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Posts Tagged ‘Lake Tahoe’

US342Street Vibrations is a 4-day event that brings two-wheel enthusiasts from all parts of the country to show-off customs, parade the vendor booths and enjoy the entertainment.  Oh did I mention the local rides?  Yes, there are plenty from Virginia City to Lake Tahoe as well as the various poker runs.

The weather (mid-90’s) really made for a positive experience this year.  Our entourage spent time riding out the Virginia City loop, but mostly we stayed in downtown to mingle with the crowds, talk motorcycles with riders and vendors and take in all that the casinos had to offer up in terms of entertainment.  The vendor booths were busy with crowds most all day long.  Of course there was the monster jump at the Grand Sierra Resort by Ryan Capes who broke the (ramp-to-ramp) record on a motorcycle.

Left Of Center

Left Of Center

And there were lots of bands with some top tier talent, but I enjoyed the non-headliners more. There was Saddle Tramps on the Jagermeister Super Stage and most notable was Left of Center who played the Brew Brothers pub at Silver Legacy on back to back nights.  Our group also caught a comedy club act in the Catch A Rising Star lounge which made the $15 per ticket expense seem like a bargain after all the craps table losses!

The motorcycle festival didn’t pass without incidents, however.  There were several motorcycle accidents including one fatality which I posted previously HERE.  In fact, on our ride back from Virginia City we came upon a motorcyclist who lost control and struck a wall on Griner’s Bend, a sharp curve at the south side of Virginia City on State Route 342.  In addition, Police reported there were 72 arrests made at Street Vibrations even though it was considered one of the more peaceful events! Most of the arrests were alcohol related, including 23 for public intoxication.  The police also issued 77 traffic citations and responded to six reports of stolen motorcycles.  It was a busy weekend for LEO, but what I most appreciated was the lack of SWAT teams armed with semi-automatic rifles marching in Virginia City and other areas.

tat_SSBack to the rally.  I missed the roller derby battle between the Rose City Rollers and the Battle Born Derby Demons, but you have to make a call since you can’t take it all in!  The sponsors brought back the firework display which had disappointed many last year when it was cancelled.  And then there was the tattoo expo which put body art on display and inspired one of the posse to get inked.  A big shout out to Randy Burke, owner of Road Shows who puts on Street Vibrations because it was a great event and the rally was kept fresh with some new activities.

Posse Dinner

Posse Dinner

On Sunday morning we were up early because it was all about miles and putting on as many of the 546 miles we needed to do before the heat baked the day.  From Susanville we took CA-44 through Lassen National Forest.  We headed up toward Old Station and then took CA-89 toward the town of Mount Shasta.  I like riding this route. The road is good and traffic is moving fast for a two-lane road.   It has a varied and interesting scenery.  About 60 miles south of Mount Shasta there was a forest fire in early August that raged through the area.  I believe it was the Hat Creek Complex.  More photos HERE.   We didn’t know it at the time, but there was another forest fire filling the air with smoke.  A thin layer at first, but it increased through-out the day.  It was from the Boze fire, an 11,000-acre fire near Tiller, OR and with the southerly trade winds blowing it meant we rode in it nearly all day long!

I-5_SunsetWe entered the Northern Sierra Nevada Mountains, rolled onto I-5 and pressed on through beautiful scenery.  Arriving at the Oregon border we crossed the 4300 foot mark at the Siskiyou Summit which is the highest point on I-5.  We then dropped down in the Rogue River valley through Ashland, Medford and Grants Pass.  Occasionally, I’d catch a whiff of toasted brake lingering in the air, proof that not everyone enjoyed the ride as much as we were!  We traversed the three passes of the Umpqua Valley and after Roseburg it was back to rolling hills.  We continued to deal with forest fire smoke.  There was a small mechanical delay which baling wire fixed in short order with a shift linkage, but otherwise we were all about miles and stops were limited to fast food and fuel.  It took just under 12 hours to make the trip home.

It was a good and safe Street Vibrations trip!

Road Trippn’ to Street Vibrations 2009 — Part 1 HERE; Part 2 HERE.

