May 22, 2004: Dinner at the Eel River Brewery
Bill swung by my hotel room, and we walked over to the Eel River Brewery, home of Climax Beer. I was surprised to see him so early in the evening; he had been talking at breakfast about doing the large 299/36 loop. Unfortunately, Officer Friendly had other ideas, and Bill wound up with a performance award which cut his day short. I tried to get him to pose, looking mean and angry, with the ticket, but he said it was his first ticket in 18 years, so he couldn't really complain all that much.
The Eel River Brewery is run by very smart people who sat our group alone outside, away from any impressionable youth or shockable elderly. We also got the hottie waitresses, a fact lost on pretty much no one. Frankly, this was a brilliant strategy: the guy motorcyclists got to flirt harmlessly, the girl motorcyclists got to joke with the waitresses about what dorks the guys were, and the waitresses got fabulous tips.
Bill and I sat at the first empty table, next to Steve and Mark, who'd done the 299/3/36 loop and were still grinning ear-to-ear. They already had individual glasses of Eel River's India Pale Ale. The website baosts that IPA has "a strong floral and citrus character from generous dryhopping blends with strawberry esters from our house yeast strain for an inviting and satiating aroma." Whatever that means, it tasted damn good, and we bought a pitcher.
Karl entertained us all by being carded. I happily teased him at first -- heck, I wasn't even carded!! -- but then I realized that that meant that I looked old. I drowned my sorrows in IPA and we bought another pitcher.
At some point, Steve let it slip that he had ST.N stickers on him. Word spread like wildfire, and our table soon became a hubbub of activity. You'd think he was pushing $3 'ludes, from the looks of things.
While I was admiring Steve's mad pusher skillz, Karl sidled up to me. "You'll never believe this," he said. "Colleen bought a Bandit!" I realized I hadn't yet seen Colleen that evening. "Our Colleen?", I asked. "A what? Dude, show me." This was so exciting that I left my beer at the table. We rushed through the restuarant, scaring locals, running out towards the parking lot. The rumors were true! Colleen had gone to a dealership in Eureka with some of the guys, to make sure that the VFR's damage wouldn't be a problem on her trip back to Seattle. Evidently, while she was there, this little guy (gal?) adopted her:
Brand-new 2002 Bandit 1200S, all blue and sparkly and pretty. Very nice! Poor Dr. Gil: while we'd been riding the Lost Coast, he and Ken traded bikes for a few miles and he fell in lust with Ken's new Moto Guzzi V11 Sport. "But, see," he told Becky, "Colleen damaged her bike and got a new one...and now mine fell on the napkin, and...." "No," said Becky.
Meanwhile, back at the beer and appetizers, the Chili Man was making an appearance! The Chili Man is the ST.N mascot; Colleen found him in a hotel gift shop in Custer, South Dakota at the 2003 National Meet. He travels around the country now, with various ST.Ners, meeting people and being photographed in exotic and often embarrassing situations.
Food arrived, people ate, the evening continued on. Everyone mingled and joked and traded stories and drank obscene amounts of beer. More pitchers of IPA appeared, were emptied, and then magically reappeared. I wandered around, taking random pictures of people doing silly tipsy things. The Chili Man was subjected to more humiliation.
As though a photo isn't bad enough, of course there's video.
Want to see it in live action? You can! There's video!
Eventually, poor Chili Man was put away, and we were free to tipsily mingle around and be obnoxious without the excuse of a little plush toy.
Becky and Gil wandered over to present an award to Doug and Todd, for having ridden the longest distances to the Meet. As with all things ST.N, it was a high-class award.
Wish you could have been there to see the award presentation? You can! There's video!
And even more video! Wow, it's just like reliving the evening.
Some poor person lingering nearby was roped into taking a group photo of the remaining biker scums, before we all headed off to our 10pm bedtimes like the bunch of lazy sloths that we are. I'm not even going to pretend that I know who everyone is, because I relied heavily on the nametags, but you can see Becky's page of attendee mugshots for a rough idea. Unfortunately, there was never really a time during the weekend where everyone was all in one place at the same time, so there wasn't a good opportunity for a group shot.
And that was our dinner. I stumbled back to my hotel room shortly thereafter, downloaded some pictures, and went to bed. I'm a party kind of girl, let me tell you.