Easy Rider and Chopperguy

Thoughts on Easy Rider, biker cinema, and riding and working on a vintage chopper.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Chaos Built My Chopper

As we rolled into Couer d'Alene there was one thing on my mind; Zips. So first thing we walked downtown where I got myself a greasy chunk of goodness in the form of a Zips Triple Cheese, a large bag of onion rings with that famous Zips fry sauce, and a chocolate malt. Right behind me as I munch away, the cars gathering for the weekend's events were already cruising the strip. Lost in my gastronomical bliss, I couldn't even hear them.

Watching the cruise after the meal was grand. Between Friday night's cruise and Saturday's car show, I have decided that the urge to build a 1930's Ford chop and drop rat rod was just a temporary amusement. My true love of the four wheeled world is the 1960's Firebirds and Camaros, classic American muscle. I wouldn't give up my chopper for that kind of car, but I will eventually have one in my collection.

Speaking of collections, we have added another project to the pack. We towed back a 1972 VW Super Beetle. Every 100 miles we had to pull over and fill up one of the tires, but other than that, she towed beautifully. For that I am grateful. After all, we spent a good portion of Saturday trying to get the tow bar mounted under the front end. With a trip to the hardware store for some longer bolts and a carbide dremel bit to widen a couple of holes, we eventually got the bar into place. There was one particular bolt that just didn't seem to want to catch threads. Late in the afternoon as the sun was going down, steaks were on the grill, and the beer in the fridge was calling, that last bolt finally caught and snugged down. At times like this there is only one thing to say. "MY DICK IS HUGE!"

Earlier on Saturday we had to take a break so I could get some chopper riding in and wander the streets looking at cars. The wife and I rode along the lake shore, wind in our hair, basqueing in the freedom of riding in a state that doesn't have a helmet law. Three years since I've been able to ride without the lid. It was fantastic. At one point my passenger leaned forward and said to me, "I like TAZ, but Sera is more fun." That is both good news and bad. On the one hand, I love hearing affirmations of my passion for choppers reflected back at me. On the other hand, she now has no intention of letting me convert the chopper to a sprung solo saddle instead of the old two up nostalgia seat I've got now.

As we later walked the streets of the car show, the two of us found ourselves drawn to the same cars. None of the vehicles in the show were ugly. One of the benefits of a show that only allows vehicles at least 30 years old to participate is that each entry is a chunk of history modified or restored to meet someone's notion of what vehicles of that time were really all about. There was only one car in the show I didn't get to see. A group of pentecostals hovered around it clapping and singing glory glory hallelujah. With nerves already barely tolerating street speakers blasting old time radio friendly rock and roll, I could not force myself nearer to see what kind of hot rod Jesus had built. Back on the secondary street were the muscle cars clearly assembled by Satanic mechanics. We managed to keep ourselves from salivating over old Camaros with gas guzzling blowers and classic Firebirds with aggressive front grills. There is nothing angelic about the deep throttled screams of 350 horse power, but it is bliss. I found myself remembering the previous night's cruise when the sun went down and people started shooting flames out their exhaust while letting their engine howl. It's a dance for demons and the crowds love it.

That is one of the best things about these types of events. Saturday night after preparing the Bug for transport and eating a healthy meal of steak, bacon, and beans, I took the chopper out for another ride. Young men were desperately tugging at their girlfriends' hands as they stared and smiled at the wild mohican on the chopper. I went screaming past police, because this was a 'freebie' weekend. When an entire small town is filled with screaming engines and wild street designs, even the man clad in leather and metal is allowed to open up his two inch drag pipes and give a little show for the ladies. It is not only expected of him, one would think it is mandatory.

A good number of the vehicles at the show will be rolled back into storage tonight, ready to come out when another occasion arises. The wild chopper guy is back in P-town, riding his interpretation of history to work every day and once again getting followed by cops.

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