Laughlin River Run

Getting Rolled at the Laughlin River Run

It's been said that cheaters never prosper. And, as far as the Laughlin River Run goes, it finally bit me in the butt. Just like the last few times I've attended the 'Run, I rode out from LA on Tuesday afternoon, spent Wednesday afternoon scoping out the vendors, and was gone to ride some killer Arizona roads by Thursday afternoon, home by Saturday or Sunday. As my local "big" run, I've been way too many times. About one day is enough for me, and I've really enjoyed what had become a $200 trip (including gas, room, food, drinks, etc) for me.

In the past, this worked out perfectly. The rooms are $20ish, the crowds are small, and I get all of my "big bike rally" pictures as everyone comes into town Thursday. For someone just looking for the coolest new bike products, this approach is still a valid one. The vendors are mostly open for business by Wednesday noon, and you mostly get them all to yourself. However, if you want at least some other bike people to hang out with who aren't working, this is no longer a valid approach.

I'm used to being practically the first one there on Tuesday night, and attendance is pretty much dead on Wednesday, other than the giant motorcycle-related displays, you'd almost not know there was a rally in town this year. By the time the first wave arrived Wednesday night it was a measly trickle of bikes, and not much more was happening Thursday either. Sure, the Rally hasn't been anywhere near it's pre Mongol/Hell's Angel shootout days in recent years, but the maybe 1000ish bikes in town by Thursday noon were pretty pathetic by anyone's standards. Vendors, who are normally happy to talk to a journo on the mostly un-busy Wednesday, were instead in a glum mood sensing that this was to be a real downer of an expensive weekend for them.

No big groups of bikes collecting at the syrupy-slow traffic lights, and really, no big groups anywhere, and definitely not a party atmosphere. Perhaps if I'd waited around for the Thursday folks to arrive (along with $85 hotel rooms, escalating to the triple digits on the weekend) it might have improved, but Route 66 awaited, and I was itchy. This crappy economy is really starting to piss me off.-BB