I did make it to the final check-in at Destination Harley-Davidson in Tacoma before the Cannonball rode over the the LeMay Museum for the closing ceremonies. I took dozens of pictures of the old Harley's, Indians, BMW's and very rare Hendersons that I could share but equal to all of the vintage pre-1937 motorcycles that made this monumental ride from Daytona I found something else.
Mixed in with the hundreds of well-wishers that congregated at Destination Harley-Davidson were two unique riders and their respective motorcycles. They weren't from the vintage motorcycle camp that predates even me but instead they were from the era of old school bobber and chopper builders that I grew up with.
The first that I met was Michael and the classic old school Harley-Davidson bobber he built in 1979. It was mostly built using a 1973 shovelhead and it's registered as a '73 but the parts came out of baskets so it's really a mix-match of parts. He's the original builder and has been riding the motorcyle for the last 36 years and it shows it. The big dent in the gas tank, the repaired handlebars that he used coat hanger to weld up, the deteriorated paint job, and the duct taped seat all testify to decades of riding his unrestored Harley bobber. As Mike Wolf on American Pickers would say it is true "rusty gold" reflecting hard riding and abuse over dozens of years.
I also met Steven and his classic old school Triumph chopper that he built in 1979 and has been riding ever since. This motorcycle also remains unchanged from it's original build although it is in much better shape than Michael's Harley bobber. From the extended girder forks to the sprung seat, pizza-cutter front tire and narrow rear tire everything is correct on this old school chopper because it was built during the era of old school choppers.
It is rare enough to even find an untouched original old school bobber or chopper but to find one still being ridden and in the possession of the original builder is almost unheard of.
The Cannonball was the cake for the day but these two classic motorcycles and meeting Michael and Steve was the icing on the cake for me.