On September 18th, 2020, my beautiful Bride, Nicole, and I, loaded up my bike with the essentials and made our way to Ranger, Ga. We were heading to the party of our dreams; we just didn’t know it yet. We took our sweet time getting there, low and slow the whole way. The older that we get, the less of a hurry that we seem to be in. I want to remember every moment, and the moments that I get to spend on the bike, one on one with my wife are extremely intimate for us, and I want them to last. We stopped at Tom and Chee, in Kennesaw, to get some vittles and keep us huge. We’ve been talking about stopping there for a date night for years, so when I saw that it was on the way, I knew that she would be all about it. In my mind it was going to be this place that was in an old house, turned into a restaurant, with a dirt road leading to it, and a fence with missing boards around it. Little did I know that it was going to be in a strip mall, dead in the heart of Kennesaw, Georgia traffic. I will admit that I don’t research things as well as I should, but thankfully those grilled cheese sandwiches were made of golden happiness. I could eat that sandwich and tomato soup, every day, for the rest of my life.
We took off from Tom and Chee with renewed strength and happy hearts. It didn’t take long before we reached North Georgia, and If you haven’t been in the area before, that’s when the beauty begins. A lot of rolling hills, open fields, and I can’t be sure, but it feels easier to breathe. We stopped about half an hour out to grab a few beerskies, because even though I am from Georgia, I haven’t ever been to Ranger. I wasn’t sure if there would be a place to get supplies nearby. I knew that the place was supposed to be pretty isolated, so I rode for about 30 miles, with 30 crisp miller lites, resting ever so gently on my lap and tank. We moved on down the road and found that there was, in fact, what I imagine was the only store nearby, about 3 miles away. Either way, I got real acquainted with that box in my lap and its always good to make friends when you can.
Nicole and I pulled into The Grundle Run, and it was perfect from the moment I laid eyes on it. An open field with Bikes and Tents as far as you could see, good music playing, vendors lined up, and the smell of campfire smoke in the air. We stopped at the Tent to pay our fee of 30 doll hairs
to camp for the weekend. A small price to pay for unlimited good times. We rode the property to find a spot to make home and we decided that we wanted to be close to the action, so we worked our way back to the main gate and found a spot that we figured would be a close walk. We set down at our camp site, next to Zak and Lauren, who were incredible conversation and veterans of the grundle, and really painted a good picture for what the weekend had in store. We were also celebrating our friend Luke’s dirty 30, and he and his Wife Candace, met us out there for the weekend and posted up at our site.
We started walking the property to see what we could get into, and I would say 85-90% of the bikes there were built. Every one of them were a work of art that each person poured hours upon hours of their time, affection, and frustration into. I have always admired the people that have built their bikes from the ground up. To know your machine so intimately and to be so deeply immersed into the understanding of the way it works, and then to be able to make that understanding come to life. That’s the dream to me, man. To take your love and knowledge of motorcycles and to use it to create something amazing. I have always been told that a motorcycle is an expression of self and to build it from the ground up, in my opinion, does not get any truer of an expression than that.
We kept walking and we discovered that the vendors were selling cool vintage clothes, handmade pieces of jewelry and knives, bike parts, a shovelhead motor, big brand clothes, and food of course. They were also doing a raffle for a shovelhead chopper built by long brothers choppers, and a raffle for a helmet made by Custom Destruction that was a collaboration with Chiko’s Pinstriping that also came with an additional bundle of shirts and stuff. We walked some more, and we found an Arena that would hold a wrestling match later the next day. Dirt bikes and 4 wheelers were running wide open through the field. The wonderful smell of campfires were dominant in my senses and there was a killer Taco Truck that I probably had 16ish tacos from, called “Q’Paso Latin Grub”, out of Alpharetta. Fun fact, between Q’Paso and 40 dollars worth of honey buns and zebra cakes, that’s all I ate for the weekend and it was delicious. Pig-n-Out BBQ was also there, and I was kicking myself after we left that I got too wrapped up in all the other goings on to tap into, what smelled like a great time. I heard great stuff about it too and the next time that we are in Canton, we will be visiting for sure!
We spent the next two days looking at cool bikes, meeting cool people, and drinking beers. One of the big reasons that we came out, initially, was to meet the Custom Destruction crew. Nicole and I are both Marines and already have a spot in our hearts for Marine owned businesses, especially in the motorcycle community. I got Nicole a helmet from them for Christmas, and she gets asked about it every time she wears it. So we woke up on the morning of the second day, a little squirrely from the night before, and we grabbed some coffee and headed out to see if we could find them. Nicole and I, walked hand in hand to the hill in the center of the field, so that we could see everything from there. The timing was funny, because at that very moment, Wes, the owner of Custom Destruction drove by in his black Van, looked at us, and said “good morning”. Now, full disclosure, we were fan-girling a little hard. The guy makes an amazing, quality product, all of which are killer and we love. We love the things he does with motorcycle culture and we love how he, and his wife have been tag teaming this business. Essentially, custom destruction makes the best ¾ helmet that money can buy. Plus its veteran owned, as Wes is a fellow Marine. So send your business to Custom Destruction and get something cool. Anyways, we have been talking about this day since March, so in for a penny, in for a pound. We walked over and said hello and asked if we could swing by later in the day and buy some shirts and drink some beers.
Later in the day comes, and we swing back by Custom Destruction’s spot. Nicole bought a shirt and we cracked some beers and got to talk to the guys. Wes and Kyle and JD were extremely kind and welcoming. Wes and Kyle are fellow Marines and JD was a Navy man. We all exchanged stories and drank a few beers and had a good time. Every guy there was so well spoken and easy to talk to. I enjoyed listening to Wes talk about the journey he has had from working as a welder to starting out with helmets out of his garage, and then going full time, to getting to where Custom destruction is now. All of which was said with love and adoration for the support of his wife through the whole process.
We said our goodbyes and walked back to our area, continuing to have a good time and to meet good people and see cool bikes. The raffle came around later and to be honest, I am not the guy that wins stuff. I bought some tickets for the raffle, but it was not with any expectations attached to it. The big-ticket items on the raffle, that I know everyone was eyeing, was the shovelhead chopper, built by long brothers choppers, and the helmet made by custom destruction with the collaboration paint job done by Chiko’s Pinstriping. I gave the tickets to Nicole as the raffle started going off, because she’s better with numbers and I figured I would people watch and take a few pictures. Raffle items started going off, one after another, and then I hear a shriek that was all too familiar. I turned around to see my Wife at the table, literally jumping with joy, as she had won the Custom Destruction helmet. Nicole has been talking about winning this helmet for weeks, probably daily, and to watch her have this moment - to watch my wife and best friend, be showered with gifts at an event that she was already having the time of her life at, with the item that she most desired, after already having an especially bad week, was just icing on the cake. She won a bundle of stuff that also went with the helmet, from Custom Destruction, lowbrow customs, Vitzy Boys Choppers, Smutt Butt Magazine, Road Dawgs, Still Borne, Wannabe choppers, Grundle Run Swag, and a Shirt from Twin Rivers.
As the night went on, man, things just got better and better. I think the next thing that happened was Second Self Beer Company, with “Vikings of the South” beer on tap, offering free beers to celebrate and the beer was amazing! A really cool guy, loving on everyone with his quality beer. That is my favorite kind of person. Me and mine will be checking them out more in the future, as I didn’t realize that they were so close to my house until we spoke. After that, there was a wrestling match that was everything I hoped and dreamed, and I met a ton of other Marines, who ascertained from my tattoos that I was one of them, which lead to a lot of good conversations with a lot of good dudes. Finally, an old Gold Wing Motorcycle was laid to rest on a fiery pyre. I have honestly never had so much fun in my entire life.
Henry David Thoreau, said “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not the fish they are after”. I personally think the same thing can be said about the motorcycle community. I think there is specific value to the experience of the kind of motorcycle you ride, and especially more if you built it, but I think we do it to be a part of the scenery as we move through it. To experience the wind and the sun and the rain. To get to smell the different smells and feel the heat and the cold and learn the lessons that are unique to each of them. Then finally to be immersed in the community. This is where I have made some of the greatest friendships of my life and I think a lot of us can say the same. It’s the experience that we are after, that cannot be packaged or bought, and the Georgia Grundle Run is that kind of experience. Words and Pictures just aren’t enough, so you need to come and check it out for yourselves.
I am very thankful that I got to be a part of this years’ Grundle Run and we will be back in the coming years. If anyone knows of any other events in the southeast, let me know and I will check them out! In a few more days, myself and a few friends will be going west, but much farther this time. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!