OK, so what has that captivating title to do with a Saturday morning bike ride to a local car show? Stay with me and the method to my madness will become “Crystal Clear”, or at least a bit less fuzzy.
The ride started out normally enough, having to skirt around a downed utility pole and an inordinately large number of first responders on an otherwise peaceful stretch of Savannah Highway on the western side of “Chucktown”, SC., on our way to the Early Bird Cafe(restaurant?). Over coffee, Big Al(Ace riding buddy and all around Good Guy) and I pondered the possible cause of the incident. Could it have been some unfortunate soul who had not yet had THEIR morning coffee, or perhaps a pooped-out reveler in a failed attempt to get home after a long night on the town? These days, it could have been someone who stayed a little toooo long in the “Ohhhh Zone”. Will we ever know for sure?
After a really kickin’ breakfast, we eased out to the parking lot to free up a space for a waiting patron, and with kick stands up we rolled East over the “Big Ravenel” to the “Pleasant side of the River”. Our target was the “Cars and Coffee” impromptu car show in Town Center in front of Atlanta Bread. Cars and Coffee is a remarkable gathering, to say the least. It just sort of happens every Saturday morning when a group of people who share a passion for Classic, Custom and Exotic cars and motorcycles show up and engage in coffee, conversation and a comradely spirit surrounded by some of the most individualized and beautiful vehicles on the planet. This is where we get to Good Ol’ George.
The American automobile/automotive culture is so unique in the world that it has been studied and written about from just about every perspective that you can think of. However, there is an historical aspect to the people involved in this culture since the first “Barn Job” horseless carriage was created, quite literally, in the workshops out back at the dawn of the days of the automobile. Not having ever seen this side of it in print, I thought I would take a swing at it. Personally, I liken the people who built the first cars and those who perpetuate the passion today, to the unbelievably brave and creative folks who began the marvelous experiment called “America”.
To me, it was simply a different time and technology. I can easily visualize Chris’ Columbus doing an “around the world” on a Waverunner, possibly with Queen Izzy on the back. I think George Washington would have ridden an Indian Scout with his equipment strapped to the back when he was blazing trails and surveying un-staked land in the early days of his career. Later on, in his Presidential role, I believe a “Big Chief” would likely been his choice for his stately ride. I can see the dust clouds rising in the streets of Dodge City as the Earp Brothers are heading to the OK Corral on their Harley Fat Bobs and Street Glides on their ill-fated but historic mission.
Not surprisingly, just as the majority of the people who brought the art of hot-rodding and customization of cars and motorcycles into the mainstream of American Culture, many of the most talented and dedicated members of the automotive community today are those who have defended this great nation. I have met people who think that the whole custom vehicle scene started with and will die with the “Boomer” generation. All you have to do is visit a typical gathering of automotive enthusiasts, and you will see that there are as many and sometimes more young people involved than we more mature folks. It is enough, at least, for me to see that from generation to generation, we are a nation of individuals who wholeheartedly embrace the freedom we have to pursue our passions and express that individuality.
I have said this earlier, but I believe it bears repeating that the days of sitting idly by and leaving the political process of our nation on autopilot are gone forever. There are people hard at work chiseling away our rights and freedoms. I’m doing what I can to push back against that force, I sincerely hope that you will too. By the way, Big Al and I had a great ride and really enjoyed the people, cars and motorcycles(all three of them) at the show. May Cars and Coffee never go away.