Otus – my 1977 BMW R100/7
For the past 15 years I’ve been riding and touring on a 1977 R100/7 BMW motorcycle. To characterize this as an adventure would be an understatement. While BMW still provides brand new parts for almost everything that can fail on the bike, there are a few new parts I can’t find – especially when I need them. I know – why would I want them when I don’t need them? Well, when you ride a motorcycle this old you tend to become a parts hoarder and use phrases like “hen’s teeth” and “unicorn tears” to reinforce the scarcity of the parts required to keep old bikes on the road.
Every culture has a distinct mythology associated with owls so I could go on about wisdom, evil, or all kinds of symbolism but it really isn’t all that complicated – I simply think owls are cool. So why did I select “Otus” as the name for this motorcycle? Two reasons – the description of the Scops genus and the fact that the name fits on a motorcycle personalized plate!
But Wait, There’s More!
There’s also another reason for naming my motorcycle after an owl. Many years ago a dear friend of mine owned 160 acres of land in the southern part of Kansas. We spent countless weekends hanging out, grilling, eating turnips (he loved them and I was pretty much drunk most of the time. Besides, enough butter makes just about anything taste OK), shooting guns, hunting (always legally – no kidding), drinking beer, and just being manly men. A creek ran through his property – Owl Creek – so we referred to his property as “Owl Creek.” Some of the best memories of my adult life are because of my time spent at Owl Creek and it wasn’t Owl Creek in name only. There were as many owls as there were deer, turkey, bobcat, buzzards, raccoons, and opossum. I still remember sitting on the porch in the evening drinking beer, listening to the turkey go to roost, the deer sparring, and the owls calling. His friendship will be with me forever as Owl Creek was the inspiration for my fascination with owls and the reason my motorcycle is named Otus. If the Judaeo-Christian mythology is correct, I’ll see my friend again in the next life. If not, I’ll remember him as long as I can! Thank you Damon for all the great times, great memories, and friendship. I miss you, and not only during hunting season.