Erik, Mark, Pete, Deacon and Erik's son David made it up to this annual swap meet held at the Skagit County Fairgrounds in Mt Vernon. Erik and David were on the prowl for parts for their '66 Chevy C10 project, so they were in Eriks Ford, but the other guys were on their bikes. cosponsored by the Washington Vintage Motorcycle Riders and the North Cascade Car Club, and there is usually a ton of old cars, bikes, and bits and pieces for the same. This year was no exception. There were what seemed like a lot more parts, although maybe less vendors selling other misc crap (T shirts, billet stuff etc) which is fine. Also less people attending, although that may have been because the weather was a little grey. Still a lot of really cool bikes, including this 1960 Manx Norton.
Unfortunately, we are all retarded and this is the only pictures we have. Erik found a wiring diagram, Pete got a patch or two, and Deacon picked up a couple BSA frames. All of us would have bought a variety of hot rods, bikes, and/or flat head engines if we had the $$$....Someday. (sigh).
Holy crap! What a week. 3,000 miles, most of it in the rain and/or snow, broke down bikes, sick riders, Rockabilly shows, meeting many, many BIR brothers and sisters for the first time, generally running ourselves ragged. It was fucking great!
We left Seattle on Wed, 31 MAR, at about 7:30 after breakfast at the Hurricane Cafe. Mark (MarkRam) on his Thruxton, Pete (Curmez) on his Thruxton, Erik (DaViking) on his Bonnie, and Brad (Iron Butt Jack) on his V-Star. Plan was to hit Boise that night, where Adam (BoiseRat) had generously offered to put us up for the night. The first hurdle was Snoqualmie Pass, but it was wet and clear, no ice. Just cold. Here we are just on the other side.
All day long we kept dodging rain and snow storms, catching a few of them but over all getting really lucky weather wise. 580 miles or so later, we pulled into Adams garage. Pretty cool seeing the garage full of Brit iron...
Adam is a great guy and really took care of us, brought some of the best BBQ I have ever had and plenty of PBR and Jamesons. Tad and Aaron from the Sawtooth Clan also came by, and we had a great time hanging out and shooting the shit. Sawtooth Clan is a really great bunch of guys.
Unfortunately, Brad came down with some kind of flu in the night, and decided to head back to Washington while he was still capable of operating a motorcycle. Tough break for him, especially since the whole trip was his idea! He made it ok, though.
Route planning for this trip became a big exercise in avoiding snow and ice, the weather went to shit throughout the west right when we had to be on the road. We were originally going to go from Boise to Vegas through Eastern Nevada, but snow and cold in the mountains there caused us to go through eastern Oregon and western Nevada instead. Probably a good choice, because it was a lot lower and was still plenty cold and nasty. Heres the bikes on a pass in Oregon. Its as cold as it looks!
Just after this pass we stopped for gas at a no-name little town in Nevada, didn't even have cell service. Petes bike wouldn't run after gassing up, it was missing and couldn't take a load. We spent a couple hours trying to trouble shoot it, draining the carbs, putting dryer in the gas. We switched parts off of Marks Thruxton until we figured out what it was. Turns out the coil was bad, or had a bad connection, or some combination thereof. We tightened the connectors, and got Pete back on the road. The problem persisted, but seemed better if the idle was turned up, and went away entirely once we got out of the wet and mountains. Still not 100% sure what it was.
The weather continued to be challenging for the rest of the day, but we made it to Fallon, NV, 380miles from Boise and the same distance from Vegas.
Fallon to Las Vegas went smoothly today, no major problems. Both Marks Thruxton and DaVikings Bonnie were blowing oil out the crankcase vent tube, and Vikings back brakes got saturated, making stopping more interesting than usual. After checking into the Wild West Days Inn, Viking tore down the brakes to clean them, making them moderately functional and continuing the new tradition of wrenching on at least one bike each day of travel. And these are all Hinckley bikes, too.
Let me say right now that Chris (Ray Gun Riot) and the Vegas Clan went above and beyond the call of duty, by far, in taking great care of us. We really felt welcome, and the Vegas guys had so much for us to do that we wouldn't even have needed to go to Viva to stay busy. Viva was awesome, but hanging with the Vegas guys was the highlight of our stay there. Stand up guys, all of them, and I hope we can return the favor someday. Thanks!
