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The Sands Hotel (Orange) From Silver Legacy

Previously I blogged about how Street Vibrations 2010 turned into Street Frustrations 2010 HERE.

Sure, there’s a whole bunch of stuff that can go wrong with any major event the size of Street Vibrations and after months and months of hard work the folks running this event know if they just pulled off another stunning performance or if it’s all over in minutes after it starts.  Unfortunately it was over before it started…

I wrote a letter to both Reno’s Mayor Bob Cashell and to Randy Burke of Road Shows Inc., who is the event producer.  I want to thank them both for a quick response and am sharing the information I received:

Reno Mayor – Bob Cashell via Marcia Morse

Mayor Cashell asked me to thank you for your comments and let you know it was not the City of Reno that changed the format for Street Vibrations.

It was the promoter, Randy Burke with Roadshows.  His contact information is: http://www.road-shows.com/contact.php . The City of Reno will be meeting with him soon to discuss this situation and get back to the regular format for next year.

We are sorry that this has happened to a wonderful event and promise to make next year a better year.

Marcia

Marcia Morse
Administrative Secretary to
Mayor Robert Cashell
P.O. Box 1900
Reno, NV  89505
775-334-2001
775-334-2097 Fax
morsem@reno.gov

Randy Burke – Road Shows Inc.

Thank you for your input about Street Vibrations Fall Rally 2010.

The City of Reno provided us with our downtown Reno layout in January 2010. After five revisions, we agreed to their plan. We had heard from our bikers that they wanted bikes, not vendors, on Virginia Street. We were wrong, shame on us.

We will meet with the mayor of Reno next week to discuss bringing vendors back Virginia Street for 2011.

Best Regards,

Randy Burke
Roadshows, Inc.
admin@roadshowsreno.com
775-329-7469

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Street Vibrations 2010 - Thin crowds at the split event!

Formally known as Street Vibrations…

As thousands of motorcycles descended into Reno, NV for the annual Street Vibrations motorcycle rally they were met with what will be surely known as the motorcycle rally debacle of 2010!

Our posse arrived on Thursday (23rd) afternoon.  Checked in to the hotel and walked out on to the street to take in some of the action.

WAIT.  Where are the vendor booths?  Why are cars traveling on so many of the side streets?  Where is every one?  Why are people standing around doing NOTHING on Virginia Street?  We walked three blocks and someone remarked how we’ve yet to see any law enforcement patrols?  WTF?

Sparks Victorian Square - Thin crowds at the split event.

Street Vibrations is the fourth largest motorcycle rally in the country, but you wouldn’t have known that by observing the thin crowds on Virginia Street.  Crowds that mostly wandered around wondering what to do.  It turns out that the information released earlier about vendors being expanded into Sparks really meant — ALL of the vendors were moved to the Sparks Victorian Square this year.  Only the convention center contained vendor booths.  With the exception of a handful of food vendors and a couple official t-shirt booths ALL OTHERS where moved to Sparks.

On Friday we headed to Sparks to check out the vendor booths in Victorian Square.  The traffic control folks were sending everyone into a dead-end parking area.  There were 25-30 bikes at a time getting jammed up with little room to maneuver or turn around creating a blockage that overflowed onto the street.  Dumb.  We finally got parked and walked around.  The feel of the area was nice, clean and open, but the crowds were thin.  Sure you could drink, but are you going to when you’ve got to get back on the motorcycle and ride to your hotel?  Not likely.  Whose idea was it to promote drinking and driving?  Where were the shuttle buses?  Dumb.  And while it’s true they expanded a number of vendors, I don’t know about you… I didn’t go to a motorcycle event to look at scented candles!   The Simms, Kuryakyn, Performance Machines, Mustang Seats and Metzler booths were well attended, but most others were fairly spotty.

Street Vibrations 2010 Event Map -- Split event booths at Sparks/Reno

I met/talked with several vendors in both locations as well as some attendees to get their reactions.  NONE liked the set up.  Not one!  I ask casino employees/pit bosses and they all balked at the setup.  The local Reno H-D dealer attendance was much lower than previous years.  People had front row parking available in the dealer parking lot.  Unheard of in previous years.  H-D employees had NOTHING good to say about the new arrangement.

I received a mixed bag of finger pointing.  The first reason was about how the Reno Police were greedy in what they wanted to charge for crowd control.  The cost couldn’t be passed on to the vendors so, the events producer decided to move it to a lower cost area (i.e. Sparks).  Then we heard that the event had become too big.  We heard that the city council was trying to “Get Back The Streets”… meaning that the days of blocking off streets from residents and creating traffic jams for locals were over.  We also heard that there wasn’t enough parking for motorcycles and then I heard that it was the bikers fault because they wanted to park/drive on Virginia Street… blah, blah, blah.  It seemed like reason de jour.

