It has seemed to be an usually cold winter, even here in southern California. I know, hard to complain when the rest of the country is still trying to dig themselves out of snow, but damn it cold is cold! But April was now here, and with it warmer weather and a sense of urgency to getting on the road.
Winter upgrades included an M6 chain tensioner, Thundermax EFI controller, new pipes and tires, and even an Ipod interface. It was way past time to test out this new equipment on a ride further than San Diego.
Now I would have preferred, in fact planned for, attending Arizona Bike Week. Unfortunately, work got in the way and I had to settle for other plans. Not to bad, as the Laughlin River Run was next on the calendar.
Now, I’m not necessarily a big fan of the Laughlin River Run. It seems as though Laughlin has become a microcasm of America. We have seemingly given up our freedoms for the illusion of safety. And anyone who has attended Laughlin knows what I mean. The run has become heavy handed with police on both sides of the Nevada/Arizona border. Not to mention the swarm of CHP’s that swarm on the California side of the border.
With that, the number of quality vendors has also greatly shrunk over the years. And as for J&P Cycles and Kuryakyn, who both have a huge presence there, you will be paying full retail. Hell, I can get a better deal on the internet!
All these things and the high cost of lodging has taken what was once a great spring party in Laughlin, Nevada, and dramatically shrunk the size of attendance. But as I bring up these grievances, I once again attended the Run at Laughlin.
My riding brother, Rob had just purchased a 2011 Roadking the week before. Having traded in his Sportster, he was anxious to get some road time under him. But other responsibilities required him to make this a quick trip. I had some business to attend to in Fort Mohave, and therefore needed to be there on Friday. And so, our plan was hatched. We would ride out Friday morning, camp at Camp Davis on the Arizona side, and ride home Saturday afternoon. This would allow me to get my business done, we would see some friends and family Friday night, check the vendors Saturday, and be back before anyone realized we were missing.
The ride out was uneventful, though gratifying. The new upgrades I had done performed superbly. My ’08 Ultra never ran so good as it now did as we rolled through the desert. I set my cruise control on 80, pointed her nose east, and just sat back and enjoyed the ride!
The ride out for Rob and his new Roadking was a shakedown run, allowing him to determine what upgrades and add-on parts would be necessary to make his ride comfortable for the much longer ride to Sturgis yet to come. It didn’t take him long to create a mental list of several items that were now needed. Tour pegs, seat recut and memory foam added by Mean City Cycles, a back rest, new slip-ons, handlebars, and a sound system. All these items would now go on his immediate acquisition list. Funny, Harley knows we are going to do this. You would think they would set the bike up with these items in the first place! Then again, Harley makes a killing on upgrades!!
One change did definately occur to Rob on our ride out. No longer did we make 4 or 5 stops to fuel his 2.5 gallon Sportster tank. The 6 gallon tank on his new Roadking now only required 1 stop from Lake Elsinore to Fort Mohave. Of course, this also meant more time in the saddle without a break. So I wasn’t surprised to find out that the afternoon we arrived home, those parts on his wish list had already been ordered!
For a Friday morning ride to the Laughlin River Run, I was surprised at how few bikes there were on the road. I remember times when the ride out was so full of other riders, the gas stop in Ludlow became a party of it’s own. It didn’t change as we crossed over the river at Needles, and started up Hwy 95 in Fort Mohave.
Personal business done, our next order of business was a beer at Lefty’s Sports Bar. No matter what else changes, certain things always remain the same for Rob and I! Cant beat a cold draft on a hot afternoon after a good ride!
We rolled in to Camp Davis and secured a good spot under lots of trees for our tents. The trees would provide a break for the wind, and plenty of shade during the afternoon. Plus, we were close to the bathroom and more importantly, the Christian Brotherhood M/C kitchen! Set up every year, the Christian Brotherhood M/C provide free breakfast and dinner to those interested in the park. And let me tell you, their breakfast is worth the price of camping there all on it’s own! Chorizo and egg burritoes, biscuits and gravy, home fries, pancakes, assorted baked breads, damn I can feel my arteries hardening just thinking about it! Good stuff, and all free!!
With a couple of hours left ’til nightfall, we decided to swing in and visit with some family I have there. Joey is a member of one of the local M/C’s, and a great guy with a huge heart. I never miss an opportunity to stop in and check on my cousin when I’m in town. While visiting, Joey invited Rob and I to attend a wedding for one of the M/C family members, to be held in Oatman! Cool, we can extend our stay a few hours, and now we have an excuse to ride up to the old mining town along old Rte 66.
Still some time on our hands, we decided to check out the party in Laughlin. As we made our way over, we noted the high presence of Law Enforcement. Funny, remember the days when they were refered to as Peace Officers? How did we ever allow them to become Enforcement Officers?
When once the streets where lined with onlookers as motorcycles rode up and down the highway in front of the casino’s, now there were few onlookers, fewer still motorcycles on the stretch, and ample parking to see a shrinking number of vendors. Sad, but a sign of the times I suppose.
