For the last three years, the Long Brothers have thrown a weekend party and campout at Hager Farms in Ranger, Georgia, around mid-August, and every year the buzz gets bigger. The year prior, I was on my way to Florida and detoured to deliver some shirts I had printed for Gorgeous George’s Smut Butt Magazine. I got there late at night, just in time to drink a couple of tallboys under the night sky and then get dumped on by a bunch of rain. I woke up early Saturday morning and had coffee with my friends, delivered the shirts, then got on the road to Florida. After hearing about how much fun everyone had that weekend, I knew that I had to make the next one.
As mid-August neared, plans were made. I would leave south East Virginia and meet up with Greg DeHoot at Punkture Tattoo in Raleigh, North Carolina, and swing by his house to get his travel tattoo kit. We’d head up to Mt. Airy (Mayberry) and crash with some friends that were going to ride with us to The Grundle. Right about the time we were fixing to leave, the skies opened up, and a major storm passed through. Neither of us minded riding in the rain, but this was a severe storm, and we didn’t feel it was worth the risk, especially with all of Greg’s equipment strapped to my bike. We decided to meet up with the crew along the way in the morning.
Getting out of Raleigh early Friday morning after loading up on coffee wasn’t too bad; the normal commuters were heading towards Winston-Salem along the way, but traffic moved along, and so did we. The sun came up, and the skies were clear for the rest of the trip. Once we got past the metro areas, we met up with our crew and started making our way south. The best part about riding with choppers is that you get to stop every 60-65 miles! This gave me a lot of opportunities to take photos of the trip and get to know everyone in the group better. The ride itself was gorgeous and relaxing, no breakdowns, no traffic jams, it was a great start to the weekend.
After countless gas stops, bad jokes, and worse gas station food, we finally got into the small town of Ranger, Georgia on Friday afternoon. It looked way different during the day! The private driveway to the farm was much easier to find this year; it might have been the 36” sign shaped like a sasquatch foot that read “Grundle Run”. Watching the choppers make their way up the gravel road is always a nail biter, but everyone made it with no drama (I don’t think anyone dropped a bike on the driveway this year).
Some of the Long Brothers warmly greeted us, and that’s when the fun started. All night the sound of open straightpipes came trickling in as people arrived from all over the country. The kegs were tapped, and beer was put on ice, and everyone had a great time singing Karaoke to 90’s country classics along with a few old soul numbers.
Saturday morning began the coffee ritual. This ritual consists of waiting in line while the coffee brews (demand outpaced the coffee pot) or getting on your bike and heading to one of the local spots that were a short ride into town. Eventually, bikes started lining up to head out for the group ride to Fort Mountain, led by the Long Brothers. Some people stayed around the farm, and another big group headed out to the lake. Later in the day, the field races commenced, and that was a lot of fun.
The slow race was fierce, but the kickstart race was brutal in the hottest part of the day! As the sun got lower in the sky, giving welcome relief to the heat, the Main Event began. Local professionals from Renegade Championship Wrestling put on a great show. Afterward, the party continued well into the night.
Sunday morning, there wasn’t a way I could turn my head that didn’t hurt, as the old song goes. People were staggering out on their way back to wherever they were heading. A lot of minor adjustments and pre-ride maintenance on old choppers were conducted. The local coffee shop diner in town was the hub, and choppers filled the parking lot while weirdos that mostly hadn’t showered in 2 days (or longer) took over the café. The squares were not freaked out; they’re used to our kind and are some of the friendliest folks you’d ever want to meet.
More maintenance was done in the parking lot. Bikes with dead batteries were pushed in fruitless attempts at starting. Turns out a fresh battery can get you from Ranger, GA to Maggie Valley, without a stator (apparently), but that’s a story for another time. We said goodbye to our friends, both old and new, as groups started heading out of town. Again the weather was perfect, and the scenery was great. It couldn’t have been much better. I stopped off in Maggie Valley and got a hotel, still recovering from an epic weekend. I decided to relax. ChopCult Contributor Liam Kennedy and Benny Goodtimes had been fighting with Ben’s battery (we didn’t know the stator was terrible yet), so I let them know I was staying in MV if they needed a place to crash. They showed up a couple of hours later, and we enjoyed one of the local spots just up the road from Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Museum.
In the morning, we got breakfast at the biker-famous Buttered Biscuit, and then we were back on the road again. Things were going great until somewhere near Winston when Ben’s bike finally gave up the ghost. His battery was fried at that point. Thankfully Wild Bill Law was able to rescue Ben’s bike and take him out for tacos (if that doesn’t say something about Bill’s character I don’t know what does).
It’s hard to put a weekend rally into words; so many things that go on are things you have to be there for, and getting there and back is half the fun. Please support the Long Brothers Choppers crew on September 18th through the 20th! Give them a follow on Instagram and Facebook for updates/
See you on the road,
Derek / @intheweeds757
*All images by Derek shot with film, home processed and scanned. All copyrights apply.