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Two-LaneThe weather, the gambling action, the leather and the chrome all attracted higher attendance for Street Vibration 2009.  Maybe the lack of hype or the “sky is falling” press about impending club-on-club violence helped?  There was a positive “vibe” in the city which I’ve not observed in a couple years.  I ask and didn’t hear much from street vendors about the current recession is the new normal… yada, yada.

As I roared out of Reno yesterday on my way home I thought about this video — “Rockin’ The Beer Gut” — a bit of truth wrapped up in a humorous ditty that tells us even though we have dangerous unemployment and we may not be perfect, don’t work on Wall Street making millions, it doesn’t mean we can’t have fun!  And fun at Street Vibrations we had!  The 546 mile ride back gave me plenty of time to try and recall what stood out from years past — there was that monster jump at the Grand Sierra Resort by Ryan Capes who broke the standing 254 foot (ramp-to-ramp) record and then turned around and broke his own new record by clearing 316 feet on a motorcycle, then there were the Motorcycle “Clubs,” more than a dozen all getting along, but mostly it was about the scenic journey on two-lane tarmac with green mountains to sage brush desert which was fantastic.  The weather (mid-90’s) didn’t hurt and put the FUN back into the experience.  As well as tens of millions to the local economy.  I certainly left my small share!

The event didn’t pass without incidents, however.  More riders often means more accidents.  First, there were several motorcycle accidents on US 395 related to the set up for the monster jump.  Then there was a lady who was on the Harley-Davidson demo bike ride and wrecked.  A couple on U.S. 50 who crashed just east of Spooner Summit which sadly resulted in the only fatality at the event.  Then on our ride back from Virginia City we came upon a motorcyclist who struck a wall on Griner’s Bend, a sharp curve at the south side of Virginia City on State Route 342.  It turned out that 6 people were injured Friday afternoon, two of them seriously, in four separate accidents all involving loss of control.  The Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) reported there had been 18 motorcycle accidents over the course of the rally weekend.

The final attendance tally and the economic $$ impact will be out in a few days, but from my perspective it seemed like more people and the street crowds were bigger.  Not as record breaking as a few years ago, but none the less significant.  I plan to provide an trip chronology and will post it up over the next few days.

UPDATE: September 29, 2009 — AP is reporting that there were 72 arrest made at Street Vibrations even though LEO consider the event largely peaceful.  Most of the arrests were alcohol related, including 23 for public intoxication.  The police issued 77 traffic citations and responded to six reports of stolen motorcycles.

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sturgis_bkgrndThe open road is just three weeks away!

But, I won’t be at the granddaddy of them all — I’ll miss chatting with CJ Halon (Guilty Customs), rubbing elbows with Jeff Cochran (Sucker Punch Sally’s), miss the Legend Ride with Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler and all the cigar aficionados, artists and vendors at the 69th Annual Black Hills Motorcycle Rally – a.k.a.,  Sturgis.

Sure it’s a can’t miss event and I’m not cutting corners, but having been there a few times already I’m now more selective on which years to attend and if all goes well I’ll make next year’s big 70th blowout party.

Canada_GlacierInstead plans have been set for a week of saddle time/travel in the province of Alberta, Canada…few places on the planet have massive mountains as large as the National Parks of Jasper, Yoho and Banff.  Our posse plans to take in the cathedral-like peaks and ancient blue-white glaciers then return home via Glacier National Park… an exquisite destination where the masses have been going since the day railcars were the only means of traveling.  Clearly the Canadian exchange rate will increase the cost of the trip, but the Columbia Ice field and Hwy 93 between Jasper and Banff will make our trek worth it.

The Canadian Rockies will often make their own weather and for us folks without a roof we’re hoping for a lot of sunshine and that the rain gear stays buried in the bottom of the bagger.

Photo courtesy of H-D and the Google.

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Dennis Hof Saturday morning was a total rain out. Water hose style with puddles! The casino’s were very busy with patrons waiting on weather reports. By noon the showers had cleared and we headed out on our own mini CatHouse Poker Run in Carson City. It wasn’t raining, but it looked like it wanted to and it was cold riding.

