Back from the 29th Annual Redwood Run

A few weeks ago, I attended the 29th Annual Redwood Run . I'm late on reporting it, but the entire road trip took 12 days, because I op...

A few weeks ago, I attended the 29th Annual Redwood Run. I'm late on reporting it, but the entire road trip took 12 days, because I opted to spend another week riding around the States of California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. I'll go over this extended ride in a later post.

If I could sum up the Redwood Run in a handful of words...


It's often described as the "last of the old school biker rallies". I suppose it could be, though I've never attended any bike rallies back in the day. But it certainly was fun.

For those who've never attended, it's largely an outdoor concert, because much of the action is focused at the concert stage, and the music plays most of the time. But they take breaks for the biker games and the wet t-shirt contest. The South Fork Eel River provides swimming, and the acres of grass and trees provide camping.

Moreover, the whole event is hosted on private property owned by the local Kiwanis Club chapter. Meaning, anything goes. No cops, no problem.

Historically, the Redwood Run was a "Harley only" event. This year, I'd say just about all bikes were Harleys. Perhaps less than 1 percent of the bikes were something other than HD. I saw some Victorys, some Goldwings, some Yamahas, and some choppers. I even saw a couple sportbikes. In fact, I even rode my Road Star there. No problems.

But the reason why it wasn't a problem is because of the atmosphere. The event wasn't dominated by "rich urban bikers", who might have been disgusted with acts of public titty-sucking and flashing cooches, or to the type of cigarettes being shared with others. Everybody was cool with whatever went on.

But that's not to say the event was lawless. For the most part, people kept things in moderation, and people kept their cool. If all you did was watch the concert from the hill, hang out at your camp spot, and stand in line for a tri-tip sandwich, you didn't see much. But if you mingled with the crowd, and went where the people went, there was plenty to see.

Perhaps if the event became commercialized, and hyped up in the media, such as with Daytona, Sturgis, or Laconia, a different type of "motorcycle enthusiast" might dominate the event, and moods might change.

As for the music, the headlining acts were Vince Neil on Friday, and Foreigner on Saturday. While Dave Mason opened up for Vince Neil, and played his usual collection of hit songs, he was largely boring. Vince Neil definitely had the audience energized, but I found his performance rather "scripted" and uninspiring. Neil actually looked frustrated because his microphone kept screeching out feedback, and you could see him looking over to the stage hands in disgust.

Everyone gathered to hear Foreigner, and they sounded good, but again, uninspiring. I'd have to give my award to Joanna Connor, a blues guitarist/vocalist who absolutely held the audience in awe of her guitar picking skill, and played a gig that felt improvised and fun. You had to stand by the stage to see this woman rock and watch all ten of her fingers working the strings.

The biker games were fun, but probably the only events anyone seemed interested in was the slow race and the weenie bite. The eight-legged race and the water-balloon toss was lame. I didn't know that water-balloon toss was part of an "old school biker rally"! The weenie bite was actually topless, which made for a lot of speculation. One guy stopped his bike below the weenie, while the gal on back fellated the dangling frank to the roar of the audience.

But of course, the wet t-shirt contest probably took the most interest of all. It wasn't much of a wet t-shirt contest because for the most part, there weren't many t-shirts being worn. As soon as a girl got water doused on her, she'd take the shirt off and jiggle her jugs to the audience. Some of them simply had bare chests being doused with water.

If you plan to go to next year's Redwood Run, bring plenty of Mardi Gras beads. They're like money there. Girls will flash their boobies to get them, and guys will trade beer for 'em. Beads were such in high demand, that our club considered setting up a vendor booth just to sell beads. Girls who accumulated lots of beads wore them like a badges of honor.

As for facilities, there are showers there (with hot water), and plenty of porta-potties. I heard that toilet paper supplies ran pretty low by Saturday morning. There's no cell phone coverage there, even though my carrier (Verizon) claimed to have coverage there according to their map. Cingular and Nextel also offered no coverage.

The best way to attend the Redwood Run is to camp at the event. If you plan to rent a room at a nearby motel, you'll have trouble doing so. Motels in nearby towns never have vacancies for this weekend because their owners reserve them for their friends. You'll have to go down to Willits in the south, or Rio Dell in the north to find available rooms. And even then, you'll hate having to ride back to your room at midnight, drunk off of your ass.

We stayed overnight in Willits on Thursday, June 8, the day before the Redwood Run opened. The next morning we rode up to the event and waited in line. We hoped to get there early to get a place near the front of the line. But we ended up way in the back of the line. The reason for wanting to be closest to the front is so that you can claim a good camp site. When the gates open up, there's almost like a scramble into the event, like Oklahoma homesteaders. Claiming a camp site is done by parking your bike there and pitching your tent.

We were worried we'd lose out on a good site. As it turned out, we found a great one, next to the vendors, next to the food, close to the showers, and close to the hill where the concert could be heard. It might have been kinda noisy for sleeping, but it was close to everything, and offered room to manuever your bikes out to do some riding.

Click here to see all of my Redwood Run photos.

Maybe, I'll see you there next year.


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  1. I have always wanted to go but have heard of non-Harleys getting turned away. I might try to get in next year.

  2. 5 years of riding under my belt and hot on the trail for the Redwood Run from Northern Alberta Canada.....hmmm am I crazy???



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