It's probably not a huge surprise to you, the loyal reader, that our not-so-secret headquarters is located in Southern California. When I travel, I usually say we're in LA, since that's where I live, but in actuality we're in the shadows of the mighty mouse empire--Orange County. Saying Orange County just confuses people. They always ask if I know the famous OCC (Orange County Choppers) boys. Then I need to explain that they're in the other Orange County, located all the way across the continent in New York--the state, not the city.
Growing up, I awoke every morning greeted by the silhouettes of the colossal Twin Towers piercing the clouds high above the Hudson River. Orange County was north of the big city and everything I knew of LA I learned from Jim Morrison, news coverage of the Manson clan, the movies, and college sports. It seemed like a wacky paradise, palm trees, eternal warmth and sunshine, and babes galore. Of course all blonde.
No matter how good life is--family, friends, great job, security, and connections, for some people there's some kind of inner calling to explore. That mythical journey, filled with hopes of greater prosperity (or solitude), and all the trappings and rewards that come with the chosen path. Ironically, every motorcycle ride can lead to the same conclusion, depending on the road you take. It seems we're always looking to take the next unknown fork in the road, rather than experience a repeat performance of rides gone by. A new adventure is within a tankful of gas for all of us; it doesn't matter where you're from, or how far you might have to go, it's all out there and more. Most of the people I meet on the road would rather ride to the wherever they're going than fly or cage. Sure, it would be so easy to just pack it in a plane (or your truck) and relax--enjoying the pretzels and beverage service. But for so many, that's not how it's done. That ancient-explorer gene calls out to live and feel life, not just be a spectator. You all know the feeling--whether your destination is the majestic mountain pass, the beach, river, or forest; Sturgis, Laconia, or Daytona. Just thinking about it gives me chills.
Oh yeah, so back to the East Coast. I remember it being cold. Seasons, trees, rivers, ocean, and beauty. There was much less than a year's worth of riding too. As fall progressed, the fallen leaves that only days before shone like multi-colored lights in the sun, became a scourge for riders. Dry or wet, those things just loved to gather up in the corners and wait to tug the rug out from under you. It was slippery stuff, and the harbinger of bad weather to come. Back in those days before the super-fabrics of today, it was time to break out the ski gear and ride until first snow, at which time the winterizing process of the bike began. Admittedly, for me that consisted of just covering it in the garage, forgetting about it, and doing "winter things," joining back into my non-rider friend community during the cold months.