Been riding the bike daily since I got home.    Doing some customer service calls on it, and finding it to be a nice ice breaker.   If you ride…. no matter what you ride…. People  like to talk about it.   It solves some problems.    I think I’m onto something.

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The Road King, down by Utah Lake in Vineyard Utah.

Last Friday, It was my wifes family annual reunion.    I’ve been doing it for almost 23 or 24 years.   I’ve lost count.       She headed up that night, and my plan was to head up the next day on the bike.     I needed a night off, and my wife has always been cool enough to not give me any crap about that sorta stuff.      I’m fairly positive I’m pretty lucky that way.

I woke up the next morning and read my emails.     Someone had hit me up from this here blog and told me that the Kozy Cafe Was Open over in Echo.     I’d said something about this place before.        The thought of breakfast there got me fairly inspired, so I got my act together and pointed the bike that way.     It’s not that far away, and that place is old and has character.      Nice bonus to the day.

Headed through Heber City northbound.    Up through Parleys Summit.

Heber is a funny place.    I’m originally from Orem, which is probably considered Northern Utah.    When I was 16, I wasn’t so good a kid  (I thought I was).    A lot of factors (including that one) combined to me being moved by my parents, 6 months before I got my drivers License to southern Utah, 5 hours south.

I chose to live in Wasatch County.    Maybe thats why I like it.    I moved here as an adult, and to me there’s just a good feeling here. Anyway, whatever.

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Apparently I take a lot of pictures of my bike. There will be more. I’m not sure what else to take a picture of.   This is at the Top of Parley’s Summit, trying to find an old road that I couldn’t get to.

Headed up through Parleys Canyon, and then through East Canyon, toward Henifer and Echo.      I was getting hungry, and it was getting late.    I can’t keep this up on beef Jerky.      Up through East Canyon.

 

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Up in the Quaking Aspens of Easy Canyon.

Utah is killer.   At least, I think so.   A week or so ago I’d ridden half way across America, and not on a road like this.

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Hrm, the donner Party came this way. I’m hungry, but not that hungry. Ten more miles and I can eat at that reopened cafe in Echo

The best thing about a road king is you can take the windshield off if you want to.   I pulled into Echo.

Kozy Cafe Echo Utah

Reminds me of Roys, in Amboy

Worlds Fastest Indian

From the 2005 Movie World’s Fastest Indian.   Hollywood does a little photoshoppin, it seems.     

Echo is really small.    Like, really small.  It had an important part in the history of this area — an old railroad town at the junction of a few canyons that joined evanston Wyoming to Salt Lake City back in the day.   It’s  had a long history, but I didn’t know any of it.    When the interstate came in, the town dried up.    It reminds me of route 66.   There’s not many places up here like that.    They’re just all gone.

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Kozy Cafe. It’s like stepping back into time. Its clean, not updated since the 70s, and is pretty cool.

The waitress was young and  had a natural smile on her face.   She had that look about her that this was either her first job, or she was in the family.   It was noon by now, so I had me a Jalapeno Burger and the food was quite good for a joint that you can’t see from the freeway.   In fact, it was really good.   Signs of a place that’s trying to build or keep your business.    I hope they make it.   Either way, I ate here and gave em a buck, and I hope to be back.    Had a beer, gave her a good tip and went out and explored a bit of Echo.

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Love that old neon sign. They don’t make em like this anymore.

The Kozy Cafe and Motel in Echo Utah

Back in the day they advertised air conditioned rooms. Not much movement around the old Motel Now.

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Can’t get gas here now, Frank I bet, was in a good spot when he opened this place.   I bet cars were piling up.   Radiator belts  and gas at 36 cents a gallon.   Money in your pocket.

The Echo Cafe Echo Utah

The Echo Cafe in Echo Utah. A stones throw from the Kozy.

Main Street in Echo Utah.

Main Street in Echo Utah.

Not many places have this much 1950′s style.    I wanted to know more, and drink in a little local history.   People had lived here, worked here and got paychecks from here for generations.   It was a big part of somebody’s life, and I felt the need to find out more.

