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Crazed Burros of Oatman...


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[All thumbnails should link to bigger pictures.]


Until the word was out, calling for riders to "wet [their] whistles" in Oatman, I had never heard of Oatman, Arizona. I now know why. There's not much in Oatman. And if you get there "late," what is in Oatman is likely closed. But I'm getting ahead of myself.


The new job has liberated my weekends, and with the onset of spring, I've decided that if there's an event I can get to, and if I have no other plans, I am IN! Folks from these parts are always fun to hang out with. If I've got the opportunity to make a gathering, it seems I should. Last weekend was the excellent Top of California, and this weekend was Oatman.


My plan was simple. Get into work early on Friday. Get out of work early on Friday. Wade through the whole of the Bay Area traffic scene required when one's departure point is Berkeley, and make it down to my first stop for the night: Glendora. Steve Carr graciously offered up his couch for me, and I gave him a firm "sometime after I leave work" arrival time. Getting across Berkeley and Oakland proved to be no fun. Getting past Pleasanton proved to be no fun. In one-and-a-half short hours, I had flown right through 60 miles of the Bay Area highways.


[Those who have read my previous trip reports might notice a trend as I go along here. Feel free to pounce; I can assure you there's nothing new you're pointing out to me. smile.gif ]


I didn't buy the Gore-Tex liner for my Savanna pants. After using the jacket liner, I figured it would be too inconvenient. It's one thing to pull over and put a liner in the jacket if the weather goes south. But I can't envision myself pulling over and taking off my pants...


I did check weather.com early Friday morning. It showed me rain forecasted for no cities on I-5 south of Stockton. "No problem," I said. The weather was great when I left, and I was home free. If it started to rain, I'd stop and buy rain pants. (Oh, right. Did I mention that I bought neither the Gore-Tex liner nor the rain pants I was going to buy instead?)


As I headed to the Altamont pass, the last bit of hills I'd see for a long time, there was a huge cloud, headed (not surprisingly) toward Stockton. I ran under the cloud and hoped things would stay clear enough for me to get by. Time to accelerate. Oh, shucks. Pretty soon, I could see stars in the skies ahead, and I was now clear of the rain risk. It was getting a bit chilly, so I put the liner in my jacket at the next gas stop.


Coming up on Bakersfield, when I expected it to warm up, I noticed wet patches on the road. As I passed Bakersfield, I noticed completely wet roads. Still further, I noticed wet coming down onto the road from above the road. Hmm. In some parts, I believe that's called rain. And I wasn't supposed to have rain this far south. Anyhow, no big deal. Rain liner is in the jacket, the pants are good for about 30 minutes of actual rain before they leak through. That was good. Not but about 15 miles past Hwy 58, the actual rain started.


It was just past Lebec where it got interesting. I noticed that the raindrops were starting to get thicker. I wondered if there was sleet or something, because of the reflections in my headlight. At one point, I thought, "That almost looks like snow, but I don't think it's cold enough for snow." Just a short wait and the answer would become clear -- or not clear. I was being bombarded with snow as I kept climbing. It started to cake on my visor. It had already caked on my windscreen. It was getting really cold. I was following the road by looking for the reflectors between the lanes, and occasional heavy gusts of wind not only pounded the snow into me and into my neck, they also blew me all over the lane.


At this point, I decided, "Next hotel I see, I'm getting a room and calling Steve to tell him I'll see him in the morning." One problem: the road signs were caked with snow, my visor was fogged and covered with snow (that I kept brushing off), I couldn't see the traffic to my rear, and I couldn't see what was at the exits until I was past them. In a short 15 or 20 miles of this, it was over...


Of course, I wasn't dressed for this. I didn't bring my Gerbings, or even a long-sleeved shirt. I had lightweight thermal underwear on under my Savanna pants (without a windproof liner), but I was still freezing. And since I expected no rain, I hadn't done up my gloves to keep the water from leaking in. My legs were cold, and my arms had gone into a violent shiver. Pulling off would have been the right choice, but I wasn't thinking "right." As I dropped down, I convinced myself I was too close to stop. With a few deep breaths, I knocked off the shivering. And I was on my way. Now, I was drying out, and I only had about 50 miles to go.


