Sunday, September 28, 2014

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'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.


1 comment:

  1. Great work! Great great work! Many thanks to you paparazza.