Well, an early, pre-dawn ride didn't happen today; it was a lovely late autumn drive however. Though nice for December 1st, at 5:30AM we had 34 degrees and what felt like warm fog when I peeked outside. Still, that fog was a deal breaker. I jumped in the car instead and headed to Northeast Minnapolis, saving my riding for Sunday when the weather is to be both drier AND warmer.
The building that houses Lucy's Diamond's Coffee Shoppe is part of an old warehouse/manufacturing/storage/etc complex that is now in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District. Lucy's shop shares space with various art studios and small businesses, very busy places during the week as well as on weekends.
What was once a large walk-in safe, with doors on both ends. The space beyond is where most of us gather.....
Our typical gathering of enthusiasts, looking much the same no matter the season. Some of us are there at the 7AM opening, others drift in later, coming and going all morning long. If I had to guess and therefore I will, there's maybe 12,483 years of motorcycle experience in this room; these guys know of that which they speak. I joyfully choose to often feel like a youngster in this crowd.
The Safe Door on the left.....
There were 4 bikes present today but I never saw more than 3 at one time. John's '46 WLA HD, Mark's Buell Blast(a.k.a. Purple Haze) and Paul's Ural sidecar rig.
I was surprised that John didn't have his sidecar on the Harley today so I asked him about it. "Oh no, I put that on in the winter."
John's time in China during WWII gave him lots of exposure to these bikes in Service. When John came home, the U.S. Army had crates of these HD's that hadn't yet been used. As an Honorably Discharged Vet, he was able to purchase this one for $370. It was shipped to the Twin Cities and soon made its way to John's central MN farm home.
We talked farming today and I learned a lot of things I'd not yet known about John. One of 13 kids, none of his 5 brothers stayed on the farm. Once the conflict started and John was about to be drafted, his dad wondered if John wanted deferment; something his father was willing to apply for. "I told him I'd seen enough of the a** end of horses, the Army was the place to be."
The HD was of course army green when he brought it home and the story we've all heard is "once I painted it blue, I was a chick magnet." In all of John's years, he's had one wife and one motorcycle; you're looking at both of them.
Photo courtesy of the John Eiden Collection
Paul's Ural rig; he commutes on it almost every day, all winter long.
After the Buell left, a newer GS arrived.....