Autumn Harley & the Indian Ghost

A Tribe Apart Part II

At one point this article was going to address the mainstream of the European to American Heavy Metal Explosion that happened in the late 1970s and burst into the 80s.  Acts such as Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath brought a new theatrical heavy core to the music world, and American bands like Metallica would pick up the torch and burst with it into the American mainstream.  Incidentally, I saw all three of those bands this summer… within about seven weeks.

I told all of my friends that I found a Delorean.


I first saw Metallica with Guns N Roses and Faith no More at Phoenix International Raceway, back in 1992.  That was one absolutely fantastic show!  The Black Album had just come out, and even with a broken arm Hetfield and gang completely rocked!


Here we are twenty-five years later, Metallica has just released their greatest record since (arguably Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, or Black… depending on your sentimentality.)  And I just interviewed with I DON’T KONFORM, who recorded their debut album with Flemming Rasmussen, who recorded two of those iconic Metallica albums!  

Could it be introduced however, by a quick look at the dichotomy of people at a Metallica concert?  What does a band that has songs like Seek & Destroy {which has been famously used as a get pumped up for the “mission” kind of song} and intensely anti-war songs like One really say to people?  At one point, James Hetfield called out, “Tonight we are not republican or democrat; I don’t care about your politics; I don’t care who you love; I don’t care who you voted for… tonight, we are all one Metallica family and we are One.”

But the article is not going to be about that.

Little did I know how true of a prelude the words actually were.


At one point this article was going to explore the changing face of the motorcycle world by analyzing the falling sales of Harley Davidson and the rapid rise back to prominence of Indian Motorcycles.  The article could focus on the counter culture elements of motorcycles and rock n roll, and discuss why sides were so easily drawn and gangs were so easily formed.  It would be an article about the end of an era.

Young People Aren’t Saving Harley Davidson.  It is interesting because, again at one point in my thinking, this was going to be the article.  The Millennials are not wanting to be Easy Rider.  They are wanting to be a cool looking cat, on a really nice bobbed out machine, absolutely owning the pub crawl.  That is cool, and I am not judging, but those bikes don’t rule the highway and cruise the country.  Those bikes stay home.

Indian Motorcycles is having a Hell of a Year on the Flat Track.  As we sat at Ozzy, where, by the way Indian Motorcycles was the primary sponsor of all the bands at the Legendary Buffalo Chip, and Harley was nary to be noticed…. at all.  And Indian gave away three bikes that night…. three really fast bikes that had been on the flat track racing … that day.  It was cool, but the grumbling of the aging Harley crowd, was obvious….. and the lack of applause during Indian’s presentations…. was also noted.

Indian Motorcycles are still moving upward in their control of market share.  So Harley is down…. and it is becoming a trend…. and Indian is up…. and it is becoming a trend.  And my buddy Jason Montiel rides Autumn, and Autumn is a Harley Davidson Black Line.  I call myself Ghost Writer, and I ride a Dark Horse Indian Chief named Jiibay {Spirit/ Ghost in Obijwe}.

It would be interesting, as we drive, talk, ride, and enjoy a fantastic vacation, to have this experience to reflect on as we discuss the changes taking place in not only music but the motorcycling world as well.  Two tribes, set apart from convention, that are both seeing historic changes in almost everything about their core business model.

So far, my plan is to review several recent articles about the changing face of the highway in terms of motorcyclists, and take a look at if what I see here mirrors the findings of the article.

But this article is not going to be about that.

At another point this article was going to be a living travel blog of a once in a lifetime adventure.  Two friends who had known each other for twenty-eight years going to the 77th Annual Black Hills Motorcycle Rally at Sturgis!  It would be the travel diary of two road warriors!  I would upload my GoPro footage, and people would tune in to see the daily antics of two modern day Peter Pans!


But in our infinite rise in technological abilit we are ultimately limited by WiFi connectivity and roaming charges.  So this article couldn’t be about that.

Once again, I went into a project with a specific plan, and once again the plan evolved, changed, reversed course, and began to follow its own trajectory even as I explored the events that would eventually fuel it.  Sometimes, and perhaps most times, as is proving true, my Muse has other plans than even I am aware of.

