Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sheepdogs, Wolves and Sheep.

"Don't give up the Sheep" was the first in a series of cartoons that Warner Bros. Looney Toons first aired on January 3rd. 1953.

Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog are the two main characters who meet each morning and afternoon for shift change at the time clock on a tree. "Good morning, Ralph". "Mornin Sam". Two workers who know each other and because of that they are amiable to each other. Each episode of the cartoon would show how Ralph the Wolf would do all he could to steal away with as many sheep as he could. Sam the Sheepdog was never to be out done and nary a sheep was ever harmed.

 Ya'll remember. ??? Good and Evil.??? Oh, lets not forget about the innocent. Where there are sheep there will always be wolves. Always been that way. Always will be.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

I call these "Good Men" Sheepdogs.

Summer, 2011. Bonfire, dirtbags and hooligans. Infield of a dirt oval race track in Osborne, Kansas.
  The Twine Ball Run
After the film crew went to their comfy hotel we kept the party goin. The moonshine was flowing as men danced nekkid in the fire. I believe there was a naked man on a motorSickle jumping that bonfire later that evening. I'm not sure. As we partied around that fire I found myself in conversation with a man who was home on leave from his third deployment to the sand box. He is an Army Infantryman and we had plenty to talk about. Every time he would raise his arm to take a drink I would catch a glimpse of a tattoo on his arm.. "Hey, I'd like to look at that tatt". He held up his arm to show me a very cartoonish sheepdog.. Many tattoo's come with a story and this was one that I knew I wanted to hear.. "Would you tell me the story behind that"?

And this is the story as it was told to me.

I've been in the Army for 7 yrs. I have a five yr old son. Because of deployments, I have not spent much time with him. When I do come home he see's me in battle dress. When I leave, he see's me in battle dress. All the pictures he see's of me from the war zone show me in battle dress holding a weapon. My son asked me one day, "Daddy, Why do you have to carry a gun"?
I explained to my son that there are people who need to be protected. I explained that there are sheepdogs that will protect the sheep from the wolves. My son now calls me a sheepdog. I got this tattoo to remind me of what my responsibility is.

There are but three types of people that have ever been on this planet. The Sheep. The wolves and The Sheepdogs... The sheep are the innocents.  The wolves are the predatory ones who seek gain and it is the Sheepdogs who keep the wolves at bay. Take a moment and think about what motivates the sheepdog. It's not like the flock of sheep are gonna carry him around on their shoulders praising him with their adoration.

It has been a difficult weekend for many in America.(including me). Friday morning a wolf attacked the flock in Conn. 26 innocents killed and Millions emotionally wounded. My heart weeps for the living who must continue on and try to find peace. I have heard the rally cries of many different groups. More guns. Less Guns. Mental health advocates. Even the crazies from Topeka's Westboro Baptist Church have announced that they would picket and went so far as to say "God sent the shooter". It is my opinion that ALL of this chatter serves no good purpose but for us to vent out our frustrations. This was not an isolated incident. In the last 20yrs of my life there have been at least that many incidents of Evil. This is and has been a National issue but I don't think that the answer is more laws. I truly believe that the answer is fewer laws. Don't think for a moment that more cops and laws will solve this problem. Police respond. The only crime a cop can prevent is the one he is involved in.

That is what has been going threw my mind. I'm not talking about the armed guard at the door. Sheepdogs can be anyone who has the willpower to take action. You can bet that in the near future we will hear more about the "Red Flags" that popped up with this disturbed young man.. There were people who knew of his problems and did nothing. (when I looked, he had 117 friends on facebook). But thats all about one guy. There is a bigger picture. Our government has imposed so many laws upon us that common people can not do the "Right" thing.

I don't know what the answers are. I know that EVIL will continue. Even with a concealed carry permit, I know that there are laws that will put me in prison for carrying a weapon into a bank, movie theater, shopping mall or a school parking lot. Without any proof of my intent, I could be arrested and jailed for having a weapon. What good is a Sheepdog on a leash.?

until next time,

Sunday, November 25, 2012

An education from the Road.

Don't take that title the wrong way.. I'm talkin about my education. Not yours. I cannot speak for you or assume that I have anything to say that might enlighten you. I'm not that guy. There are plenty of other people out there that are trying to feed you their "Truth".. If you read something I write that strikes a chord with you then we both have gained.. enough said.

