Reno Air Races

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by wobbly one, Mar 25, 2018.

  1. wobbly one

    wobbly one Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Oddometer:
    61
    Location:
    Billings, MT
    Hello Fellow Travelers. I have been a lurker here for a while but just now attempting to write my first ride report. First off I want to thank all of you that have taken me along on your rides with your excellent photos and stories – they are a real breath of fresh air and nice way to see parts of the world that I know I will probably never get to. Thank you and well done. Next I need to apologize in advance for the very poor quality photos in my report. I have to confess that I am a bit of a luddite and technologically averse. I have an old GoPro mounted to the front of my fairing that will snap a picture every minute, and a cheap simple camera. In a weak moment I did buy a wireless button that would have allowed me to take photos at will with the GoPro but then discovered I needed to connect to the mother ship to enable it. I try not to connect to the mother ship unless I absolutely have to. Thanks for coming along.


    A quick into is probably a good place to start. Motorcycles have been my constant companions since I was 9, but business and life circumstances have kept me largely off of them, and they sit lonely in the garage. Now I find myself well on the north side of 50 and really feeling the need to reclaim a bit of my youth. Funny how a guy can feel like Bon Jovi in his heart but be greeted by Red Skelton in the mirror each morning. God does have a sense of humor. So a ride is definitely in order, and the Reno Air Races are just the destination to put a smile on my face.


    The proposed route: map.jpg
    #1
  2. wobbly one

    wobbly one Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Oddometer:
    61
    Location:
    Billings, MT
    My old horse is a '94 K1100RS. I found it some years back with 11,000 on the clock and it came with the very welcome feature of being able to turn me into a 16 year old, for a short period of time anyway.

    RENO1.jpg

    Being a luddite, packing is swift and efficient – some clothes, rain gear, a map, some nice cigars, a few crisp 20's, and a solid credit card. Oh, and reading glasses.


    Pure Prairie League and a wave from my wife gets me rolling down the driveway, and I have a smile on my face. The early morning air is cool and smoky from the several forest fires we have across the state.

    RENO1A.jpg


    Rolling out of town I pick up a traveling companion. Alone in my thoughts, I set about solving many of the world's problems. My companion agrees with most of my positions, which is nice. At some point during the trip I realize that solving the Syrian situation isn't helping me find my younger self so I table those thoughts and start singing. I stop that too.

    RENO2.jpg
    #2
  3. wobbly one

    wobbly one Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Oddometer:
    61
    Location:
    Billings, MT
    For those of you who have not been up this way, Billings Montana sits on the Yellowstone River just beyond the eastern edge of the Rockies - go east and you start into the high plains, go west and you are in or along the Rockies. Montana is the 4th largest state and has just a million people – it was made for motorcycles. It has been my home for almost 30 years and I am grateful.

    RENO3.jpg

    Years ago I stumbled upon the formula that helps me find my younger self. Probably doesn't work for everybody but for me it works like a champ. I won't go into all of it but one of the terms is to drive a little faster than I probably ought to. I know that isn't smart for me to confess, but there it is. That is probably in large part why I don't have many riding companions. But as my friend Merle Haggard once said “for he who travels fastest, goes alone”. I say all this because about 100 miles out of Billings I get passed by an old relic that makes it appear as if I'm struggling to find second gear. He is travelling well faster than even my young self is comfortable with and in no time he is out of view. I am instantly both shocked and offended. I am a passer – not a passee. I put some Sammy Hagar on to cool down a bit and then realize I have just been presented the perfect rabbit, and now life is really good. Several miles on I come across my rabbit at the side of the road and in counsel with an official from the state. Dang. Fast forward another 10 miles or so and I get passed by my same rabbit... travelling nearly as fast as before. I have to pull off at Livingston to fuel up. Low and behold I pull up behind this - my rabbit.

    RENO4.jpg



    A nicely patina'd, bone stock, '64 Buick Special. Guess I am going to have to give Buick another look. This young gent just passed me at well over 100 (twice), had a conversation with law enforcement, and now just put some beverages in an old foam cooler in his trunk... Respect. Perhaps he too was attempting to find his younger self.
    #3
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  4. wobbly one

    wobbly one Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Oddometer:
    61
    Location:
    Billings, MT
    Onward. My destination for this first leg is Jackpot Nevada, Cactus Pete's to be exact. 602 miles, give or take. The ride was smokey but nice, and I really didn't start counting down the miles except for the last 350 or so. I am afraid I forgot to check the battery on the GoPro so I do not have any photos to share. Big wide open space that is good for the soul. Tired and a bit stiff, I pull into Cactus Pete's looking forward to a nice steak and a micro brew or two. Restaurant is closed, coffee shop is open, I have chicken strips and a Bud.


