We left the house on Thursday, 11-10-11 about ten a.m. Yes, a late start, but heck, we were finally on our way to the Veteran's Day Gathering at Deming, New Mexico. This was to be the last Gathering and I was very excited to attend. Last year I had another commitment and couldn't make it so I was determined to go this year.
I bundled up with my electric jacket, warm socks and winter gloves. It was about 47 degrees when we left. We took Old Hiway 91 to I-15 and headed into Las Vegas where we took I-515 to Boulder City and Hiway 93 to Kingman, AZ where we picked up I-40 back again to Hiway 93 which took us all the way to Phoenix where we stopped for the night. It had just gotten dark as we entered Sun City and hit rush hour traffic. I was very happy to stop at the Motel 6 with a Denny's next door. Yes!
The next morning we got under way fairly early and after navigating through Phoenix, we jumped on I-10 and rode through Tucson. We stopped at Bowie for some excellent beef jerky and English toffee and continued on to Deming. We quickly found our hotel, a Best Western that was an excellent property. Huge room, nice amenities and parking right outside the front door and a reasonable price! My favorite kind of motel. We went to dinner at the truck stop next door. Not gourmet, but certainly palatable. Back to the room, a couple of cocktails and it was bedtime.
We had a lazy Saturday morning and breakfast at the motel. Nothing special, but hey, it was included so we partook :-) We geared up and rode through town looking for tourist attractions - nothing to be found. We then headed the other direction to the local flea market. Again, nothing to be found but a lot of junk. After perusing the flea market we headed to the Gathering. One missed turn - about face - found the turn and we arrived at the correct place. We were some of the first to arrive so we had excellent parking!
We scored parking right in front of the house. As we were taking off gear, lots of other bikes and riders began to appear.
Voni and Paul were also part of the welcoming committee. Oh boy, I can already tell this is going to be one heck of a party!
As we were taking off gear, this great family appeared. Banana Boy was the life of the party!
A large tent had been set up in front of the house. Our awesome hosts, Don and Mary Lou Cameron were so very gracious and had things under control. You could tell they had done this a time or two!
Here you can see the three BBQ's that were fired up and cooking the fantastic beef for dinner. I didn't take any pictures, but the shop had all kinds of food cooking, beans, bbq sauce and who knows what else. All tucked in here and there amongst a bunch of really fine motorcycles. Wow! I really should have taken some pics of that set up. Unbelievable!
There were fun and games to be had. Redneck Horseshoes was a blast.
The object was to fling a toilet seat as close to the pin as possible. Harder than it sounds! Here is Heidi, the reigning champion getting ready for a toss. Notice her intensity as she checks out the toilet seat. Hey, some were heavier than others. And...the wind was blowing which made a big impact on the toss.
Here I am, intent on tossing the seat for a win. . . NOT !
Eric had fine form and only took four tries to score a point. Oh well, better than me. I took four tries and didn't score a single point! Hahahahaha.
Heidi contemplates the toilet seat. Is this the best one to fling??? The lovely Ms. Still finally flings her toilet seat. Was it a winning shot????? Her form looks perfect.
Old What's Her Name (the fabulous Becky Nuffer a/k/a Mrs. Steve Aikens) watches her toilet seat roll toward the pin.
Oh here we go....Steve Aikens seems to have it all under control as he attempts a toss of the Redneck Horseshoe.
Kind of looks like a ballerina don't you think? Maybe the Nutcracker is next on his list of performances.
Banana Boy steals the show. His first toss was not so good....but then....
he stole the show by grabbing a toilet seat and running up to the pin to drop it for a win!!!! Very good at thinking outside the box. I think he might become an LD rider :-)
Next on the agenda was a slow race. I really can't remember what brand, but little, tiny 50cc motorcycles were provided for the slow race on the gravel drive. Oh boy....this was a blast. Here is Mr. Aikens practicing. I'll tell you what, it was harder than heck to ride these little beasts. I had a challenge to get my feet on the itsy bitsy pegs. No clutch, only throttle and brake (front and rear). And it was a "quick" throttle. Hahahhaha. More good fun.
Eric and Steve are first up for the challenge of the slow race. Oh my gosh, I almost split a gut watching these two on the itty bitty bikes! (I'm still laughing looking at this photo)
Dang, they are very serious competitors. I wonder if they could do a 24 hour endurance rally on one of these?
Oh no, is Steve wandering off course? Nope, just a bad angle photo. They were neck and neck. Steve won the first round and Eric the second. But...it came down to time and Eric was the slowest. Better luck next time Steve!
