Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Gerlachfest 2014 - September 29, 2014 - Home at Last

As soon as I awoke, I peeked out the window to see what weather surprises might be in store for me today.  Hooray, light clouds, no rain and no wind.  I dilly dallied about fixing a cup of coffee, checking email, packing up my belongings and loading the bike.  It was a pleasant morning.  Finally, I got geared up and hopped on the bike.  Rut roh......nothing happened when I hit the starter button.  Hmmmmm.....I checked to be sure the kill switch wasn't on and tried again, still nothing.  Crap.

There was a small group of motorcyclists at the other end of the motel parking lot, so I walked over to them and asked for some help trouble shooting.  I was certainly getting power - all the lights came on and the voltmeter showed 13.7.  We chatted for a bit and one of the guys asked me if it was in gear.  DOH!!!!!  When I parked the night before, I put the bike in gear because I was parked on a pretty good slope.  Headslap!  Back to the bike, click it into neutral and voila' she started right up.  Hahahaha, simply had to laugh at myself.  I don't know why I didn't even think to pull in the clutch or check the gear I was in.  Guess because I almost always leave it in neutral when I park.  Lesson learned and very fortunately it was an easy lesson :-)

So, finally on the road for home.  I filled the gas tank and aux tank then headed out of town.  I was so pleased the sky was friendly.  I did have my heated liner on and the heated grips as it was only about 50 degrees or so.  I had a beautiful ride.  Little to no traffic.  Stopping when I wanted.  No critters, no weather issues, no bike issues.  Only thing missing was my music but I'll get that sorted out soon.  I took these pictures about 80 miles out of Ely on Highway 93.  Just wanted to show you the difference a day can make in the weather!

 I motored along on Highway 93 headed south.  I was getting hungry but didn't feel like stopping in Pioche, NV so continued on to Panaca.  Well, the options are sparse in Panaca so this was my late lunch from the Shell service station :-)
 Panaca, NV is a small, small burg with a 25 mile per hour speed limit.  It's rather pleasant to ride through and gawk at the buildings.
 Panaca, NV pioneers.
 High tech Panaca satellite dishes.
 Finally, crossing over into Utah, almost home now.  I almost, almost, almost dropped my bike here when I pulled off to grab a picture.  It was a gravel pull off and I think I hit the brakes too hard and the rear end slid out and I almost went down.  Sheer will and stubbornness kept the bike from going all the way over.  Yikes!  Although there is some traffic out this way, it is pretty remote.
 I took another quick break in Enterprise, UT.  Here is a picture of their town Heritage Park.
 Now, I'm only maybe 60 miles from home and on very familiar roads.  The temperature had warmed up and it was quite comfortable as I motored along Highway 18 toward home.  I was ready to be home.  I turned into our community and stopped to take a picture of Big Red Mountain, our landmark.  I always love to see the mountain, it means I'm minutes from home.

 Doesn't it look beautiful?
 Well, everything was grand until I went to turn the corner of our road and discovered this mess!  On Saturday, apparently my neighborhood got hit once again with epic rain which caused more flood damage.  The road was covered in soft, silty, red dirt.  Yuck!  I was tired and not really in the mood to tackle that.  So, I continued on up the main road to try coming in from the back side.  Well, after crossing a number of intersections and stretches of road covered in this stuff I got to a point where the road was closed.  Yeah, about two blocks from my house.  Darn!  So, I had to backtrack over the nastiness yet again.
 I returned to my starting point and frankly, I cheated.  I called my husband to rescue me!  And, of course, he did :-)  From the picture here, we are only two blocks up the road.
So, Eric rescued me and I arrived home safe and sound after a lovely long weekend in Gerlach, NV.  It has been a wonderful trip, even with the poor weather.  After all, life is an adventure and sometimes we just get more or different that we bargained for.  I was happy.  I was home with my honey.  I have lasting memories of another Gerlachfest.

Thanks to all of you who have followed my blog.  I'm deeply touched that you find it interesting enough to read it!

I have no idea yet what the next adventure might be, but, I'm sure I'll come up with something!

Safe journeys,

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Gerlachfest 2014 - September 28, 2014 - Going Home

Heck, it's over and time to head towards home.  I woke up kind of early, like 7:30 or so and dinked around for a hour before I hoofed it over to Bruno's for brekkie.  Quite a few folks had already departed, headed for home or other adventures.  However, there was still a good size contingent of folks having food at Bruno's.  I took my time eating and visiting and finally went back to the motel to pack up my belongings, load the bike and head out.

A bunch of folks had already left, some in the early morning hours as they had a big ride ahead to get home and ready for the work week.  As you can see, it was raining again!  Everything was wet, ick!

 The parking lot was thinning out quickly.
 A few pictures of the left over carnage from the smoothie porch!

