I can remember the cool, rainy morning in Daytona Beach four years ago. Jeff G. Holt recently started at Baggers and we shared a room for a week; although it felt more like a month with the little amount of sleep we had. It’s not like that morning itself was so special but Jeff and I were up all night entertaining some of the local dancers when we remembered we were supposed to go to a fancy breakfast honoring, if memory serves possibly Arlen Ness with some English chopper assembler with dyed hair interviewing him. Since Jeff and I RSVP’d, it was only right we show up in our sunglasses, grab some grub, and slip out before the final applause.
We strolled up in our darkest shades on a rainy morning and were escorted to our table. “Hmm,” I thought; “a white-gloved escort for two guys like us.” Then the story got better or worse depending on which memory I rely upon or who I am retelling it to. Jeff and I were seated directly in front of the stage with a group of motorcycling dignitaries, none of whom were wearing sunglasses. As I attempted not to make more of a fool of myself each of us at the table were being introduced—for what exactly I’m still not certain. So, as my name was butchered, I stood and gave my parade wave, but I was shaking from the aforementioned festivities.
I slinked away from the table, grabbed two cups of coffee and made my way outside to roll one up before the big State of the Industry address. Then I remembered scheduling a photoshoot for later that morning. The rain was saving, rather preventing, me from lugging all the gear and coordinating the shoot. I vaguely remember the bike owner was a funeral director or some other “Life’s Next Journey” business, and he wouldn’t accept my graceful bow out for the shoot. He may have been connected to the “big weatherman,” because just as I opened my eyes hidden behind my shades to the sounds of applause the sun started shining.
The shoot was going to be on the beach; the sand gets really hard in Daytona and you can ride on it (even race on it). Then, from my big lens and assorted other gear, more bikes showed up and probably due to the shakes I was experiencing, agreed to shoot them as well. A gregarious fellow named Mike Adams appeared as if he just rode straight out of the ocean on a sano Electra Glide Standard that his shop, Smada Customs, built into a sweet, custom Street Glide. The paint flowed like liquid copper throughout the whole bike with some tasteful and subtle, whispy black flames. Mike made the trip down from Maine and he had a young friend, Derek Lesperance, with him riding a customized Dyna Glide. It turned out that Derek’s own Wicked Paintworks shop painted Mike’s bagger and the Dyna. I think the Dyna had a military theme of sorts but the detail in the artwork was awesome. I took some shots of the Dyna for Derek, and we talked shop a bit. Being in the custom paint business is difficult even with a lot of talent. One piece of advice I gave him was to learn how to use a camera and get his work out there. That was a good way his talents could be seen and get recognized; and he had it, so I wasn’t just giving Derek the “atta boy” talk. I remember he was super respectful, even of me with hair to my belt, smelling of perfume, liquor, and who knows what else.