A room full of bikers
June 16, 2013
The day we left Mt. Shasta we ate at a “famous” local restaurant called Black Bear Diner. The food is good, usually fresh and in substantial portions. The place is filled with bears of course, and there is a sense of wilderness both inside and outside. This particular restaurant has been there since 1972, not so long in my book, but long enough for it to be considered a landmark.
We sat in a room that was filled with bikers, not bicyclers, but bikers. They seemed loud and somewhat obnoxious at first. They filled up the room with their noise and physical bulk. I noticed that most of them were wearing bright green t-shirts, and their leather vests and jackets were nowhere to be found. I thought that was odd but let it go as just another one of my unconscious judgments. Once we squeezed by them and sat down, I saw Sam looking at them and smiling a lot. So I looked too.
Instead of big, burly, mean Hell’s Angels types, I saw big, chunky softies with scruffly beards and Vietnam Veteran’s hats on, a few with walking sticks leaning on the table beside them. These were baby boomers having a ball. The women were mostly quiet with short hair and patient expressions on their faces. The men were big boys in bright green t-shirts. This group of about ten is a club called the Lassen Riders, and they go for a “run” several times a year. Sam asked them if he could take their picture. Most of them said yes and proceeded to pose for a second between bites of eggs and bacon. The women seemed a less inclined to become part of our travel story, but obliged us anyway.
I noticed that the guy who was closest to us seemed to be the leader, if there was one. At least he talked the most and the loudest. We started a conversation with him about traveling and he said he does this for his fellow veterans. He goes around to various places and gives deceased veterans a proper military burial. He almost teared up when he was describing this to us. He said he has lived a good life and feels committed to paying it forward.
I looked at the people surrounding that table. They all sat there like knights of King Arthur’s court, planning their next “run.” I could see that they were all kind and generous and nothing like my previous image of bikers. From what I can tell, today’s bikers are mostly old hippies, or old hippie wannabes. They don’t need guns and knives and a belly full of beer to make their point. The peace signs on their jackets work just fine.
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