Yesterday, August 21, 2016, after attending worship services at FBC Van Buren, Arkansas and having had the privilege of hearing a wonderful sermon by Pastor Chris Johnson, my Wife and I proceeded to our favorite Mexican food restaurant for great food and great company.
After lunch, we proceeded to the Walmart across the street to gather some supplies for the week before heading home for our much anticipated afternoon coffee. Since I am a fanatic about vehicle engine maintenance, I generally don’t allow my truck’s oil changes to extend much past the 2500.0 mile marker before pouring in some fresh oil so I opted to have the oil changed in my Tundra while the Wife completed her shopping.
As I drove through the Walmart driveway toward the “oil change” markers for the auto repair section of the store, I observed two large displacement V-twin Harley Davidson products backed up against the store wall. One Harley was outfitted with an illegal Vance and Hines “Big Radius” exhaust and the other was outfitted with either a Vance and Hines or Rinehart Racing exhaust fitted for the FLH product. None-the-less, it’s safe to say that both bikes were illegally equipped and illegally LOUD according to Federal and State law.
Arkansas’ Muffler Law:
27-37-601. Noise or smoke producing devices
(a) Every motor vehicle shall, at all times, be equipped with a factory-installed muffler or one duplicating factory specifications, in good working order and in constant operation, to prevent excessive or unusual noise and annoying smoke.
(b) No person shall use on a motor vehicle upon the public roads, highways, streets, or alleys of this state, nor shall any person sell for use on a motor vehicle upon the public roads, highways, streets, or alleys of this state, a muffler, other than as defined in subsection (a) of this section, cutout, bypass, similar device, or any type device which produces excessive or unusual noise or smoke.
I’ve observed these motorcycles parked outside the Walmart Auto Center on numerous occasions but did not give it much thought as I drove my truck to the garage door in preparation for the oil change. After delivering my truck for maintenance, I walked into the Walmart Auto Center and for some reason I felt the strangest bit of concern in my bones, an odd sense of “something is not quite right” and therefore opted to stay and observe the maintenance performed on my truck from a window provided overlooking the maintenance bay.
After a few minutes of watching and waiting, I noticed that a group of mechanics who were working in the maintenance area had observed the “Loud Motorcycles Suck” sticker proudly displayed on the rear window of my truck.
They congregated in a group and laughed, tongue-in-cheek remarks and smirks…casual whispers and comments obscured by the glass pane in front of me…
Then I observed the guy performing the maintenance on my truck continue to refer to a maintenance manual or parts manual as if he was not sure where to begin the maintenance procedure while another mechanic was under my truck in the pit preparing to change the oil filter. Soon, I heard some vulgarity from the maintenance bay area as the door separating the store from the garage was momentarily opened. Soon after, I observed the guy who was “attempting” to change my oil filter whispering something about the Toyota product in the bay and that there was some sort of problem.
I walked out of the maintenance waiting room area and listened as the Walmart employee conveyed the story that the oil filter cap was cracked and he would not be able to replace the filter. When I inquired about the damage to my truck, I was asked who had performed my last oil service. I advised that Toyota in Katy, Texas had performed the last service (approximately 2500 mi. earlier). The Walmart representative advised that Toyota had obviously tightened my oil filter cap too tight and cracked it. I found it rather odd that Walmart would have me believe the oil filter cap had been cracked during installation as opposed to Walmart cracking the cap during their attempt to remove it…a much more likely scenario.
The Walmart mechanic was very upset, almost to the point of trembling and it is my personal opinion that he actually cracked the cap while attempting to remove it and was dishonest about the scenario – BUT – I had no proof and saw absolutely no sense in arguing the point. Walmart opted to refill my truck with fresh oil, cancel the work order and send me on my way…now, on to Toyota on Monday to find and install a new oil filter cap.
I mention this story because immediately prior to my departure from Walmart with a damaged truck, I was approached by the Walmart mechanic that owns the before mentioned Harley equipped with the incredibly LOUD, illegally LOUD, Vance and Hines Big Radius exhaust. The mechanic asked, “So you don’t like loud motorcycles?” In response to this question, I slightly grinned an angry grin as the adrenaline began to flow and looked the middle-aged man in the face and told him that of all the things out there that disrupts and destroys the lives of the general public, except for perhaps some of the incredibly LOUD modified diesel trucks on our roadways, LOUD motorcycles are, without a doubt, the biggest culprit to the daily destruction of our quality of life.
I reiterated the applicable Arkansas law and advised that the only reason he’s allowed to continue in his assault on the general public was due to the apathy of Colonel Bryant of the Arkansas State Police and the immoral and godless compromise of our law enforcement community via their participation in the operation of LOUD motorcycles via police biker clubs and gangs. The mechanic acknowledged the truth of that statement by a nod of his head. I explained that I had an active lawsuit over the biker rallies in the area and discussed the de-funding of ONAC years ago while emphasizing the responsibilities of the States and Local Law enforcement as the primary care takers of our roadways concerning vehicular noise laws…about that time we were interrupted by management and a request they had for the mechanic I was speaking with; therefore, we parted ways…
I’ve said all of that to say this. I am an old retired Houston Cop who has seen the very worst and the very best of people during my 31-year tenure with the Houston PD and the United Stated Marine Corps where I served as a very young man. As I watched these mechanics at Walmart coalesce and laugh, taunt, whisper about my “Loud Motorcycles Suck” sticker and the message if conveys concerning their personal “preferences” to ride and drive disrespectfully, irresponsibly LOUD…I want to end the narrative of this article with this important observation…
With all that I’ve experienced in 31-years of law enforcement, the heartache, the death, the blood, the pride, the arrogance, the machismo, the suffering…as I look back on those years and as I watched the pride and arrogance of those mechanics yesterday during their response to my objection relevant to their irresponsible behavior, I’ve learned this one important truth…when all is said and done, as we draw nearer to deaths door, the truth is that loving, respecting, honoring, caring for the needs of others, striving to do no harm, being gentle and loving whenever possible, being honest and kind, defending the faith and defending the weak…these are truly the things that make life worth living and when done from a positional perspective of honoring our Creator, doing these things well is the ONLY source of true peace and inner-contentment that will allow a man to lay his head down at night and find purpose and significance in this life.
Loud Motorcycle Community – your behavior is illegal, abusive, bullying, reprehensible, irresponsible and your disrespect for your fellowman requires that you reap what you sow…and God will be faithful to His Word.
Rick Holtsclaw, Houston PD/Retired