By THOMAS P. CALDWELL, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — One of the many motorcycles garnering attention at Weirs Beach yesterday was one owned by Daniel Johnson of Brookville, Indiana, that has a buffalo hide seat, bobcat skull, Native American beads, and other embellishments that identify the places it has been.
Johnson says he soon will have 193,000 miles on the motorcycle, which he has ridden every chance he could in the four years and 11 months he has owned it.
“But that’s nothing,” he said. His previous motorcycle, which he also had for four years and 11 months, had 227,000 miles on it when he was involved in a crash coming out of New Orleans.
Johnson has ridden throughout the United States, including the entire length of Route 66, from Chicago to the Santa Monica pier in California.
“It’s a way of life for me,” he said.
His motorcycle is equipped with everything he needs for long-distance journeys, including a faucet for dispensing water. He has affixed PVC tubes to hold his tools and other items he may need, and he even has a holder for a walking stick.
“It has everything a man needs to survive,” he said.
Johnson said he wears chaps made from deerskin because it is light and waterproof without getting too hot.
But it is the bones, beads, stickers and ornaments on his motorcycle that catch people’s attention wherever he goes, and inspire them to offer their own mementos of each location.
“People from all over the United States — even complete strangers — will invite me into their homes,” Johnson said. “You can’t be out here like I am and treat people badly.”
He said he likes to tell people, “Common courtesy will take you further than money.”
He enjoys letting elderly residents and handicapped children sit on his motorcycle, noting that he always tells the youngsters, “This is what good, honest, hard work will get you.”
A farrier by trade — he is responsible for shoeing and caring for 300 horses — Johnson said he dropped out of high school and joined the Marines, serving from 1973 to 1977. Being in the Marines allowed him to visit three foreign countries when he was 18 years old, he said.
He was injured in the service, and is classified as 40 percent disabled, but that has not stopped him from the difficult trade of a farrier. He said he has been kicked by horses and sustained injuries that included ripping the biceps on his left arm.
Still, his passion is riding, in all locations and in all kinds weather.
He said he has been on a bike since he was 6 and he saved money he earned by baling hay to purchase his first mini-bike at age 12 — a Rupp Roadster that he said he wishes he still had.
He commented on how much he appreciates the beauty of the Lakes Region and the great weather for Motorcycle Week.
He clearly enjoyed the attention his motorcycle was getting, and welcomed opportunities to talk about his journeys.
“Not to detract from any of the beauty of this area,” he said, “but my favorite place to ride is Montana.”
Daniel Johnson; who has ridden his motorcycle throughout the United States; including the entire length of Route 66; received a lot of attention in The Weirs with his customized 2012 model. (Tom Caldwell/Laconia Daily Sun)
Daniel Johnson, left, speaks with one of the visitors to The Weirs who stopped to admire his motorcycle, decorated with animal skulls, Native American beads, and other mementoes of his journeys around the country. (Tom Caldwell/Laconia Daily Sun)
- Written by Tom Caldwell
- Category: Local News
- Hits: 552