    Day 2. The morning is sunny and quite pleasant, and life is good. The Replacements get me rolling along in nice fashion and in no time I come across a fellow traveller on the way to Wells. I soon discover they have perverse interest in the speed limit so we must part company.
    RENO5.jpg


    Rolling into Wells. The Marshall Tucker Band is giving me their best and I feel 16.
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    Sorry - place holder photo.
    RENO7.jpg

    Pulled into Carlin to fuel up and shortly after I turned off the GoPro (this photo), I get word from my wife. The computer system has gone down (we have a small business), both dogs are sick, really sick – might be a rattlesnake, oh, and the well pump has failed. Well shit, there goes the sunny day. I add back the years that had been so recklessly removed over the past few hundred miles and get down to business. Remotely. At the Carlin C Store.

    Tried valiantly but this far away could not make heads or tails out of the computer system problem – some calls to the IT folks and hopefully I have plopped it in their lap. Several calls to several plumbers and get several “no's” or “we're out a couple of weeks”. Only when I finally pull out my secret trump card “money is of no object” do I get a hint of interest. They work me in for the following day. I am at a loss on what to do on the dogs. We are empty nesters and the dogs are our current brood of kids, especially my wife's. Is this truly it for them? Should I turn back? My wife tells me It's just a wait and see right now and the decision is made to continue on west. She is bearing a burden. I pull out of Carlin a few hours later with a heavy heart and I feel 60. I even find myself mostly following the speed limit. Mostly.
    #4
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  5. wobbly one

    wobbly one Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Oddometer:
    61
    Location:
    Billings, MT
    An hour or so out I come across a familiar sight coming upon Golconda. 30 years ago I worked in a gold mine at the edge of the mountains at the right side of this photo. Damn, how quickly 30 years passes. Where did that fella go? I que up some Volbeat to prove to myself that I wasn't as old as I was. It helped only slightly
    RENO8.jpg



    A little later, I find myself passing the Lovelock Correctional Center and I give O.J. a quick wave – I heard he is to be released soon. Continuing west I come to Clark - this is where Tesla has built their new Gigafactory, and as luck would have it this was the first day they were offering tours. I thought “what the hell” and pulled off the interstate and rolled confidently up to the security gate. As military experts will tell you “sometimes a poor plan executed boldly is the winner”. I told the security guard that I was there for the tour. He asked if I had an approved slot. I think my hesitation is all he needed to hear and I got turned around. Oh well. As my Dad used to say “All they can do is say no”.

    Fueled up in Clark and discovered that the GoPro is out of battery again. WTF – I thought this was 2017 and that batteries last. Must just be my simplistic, luddite, way of thinking. So having to fill up this ride report with words rather than photos – sorry.


    Made it to Reno and it is a relief. I have been thinking about the dogs and need to check in to see if there is any new news. Nothing official but they don't appear to be getting worse. Not getting worse is good news. I get checked in, grab a delicious pizza and a couple of deluxe micro brews, top it off with a nice cigar, then it is off to a night of deep dreamless sleep. Air Races tomorrow.

    Enough of a first post. Welcome to Reno.
    RENO9.jpg
    #5
  6. staudio

    staudio Time to take a ride.....

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    Oddometer:
    435
    Location:
    15 Minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge, CA
    "Funny how a guy can feel like Bon Jovi in his heart but be greeted by Red Skelton in the mirror each morning."

    ok, you win .......that's a f*#king classic line...
    #6
  7. peejayess

    peejayess Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2017
    Oddometer:
    29
    Location:
    Cheltenham UK
    You sound like me . Looking forward to the air races
    #7
  8. keithg

    keithg Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    243
    Location:
    SO CAL NUTHOUSE
    Please go on.
    Best friend from High School lives on the Bluffs,
    #8
  9. i4bikes

    i4bikes Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    502
    #9
  10. Bigger Al

    Bigger Al Still a stupid tire guy

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2004
    Oddometer:
    8,886
    Location:
    Auburn, CA
    I remember seeing your bike parked outside the main gate as we walked in and out on Saturday and Sunday. We camp at St. Michael's Catholic Church just down the street from the gate.