My inlaws say they used to come here back in the 60′s.   The lake was nearby, and they ate, drank and danced in their younger years.

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Turns out, Echo had a lot to do with settling this region.

Main Street in Echo Utah.

There’s quite a few plaques in Echo. If you stop, you could learn a thing

I headed east down the Echo Main Drag, looking for clues.   The family Reunion I felt was fine, I was 30 minutes away.    Curiosity got this cat, and by this point I had to know.

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Transcontinental Railroad. Boom Town. I found an old church.

They had an an old museum downstairs.    The lights didn’t work, and I had to squint for most of it.   Signs of a place that is struggling to pay for itself.     This is a great old town so far, and needs to be preserved. There is some history here.      Some old man with an old dog was guardian of this place, and he sat below the pulpit.     I nodded, and headed into the museum part, downstairs.

Lots of homer stuff:, just like you’d expect.   Perfect:  When Echo took 2nd place in the state championship in basketball in 1942,   People who died in WWII that lived in Echo, and History of the transcontinental railroad that brought life to this area.       This one stuck out to me:

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This was my favorite. Click on this to enlarge. An advertisement, for another day. I might have applied.  Click to Enlarge.

I hung out a little more, put 20 dollars in the kitty and headed out of town.    Echo, you told me who you are.   Please, keep it up.    I will for sure be back.

Headed towards Morgan Utah, and into the family Reunion.    At the Lions Lodge, where Mrs Zips Grandpa was a member for a lot of years.    We had fun for the next 2 days.

If you lived in Echo, I’d love to hear your stories, whatever they are.   Post em if you got em.

2 days, 151 Miles.


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Its summer up here now.   Hit 100 degrees today, or damn close.       It’s so much different than living in the desert the last 30 years.    When its warm, everyone has an activity, or a ride, and you make hay while the sun shines.    Since getting home, I’ve had a ton of fun, but this weekend I’m going to do absolutely nothing.   Ahhhh, how ’bout a little nothing?

Flashback to June 1st.

Woke up that morning and got my shit together and met big D in the lobby of the Hotel.    We were flying out together, and it was nice to see a familiar face for one last time.    We hit the shuttle, and said our goodbyes in the half hour ride to the Airport.

Flew Home.

My plan was to stay at my older brothers house, and cook some ribs for a family get together the next day.    Skeezix had just bought a new smoker, and we were going to dial that bad boy in.    He bought 12 racks of ribs, and we’d smoke em on both of our smokers, have a few single malts and maybe a good cigar, and shoot the shit about the ride, life and whatever else comes to mind.

After my wife refused that plan in a way that no man could deny, I woke up the next morning in my own bed headed to Draper to meet up with my brother.

  Pulled into my brothers house and started prepping for the biggest BBQ I’d ever done.   Planned on 50 people, and I was in charge of the spare ribs.     Apple wood smoked for 6 hours, and my homemade BBQ sauce recipe.

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My Bro and I, making the BBQ sauce. After eating real texas BBQ, I’ll never sauce a rib again. Its on the side if you want it.

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We ended up smoking 9 racks, and they turned out good. BBQ is like golfing. You can always think you coulda played that one hole better.

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The oldest granddaughter (and my favorite niece), and my 101 year old Grandma.     She’ll make 102 Easy.

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1967 Lincoln Continental that was owned by my Dad.

Our oldest brother showed up in the Lincoln.     My dad bought this car in 1986.     I helped him strip it down, and build it back up.    Suicide doors, power steering, cruise control, monster engine.    Classic Detroit Sled.  My Oldest brother bought it later down the line, and finished it off.       He did a killer job.   The old man would have been proud.

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Joking with my brother. He’s a good soul.

The plan was… (and I missed the memo), was that this day was our Fathers Birthday.     We were all to bring something that reminded us of dad.

I will say this:  Vern Dunn was a solid and good man.    There are not many who are born into the world who had the charisma, the compassion and the sheer ability to kick ass as my dad did, all in the right combinations.   Just a good man.    We’re all proud to spring from the guy.      We all took our turn and told a story about our father.

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Pat (Skeezix, as named by my dad), telling a story about our pop.

