The temperatures in Vegas are creeping into the triple digits, so that means it’s time to get the hell out of Dodge and see some more of this amazing country. It’s time to bake in the sun in the company of cantankerous old hippies at Red Rock nude beach in Marin County…to make camp stove coffee on the tailgate of my truck, overlooking the Pacific Ocean from a foggy Lost Coast bluff…to smoke weed with bearded van-dwelling strangers while soaking naked in the secluded old-growth forest hot spring pools of Oregon. In short — it’s time to live!!!
These adventures and more await me on my 2015 Summer Adventure Tour, tentatively outlined above. After wending my way up the coast through Northern California and across Oregon, I plan to explore the hot springs of southwest Idaho, earn gas money by posing for a photo shoot or two, and then make my way back down through northern Nevada to take care of unfinished business from my February trip, which was cut short due to cold weather. There are still a ton of fabulous hot springs, ghost towns and assorted other attractions up there that I need to check out!
To do all this, I need money — money to pay for trip expenses, but also to cover my nut for all that time I’ll be taking off from hustling. With that in mind, I’ve really been busting my hump lately, socking away cash like a Fundie mom stockpiling cans of powdered chipped beef for the apocalypse.
My hump-busting was thrown for a loop, however, when my friend Blondie proposed a trip up to Reno, to hustle for tips at a biker rally like we did last October. I had about $750 worth of gigs lined up that weekend in Vegas, but Blondie wheedled/cajoled/coerced me into gambling on the uncertainty of Reno instead — though it wasn’t a sure thing, there was the distinct possibility that I would make more than $750, plus have a lot of fun in the process. Last October I made a similar gamble and it paid off handsomely — we really cleaned up at the fall Street Vibrations rally, and afterward I concluded that sometimes a bird in the hand is not worth two in the bush. So to speak.
So I decided to let ‘er ride, and once again rolled the dice on Reno. But this time…I totally crapped out! 🙁
This was the spring Street Vibrations rally — they used to only do it in the fall, but decided to try a spring rally as well, since the weather is so nice this time of year…usually. I guess Blondie heard about it from some of her biker fanboys, one or two of whom were exhorting her to come up for it, so she in turn convinced me to cancel all my Vegas gigs and go with her.
I should have known the whole trip would be a bust right from the start; as we rolled thru Goldfield, we stopped to say hi to this nutty Evangelical Christian gold miner/perv who had given my sister and me Chick tracts last February, and while bullshitting with him at his tourist trap jewelry stand, another old perv in a Lynyrd Skynyrd t-shirt showed up and started hitting on us, telling us how he’d just come from “the cathouse near Area 51.” Upon closer inspection he appeared to have a dingleberry in his mustache, so either the whores up there have exceptionally poor hygiene, or the dirty motherfucker was lying and had really been eating trucker ass at a Flying J. Either way, we took a couple more Chick tracts and got the fuck out of there.
Anyway, we rolled into Reno Wednesday night to find a completely deserted, freezing-cold ghost town, with nothing but drizzling rain and a few stray methheads awaiting us on Virginia Street. Supposedly the rally went from Thursday-Sunday, but Blondie had talked me into going up a day early, on Wednesday, so that we would be relaxed, refreshed and ready to hustle once the bikers started rolling in — one of her photographer friends had gotten us a free hotel room right on Virginia Street (the main drag), so we could spend the extra day laying at the pool or something, working on our tans. HA!!!
Not only was the weather shitty and rainy, but someone had given us faulty intel — the rally didn’t even start til Friday, and attendance was expected to be a fraction of the fall numbers. I turned down $750 worth of work for this?!? I had even tried to hedge our bets by applying for a $27/hour promo modeling gig in Reno, but Blondie wouldn’t let me — she insisted we’d make more money just hustling. So now I was pretty pissed.
But since we were already there, we decided to make the most of it, and spent Thursday sleeping in and working out at the hotel gym. One of Blondie’s biker fanboys showed up that evening with a buddy in tow, and the four of us ended up spending the evening together like we were on some fucked-up super-awkward double date straight out of Grease (trust me, I’m certainly no Sandra Dee…but compared to the guy they stuck me with, I’m Pat fucking Nixon!!!!!!).
