My father was a busy man, and I’ll always remember the time he took time out to go one on one with me and took me to yellowstone.   We shot from the hip, slept in the truck and  It’s a memory I’ll always remember.   Not because it was the best trip I’ve ever done, or even that it was yellowstone.   It’s because my old man chose me to spend his weekend with.   I’ll always remember that.   I was about 13, and it was a pretty special trip for me.

My daughter wendy has struggled a bit since she moved from her old school to her new.   She’s a fighter, and she may never know how proud I am of her, but I am.    I called her wednesday from work and asked her if she was up for a motorcycle adventure.    her answer was yes.

So friday at noon we headed out East.   My loose plan was to hit page, then either stay in Kayenta Arizona, or somewhere outside monument valley at dusk.   To be honest, Just like 35 years earlier with my dad, we were shooting from the hip.  I hadn’t booked a thing.  Thats how I like to ride, lets see what wendy thinks about that.   My gut feeling was she’d roll with the punches.

We stopped in page to get some stuff we’d forgotten and stopped at the subway to eat.   Immediately inside, a lady saw my B.A.C.A. patch and told me how much  B.A.C.A. had helped her kid in idaho.   She was nearly in tears and you could see how grateful she was.    I told her that once a B.A.C.A. Kid, always a B.A.C.A. kid and she’s got an army of bikers across the nation committed to keeping her safe.   It’s nice to be able to say that and mean it.

After page, we had to stop for an accident on the way out of town, then headed toward Kayenta Arizona.   From there, we pressed on to Kayenta arizona to stay the night.   My thinking was, that wendy is 13 years old, and I didn’t want to burn her out on long rides by pushing too hard.     I can make miles, but after all, she is young.    I had to keep reminding myself, and being on a bike for 8-10 hours at a time my be my idea of fun, but this trip was for her as well.    By the time we got to Kayenta, she was a bit cold, a bit tired and wanted to crash.   we called robyn to see if we could find a place to pitch a tent or get a room, but there were no real options.   I told wendy we’d have to push another 50 miles to Bluff Utah, where I had called ahead and knew we could stay, and her answer was “lets just do it”.   I knew then, wendy was my riding buddy.    She had a bit of her old man in her.

We hit monument valley right as the sun was going down, and it was gorgeous for the few views we had of it.   She was cold, but we dropped 1500 feet in elevation and in 50 miles, we hit Bluff Utah, pitched our tent in the dark, and went and ate ribs at the local stakehouse.

My intent on this trip was to talk, and relate to my daughter.   Reconnect.   I don’t really remember what it’s like to be 13 years old, but I know she struggles with the things that are important to a 13 year old.  Boys, school, and wondering where you fit in.   We didn’t talk too much in depth, but I knew tonight was not our night.    We went back to the tent where my daughter immediately crashed out, and I made some phone calls to my business partner, a few BACA friends and caught up on what happened at work.      What happened during the day both encouraged and discouraged me:   I knew that I was going back to work monday to face problems.    I knew this was going to effect my ride.    I was also clear on what my objective was this trip:  Ride my bike, and connect with wendy and help her out.

We woke up early that morning and I knew it was cold.   Cold that I would normally deal with, but I had my daughter with me.   We got going around 10, broke camp and got some conveneince store breakfasts in Bluff.      We had 50 miles to get to 4 corners.     I’d never been there, but 50 miles is an easy ride.

4 corners to me, was anti climactic.  First off, its not that actual 4 corners, its 3 miles off. Second, It kind of pissed me off that I had to pay 3 bucks a head to see it. It was cold and windy, and not all that cool. Yes, wendy and I can say that we’ve stood in 4 states at the same time, but then again who really cares that we can say that.

we paid our 6 bucks at 4 corners, and headed on toward gallup new mexico.     New mexico is gorgeous and I want to explore it more.    We got gas in gallup, and headed south.  I knew we’d stay the night in holbrook by this point.   We could press on to flagstaff, but the weather in Holbrook was the best and I wanted to have some discussion time with wendy.     Sunday, I knew we’d make miles and head home.   I wanted some quality time with my daughter.   It’s half the reason we made this trip.   My mindset from 4 corners to holbrook was anything but right.  I knew I was going back to work monday with a lot of problems that had to be solved, that   depended on me.    I struggled to get my mind right and into the ride.  The 90 miles from 4 corners to Gallup New Mexico had me struggling with indecision of if I was doing the right thing by riding so far from home, and what I had to get done monday.     Long rides sort that out.    Eventually, I got back into the moment and realized that anything I do with my daughter and family is much more important and worthwhile and that I needed to focus on her.     By the time we hit Gallup, I was looking forward to having some quality time with my daughter.   I was 24 hours into the ride.  I knew it had to be tonight.

