It was in SoCal this year, just about fours hours from Las Vegas. However...it is summer. That is not so bad when you're close to the ocean, but it means that a motorcycle ride there from our house would have to start early in the morning to avoid the deathly heat that rises here by 10:30 A.M. CoolGuy started out about 6:00 A.M. and I followed in the truck shortly after. (My knee is still not too happy, and the stress of riding the bike wouldn't be a good choice yet.)
The show was in Silverado Canyon, which is part of the Inland Empire part of greater Los Angeles. It isn't by the ocean, but it is on the west side of the mountains that divide the desert from the coast, so the high at the park/lake where the show was held was only 95, and at night the temperature slid all the way down to 73. It was quite lovely! It was wild and mountainous, and definitely not my usual visualization of Orange County.
The show was packed with people and motorcycles--choppers, stock machines, and works-of-art masquerading as motorcycles. It was rather like a trip back in time, actually. When CoolGuy started riding a Harley when he was a teen, if you wanted a chopper, you had to build it yourself. There was a growing group of riders who had the skills, and businesses that would help you with processes that required more technology than a home garage (chrome application, for example). For the last decade or so, buying and riding a Harley has become quite common place, with most people just riding the bike they drove out of the showroom. It is quite different from the Do-it-Yourself world that I was introduced to over forty years ago when I partnered up with CoolGuy. But, now, the BornFree dudes bring together a burgeoning new population of young men and women (and a few of us geezers) that have a passion for using the wrench and creating their own ride.
It was fun to watch CoolGuy go around and admire all the bikes and, especially the young people who were riding them. He's driving a motorcycle that has a 46 year old engine, and people admired his handiwork, and understood why he's willing to do the work to keep it on the road. I was fascinated by the plethora of my favorite engine: the Panhead! There were so many other kinds, too. It harked me back to the very first motorcycle event I attended in Southern California. Our good friends took our three little ones for overnight, and we drove out into a canyon filled with California live oak trees and golden grass. All I packed was my toothbrush and a clean shirt. We had our sleeping bag strapped on the front of the 1950 Panhead chopper, and joined some friends who were also headed out there. The next day, we drove a few miles south to Tecate, Mexico, and ate lunch. I was conscious this weekend of how long ago that was, and how vividly different it is for an old granny to go to a motorcycle party. I packed not much more than a clean shirt and underwear, but the kit included pills, fiber, sunscreen and chapstick. Plus, we used member points and stayed in a motel! That warm bathtub was sure nice after a day of hiking around on the grass in the sun and dust, not to mention CoolGuy's 300 mile ride.
It was quite a pleasant trip then, as was this one.