Distracted by Shiny Motorcycles

I’m not in the market for a new bike, but I couldn’t visit the Tampa area without a visit to Bert’s Barracuda Harley-Davidson and the OCC Roadhouse and Museum. Yes, this is another stop on my totally unofficial tour of Shadetree Surgeon video locations. But more than that, it’s a neat place in itself, and one I’d be interested in checking out even without the influence of a moderately successful YouTuber.

My V-Strom certainly looked a little out of place parked out front, but that’s okay. It wasn’t the only not-Harley there. In the row behind it, I spotted another Suzuki, a DR650, for sale, along with a Ducati and a few other brands. Bert’s doesn’t ditch their trade-ins at auction to keep their showroom pure Harley-Davidson. They turn right around and resell them, often at very reasonable prices. They didn’t pay me to say this. It’s just true. Bert has the right attitude. He doesn’t care what you ride, but that you ride.

When I saw the row of Harley Pan Americas, my first thought was that they’d ripped off my KLR’s color scheme. Of course, this isn’t true at all. I’m the one who ripped off the Army color scheme from military Harleys of World War II. There’s even one on display to showcase this point.

As much as I’d enjoy a Pan America with a similar color scheme as my last bike, the V-Strom is just fine, and I wasn’t there to buy a motorcycle. So I took a walk across the parking lot to OCC Roadhouse. OCC refers to Orange County Choppers, the custom bike builders from the TV show American Chopper. While these bikes aren’t the style I prefer to ride, I can definitely appreciate them for what they are, and the work that goes into them. But it wasn’t until I saw some of the bikes built and featured on the show for myself that I truly appreciated the craftsmanship that went into them.

OCC Roadhouse is part museum, part gift shop, and part restaurant/bar. The bikes are scattered all around, along with lots of OCC memorabilia up on the wall. You can get right up next to the bikes and look at them closely. Just be sure to obey the signs and “don’t touch the f’n bikes.” The TV show does not adequately convey the details that go into these bikes. My photos don’t, either, but I’ll try.

The tribute bike to the New York firefighters who lost their lives on 9/11 is a great example of this. Fire trucks are known for intricate gold leaf designs, which OCC has replicated here. The gas tank is shaped like a fire truck, complete with painted storage compartments right where they belong. The airbrushing on the fender is extremely well done, and the entire bike shines like a squeaky clean fire truck. The Teutels may play themselves as bad biker dudes, but they’re also genuine artists. That was never as clear to me as it is now that I’ve seen their work up close.

This was a fun distraction from my current van woes. I’ve given up on getting the windshield replaced for now. The Forgotten Angels campout starts tomorrow, and despite rain in the forecast, I’m looking forward to that. I still have an appointment to get the van to a local shop to get the engine misfire fixed next week. Bigger plans are afoot as well, but they’re pretty vague right now. I’ll write more about them once I have a better idea what’s going on.

We also got a great view of last night’s SpaceX launch, despite being about 100 miles from Kennedy Space Center. My phone utterly failed to focus in the dim light, but the rocket plume was quite visible the whole way. This was much closer than the launch I saw in Arizona, but the second stage continued out of sight pretty quickly, though we saw the first stage burn its engines to come in for a successful landing.

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