One Big Blur
Our riding gear was still damp from the day before, but the sun was shining and we were eager to explore the roads around Napa Valley. There is something incredibly peaceful about riding among farms and the vineyards go on forever. They had a late harvest this year so the grapes had only just come off the vines and the leaves were beginning to turn. The crisp Fall air cooled the fourteen engines which hummed in unison as we blurred through a kaleidoscope of colors. I’m sure people get used to riding there, but it’s hard to imagine.
Carlo had arranged for a tour of Ovid Winery so we could learn more about winemaking and taste the fruits of their labor. They explained how the grapes are harvested and processed, allowed to ferment and then aged for years. Although more and more science has crept into the process over the years, it’s clear that taste and intuition play a leading role. It’s a craft that takes a lifetime to perfect. Carlo then showed us where the recent harvest for his family’s new wine, Continuum Estate, was fermenting. We sampled the wine straight from the tanks and tasted the familiar sweetness of grapes beginning to acquire an edge.
We could have spent all day exploring, but our trip was coming to a close and The Prohibition Tour had one last trick up its’ sleeve. We had a number of musicians in the group who were playing a show that night at a local joint named the Kitchen Door. We got there just as night fell and learned that fans had staked claim to the best tables 5 hours before. The joint was packed and ready for the show.
Chris Pierce opened with a solo acoustic set that broke the ice. His original renditions are full of soul, and it’s easy to see how he’s toured with bands like Seal and Toots & the Maytals. Butch Walker and Jake Sinclair were up next. Butch is a well-known music producer who spends half the year on the road performing as Butch Walker & the Black Widows. I was sitting next to some girls who were particularly flummoxed and I asked if they were fans of his. Turns out they had driven hundreds of miles for tonight’s show and were intent on having the time of their lives. Butch and Jake energized the room with a mix of originals and well-timed covers, then invited everyone on stage for the finale and in true rock star fashion, brought down the house.
Sunday morning brought a healthy dose of reality. There was only one thing left to do – drive 450 miles back to LA and rejoin our lives. Once we were on the road, I began to reflect on The Prohibition Tour and kept coming back to a conversation I had with Josh Kurpius. He was telling me that when he built his motorcycle, he didn’t make the two-up seat too comfortable. He wanted to live on the road and work on his photography. He wasn’t looking for anything to tie him down. He was building a "freedom machine".
Was he so different from Carlo who produced amazing wine? Or Butch, Jake and Chris who created amazing music? Everyone was looking for the freedom to chase their dreams and when you’re riding a motorcycle, that freedom is all around you.