Steve's directions put me right at his place. It was now 11:30 and clear I was here post-bedtime. After rousting my host from his bed, I hit the couch. And I was out pretty quickly. I woke up just before I heard the first movement of the morning. It was just before 6, and we were going to run out soon to go meeting the Tony and Kim. So, this is what 6 AM looks like... Who cares. Now we (Steve and Jennifer and me) start the ride to Oatman.


I-210 to I-10 (given that I was in the state of Southern California, I guess I'm supposed to say "the 210" to "the 10") to Rancho Mirage to greet Tony and Kim. First, Steve talks us by the guard at the gate who's trying to keep us from entering Tony's fortress. This seemed to be pretty easy; I grew up on Air Force bases where the guards carried guns and weren't usually so easily talked into things. Next, we wind our ways through streets to find Tony conveniently parking the RT out front, though Steve clearly knew where we were going. Next, a jump over to IHOP for breakfast. As we were leaving IHOP, a gentleman who is apparently a member of this board came by to ask me about Tony's surge... I tell him I've only just met Tony, and he'll need to take this up with him personally.


Back on "the 10" to California Highway 177. I believe it was on 177 where we went in search of the "Shoe Tree." This was a rather bizarre thing. Random tree on the side of the road covered in shoes. As Jennifer and Steve searched for shoes placed by their girls, I couldn't help but wonder how something like this evolves. Surely, the seeds of the tree must have been sewn with more than a single pair of shoes. I mean, would you see a tree with a pair of shoes tossed over a limb, yank your off and toss them up there, too? No, it seems to me that someone had to arrive with enough shoes to make it appear this is the thing to do. Kind of the tip-jar approach. Are there other shoe trees? Is this just a bit of Americana I've missed?




All hail the mighty shoe tree!




Steve and Jennifer put their noses to the test.



The CHP we recently passed has just nabbed his 2nd suspect as we plod on. I was watching Tony in my mirror when I saw him get swallowed by an array of lights. Two things come to mind: daytime UFO abduction, or he's been overtaken by a bunch of hooligan bikers. I don't really believe in the former, so that only really leaves the latter.


The lights close in and an RT goes blazing past me. Hey, wait! I know those deerskin leathers, that Russell seat, and that luggage rack. Then comes another. I didn't know this one. And then some big, white monstrosity comes up behind me and hangs there. (I thought a snow-cone shaped bright light flew off from view of my mirrors, but I could be mistaken...)


We gathered up when we hit Highway 62 (I think.) Jamie and Leslie were there. I met Rodger and Sue and Larry and Marianne. From here, we decided to ride to Parker, then to "the 40" then on to Oatman. But let's not leave Parker, Arizona, so fast.




The meeting of the minds.





We stopped to gas up. It was a bit inconvenient, and the pumps were pay-first and no pay-at-pump. I hate that. Traveling single, I was done pretty quickly. I just started rolling around, parking in various places, watching. That's when Jamie had a novel idea.


I may not have the story entirely correct here. But what I understand is this: Jamie got lots of bugs and dirt on the front of his RT. Someone told Jamie that gasoline is a pretty good cleaner. Jamie sprayed gasoline all over his RT to get rid of that dirt. But, since gas dries so quickly, he enlisted the help of everyone to wipe the gas while it was still wet. Someone correct if I've got this messed up...




Shocked and awed by Gasoline-clean.




Remnants of Gasoline-clean.




Would you look at that shine!



Steve and Jennifer regaled me with the grand stories of Oatman and its burros. On the last trip, they apparently ganged up on her as she fed them, bit off one of her fingers, knocked her to the ground and kicked her. I was anxious to see the creatures. When we pulled into town, one of the ferocious beasts was waiting there... sleeping. Just one?




The ferocious, sleeping burros of Oatman.




Larry thinks Oatman arrival is worthy of a strut.



