My buddy Jim is a fellow Easy Rider freak, and sent me this picture today. Cool pictures of before and after…
A screenshot from Easy Rider. On old Route 66, from 1969. A shot in the arm, thanks brother!
My buddy Jim is a fellow Easy Rider freak, and sent me this picture today. Cool pictures of before and after…
A screenshot from Easy Rider. On old Route 66, from 1969. A shot in the arm, thanks brother!
Read this on the news today.
I’ll be honest, I haven’t seen many films other than Easy Rider and Five Easy Pieces. She was embarrassed about her Easy Rider role for a lot of years, but she played a helluva part in the movie. She was diagnosed with Cancer in 2010. Rest in Peace.
They both went to Monument Valley, and raced out of L.A.
This song is bitchen…
Left the office fairly pissed off today. Getting pissed and out of control has never really suited me. I can get over bullshit fast. Came home, and felt a little Metallica was in order. Nobody chased me down with a biplane today. See? I already feel better! Thanks, Metallica.
I got the bike back friday. It was the crank position sensor, like they thought. Good to have the old gal back. I cleared out enough moving boxes, to get her a special carpeted place in the garage.
Next Friday, we ride. Idaho. Its my wifes family get-together. I sold a spot in the car for camping equipment, with me riding up on the bike. I dig my inlaws, I couldn’t have asked for better. I will however, milk that ride for all its worth. There’s some caves, the saloon in Utah, a cool old lake, and whatever else I can find along the way. Twist a throttle and drink in the scenery. I’m in.
I get my patch back tomorrow. Central Utah. Where it started.
I woke up and felt like George Hanson in a jail cell. When I looked in the mirror, I saw Keith Richards was staring at me. It’d been a long trip. Burbon Street is an interesting place.
I was to meet Graham in the lobby, but I was 10 minutes late. The plan was to go over to St. Louis Cemetery and see some scenes from the movie. Graham must have seen Keith Richards in the mirror too, he didn’t show so I figured i’d spy it out myself. I’m always up for coming back.
They filmed the acid trip scenes here. In fact, this was the first parts of the movie that they filmed, in 16mm film, instead of 35mm. If you watch the movie, you can tell the quality isn’t as good. They came down with 30 grand, no plan and Dennis Hoppers ego and the movie nearly ended before it began.
They even missed Mardi Gras by a month. If you notice in the movie, you don’t see the main Actors in the parade. They rounded up as many people as they could, and tried to re-create it.
Peter Fonda’s mother committed suicide when he was 10 years old. He didn’t know the full story or the reasons why for years. Dennis had convinced Peter to get up on that statue and talk to his mother in this scene. He didn’t want to do it. It was just way too personal, and and to this day he is both embarrassed and proud of that scene in Easy Rider. He laid it right out there.
When you watch the movie again, you can hear Peter say “shut up! Shut up!”. Dennis was a madman on the set back in those days, they’d just started filming and he’d started an argument while Peter was up there, laying his guts out on camera. He was trying to get through this, and he intermittently kept telling Dennis to shut the hell up. Tells you a lot about Peter Fonda, and his commitment to this film.
When they finished making the movie, they worked on getting a soundtrack for it. In Krotz springs, I told the story about how they’d gotten Bob Dylan to do a song for the film, and his reluctance to do it. Peter told Bob about the filming of this scene, and his own reluctance to say what he’d said. That point, was what finally convinced Bob Dylan to put a song on this film, after a few hours of debate. He scribbled down the words to “the Ballad of Easy Rider” on a piece of paper, and gave it to Peter. He told them to have Roger McGuinn of the Byrds put music to it. It was the final song of the movie. That was in 1969.
The Easy Rider graveyard/Acid trip isn’t my favorite part of this film, but I can appreciate the significance of it. It holds a lot of weight to the movie, and it’s a big part of what makes it such a classic period piece of film. It happened.
I didn’t want to get another cab. It was early, and figured I’d walk the few miles back to the hotel. I was in Nawlins, and I wanted to get a better feel for the city.
Hey, on a lighter note: This was Peter Fonda’s Escort in the movie of Easy Rider: Toni Basil. She was Hawt.
Toni Basil in 1981. Still fine, and holding it together. You know you like this song. I’m not gonna lie, I do.
I walked back to the Hotel.