    Looking forward to more....
    #10
  11. RebornRider

    RebornRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Oddometer:
    276
    Location:
    West Massachusetts
    Put your doubts at ease at presenting a great ride report and photo quality, ect. You're doing GREAT! Looking forward to the continued journey.
    Hope the dogs bounce back like new.
    Ride safe.
    g
    #11
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  12. wobbly one

    wobbly one Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Oddometer:
    61
    Location:
    Billings, MT
    Sorry for the delay in continuing this ride report - had to put my Father in-law into an assisted living facility. One of life's uncomfortable chapters. He was an old Air Force aviator.

    Back to some photos and some drivel.

    Day 3 & 4. A quick call to my wife to get the dog report and good news, both have started to eat. They live to fight another day. So onward with some relief.


    The 54th annual National Championship Air Races. http://airrace.org/

    RENO AIR SHOW PROGRAM.jpg


    Finally, a chance to put a big red check mark on one of my long standing bucket list items, in fact it was just a couple down from the top. The races are held at Reno Stead Airport, an easy 10 miles north of downtown and Joe Walsh keeps me company all the way out. I pull in to my $20 parking spot (helps the Boy Scouts so I hand it over with a smile and a thank you) and are immediately greeted by a bunch of friendly orange-shirted gents who just happen to all be fellow two wheel enthusiasts. We hit it off and before you know it, I have several new friends and the air races are off to a nice start. They invite me to join them and their fellow orange shirted ne'er-do-wells in Section 3. I'm not really one to give out advice where none is requested, but I will say this: If you want to see the Air Races sit anywhere - it's all good, but if you want to experience the Air Races make your way to Section 3, find Bob, throw him some cash for an orange shirt, and join in the fun. I don't think you'll be disappointed. https://www.rgj.com/story/news/2015/09/17/reno-air-races-section-3-s-all-fun/72362840/

    Immediately after my speedy indoctrination into the Section 3 ranks they ask if I would like to help them unfold a giant American flag on the tarmac as part of the daily opening ceremonies. Oh hell yeah. So, within a few of hours of my arrival - I have several new friends, belong to a cool new fraternity, and get to be part of the Reno Air Races opening ceremonies. A very nice start to the day indeed.

    If you have not been to the Races before, like me, one of the things to know is that all classes race all days, Wednesday Sunday. Of course they pull out all the stops on Sunday... The crowds get pretty thick the last couple days, so if you want to beat the crowds come early. There are 6 classes: Biplane, F1, T-6 (Terrible Texans as per my Father in-law), Sport, Jet, and Unlimited. They cover an elliptical course of 3 to 8 miles. The Sports, Jets, and Unlimited are the 8 mile course and cover it in a surprisingly short time. The Races are interspersed with lots of other cool aerial and static displays - you'll have fun. If you are camping be sure and check out St. Michael's Catholic Church. Inexpensive, good food, and very convenient walking distance to the main gate.


    Rounding the first pylon at the start.

    RENO10.jpg


    A clash of generations. My Father in-law had a lot of hours in the B25.

    RENO11.jpg



    Two old gents ready for another day's work.

    RENO12.jpg
    #12
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  13. wobbly one

    wobbly one Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Oddometer:
    61
    Location:
    Billings, MT
    I head to the pits and I guess it's time for another confession. I am totally smitten with all things mechanical - it has been an obsession since I was 9 and looked under the skirt of my first Briggs & Stratton 2 horse. Mention horsepower, hi-octane, speed, carburetors, gears, valves, pistons, turbochargers, and I am all in. In fact you had me at horsepower. So here I am, a respectable man of advancing years, walking the pits with a stiffie (figuratively, of course). Oh, the shame.


    I could stare at this for an hour.

    RENO13.jpg



    Form follows function, or function follows form. Hard to tell.

    RENO14.jpg



    Presented without comment...

    RENO15.jpg




    I'm thinking these items probably lead to a few interesting moments.

