Still More Love Ride Fun: You’re Welcome, ZZ Top

Late in the day after another successful Love Ride out in California, Jeff Bleustein (then president of HD) and his wife Brenda say they’ve got a flight to catch and ask if I want to ride back with them to the dealership in Glendale to drop off our bikes. As we’re having this discussion, Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard from ZZ Top approach and say they’d like to follow us back to the shop, too. (Oh, the pain.)

So we all saddle up and pull out. As we’re about to pull onto the freeway, Jeff says, “We don’t know where we’re going, so we’ll follow you.” And I say, “I have no idea where I’m going and was planning to follow you.” Uh oh. (Hint to anyone reading this: I NEVER know where I’m going, but I always sorta think I do. It never works out. Anyone who knows me will tell you this.)

We agree to blast toward LA and stop for directions when we get close to Glendale (this being in the days before cellphones were widely in use, doncha know). We eventually exit and our four bikes pull into a gas station. Two young guys were fueling up, so we pulled up next to them and asked if they knew how to get to the dealership. They did and offered quick directions. Jeff started to slowly roll toward the lot’s exit. As Billy and Frank started rolling, Billy turned and waved thanks to the kids. As soon as they were out of earshot, I distinctly heard one of the kids, in mocking tone, say to his other pal, “Uh, you’re welcome… ZZ Top. Ha Ha.” And the other kid laughed. I couldn’t resist so I rolled up next to them and said, “Hey, man. That IS ZZ Top.” And as they double-taked, I jumped on the throttle and we were gone.

How. How. How.

And that reminds me. ZZ Top was to Harley-Davidson what ham is to eggs for a long, long time. And now I hear “La Grange” being used in commercials to sell those three-wheeled Can-Am Spyders? That just ain’t right. That’s far from right. But money talks. Sigh.

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