Hi, this is Lucille speaking...
We rolled up to the Yeti Tribe gathering. There was a little check in table, a waiver to sign, a T shirt to be gotten, etc. And a personalized sticker for your bike, a nice memento and a way to keep everybody's bikes straight (it can get complicated when there are hundreds of Yetis laying around). This was my first trip to the Tribe, but I had seen these stickers on customers bikes, and was looking forward to getting one of my own.
The check in table was being ran by children, girls in the 10 to 12 year old range if I had to guess. We already had these girls a little flustered, because there were four of us talking over each other, and asking them questions they weren't there to answer.
"So what's your name"
"Hmm, I don't see that sticker here. Do you have a nick name?"
"There's a Lucille sticker, is that you?"
"No, thats not me."
Then the girl proceeds to look through all the stickers, looking for Dan, or Lucero, with no luck.
"Are you sure its not Lucille"
The oldest girl at the table jumps in, asks my name again, cross references a different list, and shouts out "Dan Lucero- yeah, Lucille is his sticker"
Thats when I remember that Swinton signed me up. Well played sir. I believe he had been watching a bit of Arrested Development at the time. Is he saying I'm a grumpy alcoholic matriarch?
Charlie also discovered that he was signed up as Chuck Fresh, but that makes sense, because that is his actual name.*
(*not his actual name)
The Tribe Gathering is basically a big bike riding weekend party that Yeti has been throwing for 15 years. Reportedly it started impromptu, with 10 people the first year. Last year they had 350. This year was a little down, at 250, presumably due to the remote location of the Uncompahgre Plateau, outside of Montrose CO. Everyone is invited, as long as you ride Yeti. They put it on as an appreciation event. This was the first year of our crew going, although we had a number of customers and friends there that are regulars.
The drive to Montrose takes about six hours. It is both a beautiful and boring drive, at times. If you have never been on the passes between Durango and Silverton and Ouray, you should check it out, unless you find tight and twisty roads with no guard rails and sheer cliffs scary, in which case you should maybe avoid it. It is a little surprising to have such a seemingly dangerous stretch of road open to the public in America, the lawyers and safety police haven't taken all the fun away yet. But I doubt it will be long before somebody goes sailing off the cliff while texting, and somebody will declare the road unsafe.
The Tribe gathering was another 30 minutes or so outside of Montrose up on the Uncompahgre plateau. So by the time Dave, Charlie, my Dad (aka Lee), and I pulled up to the party we were a little road weary and excited. After we were finished making the poor 10 year old volunteers stressed out, we found a nice little spot to camp.
The setting was beautiful forest up on the plateau, with the big tent headquarters in a big clearing and dispersed camping all around it.
The event was catered, and the food was amazing. The beer was supplied by Oscar Blues, and there was enough on hand to kill every last attendee with alcohol poisoning.
Friday was pretty mellow, as there was a big day of riding ahead on Saturday. We didn't have enough time to ride Friday, but lots of people had been out exploring the area that day.
So if you happen to own a school bus, you should totally build a deck on the roof, and then get a 3 man water balloon launcher, because it is hilarious.
You can really take some people by surprise when you hit them with a water balloon from 100 yards away.
Saturdays ride was dubbed "The Whole Uncalada", the local equivalent to Moabs Whole Enchilada. It was 27 miles, with a shuttle at both ends, and way way more descending than climbing.
Loading up 3 moving trucks and two school busses with riders was an impressive sight.
And the stretch of bikes laying along the side of the road at the start of the ride was awesome. It was a seriously impressive collection of nice bikes.
It was a great ride. We didn't stop for too many photo ops, we were having too much fun pedaling.
But feeling thoroughly jazzed on the bus ride home (with a couple quick beers in me), there was plenty of time for photos.
We got back and stuffed ourselves on an amazing dinner.
Danny doesn't appear to trust his meal.
And once everyone was thoroughly fed and beered up, Yeti started their traditional stupid human tricks.
Mini bike racing...
Mini bike tossing...
There was some talking on the mike, a little video to watch, and eventually a booze fueled dance party broke out. I may or may not boogie down when the right number of beers have been drank and the music is good.
We did another ride on Sunday morning before heading out of town. It was a beautiful ride through the trees on really nice loamy soil, undulating along the plateau, with a few great views thrown in.
Then we packed it up and hauled tail back to 'Burque. A quick 12 hours at home and here I was opening shop Monday morning, bleary eyed and smiling. I can definitely think of worse ways to spend 72 hours.
We will definitely go again next year. I hope we can bring even more friends with us then. If you're lucky, you'll get to watch me dance (and maybe even get an "I love you man" hug from me).
Thanks for reading.