Greetings Readers! It was my pleasure to co-chair, along with Bob Empasis, the 25th Range of Light Gypsy Tour. For me, it was a fun, exciting, exhausting, and very rewarding experience! The ROL is a moving logistics marvel that requires lots of planning, pre-riding and volunteers to ensure the event goes smoothly, and that the roads and GS routes are safe, fun, and well, just down right make sense.
Anyone who’s ever been involved in planning anything knows that no plan survives first contact with the event itself. But our planning did not even survive first contact with the planning stages. The original routing was to begin in Orland and travel over 317 miles to our second stop, the Trinity County Fairgrounds in Hayfork, CA, where we were to have dinner catered by a local restaurant. Along the way to Hayfork, riders would have experienced some beautiful streets, a 20+ mile GS loop with absolutely stunning scenery, and some fun poker run questions that included a Sasquatch sign, and a plaque commemorating the fact that a Japanese bomb balloon had landed near the Hayfork fairgrounds during World War II. Apparently no one was injured.
The fires that broke out in the Clear Lake and Trinity county area in late July and early August changed all of that. Ever tell yourself to listen to your intuition and don’t let someone else talk you out of something your intuition is telling you? And then you ignore yourself? I hate that when that happens.
I started watching news reports of the fire and called the fairgrounds to see if we should cancel. They said “let’s wait just a few days and see.” My intuition said, “cancel.” I didn’t listen. At the beginning of the following week, Trinity called to cancel because the closest fires had grown over the weekend, and Hayfork became the base of operations for the fires. And even if they put them out before Labor Day, they said, “the firefighters will probably still be occupying the fairgrounds.”
Thus began a whole new series of phone calls to various places that would make sense for our partially existing tour, and the third stop—Susanville, CA. When I first started planning the ROL, I called a lot of places. It was a good thing I kept all that contact information—phew! But since it was so close to the start date, and it occurs over Labor Day, very little was available. Thankfully, Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds in Yuba City could accommodate us and that became our second stop. So, we needed to generate new street and GS loops for Day 1, do new pre-rides for, do a new re-design of part of the old Day 2 loop, and get a new caterer. Thanks to club Treasurer John Vashon for stepping up to get the new caterer and getting the insurance for our fairgrounds. And indeed, this is where all the volunteers come in—well, that’s not exactly true—but this is the best place in the story to discuss this absolutely essential component of any major event.
I’m happy to say, the 2015 ROL included around 30 volunteers. Without them, this event simply could not have happened. So, because of their key role, and because volunteerism is part of what makes a club great, I would like to thank them here in print and in the accompanying photos, which were taken and kindly provided by Buddy Scauzzo.
First, thanks to co-chairman Bob Empasis, who designed all of the street routes and handled the catering for the Hayfork location, and to Buddy Scauzzo who did the GS Routes. The fires’ locations required us to steer clear of most everything west of I-5 in that area, so it was a real challenge for them to develop routes that were driving into the same general region north and east of I-5 that did not require riders to be on the same roads on two days. Bob did an excellent job of de-conflicting the two routes (only 10 miles of a road from Day 1 was repeated on Day 2). But hey, we’re traveling in the opposite direction so it was different right?. Buddy tried valiantly to find a GS route that worked for Saturday, but let’s just say his pre-ride experiences generated a “no go” on that and some very worthy campfire-sittin’/beer-drinkin’ stories to share.
Among the other “firsts,” to be thanked is Wynne Benti, who designed the 2015 ROL event and T shirt logo. Awesome job Wynne!
Given that we had to do more pre-rides than usual, we had a lot of pre-riders, who besides myself, included Bob, Buddy, Scott Maas, Peter Oxenbol, Russ Drake, and Richard Burton. A big thanks to Buddy and Richard for stepping in literally at the last minute to do the new Day 1 pre-ride. As a former ROL chairman, Richard also provided a suggestions, explanations, and advice for this “noob” chairman.
The last minute change also pushed back the printing of route sheets and putting together the registration packets, so the registration booth volunteers were vital to that process: Ed Perry, Heike Schmitz, Fred Montano, John Vashon, and Walt Farnlacher. Another key component to registration is transferring GPX files to people’s GPS’s, and that process takes time and occurs on each day of the ride. Buddy Scauzzo, Markus Fromherz, Scott Maas, Bill Lopez, Jacobo Galina, Ted Crum, and Bert Lankins, and all provided great support there.