We were to meet at 3 so we could ride the bikes into EagleRider and turn em in. I got some lunch, took a nap, and took in more of the day. We all met in the parking garage of the Hampton Inn French Quarter, told some stories from the night before, and rolled out in the rain for the final time. It was cool, but knowing it was over pretty much sucked.
We took a trolley car back to the Hotel, after we’d turned the bikes in. Brandon had headed out that morning with Captain America in tow, on to another tour. Steve originally had had to leave us, but in the end he was able to stay and turned us onto a good restaurant in the french quarter. After a couple of hours, we walked down the french quarter, to the Court of Two Sisters. This was a really nice place.
Tim made a pretty damn funny comment about the Blues Brothers.
I stared across the table at the people I’d ridden with for the last two weeks. I really liked these people. I’ll be honest, I’m a prick. I don’t like many. But Ana, Steve, John, Peter, Linda, Pete, Graham, Phil, Helio, Howard, June, Martine, Big D, Timmy, Bruno, Shawn, Bob, Brandon. You all made this ride fun. It was nice to share what I knew, and even better to learn what you knew.
We paid the bill, worked our way out, and said our goodbyes.
We all went our separate ways. Tim and I walked Bourbon Street, had a few beers and shot the bull. We rounded back to the bar near the hotel and talked a bit. Pete & Linda, and Paul and Martine showed up for a few.
Then it was over. I went back to the Hotel. I’d fly out in the morning.
I want to ride with these people again.
We woke up, had a little of that continental breakfast and got ready to head out. Today was different, and I’ll be honest it had a bit of weight to it for me. It’d be our last day riding.
Tonight, we’d be in New Orleans. The 2 places on the Easy Rider Route that I’d never seen we’d see today, but I’ve gone over them a million times in my head. I was excited to see those places, but I knew I was going to miss these people I’d spent the last 2 weeks riding with. I felt pretty determined to enjoy the day, like I’d enjoyed the last 12. I did.
We loaded up, and headed out.
Louisiana has a completely different feel than Texas. After 3 days in the Lone Star State, I was still getting a bit adjusted mentally to this place. I really liked Texas. I wanted to like Louisiana. This is the deep south, a little Lynard Skynard was in order for this adjustment I felt. Maybe a little more southernish rock would do the trick. It certainly didn’t hurt.
The road ahead was funny. We got into a funeral procession. Cars were randomly pulled off to the side of the road, and the speeds were erratic. When you take up 1/4 mile of road, you don’t always know whats going on head. Some old boy in a 1979 Toyota Courrier veered into our lane when we tried to pass. I wasn’t sure if it was because we were tourists, or because Paul and Martine had a yankee flag on their bike. It was time to get my shit together. I’m not one to let my imagination get away with me.
About an hour later, we pulled into Eunice Louisiana and got fuel.
We fueled up and watered up. The weather for the first time this trip was fairly ominous. It was looking like rain, but 60 miles in we still hadn’t hit it. Maybe we’d luck out. At this point, I didn’t really care. The weather this whole trip had been perfect. If it rained, it rained. There were things to see, and places to go.
I still couldn’t quite shake this “last day” thing. Krotz Springs (the final shots of the movie) were in 40 miles. I’d maybe tell the last of what I knew about Easy rider there. Graham and I both talked about it when were getting gas.
Big D was dying for another turn at riding Captain America. He spent the next 40 miles into Krotz Springs, being as obnoxiously happy riding as anyone I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t help but openly smile about it. He revved it up at intersections, cracked it wide open and was just thrilled to be there. It was pretty awesome. John had his helmet cam on and tried to catch him on the long runs. Big D was pulling away at 100 mph. Big D is awesome.
We hit Krotz springs. Missed the turnoff, and that was cool. I wanted to cross that bridge anyway. We looped back, and up the couple of miles, north of Krotz Springs. This is where Easy Rider ended.
We were there. In that exact place. It hasn’t changed much since 1969.
There are a lot of ghosts here. I tried to explain a few of them:
I remember Graham in death Valley, 2 weeks earlier. Seeing Captain America round those hills and corners with us in tow, and feeling a sense of pride that we were doing the inaugural tour. I gotta think that Captain America hadn’t been here, on the full ride since 1969. I knew this day was coming. It was in Death Valley that I figured I wanted to ride Captain America out of Krotz Springs. The movie ended here, but the tour wasn’t ending for us. I just wanted to ride that bike out, where Captain America Didn’t. I got that chance.
We doubled back through Krotz Springs, along the levee road that contained the Atchafalaya river. The road became a gravel road, and we slowed right down. The captain America bike has a helluva long rake. I had a few times where the front wheel kept one track, and the back tire kept another. A little squirrely, for a bike I’d spent all of 10 minutes on. At one point I was going to be the guy that took her down, but she held steady. Steve was nervous for taking us on this road. I was just happy to be there to be honest. I knew noone was going to take this bike on this road again for EagleRider, so it was all good.
After about 3 or 4 miles, We finally hit some pavement.
It started raining with the sun out. The captain doesn’t have front fender, and without it, all that water goes right up into your face. Like, right into your glasses. I could barely care. I was on the Captain on a Louisiana backroad. Try and wipe that smile off my face….What else would I rather be doing?
We rolled into St Martinville, and ate at a cool little restaurant in an old house. I had frog legs and Alligator, for the first time. We talked and Laughed. This was to be a good day.
I must have coasted the Captain in on fumes. She wouldn’t start. Brandon had my back. He put a gallon of gas into her, and we headed out. The rain had stopped by now.
A little AC/DC fueled the way.
There was a dinner for us in New Orleans, and we had a deadline.
My only regret of the entire trip is that we didn’t get to explore Franklin more. I had things to show there, but we were rushed to get to the hotel for the farewell dinner. I wanted to see more of it, and my thought was I’d ride back to it the next day and take some pictures. I never did that.
John rode the Captain out of Franklin. He got some great footage of it.
What it looked like in 1969. This footage was from Coyote New Mexico, to Franklin Louisiana.
107 miles to New Orleans. Took in the scenery, twisted the throttle and tried to take in as much as I could. Listened to a little Zeppelin along the way. It hit the spot.
Dr Phil was on the captain, it rained a little, then stopped. We rounded into our Hotel at New Orleans.
We’d seen a lot this day. It was almost 7 PM, and we had a half an hour to get cleaned up, and be in the lobby for the limo to go and eat. We all rallied, and made it on time.
I had a blast. The band even sang me happy Birthday, along with everyone else. Some Cajun music and food, then we retired to the back of the restaurant where it was a little more quiet. Is this the way to Amarillo?
The last day of Riding on the Easy Rider Inaugural Tour. Best 2 weeks ever. Big D got MVP (well deserved), and we all got patches.
We left Mulates, and walked down to Burbon Street. Graham and I had some fun, and saw the sights.
I couldn’t believe it was almost over.
Day 12 – Easy Rider Movie Locations Tour – 299 Miles
View Larger Map
I was up by 6 AM, and pretty much ready to go. It had been donning on me all day yesterday that we only had 3 days more of riding to go. That was pretty real to me. I packed up my suitcase, and headed down to the parking garage. My bike was ready earlier than usual on this time. I had the feeling this was coming to an end rapidly, and I didn’t want to miss get all of this in, as much as I could. I walked around the Austin a bit to try to get a better feel for Austin.
After a few, we were ready to ride. In the parking garage, Steve announced that yesterday was my birthday. I’m not sure, but I think it was Brandon who sold me out. I got sang the happy birthday song, and I’m pretty sure I turned beet red. Embarrassing, but pretty cool. I very much appreciated the thought. Little did I know….
Another Texas town down in the Books. Austin was a cool place, and seemed to be a lot of people’s favorite Texas place so far.
Then we hit the road. We were well out of the Texas panhandle, and deep in the heart. Small towns and good roads. We rolled Texas for over an hour, taking in what we could see. The riding was easy, and the road was solid. About 90 miles in, we took a break, in Brenham Texas.
This is where Steve’s penchant for circling the block was confirmed. At first, I thought it was because he was showing us old town America. No, Steve needs pastry. Hell, any pastry. He’s like a blood hound for that stuff, and can sniff out the good spots. He was 2 for 2 at this point. Thats pretty good. I’m pretty sure we rounded the town square twice till he zoned in.
Texas kind of mixes together when you travel it. I’m not sure if this happened the day before, or today. Even so, its a funny memory for me:
I was enjoying this bike. The stereo felt louder than bikes I’d had in the past. It took me awhile to realize that my bike back home is a whole helluva lot louder, thus the sound difference. In the open road, I turned it as loud as it would go. At intersections, I’d turn it down. I’m not that guy who thinks you need to hear my songs at the expense of yours. I was near the back. Phil and Tim were behind me. I had me some Bohemian Rhapsody on the stereo, full blast, and it was rocking the hell out of me.
When you’re tail end Charlie, you don’t have to glance back a whole lot. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw Phil and Tim with their arms in the air, singing Galileo! Galileo! It was Perfect. Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me, and Phil and Tim. Good Moment.
More Texas. I wish I had more pictures of it. Guess I need to go back.
I will say this: Every Texas town we went through in Texas, you get a whiff or two of Barbecue somewhere. Not that smell from grilling, or charcoal briquets to make a 20 minute steak; but real BBQ. Low and slow. Outside of Brenham, I saw a 40 foot smoker on the back of a semi trailer. I BBQ a lot. Briskets, Ribs, Pulled Pork, Chickens and a turkey every thanksgiving. I really wanted to try some good BBQ in this part of the country.
We pulled into Tromball Texas. Steve and Brando had obviously been searching for a good restaurant, and they found a good one. The sign outside on the marquis said “voted best bbq in Houston”. I was geeked to see what they had to offer.
The Original Rib Tickler. I had the ribs and Brisket. Sauce on the side, but they didn’t need it. 5 stars.
You can tell good BBQ a few ways. First, if the ribs make a bite mark. Too long on the smoker, and they fall off the bone. Too little, they have a pull off the bone. These were dead on perfect. Its a matter of minutes between the two, and its hard to do. Especially in a restaurant.
We still had a 160 miles to go. We headed out and made that time towards Lake Charles. The scenery started changing. Less texas, and More Louisiana. In this part of the south, there is some difference it seems. At least terrain wise.
I could feel some Clash comin’ on. I listened to this as we headed East.
We crossed the border. Beautiful scene. I had no idea what Louisiana had in store for us riding wise. I was excited to find out. We still had 2 more days to go.
We headed into the Hotel, cleaned up and took a shuttle to a restaurant. I can’t quite remember the name. Our bus boy was funny, and I remember eating some Louisiana food and Belgium beating the US on the soccer game on the TV. Graham taught me the finer points of Soccer.
We went back to the room, Brando broke out some rum and had a toast to a good day. I went to bed not long afterward. Tomorrow we’d hit up some Easy Rider spots. This was a great day.
P.S. My oldest daughter Megan Graduated High School this day. Mrs Zip sent me the videos of her getting her diploma. Meg is my bud, a great kid and a great student. I was pretty proud of her.
Day 11 – Easy Rider Tour – 295 Miles
Met at the bikes, sunscreened up, swapped stories and headed out of Abilene.
I’d slept good the night before, and was ready to head out. On to Austin. We were out of the Pan Handle, and Texas got even more interesting. We hit Comanche Texas, about 80 miles away. About 10 o’ Clock it seems, our tour guide Steve starts needing a doughnut. I’d imagine if I was up front, I’d have seen the rubber necking at 9:30 ish. He found a place. We had an 80 mile Harley-Davidson ass, so the break was welcome.
My mom used to make these things that she called “pigs in a blanket”. They’re basically hot dogs, wrapped in Pillsbury something-or-other dough, and baked. I don’t eat breakfast much, so I just hung out in the parking lot until I found out they were selling these little numbers. We ate at all kinds of places on this trip. I ate at Gene Simmons restaurant in L.A. I ate gut bombs, at the local Chevron gas station. I ate real Texas BBQ on this trip. I ate at a 100 dollar a plate restaurant in the french quarter of new Orleans that opened up in the year 1830 on this trip. Those little pigs in a blanket at that little place, in Comanche Texas were right up there on the top of the list.
We saddled up, and we headed south to Lano Texas. We still had some miles to go.
Cranked up the Who, twisted the throttle and just tried to take it all in. I think I like Texas.
Steve found a cool little twisty road, on the way to Austin:
Into Marble falls. We ate at theRiver City Grill. Great view.
The road out of Marble falls was beautiful. Newly paved, and up and down, twists and turns. Made for a motorcycle. We rolled into the freeway, and headed north to Round Rock. We needed souvenirs. I needed a long sleeve shirt. 10 days of sun will kill a man.
