Monday, February 12, 2018

gotten a few new members to join since the IMS show a few weeks ago.  rich (stash) has been here almost everyday since joining.  he's a great addition.  he knows his shit and simply does not judge anyone for anything.  he joined us all for the weekend festivities with the slovenian parade and the pre-party friday night.  he's definitely taken up the skidmark flag and carrying it proudly.  that sense of community that he's jumped right into is encouraging.

we had about 150 people here friday night for the kurentovanje pre-party.  full polka band and everything.  i doubt it will turn into any new members, but it was so much fun.  great exposure.  and wyn supply let us borrow their 25 foot flatbed/stake body truck to use as our float for saturday's parade.  the skidmark community reaches far and wide.  it never ceases to surprise me.

matt hacket is the other new member.  he's got a cb750.  lives in strongsville.  good dude.  luckily,  he's been here a few times when jordan has been here.  so the carb work has been less burdensome than normal.

the place is still a mess from friday night.  gonna spend the rest of the day putting it back together.

pj took runner-up at the chicago IMS!  i don't know who beat him, but it hardly matters.  that's effing HUGE that he took that little canam that far.  pretty pumped for him.  i hope he finds more time to spend in here.  he's too valuable to everyone to only be here one day every other week.

it was really cool that elliott and jordan were here actually working during friday's party.  they were welding and getting shit done as the party was in full effect.  i loved it.  jt came to work (forgetting about the party) and ended up hanging out.  castillo was around all weekend, thankfully.  he was incredibly helpful and it was great just to know that he was there to handle things if needed.  he's pretty damned level-headed and completely trustworthy.  plus he really knows his shit.  can't ask for much more.

got another request to get the social membership thing rolling.  i'm gonna have to get on that.

Friday, February 2, 2018

been a super fast week since the IMS show.  had a bmw motorcycle owners of cleveland group meet here last night.  about 40 people.  mellow.  cool.  all older, all white...  whatever.  they LOVED soulcraft.  -of course they fucking loved soulcraft...

tomorrow morning is a welding class.  i think we have 5 people signed up, unfortunately.  shit...maybe i'll take it...  had a great experience with airgas getting the consumables, today.  very happy about that.

the parade and the kick-off party are next weekend.  gotta make a float for that.

mama tried is the last weekend of the month.  freaking out about that because we have zero dollars.

but i got two dudes to join the garage in as many days.  matt bought 3 months yesterday and i picked up his 78 cb750 with molly today.  and then rich krupka also bought 3 months today.  i'm picking up his bike(s) tomorrow.  both new dudes are gonna be great additions.

looks like i'll get something worked out with ama for this year's vmd.

j&p shipped me (at their cost!) a new tire changer!!!  i got it today and haven't even had a minute to open the box.  i can't believe it.  najar pushed the guy into offering it...thank god for najar.  he must know i'm too much a pussy to ask for things like that on my own.

looks like something might come together with psi, too.

mark adams has been taking KILLER pics at all the get-togethers here.  having a photo booth set up for gatherings is way cooler than i ever thought it'd be.  can't believe how people respond to it.

looking forward to the coming months of sheer madness at this place.  i have a feeling things are about to blow up.  can't wait for the hectic insanity of it all.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Many months ago, Tom Wronkovich of Whiskey Grade got this ball rolling when he decided he needed to step into my world and help Skidmark Garage stay alive.  Because he's connected to some serious decision makers, he proposed the idea of having community motorcycle garages (CMGs) play some sort of role in all the IMS shows this season.  This led to Zach Rudio from Progressive's marketing firm, MatchMG, getting in touch with me.  Zach contacted a CMG in every city that the IMS show was going to and organized the stage schedule in such a way that we were all given the opportunity to plug our respective business (and business model) to the entire crowd in the Progressive area of the show.  I was lucky enough to present six times over the course of the weekend.

Even with this stroke of luck, I still could not afford a booth of my own.  That's when Derek Smith from Thunder Roads of Ohio stepped in and offered to help me out.  Derek believes in Skidmark Garage and has offered me assistance several times as I've been struggling to get a foothold.  He attends all the Skidmark functions and continually asks how he can help.  Plans for the IMS weekend got super crazy when Jeff Najar called to ask if it'd be alright to have the official IMS afterparty at Skidmark Garage on the Friday night of the show.  The topper was getting a call from Meredith Loza, who is in charge of the Shift at IMS area, wanting Skidmark to have a presence inside Shift.  Skidmark Garage's role at the IMS show went from 0 to 9 in only a few days.  The anxiety leading up the weekend was not insignificant.

