by Douglas R. Wotherspoon Jr.

  In 1988, I was at the local Suzuki shop getting some parts for my dirt bike, and spotted this wonderful looking touring bike. I just had to sit on, just for a minute. I climbed on, and was in love, maybe lust, but I knew that I had to have one someday. I did not think or imagine that it would take 15 years to realize that dream.

    A friend of mine took the local motorcycle safety class at the community college, and after passing the course, was given a certificate to take to the department of motor vehicles. They gave her a motorcycle endorsement.

She thought that that was great. A couple months go by and she decided that if she had a motorcycle license, she should also have a motorcycle. She went to Honda and purchased a new 600 Shadow. She had a friend ride it home and then she wanted me to put miles on it so she could take it in for the five hundred mile service.

    Of course, I went and got it, and rode it. I was out on a long trip, on a 600, a 180 mile trip. While on this ride two things occurred to me. First thing, this bike is not meant for this. I am starting to ache, and have 60 miles to go to get home. Second thing that crossed my mind, I need my own bike and a bigger one.

At that very moment, the Cavalcade that I sat on crossed my mind. I have to have one of those. I know that Suzuki does not make it anymore, but I will be happy with a used one, no problem. I started to dream of rides that I could take with it, where I would like to go, and was soon quite excited about getting one.

I got home that night, stood for a while to let my tale end recover, and fired up the computer, I was going to find one. That turned out MUCH easier said than done. Good lord, there is not one for sale, but I found a real cool site, Suzuki Cavalcade.

No problem that there is not a Cade for sale, there may be one tomorrow. Pigs were not flying, Cades were not for sale. I kept with it though. It became an obsession to find one. I would think about it at work, I would come and search for hours trying to find one. I gave up after a couple weeks, thought I would give some folks a chance to realize that I was looking to buy there Cade.

 I came home one day, looking forward to my next bout with disappointment, and I found one for sale. I sent out an E mail to the owner asking if he still had the Cade. I was jazzed, “Yes, I am going to get one. “I came home the next day to find a response, I am sorry, but I have already sold it, good luck with your search. This would be the first of many “sorry, I already sold it” responses. I gave up.

I knew that I wanted to have a big touring bike, and that I wanted to ride and see everything. By this time, I had found Tim Mayhew’s site, and was reading all about his rides. I was getting excited. Now I was looking for a Yamaha Venture. There were lots of those, but none that I liked. I would change my strategy yet again. I would now look at Gold Wings, Ventures and Kawasaki Voyagers. I am sure to find one of them.

I found plenty. Lots of them looked pretty good too. I would call my friend Jacki and tell her all about the new bike that I found. She would ask me what was it like, I would tell her, it is like a Cavalcade, just not as nice, but I can still go on long rides.” She would laugh and tell me to call them and talk about the bike. Okay, sure, maybe tomorrow. As we all know, tomorrow never comes. I never called.

I was still looking for MY Cavalcade. I started to like the Kawasaki , and even sat on one. I was convinced that I could like this bike and take some real nice rides around the west coast. I was looking at a couple that was located near by, when Jacki finally laid it out for me. “Doug, get the bike that will make you the happiest.”

You know, she is right. To hell with them all, I am going to find a Cade, and hopefully it is near Nevada . I started to search for hours again. I was getting five hours of sleep a night looking. I found one, then another, and another, and got the same response, “sorry, sold it.”

    I was depressed and came home. Got on line and said what the hell, I will keep trying. I found another one. “I was wondering if you still had your Cade for sale, and if so, are you on the west coast. Probably not, there are no Cades for sale here.”

I came home the next day, saw the return, and thought, here is another “sorry, sold it” response. “Yes, I still have the Cade, I live in Ohio , however, if someone from the west coast was interested in buying it, I would ride it out and fly home.” I saw yes, and sprung up and did a dance of joy. Where is Ohio ? Hell with it. It has to be close enough to Nevada for me.

I talked to Clay almost daily, actually daily. Yes, I was like a kid at Christmas. I am going to get a Cade. He told me that it was an 86 LXE, with 64000 miles on it. I am not sure that bothered me, Doug has one with 170,000 miles and is still going, 64 ain’t nothin’. Send me pictures, how does it run, any problems with it, what color, how does she ride? Clay must have gotten tired of me.

We finally agreed to meet in Kansas City , Missouri on October 4th. Got my ticket that same day, called and got insurance the following day, sent a deposit. This is going to happen. I have printed out pictures of my Cade to be, hung them at work, on my fridge………..and Jacki is having fun watching me slobber all over myself.

