When I got to Fort Bragg just after noon I was ready for a break. It had been a cold and damp morning riding up the coast in the fog. I was pleased to be on schedule and instead of going to the Mexican place I decided I wanted a warm drink and stopped at the Starbucks. My first impression as I walked in was that I felt like I recognized some of the people in there. Which is weird since I don’t get up to Fort Bragg that often, I just had this feeling like I’d seen them some of them before (some of the customers not employees). Feeling a bit surreal I grabbed a chair by a power outlet and immediately plugged stuff in to start charging since that was the other reason I chose Starbucks over real Mexican food. I then proceeded to peel off my many layers since it was warm in there and I was beginning to overheat. Doing this I ended up taking over a bit of the chair next to me, but I wasn’t too concerned as the place wasn’t crowded.
After ordering my drink and getting some food I was very happy to sit down, I’d been crouching for the last several hours and it felt good to get my feet up.
Just after I got comfortable a guy in his mid 50’s put his laptop in the chair next to me. My first reaction was one of annoyance since there were plenty of other seating options and my gear was all over the place between the two seats, I made an attempt after he went to order his drink to try and contain it a bit, but anyone who’s had a pile of gear knows this isn’t the easiest thing to do.
When he came back he looked at my “stuff” with a less than friendly eye which did not warm me to him much, but a few minutes later when he was digging out his power cord I helped him plug it in which earned me a very sincere “Thank you”. This apparently was all I had needed to do to open the floodgates. He had apparently noticed my bike parked outside and complemented me on it asking me where I was going. I briefly told him about my plans of riding to Portland. The next thing I knew I was getting regaled with stories of his motorcycling youth (on a Triumph, which was unique, most of the time it’s Harleys). He spent several minutes talking about all the work he had done on his bike and that he was part of a club and sounded like he like to race at the drop of hat.
Funny thing is he was plenty friendly, once he decided I wasn’t one of those “kids?” and we had a pleasant enough conversation. After the conversation I was reminded of another old timer I met up in Eureka a few years back telling me similar stories and I wondered if they knew each other or if that kind of craziness was just part of growing up in Northern California. If so there is no wonder motorcycles are seen as dangerous, honestly after hearing all of the crazy they did I’m surprise he was still in possession of all his limbs.