 Only a few bikes left.
 For once, for once, for once, I wasn't the LAST BIKE to leave.  I was second to last :-)  I beat Mario Winkleman by a few minutes :-)  The sky way grey and heavy but it wasn't raining when I left.  Ha, that wouldn't last long.  Within 10 minutes of my departure, I hit some rain squalls.  Good thing I was prepared and had the right gear on.  Well, I didn't have my Pinlock visor on but I corrected that soon enough!

I rode along Hiway 447 in solitude.  All was good.  I pulled into the Love's Station at Fernly to gas up and who do I find?  Chris Purney, Doug Barrett and Justin Phillipson.  All were kind enough to give me the salute :-)  We hung out a bit chatting and I took off, headed toward home.  Chris and Doug were going to ride together for a bit before splitting off in opposite directions.  Justin was headed the same way as I, but I took off, telling Justin that I knew he would pass me in no time since I wouldn't ride near as fast as he!

 I headed out on Highway 50, returning the way home on the same route I took out to Gerlach.  I rode in and out of weather squalls and was happy I had waterproof gear on as well as my heated gear.  It was COLD and WET.

I chased Justin for a while along with another couple two up on a GS.  We made good time. We all stopped at Austin, NV and chatted.  The GS couple were not a part of Gerlachfest but were a great couple to meet.  Adventure riders, I let them be my rabbit :-)  They left first, then me, then Justin.  I never saw the GS couple again and Justin passed me somewhere after Austin and I never saw him again.

What I did see, was this......................................Yeah, that is what I was going to ride into.  Nice, huh?

As mentioned, I had been riding in and out of squalls of rain and hail and nasty weather.  A bit of wind, but nothing like the wind I had on the way to Gerlach.  Anyway, the weather kind of sucked.  I had my heated jacket and hand grips on most of the time.  No, all of the time!  By the way, hail hurts.

So, I'm riding along, having a pretty good time.  Moving quickly toward Ely, NV when I see this in front of me.  Yikes!!!!  What?????? Really?  Come on...I don't need this.

 I'm like 12 miles from Ely, NV, my destination for the day and I see this huge storm wall.  I didn't stop to take more pics but it looked like funnel clouds were forming.  HECK, I'm only 12 miles to my destination.....12 miles.....

I motored on.  What else could I do?  There is absolutely nothing out here, no cover available, nothing.  Lightening strikes, cold, and then....yup, it hailed, rained and got extremely cold.  My temperature gauge on the bike started flashing - below freezing - bad - bad - bad!

There was nothing to do but continue towards Ely.  I kept watching my GPS telling me how many miles to my destination.  I was moving along at a good clip but finally the weather forced me to slow down.  It was then I noticed something hitting my feet.  Huh?  What could that be?  It was frickin slush!!!!  My feet were getting pounded by heavy, wet slush from the highway.  Yikes!

I was so close, yet so far away.  The road was covered in slush and there was nowhere to go but forward.  It was freezing, frightening and not even a little bit fun.  I was so close - the GPS now said 5.5 miles, then 4.5 miles, then 3.5 miles and still there was slush and freezing temperatures.  Would I make it?  Nowhere to take cover.  Nowhere to stop and wait it out.  Darn, it was not a good situation.

I concentrated on staying in the tire tracks to avoid as much of the slush as possible.  It almost got to a point where I considered putting on my flashers, but there was no other traffic so why bother?  Heck, I really didn't want the bike to slide out from under me.  So close to my destination.....yet so far.

Funny, I never felt panicked.  I recognized the dire situation, but remained calm.  Guess that's why I managed to get through it.  I was so relieved to see only wet pavement with no slush only a mile or so out of Ely.  Yay!!!!  I will make it and be safe.  And, that's what happened.  I rolled into Ely and in particular to the Four Sevens Motel (a Cognoscente fav) without issue.

I got checked in and started unloading my bike.  As I unloaded, who should show up?  Ha, you'll never, ever guess.  It was Mr. Bob Higdon, Gerlachfest attendee and rider extraordinaire.  I had passed him miles before and we each gave a wave.  I had no idea we both had the same destination in mind :-)  Fortunately, we both made it through the horrible slush mess and arrived safely.

So, that my friends, is my story of the day.  Tomorrow, I will finish my ride home.  It's not far, maybe 200 miles or so. The forecast is for improved weather and I anticipate no issues.  I'm looking forward to getting home to my honey although I had a great time riding to Gerlach, visiting with friends, watching Virgins firewalk, remembering riders who have passed and making lifetime memories.

Thanks for following along with me.  Cheers to all of you who follow my blog.  Stay tuned, I have some exciting new stuff maybe happening soon!