On the first stop of “Meet Famous People” tour I met Madam Suzette and Dennis Hof, owners of the Bunny Ranch and who starred in the reality TV show Cathouse: The Series on HBO. They do that “honest” living gig in the oldest profession. Watched “Air Force Amy” doing her gig with all the riders who would listen to the “give me your $$” banter. According to reports there are more than 500 women who work the ranch….all “independent contractors” who consider themselves a highly commissioned sales team!
Ranch Group
We made our way over to the tri-ranches; Sagebrush Range, Kit-Kat and Moonlite. It was just another day for these local “ho’s” I suppose…tough life in my book. There were live bands and we headed back to Reno to miss a shower ridden sky for the Harley dealership. A variety of food vendors, and race dyno’s were on hand throughout the dealer.
Chinese FoodWe ate dinner in the Eldorado Hotel at the Hong Kong style Chinese restaurant called Golden Fortune. Leo has waited on our posse for several years now, but this year he was booked. An accident or choice? We’ll never know, but he did pay us a table side visit. Excellent dinner and the service was top notch! We ate enough food to have two heart attacks, but managed to waddle down to the craps table. Mac was on a roll hitt’n the hard ways, and many sixty eights till the pit boss even started looking nervous.
Stunt
Called it in early since we scheduled a 7:30am departure out of Reno on Sunday. The forecast was clear and 40 degrees so, we all had to find our winter riding gear and try and fit things back into the tour packs.

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RenoMore than 30,000 motorcycle enthusiasts roar into Reno, NV in September. This was the 14th year for Street Vibrations and the event is ranked as the 6th largest (whatever!) motorcycle event in the nation.

Our posse made plans to do the 1200 mile round trip from Portland, OR. We decided on a route through/down I-5 to Eugene, OR and cross over the Cascades on Oregon 58 where we picked up US97 south to Klamath Falls.

Eugene is located at the southern end of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Its Oregon’s second largest city at 110,000 and other than the Oregon Ducks football, it has a lot of lumber and forest product focus. We arrived for lunch in Eugene then we hit OR58 eastbound to Oakridge. The highway passes several lakes, including Dexter Lake and Lookout Point Lake. We roared (literally) thru the Salt Creek Tunnel and continued on through forests of mostly lodgepole pines. Trucks heading to/from California are frequent and annoying on OR58. It seems this is the preferred route to Eugene instead of I-5 over the Siskiyou Summit. We continued over the mountains, to the summit of Willamette Pass, and then descended into central Oregon. The occasional store and lodging are about the only signs of habitat along the stretch of highway 58. It was a cloudy, cool day and we couldn’t see much of Three Sisters. OR58 ends at an interchange with U.S. Route 97 where we head south on US97.

Chinese FoodAt dusk we should have foreseen huge clouds of bugs along the edge of Klamath Lake embedded themselves in our helmet and coating the windshield. More on the bugs in a moment. The Lake is about 30 miles long, eight miles wide and has a few areas where the depth is up to 60 feet. The Upper Klamath Lake is the largest freshwater body west of the Rocky Mountains.

Now about those bugs…the Klamath Midge as locals call them, or Chironomous Utahensis for the research dudes who have thoroughly studied them. I call them a pain in the face! The Midge swarms occur every from May through September you can’t avoid them on US97 since the road follows the lake. There are 12 known species of midges in Upper Klamath Lake and I’m sure I took out my fair share.

We finally reached Klamath Falls (bug ridden) and checked-in to a “Quality-type-Inn” near the quaint old-time downtown area. Most important was the mobile room furniture to drag out and post up for a refreshment.

King Falls LoungeWe walked the quaint old town area where we came across a Chinese food restaurant. WO…ngs, as part of the neon sign was burnt out. Great food even though they didn’t have a liquor license. After dinner we headed by Taxi to the Cowgirl Lounge and then to the eclectic King Falls Lounge where a Band of sorts was getting ready to play. I’m not a restaurant/bar reviewer, but King Falls was rocking. The Klamath Blues Society (President: Phyllis) was accepting walk-on musician’s and the place had patrons (social retards) from a local mental hospital moving on the dance floor. Or at least that’s what it seemed to me.

We called it a night around midnight and I had a gut ache from laughing so hard.

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