OK, this is a story spanning 25 years. I was a medic in Vietnam, stationed at Can Tho Army Airfield, in the Delta, in 1971-'72. I was saving my money and was planning on buying some sort of large road motorcycle and touring the country when I got out of the Army; I'd sold my Honda 160, prior to going overseas. Part of my duties was running sick-call and seeing 80 to 120 GI's in a morning (real wham-bam-thank you ma'am healthcare). I had a few pictures of bikes cut out of magazines stuck up in my corner of the dispensary and would usually have a couple of words with "bikers" who came through, which would allow me to ask what sort of machine they recommended for a long tour. By the time I landed at Ft. Carson, Colorado (two months early on a force reducing "early out"), I had narrowed the possibilities to three choices:
- Harley-Davidson - eliminated due to concerns of reliability and the fact that 50% of the stories ended with "and then it got ripped off".
- MotoGuzzi - Soon after returning, I was hitch-hiking and got picked up by a dealer who sold both MotoGuzzi and BMWs. He stated the opinion that both were excellent machines, but, if I had the several hundred dollars difference; BMWs were a little better.
- BMW - Back then, definitely "an old man's touring Machine". But, somehow, that seemed to fit what I was looking for for a long, slow and alone trip. Non of this multicolored "S", "RS" foolishness.