The evening dragged on from one bar to another as the one guy, we’ll call him Justin, mooned over Blondie like a lovesick puppy. Meanwhile, he had overindulged to the point of vomiting all over the bathtub the night before, so he was hungover and subdued and not the most exciting company…but still resolute in his efforts to work his way into Blondie’s pants and/or heart. Rather than just sit there and watch that shitshow, I turned my attention to the other guy, who we’ll call JJ…who was actually pretty cute, in a vo-tech-dropout kind of way.
Sometimes when I’m bored, I entertain myself by playing Terry Gross, probing the psyche and personal backstory of whatever unlucky sap happens to be with me. In this case, I had plenty to work with: “What makes your sister a whore?” “Why don’t you visit your son more often?” “Why don’t you talk to your dad?”
Poor JJ went along with it (“Well, ever since I ran his patrol car into a ditch…”), but mostly as a diversionary tactic to distract me from his own sly probing — into my pants!! I had on those cheesy stripper chaps I always wear to biker rallies, and before I knew it his callused palm had wormed its way onto the bare part of my inner thigh: “I kin feel yer puss!”
“I said yer pulse!”
His oddly endearing leering continued, even after I shifted my position so that he had to remove his hand, which he now measured up against mine — which was, of course, much daintier. “Is all of ya that little???!”
“Yeah…especially my tits. This is alllllll padding.” I poked my triple-padded bra for effect…but what I really should have said was, “All of me except for my pussy! That’s shit’s baggy as fuck!!!” I really enjoyed cockblocking this poor motherfucker, especially when I asked to see a picture of his son and he had to scroll through about 500 ultrasound photos of different babies to find it on his phone. Come to find out, the disingenuous rascal actually had eight kids by two different women…non-sequentially!!!!! And he was only 29!!!
Oy, vey. I certainly didn’t travel 500 miles to be groped by leather-clad Neanderthals (well OK, I did, but only if they were putting money in my ass crack), and I wasn’t making any money sitting there with Chester the Molester. At least Blondie was able to broker a deal with the manager of the bar whereby we got free unlimited Bahama Mamas in exchange for a few of the shitty, dried-out old cigars she was trying to hawk…so at least I got a nice sugary buzz on for free. And then it turned out to be bar trivia night — with the grand prize being a $40 dinner voucher!
“If I’m not making any money tonight, at least we have to win bar trivia!” I insisted, strong-arming the rest of my posse into joining me, ill-advisedly letting JJ pick our team name — Your Mama (um…which one?). This wholesome cruise-director-type Mormon kid named Forrest was running the trivia night, and he eyed the four of us skeptically: two idiot ho-bags with their asses hanging out and two leather-bound troglodytes halfway up their birth canals — let’s just say we weren’t likely to be mistaken for the Cal Tech physics department.
But you know what they say — you can’t judge a biker by his colors! JJ, it must be admitted, mostly sat there drinking beer and plotting new ways to grope me, but Justin turned out to be a real fount of useless information — and, come to find out, a genuinely cool, super smart, well-spoken guy! Once his hangover wore off and he was able to utter polysyllabic words, I came to really like him, and saw him in a totally new light. D’oh!!! I can be a real Judgey Jane sometimes. Even Blondie came through on a couple of the questions — it was a real team effort.
And guess what? Team Your Mama emerged victorious, beating the towering intellects of a roomful of drunken Reno tourists (there I go again) and walking away with a big, fat $40 gift certificate which we promptly took to the coffee shop for a celebratory feast. All in all, what started as a miserably awkward night turned out to be a lot of good, clean(ish) fun — pub quiz with bikers! Who knew?!
