Thursday, June 16, 2016

Runnin' with the Pack

Movies are awesome.  I love watching a good story with good action told in a compelling manner on screen.  Some movies really find a way to capture your imagination and keep you involved long after the projector has turned off.  People start to imagine life within the world of the film and find like-minded people to talk to and hang out with, and next thing you know, it's a cult classic, and people are doing cosplay and writing fan fictions and recreating things from the movie and having conventions.  These movies live on through time and are handed down like oral tradition.

One of these movies is Mad Max.  I love Mad Max, but I love the Road Warrior (Mad Max 2) even better.  I doubt I'm alone on that one.  Beyond Thunderdome is... the third one, but the Road Warrior is where it's at.  It's the one that really makes you wonder how you'd survive in the world of the Wasteland.  I doubt I'd do very well, but that's not the point.  I hate to admit that I haven't seen the fourth one, but I do own it, and as soon as I can borrow a decent home theatre space, I'll watch the crap out of that.  I'm thinking (based on what I've seen and heard) probably better than the first, but not better than the second.  We'll see.

Last weekend, I took the opportunity to tag along on a Mad Max themed motorcycle ride.  I was a bit hesitant when i arrived because I had no motorcycle or suitable attire, but I wanted to experience it and capture it in my photography.  After hanging around the starting point and taking some cool shots, I asked the leader of the pack if it was cool that I tag along.  I knew he was also gifted with the photogenic eye, so I figured he'd be cool.  For as foreboding, ominous, and troublesome as they look, the people in this group couldn't have been nicer, and they were very generous and kind and totally ok with me not matching.  I have ideas on how to fix that though.

The bikes
I thoroughly enjoyed the drivers' meeting before they left.  He talked about how there was rain coming and they were going to change the route to accommodate the issues that could cause.  He talked about some things they didn't want recurring from the last run.  My favorite part, though, was when he gave the basic itinerary.  He basically said that they were going to go to a bar to avoid the rain, go be hooligans in a certain area "until the authorities chase us out," go be hooligans in another place "until the authorities chase us out," and then go eat lunch.  I couldn't help but smile when I heard that.  This was gonna be a fun day.

I had tried to keep my composure as he gave our itinerary.  That was funny.
It was pretty impressive to see them all line up in the street before they took off for mayhem.  We left and drove through downtown Milwaukee on our way through the rain to our hide from the rain destination.  I was accompanied by three other non-motorcycles on the trip.  I'm guessing on years, but I'd say there was a '65 F-100, a '57 Plymouth... whatever the old Coronets would be as a Plymouth, and the landmark: Big Daddy War Bus.  I followed the bus figuring I wouldn't be able to lose him.  Pretty sure he road his brakes the whole time which made it kinda hairy when he actually did slow down, but I was enjoying myself too much to care.

I was glad I wasn't the only car at the bike ride.
We departed Edge-O-Ghetto and proceeded through the East side near UWM and down to the lake front and through downtown.  I was having a blast watching all the people on the sidewalks looking at what had just passed them by.  The look of wonder, amazement, and "what the???" was hilarious to watch as we rode along.  Some people thought it was cool, some wondered what was going on, and some just passed it off as just another day.  I'm convinced they didn't know just how badass it really was.

Traffic stops for these bamfs.
Clearing the roadway of any unwanted animals, debris, or people in our way.
Just too cool.
We got to the rain destination (after driving through a short downpour), and the group split.  Some people stayed outside while it was dry, and some went in.  The outside group eventually retreated to the War Bus when it did rain.  I took the opportunity to check out the Bus, but eventually went inside.  Before looking at the Bus, there was a group of about eight of us standing outside listening to Chad (the daredevil with the sidecar) telling some stories.  As he was talking, a group of about fifteen guys walked out of the bar ( they carried themselves like a bachelor party, I thought), and when they were near us, one guy called out to our group, "Hey, what's your favorite movie?"  Chad turned, mid-sentence, without missing a beat and replied, "Death of a Salesman."  I couldn't stop laughing.  That was probably my favorite thing of the whole ride.  I had to take this picture to accompany the story then.

Nothin' goin' on here.  Go about your business.
The family the rides together...
Chad: Mad Max fan, rider of 2/3 of his wheels, Death of a Salesman fan.
The fun wasn't simple relegated to outside though.  Inside with the rest of the group, we bumped into a wedding party too.  I commented the odd juxtaposition of "our motley crew" on one side, and the tuxedoed gentlemen of the wedding.  There was a photographer trying to take pictures of the bride and groom, and I tried to take a stealthy one of them, but failed.  I did successfully mingle with the group, however.  I met several people in the group throughout the few stops and got a chance to get to know them a bit and share our common interests.  A lot of photographers in the group.  I had lunch with two people who even did 35mm too.  I thought that was pretty cool.  (Sadly, the weather didn't hold for me to take some cool rainy night shots on 35mm that night, so I went home.)  I kinda hope I get to run into some of these people again before the next run in Fall.

Unless they won't have me...
After the rain let up, we drove down around the Port of Milwaukee (one of my favorite places to chill), and we found a big gravelly place to park while some people hooned for a bit.  Some of us got some cool pictures of the group down there, and had some short, impromptu photo shoots with individuals and their bikes, but soon the group was curious enough to investigate some other features of the area.  This exploration led to us getting noticed, and that, in turn, led us to getting "chased out by the authorities..." even if it was just a forman saying we couldn't be in the spherical silo.  In the end, our stay in the Port was short-lived, and with the weather not co-operating, our ride was similarly short-lived.  We then went to our lunch stop which would turn into our final stop.

Who's gonna chase out the bus?!
By the end of the day, I found myself driving home (the long way) thinking about just how cool the experience was.  I really enjoyed the spectacle of the costumes and modded bikes and vehicles, and I wished I had something to bring to the table in that respect.  I really wondered how cool it would be to go to Wasteland Weekend and home much more of this that would be, but I also wondered since this was just a bonus ride, how much better the actual ride was a few weeks earlier.  What I really need to do is make a costume to wear for next time, and buy another Crown Vic that I could build into a post-apocalyptic 4x4 with a short lift and pre-runner bar.  Yes, I'm referring back to the Sno Leopard.  I could build that by May 2017, right?  Right?!

He's probably thinking, "Keep dreamin'."
See all the pictures from the ride here, and like my photography page!

Makes perfect
(Photo credit: Caitlin Fogle)
(The rest are mine or movie footage)


  1. Hey Charlie...glad ya had a blast!
    Look forward to seeing your Crown Vic (or whatever ya build. :) )

  2. This is my thought but with a few tweaks to make it more post-apocalyptic. I'm thinking no interior, tube bumpers, hood scoop, and custom headers that have electronic cutouts on each cylinder going to optional fender exit pipes. Hopefully it'll shoot flames.

  3. This is my thought but with a few tweaks to make it more post-apocalyptic. I'm thinking no interior, tube bumpers, hood scoop, and custom headers that have electronic cutouts on each cylinder going to optional fender exit pipes. Hopefully it'll shoot flames.