Gerlachfest 2014 - September 27, 2014 - We Gather

Well, wouldn't you just know it?  Saturday dawned with rain and cold.  This is my fifth Gerlachfest and it has always been HOT.  Not today.  Wet, wet, wet.  Activities for the day originally included a Bum Rush Mitch Palmer ride to visit Mitch following his nasty accident during the Cal24 where he took out two wild pigs and crushed his pelvis among other injuries.  A nice contingent of riders got up early and made the trek to visit Mitch.  Those of us who couldn't get up that early had other activities to keep us busy.  Some folks participated in a Hollywood character costume shoot and braved the rain for Tobie Stevens, photographer.

Here are a few pictures of the folks that participated.  Looks like they had great costumes and a ton of Gerlach style fun!  Stephen! as a period aviator!
 The lovely Lisa Stevens as a character from Pulp Fiction.  Man she looked awesome!

 Mr. Andy Kirby and Mrs. Andy....don't ask :-)

 Mario Winkleman as Zorro!

 George Swetland as Lawrence of Labia - again, don't ask :-)

Always in the past, there have been Black Rock Desert Playa activities, but alas, with all the rain, the Playa was a dangerous place and there was no way we were going out there!  So, as a backup plan, Matt Watkins had put together a virtual rally.  About 20 or so folks participated with the challenge being to get the best time on a route taking Washington State ferries.  He had sixteen locations that you had to visit, either via road or ferry.  It was all about getting the right ferries at the right time.  A good time was had by all that played the game.  Sorry I didn't take any pictures, but I was busy trying to figure out the winning route.

After the virtual rally, most folks hung out in the parking lot and porch of the motel.  We tried to stay warm and there was plenty of BS going on.

Peter Behm, 2011 Iron Butt Rally winner hanging out with first time Virgin Gerlach attendee, Tyler Zimmerman.  Note - special attention goes to all Gerlach virgins.  You'll see what a bit later ;-)
 Peter Behm, Matt Watkins and Erik Lipps discussing something important.  Oh my, I see red solo cups......
 Bob Mutchler with Mark Crane holding court on the porch.  Well, Mark was making fruit smoothies laced with Tequila so he was a very popular guy.

 After porch and parking lot antics, we all retired to Bruno's Bar before our Saturday night banquet.  Lynda Lahman, George Swetland and Doug Chapman let me take their picture.  Red solo cup is visible :-)
 Not a very good picture, but at the head banquet table, Warren Harhay gives the invocation.  It was absolutely hilarious.  Warren has a way with words that very few people have.  It is truly a gift.
 The Head Table Guru's kindly posed for a photo.  Note the salute!
 Well, Ms. Kitty (Nancy Oswald) knows how to give a salute!

 I just went around the room to capture a photo of each table.  Dinner was fantastic and we all had a great time visiting with our tablemates.  It is a wonderful opportunity to catch up and hear good stories.

Hahaha, looks like Lynda is going to swig the carafe!
 Jan Mondale is obviously regaling the Kirby's with her riding accomplishments.
 This table was intent on either food or hijinks, I'm not sure which
 Now, this table was all about telling the biggest lie, oops, I mean story!
 While this table was intent on eating.
 And this table, the one I was assigned to.....well, lets just say we had an awesome good time!
 Following our outstanding banquet, there were several announcements.  One of which was a found heated jacket in size xxxl.  If such person wanted that jacket back, we would have to raise some funds for the No Polio charity.  The donations grew and grew and grew until finally, Tom Melchild agreed enough had been raised and he would give us a performance of "I'm a Little Teacup" and get his heated jacket back.  This was big time funny!!!!!   Hahahahahahaha, my tummy hurts from laughing.  He even knew the words and the motions.  I'm a little teapot, short and stout, here is my handle, here is my spout!  Yep, we were having a grand time :-)
 After the banquet, we all gathered to ride out to the bonfire.  Typically, the bonfire is held on the Playa.  As mentioned before, after all the rain, the Playa was not the place to be.  Fortunately, the Gerlach organizers found an alternate location, Planet X, a pottery studio out on Highway 447.  And, also very fortunately, the weather cleared up and we had clear skies, no rain and no wind.

We made our way to Planet X mostly via car.  I had to laugh at all the people one could shove into a car or SUV or truck.  Many people had to pretend they were pretzels to fit into the space available.  Regardless, we all made it out to the fire.

Not sure I can get everyone identified, but we'll give it a go.  Peter and Paula Behm came all the way from Minnesota.  I spy Maura Gatensby from Vancouver, British Columbia and Heidi Still from Yuma, Arizona as well.

 Hmmmm, I see Justin Phillipson from Denver, Co., Jan Mondale from Seattle, WA and maybe Becky Martinez from Williams, AZ.