Anyhoo, the next day was Friday — time to get our hustle on. This rally might not be all we expected, but we were hell-bent and determined to squeeze every dollar we could out of the few assholes that were there!!! The weather had cleared up, and for a minute I thought things were really going to turn around — I ran five miles along the picturesque Truckee River trail in the morning, and just like last summer I was taken aback with how nice Reno is. It gets a bum rap, but I’m here to tell you that it’s a pretty cool city. There were all kinds of hipsters out and about on the trail, walking dogs and riding bikes, playing with pitbull rescues and practicing slack rope on the grass; it was a pretty cool scene. So after showering and suiting up in our chaps and whatnot, Blondie and I took our newfound optimism down to Virginia Street, to finally start raking it in.
Alas…..the best-laid plans of underdressed idiots are often fucked up, in this case by the management of the Street Vibrations rally; last time we had somehow been allowed to fly under the radar and “give away” cigars and stuff for “donations” (i.e. basically sell them without a permit or license) off this tray Blondie carried around with her…but this time, management put the kibosh on our operation right away. Oh, well — we still had our chaps, riding crops and asscracks; we’d just work the whips-for-tips angle.
But it was sloooooow going, let me tell you. Attendance was poor, the crowd was cheap, and we really had to degrade ourselves just to make a few bucks — it was straight-up pathetic. I was really questioning my life decisions, ya know? I mean, it’s one thing when generous bikers are stuffing 20s in your ass….but another when you’re having to wheedle dollars from dumbasses.
We soldiered on through the afternoon, but it got so bad that we ended up taking an extended break at the Circus Circus sports book, where we befriended an alcoholic street hustler named New York who had a bunch of drink vouchers he was more than happy to share with us. But wait, there’s more! As we sat there drowning our misery, this old perv we’d chatted with earlier came up and sat down beside us: “So…how much does company go for in Reno these days??”
OMFG, he seriously thought we were prostitutes — and to be fair, I really can’t
blame him, dressed as we were. We set him straight and sat there chatting with him for quite a while — he was a nice, older professional-type from Sugarland, Texas who had been on a cross-country motorcycle ride with his buddy, until his buddy ate it on a highway near Bakersfield and ended up in the ICU with a busted spleen. The guy left him there and continued on the ride anyway, and despite being allegedly shaken to the core by the accident, had apparently recovered enough to hit on two prostitutes at the Circus Circus sports book less than 24 hours later. Men!!
Then it turned out he was also an amateur photographer and fellow Model Mayhem member! Ever hopeful of salvaging this miserable trip and making a few bucks, we told him that though he couldn’t hire us for sex, we were models and he could hire us for a photo shoot! His response slayed me: “Oh, I don’t think my wife would like that!” But…she’d be okay with you hiring prostitutes?!?!
After that little encounter we decided we’d better pack it in and hit the sack early, since tomorrow was Saturday — the main day of the rally and our last chance to stack any real cheese. We planned to get up early, put on saloon girl costumes and head up to Virginia City, this old-timey little tourist town in the hills where all the bikers go on Saturday afternoon. We figured we’d sell a bunch of cigars up there (since they wouldn’t let us do it in Reno), then come back down to Virginia Street in our chaps in the evening. We were hell bent and determined to make money — but at this point I needed to make around $600 to break even, so I wasn’t too optimistic.
To make matters worse, of course Saturday started with a visit from my Aunt Flo, and I felt and looked like nothing so much as a big, fat Zeppelin in a corset, fishnets and garter belt — not exactly the look I was going for, but there was nothing to do but sack the fuck up, shove in a tampon and get to work.
We drove up to Virginia City and finished getting dressed in the parking lot of some old-time church, the bells tolling ominously in the background as we laced our boots and adjusted our stockings, mocking us as we minced our way up a cobblestoned hill to the main drag. We stumbled along the old-timey wooden plank sidewalk, posing for a few photos here and there but mostly being glared at by an astonishing profusion of non-biker retiree couples and families, until finally Death came tapping on our shoulder again — this time in the form of the Sheriff of Storey County, who kindly but firmly told us we had to leave.
