August 29, 2016
Hey Eric! I know you won't see this in your physical body, but I hope everything is good up there in heaven. I've followed in your footsteps as you wished. I wish you could see me now that I've grown up ... and ... I'm not a cocky little sh*t. I remember what you said to me at your goodbye party, "I will be riding right along with you on your way to the ISDE." Because YOU knew I had it in me.
My first race back, without even training, I beat Max Harte, Leonard, and most of the beginners. I'm really successful in the ISDE division, and racing 250 EX. In the OMRA, and if everything works out then in West Coast Hare Scrambles as well.
Everything is going great for everybody here. We all miss you though. I KNOW you're still here. You haven't left us. Well, anyway, I love you Eric. You were like an uncle to me.
P.S. I might run your number this year
February 10, 2016
Eric did things his way. He made it in business without much prior experience. He did his racing, dangerous as it was, and rose to make a name for himself. He was such a staunch Conservative among a family of mostly opposite beliefs. But, he was strong enough to do it his way, buck the system, or no.
He's to be remembered and admired for these qualities. He will forever be in the hearts of all those he touched in his way too brief life.
March 6, 2016
Well, I'm happy to report that Eric's family took his ashes down to the Florence Oregon Driftwood campground area. I now know why he wanted to be there, it is a truly beautiful place.
Eric's work showed in his riding. He could really make things run. Highly tuned and ready to rock. I think his true potential was still to come. We had not seen it yet, and I'm pissed cuz it would have been great to see, cuz E was always entertaining, and I'm afraid we missed that.
Eric has helps so many, myself included. With his skill in working on and coaching, I was able to take a few first places, some seconds, and a whole lot of FUN! There was a race at the ORV Park Grey and Thurston County, I get to the line for my race, and I have a front flat. Oh shit! I sadly pull out, head back towards the truck. I see E, he asks, "What is wrong?" All I could do was point. He say go to sign up, tell them you need to change to the second race, and we can fix your flat. Man, I was so stoked! I raced that day feeling like a Pro, ending up 2nd in 200B. Thanks E, you showed me anything is possible.
Your Friend, #34
February 10, 2016
I can remember the day I met Eric Cleveland. It was late February 1984. He was 13 years old at that time, and I was 24 and had just purchased my first home. It was located just around the corner from Eric's family home. I was moving in that day and had my trailer with two Honda ATC 3-Wheelers in it sitting out front. This came came riding up on a 3 Wheeler and introduced himself, that was Eric. He was very anxious to have somebody in the neighborhood to ride with! The was the beginning of a long friendship. He took me out and showed me lots of trails we could ride right from our house. We would ride often and when we weren't riding, he would just come over and hang out, and even help around the house.
When I was putting in my lawn, I would tow Eric around on a pallet with my 3-wheeler to smooth out the dirt. He would go home filthy! I'm sure his mom appreciated it! Then there was the time I put an electric fence wire around my dog kennel ... I would give Eric a quarter to touch it every now and then to make sure it was working! That never got old!!!!!
January 1986, Dan Rogers moved in down the street with one of those 4-wheeled ATVs. He began riding with us and soon the three of us were riding all the time together. About this time, Eric moved up to an ATC 200X 3-wheeler. This was when his tenacity really began to show. He was barely big enough to kick start it and new to using a clutch. On a trip to Walker Valley, he was getting very frustrated when he kept killing it and was worn out trying to kick start it, but he wouldn't let anybody help him. He said, "If you can't start it, you can't ride it!" By the end of the day he was getting pretty good at starting it.
Eric's mom would let him go on all kinds of camping/hiking trips with us. One trip that really stands out in my mind was the time Eric, Dan, and I headed to the Oregon Dunes for the weekend. I'm not sure how old he was, but Eric was still wearing braces and clearly noticing girls ... Traveling down the freeway he was hanging out the window and gawking at all the passing females ... all the while scraping chunks of chocolate from a giant Hershey Kiss off his braces! When we stopped at an AM/PM to get gas he goat a giant ice cream sundae with sprinkles. After that was gone, he went back to the giant Hershey Kiss! We go to the dunes in the middle of the night in the rain, we looked like giant sugar cookies, soaked and covered with sand. We took a nap, and when we woke up it was raining even harder so we decided to go back home. As we backed out of our parking space I couldn't help but notice the remnants of a mostly eaten giant Hershey Kiss lying on the ground.
Then there was the guys ride to Sand Lake ... We were shooting holes in the dark of night, and Eric was having a hard time on one particular hill. We had all gotten up except Eric, and we were sitting at the top waiting for him. We were teasing him about recent bear sightings in the area and told him we would see him back at camp, then we pretended to leave ... Out of the darkness we heard him yell, "Guys? Guys?" and then he began to cry. We felt pretty bad about that and let him know we were still there and helped him get his bike up the hill.
There was also the time his ATC200X motor died at the bottom of a big hill climb in 80 degree weather, and we had to help him carry his bike to the top and tow him back.
The day I realized Eric was growing up was when he and I were playing on one of our favorite hill climbs out in Ravensdale, and I flipped my ATC 350x over and landed face down with the bike upside down in the middle of my back leaking gasoline all over me. Now Eric was not big in stature, but he came through for me that day .. managing to get the 350 pound machine off of me all by himself. Then there was another time Eric, Dan, and I were shooting holes at the Oregon Dunes ... Eric was now riding his 500cc Tecate 3-wheeler, Dan on his Fourtrax 250r, and me on my 480cc powered 3-wheeler. We were pounding away at this one hill with no luck and Eric finally made it up - FIRST! He wanted us to call him "Sir" - We did, he earned it. Eric had come of age.
There were so many adventures and so many stories to tell ... It is hard to remember them all, but what I do remember best is that Eric was a great friend. We had lots of great times together, and I am glad he was part of my life.