Monday, February 25, 2013

Our West Coast Cohort, Randy...

...and his wife Adria met up with Dan Aykroyd while he was pimpin' his BevMo Vodka...ya know, the skull shaped bottle of V you see at the liquor store...yeah, Elwood's partly responsible for that.

Spray Bomb.

Put up an impromptu paint booth in the garage for some quick, inexpensive rattle can flare. Did a little Bondo repair yesterday. Today got 'em primed and a base coat on.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Hunter S. Thompson Interviewing Terry the Tramp

Tramp was one of the most famous of the Oakland Angels back in the 1960's. The quality of this first video starts out okay, but then ya gotta listen real hard past the chick folk singer in the background during some of the middle, but by minute six it subsides and you can hear them talk clearly again. I found the interview(s) interesting, while there is nothing inherently insightful or otherwise, it is what it is...a recorded conversation between a notorious 1%'er and member of the HA MC and the counter culture Gonzo journalist himself. It is a moment in time captured on tape, in August of 1965, and worth a listen.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Pat Thomas...

Is the son of Delta Bluesman, James "Son" Thomas. During July of last year, on Friday the 13th, my friend Jen and I rode 300 miles from Port Gibson, MS to Memphis, TN. While on that path we stopped in Leland, MS along infamous Highway 61, the Blues Trail, to see the Highway 61 Blues Museum. This is one of the coolest museums I've every been to. Not a stuffy, bourgeoisie type of place, but a nitty gritty working man's type of place. You could tell that the curator's had their hearts in the right place while attempting this endeavor. All kinds of Delta Blues artifacts filled the place, from folk art to photographs. Other museums we attended along this leg of our journey were not as unique, or authentic. Many had "similar" guitars or other similar relics that the legendary Bluesmen used...but this place had the "actual" instruments and artifacts that belonged to these men, and that they had used to express themselves. Items actually belonging to them: musical instruments, clothing, artwork, etc.

After we left the Jim Henson Muppet Museum across town (he's from Leland also) we found the main drag, and the Highway 61 Museum. As we parked our bikes in front of the establishment, we noticed this dude checking us out from around the corner. We paid no mind and parked the bikes, stretched out a bit more and approached the entrance. The doors were locked.

At this point we were wondering whether we should head on towards Memphis, which was still about another 3 hours down the road, to meet or friend Angelo or hang tight. It was at this moment that the same dude that was spying on us from around the corner came prancing across the street from the laundromat.

Jen immediately pegged him for a bum that was gonna hit us up for some change, but I had a different gut feeling. "Hey there, hey there, Mr. So'n So'll be right back, he just went to lunch, the museum's not closed, he's just at lunch".

"Cool" I responded, cuz I was hoping to check this place out.
This fella introduced himself as Pat Thomas, seeing as how there was a sign in front of the museum that was a memorial to James "Son" Thomas, I knew there had to be a connection.
He pointed the sign out to me and continued to tell me that "Mr what's his name" (that's my bad memory, not Pat's, he knew the dudes name) would be right back, that he was only getting lunch.

We stood out front and rapped for about a half hour...about blues, life and the museum.
He told me all about his father, and their lives as Bluesmen.
He played for his dads band up until his death in 1993, and now Pat continues to play at the museum for crackers like me that drop by to see a little bit of musical history. (Cracker being my word, not his).

Jen realized that this dude was legit and eased up a bit. He did accompany us to the quick mart for some station food, before running back to the laundromat and finally reconvening with us at the museum.

For me this was one of the highlights of the trip. To meet this salt of the earth dude, that was just doing what he loved, and what he knew, was very eye opening and inspiring to me.

Once inside the museum we looked in all the rooms at all the artifacts as Pat played his acoustic guitar and sang. Other travelling folk had gathered too and were experiencing the same thing we were. I gave him some cash and he gave me a domino. They are blank on one side and he draws his "cat heads" on that blank side.

Before we left we snapped a few pics and bid each other adieu.
Jen and I just hoped we wouldn't run into more rain before Memphis town.

The son of James "Son" Thomas.
Pat and I. He let me hold his guitar (though I didn't ask, he insisted).
In front of the Museum.

We're gonna need a bigger "chick stick".

Got the first bend done right.
Let's clamp that sucker to the bench.
A little heat.
A little more Heat, and more Hands.
Some downward force.
Bend that bitch-bar into submission.
(Note the Honda Chopper calendar in the background beyond TR's neck! You too can have one, $15 shipped via Paypal to:
A little fine tunin' the bends.
Yep, it's bigger than the old one.


After riding all over the country this past summer Jen decided she wanted a bigger sissy bar to strap all her shit to. Today Scrap and TR obliged and lent their time and TR's shop to help her accomplish that task.
This will slip into the ends of her frame rails/fender struts on her Konged frame and then bolt on thru the bottom.
 Now just to clean up and paint!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Weird's CB750 Project.

Paul and Weird made a trip to capitol city to pick up a pile of parts last Sunday. 
It's in the very early stages of construction, but the creative juices are flowing.
Check out these bars!

Seattle. Cobain.

The rooftop in this photo is of Kurt Cobain's house, the home where he shot himself in 1994. While passing through Seattle last summer we decided to take a detour and stop here. It wasn't really out of the way considering we were catching the ferry across the Puget Sound.