That’s right — we were literally run out of town by the Sheriff, LOL. As miserable as it was, I had to laugh; I mean, what the fuck next on this trainwreck of a trip?! The Sheriff was actually pretty nice about running us off, and in fact blushed profusely while doing so, but he wouldn’t even let us stash the cigar tray in the truck and just pose for photos — which I’m pretty sure is a violation of First Amendment rights, but I didn’t know enough about busking law to really argue with him about it. I mean, I’m pretty sure the sidewalks of Virginia City are public property…but then they are those old-time board sidewalks, so maybe that doesn’t count…and also, they do have their own costumed characters walking around in old-time dress posing for photos for free, so I guess we were making them look bad. In any event, Sheriff Guthrie wouldn’t even let me take a photo of him running us out of town 🙁 What an unmitigated fucking disaster this trip was turning out to be.
So we slunk out of town with our fishnets and feather boas tucked between our legs, and drove back down the mountain in the rain, figuring we might as well try our saloon-girl shtick down on Virginia Street, since we were all tarted up anyway. But it just wasn’t the same without those asscrack tip jars, and we didn’t make much.
But we did have some fun — first we met this really cool paralyzed biker who had a built a specially customized sidecar on his bike that served as a platform for his wheelchair by day, and turned into a stripper pole by night — so we had some fun posing for photos with that. Then we ran into good ol’ Justin and JJ again. Poor JJ was bent over doing something to a bike, and since I had just found out
about him having eight kids by two women, I ran up and started whaling on his ass with my riding crop, berating him semi-jokingly for being a deadbeat dad. But unbeknownst to me, his own estranged dad had actually come down to see him, and was standing nearby…so I probably totally fucked up their fragile reconciliation process. And even worse, his dad happened to be Sheriff of a neighboring county — and probably could have put in a word with Sheriff Guthrie up in Virginia City, if it hadn’t been for me and my big mouth. D’OH!! Lesson learned: sometimes it’s best to let deadbeats be deadbeats!
Speaking of JJ, I thought of him again later that evening, when Blondie and I were standing in one of the casinos taking shelter from the rain and trying to count our money…and she noticed blood all over my inner thighs, right where my chaps cut away to reveal the skin. I guess my period was so heavy it had soaked my tampon string like a paintbrush, and I was making impressionist art without even knowing it…all while standing obliviously in the middle of a crowded casino where everyone could witness the sorry-ass pathetic mess of my life!!!! I swear, every time I thought this trip couldn’t get any worse…it upped the ante.
I had no choice but to have a sense of humor about it, though — and thought that if only my Aunt Flo had shown up a couple days earlier, when JJ was groping me down there, he would have been in for a real treat!!!! But then again, this is a man who says he likes having his dick bit (?!?)…so who the hell knows; it may have just fired him up even more, and JJ Jr. IX would be nestled in my womb as we speak.
Anyhoo, after that little debacle I was finally ready to throw in the towel…but we made one more round inside the El Dorado casino, where we ran into our alcoholic street pal New York, and one of his video poker buddies ended up buying up all the Night Bullet Blondie had on her tray (they said she couldn’t sell stuff at the rally, so she decided to try her luck inside the casinos, instead). See, the idea was to sell cigars to the bikers, but alas I’d been sick during last month’s tobacco convention in Vegas, and hadn’t been able to go collect free samples…so our inventory was low, and we didn’t have many actual cigars on the tray; it was mostly piled up with other crap like Swisher Sweets, Advil samples, keychains, promotional koozies and the aforementioned Night Bullet — a sort of over-the-counter, poor man’s Viagra sold in convenience stores in little yellow packets featuring a photo of a woman moaning in ecstasy under the legend “Don’t pull it…without NIGHT BULLET.” LOL!! All weekend long no one had wanted to buy the stuff, as bikers are hyper-masculine and they all claimed not to need it….but this guy at the El Dorado knew a deal when he saw it, and took all our stock for $20. Score!
Out of desperation, Blondie devised a new tactic: let guys pick any four items from the tray, plus get a spanking from me, all for a $20 donation…and at first it looked like it might actually work, until the manager of the El Dorado came over and kicked us out: “You girls better take your show somewhere else!” D’oh, busted again — at this rate, I’d be kicked out of every place in northern Nevada!!!