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The beat goes on.   My kids never knew him. Missus Zip, the kids and I listened In.    Values, they happen from the ground up.     Glad to see them sticking.

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We all took our turn, and told our stories. A good day.

I started to blog to remember the trips I’ve made a bike over the years.     I look back on it, and I read them, as a record of things I want to remember in life.    This is one of those days.     Pretty cool.   When you strip it all down to nothing, family means everything.

 

Old song…

 

94 miles,  1 day.


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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.

Easy Rider Acid Drop St Louis Cemetary No1

St Louis Cemetery #1 was where they dropped the Acid the Hippy Gave them. They Quartered it.   You’re running out of time.

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Same Spot, 2013.   I’m hip about time.

Toni Basil St Louis Cematary no1 Easy Rider

Acid in the 60′s musta been like the Tequila of the 2000′s. Huh, who’d have thought.

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St Louis Cemetery #1, in 2013

Peter Fondal St Louis Cematary no1 Easy Rider

There’s a story here.

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Same spot, 2013

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 Easy Rider

Toni Basil Easy Rider

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.

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New Orleans is old. Lots of history here methinks.

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New Orleans, Louisiana

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.

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EagleRider, New Orleans. Turning the bikes in.

 

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3181 miles  minus the 11 I had when I pulled her out of Los Angeles is 3170 miles in 2 good weeks.

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.

 

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Corner of Bourbon and Toulouse. Madame Tinkertoys house of Blue LIghts, New Orleans Louisiana. Where George Hanson Never Went, we did.   Easy Rider Inaugural Tour 2013.

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.

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The Last Morning Hotel Ritual. Lake Charles Louisiana

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.

Easy Rider Louisiana

Paul and Martine on the Captain this morning.     Paul is as cool as a cucumber.   That Martine?   I think she’s trouble.    She’s just got that look in her eye.    Yep.   Trouble.

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.

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Eunice Louisiana. Big D wanted another turn at the Captain

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.

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The question: “Want me to blow your brains out?”

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The Answer.

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.

Easy Rider - Krotz Spring Louisiana - MrZip66

You don’t get many, but for me this was a perfect moment.

 

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.

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Another good reason big D was MVP of this ride. I’m sure he ate some gravel.

After about 3 or 4 miles, We finally hit some pavement.

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And headed a bit east on Interstate 10.

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and hit up a car wash in Breaux Bridge Louisiana.

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.

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St Johns Restaurant.

 

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The ladies, St Martinville Louisiana.

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.

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Downtown Franklin Louisiana

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.

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Graham: here’s to the first of the day Gentlemen….

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We all took a turn. Nic Nic….

 

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Fut Fut Fut….

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Indians!

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.

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Mulates, some Cajun Music, and some Cajun Cooking.

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Tim dancing with another man. Tim is not gay, not that there is anything wrong with being gay.

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Singing Danny Boy with the neighboring table

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.

 

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EagleRider Inaugural Easy Rider Movie Tour May 2013

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

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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.

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Bruno and Pete, Shooting the bull. We’d roll out soon.   Austin Texas.

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.

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Brenham Texas. Steve needed a Doughnut.

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.

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The Happy Birthday Song. With a flaming cupcake! I blame Graham.

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Paul from Manchester, and a Texas Cop. Right across from a doughnut shop?  Coincidence?

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

The Original Rib Tickler

 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.

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Myself and Helio from Brazil.

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Well fed, and waiting for the others.

 

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.

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Got Gas and a rest stop at the Texas Border.

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.

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Crossing Indian Bay, into Lake Charles

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.

megan Graduation

Congrats Megan!!

Day 11 – Easy Rider Tour – 295 Miles


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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.

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Comanche, Texas.

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.

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Another Texas surprise. Beautiful.    Check out that color.

Cranked up the Who, twisted the throttle and just tried to take it all in.    I think I like Texas.

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Fields and wide open space. Texas is like Nevada, only they water it.

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More miles ahead…

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Llano Texas Gas Stop.

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Helio and Ana.

Steve found a cool little twisty road, on the way to Austin:

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A county road, crossing the river. Wished I’d have stopped and taken some pictures.

Into Marble falls.     We ate at theRiver City Grill.   Great view.

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The view was awesome.   On the Texas Version of the Colorado river.    Seems like a pretty good version to me.

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.

IMG_1963Central Texas Harley – Davidson, Round Rock Texas

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Loving the color. Oh yes, you will be mine.

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.

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Chicken Breasts, with Jalapenos and bacon, dipped in hot sauce. Killer.

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


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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.

Eagle Rider Amarillo Texas

The morning ritual. We were used to it by now. Getting ready to head out.

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.

 

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John busted out his helmet cam. Took some great pictures and video.   Riding the Texas 207, heading toward Lake Mackenzie.

83 miles in, we hit Silverton Texas and took a break.

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Silverton Texas, Briscoe County. First taste of a small Texas Town.

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Old Briscoe County Jail.

Silverton Texas Briscoe County Jail

John, Myself and our impromptu tour guide. He had lots of stories.

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Graham – Testing out the bars.

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 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.

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George’s Restaurant, Post, Texas. Truckers Welcome.

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


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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.

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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.

Getting primed at the Big Texan Steak Ranch

Getting primed at the Big Texan Steak Ranch

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To good people, and more fun ahead!

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Phil and Tim don’t mess around. This is Texas, after all. They ordered one of the smaller beers.   Brando got the variety pack.      I had the Pecan Porter.   John and Graham were drinking BL’s.

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.

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They didn’t know any Tony Christie Either. We had that covered though.

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This old cowboy put on a good show, and could carry a tune.   We were fired up.

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.

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This guy is trying to eat 4 pounds of steak with all the trimmings in an hour. I bet on this horse, and lost. He kind of staggered away from the table when he was done.

Rattle Snake Eggs

Pete got Paul from the UK pretty good, with the Rattlesnake eggs trick.

We ate and drank, got loud like everyone else there, and I personally had a blast.

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John and I, taking the bull by the horns. Big Texan Steak Ranch, 2013

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…

Jack Nicholson holding a pork chop in the movie Easy Rider

Yeah, I lost that bet.

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.

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I’d fallen asleep early, and woke up early.    Rather than sit with my thumb up my ass, I jumped on the bike.   It had been a while since I’d been here, and never like this.   I ran up to where Easy Rider began.

La Contenta Bar Easy Rider Taos New Mexico

From Easy Rider, 1969, La Contenta Bar,  Opening Scene.

La Contenta Bar Easy Rider Taos New Mexico

La Contenta Bar today. Its now the Red Arrow Emporium, right off the main drag.     Not a Junkyard anymore.

For the movie, Peter fonda wanted to buy junk, in a junkyard.      This place was sold like it was in Mexico, but it was really in Taos.    In the original story of the movie, Billy and Wyatt were carnival stunt men on motorcycles.   Thats why they showed up on dirt bikes for this scene.    It wasn’t until you got to Ballarat in the movie, that they rode Harleys.        In the movie, when they got jailed for parading without a permit (we’d see this location today too) where Billy shouts through the jail cell:

“Parading without a permit? Do you know who this is, man? This is Captain America. l’m Billy. We’re headliners, baby. We played every fair in this part of the country. For top dollar too! Weirdo hicks, man. A bunch of weirdo hicks. “

Quote from the Movie, Easy Rider (1969)

Most of that part of the story got cut on the editing floor. I headed back to the Hotel, had some coffee at the restaurant with the crew, and took some pictures.    This was a 100 year old place, just celebrating its anniversary.      Taos is pretty cool.

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waking up, drinking  coffee, getting my morning bearings and taking some pictures. Historic Taos Inn. Its been here for 100 years now.

We had a lot to see today.   Lots of Easy Rider.    To the first stop for today: IMG_0469 Translation:  “Pura Vida Hermano!”  means “Pure Life, my Friend” in English. The guy in that scene was a local musician in Taos, back in the day.      I bet that dude could belt out a good Mariachi song.      I’d pay good money to see it.

