This Is Not A Prius: This Is A Chopper
Article By: Chopper Charlie
Photos By: Kayla Keoune
Originally Published In The August 2016 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
The wind through your skin like a butcher’s knife, the rain is like tiny daggers piercing your face. The wind howls like a runaway train tossing you like a rag doll from white line to yellow line and back again. The dust clogs your nostrils. It collects like left over mud pie in the corners of your mouth and assaults your eyes like poisonous gas. You hit speeds that literally squeegee the moisture from your squinted eyes back to your ears, while hitting potholes that eject you from your seat leaving you grasping your bars like the rope on a bucking bull. These are the things that make “choppering” both adventurous and terrifying. This is not a Prius; this is a chopper. This is a way of life, a life not designed for the weary and not intended for the weak. These are the things that make adventuring great and leave you with stories to tell. These are also the things that create a common thread among motorcycle riders. It’s these things that break down all social barriers and give us a sense of community. Here you have a smorgasbord of people with one passion in common, motorcycles. We love them, and that is enough to make us friends. We in fact may have T nothing else in common. Many of us are the white collar keyboard clicking type during the week. Others swing hammers for a living. Some of us are well off and others are barely making ends meet. But when we get on our bikes all barriers are knocked down and we are equals.
Choppertown Camparound was a great event again this year. As far as I am concerned it is one of the few true motorcycle events around. It is simple, welcoming and pleasing. Its’ the kind of place where everyone is welcome and everyone is welcomed with open arms. This also happens to be the place I met my Fiancée…that’s right, I met Kayla at Choppertown two years ago and proposed to her at Choppertown this year. Now, I’m not entirely sure what she sees in me but she said yes anyway, and I consider myself a pretty lucky guy for that. I arrived at that party in 2014 not knowing anyone really, just a few people that had said I should make it. By the time I rode out I had a fleet of new friends and my bride to be. Kayla and I unfortunately were unable to make it last year because we were in Europe. So there was no way we would miss it this year. Like a flock of pigeons 10 Denver/Boulderites left our meeting place in Morrison, Colorado and headed south bound to Wilhoit, Arizona and the infamous Choppertown Camparound on what would become a surprisingly pleasant experience for me. What was surprising about this trip was not the destination, nor was it the route or the weather, it was the fact that there were ten of us. In years past I’ve always made sure to include everyone I know in what I was doing and where I was going but time after time I would end up a lone traveler.
This is not something I disapprove of; in fact, I quite enjoy solo travel. Having the elbow room to go where I want, when I want and at a pace I want is not something to frown at. There is undoubtedly a feeling of absolute freedom when tramping the country on your own. The surprising part was that virtually everyone I invited showed up. This of course not only pleased me on a number of levels but also concerned me in a number of ways. How exactly would we get ten motorcycles to Arizona in a reasonable amount of time? Was this going to turn into one of those things where we were stopping every ten miles for bathroom breaks, photo ops, gas stops and calorie consumption? Who would wimp out from the cold while crossing the high country of Colorado? Would I get annoyed with “group” travel after a long history of solo travel? It turns out I’m kind of a jerk for not having more faith in these guys. I never had any concerns about anyone in particular, everyone there is as solid as it comes. I guess I had just assumed the worst; something I should talk to a therapist about I suppose. In fact, this group proved me wrong on so many levels I’m almost embarrassed. It turned out to be an absolutely amazing ride. Steve, with his extreme planning (something I’m not used to), put together a great route that took us south on Hwy 285. That is definitely a ride to take if you want the full Colorado experience. Roger and Dan rode out from Kansas to meet us, and brought some “good ol boy” Midwest flavor to the group.
Aaron provided the entertainment while navigating his freshly built chopper and his first experience with a foot clutch. Patricia consistently brings “old School” to the group and didn’t let us down this time either. Thomas…well, Thomas is Thomas. There is never a lack of laughs around that guy. Stephen brought a youthful energy while his dad, Mike, brought a sense of security. When someone fell off or when my hat flew off the back of my bike Mike was there to help. And that leaves Kayla. Kayla is, as always, is there reliably by my side. The perfect wing woman. What that weekend did for me was to reconfirm my belief that the motorcycle community is one of the best around. I left that Friday morning with 8 good friends and a girlfriend. I returned on Monday with 8 bonds that can only be had after traveling 1800 miles with somebody, and a fiancée. The route, the weather and my road mates were as close to perfect as it gets, at least on the way down. The return trip was a bit more disjointed but I’ll get to that in a later issue. I truly believe that we live in a society where we all want to belong to something. We may claim to be different than the rest, better or “cooler” then others but ultimately we are just a bunch of dudes riding motorcycles, and it is perfect that way. We are a worldwide brotherhood of misfit bikers who want nothing more than to just ride motorcycles and find a sense of belonging. It is a community where the only requirement is to have a love of two wheels. My friends, we have