Actually, being reduced to hustling like this was super embarrassing for me; I’m mostly a law-abiding person, and I felt really weird and shitty pissing people off and flaunting their regulations, especially as I had turned down an honest paycheck to do it. And the fact that we had to wheedle, cajole and make up dumb stories (“Our boss is really mean, and he says we have to sell everything on this tray before we can go home”) to make a buck just really didn’t sit well with me. Hmm, I guess I have more dignity than I thought…buried in there somewhere under the cheap fake leather and bloodstains.
After being kicked out of the El Dorado, that was it — we were officially done. We took the tray of crap across the street to this little biker bar, Shooters, where the owner was actually OK with us hanging out working our shtick, and decided to just fuck it all and have a good time on our last night in Reno. We did have to get up super early the next morning, to drive back to Vegas in time for this photo shoot I had booked at 5:45pm…but, what the hell, you only live once. Might as well have some fun on this trip!!
At Shooters, we made a couple rounds before handing off our tray to this one drunken old biker who said he would go around and sell stuff for us, no problem. I gave him my hat and riding crop, and the boozy motherfucker actually went around hawking koozies and keychains!! So with our work thus subcontracted out, we were able to just relax and party, knocking back a few drinks with this adorable group of hipster bikers from Oakland who Blondie remembered from the fall rally.
OMG, these guys were so cute! After a weekend of dealing with nothing but grizzled, beer-sodden hard-assed pervs, it was fun to keep company with someone closer to my own aesthetic for a change; plus, they were cool as fuck. I guess “hipsters” isn’t the right word for them, but one of them was rocking a man-bun and a lumberjack shirt, and
another guy had long, curly Christlike locks and had been to the same John Prine concert I attended in Vegas last December. Whatever they were, they were very nice and fun to hang out with, and we stayed out way too late partying with them at the bar. I kept saying I had to go get my beauty sleep for my photo shoot the next day, and the one guy kept saying, “You’ll never remember the nights you got plenty of sleep — but you’ll always remember the nights you stayed out and partied!” NOT the thing to say to someone with FOMO (that’s Fear Of Missing Out, an actual clinical diagnosis of the digital age from which I suffer mightily).
But finally, around 2am, we bid them adieu and stumbled back to our hotel room. As a parting gift, we gave the hipster bikers those Chick tracts the Evangelical miner in Goldfield had given us, telling them to read ‘em around the campfire the next night, on their way back to Oakland, just like my sister and I had done in February — and they could then throw them into the fire, as we had done. I’m here to tell you that nothing gets a campfire crackling like some Chick tracts!
So, the next morning we dragged our asses out of bed, in a world of hurt, and lugged our bags of cigars, koozies, feathers and leathers out to the truck for the long drive back to Vegas. I’d counted my money, and that interminable, exhausting weekend had only netted me around $350 in sweaty, stinky $1s and $5s, which I had rolled up and stuffed into a sanitary napkin disposal bag in my purse. WHAT A BUST!!!! Still, as we headed south through the lonely, barren desert, we had plenty of time to talk about everything we’d been through…and we ended up laughing our asses off. It wasn’t a profitable trip…but I guess, in a really weird, fucked-up way, it was kinda fun.
Anyway, I made it back to Vegas just in time to fix my hair and makeup before hauling ass to the photo shoot, after which I came home exhausted, just wanting to sleep for around 70 hours or until I figured out what I want to do with my life, whichever came first. Unfortunately, however, another friend from LA was on her way over to stay with me the next few days while we worked the mascot expo, which was to consume the next three days of my life…plus I had three more photo shoots and a video shoot, all in that same week, so I never did get the chance to catch up on my sleep 🙁 And now I’m in Nashville, visiting my good friend J.R., with whom I went out honky-tonkin’ downtown last night until 5am…so it looks like I’ll never get any rest.
Someone, please save me from myself!!!