We stopped at Denny’s, got our bearings and I knew we’d hit the point where the bike was going to be pointing closer to home.    I also know theres something really familiar about route 66 that I’ve always loved.   Maybe wendy would pick up on my vibe and I could share that with her.

We pulled into holbrook around 4 pm, and pitched our tent at the KOA.     I decided I was going to show wendy some route 66, and she was excited about that.   We had ice cream at a local route 66 food spot, and rode through the town.   As we headed back toward the KOA, I was thinking that maybe a campfire and a discussion would be a perfect chance to talk with Wendy and we could have a moment that would nail the reason I took her on this trip.     We bought some firewood, and sat and talked for a couple hours.     Honestly, it will be  moment I’ll always remember.   I hope she remembers it.   I babbled about her future, remembered what it’s like to be 13, and as long as it takes to burn a bundle of wood, we got that much closer.   She’s a great kid.  I’m so proud of her.   In those 2 hours, I think she got that message in a way that 25 years earlier my father maybe even didn’t get across to me.     I knew I’d nailed the moment.

The next morning, we woke up early, broke camp and headed toward home.   As the sun came up, the eagles “tequila sunrise” was in my head, and so I queued that up in the ipod and listened to the eagles as we headed toward flagstaff.     We got off at winona, headed into flag, got some hot chocolate and coffee and both talked about how good the morning ride was, even tho it wasn’t all that warm.

I find it funny how “vibes” for lack of a better term, work. I woke up in a great mood, with the right music and the first thing wendy said when we piled off the bike in flagstaff was how much she enjoyed listening to the Eagles greatest hits. It was the right vibe. I think about that alot to be honest.

From flag we dropped off the mountain, and headed the 5 hours toward home.   If wendy had her way, we’d have ridden another week.   She’s my riding buddy and long rides and big mileage isn’t too big for her.    We’ll do this again.   Hopefully for years to come.

948 Miles,   4 States, 2 1/2 Days.

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I havent been riding on the weekends this month like I normally do, just because of work and other commitments, as well as its been pretty cold lately.   This weekend it was warm, and earlier in the week Pat talked about trailering his bikes down to do some riding and leaving them here to do some exploring of southern utah.   Ive done that here ad naseum, as most of my friends think riding to zion is a day of hardcore riding, but Pat is different.    He’s like me, where he likes to explore and see new things make him curious and ride new roads to explore, so friday morning when it was confirmed that he was coming, It made my day.    He showed up with his kids and friday night we hooked up and made plans to show his wife zion the next day.    Robyn was ready to go too, and with my kids wanting to earn babysitting money, as well as a desire to have my kids get to know their cousins, the plan seemed to fit perfectly.   In the morning, we ride.

Mental note to self:  Always remember the smile on Pats face as he pulled up to the convenience store that friday on the fat boy, and how much fun he said he had on that bike.    Also remember he hole shotted me three times on highway 91, even if for a few feet.   Our tires both busted loose.

Robyn Me and Staci at Zion National Park

Robyn Me and Staci at Zion National Park

Pat slept in and we started later than I expected, but the timing was still perfect and noone cared we were getting on the road at 11.    I certainly didnt.    I was just excited to to go with the wives and have a good time.   I found a pair of leathers in my closet that quite frankly, I have no freaking clue where they came from, but I cut them to fit robyn and once we hit the harley shop got her the boots she wanted, so the day couldnt have started any better.     We left the dealership by noon and headed out towards Zion National Park.   The weather and the company was just right.  Good rides are effortless if the the people you are with are right.

We headed up through zion, through the tunnel.   Robyn took some video on the camera:   Heres on the switchbacks, stopping to take it all in:

As we headed through the tunnel:

The mid part of the Zion tunnel:

Coming out of the Zion Tunnel:

we then rode through kanab, stopped at the buckskin tavern in Kanab for a couple, then to Pipe springs and on home.   Was a good riding day.   I gotta say, Staci is a GREAT rider.    She handles her bike better than any of my friends, keeps great formation and was a straight up pleasure to ride with.   Robyn and I both had a great time.  I want to do this a bunch more.   It was great to take robyn, and adding staci to the mix was perfect.    Their bikes are in my moms garage, so hopefully we can sneak a few more rides in over the next few fall and winter months.

