After getting out of the USAF I toured the US for a couple of months on a motorcycle, spreading the word that hydrogen bombs were dangerous. That effort was a total failure. After that misadventure, I ended up in Berkeley, California, where I picketed the Atomic Energy Commission building for a couple of days. No one spoke to me as they entered and departed the building, but they did see my sign and I suspect that they saw from the sign that I had been a B-47 bomber pilot a couple of months earlier assigned to carry their products. I was told a couple of years later that some people had moved on from their jobs at that facility. I have no verification of that rumor.
About a month after that event, I went to summer school at San Francisco State College and took some photography classes. I was waiting for the Unitarian school for the ministry to begin classes but didn’t attend there because I was enjoying studying photography and thus preparing to have a career doing something unquestionably peaceful. I did get an MFA degree there and did teach at the college level some. What happened while studying for my degree is that someone decided they needed my motorcycle more than I did and stole it. If I now knew who that was I would thank them. There is no way I could have ridden motorcycles for the ensuing fifty-eight years without getting killed. In the year that I did ride that Triumph, I got into two bone-breaking accidents. Once was my left wrist and the other was a couple of ribs.
My friend Daniel wasn’t so lucky. He got killed riding his motorcycle near Archangel hill in Portland. He somehow managed to hit something so hard it crushed his ribs and skull. The ambulance people thought he was dead so they didn’t attempt to resuscitate him. At the emergency room, they shocked his heart back into operation and then did whatever was necessary to keep his brain alive. Part of the treatment was to give him drugs that prevented his brain from swelling and prevented his memory from recording the events for a couple of weeks to prevent post-traumatic stress.
The inside of his house is a wonderful place for a person with an artist’s eye to visit. Everything is fun to look at. It is filled up with a great variety of tools that make it easy for him to do crafty things. There’s a carpentry shop, a machine shop, and much more that allow him to invent things, which he does.
Motorcycles are dangerous, but if you succeed in not getting killed there are plenty of fun things to do with the rest of your life.