Most folks I know have a hard time learning in a structured environment like a classroom. Me included. I didn't struggle in class but I damn sure didn't pay attention.  I could not have cared less. I can remember many a night sitting on one end of my bunk and staring at a stack of books on the other end. I had no concern for what was in those books. I was more interested in what was coming over the radio and teletype. Ya. You read that right.. I spent a lot of my teenage nights in a jail cell. My dad had two jobs when I was growning up. He was the preacher at our local Baptist church and he was also the graveyard shift dispatcher for the County Sheriff Dept. He had my best interest's at heart and he was a Man of old methods. In an attempt to keep me from the troubled path that I was on he would take me to work with him and lock me up. Please understand this.. I don't hold any of that against him. He did the best that he could do and any little scabs he might of put on me as a boy I have covered over with my own self imposed, life long mental scars. He can sleep in heavanly peace knowing that I hold nothing against him.

I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have learned more from living than I ever learned from a bound book. If I needed to know it then I learned it. It has been seldom in my life that I hired someone to do work for me. I'd rather learn and do for myself.. I am sitting in a room I built. From foundation to roof I have a sense of pride that cannot be bought or given. These are the things that have given MAN pride for thousands of years. I understand that. Now I'd like to share with you another great truth in my life. That sound pompous as hell but bear with me. I think you will understand.. I think it is a common thing that we have. It is a quest for understanding ...

East bound. Interstate-76. more than a few years ago. Fighting traffic and wishing I had a jousting stick.. Whoever called this the city of brotherly love must have been an old bastard. I recall that he made the first set of bifocals and have often wondered... Which came first, the name for Philadelphia or clear vision.???
Riding along the Delaware River. Thinking about a powdered headed General and his rag tag Army crossing that river in the death of winter in a boat.. I'm thinking that there has to be a bridge soon.. In 1957 some rich folks got together and spent your tax money and built a bridge.. They were probably drunken, no good politicians of the lowest order but today I was happy for the bridge that they had built.. Two things stuck in my mind as I crossed that bridge... The road signs had me asking more questions than they were giving answers.. What kind of name is Gloucester city.? whats it mean.? how the hell is that pronounced.? and the other question was,,, Who is Walt Whitman.? How important do you have to be to get a bridge named after you.? Does it matter that the bridge goes from Asshole, Pennsylvania  to Asshole, New Jersey.? Was this guys name like Dr. Samuel Mudd.?

I crossed that bridge and took the first right. I needed to get my head right and my finger of the trigger so I pulled into a trailer terminal under the bridge. With some club crackers and Vienna sausage, I sat there and admired the underside of The Walt Whitman Memorial Bridge.  Back on the road and a better frame of mind  I rolled on into Atlantic city and nothing else can be said about that trip.. I know.. cold ending. Let yer mind run wild.. My tongue won't.. lol.

Not long after that trip I was spending some time in the public library in Daytona.. Those that know it know that its not a bad place to be. From Beach St. you just cross a little walking bridge and you are there on an island surrounded by the inter-coastal waterway. Short story.. I was living on the beach at The Ledo Beach Hotel. Went to pay my weekly rent and found out because of Speed Week my rent had went from $149 a week to $600 for the week.. Yup. I was homeless. I spent a lot of time at the library and the minor league ball field.. At the library I met a man.. A Poet named Walt Whitman. I read about his Leaves of grass and I learned about his Song of Myself. Fate had put me at this place. at this time. with nothing but time.. I read all that I could and I came to an understanding. I learned from his writings how grand we are as individuals. I learned about how common we are to each other. I learned that I am not special and that all that I have seen, done or learned everybody before me has suffered, experienced or known. I learned that there is nothing new and from that I drew comfort.
 I'm not gonna tell you that this one guy changed my life and he is the reason that I am the way I am.. But from his writings I have found a way to look at things differently than I did before.. I now have a sense of common ground with all the people that I encounter. I now know that when I light a cigarette in public, if a person approaches me I can offer them a smoke before they ask. That simple act alone has told that person that I understand and we have that in common. Now we can move forward into finding out what he really needs. Walt Whitman taught me that. He had a knarley beard and in my book that would have been reason enough to name a bridge after him. Could be that is what them drunk, crooked politicians were thinkin when they named that bridge after him...