I then went and wetted my whistle. The bar at the Oatman Hotel serves up a mean can of Diet Coke, I can tell you. When I stumbled out of the bar, the burro was gone and the town was closed up. I started to believe that the burros were leased by the town for PR purposes, and I wonder who had put it up. I was assured (and have found in later researching on Oatman) that they are indeed wild and the just leave when there's nothing else to get from being in town. So odd.


I was hoping the road to Bullhead City might be as twisty as the one coming in, which I thought we took too slowly. So, I took off before the rest of the remaining crew. Some folks had already left. Flying down Boundary Cone Rd., I passed a few slow-movers, slowing down as we hit civilization to run with traffic. My right knee was giving me problems, so I was holding my right leg out straight as I was passing through this town-ish area. Off on a corner was a Mohave County Sheriff's deputy. He pulled out behind me, and to be safe, I set my cruise at 55.


Suddenly, my ride had become festive, with flashing lights behind me. Huh? I pulled over in a parking lot as and the officer followed me in. I flipped up my tank bag (which had my Valentine remote display on top) and my Schuberth chin piece. When the deputy walked up, I asked if I could dismount, which he allowed. He took one look at my riding suit and said, "You can do some serious riding in the outfit." I told him I try to do some serious riding. Then he said, "I pulled you over for two reason. First, you were riding along with your right leg sticking out. What was that all about?" I told him my right knee was hurting because of all the riding, and I was just relaxing it. He asked where I'd been, and even though it was only 750 miles or so to that point, he seemed impressed. Next, he told me he had paced me at 55, and that the speed limit was 45. (Oops.) I handed him my license and proof of insurance, he went back to his truck and read it, then came back said he would just warn me. He instructed me on the intricacies of the speed limits in the area and let me go.


A few minutes later down the road, James and Leslie, Larry and Marianne, and Rodger and Sue caught me. Jamie seemed a bit confused when I pulled over to the left to let them pass. I had decided with only 15 or so miles of Arizona left, I wasn't going to push my luck. Cops have radios after all...


Dinner was next. We met at the Harrah's buffet as planned. 20 ugly minutes at the slots left me down on cash leading up to dinner. What happened next was perhaps emblematic of the people we have here. In a scene perhaps reminiscent of the hat-passing on Gunnison, I was instantly -- hang on while I choke back a tear -- lavished with more than enough cash to cover my $128 dinner bill.


The 12 of us seated, we went to town. There were no crab legs, but there was a pretty good crab salad (with real crab, I'm pretty sure.) And there was lots of other stuff, most of it all required for general sustenance. My willowy frame needs all it can get. laugh.gif


About halfway through, Gleno made his appearance with Terri, and that's when everything becomes a blur...


Because I wanted to get home, I was going to leave early in the morning. Instead, I slept until 10:30. On the plus side -- and those of you in California will know what I'm talking about -- I had my pick of some of the best motorcycle road anywhere on my way home: I-40, CA 58 from Barstow to Bakersfield, I-5 to I-580. It just doesn't get any better than that!





On the way home... Couldn't resist but to stop as I watched this approach. (of course, I needed to keep going to see it arrive.)



About 1375 miles. Maybe more smiles. Looking forward to the next event.



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Nice write up. In all a great trip. Jamie got a bunch of people to help him clean his ride, and the donkey's made complete asses of themselves...



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Great story Greg,


Now let me get this straight...Jamie doused his bike w/ Gas to clean it off...hmmmmmmm..did he try to clean that nasty blue off the hot headers also??? shocked.gifgrin.gifwink.gif

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hmmmmmmm..did he try to clean that nasty blue off the hot headers also???


No, but there was some talk about how gas might work best on the cat, while it was still hot...


We all ducked and covered when he hit the starter.



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Snow, shoe trees and a Diet Coke in Oatman?!


This is how I feel reading your ride tales: grin.gifgrin.gifgrin.gif


I gotta go with you on some of these long days. There just ain't enough riders like you Greg.

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OWWWWWW!! Greg, my belly hurts! I haven't laughed that hard in quite a while!


