How it all began
The wishful dreams of a teenage boy after seeing his first Honda Odyssey
My first encounter with a Honda Odyssey was several years after they had long ceased production. Born in 1980, the first time I saw a Honda Odyssey I was 14 years old which would have been in 1994. My best friend had purchased a go-kart and we had hours of fun riding it up and down my parents driveway. Jealous of my friend, I wanted something as well but something a little "tougher" built to handle the mountains and fire roads close to my home. One day while riding in the back of my parents car through our home town of Chico, California I spied my first Honda Odyssey. It was parked outside of a house and it was something completely new to me. A full roll cage, big beefy tires, big engine, it was everything a 14 year old kid could want. I don't recall specifically but I think either myself or my dad went and talked to the owner. It wasn't for sale but it was there that we learned what it was, a Honda Odyssey!
I then spent weeks scouring the classified ads in the local newspaper hoping to find an Odyssey to purchase. My persistence paid off as one day I found one! I begged my dad to take us down to where it was located on a ranch near the Sutter Buttes in California. When I first saw the Odyssey I distinctly remember it being a rainy day, full of mud and I remember watching with awe as the owner drove it down his muddy driveway at full tilt. I had to have this machine! For the princely sum of $400, I purchased what would become my first Honda Odyssey!
We brought it home and immediately tried to get her running. We pulled for an eternity on the pull starter which turned out to be nearly impossible! For anyone that has pull started an Odyssey, you know, it is an all or nothing commitment! Even the slightest hesitation will result in a sudden jerk as the starter rope jerks to a stop from the compression of the engine. Fervent in my quest to ride, I pulled and pulled and eventually learned to give it all I had and she started!
As the years went by, my love for the Odyssey became crowded with other interests. I still enjoyed it but going up and down the rows of walnut trees had limits on fun after a while and going to the mountains was a rare thing. After a while, the Odyssey was parked in my parents shop while I went to school and eventually joined the Air Force. There it sat, just a relic of enjoyable memories fading into my childhood. When I purchased a home in Sacramento, my dad brought the Odyssey out of his shop and dropped it off into my garage and there it sat even more. I was caught up in life with two children, one of whom had severe special needs.
After a while, I came to the realization that the dreams I had as a child to have a place to run the Odyssey whenever I wanted just were not in the cards for me. Adult life had gotten the best of me and I made the difficult decision to sell the Odyssey and close the chapter on my life. I listed it on Craigslist and a local Sheriff's Officer purchased it from me for $450. It was a sad day indeed for me as I helped load it up and saw it drive away and thus closing this part of my life.
Ironically... That isn't the end of the story. The guy who bought the Odyssey started sending me pictures of his restoration job and I was enthused to see the work that he was doing (stuff that I couldn't afford to do when I had it). With great envy I watched as the pictures showed his progress until one day, he sent me this picture of the work completed. It was fantastic to see her restored as good as I could have ever dreamed as a kid and I congratulated him on his efforts.
For several years I was without an Odyssey, going through life. Most of my passions and interests had been put on hold to deal with some curveballs life had thrown at me. One day, while going through some old emails, I found the restoration pictures the buyer had sent to me. On a whim I sent him a message and said if he ever wanted to sell the machine, to let me know. He actually responded and said he had been considering selling it for some time and if I wanted to buy it for $500 I could have it! I jumped at the offer, you couldn't beat it, he basically stored it for me for about 5 years and did a full restoration job on it and all it cost me was $50! I made the arrangements and the Odyssey eventually made it back to my parents house for a second time (much to the disapproval of my father who wasn't excited about storing it again...).
My second time owning it, I decided to install an electric starter kit. I was tired of pulling my arm off trying to pull start and the electric starter made all the difference in the world. Once again I was zooming up and down the orchard at my parents house with the biggest smile on my face. This time I got to share my fun with my oldest daughter who I took for rides. I even managed to get my dad to go for a ride as well, what a surprise!
I was happy to have the Odyssey again but my dad wasn't exactly thrilled to store it again. At some point I managed to purchase a cargo trailer and went up to Chico to pick it up. For a couple of years the Odyssey stayed in the cargo trailer while I was again busy with life. At least now I wasn't under pressure to do something with it since it was stored in my trailer.
After the trip, I decided that while I loved the FL250, the sand dunes were a bit much for it and my now older body. The FL250 doesn't have rear suspension and just after a day of driving, I was beaten to death. I started looking for an FL350 with the excuse that I needed another Odyssey so I could take my daughter with me on future trips! After much scouring on Craigslist, I managed to find an FL350 in good running condition for $2000 in 2018. I met the seller, bought it and brought her home with a huge smile on my face and multiple thoughts in my head on how I was going to convince my wife it was a good purchase. The only thing that worked was I agreed to give her $2000 to spend on whatever she wanted so my Odyssey really cost me $4000... but it was worth every penny!
Over the next couple of years I made several trips to the Pismo Beach / Oceano Dunes OHV with friends. Eventually I convinced my oldest daughter to start going with me. At first she was hesitant but after the first trip, she was ready for more! Now we go on trips as often as we can, which is never often enough!
So getting to the point of this story which is how Oddball ORV came into existence... Through the purchase of my FL350 Honda Odyssey, I started buying parts for my machine from a guy on Facebook. These machines being nearly 40 years old, parts are hard to come by. As I started buying more parts from this person, we got connected and started talking about me making parts for him to sell. It started off with something simple, the air intake for the FL350. Then it moves to a radiator bracket, then an aluminum fuel tank and a dash and more on the way! As I started these projects, I came to the idea that I should start a business that follows my passion. With that, Oddball ORV was born!
Although these machines are 40 years old, there is still a passionate community out there and I am excited to be supporting that community through my contributions to these vintage machines. We have big plans here at Oddball and we are excited to see how they unfold in the future!