It seemed that everywhere I looked around Sturgis, I could try to find some sort of evidence that there was a divide happening within the motorcycle community.  Perhaps I could have stretched and gone out on a limb, and tried to say that because the overwhelmingly Harley driving audience at The Buffalo Chip didn’t seem thrilled that Indian was such a heavily involved sponsor that therefore there must then be a looming problem.


The fact is though, those few moments were few and far between.  They would have been a streching bit of proof at best.  Overwhelmingly, the more I looked for divisions in the Sturgis demographic the more I saw a diverse group of people capable of overlooking differences.

So… by the middle of the trip, several hundred miles of road behind us, and several hundred more in front, I still didn’t know really what I was going to write about.  I knew it was going to have something to do with change.  It was going to have something to do with the speed of that change.  It was going to have something to do with time, and the speed of its passing combined with the ridiculous speed of technological industry.  It is like a cannon straight into Brave New World.

I had ideas, I had silent meditations on avenues I let my mind travel as I drove and twisted amoung the Black Hills Motorcyclist Playground.  I allowed my mind to just spin, hoping that something would awaken, and the article would leap off the page and be profound.


I allowed myself to dream and to wonder about the truth of modern conspiracies, and it was hard to read some of the headlines in association with the looming heavenly event and not think about the possibilities and the coincidences.  We had been to see Ozzy, and bought his special limited edition Blood Moon Wine, a commemorative vintage marking the Full Eclipse, that was also marking the end of the world… to some.  How fitting.

The World is Going to End.  And you know?  You can’t make some of this stuff up, and no, I am not one of these crazy nut jobs…. but I have to admit, that I am a fan of coincidence and just random chaos all of a sudden lining up and not being chaotic.  Things that make you go hmmmm.

Hopi Legend It is not as if I did not just do a huge travel article on the legends and mythology of the Hopi, and it is not as if some of the strange links do not, nor should not, give one pause.  They are quite interesting.

The Blue Kachina Star.  So when NASA starts to actually verify some of these crazy moments of freaky mumbo jumbo….. it is crazy!

Now… Ozzy Osbourne even had a limited vintage wine made to commemorate the occasion…. so, when else did Crazy Bible Fringe Folks, Hopi American Indians, NASA, and Ozzy agreed on anything????

I bought three bottles.  It was a special Sturgis pack.  They come in a coffin.  If the world is going to end next week….. drink well.

So… What is this Article About ???

This article is about riding what you love.  Doing what you love.  It is about the absolute waste of time of worrying about expectations.  This article is about embracing life as nothing more than a series of successful days, and loving the journey and the building process and potential of each of those individual days.  This article is about recognizing your limitations, and not allowing plans gone awry to influence your ability to adapt and have a wonderful experience.  This article is about the power of really everything…. being in our own hands.  This article is about embracing….. each…… moment.

Carpe Diem.

The more that I looked for difference, the more kindred spirits I found.  Yes, there were Trump supporters everywhere, and yes, everyone knows that that is certainly not my jam… but we could ride together.  I knew those guys had my back, and I had theirs.  I found myself really trying to look at things from their perspective, and they taught me lessons in being objective.

The more I looked for Harley and Indian gangs, the more I saw groups just like me and my buddy Jason.  Mixed riders, on mixed brands, enjoying a life seen between handle bars and rumbling over asphalt on two wheels and a meticulously designed machine.  Is there a season of change taking place…. but the only constant in this world is CHANGE…

Enjoying life is learning how to negotiate the turns of those changes, press hard, look lean and roll, and keeping the greasy side down.  Life is about finding commonalities in people that give you reasons to spend time…. NOT about exaggerating your differences.  Differences will always exist, and they are not hard to find.

My friends… I had the trip of a lifetime.  I feel like I have been plugged into the almighty Universe and recharged.  I am looking at two months of HEAVY HEAVY fun times.  Spirits of Jerome is coming.  E Store is getting ready to launch.  The Spirit Room is just around the corner.  It is GO TIME !




Ghost Writer

Arizona Enthusiast. Writer. Rider. Dreamer.

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