Rides and Tales

Observations From Behind Bars

Old Friends and Bikes

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Late last year, an old riding bud, my oldest friend’s brother, was visiting Texas and got to wondering about the old group that used to hang out at, and ride out of, Ray’s Pool Hall, in Flour Bluff. With some Internet and telephone legwork, he managed to locate most, and a few of them managed to get away for a weekend meeting, here on the Texas coast. The Flour Bluff contingent rode into town to meet the guys who came in from Tennessee and Kansas. One of the riders has been living a scant 100 miles away, all these years.


Of course, after six dry weeks, it rained, not enough to cramp our style, but enough to ruin the meticulous cleaning my compadre had given his bike the day before.

xBluff Reunion 021_360

We headed for a Bluff watering hole where we caught up and toasted “1971”. Those were good days; willing women, good smoke and cold beer grew on the ground all around us.

xBluff Reunion 024

Thirsts slaked, for the moment, at least, we learned that we had a date with some beer can chicken, in Port Aransas.

xBluff Reunion 030



The owner of the place to where we were bound used to have a shop in the Bluff.  Having asked, a city functionary in Port Aransas was informed that this building is not a “shop”, but a storage barn rented by three people and that all the parts hanging from the rafters are just spare parts that motorcyclists tend to acquire.


Oh, yeah, sometimes they’ll build a motorcycle for some friend as a favor.


Now, a report on  a handful of old friends getting together and reliving  good days or riding to a cemetery to give a departed brother some vibration may not be a real attention grabber, but this Harley-Davidson motorcycle, like the young fellow who rode it down from Kansas, last winter, is a different case.


The Port A guys were so impressed with his ingenuity and perseverance that they have pretty much adopted and re-named him. After looking over his motorcycle, I can see why they have.

He’s a throwback, for sure. I don’t remember the last time I saw and un-chromed, twisted square stock sissy bar of this height

sissy bar

His air cleaner cover looks suspiciously like a 1953 Plymouth hubcap, and don’t miss the see-through points cover or camshaft foot pegs. While he does have an OEM toolbox, note the auxiliary hammer, which, I suspect, is “quick release”.


The chain guard is a particularly nice touch. It’s a tine off of a kind of plow people in the farming racket call a “spring tooth harrow”.


Our barbecue chef pointed out details that might be missed, first time around, like the tiny rear view mirror mounted on valve that came through the front rocker box.  No one seemed to notice the lack of an oil puddle under the bike, but we did admire the editorial tank art: a cowgirl roping the famous “Rat Fink” character that symbolizes one of America’s pioneer customizers, Ed Roth.


One of our company still has the rigid frame knucklehead he rode back in ’71 and the fellow who rides Exxon Valdez can lay hands on an ailing Harley-Davidson and bring it to life, so when these two (and the not-a-shop owner) pronounced the Kansas immigrant a “real biker”, I  believed them. When it came time for  him to leave, it took one, count them, one kick to fire that old bike up. You got to love it.

Eventually, the yard buzzard was et,  and  the sky clouded and threatened more rain.  Those of us who were able headed back for the center of art and culture while the rest made plans to become part of the Port Aransas Saturday nightlife as part of a longer range plan to meet next year.   It was a full and rewarding day.


A good time was had by us.



Written by fiddle mike

April 13, 2009 at 1:34 pm

One Response

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  1. I’m not abiker just a wanna be. I loved the
    story though.Ride on dudes!!

    Denny O.

    April 13, 2009 at 2:04 pm

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