Tahoe couple enjoys Street Vibrations
Greg and Marla Robertson may be gearing up for Street Vibrations in Reno this weekend, but it’s Sturgis that got them hooked on the biker lifestyle and each other.
The South Lake Tahoe couple, who have been married for nine years, got engaged at the South Dakota town — known as the granddaddy of biker party places. They met working at the Horizon Casino Resort.
A tattoo on Greg’s arm indicates the years he’s attended the massive event that attracts hundreds of thousands of riders every summer.
The first year the Robertsons went to Sturgis while they dated, he cautioned her that she may see some wildlife — and he wasn’t talking about the fictional “jackalope” posted on their refrigerator.
“It was a little intimidating,” she said of her first Sturgis visit.
Now with the friends, the toy runs and the wind in her face that goes along with the motorcycle-riding lifestyle, there’s no turning back for Marla.
The only scary thing may be the prospect of dropping the thousands of dollars it takes to buy the expensive bikes.
“He always wants a new bike when he goes (to Sturgis),” she said outside their Tahoe Vista home.
For his mainstay 1340cc Harley Heritage, the Robertsons invested in a sidecar — complete with an air shock — to give their son Kyle that bug’s-eye view on the road. He started riding four years ago at age 1.
Marla said she wouldn’t be surprised if Kyle — who’s known around town by the namesake license plate on the sidecar — approached his parents wanting to get his own bike when he grows up.
The stereotypes about bikers may have diminished a bit through the years, but sometimes a negativity still exists toward the hard-edge appearance, Marla insisted.
“Everyone points and smiles when they see (Kyle) around town. But every once in a while, you’ll get the person who thinks, ‘Oh my God, what are they doing to that child?'” she said.
As friendly as Tahoe is, there are times when the couple has felt more welcome and embraced away from home. The offhanded comments about bikers during the changing of the guard at the Cutthroat Saloon in Markleeville was a bit disheartening to Marla. She added that many bikers plan on descending on the new place when it opens — the bar on Saturday at 6 p.m. and the restaurant next week.
He’s logged more than 125,000 miles on his hog, covering the western United States, althoughthe Robertsons admit their biker adventures have lessened and shortened, with Greg declaring he’s a father first.
The two people have many stories to tell on the open road, as members of the “Too Much Fun Club.” The informal group started in Sturgis 20 years ago.
Riding has its setbacks.
Greg, a veteran biker, was forced to learn to ride again after surviving a life-threatening wreck 26 years ago in the Bay Area. He lay in a coma for five days and was hospitalized for four months.
The adventure has eased but hasn’t ceased with family life.
The Robertsons also recalled running out of gasoline on the salt flats in Utah.
“I told him to start pushing,” she said.
They eventually encountered a couple in their 60s who siphoned fuel out of their vehicle’s tank for the bike, followed the riders 45 miles to the next filling station in the sizzling heat and even bought the riders lunch.
“It’s surprising how giving Middle America is. For every negative, there are 10 positives,” she said.
The Street Vibrations Motorcycle Festival is billed as a music, metal and motorcycle event that offers tours, entertainment, parades and ride-in shows. The route that closes off the streets of Reno meanders through the West and North Shores.
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