 Good friends from Oregon, Dennis York and Ernie Azevedo.  I probably butchered Ernie's last name!
 Well, heck, our lovely Ms. Kitty, Nancy Oswald all the way from Baltimore!  I think the flowers look fab :-)
 Okay, the back of Erik Lipp's head (California), Tyler Zimmerman from Bonners Ferry, ID and Doug Barrett, California.
 Yippee!  Becky Martinez and her dad, Patrick Ford.  A couple of quick nice stories here.  My very first rally, I met Patrick and he helped me sooooooo much. (Think White Stag, 2010).  Then his lovely daughter Becky decided she wanted to get some Long Distance experience.  Together the two have ridden some awesome LD rides including a Saddle Sore 1000, Bun Burner 1500 and Bun Burner Gold 1800!  Wow.  They also rode the 2013 Iron Butt Rally but didn't finish so I'm pretty sure we'll see them back on that scene again.  How cool is this?  Riding with your daughter/Dad???? Wow!
 Oh yeah, Mark Crane (Mr. Vitamix Fruit Smoothie with Tequila King), me and Becky.
 Same crew with AnneMarie (George Swetland's Granddaughter!)  Yup, you got that right.  AnneMarie is a delight and makes Gerlachfest just that much more fun.
 Hahahahaha...what to say?  The one, the only, the awesome, Mr. Bob Higdon, all the way from Florida. I was going to add some more descriptive, but, well......some things stay at Gerlach.
 Tom Melchild, Rusty Bachman, Reno John Austin and Doug Chapman.  For those who don't know, Reno John Austin is the bastard child of Tom Melchild and me.  Don't ask...don't tell....it's a private Gerlach joke :-)
 The Spank RallyMaster, George Zelenz chats it up with Roger Van Santen.
 Roger again with Bob Mutchler.
 Chris Purney, Tom Daniels and Jan Mondale having some fun around the fire.
 Jeff Jones with Brad Warwick.  Hmmmmmmm......Jeff is a retired CHP and Brad is a current NHP.  I think they are hiding something...what do you think?

 Paula and Peter Behm visiting with Dennis York.
 Oh boy, Heidi and John.  They were the pretzels in the back of the Lahman's car on the ride out to the bonfire.  This just goes to prove that they are in great shape and obviously, both have fantastic smiles :-)
 Virtual Rally Master, Matt Watkins scoring a big bonus for the Big Money Rally.
 The very elusive, rare, Erin Darling came to Gerlachfest from a land far, far away.  Here Warchild is showing his appreciation of her attendance.  Seriously, if any of you have ever read her stories, well, then you'll know how special she is.  I was so happy to meet her.  Looks like she is having a good time.
Once everyone settled down, we had some moments of remembrance.  Warchild read the list of fellow riders who passed since the last Gerlachfest.  Many people stepped up to the fire to speak of memories of those we have lost.  It is very sobering, sad and also at the same time, a wonderful opportunity to share stories of those who are gone, how much we loved them, what they contributed to our community and how much they are missed.

As Chuck Hickey pointed out, this is a good time for all of us to reflect on our behavior, that anything can happen in a heartbeat and perhaps we might want to mend some fences and express our love for one another.  I think he hit the nail on the head.

Following the memorial talks it was time to focus attention on the Virgins! (hehehehehe, devious laugh!).

Virgins, folks who have never attended Gerlachfest, are initiated by doing the fire walk.  It builds extreme anxiety for those sweet virgins and the rest of us relish their anxiety! Everyone who is invited to Gerlachfest has their moment of fire walking.  It's great entertainment for the already initiated.

This year the bonfire was HUGE, HUGE, HUGE and I'm pretty sure those virgins were quaking in their boots. They were warned to wear good boots and sturdy pants because we certainly didn't want them to catch fire.  Man that fire was BIG.

I think there were at least a half dozen virgins...a few were brave and stepped up to do the deed, but others had to be called out.  LOL.  I'm not sure who is who in the following pics, but they were virgins and stepped up to the initiation!  Good fun and lots of cheering and jeering!

Thus, Gerlachfest 2014 ended.  All virgins walked the walk, some several times.  Some walked with help and then walked alone.  It is quite an intimidating thing, especially with a boatload of folks watching and catcalling.  Oh my Gosh, it is truly a highlight.

We then shoved everyone into vehicles and made our way back to Bruno's where festivities and smoothies continued until the wee hours.

It was different from past Gerlachfests, but it was also a great Gerlachfest.  The rain certainly impacted our activities (no shooting on the playa) but we came up with alternative activities.  In the end, we all came to Gerlachfest for exactly what it was intended to be.  A remembrance and memorial for our friends who have passed on and a time to celebrate our friendships.

It was good.