Story by Rodent
To see 159 photos taken at the Redwood Run, CLICK HERE
This is to "Burning Man" as Il Divo is to the Coliseum. This run is about riding, not profiling your motorcycle. There are few amenities except what you can haul in on your bike. There is great camping, better music, very few vendors and no stars. That is, no super stars or wannabe stars of our industry.
The last and best of the traditional biker parties in the United States takes place at Riverview Ranch on the banks of the Eel River, just south of the Humboldt- Mendocino county line in northern California, a couple hundred miles north of the Golden Gate. Theyíve been doing it for 29 years so theyíve got to be doing something right! Its simple, honest and fun - The Redwood Run. They set the standard that no other run has yet equaled, most havenít even come close.
"Rodent" recalls: This year, I decided to ride from Hollister to the run in Piercy on my Sporty, a putt of around 300 miles by the direct route, US 101, except for about 12 miles. I wanted to spend a few days in my favorite city by the bay and hang out with Goth Girl. I began my ride early to San Francisco, a quick putt of 104 miles to the corner of Haight and Ashbury. There I continued down Haight to Fillmore and over to Vallejo for a cup of the worldís best cappuccino at Cafe Trieste on the corner of Grant and Vallejo where I whipped the Notebook out and checked my e-mail on the free Wi-Fi. With all messages read and responded to, I rode over to 415 Clothing, Inc.ís store where Rudy and Heather let me stash the Sporty until I left for the Redwood Run in a few days. I decided to use public transportation, which is fast, cheap and convenient, while the bike was secure in 415 Inc.ís backroom. I hopped on an antique MUNI streetcar to Rincon Center to meet up with Goth Girl, who was tickling the ivories( playing the piano) for the noontime diners in the huge rotunda.
On Thursday, I picked up the Sporty at 415 Inc. and a big thanks to Rudy and Heather for keeping the bike warm, dry and safe. With Frisco in my rear view mirror, I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties. Just before the Humboldt county line, I took the Piercy exit and arrived at the Riverview Ranch where Doug McCauley welcomed me. He showed me to my luxurious campsite ( in the innermost circle behind gates and security) where I took possession of my thirty square-feet of ground. After setting up camp, I went back to Dougís office where I was handed my all-access backstage, executive porta-potty wristband. Sciandra, Dougís wife, told me that the government types that used to cause them so much aggravation over permits, health department requirements, etc., now want them to expand the event. The brain drains finally figured out how much the Redwood Run benefits the surrounding area and that the participants donít stress out the local law dogs.
The next day, the attendees ( some 5000+ strong) rode down the hill, set up camp and it was party time with sixteen hours of music interspaced with four hours of wet T-shirts over the next 36 hours. A Janis Joplin ďtributeĒ singer performed and the crowd went insane. Janis ODíd almost forty years ago at the pinnacle of her career, but sheís still revered and missed. The backstage kitchen was something else! Three meals a day, real maple syrup on real blueberry pancakes, and no SYSCO truck allowed on the premises. It was absolutely the best backstage food Iíve ever had. (Thanks, Shelly!) On top of that, the Redwood Run working crew is one of the most competent bunch of people that Iíve ever seen running a gig. Nobody had an attitude...must be something in the air.
The bike show was just a few of the riders showing their bikes. No pros, no revolutionary ideas, just road-weary bikes washed for the show. Real people, real bikes, and not a bike cover to be found. Like I already said, a real biker party for real bikers.
It all came to an end at dawn Sunday and the road from Piercy to the Golden Gate Bridge was almost one unbroken stream of Harley-Davidsons heading home. I bugged out early so I could hit the annual Haight-Ashbury Street Fair. I can hardly wait for next yearís 30th Anniversary edition of the Redwood Run. To be sure I can get in I made it a point to get my name on the media list. Get tickets before itís too late, there are a limited number available and itís sure to be a sellout. Donít say I didnít warn you.