Chopper freaks in SoCal were faced with a serious dilemma last weekend. Specifically, which of three (or was it four?) motorcycle events in the southland would they choose to attend. With Mooneyes, a Street Chopper premier party and the Dave Mann Chopperfest all crowding the same weekend, any choice would prove satisfying.
In the end, Billdozer agreed to camp Saturday night with some friends, then ride to DMCF Sunday morning. Since I was scheduled to man the ChopCult booth at Chopperfest, I drove the chase rig stocked with beer and gear. As good as our plan looked on paper, nothing could prepare us for the evening that unfolded when a barefoot camper named Jesus Manson snuck into our camp and warmed his feet in our fire.
Jason Ball planned our weekend getaway, and it was a good one. Pack your bike, ride to Malibu, pitch a tent, crack a cold one and start a fire. The Biltwell rig I drove contained beer and soda from a previous hoedown, and enough chairs, cots and sleeping bags to make the chilly evening bearable for at least three of us. Of course, a man would have to remain sober enough to climb into his sleeping bag to make Jason's plan work, but our new bearded buddy had other ideas.
The full moon shined brightly on our cold, starving crew when I returned from the truck with the only sustenance between us: three tubs of spicy feta cheese and a giant bag of tortilla chips. Chris Huber tried to order pizza, but none of the two joints within five miles of the campground would deliver pies to our site. Soon after Chris ended his search for food, Jesus Manson rematerialized with six bottles of wine and a half quart of Wild Turkey.
Before Jesus could open the first Pinot Noir with his pocket knife, Kim Boyle crept off for a good night's rest. A shrewd move I've witnessed Billdozer pull at least a hundred times, but on this evening Bill was more interested in divining Jesus's back story. According to Jesus, he was living in a Mercedes station wagon while his ex-wife's lawyers dragged out their contentious divorce. Children and a mysterious military service record colored his past, but details on the latter were never forthcoming. While Bill interrogated the visibly twitchy fellow, I battled through a fog of Mexican muscle relaxants, Wild Turkey and cheap wine. After focusing hard to regain the mobility six layers of snow gear had taken away from me, I stumbled into the van for a boozy night's rest.
Around 2 a.m. Sunday morning I was awakened by violent bucking inside the van, like a fight had broken out between Kim and Bill inside the trailer attached to my bumper. It was too cold to crawl out of my sleeping bag for a closer look, so I ignored the commotion and returned to sleep. At 6 a.m. I roused Kim and Bill from their slumber so I could drive to the Chopperfest. That's when I realized someone had detached the trailer and safety chains from the hitch. No easy task in the best of conditions, and damn near impossible in pitch darkness.
When Bill crawled off his cot, his jeans were covered with blood. Apparently, conversation between Bill and Jesus became heated enough to warrant a beatdown from Hank, Bill's drunken alter ego. I missed Hank's arrival, but evidently it was enough to inspire Jesus's feeble attempt at retaliation.
If I were a trailer-towing rookie, Manson's amateur prank might have paid out differently. As it stood, our band of "professional bikers" as Jesus called us drank all of his booze, and Jesus crawled back to his Mercedes wagon on bleeding knees. I'd like to think the fun we had last weekend was the kind that inspired David Mann to paint. Thank you, Jesus for making the eighth annual David Mann Chopperfest one to remember.