Then it was the ladies turn at slow racing. These two gals were dead on serious about their ride. What concentration!
Now it was my turn. Hahahahha. It really was a challenge to ride this tiny bike on the gravel slowly and not put a foot down. Heck, it was a challenge just to get my feet up on the pegs and I kept reaching for the non-existent clutch. Did I mention the throttle was quick??? Just a little gas and it shot out from under you. Okay then, at the start - get ready - go!
I can't believe how intense this was. I'm focused here. My competitor seems to be having some trouble staying on course.
At the finish. Woohoo! I rode really s l o w ! ! ! I have to admit, when I used to dirt bike, we had slow races all the time so this was not new to me. Just the size of the bike was new. Good fun was had by all. We even got Banana Boy to ride and he had never been on a bike before. Like I said, I think he might be LD rider material.
While we were playing games and being silly, more bikes and riders arrived.After games were concluded, people began to congregate under the tent for drinks and conversation. I met so many wonderful folks! Some I knew from past events, some I recognized from LDRider posts and some I'd never met before. All were terrific and from all walks of life. Just a fantastic gathering of motorcycle enthusiasts. Several times I had to go out to where the bikes were parked just to check them all out. All marques, all varied set-ups, all really really cool. I love motorcycles :-)
Then, it was time for dinner....oh boy....fabulous bbq beef, sauce, beans, potato salad, dinner rolls, condiments, and....................dessert! Wow, wow, wow. There was tons of food and we made a quick study of it. Before.....
After we stuffed ourselves, our host made some announcements. He spoke about the event and the significance of Veteran's Day. He noted how contributions from the event went to support the local program to provide transportation to veterans who needed to go to medical facilities. It was all good. I think they raised over $1,500 for the benefit of the veterans.
Big surprise! Some folks who have been regular attendees of the Deming Gathering had put together a memory board of past events to present to Don at this last gathering.
Eric and I ended up winning the "Slow Race" in the Men's and Women's categories. Who would of thunk? Good fun. We both got bottles of New Mexico wine for our trophies. Perhaps another blog about the wine :-) Neither of us got close to a win on the Redneck Horseshoes. Guess we're better at riding than throwing!
After dinner and awards (heck there were about 200 door prizes so almost everyone got a prize. I won a tee shirt that just happened to be from the dealer where I bought my bike! Good stuff. Eric won a mini-Maglite flashlight - yes - more good stuff). They also had a 50/50 that gave the winner just over $400 and the other $400 going to the Veteran's charity. Nope, neither of us won that but it was huge fun to watch the winner get his cash :-)
We finally packed it in and headed back to the motel - looking for a quiet evening. Not going to happen. When we checked in, there were only two other bikes in the motel parking lot. When we got back, there were a lot more. I told these folks to quiet it down.....heck is was like 6:30 or so. Quiet time. Not.....these folks were ready to party.
After a few cocktails and some lively conversation, we called it a night. What a terrific time we had. Too bad it was the last Deming Gathering. I'm so very happy I attended it.
We got up the next morning and enjoyed breakfast again at the motel with a number of other Deming riders. Then, we were off toward home. Pretty much back-tracked the way we had come. About 50 miles east of Tucson, we hit a weather cell. Big old nasty rain. Eric was so kind and stopped at a rest stop and asked if I wanted to put on my rain gear. I said no and on we motored. My big old dumb mistake. By the time we got through Tucson, I was soaked. We stopped again and on went the Frog Toggs. A bit late, but at least they kept the wind off me so I wasn't cold. Dang, I hate being wet. My own stupid fault. Maybe one day I'll learn to put the rain gear on before I get wet!
We took the "scenic route" through Phoenix and I got to see all the best places in town including every porn shop, pawn shop, junk yard and low rent trailer park. Okay, I don't need to go there again.
We ended up at Wickenburg, AZ at the Best Western. Again, another fantastic property where you park outside your door. Very nice room. Instead of breakfast at the motel, they gave us discount coupons for a local restaraunt which we visited. After a scrumptious meal, we were on our way home.
Instead of riding through Las Vegas, we took the scenic route around Lake Mead. A picture perfect day with no traffic on newly paved road. Oh yes, life is good! We took a break at Roger's Spring. A fantastic view of Lake Mead. (With bikes in the pic, of course!)
It was an easy, peasy ride home. We got in just as the sun was setting. Perfect. So nice to be home. Such a fantastic ride and a really great Gathering. I met new folks, connected with people I've met before and simply had a great time.
My next adventure? Who knows. I'm thinking about Alaska and South America and many other places. We'll see, won't we?