Tag Archives: Brown Water Run

12th Annual Brown Water Run

Day 1 – 7/5/2013

Twelve years ago we began a motorcycle riding tradition, the Brown Water Run. That first year we had about seven or eight riders. This year we had twenty-four riders and one chase vehicle.

Ken Green came the furthest, Scottsdale, Arizona. I’d say it was a tie with Keith Wallace, but one has to ride a motorcycle to complete the BWR. Keith’s Ultra Classic broke down before the ride even began. Our chase car driver/mechanic, Lauren Camera, managed to get it running Friday morning. But Saturday, the 6th it gave up the ghost (twice). Keith finished the ride in the chase vehicle. Before the BWR, he spent something like $1,600 getting the electrical system repaired. Can you guess what failed? Yes, you’re right the electrical system.

Zacs

We began the 5th with seventeen of us having breakfast at Zac’s Restaurant in Dublin, California. About halfway through breakfast, a very attractive lady came into the restaurant. She looked about somewhat confused. After a moment or two she approached the group. “Are you all going on a motorcycle trip?”

A chorus of “yeses” echoed throughout the room.

To which the young lady responded, “Where’s Keith?”

Told that Keith had broken down, her shoulders drooped, she seemed to collapse within herself. She said, “I’m his daughter. He called me. He told me to be here.” She did not appear to be a happy camper.

Ultimately Keith arrived on his questionable steed.

At the appointed hour, seventeen motorcycles and the Train Mobile departed on the first leg of our adventure. The ride over the Santa Cruz Mountains and down State Route 1 to Carmel was picture perfect. I was leading when a strange thing occurred. Jim Kennemore passed me up and took over lead. My first thought, “Was I going too slow?” It soon became apparent that was not the case as Jim did not increase the speed, if anything he slowed somewhat. I was confused.

That evening when we were alone, I asked him, “Why did you pull in front of me on seventeen? You didn’t speed up.”

Much to my surprise his answer was, “To slow you down, you were going too fast.” That was a shocker. The last few times over this roadway, I was criticized for going much too slow.

At Carmel we picked up three more riders. Getting out of the gas station and back on the road was a fiasco. Instead of one cohesive group we had at least four clusters. We did not get back together until we reached Morro Bay.

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We stopped near San Simeon and visited the sea elephants. If you ever get the chance, stop and watch these behemoths.

One group of riders stopped to eat at a large tourist trap. I’m told it took upwards of an hour to get their meals.

We picked up another four riders in Morro Bay. These folks came up from Los Angeles.

I wish I had the room to list all the great people who joined us on this ride. I will point out a pair of wounded warriors, Paul Wallace and Byron Atwater. Less than a month ago Paul fell off of his bicycle. Yes, bicycle. He suffered a punctured lung and several broken ribs. When his daughters learned that he rode the BWR, they had a hissy fit. Dad Wallace was placed on probation by the girls and his grandson. For Shame!

Byron had a double hernia operation three weeks before the ride. However, he had permission to ride. His lovely wife, who always sends chocolate chip cookies, gave him permission to ride. She assigned their son-in-law, Brad Bell to keep a close eye on Byron. To make his ride a better experience, Byron purchased an Ultra Classic.

GDC 24 MCs 1 Truck

The white Dodge truck is Lauren Camera’s Train Mobile. He has a real train whistle that he plays from time to time. Once in Burney Falls he sounded off and created pandemonium. There are no train tracks near this small mountain town. Everyone except us BW Runners stopped cold and looked in all directions for the train. Lauren has a habit of picking the perfect time and place to sound off. If the horn doesn’t get you, the authentic train bell mounted under the truck certainly will.

I’m leaning on Keith “Axiom” Wallace’s Ultra Classic. My touch gave it enough strength to run for a few more hours.

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Rounding the Corner and Heading for Home

Rounding the corner and heading for home always brings a change in attitude. Much like the first day of a ride, you want to put on the miles. Our first day on this adventure we rode 440 miles, today I rode 432.

Jim and I agreed to ride about half way home and spend the night. Once we hit Redding, California, we knew we were headed home.

The weather was iffy leaving Crescent City but we decided against the heavy stuff.

