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  • Writer's pictureRay Lamb

The People We meet.

Updated: Jun 27, 2021

“Kachunk, kachunk, kachunk, kachunk…”. That’s what a drive chain sounds like after over 20,000 hardish miles are on it. If you think about it, I’ve asked a lot of this chain. But, I figure if I kept oiling it, it would get better. Nope. Hardly. Sure, fresh oil would quiet it down a little bit, but it wore off fast. And, my version of the Africa Twin must be Honda's version of a unicorn, because no one between here and home had a chain for it. And, I blew out the fork seals in Moab, so that needed to be done too. So, while I was sitting in my motel room in Montrose, CO, I decided to find a Honda dealer in Little Rock and order all the parts. When I got there I’d have them do the work too. It didn't take long until I found Richard’s Honda Yamaha who was the oldest dealer in all of LR. I called and asked for parts and that got me to Gabriel. He was soft spoken, but polite and he told me what I probably already knew, that all the parts needs to be ordered. And the drive sprocket was on back order, so no sprockets this time. Not exactly the news I was looking forward to but, it is what it is and I ordered the parts. The next morning, I used an old trick and tied rags around the fork tubes to suck up some of the leaking oil, bought some brake cleaner to keep the brakes dry, and with much trepidation, I headed out to limp the AT from Colorado to Arkansas. The next week I made the trip from Leola to Little Rock. That's where I met Gabriel for the first time. Gabriel was a nice guy. Then, he pointed me to the service manager, Marty. He introduced himself and told me to go ahead and pull the bike in to the inspection bay and he'd get me written up. Marty was also, a very nice person. He was very helpful and easy going. He said he had work there for over 40 years. He talked his guys up and made me feel confident in my choice to come here!

I had a lot of stuff on the bike that needed to be taken off and set some place. I asked him where I should put it all and he said with his big smile, "Well, right there's ok by me if it's ok by you." He couldn't have been more welcoming! We talked for a bit and he asked where I'm from and where I'd been. "Washington state and Moab was the highlight, so far.", I said. Then he asked me if I liked Volkswagens. Well, that was a random question. I said I have a 65 Beetle back home. He proudly showed me pictures of his son's project bus and a restored Beetle, too. We had a great talk and this was going to be a good place! Then he said, "I have something to show you." He led me to the showroom and with a big smile pointed to a banner hanging proudly on the wall. There was a picture of a tall man in adventure gear standing by his red Africa Twin. Behind him were the red rocks of Moab.

"Recognize that?", he said.


"That's right! His name is Ken Doss and his bike always looks that clean. He's a really interesting guy."

The man in the picture was a tall distinguished looking man. He stood by his AT with poise and the stature of confidence.

"l'd like to meet this fellow!"

"He's a great customer of ours. I'll see if I can make a call."

I was excited at the chance that I may be able to meet Ken!

About then, Gabriel found us and said the parts were in. Gabe was super helpful and, when asked, even pointed me to an Apple store where I could have one of their "Geniuses" figure out a problem I was having. The two of them also suggested a great place to eat. So, I caught a Lyft and headed out. When I got back Marty said they almost had my bike done. That was quick! But, there was a problem. Only one set of brake pads came in and that the other ones would be in in the morning. Marty gave me some options and I chose to stay the night and have them installed in the morning. "We'll back it off the lift and wait for the parts, that will save you some money." Cool. I had planned for a night in LR just in case the work was more difficult anyway, so no big deal. As I sat and waited Gabe would come around and see if there was anything I needed. He was pretty cool and took good care of me. Towards the end of the day, I found a motel close and gathered my things. Marty said I could leave my things there and that they'd be safe. Then he offered to give me a ride to my hotel.

"Are you sure?'

"Absolutely! It's on my way home. I'd be happy too!"

How nice is that? We had a great conversation on the way and we saw eye to eye on a lot of things. He told me about the area and the changes that have happened in the there over time. The conversation was easy and he made me feel at home. He dropped me off and wished me luck and that he'd see me in the morning. Then I found my room and settled in for the night. The next morning I caught another Lyft in to Richard's and everyone there was glad to see me. The bike was about to be done and all I had to do was settle up. When I got the bill, it was better than I expected, the work was good and the people were amazing! They really must like there work, too because they were all so very happy and helpful. I couldn't have asked for a better experience! And Ms. Tucsan? She was as good as new! I think we both were happy. So, if you're ever near Little Rock and need some work done or just some advise on a great place to eat OR you just need an injection of some really nice people, stop in to Richard's. You won't be disappointed. It may just change your attitude for the better. Guaranteed!

Oh, and about meeting Ken Doss? Stay tuned! ;)

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