Skidmark's intern, Jada Lawrence, came into the garage and did a lot of work that most people might consider below them.  She swept every inch, organized, cleaned, and just kept finding things to take care of.  Elliott Copen came in late one night and spent a good hour or two wiping down every surface of the bar.  The next day, Janeen Rumph showed up after spending the first half of the day cleaning houses with her sister, and cleaned the whole lounge.  I mean mopped, dusted, wiped, disinfected, vacuumed, and Fabreezed that place.  It truly had never looked better.

Meanwhile, Molly Vaughan was busy creating the new flier, communicating with the IMS people, being my rock as I freaked out, marketing and promoting like her life depended on it (all the while teaching high school).  Tim spent every spare minute making the garage look like it should.  His eye for purposeful design and his willingness to just get shit done are two things I lack in my own life.  The garage would not function without the presence of these two people.

All in all, there were six bikes going to the IX Center from Skidmark Garage.  Because the members of Skidmark are among the most generous humans on the planet, I was afforded the opportunity to borrow PJ's highpoint trailer to pick up Al Wransky's perfect 1977 Goldwing.  And then Dave Nolan didn't hesitate to offer the use of his monster trailer to cart four bikes to the show, while PJ took his CanAm and Jordan's CB750A.  Getting to use Dave's trailer was only half the battle, because my old truck can't pull it.  So member John Reinhardt offered to tow it to the show AND come back to pick it up Sunday evening with his gigantic diesel work truck.  Mark Adams and John helped me load that trailer up the morning before the show.  

Tim and Scuba Steve spent a few hours with me Thursday afternoon loading my truck and unloading it at the IX Center.  They did some heavy lifting.  Between the three of us, we got all four bikes from the trailer and the entire booth loaded in.  Luckily, Ashley Hyde was available Friday morning to take control of set-up inside the joint.  She dictated what goes where and made sure people followed the rules.  And she couldn't have been kinder about it.  Tim and Janeen were vital to getting things set-up as I ran around like a dummy trying to connect dots and mentally prepare for all the stage time Progressive gave me.  Tim had the brilliant idea to have Mark Adams take a high resolution photo of a pegboard full of tools and use that as the booth backdrop rather than lug an entire work bench to the IX.  I ordered it from, and a wonderful woman named Anicko worked with me to get it done right, and for a fair price.

Seeing the familiar face of Jacqui Van Ham as I approached the stage was important to my mental state.  She reassured me that things were going smoothly and that I should relax.  She introduced me to the three guys that were running the tech behind the scenes, Sam, Mike, and TJ.  These three dudes were friendly, mellow and clearly had their jobs under control.  Knowing the sound and video were going to work seamlessly further set me at ease.  Those four people running the Progressive show area couldn't have been doing a better job.  I quickly looked forward to the time I got spend with them.  It was an unexpected structure that I built upon during the weekend.  Jacqui's introduction of Skidmark Garage was flattering every time as I walked up on stage.  

Friday night was the afterparty that Jeff Najar organized.  He introduced me to so many heavy hitters and did everything he could to help promote Skidmark Garage.  The people inside those four walls Friday night were many and important.  We had around 110 people hanging out and getting exposed to the community.  Wilbur, who is one of Skidmark's biggest fans, even drove in from as far as Altoona, PA to hang out!  Bear Haughton from Old Bike Barn and his wife Lauren drove up from Columbus to show support and to discuss cat butts.  Thankfully, mister IMS himself, Grady Pfeiffer, was gracious and kind to Skidmark Garage and reimbursed me for the party without question.  And he already wants to discuss how Skidmark Garage can be represented at the IMS next year.  Mark Adams set up a little photo studio during the party and the people just ate it up.  He also provided many of the pictures used in my powerpoint when I was speaking on the Progressive stage.

Alex Rossborough is an enthusiastic supporter of everything Skidmark.  Not only does he teach classes in Skidmark, but he is always promoting Skidmark, and joined me on stage to interview members of the garage to further prove to the crowd that the garage is full of regular people, not intimidating mechanics.  He constantly cheers me on and believes in the mission of Skidmark Garage as much as anyone.  Getting on the stage to be interviewed isn't for everyone, but Jordan McGhee, Sean Harris, Elliott Copen, Thomas Hayes, JT Teringo, Mark Adams, and Greg Castillo all volunteered, and all of them killed it.  I was lucky enough to have Bear come up on the stage with me twice to plug Old Bike Barn and talk for a minute about how important the CMG movement is to not only his business, but to the greater good of our society.

