Must of September of 1985..my last of five trips from California to Florida solo..Working on shrimp boats and partying way hard..riding hard..No fear..I was going to stop stop in Vegas and visit a bro..Rolled into town on a Thursday night and headed for the HorseShoe..Worn out I got a room a steak and a few beers..decided to play a little blackjack and crash. Sat down, still leathered up and smelling the sweet smell of the road in my hair..About half an hour later this long tall hombre walks up and pulls up third base..He looks about forty and is wearing the colors of the big Texas club..VP patch above the pocket..Curt nod and we had an understanding..
We played the table for a few hours..win, lose and break even about 4am decide to get a bite and regroup..The horseshoe had the best earlybird ham and eggs in town so we went for it..Learned his handle was Stretch..patch was Austin and so was he..After a good breakfast and having shaken off a few to many drinks we decided to hit the tables again..We played until two that afternoon..drunk but not broke we headed outside for some air..well bad idea in Vegas in the summer drunk..we found a bench and sat back..I don't know how long it was but someone was shaking my shoulder I jumped up turned and guess I took a swing..wrong move..Stretch had a fellow on the ground when my boy pulled his badge..
Well we had earned ourselves a trip to the brand new Las Vegas lockdown..and about fifty six hours in a holding cell dealing with drunks and bologna sandwiches..took a long time before I could stomach those left over floor scrapings again..Monday morning we were sentenced to seven days for drunk and disorderly..Hell I will take it..could have been way worse..
So during our mini vacation my new bro made sure the scooters were cared for..I was headed the same direction somewhat so he passed along an invite to ride as far as Austin and hang for a few days if I wanted..Hell not like I was going anywhere but back to work anyway so I said sure..We spent the next few days playing spades and eating popcorn,,no shit..
Got cut loose about 1am Saturday morning and walked over to the Horseshoe, scene of the crime and another breakfast..By about 5 am we were rolling out of Vegas going to Austin..Now I grew up with our local California club in my blood but never had an inkling to be part of it..Not my bag..But you still feel a little like your hanging with the enemy..not the case I was riding with a friend..we rode, we rode hard for 16 hours to his pad..You know how the head works your expecting a run down trailer at the city limits but you wind up in a nice hood in the uptown area..cool with a pool..
Now the two best parts of Texas have always been New Mexico and Louisiana in my book, for those who don't get it leaving and leaving..but what I found in a week was Austin must be a state all it's own..Nice place, good music, better food and good people..Rode with Stretch and a few of the brothers a couple of times..never felt more welcome, went back a couple of times after..I was leaving Saturday morning I had out the skipper off for a couple of weeks, not that he minded but funds were getting low and I was starting to enjoy not slaving for three weeks straight..The club had a run to Galveston that weekend and I was invited to ride as far as Houston..Now I am not a group rider but went for it..Never forget, by the time we hit Houston there had to be 600 Harleys..Mounted by hard riding brothers who owned the road..we were in the front of the pack, I will never forget a long sweeping left hand turn that put your ear into the sound of the pack..the roar, rumble and vibration of pure American thunder in action..
Waved Stretch off at the I-10 and headed towards a night in the French Quarter, a big ass bowl of Gumbo and a morning cup of French Market..Thanks for the boots bro..wore them out walking but still have them sitting on the memory wall..ride hard..
9 hours ago