Less than a week before the Red Horse Diner was to hold their 1st Annual Red Horse Rally, the Taylor Bridge Wildfire broke out between Cle Elum and Ellensburg. The fires came dangerously close during the week leading up to the event, and for a few days it was feared the rally would have to be postponed. But between the skills of the brave firefighters and a little luck from Mother Nature, the fire lines receded and the Rally went on as planned!
On Friday night visitors were treated to the musical stylings of the roadhouse blues band James King & The Southsiders (www.jameskingblues.com) playing behind the Red Horse Diner in the beer garden. The evenings’ setting was laidback as we sat beneath the star-filled sky, the air finally beginning to cool from the 90+ temperatures of the afternoon. It was a great way to end our day’s ride from Hood Canal via White Pass and the Yakima Canyon to Ellensburg.
Saturday morning my buddy Dave and I crawled out of our respective tents and strolled the short distance across the lawn to the diner to have breakfast and much needed coffee. (Dave was so impressed by the full plate of breakfast he had, that we ate breakfast at the diner again on Sunday prior to our departure home!)
After breakfast we stepped out the front door of the diner to find bikes beginning to roll in to register for the poker run. The original route had to be modified slightly to bypass roads and areas affected by the fires. The run itself was very reasonably priced and included a run pin. At noon, the ride began and all the bikes rolled out as one pack with Nicole Crossett, Red Horse Diner manager, leading the way on her bright orange 2012 H-D Street Glide, heading out through Ellensburg on the way to Curly’s II in Kittitas via the Vantage Highway. From Kittitas, the group headed north, paralleling I-90 by way of the Thorp Highway and a few other side roads, through farmlands and into the foothills of the Cascades on the way to the small, but famous town of Roslyn, where stop two was The Pastime. From there a short jaunt took us to the Old #3 in Ronald on State Hwy 903 just south of Lake Cle Elum. The riders then returned to the Red Horse Diner in Ellensburg in smaller packs, each choosing their own routes back around the scorched hills south of Cle Elum.
It was back at the Red Horse where the real party began! Riders returning drew their last card, signed up for the bike games and visited the vendors set up in the lawn behind the diner. The vendors featured Mimi’s Leathers, Mad Hatter’s Closet, DJ’s Beads & Jewelry, and the National Motorcycle Riders Memorial Association. The bike games began with a slow race that had the crowd cheering on contestants trying to be the last to cross the finish line. The games moved on to the ever-fun and entertaining wienie bite! Immediately following that was the water balloon toss, which quickly got out of hand as it broke into an impromptu water balloon fight amongst the spectators!
By the time the games wrapped up, the band for Saturday night was setting up and performing their sound checks. Everyone began grabbing seats at tables and picnic benches scattered around the outdoor beer garden, stocking up on refreshments and enjoying the $5 BBQ from the Red Horse. The misting system installed near the seating area allowed those who needed it, a refreshing reprieve from heat of the day. It was then that Ayron Jones and the Way began their first set with a cover of Jimi Hendrix. The crowd instantly came alive, the party was on and the dancing never stopped! Ayron Jones’s music is a mix of Muddy Waters meets Stevie Ray Vaughan with a little soul, hip-hop, rock and gospel mixed in to create his unique style of “neo-blues”. Check them out at www.ajandtheway.com!
The Red Horse Diner graciously allowed those from out of town to camp out behind the diner on the beautifully manicured lawn beneath majestic weeping willows or set up with an RV in the parking area adjacent to the restaurant. The Red Horse Diner is like stepping back in time to a 50’s style diner set next to a restored 1930’s Mobil gas station. The walls and ceilings inside the diner are covered with automotive, motorcycle and other period memorabilia from years past. The Red Horse Diner is a family owned & operated business. Bruce & Lori Crossett are the owners and their daughters Nicole and Breanna are the managers. Bruce and his daughter Nicole are also both riders to boot!
Honestly, the Red Horse Rally was one of the most enjoyable events I have been to this year! The 2nd Annual Red Horse Rally in 2013 is sure to be even better now that they have one under their belt. The Red Horse Diner is located at 1518 W University Way in Ellensburg with easy access to I-90, Hwy 10 to Cle Elum and US 97 to Wenatchee. You can find them on Facebook and at www.redhorsediner.com.