Alien Run 2016

Cruiser gets weird at Area 51

Alien Run 2016
Hardtailed Evo outside the Lil A'le'innMorgan Gales

Riding out on the Extraterrestrial Highway, a part of me couldn’t figure out what was driving me back to the Alien Run. Last year, I had such a good time I shit my damn pants on the way home. The chip they implanted in my brain must be acting up again. Barreling down the highway on my Victory Magnum with a 12-pack and tent in the saddlebags, I was ready for whatever Area 51 could throw at me. Or so I thought.

Alien Run 2016
Custom Honda chopper on strutsMorgan Gales

Rolling in to the gravel parking lot of the Lil A’Le'Inn, the bikes lined up were as diverse as the crowd around them. Some big older dude in an Aerostich suit who just rode up on his Yamaha FJR1300 was kicking the tires of a crazy Honda Shadow chopper and sharing a beer with the tattooed, denim-vest guy who owns it. We all came down the same stretch of desolate road. We all came out on two wheels. And we were all just there to have a good time.

Alien Run 2016
Ducati cafe racer at Alien Run 2016Morgan Gales
Alien Run 2016
Custom Yamaha and H-D Sportster rode out from Orange County.Morgan Gales

About the time I cracked my first beer, I saw bikes lining up to start the slow race. The slow race is a demonstration of skill but apparently didn’t get the blood pumping fast enough for one guy on a Triumph Rocket III. He participated for about three seconds before blasting his 800-pound bike through the racers. Coming back through the race area, he revved the throttle and dropped the clutch in an attempt to wheelie this behemoth but only got the front end up a little bit. Still needing to be the coolest guy at the party, he upshifted and tried again in second. He came down hard with too much speed and the bike got squirly. He ended up under his front tire with a little head trauma and enough scrapes and bruises to excuse getting proper drunk. The crowd rushed over to help him, and a nurse in the crowd grabbed the first aid kit and started tending to his wounds. A cracked radiator and bent front end meant he wasn’t going anywhere soon, but the broken bike sat in the parking lot as a warning to other riders thinking about riding after a few too many.

Alien Run 2016
The start of the slow raceMorgan Gales
Alien Run 2016
Triumph Rocket III going rubber side upMorgan Gales

Saddlebags lightened as riders drank the beer that filled them and the sun started to sink into the desert sand. A table full of raffle goods were given away as everyone stood around the crowded bar cheering when they won and whining if they didn’t. The bartenders ran back and forth doling out cheap hamburgers and $2 Michelobs.

A large wooden robot sat in the middle of the woodpile that was to be lit when the sun went down. As all of the wood was doused with gasoline, a Sporty with particularly short pipes that’d been known to shoot some flames pulled up next to the pile to kick things off. After a few minutes of underwhelming over-revving, someone sparked a match and the whole thing flared up. Music played from large speakers as everyone talked, drank, laughed, and danced around the fire.

Alien Run 2016
Motorcycle camping at Alien Run 2016Morgan Gales

My buddy Ron walked up to me with a gleam in his eye and a mischievous smirk, asking if I had seen any aliens yet. When I said I hadn’t, he gave me something he swore would help, whatever the hell that meant. After about an hour I began seeing things in a different light, like Alice after going down the rabbit hole. Fireworks exploded like radiant willow trees over the backdrop of completely unpolluted starlight. I wandered around from fire to fire, talking to the different groups from all over the Western United States. Between looking up at the stars and staring into the fire, the rest of the night was spent making friends and shooting the shit about bikes with people who speak the same language—riders with no agenda and nothing to prove, just getting away from it all for a weekend with some like-minded folks. I eventually made my way back to my tent but not into my sleeping bag. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to fall asleep with my boots on.

Alien Run 2016
The "Brobot" built by @Lady_Hump to start off the fireMorgan Gales

The sun rose as the hangover started to kick in, and I knew coffee and biscuits and gravy were waiting for me at the bar. I was pretty sure I hadn’t been probed, but I do remember a bright light in the sky, and I don’t remember falling asleep. I threw back some breakfast and wrapped my camping gear up into one of my saddlebags. Alien Run is one of the best events we do all year. It is small, tight-knit, isolated, free, perfectly weird, and totally welcoming. You may be probed or abducted and left with a chip in your brain that forces you to come back every year, but it’s worth it.

Alien Run 2016
Motorcycle camping on a Yamaha SR400Morgan Gales
Alien Run 2016
@Maker_Allan minibike jammingMorgan Gales