Im feeling the pull to explore today pretty bad.   If I didnt have a meeting on monday I’d be on the road already.  I think next weekend I need to point my bike in a direction, pack my sleeping bag and sleep out under some familiar stars with a new skyline.    Im running out of time.    I need to feel that feeling of a new experience.   I can feel it right now.

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Its not very often Robyn and I can spend the day riding.  we dont always have babysitters, and overnight rides havent happened for years.   This weekend is thunder on the mountain in brian head, so we decided to head on up where its cool and see what we see.

The longer I live, the more lucky I realize I am.   Robyn is easygoing, and we have fun together and I enjoy her company more than anyone Ive ever met.   We got to cedar city, and we knew we were going to get rained on.    We went anyway.   Went up to  Brian head, cruised around for a few and on the way over to duck creek we started getting pelted with hail.  Fairly big hail.   we were stuck under the aspens there off the side of the road for about 20 minutes, then it broke and we headed out to duck creek, then out through Mt Carmel Junction and back through Zion.

Great day.  It was nice to get out of the heat and spend the day together.

Rode 216 Miles today.

Easy Rider Movie Route 66 Bellemont Pine Breeze Inn

The Pine Breeze inn from the Movie Easy Rider on Route 66

Friday June 6 2008

Asked Meg if she wanted to go for an overnighter to Caliente Nevada and be back by noon on saturday. She said yes, so we went to northern Arizona instead. Theres nothing to do in caliente, thats a ride to do by myself.

Friday around 3pm we loaded up, and headed out with one saddlebag of stuff. The other saddlebag had a tent and 2 sleeping bags. We were going hardcore: ride hard, sleep on the ground! oowrah!

The weather was nice and warm, but pretty windy. Gusting Bike-leaning windy. We went through overton and behind lake mead, and over to hoover dam to get to kingman. We stopped on the Arizona side andHoover Dam at Dusk took it all in, and took a break to stretch our legs and I noticed a pillbox on top of the hill. I figured there must more on other hills, but didnt see any, and the area was blocked off so I couldnt get up there. The lady inside told me it was the last remaining from WW2. Back then, like today the hoover dam is a place of high national security. In one of my pictures you can see the new bridge theyre building across the colorado to protect the dam more. Im sure theyll convert to a tram system like they did at Zions.

Roughing it at the KOA in KingmanWe got into Kingman around 10 and my nav or google maps wouldnt work on my phone so had a helluva time finding the campground. Robyn as usual was the most reliable option, she helped us out. Damn verizon. My phone comes with a built in GPS, but verizon disables it so its dependent on their network now.

Anyway, after getting to the campground, and 2 more unorganized trips to get a flashlight to set it up, and another to get food, we finally crashed out and we sleeping on the ground like we’d planned. Im too old for this. I need a bigger bike where I can bring an air mattress. Even so, it was a cool experience. Havent slept in a tent for years, and the first time we’d slept in those tiny mummy bags was when robyn and I slept in them at the same campground in 1991, 17 years earlier.

We rode 250 Miles that Day.

Hackberry, Seligman, Grand Canyon Caverns and Kingman:Saturday, June 7 2008

Breaking CampSlept ok, but we both woke up early so we broke camp and headed to get breakfast at Denny’s. Today was a mellow day, we had about 170 miles to ride and all day to do it. After breakfast, we took our time, drove around Kingman a bit, took some pictures of Trains and Old route 66 Motels, then headed north on the mother road.

I dont really remember the hackberry general store when I first hit route 66, but wanted to see it now. It wasnt open for yet another hour, so we just looked around and then headed out again. The ride was nice, windy still, but it had that feeling that it was early morning on the first real day on vacation, and with my daughter with me, it made it even better.

The next stop was the Grand Canyon Caverns. Meg had been there before, but didnt remember it, so we took the tour again. It struck me how much Route 66 has made a comeback, even in the 20 years or so that I’ve been interested in it. The guide told us that before the bypass in 78, they did 500 people a day, then overnight, nothing. Now its doing well again, and the tours are going strong. They do around 150 people a day steadily, enough to keep it going well and keep jobs going in the area. Pretty cool.