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We made it about forty miles before we had to stop for bridge construction. It was warming up and it looked like it would be a long stop so I took off my jacket and stowed my sweatshirt. I took a couple of shots of Jim stretching before putting my jacket back on. The camera fell out of my jacket pocket, hit the ground, and broke. There is nothing visible but the viewer remains black. It will record an image but you have no idea what you are shooting.

We saw warning signs for Elk. Rounding a gentle curve, I saw a white van stopped in the roadway. Jim braked, and just before he stopped, the van moved away. Wondering what had caused the stop, I scanned both sides of US 101. Grazing in the front yard of a ranger station were at least a dozen Elk.

Later, coming into McKinleyville I saw at least forty Elk peacefully munching a farmer’s alfalfa crop.

The following picture of the California Coast line was taken blind.

Patricks Point
At Arcata, we turned east on California 299. 299 is a great ride and we have crossed it several times during Brown Water Runs.

I first crossed 299 more than fifty years ago. A freshman at Humboldt State College, I had relatives in Redding. So one Saturday morning I put out my thumb and away I went. Back then 299 was a true adventure, more like a corkscrew that a highway. I think the speed limit was 35 MPH. There were not a lot of warning signs. I got a ride on a loaded logging truck. It was an experience that I would not like to repeat.

About a month later, three fellow students and I decided to go to a dance at Chico State College. One of the guys had a cousin who was a student there. According to MapQuest it’s about 210 miles from Arcata to Chico. I know it was further back in 1962. It took us twelve hours each way. With the bald tires on my old Ford we slid across a few curves and off the road once or twice.

We slept on the floor at a Sorority house and had a ball at the dance. Chubby Checker was reigning supreme at the time. The only thing I remember clearly was doing the Twist.

Cal-Trans is still straightening out 299. We got stuck at a realignment project.

On 299

We passed a couple of cars on the right and pulled under a tree at the side of the road. The shade made it bearable. The picture was taken with my iPhone.

Once in Redding we fueled up and headed home. I-5 from Redding south can be best described as miserable and hot. I wasn’t disappointed.

Our next outing is only two weeks away. July 5th is the beginning of the 2013 Brown Water Run. We have over twenty riders confirmed.

Jim and I are already forecasting a ride for 2014. The plan is to ship the Harleys to Halifax, Nova Scotia. We’ll fly there and ride down the coast to New Orleans and ship the bikes home. The route is about 3,200 miles. But we never take the direct route. With Jim leading the way, we should cover at least 4,000 miles.

Key Largo

Jim has never been to Key West, Florida, and I am always up for a bit of scuba diving at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo. With any luck the Phantom will be well enough to join us, and maybe even a few other hardy souls.

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Rain and Remembrances

6.20 Todays Scenery

June 20, 2013

This gives one an idea of my view of the scenery for the best part of Wednesday and until noon Thursday. Actually, it was worse. Between my eyes and the windshield, the face guard on my helmet had an equal amount of water. Several times during the day it rained so hard I could not see the roadway. We rode for five hours before we broke out of the rain and into sunlight. It was miserable.

2013-06-20 10.47.15

Here we are at our first stop after leaving the rain behind. The person taking the photo is from Sydney, Australia. He, his wife, and four year old daughter, are riding bicycles from Vancouver, B.C. to San Francisco, California. His wife has a solo bicycle. He and his daughter share a tandem bike. The child’s is equipped with pedals; she can pedal if she wants. If one is curious, the distance is 950 miles.

2013-06-20 10.45.03

These sea lions were on a rock below us. Less than a mile south are the Sea Lion Caves. The caves are located 11 miles north of Florence, Oregon. If you happen to be in the area, I recommend that you stop. It is quite a treat.

The URL http://www.sealioncaves.com/ will give you a glimpse.

A stop at Gold Beach was a must for Jim. While on the Brown Water Run in 2003 I had an accident and was medevac’d not far from Gold Beach to a hospital in Medford, Oregon.

1 Medevac

After I was carried away, my fellow riders continued on to Gold Beach for a meal. Doug Foss, retired San Francisco P.D. Motors, offered a memorial to George Cramer. I hate mayonnaise and my buddies have tried over the years to slip me a taste or two. The group went to the Port Hole Café. Doug arranged to have a small bowl of mayonnaise brought to the table with a lighted candle “in case George doesn’t make it.”

