Why do gatherings and gathering places matter so much to motorcyclists? In this episode, I talk with automotive journalist Kyle Cheromcha whose story “Mulholland is Burning” chronicles how California’s historic 2018 wildfire season nearly claimed the legendary Rock Store, even as it destroyed land, homes and lives on every side. With more than a half century of history as one of the world’s most beloved biker hangouts, its near-loss reminds us of how vital community is to what we do, of the sometimes unsung people who keep it alive, and of how sometimes a ride really is about the destination.

Show Notes

The Rock Store on a chilly Saturday morning, three months after the fire.

Here’s a link to Kyle Cheromcha’s “Mulholland is Burning.” I’m admittedly a sucker for this kind of reporting, but I’m pretty sure this story will have an impact on anyone who loves motorcycles and motorcycle people. It’s a killer piece of writing.

Although Kyle is a car guy – for now – TheDrive.com also covers the motorcycle beat. Here’s a shortcut to that page.

In case you thought I was kidding about “The Mouse and the Motorcycle,” here’s a link. I’m strongly tempted to add this to the library for little ones in our clan, current and future, no matter what their mommies think 😉

There is obviously a lot of media coverage of the Woolsey fire available online. For a basic sketch of what happened, though, good old Wikipedia is as good a place as any to get a sense of where and how it unfolded.

Looking east from Kanan Dume Road, three months after the fire. This is where you’ll find Mulholland Highway, the Snake and, happily, the Rock Store.

The ‘melted’ bridge in Cornell, near the Rock Store. It’s supposed to be back in service by May, restoring access to the Rock Store from Mulholland Highway.

Yours truly on Mulholland, heading home. Never mind the rider, though… look at that green. This area was in the burn zone, and on this day it seemed like a perfect metaphor for resilience.

There is also a lot of YouTube footage about the fire, not surprisingly. This isn’t the most harrowing to watch (and includes some extraneous material at the beginning), but for riders, being real time footage from a motorcyclist’s helmet cam, it does a particularly good job of taking you there as the disaster is unfolding. For similar video of the aftermath, look for “Riding Through Fire Damage” by the same person.

The Rock Store’s web site provides some good information about where to find it and what it has to offer. In the aftermath of the fire, they were apparently active on Facebook, keeping regulars up to date on the condition of things and when they would reopen. If you plan a visit, it’s probably worth following them there. I’m sure you can tell I was an instant fanboy, but don’t let that discourage you… if you’re riding in that area, it’s worth a significant detour to visit, especially on Saturday or Sunday. To give you a sense of how welcome you’ll be, consider Rich Savko’s quote at the end of the article that inspired this episode: “God must be a motorcycle fan.”

You can follow Kyle Cheromcha on Instagram at @kylecheromcha. The Drive also has an Instagram feed, and you’ll find them at @thedrive.

For fans of Redlight King – and I know several listeners who are – you can find him on Instagram at @redlightking. The new single breaks cover on 04.05.19

Indi and the Vegas’ home on the web is here. You can listen to more of their tracks free on Soundcloud and, of course, buy the ones you like in the usual places. Many thanks, Indi, for wanting to be a part of this podcast, and best wishes for the new single. We loved your beach set!

A note about the photographs on this page: for obvious reasons, they resemble a lot of photographs of this area, especially those taken recently. All of these are mine, however, except for the picture of me, which was taken by Victory Jon (@victoryjon).

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