Skip forward more than a few yrs. I'm riding north of Boston on 95.. I'm thinking of a girl I had met in a bar back in the late 80's. She had played a large part in keeping my ex-wife at a distance by letting her know that she was a practicing Wiccan. I didn't remember much about her other than she felt that I had given her the greatest honor by allowing her to give me a blowjob. I also remembered that all the witches came from Salem, Mass. North bound and rollin. I see an exit sign for Gloucester. Diggin on the exit ramp and I'm trying to remember why that name is in my mind.. Ya. Thats that shit hole trailer terminal on the Jersey side of the Walt Whitman Memorial Bridge.. My mind is clickin like a chain on a sprocket now... If that was Gloucester City,, this Gloucester must be its namesake.. Hahaha. I'm such a dumbass. I twist on and find my way into the sleepy villiage of Gloucester, Mass. Past the Gordons Seafood Company. I find a neon sign that has welcomed me in many places..

 A flashing "Open" sign gets me every time. I walked into a bar that every man in America has been to or at least heard of.. Old walnut. Smoked stained enough that you wanted your beer in a bottle and a silver haired, grandma for a bartender.. The sun was still up high so I really wasn't expecting the A-team. What I found was an education. "What'll ya have".? Bud. My drink came with a question.. "Have you heard the story.?" Pardon me..?? " Have you heard the story.?" This is the moment that I realized that I was on a new planet and that it was my responsibility to learn the local language... "Ma'am. I am not from here and I ain't got a clue what the hell you are talkin about..." She smiled in a knowing way that I will forever remember. She ragged the dust out of two shot glasses. filled them from a dark bottle and said, " I've got a story you might like to hear.".
 In October of 1991 a fishing boat named the Andrea Gail returned to dock in Gloucester, Mass. after a small haul. The Captain of that boat convinced his crew of the dollars to be had on a quick turn.. She shared with me the story of the men and the women that they loved. She told me this story with the pain of a survivor. Not the tone of a person that heard it third person. Her name was Ms. Ethel. The same as my mothers. I listened with the wide eyes of a child. We drank from that brown jug and she popped the filters off my Marlboro's like it was a carney trick.. "I don't care if you are 300 pounds,, smoke like a man". Ms. Ethel was relieved around dusk and I figured out at that moment that she was not an employee. There was no counting till or inventory.. The push-up bra took over and didn't ask any questions.. And Ms. Ethel said. "lets go for a walk". She took me on a tour of Gloucester pointing out all the places and telling me of all the things. We walked down on the dock and she told me of her families history. She pointed out the Widows peek and told me of the men who had been lost and the women who had mourned. I am a sucker for local culture. I was chin deep into the story that this old bird was sharing with me.. I was feeling every bit of it. We walked back to the Crow's Nest and at the door she opened for me she stuck her head in and said, "make this one pay double". as she slapped me on the back with enough force to send me over the threshold. My money was no good it that bar for the rest of the night.. Drunk as Cooter Brown is no comparison.
 I had a time and I think they did as well.

Fast forward to my fuzzy slippers. I'm Home in Tennessee and my lovely wife brings me a paperback book called The Perfect Storm. She said that it sounded a lot like a story that I had told her before. As I read that book I remembered the story that I had told to me by that ole bird. Here is how this breaks down.. A lady took the time to share with me a local story.. Years later, I'm given a book about that story... Years later.. I go and see the movie in the theater..

Oh ya.. I learned that Gloucester ain't pronounced the way it is spelled.. I think they do that to identify those of us that ain't local..

until we meet again.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Retired Rags Last Ride

There comes a time when you realize that the path you are on has a deeper meaning. It creeps in under your helmet and makes your head itch more than you are accustom too. That thought that becomes your focus. like a sandspur under your jacket that you just can't reach to deal with without stopping the rotation of your planet. But I digress.

It was raining in Ashville, NC. I had just left 1873Tattoo shop in Sylva, NC where my dear friend Bobert had needle jabbed me full of a memory.. Sitting in the rain, I called a friend. "Hey Mattye, I'm at the intersection of Cold, Dark and Wet... Come get me." As a good friend will do, Mattye hopped in his truck to come lead me through the night to his place. Dry clothes, comfy couch, good conversation and some home cookin on the stove.. We spent the better part of two rainy days talking about everything from the virtue of loose women and smokin weed  to the worst and best road trips of our lives... Mattye is an intellectual giant. He can give you a logical explanation for unicorns.. Be Careful. You have been warned..

The morning sun found my happy dry ass headed north with three days to kill before the Indian Larry Block Party in Brooklyn. Up the 81 Interstate I went.. The beauty of virginia can be seen from the interstate but the fun ride is Lee Hiway that parallels the interstate. I was having a ball and only had one LEO encounter.. Bunches of questions but no revenue exchange.

