, divorce, and depression, 15 years passed, and I still had no motorcycle. After separating from my ex, and living alone for a while, I turned 32, still dreaming about that bike. In 2003 I couldn’t wait anymore. I signed up for the Basic Rider Course at Tidewater Community College in Virginia and got my motorcycle license. I was finally going to get my bike! Or so I thought.


That’s the year I decided to accept 3-year orders to Japan! I thought, maybe I can get one in Japan. But being forward deployed and on the Seventh Fleet HQ staff in charge of the entire theater of operations from the Indian Ocean to the middle of the Pacific, and all the way South to Australia didn't exactly leave much leisure time for any of us serving there! The bike would have to wait for me to return to the good old USA. Fortunately for me, I was selected for an Executive Officer position on a ship, and my tour in Japan was cut short to 15 months! So, I pulled the trigger in 2005 and bought my first Harley with the overseas vehicle sales program! Unfortunately, I would have to wait six months to pick up the bike in Florida!


I ordered a 2006 883cc HD Sportster Custom for about $7000! A great price that included a very nice discount for deployed military personnel! I still have that bike, and I love it. I have since changed the engine to 1200, front wheel, seat, handle bar, Pegs, controls, springs, chocks, lights, cables, and anything else I could change myself! I think the last remaining original parts are the frame, rear fender and wheel! Of course all that cost me about the same amount I paid for the bike! I could never sell this bike!


Why not? Well, as one grumpy old dude at a motorcycle shop once said to me “that’s the most customized sporty I’ve ever seen!”


Yes it is!!


Note the mermaid on the front fender! One of a kind, custom made!


And it is my little Ship! The most interesting part for me is the gas tank, which is painted with an artist rendition (mackair.com) of the USS BOONE (FFG 28), my old ship, which I captained for 18 months, taking her on two deployments, the last of which was an extraordinary tour to South America!


The bow of my ship was painted with the HD symbol, which some of my sailors had asked me if they could paint. Of course I said yes!




So, given my love of motorcycling, the officers of the ship got the tank painted for me as a parting gift when I turned over command to my XO. The best gift anyone has ever given me! I could never sell this bike.


Everything about BOONE is a tribute to my 30 year career in the US Navy, and I wouldn’t have any other way!




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Gilberto Abeyta
Gilberto Abeyta
27 jul 2022

Nice looking bike - I really like the theme - Go Navy!

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