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..

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