POSTED: Saturday, June 23, 2012 - 2:00pm
UPDATED: Saturday, June 23, 2012 - 2:04pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Jim Larson is not the first husband guilty of wishful thinking, but he may be the only one to buy a Russian motorcycle - painted in camouflage - fully expecting his wife to love it.
"The initial plan was for her to ride this is so we could ride together," explains Larson.
He bought the Russian made URAL with his wife's consent, but she quickly soured on the idea of driving it.
"She just didn't like the color, she wouldn't ride it," says Larson.
No worries, thought Larson, the URAL came with a sidecar.
He could drive; she could ride next to him.
"She rode it once," he reported, sadly. At 40 miles an hour, "she said, 'SLOW DOWN!'"
Time for Larson to reassess his situation: New motorcycle, sidecar - and laying in his yard a golden retriever named Cooper.
Turns out it was a match made in "check that out" heaven.
"First couple times I had to kind of muscle him in, we went straight to the doggy park. And the third time I just said 'Coop, doggy park.' He jumped right in the sidecar and he was hooked after that."
Jim's friendship with 9 year old Cooper was originally kindled when Larson rescued the dog from a family that could no longer care for him.
Since introducing Cooper to the motorcycle, dog and owner are closer than ever.
"It's created a special bond that I've never had with another dog," says Larson.
At least once a week Larson and Cooper make the rounds to the dog park, the lake, and the local Sonic drive-in, where Cooper nibbles on French fries while Larson eats a burger.
Cooper is Larson's sixth Golden Retriever.
"I've never had a bad one. This is the best one though," he says.
A dog in a sidecar wearing snoopy style goggles is going to attract his share of attention.
"I get people pulling me over, pulling me over taking pictures," reports Larson. "He's a rock star. He's probably all over Facebook."
As if a cold war veteran on a retro-Russian bike isn't head-turning enough.
"That's a new one," laughs Mark Rivers as he watches Larson and Cooper pull in to a local watering hole. "Maybe it's his designated driver when he leaves."
Larson still loves the wife who chose to stay home, but his time on the road is golden.