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Reno_NightA lot of people mistakenly assume that gambling originated in Las Vegas.  The fact is that Reno, NV gambling was the hottest and most entertaining until the 1950’s when Vegas started to staked its claim in the market and solicited clientele away.

Prior to the explosive rise of Indian Casino’s and online gambling, Reno and the Lake Tahoe area attracted visitors from all over the world and kept up nicely with the booming gaming industry in Vegas.  Although many Reno casinos closed their doors permanently and others have been transformed into condos,  the city is slowing making the climb back up the gaming destination ladder and its with events like Street Vibrations that calls motorcycle enthusiasts from as far north as Seattle and south as L.A. to help inject some much needed $$ back into the local economy.

It’s rally déjà vu and this year Street Vibrations marks its 14th Anniversary.  I’m fortunate to attend the event — often called Street “Closure” Festival by many locals — which revolves around motorcycles and related interests.  There is a diverse musical line up from rock to jazz along with Custom Bike Builders and personal ink at the Tattoo Expo.  A lot of quality food and drink sprinkled among the thousands of attendees and rows of shiny chrome top off the event which keeps getting better every year.

For those of you traveling the Oregon highways you may want to take note that 21 new Oregon State (OSP) troopers will be sworn in this Sunday (Sept 20).  These new troopers are being deployed across the state and are the first group of 39 new positions authorized by the 2009 legislative session which will help OSP return to around-the-clock coverage in many offices.

Lastly, road trips present certain blogging challenges for me.  I don’t blog from the road.  But, this time I’ll pay closer attention to what those challenges actually are and see if I can determine how to deal with them.  Clearly others have mastered remote blogging, vblogging (video blogs) and do the “tweet” thing from their saddle.   I’ve been slow to jump on this motorcycle road warrior trend especially when it’s a vacation.  Besides like many others I get distracted with the roar of the engines, the entertainment and soaking up the displays in the vendor booths.

Our entourage heads out in a few days.  See you in Reno.

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Poker Table

Poker Table

We were up early in prep for a ride around Lake Tahoe.  The previous night of gambling and fun thru the early morning took a toll on the posse as several dropped out of the Lake ride in favor of a bit more sleep.

I have ridden around Lake Tahoe on previous Street Vibration trips and about mid way up Hwy 431 near the Galena Creek County Park I started shivering and I never stopped until I hit the hot tub at the hotel hours later!  But not today.  It was in the high 60’s with clear skies and our route included the “twisties”…winding roads with gentle, sweeping curves that had us feeling like a soaring bird. Tahoe is a motorcycle paradise. 

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

The scenic beauty of Lake Tahoe is hard to describe in words.  With its crystal clear blue waters surrounded by towering peaks it’s easily one of America’s most beautiful areas.  What’s interesting to me is the developer assault of this pristine landscape and the huge estates… sprinklers going on manicured watered lawns one can only imagine what the construction phase of these behemoths was like and the toll it is taking on nature.

Even being up early every time we stopped for a photo op we had tourists to my right, left and back, already… sigh.  Made it difficult to get that perfect landscape photo which will make me rich and I can retire.  Yes, Saturday was a busy day at Lake Tahoe.  Not only were there a lot of motorcycle riders and tourists, there was both a bicycle and marathon race around the Lake.

We wound our way down to Incline Village and the grandeur of this route touches all your senses. You observe deep valleys and the aroma of the forest fills your lungs…as the bikes keep coming.  The peaceful Washo Indians considered the Lake to be a spiritual site and conducted sacred ceremonies on the South Shore.

We headed south on Hwy 28 and made a quick caffeine stop in the village.  Afterward we made several stops along the shore line in the Tahoe State Park. The “edge of the lake” is a unique and special place. We connected with Hwy 50.  Once called the “Bonanza Road,” due to the influx of pioneers to the region in search of Silver.  We grabbed burgers at McP’s on the state line and then elected to head back to Reno. 

The number of events, crowds and traffic on this beautiful day was taking a toll on our patience and our time.  We decided to cut the tour short and returned via Hwy 207 thru Minden then headed north on US 395 back thru Carson City.

We grabbed dinner at the hotel buffet and ended the gambling night before midnight in prep for an early departure and 11 hour ride back to the northwest.

Read more about the Street Vibrations trip at Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4 and Day 5.

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