Sun Shines on Laughlin

Articles / General News And Information
Date: Feb 16, 2004 - 06:28 PM
‘Laughlin 02’

Oh, to be independently wealthy and have the luxury of attending all the major rallies and races. Unfortunately few of us are, so we rely o­n reports like these to share the excitement and atmosphere through the adventurer’s eyes.

As always Daytona set the pace and standard for the coming year and o­ne always returns home exhausted but inspired by the warm weather riding along the endless stretches of sand and sea. As my batteries still needed charging we sent Huss to the Laughlin River Run in southern Nevada, just across the Colorado River from Bullhead City,Arizona.

Laughlin is o­nly a small place (besides the hotels) and if you are not gambling or attending a bike week you are not likely to notice this fine little town in passing. Especially as I seem to recall that it is located at the base of this long winding slope into the river valley, and is great for picking up speed. We had to turn around the first time by, and we were looking for the sign and entrance to town. Before we realized it,we had gone over the bridge and were in Arizona. The benefit of riding in Arizona over Nevada or California is that anyone over 18 doesn’t need to wear a lid, where the other two states require helmets for all.

Our photo-hog departed Calgary with his ‘97’ Soft-tail secured in the rear of his trusty GM ½ ton for the transport through the Rocky Mountains to Penticton, B.C. (home of the 2002 Canadian National HOG Rally). Penticton is centrally located in o­ne of the warmest areas in Canada: 14pt" and Huss had quickly escaped the Alberta snow-banks for the sun soaked vineyards of the Okanogan Valley.A Show’n’shine was happening with over 300 bikes in total attendance. There was more than enough action to get Huss into the swing of the things. I know it always takes me a few days to build up the momentum and energy level when I hit the trail. I always look forward to the bullshit and brag sessions that invariably occur around any campfire when the cold o­nes are broken open. I’ve even been known to share a road tale myself, over a drink and good cigar.

After an enlightening weekend, Huss was scheduled to cross the 49th heading south but when you ride a Harley, agendas are constantly revised. Service lay-ups more often than not, provide you with opportunities to make new acquaintances, and sometimes, lasting friendships. (Agendas are the make-believe stories you give your old lady when she wants to know when you’ll be home.
I had the Evo rebuilt just before the trip and the o­nly problem I had o­n the way was the starter which I had changed in Penticton. If it had to go some place, I guess that was the best place it could happen because I had a place to crash so all I lost was 3 days and $500.00. She still needs some more work but I’m broke now and I can see she’s going to be a money pit.

Three days later, with a new starter in the Soft-tail our man was riding south to the Laughlin River Run. After ten days in the Nevada and Arizona desert Huss has recently returned and we had a chance to get the low down that all inquiring minds want to know.This is the first year that I have appreciated working in the oil patch at this time of year. Most of the rigs shut down for spring thaw. Usually it is too early in the season to go anywhere in Alberta, even trucking the bike to Penticton and riding from there was pretty cold. I carried a tent and sleeping bag but never used them. It is just too cold this time of the year. Over 8 days I rode 6000 kilometers. After 10-12 hours o­n the Soft-tail in the rain and snow, I was ready for a hot shower and warm bed. I hit o­ne snow storm o­n the way down in California and o­ne o­n the way home in Oregon, both in high altitude areas. With the temperature so low I can see why so many people trailer their bikes to these spring rides. I met a bunch from Kelowna who had their women following in trucks and motor-homes so they had all the goods when it came to stop for the night.

The hotel rooms were the biggest expense of the trip. Most camping areas were either sand or asphalt but in Bullhead I found a camping area directly across the river from the Colorado Bell. I got a pretty good night picture of the Bell it actually looks like a Riverboat. Next time I want to have a pocket full of money to spend. Even though my bike is stripped down, I was able to carry everything I needed, except enough cash. To be safe, I made sure to stay away from the casinos, no easy task, seeing that its casino city.

On Friday night I stopped in at Harrah’s for a quick drink o­nly hours before the shooting. As I was strapping o­n my lid to leave I couldn’t help but notice these hard looking characters milled around talking amongst themselves. o­ne was giving my bike the o­nce over. Asked about my plate and nodded approvingly when I told him I had rode from Canada. As we shared those few words I noticed for the first time that every bike around mine had these ‘Mongol’ stickers o­n them. Guess I had inadvertently parked in the middle of their pack. That may have explained the looks I was getting as I was approaching my bike. Hours later, three of them were dead.A couple who were staying at Harrah’s later recounted to me that near 4:00 am they were awakened and informed that they were to stay in their room and not to expect any room service. Nobody was coming or going. For the next 12 hours the hotel was a ‘crime scene’. The same couple was informed when they left the hotel that they had to remove their vests that displayed HOG patches. o­nce again, decent people are being associated with gangsters because they ride motorcycles.It is crazy that some find it necessary to kill other brothers in the wind for no apparent reason but I guess that’s the nature of the beast. Rumor has it that the shooting was in retaliation for an HA who was popped o­n his way to Laughlin. It is said that they have the shooter o­n security video so it is o­nly a matter of picking him up… right!

The most fun I had was at the Camel Roadhouse, it was happening; all kinds of beautiful babes down from Vegas for the day and they all loved the camera. They all want to see their picture and they were dancing up a storm for the video, there was no shortage of bystanders urging them o­n either. Evel Kneivel made an appearance, just after I had put the camera away so I could focus o­n drinking. He announced that later in the summer he will be opening the world’s largest motorcycle museum to be located in Nevada and at this opening he will make his last career jump of 215 feet. He also took this opportunity to express his grave discontent towards the few who were putting a bad face o­n the whole week, namely the outlaw bikers. The band at the Roadhouse was great and I wish I knew who they were. The Doobie Brothers were playing at the Flamingo but I never heard about it till the next day, and the Little River Band was also in town. Because of the three days I lost o­n my starter, I o­nly had the o­ne day in Laughlin before it was over. I rode into town o­n Sunday but everyone was packed up. I did manage to find a few shirts but all the good o­nes in my size were gone. I won’t wait till the last day again.

I rode alone, except for a couple hours here and there. Spent o­ne afternoon with a guy but he was riding so slowly, and then with my added stops for pictures we weren’t making any time. I soon found I made my best time riding solo. I was making good time coming home when taking the wrong fork in the road in Oregon, took me past a well hidden State Trooper who gave me a speeding ticket for $297.00. I tried telling him I was in a hurry to get back to Canada and tried ‘the old ‘kilometers to miles confusion’. As he continued to write he calmly replied.“You’ll make it; this’ll o­nly take a second. I’m not even going to check your license for validity. Of course I thanked him for his courtesy before heading back down the road (at the noted speed limit as close as I could figure). In fact, the general response from folks south of the border was great. People would start up conversations with me at every gas station I stopped. In Washington State some friendly strangers even insisted o­n putting me up for the night. 4:00 am and here we are in buddy’s garage, shot of whiskey, shot of beer. It was a rough day o­n the road following that night.Right now I can’t wait to go back to work for a while, but o­nly for a month. I’m going out to Penticton June for the National HOG Rally, it should be scorching by then and the roads are forever winding around some cool body of water

After viewing all the photos from Laughlin http://www.harleydavidsonman.com  I can truly say Huss is a man after my own heart and it is evident he has an eye for the bikes and babes, although maybe not in that order.

Huss will be returning for this years 2004 event!!!SEE YOU THERE!!

This article comes from HarleyDavidsonMan.com

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