But you've got the gas-spilling story all wrong. I'm sure I can think of a better (read: less humiliating/incriminating) version of that one, hmmmm, wait a bit . . . Oh well--I'm screwed! smile.gif And BTW, you guys did a LOUSY job cleaning up my bike! You missed the front entirely--you know, the part with all the dead bugs all over it??!! smile.gif Rodger, don't you say a WORD! smile.gif


I couldn't believe it, the dad-blurned pumps don't shut off automatically in this State! So there I am looking over at someone at one of the other pumps cheerily chatting away whilst blithely bubbling gas all over my still very hot bike, when . . . "geez, 'was der HOELLE' is Les so wound up about, anyway?? . . . cripes, that's not like her, she's usually so mellow, and . . . HOLY CRAP!!!!!"


Gasoline is POURING out of the fill spout and cascading all down my 7-month-old bike and collecting in a very large, and rapidly growing, puddle beneath it. Instantly, visions of the ball of fire my poor "Maynard" is about to burst into fill my mind (WHERE are the dang-blammed fire extinguishers??!!), as well as the morning's headline: "Firefighter's Motorcycle Erupts Into Inferno!" I would never live it down! If those fumes catch that Cat . . . (doing the quick calcs in my head . . . flammable range of Gasoline in air: 1.4%-7.6%; just enough wind to mix the vapors; flash point of Gasoline: minus 45 degrees F (yeah, I'd say its a little hotter than that right now); autoignition point of Gasoline: 536 degrees F; temperature of that Cat right about now: probably over 1000 degrees F . . . )




Why Maynard and I (and Les, and Rodger, and Sue, and . . . ) didn't detonate into the biggest ball of flame since the last sun in these parts went super-nova, I have no clue--but I'm thankful for all the good karma (or is that bikema?) I've banked up! smile.gif The constant reminders and the good-natured ribbing I'll take for awhile is a small price that I will gladly pay! laugh.gif


What a fun weekend! A great ride! And a great bunch of folks!! smile.gifsmile.gif (oh, and Gleno, too smile.gif )


Looks like I'll have to get to Oatman a little earlier next time to get a chance to thoroughly check out all the Harley T-Shirts with half-nekkid wimmin, Confederate flag backdrops and crude slogans, oh wait, I can see those anyday here in SD! smile.gif


The different groups' time-tables got a bit jumbled, the time zone changes and daylight savings didn't help any (what's up with Arizona not doing DST? Who whizzed in their punch bowl? Or, is it the REST of us who have it all messed up?). But, we got lucky and ran into Greg, and MarkM in the casino and even Gleno and Terri managed to find us hiding in the back room. However, we WERE able to outfox Tony, Kim, MarkM, and Hans the next morning at breakfast, though. Whooops! Sorry, guys!


Thanks to Rodger for the great idea, thanks to all who made it (even Capt. Ahab and Marianne on their big white whale! smile.gif . . . "I'll chase him round Good Hope and round the Horn and round the Norway Maelstorm, and round Hell's flames . . . cool.gif ), and especially Greg who gets the award for the longest travelling, worst weather enduring, most humorous Ride Tale posting, darkest pictures taking, most silver-tongued LEO charming, hottest K-RS bike driving Hoon! laugh.gif Glad every one made it home okay (at least I haven't heard anything--yet! smile.gif ), and didn't catch whatever little bug it is that Howard, and Michael and others seem to be passing around! frown.gif


Can't wait to go fishin'! laugh.giflaugh.gif


Who's in??

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AWESOME write-up Greg! Kim and myself had tears running down our faces we were laughing so hard! It was great to finally meet you.


I posted a ride tale in Rodger's thread - check out the pics!


Until the next one - (Fishing!) thank you all for a really great time!



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check out the pics!


Your pics look so nice. I really must learn how to use my camera. Until seeing yours, I figured Jamie's "dark" comments (I prefer to use "brooding" when describing my style) were just him lashing back at me for spouting off, exposing his cleaning methods.



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