Story & Photos by Randy Twells
The wide open spaces of Northern Nevada in springtime! —just getting there is a treat, as usual on my route on old Highway 395 heading up through California’s Owens Valley, past Mono Lake, Bridgeport, Walker River, Topaz Lake on the Nevada line, traversing Washoe and Carson Valley areas, the scenery in all changing from one outstanding photo opp to another. Finally at the last coming into Reno and making the final drop off the highway into Sparks to John Ascuaga’s Nugget for the weekend, I already have many irresistible scenery photos.
Riders coming into Sparks and Reno were no doubt happy to finally see that freeway construction projects that seem to have taken years, were completed and it was much easier to navigate now. Bikes started arriving by Thursday of this the second weekend of June. Again the main event activities were hosted by John Ascuaga’s Nugget on their West Special Events Plaza, which also incorporates the Victorian Square feeling using vintage look lampposts and flower/planter areas. And again, this area being on private property could have controlled access to enforce the no colors event policy and assure that Street Vibrations attendees and vendors could expect to enjoy a great weekend event without interruption all the way through Sunday afternoon. Spring in Northern Nevada is also an adventure- weather through May can vary from snow and freezing temps flip flopping to hot and sunny a week later. So as often happens there was snow and freezing weather in mid-May, and then for Street Vibes it cleared up into hot and sunny like the weather gods were purposely planning great riding weather. Spring Streets’ 6th year started out Friday with a 2 pm official opening, and plenty to see and do. I made sure the Nugget events desk was stocked with Quick Throttle Magazine and also put out a good supply at event Registration and the Roadshows T-shirt trailer and the copies went briskly.
What with doing all that I had not had breakfast yet and was reeeeely hungry! So I was hangin on til I could get some food and the wonderful pulled pork bbq place by the stage area was finally serving food at 2 pm official opening time. The lady ahead of me got this great looking pulled pork concoction on a hot dog bun with onions, peppers & lots of bbq sauce on it— oh man. I said, “what she had!” and also signed up for the refillable plastic 32oz sipper cup with ice cold liquid refreshment. Steps away I sat down in the shaded table & chairs area (big canopies over all), to munch. It was hot out here but with a nice breeze, and the canopies to coin a phrase, had it covered. And the band was right there playing some nice laid back tunes; bands played all weekend just about non-stop. Other vendors had teriyaki, street tacos to die for, and refreshing smoothies & frozen coffee drinks, ice cream, you name it. Oh yes and the beer too! All awesome.
The Ceremonial Flag Raising Friday & Saturday afternoons, was carried out by students from Spanish Springs High School JROTC Color Guard, if you noticed they wore actual WWII Army uniforms. 3 young male cadets and 1 young lady cadet, made the 1940’s war era come alive before our eyes as they marched to the stage while Tamara Evans sang the Star Spangled Banner. A nostalgic and inspiring experience.
While Street Vibrations will have its 19th annual Fall Rally this year, Spring Rally is only on the 6th year. With many riders used to doing the Fall event as the one they go to with a bigger footprint and attendance, I like the more laid back and still growing atmosphere of the Spring event with more elbow room and leisurely pace. Activities just at Sparks venue, Reno H-D, and a Poker Run to Virginia City, this gives you plenty of riding and yet room to relax everywhere you go. I love shooting the photos of a sea of bikes, but being the lone rider on a remote highway ain’t bad too.
The Poker Run—A big feature of Spring Rally is the Poker Run which started with 88 registered riders at Rail City Casino in Sparks, then to Tamarack Junction Casino in Reno, down Hwy 395 to Carson H-D in Carson City, then out Hwy 50 to 341 North to Virginia City Visitors Center, and finished at the final stop at Reno Harley’s Spring Street Vibrations Party. CMA (Christian Motorcyclists Association) members staffed all the stops and helped anyone needing help to find their way (as they are used to doing in general, when you think about it!)
Chester’s Reno H-D’s party also had live music by Suspect Zero, Burger Me food truck with really good burgers according to the crowd feedback, & some premier vendors. A key assist by Reno H-D was providing a spot for the e.l.i.group’s Break the Silence Fundraiser & Poker Run (www.everylifeimportant.org) to raise awareness about 9-month-old Elijah Guia who died of child abuse, how this happens, what can be done to fight this problem, and to purchase a headstone for his grave. Elijah’s young Mom Keia spoke from the stage to get everyone’s attention which she did simply but eloquently.
Back at the Nugget’s West Special Events Plaza, a lot going on- The Globe of Death Stunt Show- Veteran riders John Stotts and ride partner Daniel performed harrowing choreographed high speed maneuvers inside a 14’ 6” globe of welded steel strips, first singly and then both at the same time, carefully timed to avoid hitting each other! See the expanded story in this issue—and photos!
And, the Slow Bike Drag Races—were announced by local biker, radio personality & MC Trey Valentine. We had a female competitor this time and while she did not win, a guy who goes by “Crash”, no kidding, did win. For his skills in keeping his feet up and slow as a snail, he won a free registration package for Fall Streets this coming September! Plus he got his picture with Lauren, Miss Street Vibrations. Trey kept everyone laughing or even groaning for mercy with not so subtle play on words comedy about lots of things that can be very, very slow, and great, like these Slow Drag Races or, if you do them too fast, kind of disappointing!