It seemed like the longest week of my life, but Saturday morning finally came, it was time to fly out. I flew out of Reno , landed in Denver , waited for 14 days, (well, okay, 3 hours), then flew to Kansas City . I got off the plane, and there was Clay, waiting for me.

Clay, I have to get a bag first. Hurry up bag! Come up! Let’s go! How slow can these people be? Where is that bag? It finally arrived, grabbed, and off we went. I believe that we started off on one pace, and I picked it up. I finally saw the bike in the parking lot, and just wanted to drop my bags and run to the bike to see my new Cade. I held back though, just walked faster.

Oh my God she is gorgeous. I walked around her, just gazing at her amazing beauty. She was more than I was counting on. I could not wait to ride her. He showed me some things about her that I needed to know, gave me the title, and I was ready to go.

This is where the first problem occurred. He trailered the Cade to the airport, it was unloaded, and we only had one parking ticket. $7.50 later I was off seeing the wonderful sites of the airport. I missed my road out, got to see some new areas of the airport, missed again, saw some new, and finally just ran out of misses, had not choice but to leave the airport.

    I got on the freeway, and needed to head to 70 west. I got there, and was looking for a place to stay for the night before taking off on my 1900 mile journey home to Reno , Nevada . Not good. The Broncos and Chiefs were playing. Winston cup was on the corner of Highways 70 and 435. Yep, I will no doubt find a reasonable rate at a hotel with them all here. I continued on. I was listening to the Kansas state football game, and looking for a good place to pull off for a hotel. I saw a sign, Kansas State , next exit. Guess I won’t find a reasonable rate here either.

I stopped for some fuel, in the middle of the highway. Never saw anything like it. The gas station and McDonalds is in the median. Pulled across, and got fuel, and ate. Took off, heading west. I finally stopped in a little town called Salina . I stayed in a motel 8 there. The clerk, I can’t remember her name, but she was nice, gave me a room that I could park my Cade near to keep and eye on her. The room was nice, and they had a continental breakfast in the morning. They also have a machine where you can get aspirin, deodorant and a small can of shaving cream and razor out of. Most expensive was the shaving set at 2 bucks.

I woke up in the morning jazzed beyond belief. Looked out the window, the Cade was fine, and she smiled at me. Gathered my stuff, stopped for a bagel while heading out the door, and was set to go. Head across the street, fuel up, and head for the freeway.

As I pulled up on the freeway, I saw the sign “Denver 456.” Okay, that is my goal, to make Denver today. After all, if I can do 180 miles on a 600, I can certainly do 456 on a Cade. I made Denver, and kept going. However, heading into Denver, I was heading straight into some real ugly clouds that looked like they wanted to get me and the Cade wet. Highway 70 turns left, and we missed the big mean clouds.

As I climbed out of Denver, I stopped along the highway to take a few more pictures. It felt like it was getting colder, so I switched to my cold weather gloves. Five minutes later, I was to ride for ten minutes in hail. That was not fun at all. That stuff hurts. I cleared that, stopped at a rest stop on top of the mountain, took a couple more photos and was on my way.

I kept going until I was tired, and then stopped in New Castle, Colorado and stayed at the Comfort Inn. I asked for a room where I could see the Cade, and was told by Diana to park it outside the front door of the hotel under the awning. The front entrance is all glass and they can watch it. She told me that they let the motorcyclists do that if there is only a few of them. I will remember this place if I ever return.

I went next door to the shopping center and ate at a Chinese restaurant. It was pretty good. I was talking to a man about the ride and the area, and he was telling me to be careful, someone in a cage hit an Elk a little while ago. I believe that I have not aspirations to hit anything larger than a grasshopper. I explained that I was going to try and go into Moab, Utah and check it out. Take the second Cisco exit, and follow the signs in, you will love the place, the wife and I ride that all the time. Thanked him for the information and headed back to the hotel.

Got up in the morning, got some fuel, and was on my way. A tad cold, but what the hell, I have leg heaters on the Cade, what other bike has that. Stopped for some more photos of the Colorado River, some nice canyon shots and was on my way.

I continued on down the road to Fruita for fuel. Not sure how far to Moab, but knew that I was coming up on the state line soon, and just wanted the fuel. I saw my first highway patrolman near the Utah line. Speed limit is 75; I have the cruise set on 70. He came flying up on me, slowed down, waved and took off. He must be one of us when he is not working.