 I use Facebook quite a bit to communicate and once again my friends stepped up.. My plan was to spend a few days tramping around Gettysburg.. My friend Tim came through with a place to hang my hat. I have been blessed with meetings some of the greatest people on planet earth.. Good, hard working, freedom loving people.. I can now count Tim as one of them.

Here is where my trip changed a little and the title of this writing comes from.. Tim was telling me of a box of motorSickle goodies he had picked up at a swap meet... In the box of goody's was a Levi's denim jacket that was from the late 60's or early 70's. The buttons confirmed its age. The sleeves were cut off. the side seams had been let out as evidence that it had been worm by a man long enough that he had outgrown it. Because of its value, the wearer had chosen to let out the sides instead of replacing it. The hand stitched rocker patches on the back told me exactly what I was looking at.. This was a club vest, west coast. early 70's... Me and Tim talked for a while about the old rag and I asked him several more times as to how he came to have it.. Then it happened.. "Don, I want you to deliver this to a man." I knew what Tim was saying. It was time for that club cut to get back to the club that owned it. I agreed to tote that load but I had no idea how much time I would spend thinking about that vest in my saddlebag.

I rolled out with a destination in mind......
It was time for the gathering at 400 Union Ave. Brooklyn, NY. but first I had to get educated about NYC traffic laws, The Patriot Act and explosives..
 I found out that you can not pull a trailer through the Holland Tunnel. No Trailer. Absolutely No Trailers. Does not matter that it is being pulled by a motorcycle... Did you not hear me... No Trailers.. This was being explained to me as I watched a convoy of uhaul and ryder trucks enter the tunnel. ok.. off my soap box. 

I found my people.. we had a great time sharing old and new stories and I thought a day or two in the city would be a good time.. until....... I heard on the evening news that the UN General Assembly and POTUS would be in town Monday morning.. 3am Monday morning I eased out of Brooklyn and set my compass on west...

I had a few days to kill  before my next planned stop in Minn. for The Scooter Trash Bike Show.. once again, thanks to facebook I found a place to hang my hat.. Mr. Reed answered my call and put me up on an island on the river outside of Davenport, Iowa.

The morning I left this spot I knew that I would soon be with Chad and Kari in Minn. I didnt bother to look at a map.. North and West, with an interstate to my west as a boundary for me.. I stayed on the two lanes and watched as the harvest combines raised the dust out in the fields.. These things stick in my mind as I travel.. I remember back earlier in the year being in Yuba, Wisc. and noticing that the corn was ankle high.. Now in Minn. it's harvest time..
A couple of garage nights.. a Circus tent with bars, bands and hot yankee chics.. Ya. I had a great time.. Kari's mom is one hell of a fine dancer.. The next morning we set up for The Scooter Trash Bike Show.. I've said it before and I'll say it again... I have family all over this planet. Doesn't matter that some of us have never met.. We have common ground. The Bike Show was a big hit and after we shut it down we went to a house party.. Picture this... As we walk into a single bay garage I am put at ease. 30 good folks eating a pig, drinking everything that can be called wet and watching midget porn on a big screen TV. Ya. I found my people... More friends old and new and then we are off to another house party..

For some reason these gatherings always happen in a garage.. and a motorSickle... and a leaking gas tank.... and a flame throwin torch.... and somebody always says "where are your safety glasses"... Like they are gonna help when the fukin bomb goes off.. Good times. Great people and a lifetime of memories...

The morning found me returning Chads house slippers to him. (they made me feel that much at home).. I pointed myself in a southern direction and cruised down the road. Next stop. Home.. 700 miles later I had a whole 12hrs at home.. Some clean drawers, copenhagen and some beef jerky and I was headed to Aspen for a wedding.. WTF.. I don't do weddings... Ha.. My dear friends Russ and Nikki had asked me to supply the moonshine for their wedding toast. I told Russ that this sounded like good TV.. After a few phone calls it was set. The Moonshiners filming crew would be coming to the wedding too. Lets just say,,, The wedding was as golden as the bride and groom..