2 Memorial Mayo

Jim wanted to relive the experience at the Port Hole Café. We had a good meal and then rode south to Crescent City, California.

4 Chopper

July 12, 2003, not a fond memory.

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Brown Water Run

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Most of you have not heard of the Brown Water Run (BWR). It began twelve years ago and has become a perennial favorite. No one has made all eleven rides. We had maybe six riders the first year. This year we have 24 confirmed and it is still 85 days away. The BWR is a bunch of guys having a good time on motorcycles.

Over the years, many strong friendships have developed amongst a group of people meeting for the first time on the BWR.

DAY 1 – Friday, July 5, 2013: We’ll meet at Zac’s, Dublin at nine. After a leisurely breakfast we mount up for a ride to Santa Cruz and then south on SR-1 to Morro Bay. For some it will be a 230 mile day, for others 350 or more. A group will be coming up from Arizona.

Day 2 – Saturday, July 6, 2013: We’ll have some great riding and some not so great. Leaving Morro Bay we ride to Atascadero and over the coastal range to Button Willow, a great ride. This stretch of SR-58 is a well-kept secret. Many think of 58 as a miserable, boring, waste of time ride. They haven’t ridden this stretch.

Across the central valley, we’ll pass Lake Isabella on the way to US-395. This part of the ride has mixed reviews. Once on US-395 we’ll go north to Bishop finishing off the day with about 350 miles.

Day 3 – Sunday, July 7, 2013: This will be a fun day as we cross the always spectacular Tioga Pass (El. 9943) and down into Yosemite Valley. The fun has just begun.

This is a TWO-PASS day. After leaving Yosemite we’ll head toward Sonora and Highway 49. A short ride brings us to SR-4 and then it’s up and over Ebbetts Pass (El. 8736). We’ll spend the night in Carson City, Nevada. We’ll cover 300 miles.

Day 4 – Monday, July 8, 2013: This will be a short day for some. The biggest decision will be where we have breakfast.

After our morning meal, folks will begin to split off. A few will stay the night at Lake Tahoe, some riding further into Nevada, others will start back to Arizona. Most will take a scenic ride back to Sacramento and the Bay Area.

I am turning the ride into a 2000 mile “Business” trip. As I fancy myself a writer, I’ll ride to Las Vegas where later in the week I will attend the Public Safety Writers Association’s Annual Conference. Maybe there will be a prize for one of the pieces I’ve entered into the PSWA 2013 Writing Competition. I’ll take a leisurely two day ride stopping to write each afternoon. I’m finishing up a Tale of Robbers and Cops, and working on a new novel about an Anti-Gang Unit in a large, fictional Arizona City.

***

Once this is posted, Jim “JAK” Kennemore will be anxious to give you some historical facts. Let me head off at least a couple of rather embarrassing incidents. I have not completed as many Brown Waters as JAK. In 2003 and 2009 I left early. Below are pictures that tell the tale.

2003 Stop

To the left is a Forest Service Road we rode west from Merlin, Oregon. It was a terrible ride. The only bike that had trouble was a Honda. None of these riders were happy with me.

Accident Scene

Yes that is me a mere thirty minutes later lying alongside the road with six fractures. It was about an hour before the first emergency vehicle arrived. JAK was busy taking photographs

.Medevac

The medevac took me from near the Oregon Coast to Medford. I am claustrophobic and my nose was inches from the helicopter’s roof. It was no big thing; the EMT pumped me full of Morphine.

In 2009, I repeatedly suffered from a septic Gall Bladder. Over 90 days, I had six hospital stays until one of the visits resulted in emergency surgery. On the BWR I had an episode while at a BBQ in Minden, Nevada. Barry Chall tried to take me to a medical facility. That didn’t work so after a call to 9-1-1 I was in an ambulance. The following morning another ambulance took me to Hayward.

JAK will undoubtedly fill you in on other Crash Cramer exploits. I hold the dubious honor of being the only Brown Water Runner to be medically removed from a Run, not just once but twice.

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