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Bikernet Road Stories: Hollywood Scotty Part 3

From Hollywood thru Malibu to the Rally and Back Again

by Scotty Kerekes

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Sunshine glistened off the pacific ocean at our left while the Malibu mountain range rose abruptly to the right. Sandwiched between these two landmarks, we traveled north along California's famous Hwy-1. It was a warm southern California winter day, the old FL was fully loaded with my gear, and all 105-lbs of Little Laura rested on the back seat. Some miles ahead waited the town of Ventura, where the David Mann Chopper Show was scheduled to begin. It was an event I’d been looking forward to for some time.
Because I have an aversion to hard travel we'd arrive in the afternoon, stay the night in a forest beside a river I know of in that area, then roll into the rally by morning.
Held in the fairground, the rally was pretty much as I'd remembered from other visits. The place offered a band, was full of vintage motorcycles, people, and had a pretty vast array of vendors. But for me the best of this gathering is always the opportunity to reacquaint with friends. After all, although I’m from southern California, I seldom visit this place anymore. Because this is an Easyriders event many of their employees were in attendance and, since I wrote for them back in the mid 90s and early 2000s, it was good to see these guys again. I also ran into Milwaukee Mike of Cycle Source mag. Tim Bentley of Negotiable Parts (an HD junkyard) was also in attendance and of course I had to pick through the used parts at his rather sloppy setup. From a pile I pulled a brand new drive belt for my own bike and told him I wanted it. He said, “Help load the truck later and it's yours”. Taking this for the deal of the day, I stuffed the belt into my saddlebag.

Panhead Billy Burrows showed up at Tim's place. I’d accidentally run into him in Wyoming some months earlier and we'd spent a few days travel together. Billy's a fascinating anomaly who's been living from only the back of his 1960 Panhead for 33 years. When I was new to full time motorcycle road-life and very worried that those with such ambitions might be insane, Billy'd had a pretty big impact. We'd spent time together and I think it was mostly his complete comfort in this nomadic life that eased my apprehensions so considerably. Think about it; in a world where one's ambitions differ so dramatically from the norm it's easy to feel very alone, and the importance and impact of meeting another of like mind can be uncommonly soothing.
Billy, Tim, and I have extensive history together and it was good to hang with these guys again.

The sunny southern California rally-day passed in a melee of social interaction and entertainment. Towards its end rain began. When the vendors had been loaded and were gone Billy, Laura, and I decided that, rather than endure the rain, we'd simply make camp below the large awning roof above the doorway of one fairground building. While hanging there I invited Billy to come stay at the Hollywood house for a while if he cared to. With no set plans and, like myself, able to follow any adventure to it's final conclusion, he agreed. Tomorrow we'd set course for the big city.
By morning the sunshine was back and I watched smoke bellow into the sky as Billy started that old Panhead. The thing had been smoking and backfiring in Wyoming too, and I marveled at the way he'll take that bike cross country irregardless of its mechanical condition. It was also from him that I long ago learned that a bike does not necessarily need to be in tip top shape to make long journeys. “Don't sweat the small stuff. Ride it while it runs”, a friend had once said.

It was a slow and easy ride along the coast with plenty of stops for picture taking that we enjoyed then. But by afternoon I was back at the Hollywood house and Billy met the residents. Although he got along well with the them, in only the few days I'd been gone the vibe here had changed considerably. I’d seen it coming though, for as of late there'd been problems among some of these folks, and especially with Joe—the keeper of this little community. Although he loves the fun and off the wall parties, Joe seeks to keep a semblance of sanity here and some of the residents had really gotten out of hand lately. Thankfully, it was not my problem.
After my month's stay in this place, it was obviously time to go. But where?

