Saturday, October 16th, we rolled out of Luckenbach and tore around in the hill country for a few hours with my bike getting worse and worse. Squealing at me louder and louder as we sped around hilly and windy roads in what seemed to be the middle of no-where.
Everywhere we stopped, people would stop and stare. I ride alone, a lot, and it doesn't bother me one bit - I enjoy getting out on the bike by myself. But, words can't explain what it's like riding with a large pack of bikes. I can't explain the feeling I get, all I know is, I wanna tear up the roads when I'm with other bikers. I ripped from the back of the pack to the front a few times filming most of the ride that day - missing a few oncoming cars in the process. I couldn't hold back, I get the itch...
Charlie and I split off from the group because we hadn't eaten all day - it was about to get dark, that's the way these trips are most of the time. A lot of miles, excessive amounts of booze, a few women, and less meals. By the time it was dark, we were riding down a dirt back-road not knowing where we were headed. Finally found the campground and checked the bike over.
One of the old-timers came over and we were looking things over. My intake manifold was visibly loose, my gaskets were shot. Stanley, who was riding a 36' knuck, and I got ahold of a set of ball-end allen wrenches and tightened it up. My manifold gaskets still needed to be replaced - first thing, the following day.
Spent the rest of the night drinking and shooting the shit with all of the guys who were along for the ride. Too many names to remember, but a lot of new faces, which is always good.
Sunday, October 17th, I tried sleeping in - kind of hard with guys firing their bikes up and leaving early in the morning. Packed up and headed in to New Braunfels to the nearest Auto store. Found an Auto Zone, got my gasket materials and hit the hardware store afterwards for wrenches and razors. Spent the next hour or more cleaning surfaces, setting new material, cutting it out, and bolting it back up... the gasket material was too thick, wouldn't line up the bolt-holes. So, I had to start over with thinner material. In the end, it worked and the bike ran like a champ all of the way home.
Our day was kind of shot and time was a factor, so we didn't take off for the border and Big Bend National Park. That was a big reason for taking this trip, but was out of our way at this point. We headed back to Austin to stay at Erin's again and get some good food.
8:45p.m. and we're just laying around on Erin's deck when we find out that most BBQ places close at 9p.m. We got on the bikes and made it across Austin in record time to eat at a place called Stubb's. This is one bad-ass joint. Great food and atmosphere. I headed downstairs, where I found a bar and stage. I wish I would have had my cameras, this place was cooler than most spots that I've been to. Pretty well-known venue for live music in Austin - says a lot.
After eating a good meal and getting a few beers at Stubb's, we hit 2 more bars that night which were just as cool. A place called Clive's and another named Lustre Pearl(an old house that was built in 1859 - had a huge back yard with a taco stand and hoola hoops). When girls start hoola hooping, it's hard not to watch. Whether you're laughing or admiring, it's good entertainment. We got our fill of nachos and drunk girls and headed home - getting pulled over on the way, no ticket though.
We hung out with Erin on her deck for a while into the night talking about our weekend. The weather was great that night, so I slept outside on her futon. To me, sleeping out in the elements is always good on a long trip - except when it starts raining.
Monday, October 18th, we got on the road around 11 a.m. and headed straight west for New Mexico... 90MPH.
Well, mark your calendars and tell your boss to go to hell, because if you missed the Born Free 2, you missed one hell of an event - you don't want to miss it next summer. The guys who threw this event did almost everything right. Free beer, free admission, and a panhead chop that was raffled off to some lucky guy.
This coming summer should be better, if that's even possible. For one, it's at a location where everyone can get loaded and crash in their tent within walking distance. Unlimited free PBR and riding a motorcycle don't mix like two dicks and no chicks, so showing up and partying from start to finish will be great.
Also, Grant(one of the guys who puts this show on) got ahold of Irish Rich and asked him to be one of the few builders to have a bike built for the show's builders' circle. Kick ass. From a guy who knows what Rich has got under his sleeve, his chop should blow most people away - I can't wait to see what some of the other builders come up with as well. On top of all of this, they're giving away a Knucklehead chopper this coming year, built by the guys at Garage Co.
If all of this doesn't get your blood running, maybe loading up your bike and taking a week-long trip across the great United States will motivate you? Get the boys together and start planning now. For more info and to keep up with show details/news, check out the Born Free blog site - link on this page...