Friday evening, Chris put together a dinner for all the BIR in town. In addition to the Rainier guys, there was Chad from Cape Fear and John from the LA Clan. Jake from Las Vegas got us all a great table at Firefly, in Fremont. This place is awesome, and couldn't have been better for meeting everybody. Good food, good people....
Next morning, we all met up at the hotel again for a ride around Lake Mead. After breakfast, we ran across a VW show. Quite a few neat old cars there, so we killed a little time before hitting the road. The roads around Lake Mead really cool, the desert is so much different than what we are used to in Washington.
We ended up at the Hard Rock casino, where we met up with BIR member Rikki Rachtman (sp?) for a meet and greet before his fight at the Hard Rock that night. We also had the opportunity to meet Three Hole Punch and Bullet Girl from the LA Clan, who had driven in that morning.
That afternoon, we checked out the car show at Viva, where we saw the Chop Tops and the Diamond Betty's, followed by Chuck Berry. Good shows all around. Of course, Chuck is 84 now, so he is a little slower than he used to be. Funny guy, though, and it was really cool to see him in person. Not too many more chances to do that left!!
Saturday night, most of the BIR in town went to see Rikki fight, where he went down to a glorious defeat, much to his dismay. There was also two blindfolded guys with shock collars on fighting a guy in a wheel chair, and a brother and sister who fought....She won. Good times. DaViking went to see Kevin (Lord Merciless) of the Vegas Clan play with his band, Monster Zero, instead....It was at the same time as the fight. Great show, Monster Zero kicks ass and you should see them if you get the chance.
By 0230, the Rainier Clan had crawled back to the hotel to get some sleep before a 0630 start time Sunday morning for the ride home.
The next three days were really all about getting home. Pete was supposed to be at work Tuesday morning, and the plan was to head to I-5 via Bakersfield and bomb north to get home in two days. Mother Nature scoffed at that, though, and decided to close the passes at Redding with about 6 inches of snow. We ended up heading out to Hwy 101, spending the first night in Santa Rosa, after riding through some of the worst rain I have ever ridden in in San Francisco and Oakland. It was a long, cold, wet, miserable day, 612 miles of awful. It was made a little harder because both DaViking and Mark forgot to put their bikes on the trickle chargers in Vegas and both bikes went dead in the first hundred miles, needing to be push started after the first gas stop. We disconnected the headlights and found they would just barely charge enough to avoid push starting for the rest of the day. There are no pictures from this day......
It was apparent by now that we were not making it home in two days. Hwy 101 is a nice ride, but its not fast. Again, cold and wet was the order of the day. The mountains between Santa Rosa and Eureka were under about 2 inches of snow that had fallen last night, and there was still a lot of slush on the road. Cold, cold, cold!
A few hundred yards from this gas station there was a drive thru redwood...We couldn't resist.
The high point of the day was in Eureka, CA when Mark rolled over 100,000 miles on his '05 Thruxton. Awesome!
From Eureka north, it got REALLY wet and windy. Petes bike started sucking water up the fuel vent tube and cutting out, about every 60 miles or so. To top it off, Marks battery died and he had to run without a headlight and push start at every gas stop. We finally limped into Newport, OR, where we went to the Rogue River brewery for dinner and a well deserved couple of tasty beers....
The final day of the trip was pretty uneventful, we made good time through (comparatively) light rain and even some sunny bits. Hwy 101 is great riding when its not freezing. Erik had to stop once to tighten up a footpeg before it fell off, and Pete lost his headlight when a rock chip leaked water into the housing and blew the bulb. Mark didn't even try and run his headlight until the last leg, we were tired of pushing bikes around parking lots to start them. After cutting over to I-5 via Hwy 18, we had a pretty easy shot home. Good times, man good times.
Viva Las Vegas is a great event, maybe a little too big and crowded, but lots of fun. Even better was meeting new BIR members and hanging out with the Sawtooth and Vegas Clans. This Club is the real deal, great people watching out for each other and enjoying a good time together. We made around 3,000 miles of some of the hardest riding we have ever done, and will probably not be making an April road trip this extensive again. That said, it was great experience....Hard doesn't mean not worth doing! Great times.
Thanks again to Chris, Adam, Jake, and all the rest of the Sawtooth and Vegas Clans for putting us up and taking care of us on the road....We got your backs next time you are in our neck of the woods.
For more pictures, check out the gallery page here.