After a long absence, I have returned to blogging. I believe that this article is probably not what regular visitors to this site would expect to find, but it is a story I wished to have told. You can double-click on any of the images to see the full size version.
I recently surfed the Internet and decided to look up a Jersey Shore motorcycle club called the “Highwaymen”. The reason for this, was that I was a member of that club during the late 60’s and early 70’s and I just wanted to see what posterity would have to say about this organization. I also want to add at this time, that the Highwaymen from the Jersey Shore were not affiliated with other clubs with the Highwaymen name across the nation.
To my dismay, after spending much time searching, there was absolutely nothing about them anywhere on the Internet. It was as if this group, which at that time was such an important part of my life had never existed. While the “footprint” of the group was local, and not as wide as the larger clubs, I feel that to have this memory erased from history would be a loss. Since this group was not written about, there was no record, it stood to reason that this memory would therefore be lost to time. I am sure that there are many people from the shore area that would remember The Highwaymen from many Long Branch and other shore area bars, the social scene, the protests, and from the Windmill on Ocean Ave where we would often assemble before our rides. So I am writing this one article just so the memory is preserved and so that some our interactions with the people of the shore area as well as the other motorcycle clubs of that time are documented.
The Highwaymen started sometime around 1967 with a group of motorcycle riders mostly based in the shore town of Long Branch, New Jersey. I joined the club in mid 1968. Our numbers varied from a low of 6 members to a high of 23. We were a club that liked to ride a lot and we often had runs (rides) to some beautiful sites in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and other surrounding areas where we would often party and camp overnight. (Yes, New Jersey does have some great sites as well as plenty of wonderful camp grounds.) Our parties were always a good time and since we often stayed overnight on our runs, we did not have to worry about getting too wasted. Of course, the cops at that time were much more relaxed about these sort of things than they are now.
This is one of oldest pictures I have of a Highwayman party. This was when our patch was a crown, not the highwayman in flames that replaced it. The older members of the club later placed these patches on the front of their colors and were known as ‘crown members”.
You may notice the amplifier being used for the music is a vacuum tube amplifier (old). We had rented this house out as a temporary club house in Allenhurst, but I guess the landlord didn’t like parties as much as we did and we ultimately had to leave. However, it did serve its purpose for one very cold winter.
One of our favorite locations of the runs we used to take was to visit the Delaware Water Gap on the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border in the northern part of NJ. We found a a farmer’s field right next to small river that during certain times of the year was basically unattended. Here we could camp out, party, and go swimming during hot days. (OK, I admit we were probably trespassing, but I can write about it now because the statute of limitations has probably kicked in almost 4 decades later).
This wonderful location was within easy driving distance to the most scenic areas, best bars and good food places. The main reason I am mentioning this area is because we did not take many group shots or even photos of our activities, and the best pictures I have are from these runs. The image to the left was the very first ride we took to this location when a small group of us were exploring the area. From left to right: Patty, Crash, Rudy, Momo, Spider, Joline, Gypsy, Patty, and kneeling Spike, Mary. The spot was so perfect we resolved to bring others the next time we came.
We had 3 presidents during the life of the club, Gypsy, Bear, and Zee. The picture to the left is Bear, just before he was shipped off by the army. He left for his home in North Carolina before he was finally shipped off to Europe. He was sadly missed and unfortunately never returned after leaving. I actually ended up buying his bike which he is riding in this picture. The military draft played a large role in the changing membership of the club. We lost people to the draft, many returned after serving, and we also had several members in the club from the military who were based in Fort Monmouth. Some of the Ft. Monmouth members I recall included Bitch from Iowa, TC from Missouri, and Satch from Pennsylvania. When Satch left the military and returned to Pennsylvania, he briefly started a chapter of the Highwaymen in West PA.
The next ride we took to “our spot” by the Delaware Water Gap took place about 1 year later. It was a fantastic ride and with a great time swimming, drinking, and just carrying on. In the picture on the left, from left to right: Momo, Rudy, Rasa, Stiff, Crush (with helmet), Spook, Gypsy, Skrinky, Babo, Evil, Muskie and Yank. Yank was drying his underpants on his head so he did not have to wear wet underwear. The picture to the right from left to right: Stiff, Spook, Gypsy, Muskie, Skrinky (with hat), Yank (lying down), Evil, Zee, and Rudy.
As a club we had contact with other clubs in the area including Branded MC, Breed MC, and Pagans MC. We considered Branded MC to be our “sister club” and we had many great parties with them and great meetups at some bars in Atlantic Highlands. The picture to the left is the only picture we have of them and we were meeting to go on a joint run to the Cape May area. We also attended many parties with the Breed MC in Jackson Township, and once in Staten Island. The Highwaymen MC also partied with the South Jersey chapter of the Pagans MC.
We had many of our own great parties and the picture on the right is from one of them. I believe that this was a New Years Eve party. The house location of this was practically right on the beach and the site of other good parties. We had a live band playing that night. We actually had a college fraternity party going on next door, and many of its attendees left that party and ended up at our party. From left to right: Spike, Fast Eddie, Gypsy, Rudy.
In order to maintain good relations with the locals, as a club we decided that it would be good public relations if we helped the township with its new efforts at recycling. This was one of the first recycling efforts in NJ and our efforts provided the labor needed to keep it running. Once a week we would help in the effort and it was successful at reducing any animosity the local police had towards us.
Upon reflection, I take pleasure in the fact that we helped to launch the recycling movement that would eventually be adopted by most municipalities across the country. Our efforts were recognized by 2 local newspapers, and we were guests of honor at a symposium held at Monmouth College.
After approximately 4-1/2 years in existence, in December 1971 the club decided to disband. We met on a cold night on a deserted beach in Long Branch, and all records, secretary’s notes, logs, rockers, and patches were burned in a bonfire and we had a few final drinks together as a club. Those who were current members in the club kept their colors. It was sad, but it was the right thing to do and it was the right time to do it. I did find it ironic that the police showed up to this final “meeting” and actually wrote down our information for their records, — on the same night that we were disbanding. Over time, many of the former members stayed in the Jersey Shore area, but most left for other areas or states.
As a final postscript: in Spring 2012, several of the members had an informal reunion 4 decades after the club had disbanded. We met at the Brighton Bar in Long Branch, one of our old hangouts which is still is business. It was nice to get together with the brothers we once rode and partied with. From left to right: Yank, Zee, Spook, Skrinky, Woody, and Rudy.
You can click on any image to see it full size.
So there it is. This small group of fun loving riders from the Jersey Shore now have a written record so they will not be forgotten forever, and can be a footnote for the Long Branch Historical Society.
If anyone has additional photos or stories they want to share, please contact me by filling out the form below, your email will never be shared with any outside people or groups: