On February 24, locals and bikers found themselves celebrating at the Almond Festival. The Capay Valley Almond Festival began in 1915 and has been a tradition ever since. It runs along Highway 16 and is spread through the five towns of Esparto, Capay, Brooks, Guinda and Rumsey. On this Sunday the trees were all in bloom and everyone was glad to see the start of better weather. It was a good day for a ride, even if the wind was blasting our bikes all over the road. At least it was not raining and the chill was tolerable. Our first stop was in Esparto at Rose’s Island, a local bar of some renown. Eddie Loebs and the Cross-Winds Revival band had us tapping our feet to some really good sounds in the parking lot. When I got a chance to talk to Eddie, he said the band was started back in ’91 and loves to do classic rock and rhythm and blues. This is my kind of band. To learn more about them, call the man in charge, Marty, at 530.681.0851. But, back to the Almond Festival. I was on the watch for Jani Albers and Elvira Nevarez from Woodland. I just wanted to say hello to a couple of old friends, but I didn’t see them, so we left Esparto and rode a couple of miles over to Capay to say hello to our favorite bartender, Sam, and to get an excellent burger at the Road Trip Bar and Grill. Put this event on your calendar for next year. Information can be found at www.espartoregionalchamber.com/almondfestival.aspx… Happy birthday to all Harley riders who celebrate in April. Happy birthday to IHR members Chuck Brassfield in San Jose and Tim Young in Santa Cruz. Happy birthday to Iron Steed H.O.G. members Craig Reynolds and Bob Dubois, to Debbie McGinnis of ABATE #17, to Dan DeLeuw in Santa Cruz, Steve Roi in San Jose, Leoni Watts in San Jose, Jani Albers in Woodland, Laury Chimerofsky in Modesto H.O.G. and to Enoch “Nick” Holland in Salem, Oregon. Happy birthday to celebrity riders Jay Leno, Ann-Margret and Jesse James… Congratulations to Jack Piper, Iron Steed H.O.G. Chapter in Vacaville. Jack has a brand-new baby granddaughter to love… Let’s all take a moment to say goodbye to the well-known North County Riders MC patch. Founder and President Sandy Rapolla says it has been over 20 years, and it is just time. In fact, Sandy has already notified Vallejo. We will still see Sandy and other members around, but they will not be wearing a NCRMC patch… This weekend was the 25th annual Freeze Your Ass Off Run for ABATE #17 in Napa and Solano Counties, and the turnout was excellent. Over 250 bikers signed in at Miss Darla’s Bar in Vacaville to start the day’s activities with a hearty breakfast. Miss Darla served a free breakfast of all-you-can-eat biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, sausage and hash browns. (I certainly ate my share.) After visiting around and catching up with friends, we rode just a few miles over to the Buckhorn Bar and Grill in Dixon. This is one of my favorite watering holes, and it has the motto of “Never a cover, always a party, and everyone is always welcome.” We did some visiting, drew our next poker card and moved on to Plainfield Station near Woodland. Plainfield Station was a gas station built in 1934, but is now a roadhouse. After the gas pumps were taken out a sign went up that read “For Harley-Davidsons Only,” but there is plenty of additional parking on the side. The route from Plainfield Station took us to Highway 16 and over to Capay to the ever-popular Road Trip Bar and Grill. This was definitely a good place to catch up with old friends and hang for a while. We loaded up once more and made our way to Winters for the Freeze Your Ass Off festivities. Can anyone tell me what happened to Lupita? Lupita Velasquez was a member of ABATE #17 when she moved to Corpus Christi, Texas, and started the Latin Ladies MC. She always returns to California for the Freeze Your Ass Off Run, but I didn’t see her this year… There is another new patch in Napa/Solano Counties. I met Dennis Casey, the founder and road captain, and Roy Bolyarde, the president. Their club is the Altered Attitude MC. It is a clean and sober club with members from Napa and Vallejo. For information, you may call Dennis at 707.694.6284 or Roy at 707.337.4786… What a surprise! A fellow ex-Santa Cruz H.O.G. member whom I have not seen in over 10 years came this way and paid a visit. Gary Cook bought me breakfast and we had a good visit. Before he left, Gary asked me to let you know that the West Coast Hawgs for Dogs will be putting on a Mother’s Day pancake breakfast on Sunday, May 12. It will be held at Pizza Italia, 34765 Ardenwood Boulevard in Fremont. For more information call 510.489.7685. This is a very good cause. All proceeds benefit Guide Dogs of America and are tax deductible.