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Biker Bash turns 30 

More than motorcycles at the Redwood Run

Everybody seems to have a favorite holiday or special event these days. Young children can't wait until Christmas arrives. Patriots cherish the Fourth of July to celebrate our great nation. Young adults often find Halloween a great occasion to dress up and act outrageous. These are all fine, but for me, the best weekend of the year is the annual Redwood Run party in Piercy.

This will be my 12th year attending the Run. In past years I have purchased tickets, volunteered and even worked with the production staff to ready the site. For 11 years I have thoroughly and completely enjoyed the show without a motorcycle. That will change this year. For the first time, I will get to experience the Redwood Run with a motorcycle -- and it's a Harley!

No, that won't be me roaring by on that shiny black, chrome-bejeweled Road King. It also won't be me on the beautiful Sportster cruising through the site, nor the noisy Deuce with the cool flame paint job. But when you see me go by on the old 1966 Harley three-wheeler with the bad paint job and smoky exhaust, I'll have the biggest smile in the crowd.

You might ask, isn't the Redwood Run a "biker" party? Yes and no. Event producers estimate that up to 1,000 folks will come to join in without bringing a bike. No cars are allowed, but a first-class shuttle service from the numerous free camping areas is provided for those on foot.

Yes, it's a motorcyclist's party, absolutely -- but it's much more. The weekend includes the finest annual pure rock `n' roll show north of San Francisco. Gregg Allman, co-founder of the legendary Allman Brothers Band, headlines this year. Two nights of outstanding performers include Joe Bonamassa, Joan Jett and Molly Hatchet. Bay Area-based Lydia Pense and Cold Blood make a return visit. Local talent is also featured, as the Clint Warner Band opens the show on Friday. ThundHerStruck, an all girl AC/DC tribute band, Izzy Osborne's tribute to Ozzy and southern rockers Savannah Blue also perform.

Vintage and custom motorcycles are featured in a judged competition. Riders' skills are tested in the Biker Games on Saturday. The crowd favorite is always the winner of the Slowest Bike Contest. Anybody can go fast, but it takes a highly skilled rider to balance and control a large bike at one mile per hour or less.

Local nonprofit organizations pitch in to provide food, beverages and support services. Proceeds directly benefit Kiwanis Clubs in the Redwoods, Willits and Smith River. South Fork football and wrestling programs and Fieldbrook School help to provide hospitality. Volunteer fire departments from Piercy, Leggett, and Whitethorn serve up tasty offerings. Take an insider's tip and don't miss the Kiwanis of the Redwoods cheeseburgers. Saturday night all ticket holders are treated to a free barbecue steak dinner.

Regardless of what you might suspect, everybody is friendly at the Run. Just because your neighbor at the campsite wears black leather and has a couple of tattoos, don't be shy. You will be best pals by Sunday. And don't worry about folks with names like Raisin, Lucky, Booger or Cheapside. Next year you'll probably exchange Christmas cards.

The Redway CHP office advises that May is Motorcycle Awareness Month in California with the goal of raising awareness of automobile drivers and motorcyclists sharing the road. CHP Public Affairs Officer Bart Eckerfield summarized the campaign's intent for motorcyclists to "see and be seen" and that all drivers need to "share the road" to minimize traffic hazards and accidents. CHP estimates that as many as 7,000 motorcycles will be on local roads throughout the week.

These visitors on bikes do more than prowl our scenic redwood highways; they also generate an enormous economic boost. Dee at the Garberville-Redway Chamber of Commerce noted that local businesses enthusiastically welcome the riders' annual visits. She reports that local motel space is almost completely sold out. Dave at Dean Creek Resort in Redway, who really enjoys the annual migration of motorcyclists, says, "They are really a great crowd with no problems at all. We love them."

And the riders don't just stay at local campgrounds. Toni Daily from the Benbow Inn reports that the inn is completely booked Redwood Run weekend and has been since January. She has also observed an increase in motorcyclists staying at their facilities -- her theory is that rising gas prices are encouraging more folks to travel via motorcycle to fight rising oil prices. Motorcycles for all -- for American energy independence!

Still unsure about attending the Run? Here's one last enticement: Event coordinators Riverview Productions are entering every ticket holder into a Saturday night drawing for a brand new Harley FXDL Dyna "Superglide" with a fire red pearl paint job from Harley-Davidson of Ukiah. You might arrive without a bike, but end up with a new one to take home.

The Redwood Run celebrates its 30th anniversary this year; the festivities commence on Friday, June 8 and continue until Sunday, June 10. For further information, including additions to the entertainment roster, visit redwoodrun.com or call Riverview Productions at (707)247-3424. See you at the Run!

Tim Jordan, a carpenter, writer and music fanfrom Fields Landing, has a new bike.

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Tim Jordan

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