words and photos by Cantina Fly, Luke Taylor..
The Kernville Kampout this year was epic fun. I didn’t have the Triumph locked in enough to make the ride for the first one last year. So this year, with phase one complete on Echo3, I planned on Kernville before they even announced the date. I made plans early and had some friends planning to go with.
The day before we were set to leave, my last friend canceled and said he had to work. So it was a solo mission for the ride. I waited until 11:00am Friday to see if he could get off work, and finally hit the road.
I made a gas stop and was on the 395 2 hours later. The solo ride across the desert was awesome. The whole ride was awesome actually, particularly the 178. Sometimes I feel like I’m riding through a painting on roads like that. Lots of twisties and smooth pavement.
When I pulled into Kernville I immediately saw what a beautiful town it was. It’s a rad little town tucked in between the mountains. I found camp and met Sean (@Pig) . The campsite we had was right on the river. Prime real estate for the weekend. I set up my tent a few yards from the river, and we went up to have some free beers. I had a couple and went to the store for food/supplies (beer).
It was dinner time so we met up with Jon (@ThebeardedGringo) and went up to the brewery. We met all his crew and enjoyed a meal like old friends. I was stoked to find myself at a table full of chopper friends after leaving the house by myself earlier that day. #vivalacantina for that one.
Saturday morning I woke to the sound of the river and an amazing view. I set up my camp stove but it wouldn’t light. I tore it apart and everything was fine. It was bad (old) fuel cans. Sean offered to get some new fuel cans, he ran up to the store, and I spilt all my food 50/50 with him from there out. We cooked up a hearty breakfast, and admired our teamwork.
We lounged around and talked bikes with our neighbors while breakfast digested. Around noon, Sean, John and myself went for a ride along the Kern river, up to the giant redwoods. The road was rough in spots but the curves and scenery more than made up for it.
We found the “trail of a thousand giants”, paid $5 to park, and walked the trail. It was worth the $5. I was completely blown away by these trees. Its incredible. Sean was so excited he climbed inside this tree-vagina. I took pictures like a Japanese tourist, but hey, I was touring.
It was getting chilly, and I headed back to camp. The sun was shining on the other side of the mountain, so I took my time and checked out the river. Next year I’ll have a fly reel with me.
Back at camp everyone gathered by the bikes, booze, and band. I wanted to put my bike up near the show area, so I fired her up and let her warm. I then proceeded to lay down some dirt antics I have no visual proof of, so I will go in to no further detail. But it was rad!!! #trustme
Saturday night was a blast, talked to a bunch of cool people and had a great time.
I have no specifics on the awards (again, free rum and beer) but I can tell you there was some noteworthy choppers. Most notably a Denver’s Choppers barn find. Completely original and immaculate. I didn’t run into the guy, but the hearsay was the neighbor lady had it her garage for years and sold it to him for $1,700!! Props to him for riding it there!
My personal pick was this flathead with the twin top tubes and split tanks. The chrome frame and paint was perfect. Don’t know who to credit for it, but excellent work!
The whole party was a cool vibe, just people stoked on bikes, laughing, and having fun. It was a pretty smalI crowd and I got a lot of positive feedback on my bike which was cool. There’s no party like a chopper party!
We made it back to camp thanks to the light of the blood moon, and I think it was midnight when Sean and I cut up the sirloin, onions, and jalapeños I got at the store. Cooking fajitas was the greatest idea ever. We scarfed some tacos, and marveled at the performance of my tiny camp stove.
Sunday morning everyone was breaking camp as they woke up. Sean and I broke down camp and reflected on an awesome weekend. I splashed my face in the river, and loaded up my bike.
Said goodbyes to all my chopper friends as they rode out. I waited a while for the sun to rise some more, and took off, happy I had already gassed up.
The bike was running super happy on the crisp cool air. I stopped to piss, and while it was running, quickly took what is probably my favorite picture of my bike so far.
Inyokern was my first gas stop and I had a cheeseburger and coke at Classic Burger. That place is crazy good you should eat there. I had a text from my friend that he would meet me in Kranmer junction, and ride the second half home with me. I rode a very windy hour on the 395, met at the gas station and got fuel. We cruised down I15, until this shit happened.
Luckily I was only 50 miles from home. I slapped some zip ties on it and rode to the next gas station. With the bike gassed up again, I got cozy in a parking space to evaluate. I put one more zip tie on it and decided it was as good as it was going to get. I rode the the rest of the way just cruising at 60mph. Thank God I run a front brake!
I always love pulling onto the driveway after a trip. The sense of victory this time was even better. What an awesome run to wrap up a season of riding on a fresh build.
Thanks to Biltwell and the sponsors for a rad event and an epic weekend, much appreciated.
Now do yourselves a favor and get to Kernville next year. I’ll see you there.