We're doing something different for an event next year and we're calling it the Biltwell Back to Basics Bash or just The Bash. Sort of a company party, customer appreciation kind of thing. For customers, shops, distributors, or anyone who rides an old motorcycle.
Personally I think we're all pretty tired of going to events that are parking lots filled with trinkets. I'm not sure when "biker" events turned to "shopping" events, but that's what most still seem to be. That mutual frustration was what lead to the first EDR. And the Gypsy Run, Atomic Throwdown, Rogue Run and a score of other home-grown events.
We did the Chop Meet as an experiment in making a commercial event better, and by most accounts it was. It was also way too much work and most people enjoyed the hanging out, camping, and riding the most anyway. Don't get me wrong, the industry needs good places to do their thing, but there are more than enough "parking lot" events to go around. Swaps are one of our favorite pastimes, but with Long Beach being such a solid event and Bardhal being such an ally to us, we'd rather just support him. The nerds that complained or didn't "get" the Chop Meet won't be invited to this deal. No big promo, like the EDR, it'll just spread like a virus and those who get it will show up.
SO, having decided Mexico is a no-go for '09 what to do? Well, we tried to distill it down to the elements we enjoy. Ride motorcycles. Camp. Drink. Work on bikes. Maybe drown a worm. Drink. Repeat.
We found a local lake campground with a cul-de-sac group-camp area that is about twice the size of Ruben's in San Felipe. We met with the head ranger this morning and signed our deal to secure the entire area. It's separate from the rest of the "regular" campers so we won't be mixing with people who think rebuilding a clutch at midnight is a bad idea. They do ask that bikes shut down by 10:00pm and that's also when they lock the front gate. When we can follow this basic rule, we're welcome to make it an annual deal which would be really cool for everyone. They allow alcohol which was of course a prerequisite, and there is a beer/bait/snack/gas store within a few hundred yards of the spot. The camp store dude has already been tasked with loading up on PBR and Pacifico. They are bringing in extra porta jons. There are no showers but there are faucets and electricity. You can ride over to another part of the campground and shower if you really need one.
The riding in the area is great. Over the next few months we'll put together some maps that show our favorite routes with mileage and gas stops along the way. Much of the riding is the first 100 miles or so of the EDR. Mild mountains and down into the sub-sea level desert and back. The micro-site biltwellinc.com/bash is a work in progress and will eventually have more links and maps to help out-of-towner's and locals put together fun rides for any day they choose. There are no organized poker run type activities, just ride your motorcycle. If anyone wants to put something together and leave at a certain time to go to a certain place or whatever, of course, feel free.
Here's how camping is going to work. First come, first serve. Pull up at the gate, tell the nice rangers that you are with the Biltwell Bash and they'll record your name and plate number, give you a little sticker for your headlight and tell you how to find the group camp. There are 70-some-odd actual sites. No one owns any particular spot. Anyway, this whole big circular camp is ours, and is for BIKES and tents ONLY. If you have a girl in a truck or whatever, it'll go right across the dirt road and stay there. The big circle is for motorcycles and camping and we don't need four-wheeled anything balling that up. Don't bring daddy's RV. The first guys will grab the primo spots in the shade and everyone else fills in from there. We have to police our own trash and be out by Sunday about noon. Pack it in, pack it out.
Did I mention that it's FREE? Yup. Thanks to some really cool sponsors, it's not going to cost you a dime to camp. It's handled already. Just make sure to say thanks to them and support their businesses, most of them you are familiar with already. We might put out a donation tank or something but for the most part, just consider it our collective way of moving things away from the average motorcycle event dynamic. Sponsors might hang a banner and have a link on the website, but you won't see any vending or anything commercial going on. If you want to get involved, just contact one of us and we'll set you up. The kind of guys that sponsor the Biltwell Bash understand that by sitting around shooting the bull, wrenching and riding with people, they often gain a customer for life rather than just selling them something in a parking lot.
Speaking of sponsors, Gabe at Afterhours is going to be grilling up the goods on Saturday night. He'll have some grub ready about 6:00 which is when we'll announce bike show winners. Just like EDR's in the past, the bike show is a real low-key deal. Any bike that gets ridden to the Bash is eligible and we'll pick a couple of judges and ask them for their favorites. Those riders will get bragging rights and some kind of custom trophy. This is really the only "hard" time we ask everyone to try and be there to see who wins what. We've talked the cafe guy (next to the camp store) into opening up for breakfast on Saturday and Sunday so there should be some coffee and chow available nice and close.
If you want to just come out for the day, walk around and check out bikes then go home, or stay in town for the night, feel free. Just respect the camping areas and know that you have to be out by 10:00 or you are sleeping in the dirt with the rest of us.
Speaking for myself, Chris, McGoo, and generous sponsors, thanks in advance, we're already looking forward to it!
More info here: bash