It’s no surprise that this time of year has always been an interesting “coin toss” of emotions. Suicides and depression are at an all time high .. for as many reasons as one can possibly imagine .. and yet all of them are justifiable! Of course, for many children, it’s the most wonderful time of year .. as parents “spoil” their children as much as possible .. hoping to give them a different life and better memories than they experienced as a child themselves. But that’s where so many “parents” fail to look beyond their own noses .. as they do so much of the time.
In truth, the best long-term “interests” for the mental wellbeing of the children are often ignored entirely, in lieu of their own immediate, self-serving needs. Lies are fabricated and the “truth” is perpetually ignored. Probably because our society (at least here in the states) has become such a spoiled “me” existence that they never stop to think about reality .. and the millions of starving, hapless children throughout the world who will be lucky enough to have a bite to eat on “Christmas Day” .. let alone feel the joy of receiving a single gift. And, for countless numbers of those, the greatest “gift” would be just to see their parents once again .. and to feel the unconditional “love” that is eternally woven into their very Souls.
By the time this issue hits the press, the “holiday season” will be over .. and “relief” will be the most prized description of the many “survivors” who were, once again, pushed to the edge, yet refused to step off. But, in reality, there were scores who “did” take the plunge or are, at this moment, still cold and starving with no roof over their heads. It kinda makes you feel pretty ashamed when you hear someone complain that they had to wear “leathers” while riding along the coastline .. or that they couldn’t get their Iron Horse out of the barn due to freezing cold, ice and snow.
Yep, we’re now a country of whiners who are more concerned about “offending” someone, or an ethnic group, or wanting to change the name of a football franchise that’s been in existence since 1932, than accepting the fact: most of this country’s entire land acquisition was accomplished through lies, theft and outright murder. So, my moment on the “soap box” today is just to throw a bit of “reality” at you as we each start another year down our own individual paths .. inside our own unique “bubble” in an isolated existence. The reality is .. things change .. but then again, they really don’t. Facts and feelings are the only “constant” we can rely on .. but the issue of “trust” is the one variable that is forever left to skepticism. Stepping down.
As I was searching through thousands of pictures trying to find the ones I wanted to write this “adventure” about .. I ran across a file with over 300 “memories” that just brought smiles to my face that all reached ear-to-ear. Obviously, that file was infused with the “wow factor” I was looking for to share in the first place .. so my course was changed in an instant. How often does that actually happen in our daily lives .. and changes are made? Yet so often, it’s those “little changes” that make such a huge impact on the remainder of our lives .. even if it was a parent’s decision, over which we absolutely had no control. The older we get, with years of “reflection” through the holiday seasons, reminiscing our childhood, we realize that those “little changes” ended up being rather huge .. life-altering, in fact. And maybe that’s the “nerve” I was looking for that I think we can all relate to. Food for thought anyway.
In southern California, where I’ve actually spent the last thirteen years .. it was so easy to fulfill my passion for riding Bosco .. daily .. as my primary source of physical transportation. The “mental” ride has been even more exhilarating, and I’d say it’s offered more challenges than the unimaginable traffic. I “walked into a bar one day” .. and my life changed forever. I met a group of friends who soon became family .. and that family grew into a network of brothers and sisters whose love I’ll cherish beyond my days in this realm of existence. Countless stories of joy and sorrow .. as several of those dearest friends have already left this realm.
At the heart of this family is my “Little Brother” .. Allen Salisbury. He grew up in Orange County as a surfer, skate-boarder, competitive sailor, dirt-biker and racer. Orange County was where “drag racing” was born .. so it’s understandable how he became such a gear head .. but on top of that he’s the proud father of two beautiful young women .. and now he’s a “Grandpa”.
I’d take my excursions .. all over the country .. and when I’d return I’d have hundreds of pictures and stories to share. Several members of our group .. who we dubbed “the Loyal Order of the Grand Wazoo” (of which I was affectionately known as the “Grand Poobah”) already rode, or had ridden most of their lives. A half-dozen or more bought bikes again, others for the very first time, and thus began countless “destination rides”. There is absolutely no end to places of interest on the west coast!
