This whole pandemic thing has really put a damper on get-togethers, and as serious as it is, a lot of people have been hoping for a sense of normalcy in their lives. Shows have been cancelled left and right, which means that a lot of vehicle enthusiasts haven’t been able to get their proper fix.
The town I live in is pretty small, but somewhat famous—or infamous—depending on how you look at it. Hollister, California. Ever heard of it? If you’ve ever owned a Harley, you have. It’s often touted as the “Birthplace of the American Biker,” and as the location of the legendary “Hollister Riot” of 1947, it shone a huge spotlight on “outlaw biker” culture. Heck, even the Marlon Brando flick “The Wild One” was based on the event.
The point is, apparently the town knows how to party, and it holds an annual commemorative rally on Fourth of July weekend. Well, except for this year. As expected, the rally was cancelled, although for now the town’s other main annual event, the Street Festival & Car Show, is still a go pending any last-minute changes, but no one’s been counting on it happening.
Hollister, which is in San Benito County, was one of the earliest to relax its restrictions, which has brought about some great debate. Love it or hate it, California is serious about eradicating the pandemic within its borders, and San Benito County has become an experiment of sorts. As of this writing, we’re moving into Stage 3, which means that most businesses are allowed to reopen with proper social distancing measures. It also means that people were ready to go cruising again.
Organized by an eager ’67 Impala owner who goes by “James Impala” on Facebook, a series of SBC Cruise Nights was created, with a big emphasis on social distancing and no drama. I was eager to finally catch some custom trucks in their natural habitat! But keep in mind, this wasn’t LST, so most of the rides were simply daily drivers or weekend cruisers.
The designated meeting spot was a recently closed Kmart parking lot, after which everyone would head out cruising. As someone who has lived in Hollister for about a decade now, I had never seen any organized cruising in town (aside from bikers during the rally), and I heard people saying that it was just like the good ol’ days, which I’m told was 30-plus years ago.
So, as terrible as the circumstances were that led to self-quarantine, one of the good things that came out of it is that it woke up and rekindled a sleepy town’s love for the long-forgotten art of cruising. Hope you enjoy the photos.