I was in serious trouble. Only three days earlier, my wife and I had a tango with a 200 pound black bear.
While cruising southbound on Highway 101, in the Pacific NW Olympic National Park, ‘Lil Smokey decided to bolt from the blackberry bush and play “chicken” with our Victory Cross Country Tour motorcycle. Unfortunately, neither he nor I flinched.
If you are interested, you can read about our violent encounter HERE: Bear vs Motorcycle.
I promise you, it is a good read.
I was facing a number of problems.
One, I had a bike that was seriously “messed up.” Ridable? Yes; but not without some added risk.
Two, I was only half-way through my 17-day motorcycle trip; with 2000 miles still to go.
Three, Sturgis 2019 was only days from her Grand Opening. Practically every motorcycle shop in the Pacific NW had closed their doors and shut down as preparations were being made to travel to the glorious Black Hills of South Dakota.
Oh boy. I needed another miracle.
What would you do had YOU been wearing my motorcycle boots?
Brian Klock of Klock Werks is a consummate networker. If anyone can drum up a lead on someone who can help untangle and shape metal, it is Mr. B.K. himself.
I was not disappointed.
Within hours of putting out “a call,” Brian received a ping from fellow biker and Facebook friend Brian Lester. Angelo Moore from C & A Customs in Tacoma, Washington could help.
C & A Customs had buttoned down the hatch. They, like all the other bike shops in the area, were prepping for the sweet ride East.
YET STILL, to help a fellow moto-family member get back on the road, Angelo kept the lights on.
My first impression of Angelo was a guy who was no-nonsense. He was quick to give job assignments to his fellow shop mates, Travis and Gabe. There were a few projects they needed to finish before heading out of Dodge.
His eye was extremely attentive to details.
And . . . he was quick to get his hands dirty.
Angelo’s mission was clear and straightforward: “My job is to get you back on the road so that you can ride safe.”
He’d get no argument from me. That’s some solid wisdom right there.
It was apparent from Angelo’s work rhythm and from the simple fact of his shop filled with multiple bikes, all in some stage of customizing, that he was one busy cat. With Sturgis only day’s away, the LAST thing he needed was my inconvenience.
C & A Customs genuinely cares.
As I mentioned already, my first impression of Angelo was someone who was hard on the edges and definitely driven. Personally I respect that.
That being said, as time marched on, I began to see what was DEEPER inside of Angelo’s shell. The comradery he shared with Gabe and Travis, his shop mates, was not just business. It was MORE than that.
“I did NOT tell you to take off the trailer door,” Angelo quipped.
“You DID too,” Gabe retorted.
I said, “trailer door bolts.”
“You said trailer door,” Gabe responded.
And back and forth they went.
From the way they bantered, you’d have thought they were some old and unhappy, married couple.
Ha. Not even remotely similar.
There was a lot to be accomplished in the next 24 hours. And yet in that simple, brief, comical exchange between “brothers” and childhood friends, the smile on Angelo’s face added a levity to the moment. And in so doing, I got a front row seat into what helps make C & A Customs the major player in the motorcycle industry it is known for.
THIS unique group of custom wrench heads are FAMILY.
And family GETS THINGS DONE.
Even though these men had 100 OTHER things to do to prep for their roadtrip to Sturgis, Angelo and his boys put it all aside to help me.
There in that Tacoma garage, I was getting to sample some of the C & A Customs Kool-Aid.
I liked how it tasted.
As a man of faith, I take my marching orders from the Bible. The treatment I received on this day reminded me of the challenge Jesus once gave to His followers. Jesus said, “love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39). And when a Roman soldier demands you to carry his gear for a mile, do MORE than that. Carry it TWO miles (Matthew 5:41).
C & A Customs clearly goes the EXTRA-MILE.
“Mike, your back tire is GONE. Are you hungry for a blowout?”
Who ever suggested moto customizers don’t have a sense of humor? And with that, Angelo once again reminded me of his mission.
Don’t argue with the BOSS. In Travis’ words, “I just do what Angelo tells me to do.”
Thank you Angelo. Thank you Travis.
With our bear encounter, if you happened to read that BLOG post, I expressed my strong belief that God’s protective hand was on Robin and me that day. One might even argue that He had a guardian angel protect the bear too; since he woke up and meandered into the woods after a twenty-five minute siesta.
I think that Angelo could also argue that he too has an “angel” on his moto team.
Shortly upon arrival to C & A Customs, I was introduced to Gabriel.
“Like the angel,” I asked.
“Yep,” He replied. “My mom gave all of us boys biblical names.”
I’m not sure if the angel Gabriel has neck tattoos like Gabe from C & A Customs. It wouldn’t surprise me if he did.
Gabe, for what it is worth, in the Bible, Gabriel is one of God’s most trusted, ultra-high, top-of-the-food chain angels. Your mom gave you the name of a WARRIOR.
From what you told me, it seems like God has an equally high calling on your life. Keep growing. Keep moving forward. And thank you for living out the character of your name during the brief hours we shared together. Your kindness and hospitality reinforced even further the C & A Customs brand.
Finally, one last shout out to Mr. Moore himself.
I hope your ride, on this little gem, brought immense smiles to your face and heart as you toured the majestic back roads of the Black Hills.
Ride safe brother.
So to ALL you motorcycle riders in the Pacific Northwest and to those just traveling through: for ALL your motorcycle needs, I STRONGLY recommend, based upon my PERSONAL experience, that you reach out to Mr. Angelo Moore with C & A Customs.
He, and his team, will treat you right. They will treat you like family.
** I invite you to join me on my journey via Instagram. My moniker is costamesaman. **