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I remember my dad on his Harley. He is younger. There is more color and volume to his face. His mustache is jet black.

Dad tussles with his vest.

My mom says “Micheal, make sure he has his vest on.” My dad puts the floatation device, disguised as a fishing vest, on me and zips it up.

I want to help, but I know he wants to do it himself.

I am little. Dad and I are eating breaded chicken strips; steam rises from the newly exposed meat after every bite. They are fresh and juicy, with the perfect amount of crunch.

“Eric, which one do you think is the most done?”

“Um . . . that one.”

We check out and I wait outside the restroom for my father. How I wish we could still get the chicken strips. They were so much better than the roasted chicken. But of course, Dad cannot have them anymore because Safeway just had to change the recipe and put milk in the breading.


The bathroom door opens. “All ready?” I nod yes and we go to the car. The last part of the drive awaits.

As we climb into the mountains,  we lose the radio and Dad pulls out his flash drive. A history lesson proceeds, as he talks of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Fleetwood Mac, Eric Clapton, and on and on.

We pull off onto the shoulder. We have arrived at the Forbes’ fishing hole. It is a beautiful fall day, and looks like I will not be needing that extra pair of shoes. The distant grumble of a Harley can be heard in the distance as we unpack our gear.

The Motorcycling Journey


An introduction to Michael Forbes

Micheal Forbes' Motorcycling Journey


My father, Micheal Forbes, has been a motorcyclist for all of his adult life. Hear his motorcycling journey, which includes racing the Pikes Peak Hill Climb during Jan. on a dirt track. However, the most important part of his journey has been his love for Harley Davidsons.

It is a surprisingly warm autumn morning and it is time to go fishing with my dad, Michael Forbes. I arrive to his house slightly late because of traffic, but it is okay, we are in no rush.

Like always, he asks me if I have everything that I need, and like usual I have forgotten something (an extra pair of shoes today). A few slightly disappointing grunts later, we move on to packing the car.

I go into the garage to grab his fishing vest and see his Harley Davidson is stagnate and covered in dust. It yearns to be in the wind, and to roar its engine once again.

Fishing for More Time


I’m six or seven. My arms have a death grip around my father’s burly, robust chest as we blast through the wind on the Harley. I slowly ease my hold, confident that my father will keep me safe.

“Eric,” Dad calls from the car outside. “Bring my vest.”

I do as I am told, and we finish packing.

He gives me the keys to his car. The car that was left to him by his mom and my grandmother. The car that he taught me to drive in.

Fishing for More Time

Dad and I are in Grandma’s car and he is teaching me to drive. A siren starts to blare . . . I am in a panic. The cops are pulling me over. All the while, Dad is laughing hysterically as the officer comes up and simply says: “Practice your driving.”

He opens up the passenger door and gets in. “Don’t let me forget to have us stop at the grocery store on the way back.”

My father’s license is expired. He cannot renew it with the cataract that hinders vision out of his left eye.

I get into the driver’s seat nervously, scared to damage Grandma’s car. “Watch out for these stupid speed bumps getting out of here.”

Some doubts about my driving loom as we set off to our family fishing spot outside of Bailey, Colorado.

We arrive at the Safeway that we always stop at. We get baked beans, some fruit, and a roasted chicken. As we are getting the chicken, I glance over at the deli.

There is a sudden THUD! I set my hook and begin to reel. “Daddy!” I cry out in excitement. My dad drops everything, and in a flash he is beside me as he helps me bring in a monster rainbow trout.

A few years ago, a massive tree fell and changed the contour of the river. No longer was Grandpa’s hole a place where legendary fish lived, but a place littered by certain snags and crumbling earth.


We take a moment to reflect at the place where my grandmother, grandfather, and uncle’s ashes were spread, and move to our new fishing spot by the bridge.

We begin to fish. A few hours breeze by on the calm, sunny day, but no fish bite. We call it a day. There might not have been any fish, but we head back up satisfied because we got to enjoy the beauty of Colorado.

It is time to make our descent to the river. We walk over to the trail that we used to always take, but only to the beginning where the trees open up to the show the beauty of the valley below.

“Now Eric, remember what I told you. Walk down this sideways and you’ll have a better grip that way.” Scared, I go down the steep trail, needing the help of my father.

We turn around and take the longer but less steep path. The thunder of the river grows louder. The undergrowth and trees disappear into a field of grass. Spots of grass are compressed where the deer slept the night before.

To our left is Grandpa’s hole.

We walk by the trail that we used to take. “What the heck, why not.” Dad says.

We start up the steep, overgrown path. Our achilles burn on the intense gradient. We have to continue, despite the desire to stop. We are in no-man's land. There is nowhere good to rest until we are past the boulder. The breaths of crisp mountain air from Dad become louder in front of me.

Dad leads the way with a full-extension lunge onto the boulder. A quick jolt of explosion comes from his back leg.

Watching this, I realize the roles have switched. Not too long ago my father would be watching after me and making sure I got up the boulder carefully. Now I am making sure he makes it to the summit.

With expertise and confidence, Dad scales the boulder.

I take in a breath of pride and join him at the top.

Dad and I grab our lunch from the car, and head to our picnic rock. We eat our pork and beans and our slimy chicken.


Before we leave, we water some trees and make sure we did not forget anything.

Sounds from the 60s come through the speakers as we start our journey back home. There is not much conversation, but there is enough to make the time pass.


We stop at the Safeway near my dad’s home, so he can stock up on food to last until the next time he can get a ride.

As we unpack the car, I walk past the poster of the movie that defines my dad, “Easy Rider.” I wonder if my dad will ever ride again. Wonder if he will get to be the individual he wants to be; a man who can go fishing with his family and hit the road on his prized Harley, enjoying the curves of the road alongside nature.

It is time to head back up to college.

“Bye, Dad.”

“Bye, Eric. Go Broncos.

“Go Broncos.”

Michael Forbes: a family man, a fisherman, and a Harley owner 

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