We put a lot of living into about four days. I met some amazing people and slept in a horse barn that is better than any home I have ever owned.. The cold morning sun met me at my bike... that had a dead battery.. Not much of a problem at 14,000ft elevation. There is a lot of down hill road at that point.
East was my direction and I had around 1400miles to go.. Ever sense I had picked up that club vest in Gettysburg I had been thinking about it. I thought about where it had been. I thought about the man who had worn it. I thought about the "Brotherhood" that it represented. Was he a drug runner? How many fights had that rag been in? I thought about the young man who had been given that rag and the pride that he must have felt. I thought about the day that he realized. "this fukin thing don't fit anymore". I'll just cut it along here and it will fit again.. I thought about the hardship that he had brought into his life with this symbolism of Brotherhood. As I rode east nearing my destination, I started thinking more about the man I was taking this club vest to... I had never met him. He did not know why I was coming to visit. I knew enough of this man to know that I would be welcome until I had worn out my welcome. I asked myself.. What would he think? Would this be a good thing or a bad reminder of a hidden thing from his past.? What if, just by chance, what if he knew the story of the man who wore that vest.. Would he find me worthy of that information.?

I pulled up mid day at this mans house and I was met by a man that I could tell was full of love and life and kindness. In the same man I knew he had in him the capacity to take care of any situation that might arise.. Always remember. Santa Claus carries a sawed off shotgun.. As we chatted at his porch I told him that I had a delivery and dug into my saddlebag.. I will not share with you the nature or the content of the conversation that we shared for the next day and a half but I will tell you this.

We had a good time and I will spend more time with this man..
It's been another great trip. Many miles. another crossing of the Continental divide. Too many memories to share in print and a belly full of laughs.. I left CJ knowing that I had met a life long friend and I made my way down the road to get some rest at home.. a day later I was headed to Daytona.. Willie's Tropical Tattoo's Chopper show would be in a few days..
Until we meet, Again..

Thursday, October 11, 2012

FTW... Find Tom Whiley.

I can't make this shit up... Stories evolve and all I can do is share... I asked the question. I asked it of someone who might know. my question was this... What does FTW mean..??? The answer was more than I expected.. Forever Two Wheels.... Fuck the World... For The Win... The answer I got was   Find Tom Whiley... WTF.??? Ya. thats what I heard... Find Tom Whiley...

Seems that there was a man named Tom Whiley who had ratted on his friends and he became a wanted man... He didn't understand that there were some things that are sacred and should only be discussed in hushed tones, behind closed doors, and then only amongst the trusted few... Tom Whiley became the hunted... He was a rat and as a vermin, needed to be taken out....

As the story goes,,,, People in that inner circle began to tag themselves... FTW became a stamp. Its meaning was simply this.. I'm looking for the rat. Find Tom Whiley.

(side note.. Is this where the common saying came from. "he is a Whiley guy" came from.???) same time frame as whiley coyote..

ya.. thats some true shit... Amazing.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Where the Hell you been, Don Wood.?

It has been quite a journey. I left out for The Iowa Grand Rally in Newton, Iowa on the 21st of July. I met up with Jay Allen a few days before the Rally so we could finalize some of the details. I did truly enjoy working with The Jay Allen Road Show and all the great people at the Iowa Speedway. We had a ball and the commitments have been made for the 2nd Annual Iowa Grand Rally. 31may- 02june 2013.
My plan had been to see some friends in Iowa and Nebraska before Sturgis but as usual, plans change. Next thing I know I'm driving a tour bus with my chopper on a trailer.. It's amazing what can happen if you are willing to go with the flow.. I pulled into Sturgis a little before sundown, a week before the actual Rally was to begin. The first thing that I noticed was this. There is no Broken Spoke Saloon on the corner of Lazelle. It struck me hard. I was saddened to see the end of an era. I have had many a good times in that bar and over the years it had become the gathering place of some great people.. As the sun set that day, I pulled into what would be my new home for two weeks.. The Thunderdome.
We worked hard for four days trying to get everything just right.. A circular saw and drill driver kept me busy for a couple of days. Building signs and working on the bars, We were hoping for a stellar Rally. Many people came out to see what was going on but the crowds were just not there.. I made my rounds to all the bars and venues and I must say.. The whole rally was down in attendance. Once again, a rally has grown to the point that there is no "central Point". There were small crowds everywhere but there were no big crowds anywhere. I've seen the same thing happen in Daytona and Laconia.. As these rally's age they become decentralized. Good or bad,,, Thats the way things go.
Some things about Sturgis will never change.. The best riding is before the Rally starts and it is best done with friends.. There will always be people that you only see at Sturgis and they are part of your Sturgis every year..
One of the great memories that I took from Sturgis was helping organize a bike show for the residences at Ft. Meade Veterans Home. The faces of these hero's brought tears to my eyes. I was glad to be a part of their happy day..
That afternoon I had had all of Sturgis I could handle. My next destination was Wendover, Ut. for Speed week. I had a few extra days before I was due to meet a film crew so I decided to go to Cheyenne and see what was wrong with my chopper.. Low compression became the diagnosis and the decision to run it out was made.. By chance, a friend of mine named Denver Jesus was out riding around and we got together in Leramie. We had some great times together but we cant discuss those things for a few years. We kept pushing on towards the salt flats and at mile marker 79, my motor finally took a shit.
After a phone call and a couple of hours my chopper was in the back of Wink Ellers Truck and his lovely wife, Dee and I were rolling down the interstate with Denver Jesus bringing up the rear.. We made it to the salt and I wasn't gonna let my situation be a downer.
The next day the film crew showed up and we went about the business at hand. After filming we took the time to enjoy our surroundings.
Now here is where the trip got real interesting... What to do with my broke chopper and how do I get my ass back to Iowa to get my truck...? Wink Eller ended up taking my busted chopper to LA and the film crew took me to Salt Lake City. They were catching a flight and I was catching a train.. My first time on an Amtrac train and I've got to tell ya... It's just a small step up from a Greyhound.. The views were amazing but the bar car was charging $5.25 per beer. The ride from Salt Lake City to Oceola, Iowa took 27hrs. Thanks to facebook, I was able to get a ride from Oceola to Newton to get my truck.. Thank you Steve. Air in the tires and gas in the tank, I drove the 700miles home to Tennessee.

