Typically when I travel by motorcycle, I ride alone, but this would be a five-day round trip from San Jose to Elko NV with other members of the San Jose Chapter of the Harley Owners Group. Most of these folks are experienced riders and tourers. Many have ridden for years and know each other very well. This was not a group of speed-demons, but we did not plan to poke along, either.
We would be attending the third annual Elko Motorcycle Jamboree, which came about after the city fathers of Bridgeport CA gave up on holding their annual Jamboree, which had been going on for several years.
It has been said that the city fathers of Elko learned from the mistakes of Reno and Bridgeport, in that the merchants of Elko _welcomed_ bikers, the hotels did not raise their rates unreasonably, and they were able to hold the rally somewhere other than on the main highway running through town. Elko is bisected by Interstate 80, but there is plenty of off-highway room for vendor booths and temporary performance stages.
At the time of this trip, I had been a member of the H.O.G. Chapter for about three years and had ridden extensively with the Chapter to various activities around the San Francisco Bay area.
Generally when I travel, I stop periodically for photos for the Harley Owners Group's ABCs of Touring contest, but this was not to be one of those trips. I was sure that the group did not want to stop for pictures as often as I sometimes do. Besides, by the time of this trip, I'd already been across the country and back once (for 2003), and had a large number of good photos. Nevertheless, I had the camera with me.
My first mention of a highway gives the standard two-letter state abbreviation, followed by the word "highway," then the number. (Examples: CA Highway 99 and NV Highway 341.) Subsequent mentions are shortened to "Hwy 99" or "CA 99" and "Hwy 341" or "NV 341." Interstates and U.S. Highways are handled in a similar manner.
One of the couples in the Chapter had made reservations at two hotels along the way, but their plans changed, and they were kind enough to transfer those reservations to me. So I was prepared with confirmation numbers, etc. Thanks, Mike and Gail.
Thursday, June 19, 2003 - San Jose, California
I was awake and up at 6:30 a.m. I had already packed most of my things into my T-Bag and saddlebag liners the night before. As we would be staying in hotels on this trip, I did not carry a sleeping bag or camping equipment.
I packed the final few items, fed the dog and took care of other household things, then left at 8:15 a.m. I rode right up Meridian Avenue to Parkmoor Avenue, fueled at the Union 76 Station and arrived at San Jose Harley-Davidson at 8:40 a.m., where I greeted Frank & Kathy, Gene McG., Willi & Curly F., Danny B., Scotty S., and Greg & Shirley P.
With Gene and Frank & Kathy in the lead, we rode southbound on Interstate 280, then northbound Interstate 680, eastbound Interstate 580, eastbound Interstate 205, and northbound Interstate 5. Scotty and Greg & Shirley rode east on CA Highway 120 while the rest of us continued north on I-5 through Stockton, fueled at a Shell Station in Sacramento (Pocket Rd., Meadowview Rd., CA Highway 160) and continued through and around Sacramento on Interstate 80.
At 11:50 a.m. we stopped at the Cattlebaron's Cafe in Penryn CA for a nice lunch. There was not much of a crowd and the service was good. I had a patty melt on rye, a small salad and pineapple juice. The others had various breakfast and lunch items.
We continued straight through on I-80, past some construction near Floriston CA, then into Nevada and a few minutes later, into Reno. We parked in the garage at the Sands Regency Hotel Casino at 2:40 p.m., then shlepped our stuff down to hotel registration. We had a little wait, but it wasn't bad. I showed front desk clerk Juan my American Express card and drivers license, asked him to fix the address on the reservation, and he assigned me to Room 1401, gave me the (plastic) room keys and several ("valuable") coupons.
Other Chapter members and friends were also staying at the Sands Regency, but had come up earlier in the day. I talked to Bogey & Carol, and Peggy announced that we would meet at Antonia's Italian Buffet (in the hotel) at 6:30 p.m. I noticed that one of the coupons I had been given was for that restaurant.
So off we went to different rooms on different floors; I took the elevator to the 14th floor, and my room was all the way to the end of the hallway, a nice non-smoking room with a window looking west. The card key said "Regency," so I guessed that the other tower was the "Sands" before the two properties were merged. The window at the end of the hallway looked south, right onto the railroad tracks which bisect downtown Reno.
The nice large room had a King-size bed with a very "loud" bedspread, a big color television, modern electronic thermostat set to 72 degrees F., clock radio set to the correct time, table and chairs, small dressing table and mirror, nice bathroom with tub, shower and hair dryer, and a good-size closet. I was actually kind of impressed with the value for the money.
I put all my things down or away, got out my Sands Regency player card, checked my coupons, and took the elevator down to the casino.
My first stop was the Bonus Beach ("players") Club, where they took my old card and issued an updated one; then I took one of the coupons to the Gift Shop and got a Sands-Regency tee-shirt at a reduced price. I happened to see Mike and Katie in the lobby and said hello to them.
After a few minutes of casino play, I used another of my coupons for a personal pizza. They didn't have "cheese" pizza but would make a "pepperoni" pizza without the pepperoni. Seemed reasonable. I used the 15 minute wait to take the shirt up to my room, then came back and waited a little longer for the pizza.
[In my notes at this point I have written "Peggy - 'flashing'." I don't know what that means. It could have been that she was sitting at a slot machine that was flashing lights or she could have been wearing a flashing LED pin, I just can't remember. If you remember, Peggy, please e-mail me and I'll make a correction.]
Eventually the pizza was ready, so I carried it to a table and then removed the pepperoni from the cheese pizza. I guess it was just too hard to remember not to put the pepperoni on, but it wasn't that hard to remove it.
I went to the hotel cashier to cash a check, and they asked for a fingerprint. That was painless, so I spent a little while on casino play at various machines. I "changed my financial condition" a little, but nothing serious.
Around 6:20 p.m. a bunch of the folks met at Antonia's Italian Buffet for dinner; I had spaghetti with meatballs and marinara, and lemonade. We had three or four tables of folks, all having a good time.
After dinner we used some other coupons and got tickets for the 8 p.m. show at Sands-Regency's comedy club called "Just for Laughs." So we killed some time in the casino and then regrouped at the club around 8 o'clock.
One of the acts was a duo that called itself Team Root Berry. I don't know, maybe I had too much pineapple juice, that may not be right. They did a lot of comedy, mixed with props. Juggling chain saw, or something.
The other act was a comedian named David Iannaci (perhaps 2 C's at the end) who had evidently been in the business a long time. He had some good stuff, none of which I can recall.
We were outta there around 9:40 p.m., and we all went our separate ways. I went up to my room, turned on CNN, took a shower and went to bed a little after 10:00 p.m.
The plan for tomorrow was that one group would leave about 7:00 a.m. and a second group would meet at Mel's Diner (at the hotel) for breakfast at 8:00 a.m., then ride on to Elko via Fallon (U.S. Highway 50) and Battle Mountain NV.
Miles for the day = 269.
Tomorrow: a "free" breakfast, the Loneliest Highway, and show us your beads!