by Crash Casey
The following interview with Doug Schultz was conducted by me, Crash, at a top secret location. Well, okay, it was the Landing in Champlin. Doug is a helluva nice guy. He picked up the tab and everything. He’s also a modest guy. He wanted to give credit to all his fellow club members and to everyone else he’s ever met.
1. How did you become acquainted with M.M.M.?
I frequent two different dealers. One is North Country Sports and the other is Track Star Motorsports in Minneapolis. I saw the free sign, so I grabbed it, read it and enjoyed it. Several days later, I heard the publisher on the radio at like 5:00 in the morning. I enjoyed what he had to say about motorcycling. Then I wrote out a check for a subscription. That was maybe six months ago.
2. How many years have you been riding?
Yeah, about 42 years. I remember my very first ride distinctly. My buddy brought home a Harley. It was a 45 inch with a hand shifter. He asked me if I wanted to take it for a ride, and I said, “Sure”. I just missed the manure spreader and drove it right into the side of the barn.
3. How many bikes have you had and what were they?
Oh gee, I’m going to guess a little, but I think it’s about 10. My first bikes were all off-road type bikes. Then there must have been 8 or 10 years when I didn’t own a bike. I was busy raising a family. Then in the early 80’s I bought a 650 Special. I was proud of that bike because it was much cheaper than a Harley, but it still leaked. I rode that for six or seven years, then I had a Honda Shadow, and then I bought a Gold Wing.
4. What are you currently riding?
Now I have a Yamaha Royal Star. I bought a ’96 model in ’97. I put a lot of accessories on it &emdash; bags and windshield and chrome and all of that. There’s a guy in California, “The Baron” John Von Chaldy, who specializes in expanding the RPM range on Royal Stars. I put one of his CDI boxes in my bike, and now I can get about 7800 RPMs.
5. I understand you’re the Chapter President of the RSTAR Club. What can you tell me about that?
When I bought the bike a friend of mine worked at Yamaha. I told him that I heard there was a national group, and he gave me a contact number. I got a hold of the fellow who started it all. His name is Alan Cease. I asked him about getting it started in Minnesota. He sent me the names of some people who had joined their national organization. Then from Yamaha I got the names of all the people in the two state area who had purchased Royal Stars. We met out at the Yamaha R&D Center. We agreed there would only be a couple of rules. Number one is the rule of common sense. Number two is there are no rules. We have no dues. Some of us volunteer a little time. We meet on any day of the month that has an 8 in it , in other words the 8th, the 18th and the 28th. The weekend ride is usually between 200-300 miles and 8-12 hours. People join up and spin off whenever they want. The evening rides are approximately 75-100 miles. We range from 8 people to 30. We’re not just a Royal Star group; more than half of our people ride other models. We have Hondas, Harleys. Most of us are 40ish, and about 75% are couples. About 3/4 of the couples have two bikes. We never ride faster than the slowest person.
6. Are you a member of the Mile High Club?
No, but I know what you mean.
7. What kind of riding do you do now? It sounds like you do a lot of cruising. Do you do a lot of touring?
Yeah, I prefer touring to cruising when I can.
8. What are some of the tours you’ve taken?
I usually travel black and blue roads. One year we rode into a tornado in Illinois. The wet spot in my pants was not from rain. In ’96 I did a long haul. I planned out a trip that took me to 12 states in nine days–upper Idaho, Montana, North Dakota. Stayed in out of the way campgrounds. I did a wonderful trip around Superior in two and a half days.
9. Do you have any future plans for tours?
Yeah, we’re leaving on May 31 to meet a group of riders out of Chicago and ride down to Richmond, Kentucky to the Rider Magazine Rally. From there we’re going to go up the Bluegrass Parkway to Washington D.C. to the Rolling Thunder . I want to do the Great Lakes before the year 2000. All of the way around.
10. Tell me about your most memorable ride, and what made it so.
That was the 12 state, nine day ride. It was a test to see whether I could do it. It was everything I dreamed it would be and more. I’m blessed with a wonderful wife who thinks it is a good thing for me to do.
11. What is your favorite day trip?
We did that last year as a Royal Star group when 15-18 of us went up 47 from Coon Rapids to near Lake Mille Lacs. We stopped on the south shore at a place to eat, then we went up to the Casino and had a buffet. We met members from other places in Minnesota, Ashby for one. We went all the way around Lake Mille Lacs back to the Casino and then came home through Stacy.
Another favorite trip is the ride down the Mississippi to Alma. There’s a little hotel there. It has a sign that says, “Rooms for rent.” Inside there’s another sign that says, “Take any room that isn’t shut.” The price is on the door. It’s called the Laue House Inn.
12. What do you think is the biggest issue facing bikers today?
I still think there is this constant fear I have of a loss of freedom. There are those out there who think we need to wear helmets. I just hope that we as a group of people who are respectful of the law can convince people that all we are asking for is a chance to make our own decisions. I just want the freedom to choose and I don’t want people to think they are a better judge of what’s good for me than I am.