I’m somewhat convinced it was about $$.  At the end of the day it always seems to be about $$.  Whether it’s law enforcement costs, city liability, promoter margins or [make your excuse here]… it typically comes down to someone not getting enough $$ or someone paying too much $$.

MEMO TO: Randy Burke (Events Producer (Road Shows)) and Bob Cashell (Reno Mayor) – WORK it out.  The split event sucks!  Street Vibrations started on the street and should stay on the street.  It’s just that simple.  Don’t correct this debacle and I predict a fast decline and the end of Street Vibrations.

If you attended and have an opinion (good or bad) then please send an email or contact Mr. Burke HERE or Mr. Cashell HERE and let them know what you thought of this years rally.

Photo’s taken at the event.

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As a society we tend to think that more is better. More megapixels must result in better photos. More square footage must mean a better apartment. More calories must mean a better meal. Often times–save the last–we are wrong.

If you’ve ever attended the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally you likely noted the dizzying array of vendors, hucksters and hacks demonstrating the various trash-n-trinkets – more isn’t always better.  And what if less is not only MORE, but a competitive differentiator when it comes to rallies?  Thanks to Barry Schwartz we have a name for the phenomenon – the paradox of choice – a notion that posits that fewer choices make people’s buying process easier and they are happier with their buying decisions.

Street Vibrations in Reno is certainly no ‘big-box’ or mega outlet like Sturgis.  And it’s only half the chaos of Laughlin River Run.  That’s what I like about it!

I have the view that people connect with motorcycle craftsman i.e. “artists,” not executives.  We’re certainly not drawn to huckster hacks selling us on something we don’t need or want.  Artists speak their truth, from deep down inside.  They talk about their craft.  The philosophy and inspiration behind it.  Nothing is more powerful and you bond.  It’s as if your listening to a song and feeling what the artist is expressing.  And if the artist does this more than once, you become a fan.

Clearly I’m a Street Vibrations fan.  Largely because of the quality face-to-face time with the motorcycle craftsman – “artists” in the vendor booths.  True,  I’m also milking the last remnants of fall riding before the long cold and rainy winter sets in, but this motorcycle rally fulfills my entertainment, shopping, and information needs.  So, as motorcycles roar out of the Northwest in route to Reno… I’ll be one of them.  I’ve done this trip a number of times (blogged about in 2009 HERE; 2008 HERE; 2007 HERE) over the last 10 years.  It’s never boring and always a great experience.

Twenty-ten looks like we’ll be dancing between the rain drops for part of the ride as our posse helps bring the $$ to the local Nevada economy.

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US342Street Vibrations is a 4-day event that brings two-wheel enthusiasts from all parts of the country to show-off customs, parade the vendor booths and enjoy the entertainment.  Oh did I mention the local rides?  Yes, there are plenty from Virginia City to Lake Tahoe as well as the various poker runs.

The weather (mid-90’s) really made for a positive experience this year.  Our entourage spent time riding out the Virginia City loop, but mostly we stayed in downtown to mingle with the crowds, talk motorcycles with riders and vendors and take in all that the casinos had to offer up in terms of entertainment.  The vendor booths were busy with crowds most all day long.  Of course there was the monster jump at the Grand Sierra Resort by Ryan Capes who broke the (ramp-to-ramp) record on a motorcycle.

Left Of Center

Left Of Center

And there were lots of bands with some top tier talent, but I enjoyed the non-headliners more. There was Saddle Tramps on the Jagermeister Super Stage and most notable was Left of Center who played the Brew Brothers pub at Silver Legacy on back to back nights.  Our group also caught a comedy club act in the Catch A Rising Star lounge which made the $15 per ticket expense seem like a bargain after all the craps table losses!

The motorcycle festival didn’t pass without incidents, however.  There were several motorcycle accidents including one fatality which I posted previously HERE.  In fact, on our ride back from Virginia City we came upon a motorcyclist who lost control and struck a wall on Griner’s Bend, a sharp curve at the south side of Virginia City on State Route 342.  In addition, Police reported there were 72 arrests made at Street Vibrations even though it was considered one of the more peaceful events! Most of the arrests were alcohol related, including 23 for public intoxication.  The police also issued 77 traffic citations and responded to six reports of stolen motorcycles.  It was a busy weekend for LEO, but what I most appreciated was the lack of SWAT teams armed with semi-automatic rifles marching in Virginia City and other areas.

tat_SSBack to the rally.  I missed the roller derby battle between the Rose City Rollers and the Battle Born Derby Demons, but you have to make a call since you can’t take it all in!  The sponsors brought back the firework display which had disappointed many last year when it was cancelled.  And then there was the tattoo expo which put body art on display and inspired one of the posse to get inked.  A big shout out to Randy Burke, owner of Road Shows who puts on Street Vibrations because it was a great event and the rally was kept fresh with some new activities.