    RENO16.jpg
    #13
  14. wobbly one

    wobbly one Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Oddometer:
    61
    Location:
    Billings, MT
    Ok, not to sell the others short, but I my opinion here are the two big roosters of the show, Voodoo & Strega. Kinda like King Kong & Godzilla, Ali & Frazier - you get the picture. As I discover, this is Voodoo's last appearance here. Damn shame, it has won 3 of the last 4 unlimited titles here. Strega has won an incredible 13 crowns here! Just days before the Air Races, Steve Hinton and Voodoo became the fastest piston engine plane in the world on a 3km course 531mph average, top speed of 554 & change - Wow. I missed Sunday's shootout but I saw them pitted against each other in a heat race and they did not disappoint. For Sunday's big battle, Juan shows it best: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWEerNNnSN8

    Respect to both of you titans.

    RENO17.jpg


    RENO18.jpg



    Vought F4U Corsair

    RENO19.jpg



    Rare Bear. Eight titles. Absolutely Brilliant! My Uncle flew the business version of this off carriers in WWII. Respect.

    RENO20.jpg
    #14
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  15. wobbly one

    wobbly one Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Oddometer:
    61
    Location:
    Billings, MT
    P51D

    RENO21.jpg



    P51A. Pictures and my words can't do this aircraft any justice. Stunningly beautiful.

    RENO22.jpg

    I heard the show announcer give an amazing factoid about it's introduction into the war effort and I hope I relate this fact accurately - for those that read this and know differently, please correct me. It was needed quite urgently for Great Britain and because of that, it essentially went from bar napkin to prototype in just over 100 days. I have to cogitate on this a bit as I write it. Mind Boggling!



    Sea Furys.

    RENO23.jpg

    Ok, for you odd birds like me that have a dark interest in kick ass mechanical things - check out this animation of the Sea Fury's amazing Bristol Centaurus sliding sleeve engine. Dang - I think Einstein might have had a hand in dreaming this one up. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vrvep_YOio


    I am going to finish up this section of my ride report with this good gentleman.

    RENO24.jpg

    LTC. Alexander Jefferson - one of the last surviving Tuskagee Airmen. In my aimless wanderings I stumble upon him and he is gracious enough to have his picture taken with a wretch like me. I am not worthy. Please take a moment out of your day and read about this man and his experiences. His story is important for us to understand on a few different levels.

    Well my time here in Reno is at an end and I am going to get a little philosophical. I came here to experience and enjoy a big bucket list item, and boy, did I. What I didn't expect was the feeling of patriotism and gratitude after being around and seeing all these old war birds in action and beginning to realize the huge effort and sacrifices that were required to prevail. It caused me to think back on my own family's tie to WWII, in particular. I had an uncle that flew Navy Bearcats and Hellcats, an uncle that went down in a B26, one of 2 survivors, and spent 4 years in a burn unit, an uncle that flew a forward observation plane for the artillery, and an uncle that was an Army soldier - purple heart recipient. I wish now that I had taken the time while they were alive to thank them.

    I que up Born Free by Kid Rock, which seems the only selection possible, and shove off into the afternoon Reno traffic pointed towards a motel in Fallon.
    #15
  16. neanderthal

    neanderthal globeriding wannabe

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,507
    Location:
    Here, but lost. Am I lost if i know i'm here?
    I thought i'd heard the same 100 days story somewhere and wiki kinda confirms it; it was 102 days from inception when the prototype was rolled out, but it flew 6 weeks later.

    I'm a huge fan of the SuperMarine Spitfire that was supplanted in WWII by the P-51.

    Excellent ride report.
    #16
  17. Socal996

    Socal996 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2011
    Oddometer:
    70
    Great report!!!

    Headed to the Bitterroot Valley in a year or so can't wait to explore Montana and beyond
    #17
  18. RebornRider

    RebornRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Oddometer:
    276
    Location:
    West Massachusetts
    Very much enjoyed this report. Thanks!! :-)
    Ride safe all.
    gary
    #18
  19. Boxerbreath

    Boxerbreath 2017.5 GS Black Storm

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2018
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    1,227
    Location:
    Lost Angels County
    cool
    #19
  20. Bigbore4

    Bigbore4 Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,300
    Location:
    Andover MN USA
    What an honor to get a photo with LTC Jefferson!

    Don't forget to post up the return trip!
    #20
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