For the last few years I have wanted to make the journey to Carmel, CA for the Quail Motorcycle Gathering. I had seen many pictures and coverage of the event. Seeing builders like Ian Berry of Falcon Motorcycles and Shinya Kimura of Chabott Engineering with their winning machines seemed like a dream. I wanted to be there and soak it all in as a spectator. This year I finished a machine I thought would fit the criteria to be amongst some of those elite builders. I decided this year was the year I would go to the Quail for the first time. And since I am going I might as well bring a couple builds to show.
The journey from Chicago to Carmel was looooong. It was a bit boring solo but once I got there I was greeted with some familiar faces from the industry as well as faces I have only seen online and in magazines was spectacular. It was the place I needed to be and the experience I needed to gain. The event was absolutely amazing and I met a lot of people and chatted with several motorcycle nuts like myself. In the morning a few judges came up to me (like all the builders there did) and asked me to explain the machines I brought. The questions that were asked were like what is it, how did you come up with the idea, what was your inspiration, etc. They were judges like Bryan Fuller and Craig Vetter, people who knew what it takes to build these machines. I chatted and answered their questions. It was kind of weird that the judges knew to ask specific questions about a 1949 parallel twin Indian Scout. Up until this show only a handful of people that saw the Indian knew Indian made a parallel twin. The day went on and when I returned from lunch there was a ribbon on the Continental Scout that read “This bike was selected by the judges for an award”. I was amazed and didn’t know what to say. It didn’t say what award so I figured maybe it was “Rookie builder of the year” or something. I brought the bike up to the stage at the time they said to and much to my surprise I won Best Custom/ Modified! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I thought. I was so honored to even be there let alone win such an amazing award that so many amazing builders I look up to had won in prior years. It was a dream come true and validation given for so much hard work. Now all I think about is what can I build for next year’s event….