After a few short days at home I headed to NC. to do some more filming. I've got a few good friends over in that area and it always feels like home when I get over to that area.. My goal was to head to the coast and see some friends over on the beach but the weather man kept telling me about a Hurricane.. I decided to stay dry and headed to Oklahoma City. After a great meeting with the crew at Brass Balls Motorcycles, I headed up to Ponca City to see some family and friends.. The morning found me on a couch in a motorcycle garage asking myself, What happened.??? Them Turner boyz is dangerous. The afternoon was spent looking at radar maps and trying to figure out where to go that it wasn't raining.. Conclusion.. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 700miles later I'm in a swimming pool just outside of Chicago drinking beers and talking about motorcycles.

I spent the day at the Harley museum and had a great time. Milwaukee bike week had just started and there were lots of things going on. Harley had there 2013 models on display and AMD had a bike builder show on the grounds as well. Good times were had by all but it was time for me to roll. After a look at the weather and a phone call, I was headed to Detroit for a baseball game. Some dear friends had invited me out for a night in Detroit.. We did it all and had a great time. The only thing we missed was a homicide. I think if we had given them two homeless guys a little more room there might have been a killin.. I think Detroit gets a bad wrap from the media.. It's not as bad a place as they make it out to be. We had a great time.. Ball game. fireworks. Dinner. drinks. even took a tour of the city on the people mover. (elevated subway). Thanks for the great times, Trish and Evan.
 I had painted myself into a corner.. There are not many ways to leave the Detroit area. After looking at the radar on my phone I knew it was gonna be a wet day.. Straight south. As fast as you can go is not a good plan to beat the weather... I was riding straight towards what was left of the gulfs hurricane. I made it to just north of Dayton, Oh. and I started making phone calls and posting on facebook.. I had my doubts of finding a friendly harbor because the Easyriders Rodeo was going on in Chillicothe. As luck would have it my friends from Washington Courthouse, Oh. came threw for me again.. As a supreme judge of couches, I must say that Jason Meadows has one of the finest couches I have layed my head upon.. Breakfast with Mr. Hamilton as we watched the rain drops dance in the puddles of the Big Boy Parking lot.. Starting a days ride when it is already raining is about as bad as my life gets.. this day started with heavy rains and it didn't get better for about 200 miles. The sun never came out that day but before it was all done I was in my recliner back in Tennessee.Happy to be home with my girls and ready for some home cookin.

29 state line crossings, 7th and 8th trip across the Continental divide this year and around 7400miles in about 5 weeks. Hotels and couches. I even saw a weedeater powered sex toy in a Wyoming bar. It has been a hell of a journey. I've met some amazing people and spent some time with some old friends... I think I even made my haters hate me that much more.. It's always a good day when I'm on the road..

Until next time..

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Soon to be.