We headed the last 20 miles into Austin, down the freeway. Stop and go traffic at quitting time. We maneuvered our way off the freeway, and into our place at the Comfort inn parking garage.
I shut my bike off, and locked her up. We only had 2 more days to ride. I turned 46 years old today. Riding all day on your birthday is exactly what i’d have asked for.
I headed up to the hotel room, and cleaned the road up off of me. Then Went down to the bar around the corner, made a few friends and watched some hockey playoffs.
Had a long talk to Missus Dunn and my kids. Great day. I was exhausted.
Today was a cool day. A riding day. Took me about 2 hours to put that map together at the bottom of this post. I’d tried to keep track of the highway numbers that day, but in the end I had to message Steve for some help. Thanks Steve!
Day 10: Easy Rider Movie Location Tour – 282 Miles
We woke up and had breakfast. Eaglerider says that the Ambassador Hotel is one of their favorite hotels, and I can see why. Very nice place. I’ll admit it, I was a tad hung over from the night before. A little wind therapy would fix that.
Peter fonda had said in 1969, the stories of hippies getting shaved with rusty razor blades in the south was all too real for them. They didn’t film anything in Texas, and the bikes never came out of the Van.
This was the first tour, and for shooting from the hip, Steve kept us off the Interstate and we road good roads. Farm fields, silos and tractors. Wide open spaces where you couldn’t see the edge of anything. This road was all new to me. All I’ve ever heard from people who ride the Texas panhandle is how brutally flat it is, so I was expecting that. Texas had a few surprises. I gotta admit, I really like this state. I could live here. Texans are proud to live in Texas.
I settled in, and rode in the back of the pack most of the time. A little space to enjoy the scenery, and take a new road in.
Led Zeppelin seemed to hit the spot today.
83 miles in, we hit Silverton Texas and took a break.
Thats one of the things I like most about riding. Pulling into a town you’ve never been, and figuring out the town. In this case, learning a thing. If we’d have had more time, I’d have liked to explore every little small town in Texas we hit up. There’s always a story somewhere, or a ghost to chase from the past.
We continued down the 207, to Post Texas and had lunch at George’s Restaurant. Very Groovy, George.
We fueled up across the street, and made miles. Through Snyder and Sweetwater, and into Abilene. We cracked a beer in the parking lot and as always, toasted to the day. I called the wife and kids, and went back to my room to do some work.
I was glad to be out riding. It was nice to see a different part of the country, and run through small towns I’d never seen.
Day 9 – Easy Rider Movie Location Tour – 298 Miles
We rolled down from Las Vegas, and hit interstate 40. This is route 66 generally, and if you glance side to side now and again you’ll see old alignments of the mother road. Route 66, from days gone by. We hit up a truck stop to hydrate, and they had a bitchen little museum inside.
Before this place, I saw some bitchin old bridges on the south of 1-40, with frontage roads leading into them. Old route 66. I always wonder what it was like, back in the day.
We rolled into Amarillo. Cadillac ranch, to be specific. We’d ridden pretty hard today, and everyone was feeling pretty light hearted and a bit silly by now. Time to have some fun. I had no idea who sweet Marie was, or what this song was up to this point. I’d come to know.
No one located on the western Hemisphere of this tour knew this song either. Brazil, New Jersey, Utah. We had no idea. And Yet it came.
I knew tonight was going to be a fun one. We rolled the 10 miles into Amarillo. Got our room keys, cleaned up and the Limo took us all to the Big Texan Steak Ranch. This place is another route 66 classic, and its been here for years.
Live music at the tables. These guys were a lot of fun. The fiddler was hooked up to oxygen, but he played that thing like he was 18 years old. We got a few requests in.
It was memorial day weekend, and I wouldn’t be able to put flowers on the old man’s grave this year, so did the next best thing and Asked if he knew any Ernest Tubb. The did, by heart. My father used to torture me with this song, and now its just music to my ears.
We ate and drank, got loud like everyone else there, and I personally had a blast.
A long but killer day. We all headed back to the hotel, and crashed for the night. Tomorrow we’d spend another day crossing Texas.
Oh, by the way…
We headed back to the Hotel bar. A Chili’s restaurant, I think and shot the bull. I remember shots of Jack and toasts to the day we just wound down.
A great time. A whole day I’ll never forget.