I opened the various presents, including John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band and George Harrison’s three-LP opus, All Things Must Pass. Growing up as a Beatles fanatic, those were definitely well-chosen gifts that I still enjoy.At the end, my parents handed me a small package. I opened it up, and it was a little booklet. It had pictures of a motorcycle. It explained the parts, with lots of details.I was a bit bewildered. It wasn’t a book or magazine. I had been riding my Honda Super Cub 50 for a few months (detailed in our September issue), so I thought it was related to that in some way, even though I couldn’t quite figure out how.While I did enjoy the Super Cub that had been converted into a dirt bike thanks to a knobby rear tire, I didn’t really think of myself as a motorcycle rider. Riding was just a fun thing I did when we went camping. However, I tended to ride the little 50 from sunrise to sunset, and my dad apparently noticed.Once I had looked through the booklet, I thanked my parents for all the great presents. Then, my mom walked over to the curtains. She pulled the drawstring, opening them up. Out on the porch was a brand-new 1971 Yamaha 90 Enduro. The booklet was the owner’s manual.As you would expect, I was speechless—so much so that my parents thought I wasn’t excited about it. I just walked around it, gazing in disbelief. It would never have occurred to me to even ask for a present that extravagant, so I was stunned.It was as much a life-changing moment as it gets.The Super Cub was fun, but the Yamaha 90 was a real motorcycle. It had 18-inch wheels, a two-stroke motor, an up-pipe (important in the desert), trials-pattern tires, real suspension, a manual clutch, and it wasn’t a step-through. Most other 12-year-olds I knew with motorcycles were still on Honda Mini Trail 50s or 70s—this was a big deal.The rest of the day was spent in the driveway learning to operate the clutch. It wasn’t long before I discovered the fun, and ease, of just popping the clutch to get going. However, my dad insisted that I learn the smooth operation—smart guy.The next day we loaded the Yamaha 90 into our Open Road trailer and off to Butterfield Country, just east of then-sleepy Temecula, Calif. All of a sudden, I had a lot of new friends on the trails there. In short order, I considered myself an authentic motorcycle rider.Fifty years later, I remember that weekend like it was this morning.