Time is clicking by and I've still got a thousand things to do. I'm preparing for the annual migration to Sturgis but as usual, I'm not going straight to the Black Hills. Last year I left for Sturgis from Mountainfest in WV. The year before was a trip up the continental divide to Beartooth pass and Red Lodge MT.
This year I'll be working The Iowa Grand Rally in Newton, Iowa with my dear friend Jay Allen. I'll be leaving out Saturday night for around 45days on the road. Packing for these trips is something I really hate to do.. too many choices to make.. I went for a ride last week and I packed nothing.. I mean nothing. not a change of clothes, not a shower kit. not even a hair brush. I bought a toothbrush at a gas station.. that was a wonderful three days of riding. But this is a different kind of trip.. I'm at the point on my packing list where I really need to take the truck and haul the bike.. I don't want to take the truck but I've got products to sell.. Bedrolls, T-shirts and other items that I could sell and make some money on this trip.. I don't know what I'll do. I guess I'll make that choice on Saturday
.After Iowa I have around 4 days to roll into The Thunder Dome in Sturgis. Sunday morning at 10am is the Sugar Bear/ Michael Lichter ride.. I'm not gonna miss this one.. I'm really lookin forward to seeing some people that have, through the years, become part of my family..  from Sturgis I'll be heading west to check out the speed scene at Bonneville. I'm looking forward to seeing those cats too.. There is one Hillbilly in particular that I want to see get a few more land speed records.. Wink Eller is a Ruler..
After Bonneville I'm gonna do a slow roll threw the Rocky's and spend some time with my mile high friends..
I'm looking at the above picture and trying to figure out how I can load it all on there.. I'll figure something out..

until we meet again..

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Highway Profit Shakedown

I started thinking about this build about 3 yrs ago. I wanted to build a bike that was of the early 70's flavor. In 1969, Honda started selling the CB750 and it was a technological advancement in the motorcycle world. Many were sold to soldiers returning from Vietnam and as time passed these bikes started taking on a look that was as unique as the men that rode them.. Remember that the early 70's was a time when Magazines and movies were just starting to get the word out about this underworld society of people who were going against the grain.. The movie Easyriders came out the same year as the CB750.

Basic was my goal and it took a little more than two winters to get her on the road but on 10May I set out to see if she was road ready. I headed northwest into Kentucky and made it all of 50 miles when she started bucking like there was a major short in the ignition.. By the side of a cornfield I laid down beside my bike and wondered why I couldn't get this thing right.. After a few tokes and a surprise conversation with an old highschool friend, I decided to fix my bike. I have a clear glass fuel filter on the bike and something told me to take a look. Problem solved. I flushed the filter and she fired like she had found her master.After flushing that filter 6 more times on the side of the road I was finally done with that first tank of gas.. The only problem was that I was not at the gas station when I needed fuel. My first turn of luck showed up before the exhaust had cooled. An off duty trucker picked me up and took me to the gas station. I bought a gallon of water for $1.39 and paid the clerk for one gallon of gas. Water on the ground and gas in the jug we were back to the bike in 10 minutes. After showing my gratitude to my helper I was back on the road. No speedometer. No odometer. no tachometer. The only measure of time on this bike is the fuel level tube on the side of the tank. With a four gallon tank, time passes real slow. Rolling down the road I had the time to visually check all the nuts and bolts, adjust the carbs and listen to the exhaust tones. Every stop I would spend some time tightening nuts, adding locktite and adjusting the chain. 12 May found me at a friends bar outside of Omaha with the Highway Profit on the sidewalk. Next day was a short ride with some old friends to an undisclosed location. The picture above was taken there.An amazing place in the middle of nowhere surrounded by great people. 
The morning weather report was the deciding factor in the direction of my travels. I headed due south to see some friends that I had met in Sturgis a few yrs ago. Jane, Mo. is not a big town, hell It's not even a small village but it is the home of some great people. Good conversation, food, drink, new people and a side trip so they could adopt a new puppy. Seeing there reaction to pure moonshine was priceless. The Highway Profit was performing as I had hoped she would. I woke the next morning in a riverside cabin in the Ozarks and I knew that the day would be good. I met up later with my friends and we said our goodbyes. I had to get back to the Hills of Tennessee for the "Unofficial" beginning of Big Mountain Run.
The ride back to Tennessee was as good as they get.. Well, right up until the rain started.. It took very little time for me to learn that the pod air filters like to suck in rain water. Spit and sputter with 2nd gear being the hardest I could run.. I can proudly announce that I have geometrically designed a bike that will send a roostertail of rain water off the back of the front tire, over the headlight and into the riders face with maximum efficiency. I made it home in time to welcome some of the knarliest Dirtbag Hooligans I have the pleasure of calling my friends. Some riding through the Tennessee hills and then Tuesday morning we set out to head to our annual party. Rain slowed our progress so we got a room east of Knoxville. Wed. morning we headed to Wheels Through Time Museum. Mecca is what it should be called. BMR was as good as it gets. I won't go into detail but to say this., If you missed it you missed out. 
Shelly and I rode back to the house and the Highway profit did fine. My only complaint would be that I didn't have enough ground clearance on the Dragon and Cherahola Skyway. Scraping in the corners is fun until you don't want to do it. We got home, Shelly went to the beach and I headed North. I stopped off in Indianapolis to see some old friends. We had dinner and some great conversation. Many thanks to English Don and all the crew at Intensity cycles.. Early morning I set out to get past Indy before the morning rush. Wind in my hair and cars pulling up beside taking pictures of my bike. I decided to take secondary roads because I'm not a big fan of the Interstates. I was heading northwest and behind every tree I could see the clouds developing to the west. I ran as hard as I could push her to beat the storm but 2 miles out from Kankakee I found myself in a downpour. As I pulled into town I saw the "Bar and Shield". It was a motorcycle shop called Low Lifes.. I pulled in and dripping water all over the floor I told them what I was looking for. "I want a bar with food and our kind of people. A place I can ride out this storm". After a few laughs they gave me directions to their hangout, told me that the managers name was Bubba and that I would have a good time there.. 1pm and I walk into an empty bar.. After introductions Bubba told me to bring my bike into the bar. We couldn't get my long front end around the pooltable so she sat out in the rain.. As the regulars came in I was introduced to each of them. I cannot tell you all the fun we had but for the next 8 hrs of rain I had a wonderful time being with these people. Shooters in Kankakee is worth a visit if you have time.

