I was thinking about an old friend the other day and was wondering what he’s been doing. I haven’t seen him for years and last I heard he moved to Oregon to live in some sort of “artist’s” colony or something like that. The guy’s name is Moon. That’s not only his actual last name but also his road name, and he IS an artist by any definition of the word. He made at least one contribution to Easyriders magazine a few years ago when his submission was selected to be the full page illustration for a short story about a biker couple traveling across the country. You might have seen it. In it, two people on a loaded-up chopper are shown riding across a desert, headed towards a mountain range off in the distance. His work has also been in numerous other magazines and he did the cover for at least one paperback novel that I know of. Time was that everyone who knew him assumed he’d eventually achieve major wealth and fame from his gifts, though I don’t think that would have mattered much to him.
Like most artistic people, his art wasn’t limited to just one medium. One night I stopped by his place and he was in the middle of sculpting some kind of statue that resembled a cross between a dragon and some kind of devil. The thing was about 18” high and when he finished it I found that it was not only a beautiful work of art, but was also one of the coolest bongs I’ve ever seen and used! Of course, this was back in my stoner days when I utilized such things on a regular basis, but it WAS really cool!
I remember he drove an old Chevy van that was full of everything from his air-brush and paint equipment to an actual waterbed. He often vended at swap meets, painting gas tanks and doing pin striping for a reasonable price. In fact, he was known for occasionally doing them for free if the he knew the customer and knew they were in financial distress. His whole purpose in life seemed to be spreading his art, not caring whether or not he got rich from it. That alone made his friends treat him like he was some kind of wandering Zen monk whose mission was to enlighten the rest of us. He always had an open invitation to anyone’s home for food and bed. Often at a party you’d see him gazing at some everyday object, completely absorbed in it’s lines, structure and texture. Needless to say women found him fascinating.
For a long time he was with a lady named Suzy. We all called her Suzy Creamcheese after a Frank Zappa character. She and Moon lived in Athens, Ohio for a while where Suzy was taking some college theater courses.
Athens was, and still is (from what I hear) a really cool place to be. Ohio University is situated there just outside of Wayne National Forest in a picturesque little town full of wonderful, crazy people. To this day their Halloween celebration is considered to be one of the rowdiest best. It’s a testimony to their uniqueness that for years the SETI program (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) maintained one of their few outer-space monitoring satellite dishes there, before lack of funding shut that particular location down.
One long holiday weekend me and few others rode down there to visit. I remember we went there for an Eagles’ concert with Dan Fogelberg being the opening act. It was during Fogelberg’s early, long-haired acoustic years. I think it cost $8 a ticket. When the Eagles came on, Moon and Suzy rushed the stage and ended up being invited to their hotel afterwards for the after-show party. In the mean time, the rest of us went to Moon’s place and hung out there waiting for them. They showed up hours later and told us how hard the Eagles partied. My point is, none of us felt slighted or pissed for an instant even though we had come all the way down there to see THEM and they were supposed to be our hosts. We just felt good for them….they were that kind of people.
Years passed and Suzy and Moon split up. She got deeper into the theater and Moon returned to NE Ohio for a while, before getting busted for something stupid and had to go away for a few years. When he got out, he hung around here for a while, then headed to Oregon where he was living when I recently phoned him.
From what he told me, a bunch of people like him live in this little town on the coast of Oregon and sells stuff to the tourists. Sculptors, painters, writers, actors, musicians….you name it, all live with the sole purpose of advancing their art and making it pay for itself by selling their work to, and entertaining, people who come there from the big cities for a break from “reality”. He said there are towns like that scattered all over the country.
In HIS town, the artists outnumber everyone else, so the town government is more of less made up of very friendly people who’s first aim is to make sure the artists’ wants and needs are taken care of, and whose second aim is to keep an eye on the tourists’ wants and needs. They’ve managed to live this way since it was begun years ago when a rich guy died and left an endowment and a big piece of his coastal property to a trust fund of some kind. In short, it looks like old Moon has finally found his place on this Earth.
Well, all this got me to thinking (LOOK OUT!!). Wouldn’t it be great if there was a town like that for bikers? I once wrote a poem-thing [actually, I usually HATE poetry] about a place called BikerTown…
[by Your’s Truly]
I dreamed last night of BikerTown.
In BikerTown the streets are full of two wheeled chuggin’ machinery. Cars ain’t permitted in BikerTown and trucks are used for delivery only.
Loud pipes are encouraged in BikerTown, as is cruisin’ and struttin’. Hole shots, wheelies and general foolishness are the orders of the day.
In BikerTown there are no police because the people are righteous and don’t need ‘em.
There are no limits in BikerTown. No speed limits, no age limits and no time limits.
The roads around BikerTown are twisty and the curves are banked.
In BikerTown the bars are open all night and the ice cold beer is free, gushin’ from fountains.
In BikerTown the nights are cool, the women are hot and the music is loud!
I dreamed last night of BikerTown.
Now, let’s say that there WAS a place where we could all live like it was a weekend swap-meet all year round! Of course the problem with doing it like Moon’s town is that we’d have to let the tourists in to supply us with cash.
We could do things like put on “Biker-dramas” where somebody starts a fight in a gen-u-ine biker bar and we use rubber knives and shoot blanks at each other while we tear the bar apart (all in tasteful good fun of course).
“Tiny! I saw you lookin’ at my woman’s behind! I’m gonna mess you up!”
“Well gosh-darn Wimpy! Have at it!!”
Of course somebody would end up screwing it all up by getting trashed and REALLY beating the Hell outta the tourists…LOL.
But, what if there could be a place that literally IS a year round swap meet?
Sturgis reverts to it’s small town cowboy stuff when the rally is done. Folks there, who actually clear out for the rally and rent their stores to biker vendors for big bucks, return and set up their year-round shops. The town becomes SMALL and normal again. The same is sorta true with Daytona. Most of the bikers leave after bike week’s over and it returns to being primarily a hot car and beach town. Sure, it’s more “biker” in the off season than Sturgis is, but it still isn’t a year round biker town [and the cops/government definitely ain’t biker-friendly ANY time of the year!].
But, what if a town was developed specifically by and for bikers? Those who don’t live there could go there on road trips, and bikers from all over the country might come for tattoos, parts and partying. The town’s draw would simply be it’s huge consolidation of vendors who live there year round and prosper.
Of course the bad thing about this idea (or should I say ONE of the bad things) would be that Ohio’s climate couldn’t support something like that year round, so an alternative plan would be needed for the off season. Like, we could all bob our hair, shave off our moustaches and become Amish for the winter. We’d store our bikes in a big barn, wear funny hats and drive buggies. We could sell cheeses and breads. Of course we couldn’t listen to ZZ Top or Seger, but we could listen to er, uh, whatever the Amish listen to. Also, we’d have to use stage names like Jacob and Sarah. I always thought I’d like to have the name “Abraham”.
Unbeknownst to the public we’d have modern plumbing, telephones and big screen TVs hidden away. We could even have a REAL bad-ass biker bar stashed away in one of the barns for OUR Saturday nights!
Amish girls on a brass pole! I’m surprised no one’s thought of this before!