In the 1st week of August 1970, just after we had arrived at our new home, my mother took me to Gulf Comprehensive High School in New Port Richey to register for school. 10th grade took place at Gulf Comprehensive High School on Louisiana ave. New Port Richey Florida. This school is now, at the time of this writing, a Middle school. Registration was uneventful. Classes included math writing history art French and drafting. I found that school was easy here in Florida compared to the curriculum taught up north in Michigan. I did not know the reason for this.
Earlier in the week dad and I went down to the tax collectors office to get a license plate for my Honda CL70. Mom was not too keen on me driving a motorcycle and was even more nervous of me driving one on the road. However I intended on getting an after school job so mom saw the need for me to be more mobile. She would fuss over me like a mother hen. “You be careful Jim! Make sure you are visible! Wear somthing bright so people can see you! Oh those things are dangerous!” Mom would go on and on as all good mothers do that love their children, to make sure her baby was safe healthy and clean.
Dad and I made it home and at once I installed the new license plate on my motorcycle. I wanted to explore my new highway freedom so asked if I could head out and take a look around. They said yes with a few restrictions. I must avoid driving on US 19. US 19 was a busy and dangerous road even way back then. So I got out a map to have a look as to where I could go for a ride. I discovered that I could ride to Aripeka, just north of us with only a very short ride on US 19.
It’s a very pleasant ride to Aripeka heading north on the Dixie Highway. The road turns to dirt after you get by Sea Pines then turns to pavement just south of Aripika. On the ride I wound through quaint little fishing communities. I took the road until it stopped at US 19. I then turned the motorcycle around and came back the way I had come.
I stopped on the bridge in Aripeka, the one that goes over the river and visited the bate and tackle shop near the bridge. I got a coke and some cheese curls and returned to the bridge and my motorcycle.
Aripeka is lovely and very picturesque. A quaint little fishing community if you will. The people that live there are friendly and very laid back. The area is known worldwide for it’s artistic draw. It is not uncommon to see an artist happily at work painting the picturesque scenery.
I finished my coke and cheese curls and started up the motorcycle. I thought to myself that all is not as bad as I thought it would be. I had vehicular freedom. I had made a new friend. 10th grade was on the horizon with all of it’s possibilities and challenges. Yes life is good I thought as I mounted the motorcycle and made my way back home.