Posse Dinner

Posse Dinner

On Sunday morning we were up early because it was all about miles and putting on as many of the 546 miles we needed to do before the heat baked the day.  From Susanville we took CA-44 through Lassen National Forest.  We headed up toward Old Station and then took CA-89 toward the town of Mount Shasta.  I like riding this route. The road is good and traffic is moving fast for a two-lane road.   It has a varied and interesting scenery.  About 60 miles south of Mount Shasta there was a forest fire in early August that raged through the area.  I believe it was the Hat Creek Complex.  More photos HERE.   We didn’t know it at the time, but there was another forest fire filling the air with smoke.  A thin layer at first, but it increased through-out the day.  It was from the Boze fire, an 11,000-acre fire near Tiller, OR and with the southerly trade winds blowing it meant we rode in it nearly all day long!

I-5_SunsetWe entered the Northern Sierra Nevada Mountains, rolled onto I-5 and pressed on through beautiful scenery.  Arriving at the Oregon border we crossed the 4300 foot mark at the Siskiyou Summit which is the highest point on I-5.  We then dropped down in the Rogue River valley through Ashland, Medford and Grants Pass.  Occasionally, I’d catch a whiff of toasted brake lingering in the air, proof that not everyone enjoyed the ride as much as we were!  We traversed the three passes of the Umpqua Valley and after Roseburg it was back to rolling hills.  We continued to deal with forest fire smoke.  There was a small mechanical delay which baling wire fixed in short order with a shift linkage, but otherwise we were all about miles and stops were limited to fast food and fuel.  It took just under 12 hours to make the trip home.

It was a good and safe Street Vibrations trip!

Road Trippn’ to Street Vibrations 2009 — Part 1 HERE; Part 2 HERE.

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posse_lkviewAfter an early morning continental breakfast we brought the bikes to life in the motel parking lot and after a quick fuel stop we shake, rattled and rolled down the US 395 trail.

The road encourages a relaxed pace and many of the trappings of modern travel are just not on this road.  About 40 miles north of Alturas, 395 reaches California and the confusing little town of New Pine Creek.  It consists of barely more than a couple of stores.

Goose Lake

Goose Lake

The California map says it’s in California, yet the Oregon map says it straddles the state line, which at least in practice, it does. The actual location of the state line is a bit confused and about 20 years ago, California officials reviewed the line and concluded that the line should actually be a bit farther north. But locals still don’t seem certain about where it is. Nonetheless local California residents have Oregon mailing addresses (that’s where the post office is), which confuses all sorts of bureaucrats, from cops to tax officials and the uncertainty about location prompts all sort of thrash to reduce taxes and other fees. It used to be that Oregonians had to sneak their kids into the local school, which is (probably) in California. The Oregon welcome sign is on the north end of the tiny town, but the California sign is right in the middle of town on State Line road, though that probably isn’t where the line actually is.  I know that I’m on the “line” — the Oregon/California border in New Pine Creek when I see the shop called “Just Stuff“.  Never a customer parked in front of the building, but it remains open after all these years!
Reno_Skyline
We continue on and nearby the Goose Lake State Park is a large shallow lake that straddles part of state line area yet it’s so remote reservations are not necessary.  We traversed around Alturas and through Likely, Ravendale and Litchfield.  Somewhere along this route we hit about 10 miles of the worst road surface I’ve encountered on previous rides. I dislike that tar base with loose gravel and the DOT thinking that we’ll let the vehicles drive over the gravel until the road is no longer loose!

At Standish we fueled up and avoid backtracking to Susanville by way of the cut-off road.

Reno_NeonThis area is nestled in a high-desert valley in northeastern California, bordered by both lush evergreen forests and arid sagebrush.  First a rugged trading post for Nobleas Train wagon trains, in 1854, pioneer Isaac Roop wrought the first permanent settlement by allotting a large piece of his land for the city, which eventually would be named for his daughter Susan.  The days it’s know more the High Desert State Prison with the high-security, lethal electrified perimeter fence.

