I took a ride out to Eureka last Sunday to try and make arrangements for a Sunday morning bike run that will be part of the upcoming Cool Mountain Thunder Bike Week that will be happening for the next 10 days here in Ely. It was a much needed ride as I’ve been dealing with some absolutely frustrating situations the last couple of weeks and this trip really cleared my head.
It’s been real crazy for me the lately, juggling my work schedule, having to ride to San Bernardino to see my dad, and then getting stuck putting on a bike week here in Ely.
It started off when I told a person of influence in town that they should do a bike festival of some kind, seeing as so many bikers already ride through here in the summer. Another guy who was at the table said it was a great idea and they both decided that it could be done in September. This was in July and I said, “no way,” we should plan it for a year from now — but they both said it could be done in September and stupid me, always looking for an excuse to have a party rather than using common sense, said, “OK,” and so we started making plans to do it.
Then, after we had committed to running an ad in a major biker magazine distributed all over the West Coast, circumstances changed and one guy was forced to leave town for work while the other decided to travel the world, leaving me here to attend to every detail.
Having lived in Ely for only a month and not really knowing anyone, they suggested I call “this person” for help, or “that group over there,” but no one was available to assist and as time went on, the situation for me was becoming quite dire.
Fortunately though, I was drinking at the Hotel Nevada bar one night, a place where many great ideas are born, some, like the bike week, that should have been stillborn, when I met a fellow biker who introduced me to a veteran biker who ended up having a lot of the answers I didn’t have; a biker who had extensive experience putting on biker events with little or no help from anyone else.
I’m not going to name the guy; one because he’ll kick my butt if I do, and two, because he knows who he is and anyone that needs to know, knows who he is. That’s just the way it is in the biker community. But this guy, who has over 30 years experience dealing with bikes, bikers, bike events and bike clubs, took this idea to a new level, and because of his wisdom, guidance and mentoring, Ely Cool Mountain Thunder Bike Week is going to become a reality.
Oftentimes when I had a problem or a situation concerning this event, I would bring it to him. He would think about it for a minute, then make an ingenious suggestion that turned out to be a solution that had never crossed my mind. As for dealing with people in town, he’s king of the hill. He would walk into an establishment, tell them what he needed, when and why, and they would accommodate him, joyously, no questions asked. He’s “Arthur Fonzarelli” of Ely. He can slap a jukebox and the Temptations will start singing “My Girl.”
While I strive hard to make sure everything is correct and professionally done, at one moment, when a rare bout of negligence on my part was about to derail things, he let me know that there were going to be consequences if I didn’t fix it.
If these were Ely city council meetings, the sheriff would be writing assault citations every six minutes, but in the biker world, business is business and while respect is foremost, promises need to be fulfilled. I’m a biker, I understand that — I just wish the suits I have to deal with on the other end, did.
So anyway, I had to ride out to Eureka to try and set up a Sunday morning Bloody Mary run to the Owl Club Bar; and it was a beautiful ride. In fact, I had forgotten how pretty the hills and mountains are heading in this direction.
Like I said earlier, I was a bit disheartened that morning, it being Sunday and I had already foregone a ride on Saturday because I had to work on this event — and now I was spending Sunday getting things printed and fighting to get financing that had been promised yet was slow being delivered. I had a phone conversation with a project banker while standing outside the hotel and he reassured me that everything would be taken care of, so, bolstered by his affirmation, I jumped on my bike and headed west on Highway 50 to deliver some fliers to the Owl Club Bar and talk to them.
I landed in Eureka around 1 p.m., and there was a handful of guys hanging out at the bar and a couple of cute young bartenders. The place is very “mining town” looking, if you know what I mean, pool tables at the entrance, a long wooden bar off to the right side, and a stage where a guy was loudly banging out a song on his guitar. I talked to one of the bartenders and some guys at the bar and one of them went and got me the owner’s business card so I could call her and set things up. They asked if I wanted a drink — and I know no one will believe this — but I declined the offer, left them some fliers on the bar they could hand out to bikers passing through, and then set out on the ride back home. I just wanted to be on my motorcycle, sometimes the only place I feel secure.
And the ride back was even better than the ride there for some reason. I was calm, relaxed and happy, just wanting to be on my machine, the love of my life, flying down Highway 50, one of the great roads in America. There was no traffic and for an hour, I was free of any drama or worries.
Now for the good part: I later talked to the owner of the Owl Club Bar, she was happy to accommodate us, and now I have to ride back out there before the weekend to drop off some raffle tickets. I can’t wait to get back on the road out there, and this time I plan to enjoy a beer there. Thus are the fortunes of being a biker in Ely, Nev.
Have a happy Cool Mountain Thunder Bike Week everyone.
Marty Bachman is editor of the Ely Times and an avid biker. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 760-550-3943.