Chopper Redemption.


re·demp·tion act of redeeming  or the state of being redeemed.
2.deliverance; rescue.
3.Theology . deliverance from sin; salvation.
4.atonement for guilt.
A few weeks ago, a Honda Cb750  chopper appeared on Craigslist in Paso Robles. The bike looked to have been a factory chop, sporting extended forks, apes, a king and queen seat, and a custom 70′s airbrush paintjob on the stock tank. It had “Stone Free” lettered on the tank, after the first song Jimi Hendrix recorded. The bike was goofy as shit but really well cared for and had a vintage carefree charm. The guy wanted $1400 but I didn’t have the money as payday was still a week off. I had to have the bike and did the unthinkable, humiliating myself by calling up friends and family asking to borrow money. The seller told me to call him on Monday to see if “the guy down in LA” had bought it or not.
I called him Monday. No answer, called him Tuesday, no answer. I blew up his phone again and agian and left messages telling him I was still interested, but he wouldn’t answer. Eventually I had my roomate call him, and he picked right up. Even though the dude was being a typical fake California shit talker, I still wanted his bike. I began devising an elaborate plan to trick him into thinking he was selling it to my roomate. Soon after, the bike was sold and I came to my senses. Disappointed that I couldn’t have it, I soon got over it and moved on.


I woke up on Friday to a Facebook message from Lil Bawbee. It was a Craigslist ad. Another CB750 chopper, this one in Barstow. This time it was the real thing and not some weekend warrior factory wannabe half chop. I still had the bad taste in my mouth from the last one, and going through it again was the last thing I wanted. I looked at the posting and said forget it. I had gotten paid, but was more worried about studying for finals.


Then I looked at it again. And again. Before I knew it, I had my cell phone in my hand. I took a deep breath and called the guy. Still skeptical, I told him I needed time to think about it and would call him later that night. I thought about it for an hour, and studying for my finals was growing less and less important. The gravity of the situation finally hit me: This was my shot at redemption. The next step was to go to the bank, remove the camper shell, and fill up the tank. I was going to make the four hour trip to no-man’s land: Barstow, California.


Almost exactly halfway between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, the town was once a mainstay of route 66, but has since degenerated into one of the poorest cities in California, with the majority of  it’s residents on welfare. It is isolated, hot, and rarely is it chosen as a destination by anyone. This was much more then just a bike purchase, this was a second chance. It was a true test of manhood. I had never traveled so far into the desert alone. I had just replaced the thermostat in the truck, and Chris and I replaced the valve cover gaskets a week earlier and it was running better then ever. This trip had to be made and there was no way out of it. I had to cross hundreds of miles of mountains, valleys, and rivers before I could allow the high desert heat to cleanse my soul of all impurities and past defeats. It was do or die.



Vegas traffic on what I believe is the 14 North.




Coming out of the mountains on the 14, descending into the Antelope Velley.




Cresting the last hill and feeling mighty good. The late afternoon light was amazing. I believe this is Palmdale.




On the Pearlblossom highway (138), feeling even better. Hammer down to Victorville!!




Breathtaking sunset taken out the backwindow at speed. Note how empty the truck bed looks. This would be handled soon enough.......




There she be. Josh is on the left, Bob is on the left too, but not as much.



After picking up Josh in Victorville, we made the trek to Barstow, with sweat pouring down our faces well after sundown. It was 107 degrees that day with stupid amounts of midwest style humidity. When we got there, Bob opened up the garage and our minds were blown. The bike had been built in Fresno in the early 70s, and he had bought it from the original owner who had the work done. He told me how he was tired of “Fucking crap-talking shitheads” offering him bogus trades and bitching about how the bike didn’t actually run. It is worth noting that Bob is almost the exact same height as me. When he saw the stars in my eyes, he knew I was the right man for the bike, and that I was indeed not a fucking crap-talking shithead. After Josh masterfully hunkered down the bike, we headed back to his house and stayed up until 2:30 looking at my Born Free pictures. I crashed on his couch, and slept moderately well.



This is one of those photos I'm gonna look back on when I'm old. Your bike is going to a good home, Bob. Thanks Josh for opening the shutter. Try to ignore the bald tires on the truck and thong flipflops on my feet.



I awoke the next morning to a stiflingly hot desert climate. I washed the sweat off my body and we headed to Long Beach to check out Infamous car show, which was the plan way before this bike ever entered the picture.












Awesome tie down job by Josh. The bike didn't budge once.





Cumulus clouds in the desert. Note the shadow on the hill.





Thunderstorm beginning to open up while helping Josh pick up a table saw before heading to Long Beach for Hellaflush.





More Cumulonimbus as we cross the mountains heading towards the 210.





Infamous at the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Coverage to follow soon.....





Cops and camber. Leaving Infamous and heading home.





Freaking out the squares in Malibu.





I don't always enjoy driving into the sun, but when I do........






Man I miss Michigan. Wait a minute......No I don't.





I was pretty annoyed at everyone pulling over to take pictures. So I pulled over and took pictures. Point Magu on the 1.





Lil Bawbee Stovall was kind enough to offer up garage space for us to get her running so he won't have to ride on those big scary roads all by himself.




So I made it back to Ventura safe and sound with a survivor chopper. I went back on Tuesday and we messed with it a bit. Bobby charged the battery and I put some gas in the tank. We opened the petcocks and turned the key to the “on” position. I kicked it once, twice. On the third kick she fired right up. The straight pipes bellowed like a raped ape but the carburator was pissing gas all over the engine so I shut her off. I took them apart and found out it was a bad needle. Hopefully I will be able to locate one tomorrow and get this thing on the road. She hasn’t been registered on the street since 1980, and cries out to be ridden.

What did I learn from this?

First,  who is really going to have my back when I need money for some stupid shit I absolutely have to have. Also, not to get upset when a deal slips through your fingers, because you never know whats going to turn up next. Last, God works in mysterious ways. When he doesn’t give you what you think you want at the exact instant you want it, don’t throw a bitch fit and just let it ride. Thanks to Dad, Oscar, Josh, Bob, and Bawbee. A new chapter of my life has begun.

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