These guys threw my Born Free 2 Chop-trip video(Hellhounds and Breakdowns) up on their blog, gonna have more footage from the Born Free 2 coming out soon. Gotta get some more storage first, too much footage from this summer...
We rolled out of Mike D.'s after noon and hauled ass down to Austin, stopping at the Little Czech Bakery for some food on our way. Pulled up and the place was playing polka music - made me laugh. My mom's maiden name is Czech, so right away, I thought of family back in Wisconsin. If the place had tap handles coming out of the gas pumps it would have been a little more fitting - imagine that.
We got to Austin and hit traffic. So, we ducked and weaved and did some lane-splitting getting through to our exit/meeting point. Pulled up to the gas station at the bottom of the ramp and saw my friend Charlie in the lot waiting for us. Took a short break, then ended up splitting up with Mike and the boys. They headed to the campground fifty miles south, while Charlie and I hooked up a place to stay in Austin for the night.
We headed down to a bar close-by and called on this girl named Erin to come and meet us. Not only was she a pretty cool chick to hang with(drank Jamo, straight up), but she was letting us crash at her place for the night - drinks on me. We hit a few bars and landed at this spot called Rebel's Honkytonk. We proceeded to get lit up pretty damn good, dance like idiots, and hit on women the rest of the night. It was great, except for the ride home in the back of some guy's truck.
After some late night drinking and trouble-making at her place, we passed out - planning on an early start that coming morning.
That didn't happen. The guys who organized this deal set up a ride for Saturday late morning/early afternoon. The ride was suppose to start at 11 a.m., but we figured that meant more like 11:30 or noon with that many guys involved(about 30 in all). We got going around noon and decided to meet up with the guys in Luckenbach along the way.
Pulling out of town, my engine was squealing at me, so I pulled over to check it out. I got on the phone and dialed Rich, again, and was greeted with a "what's wrong?". I gave him the low-down and he told me what to check for. From what I described to him, he thought it was an intake manifold leak.
I stopped at a Home Depot and got some WD-40 to spray where the manifold meets the cylinders to check if the engine sped up or slowed down while idling. For some reason, it didn't. With my top rocker gaskets on the outs, I tightened the rocker-box bolts to see if that helped - it did, for a little while. Rich was right all along, but I wouldn't find out until later that night.
We met up with all of the guys in Luckenbach, which is one killer little town. Actually, it's a couple run-down buildings(bar, gift shop, and a dancehall) and an outdoor stage. The place was packed and there was a Country Western Band playing - go figure. I walked around for most of the time spent there, drinking Lonestar beer and snapping photos of whatever caught my eye. Everything I looked at reminded me of my pops, because while I was growing up, Country Western was all that he listened to. The place was Country - 100%.
Finally, we all got on the bikes and fired them up. The whole damn town turned around when we did. Jaws were dropping and people were staring. Pretty sure our presence was felt...
- damn dirtbags and long-hairs, with their hell-raisin and loud motorcycles
So, I got a late start on Wednedsay, the 13th, getting out of town for Texas. Ended up riding about five hours in the dark. But, if there's one good time to travel across Oklahoma and North Texas, it's night. Flat and boring, except you have to avoid the wildlife.
Didn't even get out of town and had problems. I use tool box rubber liner-material to protect the paint on my back fender when packed down for a long trip. Stuff comes in a roll, costs nothing, and works great. Had three layers down on the fender when I packed my stuff. Somehow, this padding jimmy'd its way out from under my gear and went right into my chain, getting eaten up and clogging my chain in the process. Had to pull a quick triple lane-change to get off the road. Picked it out of my chain and noticed the chain had gotten a little loose. Wasn't that bad, so I opted to wait until Amarillo or Mike D.'s in Arlington where I'd have a garage to work in. I forgot a lot of tools on this trip for some reason.
I hit the road and got onto 287 South where construction slowed me way down. Ripped across the Oklahoma panhandle and North Texas in darkness, seeing a coyote, and two huge deer on the way to Amarillo. The half-moon was off to my right and there were a lot more stars out than I'm use to seeing, living in the city. At one point, I was howling at the moon while tearing down the road(who knows how fast). Some people might see that as weird, but that's how I feel when I'm on the bike, getting the hell out of town as fast as possible with no traffic and endless two-lane highways. If your motorcycle doesn't make you feel this way, well, then sell it to someone who might. I was on my way to a great part of the country to get rowdy, I felt like dancing like a fool.