North bound. Destination, Wisconsin. I ran like hell trying to make up some time and then I kind of fell into this easy groove. The chopper was running great. a light jacket and I hadn't had a helmet on my head in days. My sunburn from BMR was the only nuisance in my life but the memory of how I got that sunburn made it worth it.. Riding the backroads through Wisconsin I saw a sign that said "House on the Rocks". I followed the signs and ended up at a house built by Frank  Wright.. I had seen pictures of it before but it is amazing to see. I rode for a bit longer and found a room for the night because I knew I'd be camping for the weekend. In the morning I was talking to a guy because he had once owned a Norton and he felt compelled to tell me all about it.. We said goodbye and I started to push the chopper out into the parking lot to fire it up. As I looked down I noticed that the pin on the half link was half out of the chain. on further inspection, I found that the half link was actually broken.. "Hey Mr. Norton.... I need some help"... He drove me to the next town and at a farm equipment store I found exactly what I needed. 30minutes later and I'm rolling.. I pulled into Yuba, Wisconsin in the middle of the afternoon. I fell in love with the place before I got off the Highway Profit. A town of 90 people with three bars and a motorcycle event going on. It also helped that there were people there who knew me. This event was set up as a fundraiser for a highschool chopper class. "Teach"Baas and the good folks of S&S cycles had set up a wonderful party and disguised it as a charity fundraiser... These are some smart people..

Money was raised. Alcohol was consumed. Tires were roasted and somehow a young Lady came up missing. (she was later found having a good time). The bonfire was large and I woke up next to the chopper, next to the fire. Sunday morning pow wow at the host bar turned into a 3hr tour of the S&S facility in Viola. 

An amazing place where American Products are made. I stuck around until Monday afternoon and started on my return to the Hills of Tennessee. The chopper did a fine job on the backroads. I couldn't have asked for more. As I pulled onto the Parkway just south of Owensboro, Ky, just getting up to speed and then, BANG. My next sensation was a sharp pain in my ass. My chain had broke and got its last lick in on my Ass. Not 15 minutes later a KDOT pick up truck with three workers in it pull over to check on me. They each told me that they were riders and what kind of bikes they ride.. I had determined that I needed a 530 master link to get me back on the road. Take a look at what this guy had on his keychain. I can't make this shit up..
100 miles from home and now I'm rollin.. Oil is flying off the chain and I've got that sick feeling in my gut.. That chain must have cracked the case when it broke. I stopped a couple of times to add oil and got her home as quick as I could.

A little over three weeks and around 4200 miles. 12 states and a couple of time zones I think it is safe to say that "The Highway Profit" has had a proper Shakedown. I'm gonna head out to the shop and weld up that hole in the case and then I think its time to put that bike in the wind and go for a ride... Until next time. PEACE&GREASE