Found the second exit for Cisco, turned off, and was blessed with the roughest damn road. If you take this exit and you see the sign that says ” Moab , next right” hit the brakes because that next right is only 50 feet away. Down a rough left right, up and down road to the Colorado River. Stopped by a historical bridge, took a couple of photos, not knowing that the true beauty was only moments away.

Got back on the bike, went about three quarters of a mile and had to stop. I was in awe of the beauty in the surrounding area. It would be this way for the next 33 miles. It took almost two hours to do that short distance. I got a lot of photos, took the liner out of my jacket, it is hot, and enjoyed the best ride of my life. If you can, go to Moab , it is well worth the trip, just don’t do it in the summer. It was hot in October; I can only imagine what it would be like in August.

Fueled up in Moab , and headed for 70 again. I stopped in Green River for something to eat, and then was on my way. I just got up on the highway when I read the sign “next services, 100 miles.” I already have almost 70 on the clock, will I be okay. I tossed everything in my head and decided that I would be fine. 75 miles later I saw a sign saying “fuel next exit.” Not bad. Where ever that fuel was, I don’t know. There was nothing at that exit, so I kept going.

    I arrived in Salina , Utah , and put in 4 gallons of gas and was on my way. Highway 50 was my next objective. I wanted to make it through Utah and stay in Ely , Nevada . They could have put a road in that ran straight across that valley. You go back and forth a couple of times before you head out West. All alone on this road, I had to stop. I left the bike in the middle of the road, moved two cows and a calf off the road and departed. I would see 6 cars coming at me in the next 63 miles.

I finally made the Nevada line and fueled up. Started heading up the hill and saw a sign letting me know that there were deer in the area. It is dusk, so I should be extra careful. 100 yards later was the sign for Elk. Okay, I will slow down drastically, remember, I don’t want to hit anything larger than a grasshopper. I see one rabbit that ran, and nothing else. I made Ely as planned.

I arrived at the motel 6 with a group of three riding two Harleys, and a BMW. They were giving the clerk, Amanda a hard time about her asking for “an approved form of ID.” She can’t just ask for a driver’s license. The next in line was a guy on a BMW who just came in from Southern California.

He would not even answer her piddly questions about how the ride was. So I jumped in and told her how my ride was going. Those folks both got rooms on the second floor, and could not see there bikes. I, being nice, got room 102, and was the width of the sidewalk away from my Cade.

The Holiday Inn, in Ely wanted $75 for just me for a Monday night. I departed and went to that motel 6. The room was alright, nothing spectacular, but for less than half of what the Holiday Inn wanted, I was happy.The next morning I got some breakfast at McDonalds and headed for Silver Springs , Nevada to show Jacki my new Cade. I left Ely, and just about ten miles out of town, a bird launched from the side of the road, and hit my windshield, square on. He did not survive, I was fine. I can now say that I don’t want to be hit by anything larger than a grasshopper, and mean it. I stopped in Austin , Nevada , got gas for $2.24 a gallon, an ice cream and was on my way.

Jacki had mentioned that her boss just purchased a new Gold Wing, and at four corners, could take off and hit 110 miles per hour by the time he got to the speed limit sign that reflected 65 miles per hour. The first and only crazy thing I did. I came to that stop sign, checked all around, and got on it. I am pretty sure I did not push the Cade %100, but came pretty close. I got to about 92 miles per hour. Bastard did better than a Cade.

I told Lon about that, and he stated that he may have been lying a bit, but I could never prove it. Lon, I said, you did that with an empty bike, I did 92 loaded, the Cade, after all these years is still better. He just smiled, and then he smiled again when he saw that I have intercoms, self leveling, air seats, and he has none of that.

I finished my 1900 mile trip by heading into Reno and my house. I had cleared a spot in the garage for my new Cade, but obviously, it was not big enough. I had to wash off the bugs, and unpack the bike. While moving the lawn mower, I might as well mow the grass. I was happy.

I reflect back on my journey. I flew on two flights, and rode 1900 miles in four days, and I was ready to go more. Clay, I thank you for selling me my Cade.

Most of all, none of this would have ever happened. I would not have had the opportunity to ride those miles and see those sites if not for Jacki. “I love you for that Jacki; I love my Cade, thank you for telling me to get the bike that would make me the happiest.”

In my journey, I broke my radio, Micky says I should not have pushed the buttons so hard, they are now stuck, found a short in the tail lights, never burned a drop of oil, have plenty of power, killed a bird, but still have a smile from ear to ear, cause a 15 year dream has come true. I am see’n it from a Cade. My plates will be here sometime “CINIT” I love my Cade, I loved my journey, I now look forward to more journeys.