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LAUGHLIN RIVER RUN--2022

Oops!

By James "The Tileman" Conway with photos from James and Sam Burns
5/2/2022


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“The Run that Wasn’t “

It was Thursday mid-morning as I was sitting in my work truck… My phone rang I looked down to see who it was, and it was Hicks. Hicks is one of those friends who normally only calls when he needs help. He’s married and has been going through drama. Knowing this I answered the phone with some apprehension.



He said, “Conway are you down to go to Laughlin with me on a ride, I want to get out of town because my wife is driving me absolutely crazy and it’s the River Run this weekend.”

He mentioned he had a room already and that one of his other Bros had backed out on him. As I sat in my truck, I contemplated back-and-forth the pluses and negatives of going to Laughlin on such short notice. First thing to mind was--fuck it let’s go. I had just moved my girl out two weeks prior, after a decade together and needed a little time to clear my head.



So, I gave my supervisor a heads up. I was taking tomorrow off and to clear up my schedule. Friday morning came in the blink of an eye, with restless sleep throughout the night anticipating the fun I was about to have. The alarm went off at 7 AM. As I woke up to take my morning piss, I received a text from Hicks telling me his front tire wasn’t holding air, so we needed to wait till 10 AM for MC Tire Works to open up, so he could install a new front tire.



Since we couldn’t check in to the Tropicana until 4 p.m., this really wasn’t a setback. Now, it’s 10:45 AM and we’re at Hicks‘s parents’ house doing a once over on our Dynas to make sure they were roadworthy, and then to the gas station to top off our tanks. Getting a late start landed us smack into heavy LA traffic. Snaking the Dynas through this LA traffic was a lesson in stark concentration. We were able to squeeze through the endless number of cars, each one a threat for 40 miles.



We hit Barstow which was the halfway point to fuel up and stretch. As we pushed the Dynas through the Mojave Desert at their sweet-spot 90 mph, I started to go into that highway trance, thinking about life, what the future held for me and with my Asian female shadow mirrored my every move. I knew I would find some relief, when I hit Laughlin.



Did I mention the Saddlemen, San Diego Customs edition seat I just recently bought kept me locked in and comfortable for the 5-hour journey. We checked in and immediately got into our board shorts to hit the Jacuzzi to soak away the 5-hour mostly desert trip.



Back up to the room for a quick shower then down to the lobby to grab a bite to eat at the local diner named Carnegie’s. The cover band in the bar was playing a shitty version of Guns N’ Roses “Welcome to the Jungle” as we ventured over to check the action.

I ordered my usual Tito‘s and cranberry. Then we ventured down to the casino floor where we hit the roulette table for a little fun. The vibe of the casino was great, and everyone was having a good time, we played roulette for a few hours then back up to the room to catch some Z’s.



As 8 AM approached, we were up, dressed and out to the bikes to go for a putt around the city. We grabbed a bite at some diner that I don’t recall because hangover wouldn’t let me remember. And as I looked around, I didn’t see any vendors, live music or motorcycle related shit. Oops!



I thought to myself somethings missing here. We gassed-up and followed a group of bikers out to a western town called Oatman. Oatman is an old mining town from the 1900s that’s been a tourist destination ever since.
 
 
The main attraction is the Burros, seems people like feeding these asses. Packed with bikers it reminded me of the old Wild West of outlaws taking over a small town, bikes everywhere.



With the desert heat we had to refresh ourselves with some ice-cold beer, then something sweet with some ice cream. Hicks and I decided to go back to the hotel room to lounge around the pool.



Feeling life stresses loosen up I realized this was a well needed trip to clear my head. Back up to the room where we cleaned up and then downstairs for some dinner. The same band was playing a Zeppelin tune as I walked up to the bar. I ordered my usual drink, when the bartender told me about the woman at the end of the bar who covered my cocktail.



I looked across the bar and saw a beautiful lady sitting alone smiling at me, a “Cougar” one might say. I smiled back and walked over to show my appreciation. I introduced myself and she told me her name was “Sharon Peters” and she wanted to take Hicks and myself up to our room… we excepted her request and I’ll let your imagination figure out the rest.



The alarm went off at 8 AM sharp, we wiped the sleep out of our eyes wondering what the hell happened the night before… Not saying much, we got our shit together to begin our journey home.

 
We checked out of the hotel, hit the gas station, and turned on to Route 66. As I mentioned the Dyna’s smash through the desert at a cool 90 mph not skipping a beat. Our shadows followed us to confirm we were going in the right direction home.



We hit Barstow again to top off our fuel and stumbled into the famous McDonalds Barstow Station. I’ve been coming here for many years, and it brought back many childhood memories with my family. Plus, Hicks had never been there before. I introduced him…



As we jump back onto the highway, I felt the reality I left in LA starting to creep back into my mind. Hicks and I rolled back into town and at the fork in the road where he went his way and I hit mine, we gave ourselves the usual middle finger goodbye as we went on our separate ways.



Then I realized…It wasn’t about the event we missed, it was all about the ride with a good brother and the mystic desert vibes.



“Until till next time my friend”
 
James "The Tileman" is wearing a 5-Ball vest to the end...
James "The Tileman" is wearing a 5-Ball vest to the end...


 

--Tileman
 
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