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I LOVE GOING TO NORTH CAROLINA
I just finished a 1,900 round trip to North Carolina to start the process of getting our 2015 North Carolina map on the street. As always, I was fortunate to interact with a number of businesses and riders along the way.
During this trip someone ask me why I do this thing called Motorcycle-Maps and what is my goal with it.
As business owners we all hope to turn a profit for the adventure we have invested our time and resources into, however, other things factor in as well into what some of us consider “success”. As I shared with this person my gratification comes in connecting riders with the mom and pop businesses that support the riding community across this great nation of ours. I find great joy when an e-mail or phone call comes from someone telling me about a group of riders showing up at their business.
As the old saying goes “It is all about the journey”. These folks are a part of that journey.
The following are just a few of the moments I touched on this past week;
El Azteca, Kinston, NC; A bit off the main route I found myself a bit frustrated with the parking…then again it was a Thursday evening about dinner time and the lot was full. That is a good sign. Prior to that evening I had never met Jessie or Victor the owners. As I entered the place was full of customers and the staff was moving at top speed. After getting seated I over heard several conversations, many with very positive comments about the food and service…another good sign. I id’d two people who I believed to be Jessie and Victor and watched them during the next hour. Service was prompt to the table; sweet tea was good, not syrupy. Many times we refer to this Latino locations as “Mexican restaurants”, this one does not fit the mold. The menu was varied, the food exceptional. I watched Jessie as she moved about the tables talking with friends, watching her place a gentle hand on a shoulder here, a hug there. She would pick up a young girl, 3 yrs old or so and take her to the register to “help” her check out customers. One could tell they were focused on great customer service. After introducing myself I could tell how proud they are of their restaurant and happy to be “bikers” themselves. I left with my belly full and knowing we had another great business as part of our growing network of Motorcycle-Maps.
Burnout Alley, Aberdeen, NC; While I dropped maps off here last year I never got to meet Mike D’Atri, one of the owners. Although he was in the middle of correcting work on a bike, due to the owner dropping it, Mike was very quick to stop what he was doing and give me a tour of the newly expanded shop that now takes up the entire building they are in. Much has changed since my visit about this time last year. Mike is very comfortable to talk with even though he is obviously a master at what he does and could talk circles around me when it comes to creating a two-wheel masterpiece. Bikes in the shop are from a wide range of years and construction, yet it doesn’t feel like a place of clutter, rather a place of creation. Burnout has a bike that will be featured in one of the major bike magazines in the near future. Even though they are off the beaten path it is obvious their talents keep them growing, for they are indeed artists.
Diffin Brothers Cycle, Fayetteville, NC; I have driven by this place hundreds of times and never knew it was there. Having spent two tours at Ft Bragg, Yakin Rd was a road that gave us off post access. I called Tom Diffin, who I have known via FB for over a year, and he guided me to the shop. The property is most interesting, I won’t go into detail but will let you discover for yourself. Once inside I was treated like an old friend, Tom stopped what he was doing to show me around. Honestly thought I had stepped into “Duck Dynasty” with the beard theme going on. Something tells me the Diffins were sporting beards a long time before the Robertsons were. During our conversation a customer came in with his little boy needing a “other than bike” piece of work done. Tom jumped right on it. As I noted I tend to watch and listen more than I talk. As Tom helped this fella out I walked around the shop and could see a long history simply by the wall decorations along with the many bikes inside. I came back to the machine where Tom was working and knew I was in the presence of a craftsman. While my time was short there I said my good-byes and again knew we were partners with another fine operation.
Holland Cycles, Kinston, NC; It is always great to get out and meet new folks. I must say this is another place that surprised me. As I pulled up to the shop I was expecting to drop off maps in a plastic bag since it was 7pm. Nope, the lights were still on and the door was open. I walked into the front part, which is a small retail area. It was nice to see a smiling face behind the counter and much excitement as I told the young lady why I was there. I pulled out a map and explained to her the concept of what we try to do. Again, more excitement. She took me back to the shop, which by the way was full of bikes, and introduced me to Holland Pace, the owner. Yet another friendly face and much younger than I was expecting. Obliviously a lot of local folks trust this guy to work on their 2 wheels. As I listened to him talk I could hear the passion and the pride about what he is doing in Kinston, NC. Knowing there were a lot of miles ahead of me and that these folks were probably ready to wind it down for the night I said my good-byes.
As I started the two and a half hour drive back to Vass I was fully convinced we have a pretty amazing group of people on our 2015 North Carolina map. I hope you feel the same after you meet them…now go ride!
Safe travels, “Maps”
Regardless, be safe out there and we look forward to seeing you on the asphalt ribbon.
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Dennis aka "Maps"
Motorcycle-Maps.us is a disabled veteran owned business. We give a portion of our proceeds to charity.