Bob and I – by Jane Russell
by Jane Russell
BOB WATERFIELD, my husband, and I are currently the very proud possessors of two beautiful new Indian motorcycles. Mine is the one cylinder Arrow, easy for me to handle, and it’s a honey! Brand new and black and shiny. Bob’s is the vertical twin Scout, and gleaming white.
We’re both impatient to the point of frustration to “get aboard” and hit the road for a real trip. And so far, we’ve scarcely had a chance to use them at all; although we have plans piled up far in advance for the places we’re going on them and the things we’re going to do.
Here’s our trouble. In the first place, we got delivery on our new motors right when we were smack in the middle of building a new home up on top of a hill overlooking San Fernando Valley.
As a matter of fact, we practically have our own hill climb up there. From the time you turn off the main road and take the incline up to our mountain, top, till you reach our “plateau,” the driveway is so steep that some cars can’t even make it in low. I have a couple of friends who have to turn around and back up to the house because their cars can’t make it up the other way. They seem to have more power in reverse. But the motorcycles take it like a breeze.
Anyway, if you’ve ever built a home and faced the thousand and one details of such a job, you’ll know what I’m contending with. Checking on workmen to see that they don’t disappear for a four hour siesta under a nearby tree-figuring out color schemes and ideas for interior decoration-sketching my own ideas for furniture-working with the architect-trying to live in a place where everything is piled knee deep in the finished rooms, and half of the other part of the house echoes with emptiness-and playing nursemaid to a family of playful Doberman Pinschers! That’s only a part of it.
So you can see why we haven’t had a chance to give our new motors a real, long distance workout.
I’VE BEEN crazy about motorcycles practically all my life. I have a couple of brothers who are motorcycle “bugs.” They just about live on theirs. Their gang all rides to school and back every day, to Glendale Junior College. And when they’re not in school, the gang gets together, piles onto motors, and hits the highway for trips or picnics. So I’ve ridden on the backs of my brothers’ motors plenty of times, but I never before owned one of my own. AFTER BOB and I were married, and I started talking about getting one, at first he wasn’t at all sure he liked the idea. He didn’t know anyone whose wife rode a motorcycle. He protested that it didn’t seem like a very “ladylike” idea. He didn’t think. I was “strong enough to handle one.” And after all, wasn’t it dangerous? That stuff was for “tough, strong, masculine women” like well, maybe Babe Didrikson, or someone who could handle it.
I pointed out that my brothers and their gang had been riding practically all their adult lives, all over the country. I also pointed out that quite a gang from Hollywood owned and rode motors.
But still I couldn’t completely sell him. Then something happened that made him give in, and even made him decide that he wanted one himself.
HAVE a very close girl friend, Jeannie, whom Bob admires a great deal. She is probably one of the loveliest, most feminine girls I know. She is a fairly good-sized girl, but as far from the “tom-boy” type as you can get. I brought up the subject of motorcycles one evening; because I knew her fiancé was fond of riding. And Jeannie said that anyone who thought it took a tough, masculine woman to ride a motorcycle was crazy.
Bob wanted to know whom she knew who rode, and she told him that she did: And further, they both told us that they planned to go on their honeymoon on a motorcycle. Bob was completely bowled over and sold from then on. Jeannie is ladylike, beautiful; gentle-but she handles a motor like a veteran.
They not only “talked” about going on their honeymoon by motorcycle, -they did it! It wasn’t any short trip, either. A complete tour of the western national parks! Yosemite, Glacier, Yellowstone. Up into Montana and nearly to the Canadian border.
They had a wonderful time and came back more sold’ than ever on the efficiency of their motor, and the fact that it is infinitely easier and more fun to see everything you want to when you take a trip by motorcycle.
They rode on one machine, tandem. He would drive and she would rest, and then they’d switch and she’d drive and he would rest. Jeannie originally learned to like motorcycles because her husband was so crazy about them. So I did a switch on that deal and sold Bob on them. He finally agreed that we should have them and let me order them. And when they took pictures of us on our new motors at the Indian Company, he was just as tickled and enthused as I was.
HAVE no plans for becoming an “expert,”-going into competitions or races or anything like that. But my motorcycle will just’ be for fun and relaxation. Bob and I plan to take it easy at first and go on outings nearby. Up through the pass, picnics out in the hills, and perhaps to Santa Barbara or some of the nearby parks. Too, they have a lot of motorcycle activities within a radius of fifty or sixty miles. Los Angeles and Riverside Counties have dozens of annual events-Pacific Coast championships, some national meets; and many interesting Club events. We plan to attend a lot of these competitive meets, and we want to ride our own motors to them when we do go to watch.
We can make these short trips now, as soon as we get some of our million “house” details out of the way. Then, later in the summer when Bob has some free time off and I’m not working in a picture, we plan to take a fairly long vacation trip.
Perhaps we’ll go to San Francisco, and to some of the parks that I haven’t visited. We want to stop at little places along the way that we’ve never seen, take side roads, and really see the country.
There are plenty of fascinating places in the northern part of the state that I’ve never seen except from the main highways. Carmel, Big Sur, the Napa Valley, all the wonderful sections where the wine industry flourishes. Both the people and the scenery there are picturesque.
BUT OUR real plans include something much more ambitious. You see, we’ve always promised ourselves a real trip. We’ve never really been able to get away for long because one or the other of us has been working. But both of us are wild to see certain Central and South’ American countries, as well as the southern part of Mexico. We have more or less settled on Guatemala as our first “exploration point.” We plan to have our motors flown down by airfreight, and then fly down to Guatemala ourselves, We’ll have our motors there and we can tour the country at our leisure. We can investigate every point of interest that intrigues us. And naturally you can see fifty times as much of that kind of a country by motorcycle as you can even by car. In those countries, most of the roads are only paths or wagon roads, dirt, and full of deep ruts. A motorcycle can cover that kind of ground with ease, but you wouldn’t even think of daring to try to take a car over it.
I think perhaps the reason I love motorcycling so much is that I love to drive fast, and in a car, sometimes I drive too fast. But on a motorcycle, even at safe speeds, you have that feeling of going very fast. As I say, our long trip is out for awhile, and meantime we’ll have to content ourselves with short runs, picnics with my brothers’ gang, perhaps, and attending the various motorcycle meets.
The other is fun to look forward to, however, and I’m sketching ideas for outfits I plan to have made to wear. I design some of my own clothes and have commercialized some of my designs. And I have some dreamy ideas for smart suede and gabardine outfits for women riders. If I get something really good worked up, I may try to commercialize a “Jane Russell Cycle Ensemble.”
I’m trying to talk Bob into an all black outfit for riding, black suit, black boots and black helmet, since he has a white motor. And to contrast with him, and with my black motor, I’ll wear an all white outfit. Not for the dusty Guatemala byways, of course, but for our short trips around here, until our holiday plans really finally come through.