This 1968 BMW R60 is very much like my 1967 model, but newer and in better condition. I bought it in Tucson and after driving it around the deserts I rode it home to Boston and sold it to a buddy.

I liked having a motorcycle in the desert because I annually spent several months observing with the telescopes on Mount Hopkins, south of Tucson, and it was nice to have a freedom machine. I could take cross-country trips, or just poke around the deserts.

One time I got a good scare when I was driving down a narrow path and I encountered a small group of cattle standing around. Some were mean looking bulls with big horns. I knew this was a dangerous situation, in part because these animals are usually near-sighted, and since they cannot see well, it was easy to startle them, which would cause unpredictable and probably defensive behavior. I also realiazed that if something happened, probably nobody would find me for weeks. So what was I going to do?

The first thing I did was stop, and make some engine noise and horn noise to be sure they could see me and would not be frightened. As I was desparately planning cross-country escape routes among the cactus, the cattle began to slowly meander away. They didn't like the looks of me either, and after wandering down the path a while they headed across the desert, leaving the path to me. I got out of there fast!

One thing I enjoyed doing was checking out the deserts for abandoned old cars. I found a 1937 Packard in a junk yard in Douglas, Arizona, but a quick check of the numbers with a phone call to my brother Gene Schild in Chicago revealed that it was not a desirable model, and needed too many parts.

I also enjoyed poking around the poorer Tucson neighborhoods, again in search of old Packards. Many old cars could be found in these neighborhoods, because the cars don't rust out if just left outdoors, and in many driveways next to the house you could see all the old cars, one from each decade, lined up. The oldest one yould be farthest back from the street, and you could just see how it finally was replaced with a newer replacement, itself parked behind the first, and so on. These old cars make desirable restoration projects, because they never rust and usually are in usable condition except that one expensive repair, probably to the engine, was needed, so a newer car was purchased.

I hope that the pictures of this terrific old motorcycle can show how nice a machine it was to explore the amazing beauty of the western American deserts.


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