We did have the oportunity to run into some friends of the road, so to say. First I stumbled upon Good Time Charlie Brechtel. If you are not aware of Charlie, you should be. Charlie is a well known musician in the biker circuits. His blues and southern rock draws huge crowds of delighted bikers at venues such as Sturgis and the Redwood Run, amongst others. Additionally, he runs the BIC Productions, a website and online radio show dedicated to the biker community.
Charlie and I had a great chat, and ended with an online interview. he then introduced me to his nephew, Kris. Kris runs UniqCycle Sounds, and produces a great stereo system and speakers for softails, Roadkings, and other bikes that are not otherwise endowed with a stereo system. I have to admit, his system sounds great.
As we happened by the J&P Cycles tent, I noticed a Honda Goldwing with a sign in the window stating “385,000 miles”. Wait, the only one I know that has that many miles on his Goldwing is Joe Sparrow. I asked one of the J&P Cycles sales rep, and he quickly hunted down and presented Joe Sparrow to me.
Joe is a friend of Scooter Tramp Scotty Kerekes, and just a down right nice guy. Rob and I marveled at the many contraptions Joe had rigged up on his bike to mnake his travels more comfortable, such as his “multi chapstick rack”, and his retractable kick stand pad. But what really intrigued me was his maps of hiways traveled, and his National Parks map with all the stamps from entry at each of the parks. I really hope to get his story for HDOpenroad.com some time soon.
It didn’t take long for Rob and I to grow bored with the lack of activity here, so we decided to play it safe and grab a twelve pack and head back to the park. There was plenty of stuff to talk about, but we sat consuming beer, smoking cigars, and discussing the changes he planned for his new ride. That pretty well lasted us til midnight.
Morning came in a rather rude manner, as 4:30 arrived with the shrieking of birds. Hell, even the tree we camped under was a god damn bird condo, with three nests in the same tree! Doesn’t Arizona have any raptors any more? And I know Arizona is an open carry state. Why doesn’t somebody shoot these damn things!
The saving grace was a quick shower, and the Christian Brotherhood M/C breakfast. Satisfied, it was time to take a more serious look at the vendors downtown.
While wandering up and down the aisles of vendors at the Edgewater, I came across a familiar face. It was Lucky from Cyclefish.com. Once again, Lucky is a biker I was aware of it, hell even traveled in a lot of the same circles, but had not yet met. Well, that time had come. Lucky and I had a great conversation, and then the subject turned to a sweet product a friend of his is selling.
The item is called Tachyon Ops HD. It is a small video and still frame camera that uses an SD chip for memory. Unlike the larger, clumsy cameras modeled after GoPro, this camera looks more like a weapon’s LED, and in fact can mount to your picatanny rail. Attached to your helmet, it does not look like a sail. And it has a bracket that will allow me to fasten it to the front of my bike. You can expect a full review of this little gem soon.
Having exhausted our tour of the vendors, we remounted and headed for the Arizona side of the river once again, to Mr. G’s Roadhouse and an ice cold $2 beer. Same as in combat, you gotta pick your spots!
2:00 came quick, and it was time to meet up with my family for the wedding. The Devil’s Disciples mounted up, and quickly snapped into tight formation for the ride to Oatman. Rob and I slid in behind, careful not to crowd these warriors, but not drift off to far, either. We blasted up the road in tight 2×2 formation on Harley’s that may have been short on looks, but long on performance. It was impressive to ride so tight with them.
We arrived in moments in Oatman on old Rte 66. The town seemed vacant in comparison with previous rally weekekends, and finding a parking spot for all of us was easy. We unsaddled and hung out for a bit while the final arrangements were attended to for the wedding. Finally, it was time and we remounted and moved our Harley’s into the arena to create a backdrop for the Bride and Groom.
I have to admit, simple is nice, and the wedding was a lot of fun. Thank you, Brothers, for letting us participate.
It was time for Rob and I to make our way home. We said our goodbyes to our hosts, and made a quick run back to the campground.
After years of camping on my Harley, repacking is an art form that takes mere minutes. But Rob is still learning some of the tricks to packing, and of course he now has to decide how to pack on his new Roadking. But if nothing else, Rob is fun to watch as he goes through the process.
As we began breaking down the tents, the wind subsided. It took me just minutes to tear down and pack into my gear bag. My bike was packed and ready as Rob began to break down his tent.
I watched in awe as Rob first removed the stakes from the ground. I guess I could have told him, but hell, he has to learn on his own. Just then, a gust of wind came up, rolling the tent away from Rob through the park. I stood with my mouth agape, not because of the hilarity of watching Rob chase his tent through the park, but because I new it would happen and I didn’t have my camera ready!
By the time my belly laugh subsided, Rob had recaptured his tent and managed to pack everything onto his bike. We said farewell to the Laughlin River Run one last time, and turned our throttles as we headed back westward on the 40.
I have to admit, this year’s Laughlin River Run really was pretty good. I think the reason is because we had an agenda, and didn’t over-stay. The Laughlin River Run is pretty cool, but limited in activities (unless you gamble). If you stay too long, you cant help but do the same thing over and over again ad nauseum. Once the boredom sets in, your done. This trip, we didn’t have time to get bored. Lesson learned!
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Posted on 17. Feb, 2013 by admin.
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