Then we hit Seligman. Everyone knows the snow cap, and as we pulled up the place was packed. Still, the BEST hamburger ever made, period. Juan’s kids are running the place and have kept up the tradition, enough to make my 13 year old daughter laugh and have a good time. They even spotted me the 3 bucks I was short (I went and got them the money later), PLUS they had a terrible towell, signed by Big ben himself right inside the window. I couldnt be any more loyal now.

we went down crookton road, and crossed the freeway to see the Partridge creek bridge again. Took a breather, then headed east through williams, parks, and to the harley dealership in Bellemont. I finally was able to get internet on my phone, so looked up the overnight low in Flagstaff, and decided 40 degrees was a hair too cold in a tent for my daughter. So I called Robynski and she was able to book us a room. Apprantly the night before there were NO rooms in flag for under 200 bucks, but whatever convention or whatever was gone now, so she got a room with no problem. While at the dealership, Meg and I sat on a 2008 Ultra classic. Megan decided she loved the back seat. Dammit, I gotta get one. Granny glide or not, I want to tour and don’t want back seat comfort a problem. Im hoping its comfortable enough Robyn will want to go ALOT once the kids grow up.

after we left the dealership, we went a quarter mile down the road to the pine breeze inn. Whats that? In the opening scenes of Easy rider, toward the end of the opening credits Wyatt and Billy go to get a room and the guy shuts the door and turns on the no vacancy sign.


Well, its in Bellemont. Looks like this now:

Someone is trying to turn it into an RV park now, hopefully it flies, and he restores the building. It had an easy rider poster on the wall and some inside too, so the guy is a fan. Here’s another screenshot from the film, and if you really want to geek out, you can watch the whole intro. The pine breeze inn is the last sequence.

From there, we headed the 10 miles into Flagstaff. We parked at the hotel, and within seconds 2 drunk indians stumbled across the street, and one passed out within a foot of my bike. Kind of awkward, I pretended I didnt see him and got my daughter inside the motel as quick as I could. He was there 15 minutes later when I decided it would be best to move the bike. Nice motel, i thought.

After a full days riding, I thought I had meg wore out, but she doesnt go down without a fight, so we kicked back for an hour, then went and saw the new Indiana Jones Movie. After that, headed back and I was asleep within an hour.

Sacred Mountain Gas Station from Easy Rider: Sunday, June 8 2008

We woke up, had breakfast at the motel restaurant (aptly named “hogs”) and then hit the road. At the bottom of mountain outside flagstaff was another Easy Rider Icon I was wanting to see, so we stopped again. Here’s the picture from the movie:

Sacred Mountain Gas Station from Easy Rider

And here it was, this Morning:

Sacred Mountain From Easy Rider Movie

A guy who must live there popped his head over the wall and confirmed that this was the one from the movie (the pictures pretty much confirm it) and he also told me about another little stretch they rode that was in the movie through wupatki national monument, 5 miles away. We needed to head out, so I’ll go check it out another time. Im wondering if it was the scene where they slept in the ruins, I bet it was. Its been a national monument since before then, and the story goes the park ranger watched them like a hawk as they filmed. Now that I type this, that makes sense. I’m nearly sure thats the place.

We stopped at Cameron to get get some water, rest our butts a bit then flew on to Marble canyon, another hour away. We stopped for a minute to check out the old Bridge spanning the colorado river, built in 1927. It was a pretty big deal that bridge. The grand Canyon and the colorado river is still a major obstacle today, and building that bridge was huge. Before that, Lees ferry was the only way to cross the colorado for hundreds of miles.

After that, we went over the bridge to marble canyon and ate lunch, and fueled up again and headed for the home stretch. It was a little cold over the Kiabab, but nothing too big of a deal. From there, it was pipe springs where we made our last butt resting stop, then opened it up and made the last hour home.Last Stop

I had a blast. I love it when my girl’s go riding with me. We don’t spend alot of one on one time together, and when we can do 2 or 3 days at a time traveling together and enjoying each others company it means the world to me. I couldnt ask for better kids. I hope they never get tired of going with Dad on motorcycle trips.

Ride Totals: 702 Miles, 3 days, 3 States.

Click Here to See the entire route from the 1969 Movie Easy Rider

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Route 66 with Wendy

Posted in Family Rides by mrzip67

This weekend, it was just nice. All day friday I was kicking around thoughts of heading somewhere to get some ride time in, and around 3 on friday I came home, and asked if Wendy wanted to go. She did. Headed out around 3.

Wendy is a pro. Last year we loaded up and rode to Universal Studios on the bike in the heat of the summer, and she was a blast to take. Doesnt complain, and loves riding. I love the one on one time. I didnt have a ton of one on one trips with my Dad, and the one I did always meant alot to me. Its one of the reasons I bought the bike. I hope its a memory that means something to my girls. Not alot of 11 year olds can say theve ridden thousands of miles on a harley davidson and seeing their world. Thats my delusion anyway. We’ll see.

