Story by Ray Seidel, Photos by George Childress and Ray Seidel
My Indian is packed, some extra water bottles just in case, and kickstand up early Thursday morning. In a pleasant surprise, this year the weather getting to the Laughlin River Run was perfect, unlike the cold, cloudy, drizzle & rain of the past few years. Bikers along the route were taking their time to enjoy the trip, and various stops along the way. A blanket of riders at the Barstow Outlet Chevron station were happily taking a break and schmoozing with one another after filling up their rides. I pulled right up to a pump, even though there were easily a hundred bikes parked everywhere in the lot. The next popular fuel stop going east on the I-40 is the Chevron at Ludlow, but usually a very long line at the pumps. Tip: I dodge over to the Union 76 on the other side of the freeway, no waiting, and back on the road.
Uh oh – drama:
Knowing the range of my Indian, I always fuel up at one of the gas stations at the River Road /I-40 exit to Laughlin, and this time grab a burger and bottled water at Carl’s Jr. It is 27 miles to Laughlin from this point, so if your bike can cover it you may skip this stop – there’s a SHELL station when you arrive. I’m staying at the Riverside Resort this year, find a great spot to park, remove my helmet and SURPRISE! A bee I had hit earlier had lodged itself in my visor and tags my little finger. Within 60 seconds my blood pressure drops like a rock, and so do I, flat on my back gasping for my life! Within another 60 seconds a half dozen bikers are surrounding me giving me water, a wet rag for my head, and calling for an ambulance. I think that speaks volumes about who “bikers” are, and THANKS to those who helped me out. I only mention this because I’ve been stung before a number of times with no problems WHATSOEVER beyond a welt, so just a head’s up.
Riverside Resort again hosted the demo rides for Indian, Victory, and Star Motorcycles. Harley rides were over at the Tropicana. I decide I’m FINALLY going to try out that new 2014 Indian, but first I’m going out to Mother Road Harley-Davidson in Kingman which is having a “mini-Laughlin” event and the end party for the American Heroes Poker Run, which benefits American Veterans. It’s an open road and 30 minutes to Kingman, but when I arrive it’s a 20 degree temperature drop – everyone is in leather jackets and me in a T-shirt. Mother Road H-D does have a huge selection of clothing inside, so I find a nifty H-D/Kingman/Route 66 long-sleeve for the ride back. Lots of vendors outside including food, patches (and sewing), and LIVE entertainment. If one has the time, it’s a nice ride on Route 66 to the historical district of Kingman; traffic is always light. I recommend “Mr. D’s” for a diner that’s still in the 50’s. A simple but delicious grilled cheese for me, then an unscheduled stop at the Kingman Depot. The train station has been here since 1907, but has now added a model railroad museum. Don’t go out of your way, but if you’re already here and a rail fan, worth a stop.
As soon as I return to Laughlin I get off MY Indian and hop on the new Indian Vintage for a 20 minute demo ride for a fair comparison. First: This engine is smooooth. You feel the heartbeat, but not thumpa thumpa. Second: TALL first gear. Getting up to speed is an effortless dream, whereas I’d be concentrating more on shifting into 2nd and 3rd on mine. Third: The ride is also smooth. My bikes transmit every tar strip; this Indian rolls over everything easily. I was LOOKING for pot holes, yet a perfect ride. I’m sold, gotta get one of these!
Lots of entertainment
Riverside Resort had as entertainment “GREAT WHITE” (similar to Guns N’ Roses) which was nearly packed, and the crowd loved it. After that I walk over to River Palms where the Laughlin Tattoo Convention held a nightly tattoo contest along with rows of tattoo artists applying ink. Final night was also a twerking contest, followed by Best of Show tattoos. Check our Quick Throttle FACEBOOK for more pictures of some of this artwork.
Over at the Pioneer Hotel & Gambling Hall– Evil Waze, 22 BLAQ, Seth Turner were performing outdoors, as were others nearby, late into the night. Sort of a crazy, long, block party. Reminder: the Riverside has TWO auto & motorcycle museums worth seeing.
My personal favorite “must see” is the side trip to Oatman, the old mining town that still lives along with the descendents of the miners’ burros of a hundred years ago. This year I hit it on Sunday, which was not so crowded. Easy to find parking, to shop or order up some food. This time I had some pizza, and offered up the pizza bones to the ever-present burro that will scout you out for some food. These guys have the right-of-way, so navigate accordingly riding in and out.
Heading home west on I-40 I made a stop at the Goffs exit, just beyond Needles, my first time there. What a surprise! It’s a gas stop but also a little cluster of civilization aptly named Hi-Sahara Oasis. Lots of water fountains, misters & picnic tables. Indoor is more seating & snacks. Outside is proprietor Najah’s traditional Biker Barbecue for the riders headed to and from Laughlin; this time the fare was grilled chicken, burgers & hot dogs. All freshly grilled just for the bikers. Further out, I prefer to skip the congestion of the Ludlow fuel stop unless I want some actual food, which is available at the Ludlow Café, with nearly everything you’d want on the menu. Otherwise skip on over to Newberry Springs and pull right up to a gas pump with no waiting.
Hey, this was fun, and could be a habit! See ya there next year. And avoid the bees.