Howdy! Grab a chair an’ a beer! Better have a shot ’a Mr. Daniel’s finest, too, ’cause you’re not gonna believe this! It’s Twilight Zone stuff, if ya remember that old show. (Nawww, not the teenage vampire stuff; the show Rod Serling hosted back in my day in black an’ white!)
Reggie an’ I went on a great run over in Paso Robles, California, called the Hamsters’ Vineyard Run, planned an’ hosted by Allan an’ Lisa DeShon. The weather was perfect, the roads were beautiful an’ the company was first rate, so even the Twilight Zone gremlins couldn’t spoil the weekend, though they gave it their best shot. (No, the bells don’t work.)
Paso Robles is about a three-hour ride from home, an’ the bikes were runnin’ great. I’d just done some mods to mine in the form of new forks, bars, a Silhouette seat from LePera, an’ a too-cool custom derby cover from my bro Keith at Tamarack Machine Works (see review on page XX). I was all ready to head out with nearly 100 bikes for the Friday mornin’ ride. Or so I thought…
Reggie fired her trike up, but mine wouldn’t light. It cranked over just fine, but had no fire to the plugs. I checked the easy stuff, like fuses an’ the kill switch, but I had to send Reggie on the ride without me. I was really bummed, because the route wound its way through the backcountry to Highway 1 for Bloody Marys at Rose’s Landing in Morro Bay before makin’ their way to lunch. You can imagine the looks 100 custom bikes get comin’ down the main street in Morro Bay, an’ I really hated to miss that spectacle!
When Reggie left with the pack, I made a call to my brother, Mike “Varmint” Clary, an’ he threw his Softail in the truck an’ headed over to switch bikes. Fortunately, he made it in time to join us at the DAOU Winery for wine tastin’ an’ a great lunch of baked chicken, pasta, salads an’ other goodies.
Unloadin’ his bike back at the motel wasn’t so bad, but we had to push mine around the back to get to the truck an’ ended up with the front tire in a muddy flower bed an’ almost dumped it on its side. We trampled an artichoke plant an’ a few strawberries before we got it back onto the sidewalk. As we struggled with my recalcitrant ride, an old story about monkeys an’ a football came to mind. By the time we finally got it to the ramp, both of us old dogs were worn out. If it weren’t for a sympathetic bus boy, we’d probably have had massive coronaries tryin’ to get the damn thing in the truck. I knew I shouldn’t have had that fifth piece of chicken…
Equipped with a stock, but runnin’, replacement bike, I headed out with the pack on the Saturday ride. On the back roads, oak trees that were old durin’ the Civil War form a thick canopy that wraps over the road an’ dapples the pavement with filtered flecks of golden sunlight. Horses an’ cattle dot the green hillsides, while orchards an’ vineyards cover the slopes like verdant blankets. The ride was nearly 100 miles, but time seemed to fly by. Our first stop was at The Loading Chute for refreshments, an’ then it was on to our final destination, the Pear Valley Winery, for more wine tastin’ an’ a world-class lunch.
Reggie’s trike gathered crowds, as it always does wherever we go, an’ people on the wine-tastin’ tours were takin’ pictures of it an’ talkin’ to Reggie about it all day, wantin’ to know about the modifications, the pink paint an’ all the “bling” crystals an’ other fancy stuff she’s done to it. From kids to octogenarians, they all love it! It could be the most-photographed motorcycle on the planet for all I know, an’ she loves talkin’ to people about it.
By the time we were ready to leave, the afternoon sun was really gettin’ hot with the temperature in the 80s an’, when Reggie tried to start her trike, you guessed it; it cranked over, but no fire to the plugs. Same problem as mine! The two bikes were built a month apart back in 2003, an’ are within 1,000 miles of each other on their odometers. It reminds me of couples who spend their whole lives together an’ die within a day or two of each other. Spooky shit, I’m here to tell ya! Fortunately we have towin’ on our insurance, so we had it hauled back to the motel an’ I called Brother Varmint to tow our toy hauler over an’ rescue us again.
You don’t realize how heavy a trike is until you try to push one up the tailgate of a trailer at a 30-degree angle. We used the tongue lift to raise the front of the trailer, but we just couldn’t get the back wheels past the top of the tailgate an’ onto the flat floor until, once again, we were assisted by the motel staff, whose herculean efforts saved us from hernias… again.
We just got home, so I haven’t had a chance to diagnose the two “possessed” bikes yet, but I keep listenin’ for Rod Serling to say: “Buckshot suddenly found himself… in The Twilight Zone.”