At the show, I had help from so many members of the garage.  Pat Wilson, Thomas Hayes, Elliott Copen, Tim Fearon, Janeen Rumph, Karl Walker, and Eric Eisenberg all sat behind the table and at the Shift area at some point or another.  Eisenberg was a trooper.  He sat with Al's other Goldwing at Shift for 90% of the show.  He talked about the garage with anyone that walked by and never complained for a moment.

During the madness of the show, I was neglecting my stomach.  Molly's parents came to the show, despite their utter disinterest in motorcycles, just to show some support.  Both of them, separately, somehow recognized the fact that I needed pizza.  I was so grateful to them for just navigating the massive crowd to get me food.  I didn't know how hungry I was until they came back both times with the best food on

The load-out is always a dreaded time after a show.  But this time, there was this incredible coordinated effort by Dave Nolan, Mark Adams, Sean Harris, Pat Wilson, Tim Fearon, Janeen Rumph, Jordan McGhee, PJ, and John Reinhardt to get all the items together, loaded into trucks, cars, and trailers, and driven back to the garage.  Everything got unloaded into Skidmark by 7pm.  The packing up, loading out, and transport is always a process that takes hours longer than it should.  But not this time.  One of the best moments of this whole weekend was watching the Skidmark community come together as one to clean up and get out of the IX Center.

I stressed a lot about the IMS show in the weeks leading up to it.  I realized last night as I was heading home that there is absolutely no possible way that it could have been successful without the participation and help of every single person described above.  I am so used to thinking that Skidmark is one-man-show because the bills are only paid by one person.  I now understand that Skidmark Garage is as far from a one-man-show as possible.  One man could not have pulled off this weekend's event.  It took 30 other people to help carry the weight.  I couldn't be more thankful to you all.  I believe this past weekend was the final key to the financial stability of Skidmark Garage.  I'm proud and quite lucky to have had the help of all of you.

Friday, January 19, 2018

the ims show is becoming a bigger and bigger deal for skidmark garage with every passing minute.  i now have a 10x10 booth, i will be speaking on the progressive stage, there will be two bikes owned by skidmark members on display in the vintage bike section, there will be two bikes in the build contest that are owned by skidmark members (one was totally built here), skidmark is hosting the afterparty friday night, and i was just given a spot to put a bike in the shift area of the ims show.  the ims crew is gonna shoot some video of the garage and do some interviews with me and/or a member, and they're gonna kick the skidmark name around in their ads and social media posts as being a part of shift.

add to this pj and jordan being in the competition, and i feel like the skidmark garage name will be on tips of many tongues throughout the weekend.  i'm nervous, excited, and starting to get stressed about being able to deliver.  luckily, pj is gonna let me use his enclosed trailer to haul bikes and stuff back and forth.

my brother, dave, came and hung out all day, today.  it was great to hang out with him.  we didn't get shit done, like i had planned, but nonetheless it was great.  he said he's gonna come back next friday and help set up the show.  i SO need the help.

tim is gonna be here to help thursday and then hopefully through the weekend.  it is shows like this that his value is apparent.  thanks zeus he and neener are around.

mark took photos of a complete tool bench so i can print it and hang it in the back of the booth rather than bringing that entire bike tool bench.  it could be the biggest hassle on the planet.  if i can get this banner printed and in-hand in time...holy time savings!

last night was pretty slow, but the night before was killer.  karl, jt, elliott, jordan, and al were all here at the same time.  it was heaven.  it's what i've always pictured this place to be.  now i just gotta get some money rolling in this shit...

Monday, January 15, 2018

rough day.  had to re-kick out the same friend i had to kick out yesterday.  it seems he's getting some help, though.  so i feel slightly less like a dick.  but i still feel like a dick.

had business proposition come my way that affects my specific model of operation.  i'm not into it, even if it is a way to make money, it's not what skidmark is about.  but should i decide down the road to jump on the bandwagon, i'm sure i'll have that opportunity.

a friend is splitting with her significant other and she confided in me.  that was tough to see such sadness.

old bike barn's greasy dozen looks like it's gonna be killer.  bear and i had a call today and things seem in line.  i'm really excited to be a part of this.

