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Common Tread

Gypsy Run: Try Harder

Sep 24, 2014

There's this annual ride called the Gypsy Run, now in its eighth year, and a few Zillans decided to go. The following is a chronological log of our failures.

Sept. 4-5, 8:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m.: Eight days until the ride. Rip apart primary in my dresser to find evidence of prior carnage. Repair. Marvel at how much beer Sturgis can drink when he’s not buying it.

Sept. 10, 3:57 p.m.: Receive confirmation from Strader and Sturgis that we are leaving Mount Lemmy at 8 a.m. sharp on Friday morning for GR8.

Sept. 11-12, 8:00 p.m.-2:13 a.m.: Install new air filter that comes in mail. Regasket a few things that are leaking egregiously. Realize riser bushings have seen better days. Rip apart entire dash to replace. Say bad words. Re-assemble bike. Do not road test, slink off to bed.

Sept. 12, 6:00 a.m.: Awaken. Shower. Avoid wife, who hates mornings.

Sept. 12, 6:39 a.m.: Get text message from Sturgis. He has left Philly and is northbound.

Sept. 12, 7:11 a.m.: Where is the tent?

Sept. 12, 7:39 a.m.: Spend time trying to convince wife that one saddlebag each is not a fair division of the bike’s cargo capacity, because the tools, oil, whiskey, and spare fuel all live in my saddlebag, leaving me room for four socks and a T-shirt. Give up arguing and pack four socks and a T-shirt.

Sept. 12, 7:52 a.m.: Complain about being tired from working on bikes the night before. Wife asks why all our Harleys are junk. I explain they are wonderful machines, as I begin fixing the Shovelhead in case the dresser does not start. Silently wonder why I own so many junk Harleys.

This Knucklehead was one of Lemmy's favorite builds this past weekend. The harder to keep running, the more he likes it. Photo by Spurgeon Dunbar.

Sept. 12, 8:12 a.m.: Text from Strader. He just woke up. Text Nate. Nate texts back bad words unfit for Common Tread.

Sept. 12, 8:20 a.m.: Sturgis pulls up.

Sept. 12, 9:05 a.m.: Make breakfast while we wait on Strader. Eat breakfast. Talk about how Strader sucks. Eat Strader’s portion of breakfast in minor fit of rage.

Sept. 12, 10:12 a.m.: Strader arrives. We tell him to leave the bike running.

Sept. 12, 10:16 a.m.: My Harley will not start. Consider Shovel for different type of unreliability.

Sept. 12, 10:18 a.m.: Pray to gods of Nippondenso that the solenoid contacts will have just enough un-corroded surface area to keep me from unpacking dresser. Bike starts.

Sept. 12, 10:30 a.m.: Zip through tollbooth. Sturgis zips through toll. E-ZPass rules. Strader does not have E-Zpass. Wait for Strader to collect toll ticket.

Sept. 12, 11:18 a.m: More tollbooths. Wait for Strader to dig through pockets for greasy, Brylcreem-stained singles. Say some bad words.

Sept. 12, 11:29 a.m.: Pull over. Strader’s sleeping bag is flying behind him like a literal freak flag. Help him repack bike. Why does he have so much stuff with him?

stop to repack
Lemmy teaches Strader the art of packing a motorcycle, so his sleeping bag won't be dragging on the ground behind him any more. Photo by Spurgeon Dunbar.

Sept. 12, 11:36 a.m. to 12:36 p.m.: Meet up with Nate at watering hole. Nate admires Sturgis’ bike. Sturgis tells Nate it’s an older carbureted Triumph.

Sept. 12, 12:37 p.m. to 3:59 p.m.: Lead group on meandering route to campground. Make at least two wrong turns. Stop for lunch where Strader orders the biggest quesadilla I have ever seen. Usually served as triangles, I expect to see four triangles or so of quesadilla when he orders. Strader’s meal contains no fewer than 28 triangles. Considering the amount of cheese he ingests, I realize later he may become flammable. Strader informs us he wishes yet to eat a pie.

Sept. 12, 4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.: Arrive at camp. Set up camp. Tell Strader he has put his tent in poison ivy. Leave to obtain provisions. Sturgis meets another Gypsy Runner and they begin talking about Sturgis' Trump. It comes up in conversation again that his particular bike is carbureted.

Sept. 12, 5:03 p.m.: Wife and I argue over first or second turn to get to beer store. She is wrong, second turn does not exist. Lose Strader. U-turn. See Strader, wave. He does not see us, and we lose him. Acquire pizzas and beer. Beer store has sale on small pies. Buy several for Strader.

pizza run
It's not DiGiorno, it's delivery. After Strader's display of packing a sleeping bag on a motorcycle, we decided against having him pick up dinner. Photo by Spurgeon Dunbar.

Sept. 12, 5:54 p.m.: Return to camp with pizzas and beer. Begin drinking. Eat pizza. Strader returns, very angry. Offer him beer, still angry. Produce pie. Not so angry. Spurgeon talking with someone else about his still-carbureted Triumph. Realize at this point Sturgis wants an older, single-cam Harley so he can bond with other curmudgeonly people who just like old shit.

Sept. 12 to early Sept. 13: Keep drinking. Find tent that is visually similar to my wife's. Tent status verified by presence of wife in tent. Stumble inside. Note: All the beer has done things to my innards. None of the things are good.

Sept. 13, 8:00 a.m. 7:00 a.m.: Strader and Sturgis wake me up. Tell me it’s eight, and rain is coming. I need to break camp and go to breakfast. Fall out of tent, pee on local greenery, install pants. Find out it is actually seven in the morning, and my "friends" wanted me to get out of bed with the threat of the run leaving without us. Begin breaking down camp with wife.

Sept. 13, 10:03 a.m.: Raining. Sturgis leaves to go put down some miles without the main pack. Strader leaves to go home. The rest of us avoid the rain as best as we can by finding delicious Chinese food and good bar in town. Spend most of child's college fund.

Sept. 13, 7:02 p.m.: Awards ceremony. Steal rag from buddy to wipe mud out of my helmet. Remind self to stop leaving helmet in mud when raining. Sturgis texts us. His rain suit failed and he went home. Apparently his shower was warm and inviting.

Sept. 13, 7:36 p.m.: Leave camp. Eschew rain gear, hate life. Raining, 39 degrees. Definitely hate life.

Sept. 13, 10:08 p.m.: Arrive home. Slightly ashamed to leave 12 hours early. Shame outweighed by warmth of bed. Gypsy Run complete. Begin Instagramming rad pictures. #hashbrown

9/15/2014: Spend day at the office telling everyone how tough we are and how easy GR8 was.