Rusty Rocker

Rocker Rondo, a true brother:

To tell Rondo’s story, I have to tell my own encounter with the madman first. You know how you often hear that a person’s eyes are the gateway to their soul? Well, every once in awhile, those old sayings are true. I happened to meet Rondo in the warm, Albuquerque summer of 2010. At the time, I was just a young hot-rodder with the model T, a 72 Bonneville and a broken heart. Like all old country songs, she had just taken my dog, most of our friends, and a small piece of my soul.

I had found, a little bit of solace in my  garage, wrenching and listening to old Hank Williams records. There was the occasional late-night motorcycle adventures with no real destination but a decent night’s rest. I had heard grumbles from a few amigos, that there was a couple of rockers in the Duke City, but no real scene. These rockers, however, hosted a weekly ride on Sundays, from a coffee shop to the mountains. So on one Sunday morning, with nothing particularly to do, I decided to wake up early, throw on my old 501s, lace up my chucks, and pump my old Amal carbs to scout out the scene. Little did I know, that morning would be a true turning point in my life.

As I rolled into the coffee shop parking lot, I saw a few vintage bikes lined up and a couple guys shooting the breeze around their old machines. I got off my Bonnie, took off my lid, and was greeted by a few the guys. As we proceeded to talk shop, we waited around for another half an hour or so, drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, and having laugh or two. As we waited for a few more bikes to rolI in, I discretely made my way to a patch of grass, to the side and proceeded to take a seat and contemplate my recent break up, and dwell on the past, like an old record not ready to be turned over just yet.

Within a minute or so, a short, older fellow in his 60s with grey hair, grease stained jeans, and a old leather vest covered in motorcycle patches sat down next to me. At first glance, you could not only sense the wisdom of this man, but you could see it in his eyes. In a low raspy voice, he simply said “don’t worry about it kid, we’ve got vintage motorcycles and an open road ahead of us.” He was right; when the tides of life pull you in and out, as long as you have brothers to ride motorcycles with those tides don’t pull down so damn hard.

That was nearly 6 years ago and not a day goes by that I still don’t enjoy that feeling of brotherhood through motorcycles. It was after that Sunday morning, that Rondo also became somewhat of a mentor to me. He would invite me to his garage and into his family, and that invite has always stayed open. Over the years we’ve painted a few bikes together, worked on a couple dozen more,  drank a ton of beer, and shared many miles of open road. Rondo has seen me at my best and my worst. More gals have come and gone, but my extended family has always stayed. More so, Rondo was always there to lend an ear, and hand me a beer and a wrench when I needed it the most.
I’m a firm believer that everyone needs a mentor in their life, a real mentor, someone you can go to for advice, an ear, and a hand. In this day and age, when people are often thought of as disposable and we are more concerned with how many Facebook or Instagram friends we have, the need for real brotherhood and bonds are more of a necessity now than ever. So, for that I say thank you Rondo, thank you for being a mentor a brother and a rocker.

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