“Diary of a Glad Scout Rider”
By the First Lady, Janis Graber
Sunday, Oct. 3rd, 2004
Dear Diary…today was the first leg of our
Death Valleyadventure. As usual, I had previously asked my beloved husband what our ETD (estimated time of departure) would be and as always he paused and firmly announced 8:30 a.m…. “Out the door”. So, I do what I always do… I calculated the minutes I need to be “out the door” and I totaled 50 minutes. I showered, loaded my bags in the truck, packed the coolers, and grabbed the morning paper for the 5-hour road trip ahead of us. I was ready… 50 minutes; “out the door”…Timmy hadn’t even taken his shower yet! He has an uncanny way of beginning a project or working on something important on his computer that simply can’t wait until later. From now on, when Timmy gives me the ETD, I will automatically tack on an additional 30 minutes, which will now be called ATD. (Actual Time of Departure)
Not only is this a better choice of words, but will allow me 30 more minutes of sleep in the morning.
We then picked up our favorite “trouble truck” gal, Malinda Hall on our way out of town and we were on our way. The next 5 hours were spent programming my husband’s new toy, an XM radio, which for most of us who are not high tech people; I think it’s just another fancy name for Satellite Radio. After about an hour of Timmy instructing us on pushing, holding, flipping, and setting an array of buttons we realized we might be better off reading the instructions. After another hour had passed, Timmy took the remote from us and decided he would start pushing, holding, flipping, and setting himself; all the while driving at least 90 mph. (I know this for a fact, as I could see the speedometer). At this point, something had to give; Malinda read the first page of the instructions aloud…”Do not program this radio while driving, as this can be hazardous to your health.” Luckily, we needed fuel, so our lives were spared and Malinda and I worked feverishly once again to program the XM while Timmy was pumping diesel. We did not give him back the remote; instead, we took complete control of the situation and completed the programming 3 hours later, just outside Beatty,
, which was our destination for the day. Nevada
Upon arrival we met Craig Dillman and his lovely friend Irma along with another SoCal rider, Ken King. As we were unloading, I witnessed the most horrific and shocking thing in my life. My husband was delivering some parts for someone and he had decided to use my Grandma’s handmade quilt to protect and transport them! I first screamed at the sight, and then after I awoke from my fainting spell, (still feeling somewhat nauseous) I proceeded to explain my sentiment. You see, my dear grandmother who just passed away not too long ago at the age of 100 hand-quilted this for me… and my dear mother; who passed away a few years ago, hand stitched this for me. Needless to say, I was just a little upset. This would be like me taking a bunch of tools out of the tool box, (which are usually hand selected and collected through the years) and stirring a freshly opened can of paint with them, and then putting them back in the tool box… but then, it really wouldn’t be… unless your father or grandfather actually hand made and engraved the tools!
After the commotion, and after everyone was unpacked we decided to tour the wonderful town of
. The boys on their bikes, the girls following behind in the trouble truck. I must say, it really is a joy to watch these guys cruising around like little boys hoping to find a great new discovery… and the XM Radio playing “Born to be Wild” was the perfect accompaniment. Had a great dinner at the Stagecoach hotel. Jacuzzied for a nightcap, and then an hour of gambling. We all called it a night with thoughts of our next adventure to follow the next day. On to Furnace Creek. It was a good day. Beatty
Good night diary.
Monday, Oct. 4th, 2004
Dear Diary, We all met for breakfast and Craig was nice enough to point out one more antique store we had missed. We all enjoyed a little more shopping and found some treasures we could not live without, …and then it was “down the highway”. Our drive to Furnace Creek was another nice adventure, as the boys rode their machines, and we followed with the trouble trucks. I drove “THE DODGE” while Malinda drove Ken’s blue van and Craig drove Irma. Our first stop leaving Beatty was more of an inquisitive stop, at the local brothel. We drove in just far enough to see the bubble gum pink house at the end of the lane. We all took a few minutes to read the billboard out front which reminded me more of a drive-up menu at A&W. To be quite honest I had to ask what some of it meant?!! As the guys rode off laughing, us girls drove off disgusted.
From there, we stopped at the old ghost town of Rhyolite, and although we didn’t see any ghosts, it was really quite interesting. We arrived at Furnace Creek around 3:00 and got settled in. Met up with some friends, and you could feel the energy, excitement, and anticipation for the next days ride. We had dinner at the restaurant and we were all quite satisfied. With full bellies, and the evening still young, we all decided to go on a run. (I still don’t know why they call it this, as it was really only 9:30) There were just a handful of us, Craig and Irma, Frank Colver, Ken King, Timmy and myself. Bob Clift got a late start and took a wrong turn (we think his new night-vision goggles he was sporting might have had something to do with it). Timmy took my scout and I tucked a pillow on the back fender for padding, as long as Frank stayed behind us, we were fine. Timmy had conveniently forgotten to tell me that the last person who “borrowed” my scout had lost the key which meant that he could no longer turn on the headlamp; No Problemo!! Unless, of course, you have somewhat of a spirited husband who likes to race, regardless of weather or not he can see the road! After my poking and nudging from the back, Timmy slowed down enough for Franks’ lights to be our guide. And I would just like to take this opportunity to personally thank Frank for extending my life a few more years. Thank you Frank! We made it back safe and sound and enjoyed the thrill of it all. I am riding my trusty scout to Scotty’s Castle tomorrow so I am turning in early tonight. It was a good day. Good night Diary.