Wendy, at hoover Dam. Friday, May 16 2008

Made kingman before dark.

Wendy loves Hotels. She played her DS and even talked me into going swimming for a few. We crashed that night, and woke up to get some road behind us.

Kingman is a cool town to me for some reason. Its got alot of route 66 flavor, and its got all the modern conveniences. Plus its a gateway to alot of my favorite roads. to the east is Seligman, and a great old stretch of 66. the west is a great bike road through oatman, and california. I like to ride for kingman and decide which way Im going to go when Im at the intersection, and its usually always a great ride.

for the sake of time we went to oatman. Wendy had never seen it, and I thought she might like it. We headed out, and took the winding road up to oatman. There was a live wedding in the street, which was kind of cool to see. Ive seen a few gunfight shows, but not a wedding.

Oatman is one of the most unique towns, if not the most unique that I’ve ever seen. Around the turn of the century it was a booming mining town, and it still holds that feel. If it had a dirt street, I cant imagine a wild western town being much different. When the mines stopped producing, the miners left their burros and theyve thrived in the desert without any natural predators, and they still roam the streets.

Wendy found a ragged old cat, that apparantly liked to fight. His owner said he would leave for days and would come back all cut up, and would even take on coyotes and whoever crossed his path. Wendy made immediate friends. She has cat mojo. I even liked this cat.

Clark Gable and Carol lombard had their honeymoon at the oatman hotel. The hotel is a museum now, and we checked it out. Ive been to oatman a bunch, but that was the first time I’d been in the hotel. Theres even a tattoo shop there, but I didnt go in. Maybe I should check him out next time.

After about an hour of Oatman, we headed for the colorado river through Topock, then onto Needles. Wendy was beat. I made the mistake of not switching out a touring seat for my bike, and we both had a bad case of TB. We ate at dennys, and called Robyn to tell her we would head home. It was pretty hot, and Robyn and I had a Penguins NHL playoff game at 1pm, so I figured we’d head back. But I REALLY wanted to go to Amboy. Albert Okura had bought the town, and its one of my favorite spots on route 66, and a couple of weeks ago, they finally got the gas station open after a couple of years of work and about 750 grand. At the crossroads, I decided to spend another day, go to Amboy, and spend the night in Barstow.

Luckily, Ive got the best wife in the world. I called her and she got us a room in Barstow. We pulled in through record heat into Amboy and drank about a gallon of water and hung out for about an hour or so, resting our butts and hydrating up.

A tour bus overturned just east of ludlow, and eastbound highway was routed from I 40 down old 66. It was actually pretty cool to see Roy’s get so much business, and I couldnt help but thinking thats how it mustve been before it was bypassed in the early 70s. Even so, the one guy watching shop went out of his way to give Wendy a Roy’s T shirt for no charge, which I thought was really pretty cool. Ill always swing wide for Roys. Albert Okura paid 400k for the town. It’d be nice to have that kind of money, I’d like to own a town one day. Someday…..

We headed over to barstow, and just relaxed. Wendy was beat, and so was I. We woke up in the morning and made time to get back to st George, by 1pm, and made it. All in all, we’d rode 760 miles in less than 48 hours. Wendy is my riding buddy. I hope she had a good time. I know I did.

Ride Totals: 722 Miles, 4 States in 2 1/2 Days

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First long ride with my 10 year old daughter Wendy. We rode out to universal Studios to have some fun.

Made it to Barstow the first night. Wendy did great. she’s a natural. Was worried that she might get bored and fall asleep, but not even close. She’s fun to ride with, and we’re having fun.

Spent 2 days in Universal City, went to universal studios and grauman’s chinese theater and the wax museums, and saw Meet the robinsons in 3D in a cool old famous theater.
Rode home straight through. Both had a bit of TB, but otherwise had a great time.

Ride Totals: 3 states, 962 Miles

Southern Utah Harley Owners Group does day runs almost every weekend, and at least one overnighter a month.   I’ve done maybe 3 runs with them.   Great bunch of guys, and very organized.

Megan, my oldest daughter went with me on this one.   Shes a great rider.   The weather was not looking all that great, and the original plan was to head through Zion National Park, and up to antimony.   We ended up running up through cedar city, and over Cedar mountain.  There was snow on the ground, but really wasnt cold.   We stopped in Kanab to get lunch, and the thunderheads looks pretty ominous, so we headed back through the park and home.

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