Riding at night doesn't bother me, I'm a bartender, so my average bedtime is around 4:30a.m. No reason to stop for the night, get a hotel room or campsite, and sit up all night - just got to be a little more alert riding in the dark and not let the little white lines mesmerize you. There were times that I was staring up in the sky while riding - had to remind myself to get focused.
I made it to Amarillo, got some junk-food, a hotel room, and parked the bike inside next to the bed. I hit up a hole in the wall saloon called The Spotted Pony next to the hotel, but there must've been a sausage party going on, so I left and got some sleep.
The people you meet and stops you make on trips is another thing that makes it fun. Truck stops are a trip, and I've been to some gems. You feel like a normal person around these places until day three or four, when you smell and look just as bad - It's great.
Got out of Amarillo in the late morning on Thursday, the 14th, and made it into Arlington in the late afternoon. Went straight to Mike D.'s and unloaded. Was gonna adjust my chain in his garage when things got messy. When I turned the nut, the whole axle turned with it, while the nut on the other end of the axle was held still. The threads had loosened from the red locktite and the nut came off. So, I made a call to Irish Rich since he's always the guy I turn to. I've worked part-time with Rich for over four years and I haven't seen the guy get stumped once. Hard or easy fix, it doesn't hurt to have this guy on speed-dial. I'm sure he was thinking, "what now?", but the guy is always there to talk me through things. He's the man.
There's a good story I like to remember about Rich - we were at the Biltwell Bash at Lake Skinner in So Cal outside of Temecula in April of 09'. Jeff Holt, and the guys at Street Chopper, set up a Bike First Aid tent and some guy was in there with a front end that seized up on him. Everyone was giving their advice to this guy on how to fix his problem, while Rich kind of sat aside and stayed out of it. Finally, he chimed in and the guy wasn't hearing a word that Rich had spoken. Jeff Holt gets the guy's attention and says"hey, bud, if there's 20 guys in the room telling you how to fix your bike, you listen to this guy" pointing at Rich. Jeff is a cool mo fo and he's been around - he hit it on the head.
After wrapping the axle in tape and placing it in a vise, I heated the axle nut, spun in off and tightened the other one with a bunch of red locktite to let it sit overnight.
Mike took me down to Dallas for the night where we met up with some of his buddies, hit up his friend's tattoo shop(ironically called Death or Glory), and a bar near-by. Ended the night with a late-night bite to eat at some small twenty-four hour diner, then headed back to Mike's for the night. Mike is a damn cool guy and I owe him for hooking me up - thanks again dude.
Got my back-end put back together in the morning and my chain adjusted for the ride down to Austin and back. A few bumps so far, but the weekend was about to start...
Check out some of Mike D.'s shit at his blog(Cheap Thrills and Good Times) - link on this page.
I'm back... A long trip looping through Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico filled with more than I expected. 2,500 miles of howling at the moon, break downs(calling Yoda), new friends, an amazing place called Austin, hot girls hoola-hooping, drunk honky-tonkin, Texas hill country, Luckenbach, rippin with a huge pack of Choppers, river camping, Shiner Bock, more breaking downs(Yoda again), Texas BBQ, head-winds in west Texas, Roswell, and ripped pipes. Obviously, there's a whole hell of a lot more than that, but I'll save it for later - I'm beat...
Well, here I go. Off to Austin for the weekend for what's gonna be one rad chop-trip. Everyone I've talked to with knowledge of Texas has said that where I'm heading is the place to be. Austin and the Guadalupe River south of the city. All weekend party on the river with a bunch of gear-heads and no goods. Riding solo down there and meeting up with Mike D.(Cheap Thrills) from Arlington, along with some of his boys, before heading down into Austin on Friday. Riding back through Big Bend National Park on the Texas/Mexico border - place looks pretty amazing. 950 miles, one way - that's one long ride to not remember most of my weekend. The weather's supposedly great down there right now, 50's at night-drinking weather, 80's during the day-riding weather. We'll see how well these Texas boys throw a party - I can't wait.
Got a new Mustang 3.5 gallon tank to throw on the chop for this trip. Not that I didn't like the 2.2, but stopping every 75 miles on trips makes for a long ride, not to mention the idea of running out of gas in the middle of nowhere. Rich and I threw it on there and primed it to keep it from rusting. Didn't have to do much - new mounts, grinding, welding, drilling, sealing, and priming - but pics and story from that repair are coming...