Tues., Oct. 5th, 2004
Dear Diary, I awoke to that old familiar sound of about 10 motorcycles revving and raring to go. Although our ETD was 9:00 a.m., I guess these guys still need to check things out at 6:30 a.m. in case they might need gas or something. I was already awake and in a cold sweat from a bad dream of Timmy polishing his motorcycle with Grandma’s quilt, so I quickly jumped out of bed, happy and relieved it was just a dream.
We had a wonderful ride to Scotty’s Castle and we enjoyed the official tour highlighting the history and how it came to be. A few of us rode on to Ubehebe Crater (I like to call it HeebeeJeeBee), and we were once again amazed at the beauty before us. The ride home was the most enjoyable ride I’ve ever had on my trusty 101, and we all knew the mineral springs swimming pool awaited us at the end of our ride. (total mileage 110) After a few wrinkled bodies in the pool later, we decided 2 hours in the pool was enough and it was time to get ready for dinner. As we were leaving, Max (in his little red Speedo) was just arriving at the pool. All I can say is, …”It takes a real man to wear a Speedo”
We had another great dinner in the restaurant, and decided at 9:30 to take another “Midnight Run”. We had met some great fellow riders in the pool that day and one of them was riding a bike with a sidecar. His name was Mark, but to all of us he was the “side car guy”. He offered to take the trouble truck gal (Malinda) for the run, so from that point, she was the “Sidecar girl”. We started out with the same group as before but in a matter of minutes, our run group was expanding. As the guys were firing up their machines, I couldn’t help but notice a young man admiring the old machines. In a neighborly fashion, I asked him if he wanted to join the ride and he sadly admitted he didn’t have a bike. I responded…”Well, do you have a car? And if you do, is it a convertible…at that point we had another rider and we called him the “Car Guy”. To add even more characters, we also met 3 interesting motorcycle enthusiasts while eating dinner in the restaurant. Max and his family were also in the restaurant, and when the enthusiasts (Indian motocycle types) figured out who Max was, you would have thought the President of the
was there. They were riding new bikes but the Run does not discriminate. One of them was from United States Argentinaalias the “Argentina Man”, a young woman from Francealias the “French girl” and the other guy was from . As we saddled up we had the “car guy” following from behind. We lost Bob Clift (Cyclops guy) again as we departed. He was saddled up and ready to go but apparently his night time goggles still seemed to be causing a directional problem. California
We only rode a few miles but you would have thought we had ridden to the moon! Timmy was the first to lie down and stretch out, and a few minutes later we all followed suit. There we were, about 15 people, all laying down, gazing up at the stars. No sound, no engines, no talking, it was really beautiful and almost overwhelming. The silence was broken a few minutes later, as we could hear the rumble of a motorcycle approaching. We were hoping it was Bob Clift and we flashed a few of our headlight to signal our whereabouts. It was Jim Christianson and his friend from
Central California. Jim is kind of a big guy, and his attire of khaki shorts and hiking boots, sporty as they were, led us all to call him “Paul Bunyon”. (His sidekick didn’t much care to be called “Babe”, but we had fun teasing them anyway).
Car guy was nice enough to transport some beverages for us and supplied some great tunes from his convertible BMW. I’m guessing 2 hours passed before any of us even considered heading back, and I’m sure if we all had sleeping bags, we would have spent the night under the stars. As we headed back, I couldn’t help thinking how young I felt, and I wondered if everyone else felt as special and privileged as I. We all made it back safely, and called it a night, with the last image of “Paul Bunyon” walking to his cabin, saying “C’mon Babe,… it’s time to go home”. We laughed hysterically and we all went to bed. It was a good day. Good night diary.
Wed., Oct. 6th, 2004
Dear Diary, Today, I will drive the trouble truck and give our favorite trouble truck gal a day off. She can ride with sidecar guy and enjoy a great ride herself!! With all the details handled, coolers filled, and the XM in the trouble truck programmed, I was ready!
We split up as half of the group chose to take the road less traveled (gravel x 2 miles). I was pleasantly surprised that my husband chose the other. Just a nice, easy, comfortable ride. We had lunch in Panamint Springs, which basically consisted of the restaurant and a gas station that didn’t look like it had been open for a while. We sat on the veranda, eating our lunch and the view before us was absolutely incredible. We saw a familiar 39 Ford Pick-Up Truck drive by that turned around and came back. It was
Tom Hart! I knew I recognized that truck!! He had just decided to take 10 hours out of his day and drive out for the Saturday night BBQ. He and I followed the bikes home and enjoyed the scenic ride home once again. We all met up in the pool again, and savored another hour of pool time before the BBQ-awards picnic. The BBQ was nice, the food was great, and of course Max and his son, Lon put on a great affair.
I think everyone was pretty tuckered out. We had all talked about another Run, but the thought of trying to recreate the night before seemed almost impossible. We all concurred, and met for a few more drinks at the bar. I was the first party pooper (if you can believe that?) and walked quietly back to my cabin alone. I think I was asleep before I got my cowboy hat off. It was a good day. Good night Diary.
Thursday, Oct. 7th, 2004
Dear Diary, I am writing my entry before we leave Furnace Creek as I know when we get home I’ll collapse from too much fun. We are loading up now, and many people have already left. My plan for the ride home is to crawl in the back seat and stretch out. As I do ... I will fall asleep… and dream of the stars we shared, the laughter we shared and the friendships shared…and I will sleep knowing everything is good, snuggled up… in my Grandma’s quilt.
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