It could be said that there is a motorcycle run/rally for everyone; you just have to find it. What do I mean? Well, if you're a one-day rider or weekend warrior that wants to ride to a spot, hang out for the day, then head home, you could find that in almost any town across the country. But what if you are looking for a true traditional bike run where you ride your bike there, set up camp with only the stuff you carried on your bike, then make a beer and food run to last the duration of your stay? Where do you find the kind of run that feels more like a party; a private party where you can do what you want as long as you don't violate "community standards."
Friday morning getting ready to head out.
Enter the Redwood Run at the Riverview Ranch in Piercy, California, where the second weekend of every June for the past 32 years has been the place to party the same way today as it was when it started. Located about 200 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge, you can find more than 5,000 bikers coming from all over the US and abroad. The Riverview Ranch is privately owned with more than 85 acres of hillside camping with oak and redwood trees everywhere providing plenty of shade. On the lower-most point of the campground is where you will find the Eel River bend and Riverview's natural amphitheatre. The river runs behind the stage setup with a rock cliff on one side and a terraced mountainside on the other. In front of the stage is the infamous "Pit," this is where the party action can be found all hours of the day and night.
This is what one small rock can do to a beltdrive.
The best part of this run is you don't have to do anything but hang out at your camp spot, or find your way to the Pit and join in on any of the activities. Everyone is friendly and shares food, firewood, beer, and more. If you need to get away for a ride, some of the state's most beautiful roads are well within your grasp.
This year, the list of bands included Blue Rhythm Revue, The Gypsy Band, Bloodstone, Ladysmith (a female tribute-band to Aerosmith), and headliners Lita Ford, George Thorogood, and Los Lonely Boys. There was always something going on, from a ride-in bike show to a sloppy-wet T-shirt contest. There were plenty of vendors set up with things to sell and services to help out. One guy had a full-service bike shop set up from his travel trailer offering oil changes, flat tire fixes, and all kinds of engine work. As far as food, you could find everything from breakfast burritos to full racks of ribs, and the prices were fair considering where we were. Nothing was overpriced, not even the alcohol. It was a good run with lots of fun.
With the Run officially starting Friday, June 12, about 25 friends and myself started the ride on Thursday by heading to Uncle Kevin's house in San Jose. We met up, ate some barbecue, and planned to ride the rest of the way to Piercy the next day. With a group this size and everyone on different schedules, this was the logical halfway point, which also allowed us to check the bikes over before the next 300 miles. After getting together at Uncle Kevin's house, we saddled up and did the next 340 miles as a group.
On a more personal note, while this year was a first-time Redwood Run for most of the guys, it was a last ride for two good friends we lost last year, Richard Wilson and James Anthony Worley, aka. Tony. The Redwood Run was a ride that Richard had done for years and was the place he always wanted his last ride to be and his final resting place. As for Tony he had planned to make that trip for years but his bike always seemed to have problems, which kept him from going. Everyone wanted Tony and his bike to make the trip, so we pulled together to get his bike running, and as always, it was done the night before we headed out. We wanted to make this year's Redwood Run Richard and Tony's last ride by spreading their ashes underneath the tall redwoods. It was sure to be a run we'd all remember by honoring the memory of our brothers and their love for motorcycles.
Gateway to the Redwoods.
We did just that by heading north on Highway 101, pulling off the main highway just short of the Riverview Ranch, and found a cool area to say a few words, look at some photos, and mark the spot where we would spread their ashes. After the ceremony, we headed into the ranch, set up our tents, and started to enjoy the day while remembering our friends.
It was a good trip. All the bikes made it there and back without any problems, which was a first. We can't wait to make this trip next year, to have a good time and to say hello to our old friends. R.I.P. Ride In Peace.