If You Have to As
On Sunday August 30, I was wrapping up a relaxing weekend with a nice barbecue dinner when I got a call from my sister that there was a fire burning through our small hometown of Auburn, California. Nestled in the beautiful foothills of the Sierra Nevadas provides beautiful scenery and great riding, but that scenery also comes with a price, quick fuel for any wild fire. Within hours the fire had raged through destroying 63 homes and businesses. For about two hours I was glued to the computer watching live coverage online. During the coverage I caught an interview with Emma Lujan. Emma and her husband Carlo had owned Auburn Harley-Davidson, until they sold it in 1998. Then this past May, due to tough economic times, the new owner had to shut the H-D dealership down. Emma and Carlo still owned the building so they decided to re-open as an independent shop focusing on
Harleys, called C&E Auburn V-Twin.
Emma and Carlos are well known and respected in the local motorcycling community and had a loyal customer base and a tight-knit riding community. But I don't think they knew how loyal their customers were until the flames of the 49-er fire (Auburn is a historic part of the 1849 California Gold Rush and the location of where the fire originated was along Highway 49) set their business in its sights. As I sat in front of the computer screen in a state of anguish and sorrow watching houses burn and lives forever change, a reporter conducted an interview with Emma in which she explained how as the flames were licking up against the back of their building several friends/ customers/riders jumped into a fork lift, busted through the building and proceeded to roll out about 20 motorcycles, two of which were: a 1936 Knucklehead and a 1956 Panhead with a sidecar, as the building burned. Minutes later the showroom collapsed into melted rubble while the service shop in the back barely made it unscathed.
Needless to say, there was pain in Emma's voice as she told the story, but I was in awe at her fortitude and how her passion for motorcycling prevailed through such tragedy as she already had intentions of regrouping and rebuilding, only minutes after losing a major portion of her business.
We always hear of how giving the motorcycling community is especially around the holidays with all the toy drives and charity events. But for people to put their lives on the line to save what some might say are just a bunch of motorcycles, or to remain steadfast in their dedication to a community in the face of adversity and a devastating event, well I guess the old saying rings true, "if you have to ask you wouldn't understand."
Until next time,
What used to be the showroom for C&E Auburn V-Twin, in the background is the service department, which was mostly undamaged.
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