The names in this have been changed to protect the guilty, as well as my own ass.
I will start this piece out by again restating the title: Laughlin Nevada is Fucking Strange. I bought my first bike a few months back, a Harley Davidson Iron 883 (which can be read about in my last blog). I should note, that this particular bike is a Sportster, and throughout the Harley community.... the Sportster is widely regarded as a girl's bike.
As I was asking my friend information about it, he told me about one of the largest bike runs in North America. Seeing as how I have no sense about me, I agreed to go with him on this adventure. Thursday, after a night of drinking and three hours sleep, I rode with him, his coworker, and his coworker's friend 280 miles through the desert to the annual Laughlin, NV River Run.
Thursday: There is nothing in the desert. The desert is boring. Hence the definition of a desert. However, when you add a few thousand mean looking bikers on Harley's into the mix all traveling about 90 miles per hour, and you are in a staggered formation with only a few feet to play with, and there is wind hitting you from the side at about 60 miles per hour, suddenly the desert is not only exciting, its scary as fuck. These events are only amplified when you pull into the loan gas-station on the highway and see 60+ members of one of the top motorcycle gangs in America (very near the top I might add) staring at you because not only do you not fit into what a typical biker is comprised of.... you're also riding a girl's bike. It was.... an experience to say the least.
Upon arrival to the our destination, The Colorado Belle (and having seen my life pass before my eyes several times) we quickly commenced to drinking.
AUTHORS NOTE: From this point on in my story, the reader should go ahead and assume for the remainder of this that I was completely, mind-bogglingly, shit-faced as it will save much repetitive writing on my part, and reading on theirs.
After a quick shower, we met up with a few friends of one of my riding companions. They informed us of their buddy of whom I will refer to as Eddie. It was said the Eddie is an cool old dude (their term, not mine) who has some plush estate not to far away, and that he loves to throw parties for the bikers every year. They also mentioned that he had a keg. Needless to say, an hour later I found myself in Eddie's backyard.
Eddie's backyard is a hell of a site. Best described as a cabana on crack, this man had it made. Cascading water-falls dumping into his custom shaped color changing pool, LCD TV's burning sports into your eyes, a soundsystem to rival a theater, in short: the works. The place was sparsely populated by loosely dressed couples well into their 50's, but with all the attitude and drinking aggression of someone in their early 30's. I came to quickly realize that Eddie was not, shall we say, a fan of minorities when his black dog attacked me and he began to yell "Someone make that Nigger-dog shut the hell up".
I began to have a long talk with Eddie as he was behind the bar dishing out stiffly made cocktails to anyone who would stick their hand out. Without diving into too much detail as it could cause Eddie issues with powerful people, Eddie was a schemer of the highest caliber. I have no doubt this is why Eddie finds himself in the amazing financial situation that he is in. His latest scheme however.... is nothing short of a maniacally deviant vision of the American Dream in action.
Eddie pays mentally handicapped people 10 cents a roll to take toilet paper that he has made in China, box it in containers that are marked "Made in the USA", and sells it to the unassuming consumer. This however is not quite as colorful of a description for it as Eddie has. As he stated to me: "I pay retards a dime a roll to box up Chinese shit-paper and put in USA boxes". What can I say, the man has a talent for language.
After a feast made for a king (but provided for by the handicapped and the unsuspecting US consumer), and a wobbly ride back home, we left Eddie's house.
FRIDAY: Vendor's are a huge part of the Laughlin experience. So are incredibly drunk, aging, overweight, loose women. Unfortunately these two area's collided with me as I was trying to buy parts for my bike. Two drunken women we're walking on either side of our group and were yelling for each other, seeing as how they were apparently too hammered to realize they were both walking on either side of our group, someone I was walking with shouted to them the whereabouts of the other. They took this as an invitation to pester us.... namely me.
As I would walk away from the group to get a drink, or to check out a part, these aging skin-bags with lust in their eyes would aggressively accompany me. I tried ignoring them. Didn't work. I tried being rude. Didn't work. I tried being cruel. Didn't work. AS soon as I was convinced we had lost them or that they had given up, they would reappear. This continued at random throughout the next few hours.
At night my buddy and I wondered off and wanted to see what Laughlin had to offer. We were ready for anything, to see fights, to see naked women, to see roving gangs of bikers, anything. We were however not prepared for Ses Carny & Professor Chumley's Freak Show. These guys were great. They were laying in glass while people jumped on them, lighting cigarettes with grinders, and lifting cans of paint attached to chains, with their nipple rings. It was insanity of the highest caliber, but the highlight was their end act. While the performance was winding down, Professor Chumley jumped off stage and for $1 you could staple said $1 to his arms, $5 bill for the cheek, $20 bill for his forehead, and for a $50 bill.... you could staple it to his balls. After briefly considering the mental ramifications of having to go exploring down there, I decided to play it safe, and stapled a $5 to his cheek.
