Meeting Kathie

So……Here goes. I receive a phone call from Paul (a friend I have known since 1989, artist, and avid motorcyclist). He tells me of a phone call he received from a friend selling an old motorcycle. He thinks it’s a 1913 Excelsior. I am intrigued. He does not know if it is all there, or if it is a single or twin, does not know condition, but has recommended I follow up with the estate representative to get more information. So I did. This is how I met Kathie. We spoke at length, I learned a lot about the family and current situation of the estate this motorcycle was part of. I was in Milwaukee, as was Kathie. The bike was in storage in Decatur, IL. But before we could go look at it (and I wanted to ASAP), we had a lot more talking to do. Kathie was concerned on the care the bike would receive. Kathie was concerned about my abilities and how I would “restore” the bike. Perfectly natural concerns. I invited her to my shop to feel the aura of the garage and to be able to listen to me as I described my philosophy on restoring bikes. I was able to show her several I had and how I documented the process. Let’s just say it was an awesome night together. We agreed on a road trip, along with Paul, to visit the bike in Decatur. Arriving at the storage facility we were able to visit the machine. And there it was……a 105 year old Excelsior. The copper gas/oil tank was perfect! Most parts were there, even the carburetor, and belt idler tensioner. The parts that were on the bike were all frozen tight, as was the engine (what I expected). But I was in love. Here are the first photos I took upon seeing the bike on this day. This was November 16th. Hope you enjoy these pictures as I did on this day. Next chapter – Moving to Milwaukee.

2 Replies to “Meeting Kathie”

  1. Chris, you’re a fine writer and photographer in addition to possessing exceptional motor cycle restoration skills and multiple talents. And, let’s not forget patience and resourcefulness.

    I’m mesmerized by your opening Blog stories–both pictures and words. I share with you
    the exhilaration of our meetings to discuss future of the Hazen Family 1911 Excelsior. MEMORABLE is an understatement !! Those meetings were perhaps eclipsed by our viewing of Excelsior in Decatur in early December– then turning our Hazen Family bike over to Chris, new steward and owner, on December 22 in Decatur last time.

    These are opening chapters of what promises to be the Open Road Trip of a Lifetime.
    A 105-year-old journey which began in Central Illinois and moves now to Wisconsin at
    the Tribbey shop–where all bikes are loved. I certainly look forward to riding two-up on this
    adventure. Join us. Saddle up. It’s time to ride.

    YES, I am Kathie. Fred Hazen’s eldest granddaughter.

    Liked by 2 people

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