Jun 15, 2010 12:00 PM
Says Dixie: "My dad is incredibly tough to shop for. He's 58 years old and recently retired from more than 30 years as a ditch digger with the City in northern Minnesota, and his interests focus primarily around his Harley Davidson motorcycle, his 1985 Porsche 944 and his 1970 Volvo 1800E. He loves "projects," electronics, and spending time out in the garage, but I have no idea what sort of gadgets and tools would actually be useful to him. He's an all-out biker who hasn't had a haircut at least in the 26 years I've been around and does his week+ Sturgis ride with a bag that's smaller than most of my purses, so no-go on metrosexual man-icure supplies. He loves to read, but sticks with books like Dog the Bounty Hunter's biography, and bios about wrestlers and bikers and bad-a** rockers like Meat Loaf; with some bike & car magazines thrown in. Recently, he's gotten into pin-up style art - books, paintings, whatever; and he's even got pin-ups of my mom and I on his bike tank. As much as he's the former hippie/biker/"hell with The Man" dad, he's always supported me as his only child and I wouldn't be where I am without his support. He certainly doesn't need any more black Harley dealership t-shirts, which is what he's been getting for the last 10 years (at least!), so I need HELP finding something new and exciting for my biker dad!"
Dixie, since you sounded pretty sure about those Harley shirts, we've avoided clothing entirely. We did turn up a few wearable widgets that your dad might enjoy, though. The 1) shockproof, waterproof GoPro Motorsport Hero Wide Lens HD Digital Camera System ($300) is expensive, but pretty neat: it attaches to a bike (or even to a helmet) and records HD video of the ride - good if he likes to reminisce or perhaps to gloat. More practical, if less macho, are these 2) Thermosoles Rechargeable Heated Insoles ($80), which charge up like cell phones and then, once switched on, will keep feet, in any shoe or boot, warm for up to eight hours.
He also might be interested in finding new places to ride, so we've included a few reference texts. The 3) Weird guides ($25, mostly) collect descriptions of strange places and phenomena in different parts of the country, which (although sometimes creepy) could make for an amazing, offbeat road trip or ten. (There is indeed a Weird Minnesota.) And on the less crackpot side, 4) individual guidebook chapters can be downloaded from LonelyPlanet.com for between $2 to $4 each. For other reading, we went out on a whimlike limb or a limblike whim and threw in comedian 5) Craig Ferguson's American on Purpose ($10), since he seems to enjoy guy-stuff biographies.
And though we know nothing will replace his favorite pinups, we did find this 6) Motorhead Garage metal sign ($15), which warranted an "ooo" from a passing male. PinupsPlus.com also offers a ton of decals, variously but not egregiously priced. (Not pictured, because they understandably watermark their images.) When we searched for "motorcycle", a few images popped up, including one we can only call "cowgirl and Indians".
We know, we know, there's no Meat Loaf - but let us know how we did!