SATURDAY: As we were driving on our way from the highway Thursday, I noticed a little town in the desert by the name of Needles, NV. It reminded me of a town that had gotten stuck in some episode of the Twilight Zone and never managed to escape. I decided that this town warranted further exploration, so I left the pack, and went on a solo quest bound for Needles , NV.
There's not much to say about Needles unfortunately, other than it's a bit scary, and it's inhabitants match that description just as well. The townspeople really weren't sure what to make of a biker wearing a punkrock vest and camo shorts who was stopping and occasionally taking pictures of their odd neighborhoods (I'll attach some of these). Also, it should be noted that a turf-war once happened there between a Christian Church and a Jehovah's Witnesses sect where in a hands down victory, the Christians got their asses handed to them and they were stuck forever in a parking-lot.
However, on the more negative side of this venture, I got off on a rocky dirt road, got twisted around, and although I didn't "lay down my bike" I twisted my ankle something fierce, causing it to swell, and me to favor it the remainder of the trip.
Saturday night was something else all together. One of the people I was traveling with is a relative to some of the biker gang I also previously mentioned. Long story short, he met up with his relatives Saturday night, and we spent the entirety of the night hanging out with that gang. I apologize if that statement is vague, I'll clarify a bit, but I am, for the record, not going on the record about a damned thing. I stood toe to toe with some of the most dangerous motherfuckers in America, and was shaking hands with them all, as they were sporting their colors, and as they were buying me drinks all night. They were great guys, perhaps multiple felons, perhaps murderers, perhaps drug traffickers, or perhaps they just have a terrible reputation, but in any case they greeted me as a friendly, and treated me as such. All the same, intensity is an appropriate word for the feeling of the night.
SUNDAY: Sunday was boring. At this point people were winding down from their weekend of riding and drinking, I however was not ready to go gentle into that good night. I spent the day wondering around, drink in hand, exploring Laughlin's seedy casinos. Not much to report however, but dinner that night was quite awkward.
Our group, comprised of friends of friends of friends decided to go an have a nice sit down dinner that night. So we picked a Steak joint, reserved our place in line for it, and continued to drink at the bar. At some point during these proceedings I aquired the nickname of "Rambo" due to all the "shit you have in your vest". After becoming better acquainted with some of these friends three times removed, it became time for dinner.
The first sign that this dinner was to be incredibly awkward came as I ordered a Merlot to accompany my food, only to have the decision greeted with a chorus of "You drink wine boy" and "Guess a guy that drives that bike would order wine". "Great" I thought to myself, "Attack the intelligent guy with taste, I think Bush Jr. won on that platform".
Regardless, the older lady next to me had been dating her boyfriend at the table for nearly three months. I know this fact because she told it to me four times throughout the evening, just as she had repeated everything she had said about as many times. Her boyfriend was a greasy, white haired, jersey shore wannabe whom by the end of dinner, I unaffectionately came to call "Miami Vice". "Miami Vice" had a thick gold chain, penny loafers, and continued on and on about his BMW and his bank account.
As our steak arrived, his girlfriend cut a chunk of her prime rib and put it on my plate explaining as how she could not possibly eat it all. "If you put that goddamned meat on his plate he better damn well be buying the food for you", "Miami" bellowed. The whole table turned in unison to me. I explained to him "Hey man, I didn't ask for it, if you want it sir it's all yours and it comes with my apologies". I was being as nice as I could. For the next 5 insanely excruciating minutes of my life, she kept insisting that I eat it, and he continued to tell her and I how he was not paying for it. In good spirit, at one point I even got a to-go box and attempted to give it to him. He did not give one shit, I know this, because that is what he told me. This eventually led to "Miami" having a hissy-fit and going to his bedroom, leaving myself with the bill. After being forced to endure all of that, I was at that moment, over Laughlin Nevada, and I spent the rest of the night fending off old women at the hotel bar.
MONDAY: My buddy and I woke up early and got the hell outta Laughlin. I spent that grueling 280 mile ride home with a throbbing ankle, a terrible case of the DT's, and even more stories than I could fit in this post. At it's best, Laughlin is a seedy, run-down version of Las Vegas, at it's worst? Well, I'll be honest with you, its quite frightening and fucking strange as all hell.