Even in a group of some of the most creative and inventive men ever, Lance Tracy still stands out as maybe the most unique guy we’ve got. Lance can make just about anything including a real good time. He can even take apart a perfectly good old motorcycle and make an even better one; and I may be exaggerating about how perfectly good that r90/6 was to start with…
Seriously, what you did is truly brilliant and helped make one of the best motorcycle photos ever:
This is how I look in my mind’s eye even when I’m not on a bike.
But let me draw your attention back to our super saga. Let’s continue to lay out the events which unfolded, transforming boys into men and causing clouds to part and wolves to whimper in our wake.
In December of 2011 I somehow find myself in Georgia with these unkempt yet handsome fellas:
Greg, Mike, Ray and I ride from Athens up to Brevard and meet Mitch. I think this shot is in Brevard, and I think we didn’t hook up with Mitch until here, but it may have been earlier. Any of you give the details to that???
Sometime that day we rode past Bridal Veil Falls which is on 64 just a little north of Highlands, North Carolina and as we zoomed fast past that photo opportunity I thought about how cool we all looked, zooming fast as we were, and how someone ought to be documenting an interesting group of gnarly dudes like us. Sometime that day, probably over our 99th espresso stop for Greg, I brought up the idea of having a photographer travel with us sometime just so we didn’t all have to stop and take pictures and when we’d do a group we could all be in the photo at one time. Everyone seemed to like the idea and I knew just who I wanted to drag into our barely organized mayhem.
2012 would be another huge riding year for most of us. That year I’d finally get my knee down at Chuckwalla thanks to Joel hooking me up and driving me out to meet an instructor named Dale Kiefer. We’d all do Thunderbolt that same year, in May, and Rick would join us for us the first time. But the really big deal that year was the Creede Ride. We met up in Denver and crossed the state to get to know Barbara the Floater at the B&B with all the knives and marbles for a driveway, the abandoned mystery cars in the backyard, snarling dogs and creepy rooms; and then a day in the dirt where, and I repeat, Ray maliciously runs me over, out of control maniac that he is; then on to Creede where we make some more 1* history by inducting our newest riding pal, Lance Leather Pants Tracy.
I called Lance and worked it out for him to join us, just to take some pictures. Lance and I had become closer and closer over the years, especially since 2003 when he became one of the brothers who seemed concerned about how I was doing and we’d have fairly regular phone conversations about making films. Lance did a documentary about the evils of pornography and allowed me to help produce a little and we started working on ideas of doing films together; probably more my dream of working with a young talented guy like him than his dream of working with an old hack like me. But he was kind and funny and when I needed a cinematographer for a short film I was doing in Portland in 2006 Lance was willing to stoop down low and do it for me. I’m really not being self deprecating here; Lance was already an accomplished director with a ton of credits. But he knew I was in a jam and immediately came up and helped me make “Room to Breathe”… still available, c’mon! You can lose 12 more minutes of your life at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4zXdrZu2Yk&t=21s We have over 65k views; what do you got?
Lance, I knew, was one of those kids who grew up on a dirt bike, so naturally I figured he could ride. I’d start dropping stories to him about all of us frolicking around and he’d share about how he wanted to be free like all of us cool guys; and so it was easy for me to snake charm him into coming on an all expense paid trip to the Rocky Mountains and photograph us in all our glory. That, too, is still available to watch on youtube… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CfdmWeTJX8&list=PLbz-e6byDC0dANOrrF_c0qEyDlGAZ3-_g&index=34
But both in the back of my mind and in our back room talks, the idea of Lance joining our top secret club was hatched almost before everyone even met him. We’d been on the phone weeks before the trip, taking bets on how ‘the kid’ would do and we all watched him with a cowpoke’s critical eye of the greenhorn but Lance never slipped up. Not even once. Lance is the youngest of us and we knew as we aged we’d need someone to do all the dirty work and so with very little emotional effort we all agreed that Lance should be added to the group.
Not really, the little emotional effort part, I mean.
As silly as it may sound, we’ve been pretty careful about inviting people to ride with us and the decision to promote Lance from half-assed to full 1* was a monumental moment in our little group’s saga. And don’t forget, it was unanimous, especially after I reminded everyone he was younger and really could do all the work; point is though, Creede, Colorado was the site of a very special breakfast where Lance was inducted into our playful gang. I think he might even have wanted to join us, I’m not sure cause I don’t think we ever asked…
By this time we’d started ‘formalizing’ some nick names, I think. I’m pretty sure Greg was Che, or the Espresso Kid (my favorite, reminds me of Sundance but more accurate). Mitch got to be Rooster, not sure if that’s more “Cogburn” or Foghorn Leghorn. Rick was Captain Obvious… that one was firmly established in the van on the way back from Thunderbolt in the rain with Cmack sharing about his friend Abe not liking to ride fast to which Rick responded, “if you’re not riding fast, then, you’re just… you’re just riding…slow” and it would be on this very Creede ride that, earlier, in Gordon’s garage, having dropped a popsicle stick into the oil case of one of Gordon’s bikes, Cmack would be known at least for a little while as Popsicle. Gordon was Gordo but that was just everyone being lazy and not knowing Spanish cause there’s nothing fat about Gordon, corn dogs or no; I’m particularly proud of how he got Wizard, but that’s later, along with Goyo and MoBetta and a couple of others. Meanwhile, by this time in Creede, Dr. Shapiro was Dr. Gonzo, that one was just low hanging fruit and speaking of fruit, I think I picked up the Mango thing the year before and had I known about the Saturday Night Live flamboyant character played by Chris Kattan who is sexually irresistible to everyone, even to strong, heterosexual males I’d have … been even more quick to adopt the name, obviously it’s over the top apropos. I’ve seen how you all look at me. Do these saddlebags make my butt look bigger, fellas?Yes, now, in Creede, Colorado, we had our newest 1* and I don’t remember how long it took but at least by the time his film came out, the one he’d made for us about the ride that turned him into a man; he was already dubbed Film Guy. I think we still can work on that one. But I don’t think he’s gonna go for Leather Pants Lance.
Maybe, Nipples? Nipps? How bout Grand, as in Tetons?
Lance is a true friend. I’ve been in more than one jam and he’s been there to bail me out, some more serious than others. Just last December I needed to get from Burbank to LAX in the middle of the night and I called Lance so he’s hearing from me out of nowhere and what does he do but drop everything and come to get me and drive me from one side of LA to the other.
But Lance to 1* didn’t necessarily stop us from stopping. We still like to pose, and sorry Lance, you didn’t take this one but it’s my favorite group shot:
… well, one of them anyways. Great pose, Lance.
And we did make it back to Bridal Veil Falls but that comes later, in 2015 and I would learn that a good photographer can put himself in the picture anytime he wants to, if he really wants to : )
Response: Just keep out the breakfast in Chelan story…