Thursday, October 29, 2015

the smoke out

The road to the “Smoke out” is a long and winding one, coming from Detroit Mi, sounds fun as hell doesn’t it? Well that’s what we thought at least. For weeks Josh and I had been working like crazy at the shop, and at my bar getting ready to leave. For as long as my wife and I have been married (12 years now), I had never taken 8 days off in a roll, that’s not something I did. Stay and work, that’s what I always say, you can relax when you’re dead! But I do love North Carolina, the mountains roads windee and long, not to mention the views. So we rode and like years past we started in the rain, which didn’t last too long, just all day off and on. As nice as Ohio is, it seem determined to claim an EVO. Josh’s 94 dyna was the first to start acting up when his coil came loses and started arcing on the frame. He just grabbed it and kept on riding into what looked like a tornado. We finally spotted a camp site on the side of the road and the people there had a nut and bolt, he was back on the road, but the bike would cut at 3000 RPM. So he limp’d it down the highway to Lima Ohio and found a hotel for the night. The next day we spent some a few hours at Lima Ohio Harley Davidson and I cannot say enough good things about them, not other did they open early for us; they had a ton of parts in stock for an EVO motor. What it turned out to be was a short in the harness, but while Josh was working on his bike I couldn’t help but poke around at the bikes. I found a 1991 FXR completely bone stock from 91’. Try as I might we just couldn’t make a deal on the scooter. On the road again and things seem to be going great, until my battery blow-up going down the road, along with my ignition, coil, head light, tail light and speed-o . No big deal, just stuck on the side of high-way and no way to move the bike. As luck would have it, a guy driving down the road with a trailer seen us and stopped to help out. He was cool enough to take us to a nearby bike shop, O.D.’s Cycle Shop. These guys were awesome, not only did they stay late to help diagnose the problem; they helped us install everything on the bike. The owner was a wiz, one of those guys that have been doing it forever. Without a blink of eye he had that new ignition in and timed. Josh asked him how do you the bikes all in time, he just looked at him and hit the starter button; the bike came straight to life. We jumped back on the highway, riding like the wind, and made some great time. Now that all the bikers were running great, there was nothing stopping us, we made it all the way to middle of Kentucky in only a few hours. While riding though North Carolina, on our way to the “Smoke Out” we stopped at Wheels Though Time where we met Dale Walksler of the hit TV show “What’s in the Barn” and owner of the Wheels Though Time museum. He was such as nice guy; I didn’t even make it in the door before he had me on a Panhead that raced at the “Jack pine run” in Lansing Michigan. Dale’s museum is amazing, and like me he loves old parts along with vintage motorcycles; it wasn’t long before Josh and I were digging though some old trailer, looking at parts and trying to strike a deal. Rockingham is a little over 4 hour ride from Maggie Valley, there’s really no straight shot and it’s a lot of highway riding. After getting lost and ending up in South Carolina, we eventually end up just outside of Charlotte before the rain came down…again. We spend about two hours under an over past hoping it would stop, but to no luck. So we rode, rode down the highway in the rain at about 40 MPH, just looking for a place to stop for the night and dry out. After another few hours of riding in the morning, we finally made it to the green leaf hotel. When we had pulled up I was a little un-easy as it looked like we had pulled in to a golf course, thoughts ran through my head that we may not get to have much fun and would have to stay in at night. After walking to the front door I was not disappointed, guys were still passed out from the night before, and beer cans filled the lobby. We through our stuff in the room and jumped back onto the bikes as quick as we got off them; we were Smoke Out bound. Motorcycles as far as I could see and the sounds of drag racing filled the air; The Smoke Out was in full swing. After watching the races for awhile we made our way over to Ron Harries of Chop Docs Chopper’s booth were we had some soda pops and looked at parts. After walking though the swap meet and checking out the wall of death, it was getting late. We made our way back to the hotel for more drinks and food. The night time was nothing short of a Biker “B” flick movie standing around the bikes enjoying the night, people ran through the hotel partying a talking motorcycles all night. As much as The Smoke Out is fun I think the best part is hanging with like minded people that enjoy motorcycle riding and building them, not for fame or to get on T.V. but to say “yeah I built that”. As morning came again I could see all the fun that had happened the night before, beer cans filled the yard, guys passed out in the lobby, toilet paper strong over bikes; it had been a good night for sure. The ride home, bikes of all kinds, filled the highways. The road was long and guiding us to where we would lay our head that night, as much as my head was hurting, I wasn’t ready to go home. We had been to so many places and met some of the coolest people, seen things that I have only every read about in books and magazines. How could I just go back?? But I was ready to get back to the shop and work on finding new bikes and vintage parts. That’s part of the life I love, building and riding is fun and cool but I love the hunt, bringing the old to the surface so it can be used again. I’ve made a good business out of it over the years, and it’s kept me going.

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