All artist on this playlist are from Texas, figured I'd leave you with that while I'm on the road....
Last dirt-track races of the year at IMI Motorsports Complex just north of Denver. Motorcycle, ATV, and micro-sprint races. Supermoto, Amateurs, Vintage, and the Pros. Hooligan class as well - ride in and race.
The Beer and BBQ on this trip will do more than make me feel like shitting my pants - hell, my pants might not be on most of the weekend. Last road-trip of the season before the snow hits the Rockies. Wanted to hit up the Slab City Riot 2, but, this is gonna be quite the adventure as well.
Got a bigger/new tank that I'm setting up on the chop this week so I can make it more than 75 miles without having to fill up on gasoline.
One week from now - 2,000+ miles for a weekend of causing trouble in the Lonestar State. Lock yer doors, grab yer guns, and hide yer women - trouble's comin...
Our trip out to L.A. and back for the Born Free 2 had no plan, no route, and we had no idea what was gonna happen along the way. We stayed where we wanted - camping out under the stars, hotels, friends' garage floors...yeah. We came across a few problems before hitting L.A., but took care of them once in the city. Most of our problems came on the ride home.
Unforeseeable, Charlie's pipe-wrap was covering up tears in his pipes near the engine ports. Friends, and fellow Sinner brothers to Irish Rich - Brawny(Hapa Is Prapa Blog) and Dustin, hooked us up with pipes and the needed shop to fix our problem. A big thanks goes out to both of those guys for lending a helping hand when we had no one to help us.
Next, Charlie's stator and regulator took a shit on us in Kingman, AZ. Luckily, there was a HD dealer in town that hooked us up, sort of. They changed out Charlie's regulator and wiring, but never checked the stator even though they told us they were going to. Therefore, with a new regulator, wiring, and battery, we took off down Route 66 thinking our problems were behind us. Hell no. We got to Williams, AZ and found that Charlie's bike wasn't actually fixed.
A small bike shop located right off of the highway couldn't help us, but they called ahead to Rick's Cycle in Flagstaff and asked if they'd stick around after-hours to get Charlie fixed up. They agreed, so we tore over to Flagstaff and they fixed him up after a few hours of us beer drinking and wondering what was coming next.
The sun was setting when they finally finished up on his bike. We took off into the night for the Grand Canyon. 80 miles through wooded, deer and elk infested twisty roads. We got behind a truck and stayed on his ass to avoid the wildlife, only to get pulled over when entering the Park. We hadn't gotten more than a quarter mile into the Park and we had already gotten kicked out - at midnight. So, we pulled off on a side dirt road and bedded down in the woods for the night.
The next day was our last of the trip. 700 miles of heat, speed, wicked sand storms, freezing cold mountain passes, and frustrated bickering - all in good fun though. A long day on the road can make anyone snap, this day was no different, but we laugh every time we talk about it....
Tonight at the Bluebird Theatre, ghetto spot, but the place is bad-ass. HoF is playing with Torche, Kylesa, and Kingdom of Magic. Their North American Tour is dubbed the Sanctioned Annihilation Tour and they're off to Europe after the Fall. I've seen HoF three times in the past year or so - they're metal at its best, pure and simple... Matt Pike is from Golden, CO so the band plays in the Denver area quite a bit. Great time if you enjoy head-banging and mosh-pits.
These pics are from the Bluebird's website - http://bluebirdtheater.net/ --- Really cool venue
Metal week for me. Riding the chop over to this show, then taking the party bus down to Red Rocks tomorrow night for Deftones, Mastedon, and Alice n Chains. Last hurrah of the season for Red Rock Shows - things always get out of hand when we take the bus to shows. Tomorrow night should get rowdy...
Cool, fall ride through the Canyons. There's a lot of twisties in the Mountains and the leaves are changing. Makes for a fun daily ride just minutes from my place. Plus, back-country saloons are scattered everywhere...
There's only one problem, cold weather is on the way. Some people like a change in seasons, I hate it. Been slowly hating winter more and more since I moved out of Wisconsin. I'll be itching all winter - waiting for a 45+ degree day in December or January to get the bike out. Once spring comes, I'll have my bike out balls to the wall trying to get it out of my system....
Bikes, art, women, music, alcohol, guns, and a lot of riding...
Grew up around bikes and have been in love with them since I can remember.
I work with Irish Rich in the Denver area and travel on my chop whenever I get the chance...