John Clement, Roy Ulfsrud, Mario Bajandas, Mike Huntzinger, and Cheyenne Angela Johnson dealt the poker hands – sorry folks, no complainin’ if you didn’t win. The 2015-16 board members who attended the ROL (Dan Rowe, Bill Lopez, Ted Crum, John Vashon, Ed Perry) all stepped in to help with various jobs. And several of those already mentioned were troopers who wound up doing lots of little tasks here as the need arose! Mini McMahon and Wendy Shipler, both did a lot of running around to help convey messages, tasks, things, take pictures, etc. Thank you Ladies!
I would also like to thank the fairgrounds’ staffs, the caterers, and most importantly, our sponsors, who provided some great prizes for the closing ceremony dinner: Adventure Designs, Ben’s Motorcycle Works, BMW MOA, CalMoto, Wunderlich America, and the Zen House. Thanks also to Ozzie’s BWM of Chico, CA, for helping out a rider with a dead battery!
There were about 160 riders (about 30 of whom were “walk-in” registrants) and who rode a distance of 240 miles from Orland to Yuba City. Before leaving Orland, riders partook in some really fantastic fresh-baked goods and coffee catered by local breakfast eatery, the 4th St. Café – Mmmmmm, Mmmmmmm, good! Sticky Buns! Croissants! Cinnamon Rolls! The street-only ride from Yuba City to Susanville was 190 miles, but if you did the GS ride, which went around Butt Valley Lake Reservoir, it was 200 miles. Other sites on the routes included the beautiful Feather River Canyon, and the towns of Chester and Greenville.
I’m happy to say no one was injured on the ride, though we did have a few mechanical breakdowns, which were taken care of. This year, we had our luggage SAG Wagon as usual, driven by Andy Anderson (thank you Andy!). Bu we also owe a large debt to our Safety Wagon crew—a first during this year’s ROL—driven by Richard and Angela Johnson, assisted by their son, Tyler, and daughter, Cheyenne Angela. They were able to pick up a rider stranded by a mechanical problem.
Last, but definitely not least, anyone who’s ever ridden the ROL should say thank you to the ROL’s founder and first chairman, Doug Hubbard. Those of you who attended the 2015 ROL know the story I’m about to tell because I told it there, but its important to share the history for those who weren’t. Doug Hubbard, who originally thought of the idea in 1981, and along with some riding pals, pre-rode an area in the Sierras to have the very first one. But accidents happen, and it would be another 10 years before Doug regenerated the idea, presented it to the Board of Directors, and chaired the first event. It was a success, but not as successful as they had hoped and so they had to cancel the food. Note, he said food and not drinks! So, included with this article is a picture of Doug and the very first commemorative item of the very first ROL – a belt buckle. Doug sent me these pictures, but club member Greg Hutchinson and one other NORCAL rider actually brought along their own belt buckles from that occasion – nice! Viva La ROL!
Finally, if I missed thanking anyone, my apologies, but I appreciate everyone who did help! All in all, the 2015 was a very successful and rewarding adventure!
Joyce Sampson, Chairman, 2015 Range of Light Gypsy Tour
1. ROL volunteer photo. I don't know if you can get this in the article anywhere, but just in case, here are the people beginning with the front. Jacobo Galina (kneeling); Front Row, L-R: Bob Lankins, Dan Rowe, Fred Montano, Joyce Sampson, Buddy Scauzzo, Mini McMahon (kneeling); 2nd Row, L-R: Scott Maas, Heike Schmitz, John Clement, Peter Oxenbol, Ed Perry, Ted Crum, Mike Huntzinger, John Ellis. Back Row, L-R: Andy Anderson, Roy Ulfsrud, Markus Fromherz, John Vashon, Bill Lopez, Dan Harmon, and Walt Farnlacher.
2. Club President Dan Rowe, Co-Chairman Bob Empasis and volunteer Walt Farnlacher.
3. Safety Wagon Crew, Angela, Randall, and Tyler Johnson.
4. Cheyenne Angela Johnson, safety wagon crew and poker run dealer
5. GPX transfer table at Yuba Sutter Fairgrounds. Staffers shown are Bert Lankins, Bill Lopez, Buddy Scauzzo, and Jacobo Galina.
6. Poker Run table at Yuba Sutter Fairgrounds: Mario Bajandas, Mike Hunztinger, Roy Ulfsrud, and John Clement.
7. Wynne Benti - logo designer
8. ROL founder and Chairman of the First ROL, Doug Hubbard
9. Doug Hubbard's belt buckle from the 1991 ROL
10. Andy Anderson, Luggage Wagon driver