It had been while staying in Palm Springs just over a month earlier that I’d been contacted by a motorcyclist/actor. Justin Chatwin is a Canadian actor who's probably best known for playing Tom Cruise's son in 'War of the Worlds'. He's also had staring rolls in 'The Invisible', 'Dragonball Evolution' and supporting rolls in 'Taking lives', 'SuperBabies' and the Canadian film 'Funkytown'. Justin also does a lot of TV and is well known for his work on 'Shameless'. Prior to that he had guest appearances on 'Taken', 'Lost', and 'Orphan Black'. So I guess this guy's pretty successful. Anyway, he'd invited me to visit him in some nowhere high-desert town near Yucca. Justin had said he'd buy me a burrito and my response was, “Better be a damn good one if I’m gonna leave warmth Palm Springs and come up there where it's cold!”, but I’d ridden the 30 miles anyway, and that burrito had turned into a swanky steak dinner. I’d learned that, although he'd spent 13 years in Hollywood kick-starting his career, Justin hated cities and very much preferred small nowhere places. He'd also told me that, although he loved his job, motorcycles were his real passion. Justin was interested in the book manuscript I’d written but seem unable to get published, and asked for a copy. I gave him one with a request that, if he actually read the thing, he'd circle rough spots and write down comments. After all, the manuscript was unedited.

We'd kept in touch and, now staying in the mountains above Malibu, Justin had invited me for another visit. Laura would be leaving to take care of engagements elsewhere, so I called to ask if it would be cool to bring Billy with me. Justin liked the idea and said he looked forward to meeting this old road dog.
It was another sunny southern California winter day as Billy followed my FL along the tiny twisting roads that traverse the small mountains behind Malibu. Soon we were stopped in the parking lot of some little business to try and make heads or tails of the directions Justin had given. It was not an easy task, and Justin had told me that maps and GPS did not help much up here. But dumb luck brought our host to pull up on a Buell and we simply followed him the remaining few miles home.
At the end of a dirt road a little parking lot sat high upon a hill. In it was only a storage shed, one rotting panel truck, and an old pickup. Of course conversation ensued and, just as so many do, Justin was a bit taken with the old million-mile Panhead Billy rides. That thing's a real conversation piece. In time we moseyed to Justin's little block house that waited atop another small but steep hill. The inside of this humble abode reminded me of many houses I’d seen or stayed in down Mexico way, except that it offered all the amenities and was in extremely good condition.
Like the place I’d visited in Yucca, this little house was only a loaner from a friend. Justin told me that, although his job pays well enough, he no longer desires a big house and likes to keep expenses low and life simple so he won't have to take roles he doesn't want, and is free to travel more easily. Now where have I heard that before? So we drank tea and conversed for quite some time. I think Justin was just as enthralled with us as we were with him. After all, it was certainly an interesting mix of men with decidedly unusual lifestyles.
Conversation ran into the next hour at least, but eventually our new friend suggested we take a walk on this relatively unpopulated land that stood so high above the sea. From there talk continued until, eventually, we reached the cliffs and watched the sun set into the ocean far below.
After supper a strong wind began to blow, so at bedtime Billy laid his roll in the shed while I made camp inside the old panel truck.
Morning light permeated my sanctuary as I allowed the throws of sleep to slowly fade. Next came a knock at the door. A visitor. After yelling, “Come in”, Justin stepped inside with a cup of tea in one hand and my manuscript in the other. I always bring coffee home at night then drink it at room temperature by morning, so we enjoyed these beverages while bullshitting for a while. Justin had read my manuscript and come to talk of it. I got a pen, paper, and prepared to take notes. That boy had some pretty good ideas, and some I wasn't gonna use, but I was happy for the input just the same.
In truth, I forget the exact events of that sunny day. There was a lot of relaxation and bullshitting by morning and Justin made burgers for lunch. Eventually Billy decided to ride off and visit his friends at Easyriders magazine headquarters—which resides just over the mountain. By late afternoon he was back, and that evening we piled into the old pickup (loaned to Justin by a friend) and rode into town for a restaurant dinner. Although nothing of great importance happened, for me it was a wonderful night on the town.
By the following morning we all sat in the kitchen drinking coffee and I found it fun to have a bonafide actor serve me breakfast in the little house on the hill.

Our gathering would end today. Billy and I were ready to roll and Justin had other obligations. It was late morning as Billy and I rode out while Justin followed in the pickup to grab a few photos. Eventually though, he returned to the block house as we continued along the tiny snaking road that led onward to the sea.

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