Sunday, August 16, 2015

~ Laughlin River Run ~

The Laughlin River Run hosts motorcycle riders from all over the country for four days in April.  

This year an estimated 30,000 bikers attend, we being two of them for one day.  This is our very first time at a big motorcycle rally and is exciting.  

Bike virtually take up all the parking at the massive casinos.  Gilbert is not a gambler and reluctantly goes inside with me.  My playing earns us a free beer and he relaxes a bit.  He brings me a bit of good luck on the every alluring slot machines.

Outside, there is high energy seeing, hearing, and being around so many bikes and bikers.  Laughlin is on the Nevada/Arizona boarder.  We camp at Katherine’s Landing, which is part of Lake Mead National Recreation Area.  Gilbert sees, in the crowd of thousands, some of his friends from Barstow who he worked with at the Marine Base.  He is now retired and I hope to do more trips with him in the future. 

Gilbert has always wanted to go to Oatman and I've never heard of the place.  We make the miles easily towards the little town.  It is an old time mining town with touristy things and we ride on by and move South following the Colorado River by Lake Havasu, Earp (a one horse town where Wyatt Earp was killed), and onto Joshua Tree National Park where we will camp tonight at Belle Campground.

Joshua Tree is special to me as I served as Acting Superintendent here.  Back then, it was work and now on a bike, pure fun.  When we were kids growing up in the Mojave Desert of Barstow, I don't think we really appreciated the beauty of the desert.  Older eyes sometimes see better.  

The huge boulders that surround us at Belle Campground are smooth and ever so present again the desert landscape. We feel very safe here and our campfire provides that important part of our camping experience.  The stars provide the rest.

We do some hiking and scrambling on the rocks.  There is a full moon tonight and I say to Gilbert.  

"Let's walk out into the desert."  I sense that he is apprehensive but we do go together.  We are rewarded with the scenery and only hope that we capture the landscape with our cameras, but we do not.

We both sleep on the ground and I feel that Gilbert will be a good partner on future rides.  We are both retired and free.  Not everyone will enjoy what we do, so finding a person with similar tastes in biking and camping is rare.  Being my brother is a plus.  We scout other camp spots and like White Tank.  I make mental notes to return here again as I spot some cool sites next to some big rocks.  Site number 10 looks very good.  Both White Tank and Belle are more isolated campgrounds and not too many people.

We see sheep on the hills sides as we ride through the Park.  The desert is quiet and peaceful.  The wildflowers are out in full bloom.  What could be better.

The temperatures on this trip ranged from 30 degrees over Tehachapi to 100 degrees in the desert.   While this was not a big bike trip, we had a blast. 

The odometer records 1,087 . . . . .

A moon lit walk back to our campsite

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