November 08, 2004

The weekend that just passed seems like it flew by starting with Friday.  Friday was November 5th and the most important thing that happened on this day was the birth of my mom.   Well, OK - a few years ago.  I was a little busy on Friday so I did one of the most horrific things a son could do.  I never called my mom to wish her a happy birthday.  But, do you know what's even worse?  I didn't call her Saturday either.  Or even on Sunday.  It's now Monday and I'll give her a call tonight to see if she received the cards we sent (I put in the mail late too...).   See there, I'm owning up to all of my mistakes.  I feel bad about not getting this done before now.   Love you mom.  Happy Birthday from your problem child.   Psst... It's now Tuesday (November 9) and I forgot to call her again.  I'm such a bad boy.  Dang it.

Friday, Carol and I had planned to go watch the NASCAR qualifying and the truck race out at Phoenix International Raceway.  Carol was trying to get tickets for Friday from her work but there weren't any available for that day.  The only day they had available was for race day, Sunday.   So we took those instead.  But that left us with Friday open and we still wanted to do something special, just the two of us.  

Carol had mentioned that she had seen an article in the paper that said the boys from Orange County Choppers were going to be in town for a bike fest.  The bike fest was being held at Tempe Town Lake and would feature 25 bike builders from all over the southwest.  But the big name draw to make the event a huge success was the guys from OCC and the tv show American Choppers on the Discovery Channel.  We didn't know for sure who was going to be at the show but we were pretty sure that Paul Sr., Paulie (Jr.), Mikey and Vinnie would be there.  Orange County Choppers builds custom motorcycles and custom theme motorcycles for whoever will pay for them.   Custom machines that range in price from the $100,000 dollar mark up to $500,000 if you ask Paul Sr.   Either way, these are some of the best custom theme motorcycles I have ever seen and so we had to go.  We had to go see the bikes and the boys in person.

Thursday night, we got on-line and bought the tickets for the show on Friday.  We hoped that the crowds would be less on Friday than the rest of the weekend so we could enjoy our time and not be fighting the crowds.  We found out we were right and lucky.   We had friends go to the show on Saturday and there were so many people in there that they never got close to the motorcycles.  They had the lines for the people that wanted to meet the guys on stage and get autograpsh wind through the display of OCC motorcycles.  On Friday it was difficult to get to the second set of bikes, but we were able to work our way through the crowd and lines to get a look.  Apparently you couldn't do this on Saturday or Sunday.   The lines snaked in and out and around the bikes so much that the only way to see the motorcycles was to stand in line to meet the guys on stage.  We were lucky.  So for those of you that weren't able to see the bikes or others that didn't even know the event was going on.   Here are a couple of pages of photos that I took while we were down there.   Page 1 of the photos show the full choppers from the side and Page 2 are rear views of some of the bikes that were on display.  These bikes are spectacular.  If I only had a couple bucks to spare.

Seeing these bikes in person was an amazing experience.  We've seen these bikes being built on TV but that doesn't really show you these machines.  The TV may add 10 lbs to a person but it seems to reduce the size of these motorcycles.  Some of these bikes are so low to the ground and you really don't get to sense that looking at them on TV.  These machines seem so much longer in person than what you see on TV.  And the size of that rear wheel seems so much fatter in person than what you see on TV.  Spectacular custom creations.  I admire Paul Jr., Vinnie, Cody and the rest of the boys at Orange County Choppers who can create and build these machines from nothing more than an idea and a few pieces of raw metal.  

But you know what was the coolest thing that Carol and I saw that day?  As we were walking along the fenced Tempe Beach Park toward the entrance.  We were facing on coming traffic and we saw Paul Sr. slowly riding by in the same traffic we had been not 15 minutes earlier.  The only difference was we knew who he was.  He was famous from the TV show and he was out riding a Harley Davidson cruiser in the same traffic we were just in.  He said hi to people that recognized him and waved if he was able too.  He was friendly and happy.   It was just strange to see the big man that you see every week on TV riding a normal Harley to his own event.   He was just out there.  Like us.  Inside the show Paulie and Senior took the stage to sign autographs not 15 minutes later.  At that point, we couldn't get close to them.   We were probably five to ten feet away from Senior outside the park and we couldn't get closer than 100 to 150 feet from him.  The lines were so long for the autograph sessions, we didn't want to wait.   So it was just great to see him outside the park.

Then as Carol and I were leaving the event, we were walking along the same sidewalk we walked earlier that morning and I kept hearing this little engine whining noise from behind us.  To me it sounded like on old YZ80 dirt bike that a friend of mine had when we were kids.  Tinny kind of sound but a small engine.   Finally I had to stop to see what was making this noise so I turned around and saw a little Honda Scooter like you would find over in Europe or the Far East.  I have also seen these scooters around racing events - little scooter bikes used to get around during a race weekend.  The thing that was most surprising about this scooter was the rider.   This little Honda scooter was being ridden by Vinnie of Orange County Choppers.  Along with Vinnie was Cody riding what appeared to be the Harley that Senior was riding earlier and another guy that I didn't recognize.  Cody, the kid from the show, probably not more than 17 or 18 years old was riding the big bike and Vinnie was riding the scooter.  Go figure.  But they looked like they were having a ball.   So now, we've seen Senior, Vinnie and Cody from the American Choppers TV show riding around town.   These sitings were as much fun, even in their brevity, as the entire event was.  We had a great time.

Well, thank you for stopping by today and I hope you enjoyed your time here.  By the way, one other thing happened on Friday.  We found out that both Tracey and her friend Arianna made the Stetson Hills School Softball team.  There was joy and celebration abounding that night for these two. Congratulations girls.  Good luck and don't break anything (Arianna).  Take care all.