When Allen decided to get a bike again, we found an ad that read: “1999 Harley Sportster 1200 Custom – Very Fast Harley Davidson 1200 Custom Sportster. Fat Bob Tank, two into one Thunderheader, Cam, S&S Carb, ignition. This bike has about 3,000 original miles and has hardly been ridden. Must see to appreciate. Location: Long Beach”. I took him to check it out .. he rode it home. It needed turn signals, so he put a stock set on it and concealed the wiring inside the handlebars. This bike WAS fast .. and Allen knew how to “ride it like he stole it”.
Being in Costa Mesa, one of the biggest events in southern California was the Orange County Fair. During that time period, one of the biggest attractions at the fairgrounds was the dirt track where motorcycle racing brought, and made, national champions. When the racing was going on .. you could hear the roar of the bikes all the way to the coast. Allen, Jim “Reckless” Sweet, Sean Hennessy, Mike Sutton, Greg Schade, me, and others had to go watch the “madness”. A short track .. with crazy racers going “balls to the wall” with deafening loudness. It was awesome!
One year, I noticed the local Orange County Harley dealership was having a “bike night” at the track .. and anyone who wanted to register and get out on the track during a designated time between “real” races were welcomed to join in the fun. Needless to say .. Allen and I were there! Getting to stroll through the pit areas and see all the professional, and novice, racers was as interesting as going to the National Drags at Pomona. These guys were even crazier! The four-foot wall surrounding the track was unforgiving concrete .. and these guys went flat-out!
It was time for us to get into the staging area where we parked our bikes. The rest of the fairgrounds had a huge area just for motorcycles .. and that night it seemed like they were everywhere. Of course, they went over the “safety rules” prior to turning a bunch of bikers loose on a dirt track .. precautions to take .. and maybe a “suggested” speed limit. But I doubt that anyone was listening to a thing the man said as they drank from their flasks (who .. me?) and straddled their “racing steeds”.
Me? I was all about cruising the outside lanes and taking as many pictures as I could with one hand while trying to keep from dumping it in the “soft” dirt, which was thrown to the outside from all previous races. In truth .. it’s much harder than it sounds .. especially on a Road King Classic. And Allen .. I saw him for awhile as we first started .. then he threw dirt all over anyone left in his wake as he joined the “crazy ones” hauling ass around the turns with the back end of his 1200 powering up beside him and leaving a rooster tail of dirt. What a blast!
You can imagine how crazy it was .. and I saw so many riders nearly biting the wall as they drifted into the “soft” dirt and temporarily losing control. Some went down and were helped off the track .. or they got back on and kept away from the “crazy ones”. Sean and his wife, Denise, were taking pictures of Allen and me from the grandstands .. and though I tried to capture a shot of them from the track, I really couldn’t take my eyes off those in front of me as I took the many fuzzy, shaky shots of the dirt and sky .. but somehow I did manage to get a few good ones. We met up with them later at the Baja Blues Restaurant Bar & Grill, next to the track, to share some laughs, “fair food”, and wash it all down with something that had a white foam on top. Ahhhhh …
For a short peak at the actual OC Fairgrounds track we rode on and some of the “real” professionals at work, check this link out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_N80t09n6sE And thanks to someone named “Marcel” .. there’s even some “eye candy” in the video clip, which is ALWAYS something you see everywhere you go along the sunny southern California coast. Life’s just really hard sometimes .. despite what some people may think.
Friendships .. as does Love .. lasts beyond all “time”. I hope you all took a moment over the “holidays” to actually reminisce, or took stock in what’s truly important in your lives .. or who. Just don’t ever hesitate or fear in letting them know. Tomorrow doesn’t come with a guarantee .. and any biker can tell you that fact.
Until next time .. ride smart .. ride safe
and the Adventure continues …