We skirted Honey Lake and rolled into Reno by mid-afternoon.  The posse unloaded and enjoyed all that Reno and Street Vibrations could offer up in the form of some nighttime refreshments.

Road Trippn’ to Street Vibrations 2009 — Part 1 HERE; Part 3 HERE.

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OR31On the first day of fall the saddlebags were loaded and ready for another motorcycle trip.  This time the posse pointed our motorcycles south and headed toward some promised fun in the Nevada desert. Street Vibrations was the destination, but our journey through country roads and byway’s was the largest part of the reason that we ride.

The northwest weather provided a late summer blast of heat which was much different than previous years where the threat of rain was always looming.  There were two groups rolling and I was in the second group who departed at noon.   With a solid six hours of riding ahead of us until we reached our overnight destination we didn’t have a lot of down time.  It was gas-n-go and personal refection time would be experienced while we looked at the dramatic views of high Cascade peaks.  Our route was I-5 then connect with Santiam Pass Highway (US 20).  This is a well traveled route as we viewed the Cascade peaks which is made more striking by the contrast between black lava and white snow.  Traffic was light with few commercial trucks and we made our way to Sisters in record time.  Prior to reaching the summit we picked up forest fire smoke from the Tumblebug complex.  A 10,000-acre fire near Oakridge and the wind filled the cascades with smoke.

Arm_OR31We intersected with Oregon Route 31 south of La Pine and headed east.  The highway is a 2-lane, rural road for its entire length.  I never tire of the thrill of leaning into a corner and twisting the throttle out — straightening up the bike until you lean back upright and roll into the straightaway — it’s as much fun now as it was back in the early days of dirt bikes.

OR 31 is part of the Outback Scenic Byway and goes between La Pine and just past Lakeview at the California border. It passes multiple natural attractions like Fort Rock State ParkHole-in-the-Ground and Summer Lake.  This ~150 mile route starts in the Deschutes National Forest, through stands of lodgepole and ponderosa.  As you continue south the landscape has a lot to offer; including high elevation subalpine vegetation, colorful lichen encrusted rimrocks, lush meadows, deeply shaded mixed conifer old growth stands, and sagebrush/juniper covered rolling hills. There are seasonal wildflowers and the views are stunning throughout the route.  The air is filled with bugs.  So many in fact it was difficult to view the road from certain areas of the windshield.

OR31_RestWe arrived at the Best Western motel in Lakeview with time to watch the last of the sunset and clear the windshield free of our heavy bug collection.   Dinner was at a terrific restaurant called the El Aguila Real Mexican Food and we enjoyed post dinner refreshments with a few rounds of pool at the Eagles Nest Lounge…a local “elk-hunter” bar with a number of locals playing lotto slots and explaining how they are trapped in a go nowhere town.  Interesting group to say the least.

Walking back toward the hotel talk turned to nutrition — don’t ask me why — maybe the enchiladas and bean burrito overload at 9pm set it off.  Maybe it was being denied a maple bar at the just closed donut shop and our eyes turned toward the grocery cart return which glistened under the moon light.  It made for the perfect impromptu athletic competition.  No one in town seemed to mind the multiple grunts in the early misty morning.  As a result we now have a new “chin-up” champ.  Sure fatigue prevented a Lakeview world record, but in the off season and with enough high-frequency chin-up reps that record is set to fall next year, right Steve?!

Road Trippn’ to Street Vibrations 2009 — Part 2 HERE

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ObserveToday is the first day of fall and I’m on the road with the wind in my face.  Street Vibrations is the destination, but the journey is what it’s all about.

As I admire the scenery along the country roads of Oregon, I can’t help but think about the book, Crisscrossing America. It’s a story of one man’s journey across the United States — twice.  On retirement, John Gussenhoven, did something a lot people dream about doing. He bought a motorcycle, took a Rider’s Edge class and learned how to ride. Then he loaded up his saddlebags and made a two-year, two-leg journey crisscrossing the U.S.

In the book, John writes about his experiences on the road and some of the people he encounters along the way.  As a photographer I can tell you the book contains some beautiful pictures of the U.S.  It turns out that each night, John carefully recorded his thoughts as well as his GPS locations from the day. Then he shared these with his friend, Jim Wark, who took arial photographs of the same places. Cool photos with out a doubt.

I’m not doing a book, but I do appreciate the unique perspective of the landscape in our country.  I’ll be observing and reporting back from this road trip in a week, but for the next several days the comment approval process will be delayed.

Ride safe.

Photo courtesy of film web site.

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