but after the rough start, it smoothed out.  dave nolan was here welding the aluminum tank with ron.  karl was here and disassembled his subframe.  sean harris got further on his triumph chopper.  mark adams may have even started playing with his bmw.  marty and jordan came in and played with their quad some more.

i spent a good several hours just trying to prepare for the ims speeches on the progressive stage.  i was so lost in my focus of things that molly finally stepped in and put me back on track with a simple, "what ever you're doing, it has to be either to keep members happy, or find new members.  if what you're doing doesn't help either of those, than stop doing it."  so simple.  so important.  once she said that, i was able to really focus.

i smell.  i can smell myself.  and i'm out of deodorant here.  sucks.  cuz i smell...

killed a mouse in here.  set a trap and minutes later the little guy got caught.  hate it.  but it's necessary.

pj had an entire engine delivered here today.  crazy fucker.  hope he comes in tomorrow.  having him and dave nolan here at the same time is fun.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

today i had to forbid the return of a friend to skidmark garage.  his alcoholism became such that he hasn't worked in forever and lost a place to live.  he has been making poor decisions for a long time and i enabled all of it by permitting him to booze at the garage.  realizing i am part of the reason he continues to drink, i had to put an end to my part in the enabling.  it was tough.  but he handled it like a man.  he just said, "ok", grabbed his stuff and a beer and left.  i was having heart palpitations about it all morning, and now that it's over i don't really feel any better.  my heart is still racing and i feel like a dick.

dave nolan has been here since 9am with ron copfer welding the aluminum tank together.  i haven't even stopped over there yet because i was so consumed with handling the other situation i neglected to show any love to one of the most important members of this place.

karl came in last night and is here again today playing around with his shovelhead.  i really love having him here.  i wish he could find time to be here way more often, but between being an air force pilot and an airline pilot, dude has no time.

mark has been on a mission to clean up all his bmw parts and get organized and clean.

jt came in with one of his cronies that was at fuel cleveland with him.  jt gave him a tour of the skidmark and soulcraft (jt is a member of both).

thankfully, jim was here this morning to help me ("help" is the wrong word...he did ALL the work) troubleshoot the reznor that wasn't working.  turns out there are two hard-to-find switches inside it that shut it off if the temperature gets too hot.  i had changed the thermocouple and done all kinds of fiddling, but he knew what was really up.  thank zeus.  now i have 7 heaters, all working, all on.  this place is a balmy 50 degrees inside.

maybe now i can focus a little more on listing some rando parts online and make a few hundred extra bucks a month to pay some bills.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

decent day in the garage, today.  warm enough that i turned all the heat off.  some people were riding, today.  dave nolan rode in, actually.  got a new member (wife bought a guy a 1 month gift certificate).  marty and son jordan are here working on their quad.  jordan (big jordan) is here working on his IMS show bike.  dave nolan tooled around with his hardley and pj spent most of the day here with his teeny little suzuki thing.  al was here playing with that crazy goldwing.  had a call with scott at h garage.  ellen from the slovenian parade brought a friend in to see the place.  got a little bit cleaned up here and there.  got a haircut.  shipped the parts that jada removed from the harley frame.

still overwhelmed and underfunded, but at least i was kept busy enough to not dwell on the bullshit.

i'm not happy with the vaporblaster.  when it works, it works ok at best.  when it doesn't work, i get pretty damned annoyed.  that thing cost a small fortune.  and for that dough, it should wipe my ass.  it all too often has trouble with the window squirters, the water recirculation pump goes ape-shit far too often, and their customer service is severely lacking...  for that kind of money, we shouldn't have to continually monitor and make adjustments.  had we paid a grand for it, i'd be a little more understanding of how much work must be put into it to work properly.  but we paid WAY more than a grand.

why the hell can't i simply create a gift certificate?  why should that take more than 2 minutes to google and 5 minutes to make?  instead, i've wasted 20 minutes searching and no time making.  all the sudden i feel totally incompetent and wanna go to sleep.

hopefully can do something helpful with h garage and the kentucky kickdown.  i wish i had enough dough to sponsor shit, but i have zip.  the most i can do is be present and help promote online.  but that's not shit.  i wanna do more.

connected with the woman that runs the women's build show that lucky wheels is hosting this weekend.  i'm hoping that after the madness of it passes, we can discuss maybe having that show travel around to all the CMGs or something cool.  at the very least, i want her to have a similar show in skidmark.

head is spinning.  gotta get out of here.  i'm suddenly accomplishing nothing.