Our friend and Long-Distance Rider luminary Ken Morton (aka "Dread Pirate Kermit") passed away during a rally in the summer of 2011. It is customary to place a stone in the Ironbutt Association's circle of honor off Guru Lane, just north of Gerlach, NV. Since Ken was also a member of the WetLeather crowd, and since our 20th annual campout was being held at Eagle Lake, CA in August, we asked for the honor of placing his stone in the circle.
Five of us rode a mostly gravel/dirt route called variously "Smokey Creek Rd" or "Smoke Creek Rd" (part, I believe of the historic Immigrant Trail) that took us mostly due east towards Gerlach. I (H Marc Lewis) was on an F800GS, Eric Vaillancourt was on a new Yamaha Super Tenere, Dennis York and Mark Alpen were on DL1000s, and "JC" Coulter was on a KTM Supermoto with street tires. Molly and Steve (our Corporate Counsel) drove a borrowed Land Rover and carried some of Ken's ashes.
This grove of cottonwoods is just about on the CA/NV border, and with some water in the creek below (Smokey creek?) we imagined this would have been a favored camping spot for pioneers heading West in the 1800's.
Lunch at Bruno's, per tradition. We all had Gin'n'Tonics in Ken's honor. We agreed Ken would order "well" gin, so we did too. Scott Elam and Scott Benson joined us via a ride up the paved road (Hwy 447 from Fernley, NV).
Eric prepares the spot for Ken's stone. You can see Dick Fish's stone bottom center (the sand-colored one). The memorial is neat and spotless due to Eric's continual efforts — it's easily the nicest and most cared for part of Guru Lane.
Molly deposits some of Ken and his Aerostich (they were cremated together, appropriately) under his stone. We left some on the picnic table for the wind to spread over the Black Rock desert.
Scott Elam pays his final respects...
A final "ADVrider" style salute. We trust Ken is laughing about that...
Copyright © 2011, by H. Marc Lewis.
All rights reserved.
Permission granted to anyone who knew Ken to freely use any of these photos for non-commerical purposes.