I listened to Nirvana in high school...still do on occasion. Since 6th grade I was collecting cassettes and records by Minor Threat, Black Flag, the Dead Milkmen, Rollins Band, the Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains, and other such bands. I was influenced by skateboarding and what I saw in Thrasher Magazine therefore whenever I would find one of these bands items in a record shop, usually the Mom & Pop store Record Swap on the U of I campus, I would snatch it up. Living among the cornfields in Central Illinois this was my connection to what was going on elsewhere. Stores like this and magazines like the one mentioned were where I could find the things, be it art, music, what-have-you, that interested me and that I was drawn to. When I first heard Nirvana I was in 9th grade. Their video for "Teen Spirit" came on the Headbangers Ball and it was so different from the other stuff MTV was showing. I got my Danzig, Suicidal, Slayer, and Metallica fix from watching the Ball, but it wasn't like the punk rock that'd I'd been listening to...albeit close (especially since many of those bands came from those roots). When I first saw that video, heard that song, I thought "Damn, this is more akin to punk rock than any of this other shit".

Love 'em or hate 'em, Nirvana turned popular music of the early 90's on its ear. As mentioned, I was in tune with the underground in Jr. High thanks to rags like Thrasher and being involved in skateboarding, but at that time commercial airwaves were hocking shit like Warrant, Rick Astley, Poison, Terrence Trent D'arby and other such drivel to us kids. I don't think anyone could relate to that garbage. Not even the kids that wore their t-shirts! All of a sudden there was this rise of "underground" bands going mainstream and reaching kids that would have otherwise never have heard them. On many levels this was a positive thing. It made us youth of the 90's realize there was more out there than what was being forced upon us. I do have mixed feelings however, because it also opened the floodgates for a lot of other useless crap to hit the airwaves and be accepted (but thats the curmudgeon in me speaking). Record companies were trying so hard to find the next "Nirvana" and cash in...often times at the expense of musician's who's hearts may've been in the right place, but were detoured by the almighty dollar. Then there the bands that just plain sucked and rode the magic carpet into the limelight.

But I digress. The best part of my story is that I encountered a dude at that park bench in this photo. We pulled up to the house as post-work traffic was rolling by. It was a well-to-do, off the beaten path neighborhood, so it wasn't that "busy" but there was really no where to get off the road besides actual driveways and there was a speed bump directly in front of the Cobain house so everyone was passing very slow. Jen and I pulled up against the curb and I noticed this guy, about my age, with a mountain bike, posing himself around the bench and against the tree with the house in the background. I realized he was there for the same reason we were...or I was, as the case may be.

We killed the bikes and crossed the sidewalk into the grass. "Hey buddy, want me to snap some pics of ya?" I asked. His English wasn't perfect, he was from South America, but we understood one another. He nodded as he said "Yes, yes". He handed me his iPhone and positioned himself while displaying the universal sign for metal and making a "rock face". I snapped a few pics of him and after each one he checked them for accuracy (I would have done the same). He thanked me profusely for lending a hand to his endeavor and I felt good for being able to produce a better memoir for him than he could have accomplished by himself.

After a brief conversation I discovered that he'd flown into Seattle from Brazil, solo, and rented a bicycle to explore the city and see some landmarks that he'd wanted to see for years. Kurt Cobain's Seattle home being one of them. Shortly after I shot the photos for him he thanked me for my kindness and hopped onto his mountain bike to head back into city. As he rolled over that speed bump he looked over his left shoulder and gave me a thumbs up. It's eye openers like this that remind of how big of a world we live in.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sparky's new exhaust.

After getting the FLH squared away, Bill decided it was time to start work on the CB750's exhaust. He's been talking about making pipes for this bad boy since he got it on the road a few years back. Not too long ago he tracked down some stainless and began planning and plotting. Here's where he's goin with em....Lookin' great!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Meteor Crater

This is the meteor crater site outside of Winslow, AZ. I saw the sign along I-70 heading back east to IL and thought "what the hell, I'm right here". I had decided that if I got there and it cost too much money I would just skip it, but since I was there, I'd venture off the highway to check it out. 

As I pulled up in the parking lot and killed the bike, a guy a few years younger than I, holding a baby approached me. "Nice bike man". "Thanks" I responded. We engaged in small talk as he, his baby, his 13 year old daughter and his wife walked with me towards the admission booth. He was a US soldier, Marines, and was moving his family from NC to AZ where he was from.

We reached the admissions counter and when the attendant said "twenty bucks" I wished them well and turned to leave. He said "Whoa, hold on man."

The attraction offered a free waiver to active military. He looked at me and said "One active, and 4 others". I shook my head, no man, no. He nodded and gestured for me to zip it. This soldier paid for 4 people, himself, his wife and two kids....and got me in on his military voucher.

I didn't know what to do. I felt guilty. But he was insistent that I go with it, so I did. We entered the area, paid fifty cents to have some pennies pressed with alien and meteor insignia's and walked up to the rim of the crater. I snapped some photos and then let he and his family enjoy their roadside attraction.

I thanked him for his service and for doing what he does, so that people like me can do what we do.

We then went about our business, crossing paths here and there throughout the exhibit and nodding at one another. When I bailed I thanked him again, wished his family well and headed towards Albuquerque on my way to Texas.


Rooster's CB750 chop.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tuesday, February 5, 2013