EagleRider Inaugural Easy Rider Tour Crew, La Contenta Bar from Easy Rider

EagleRider Inaugural Easy Rider Tour Crew, La Contenta Bar from Easy Rider

I told what I knew:

There is lots of Easy Rider in Taos.     This was the first stop, the opening scene.     We’d ride to more. We rode down to the Taos Pueblo, but we didn’t go in. .     I’d like to do it again.     There is lots of history there.     The scene I wanted to show was this, right by the river.    I’ve been here before, but got the feeling we didn’t have time.    Looking back, I’d have pushed for more time here.

Taos Pueblo - 1969 from Easy Rider

Taos Pueblo – 1969

Taos Pueblo, Easy Rider Location Tour 2013

Taos Pueblo, Easy Rider Location Tour 2013

Next, was Dennis Hoppers House, where he lived for 15 years after Easy Rider.    DH Lawrence lived here too, and now its called the Mable Dodge Luhan House.    It was one of Dennis Hoppers first purchases after the Easy Rider checks starting coming in.

Easy Rider swim Scene

The swim Scenes from Easy Rider were in Taos as well, at Manby Hot Springs, 15 miles north.   (screenshot from Easy Rider, 1969)

Taos has always been interesting to me, and it’s always been connected to Dennis Hopper in my mind.    It’s an artists community, like no other I’ve been to.     I gotta think about why.   Maybe another ride, and another blog post for another day. If I can throw this one out:

Double Standard Dennis Hopper

“Double Standard” – Dennis Hopper photograph from 1961   (click on photo to enlarge)

Dennis Hopper took this photograph in 1961.    To me, it tells volumes about the guy.    First, he was an artist at heart.    A random, but brilliant thinker.       A contemporary, till the day he died, and I think his work showed that.        He was also raised a Kansas farm boy.     “double standard” , I have to think was his mindset at the time.    It certainly was years later.      He directed Easy Rider, was equal parts insane and brilliant, and had an eye to move people.       Dennis Hopper was a hard guy to sum up. But, whatever.    Something to chew on when you’re out on a bike and your mojo is rolling and there is 100 miles ahead of you.     Maybe at least for me. It was memorial Day Weekend, and that’s appropriate to honor the dead.  We rolled up to Dennis Hopper’s grave.     The last time I was in Taos, he was still alive.     This was a first for me.

Easy Rider Tour - Dennis Hopper

Dennis Hoppers grave, Taos New Mexico

Easy Rider Tour - Dennis Hopper

Dennis Had a quiet and inconspicuous funeral. Off the radar, in the town that he loved.   I gotta think, in the exact way that he wanted it.

The whole city of Taos, smells of  Dennis Hopper and Easy Rider.     We were on our way, to Las Vegas New Mexico.    We headed out of Taos, on New Mexico 518.    The weather was awesome, and I couldn’t help but feeling we’d lucked out this trip, weather wise.    It was starting to cloud up, but nothing threatening,  at least this day.    75 miles more, and then more Easy Rider.

We hit Las Vegas New Mexico, where in Easy Rider they paraded without a permit.

Easy Rider Parade Scene Las Vegas New Mexico 1

Parading without a permit – Easy Rider in 1969

Easy Rider Parade Scene Las Vegas New Mexico 2

Wyatt and Captain America, Las Vegas New Mexico 1969

Easy Rider Parade Scene Las Vegas New Mexic

The Historic Plaza Hotel, 1969

Parading without a permit in 2013 from the movie location  Easy Rider

Historic Plaza Hotel in 2013

In the movie, the paraded without a license and got thrown in Jail.    In the tour, we walked down to the corner and saw another scene from the movie.   Watch this.    It’s classic Easy Rider.

Easy Rider Las Vegas Nevada - Jack Nicholson Drinking Scene

Aaaaaand, here it is.

 

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Graham, Myself and Dr Phil. Nic Nic Nic!

and some of the story behind it: After this, Easy Rider became pretty funny.   On to Madame Tinkertoys House of Blue Lights, Corner of Burbon and Tolouse.       In Real Life, Jack Nicholson was ready to quit acting.     After this, all that would change. We still had 230 miles to go.       From here, we headed into Amarillo.   Day 8, Easy Rider Movie Location tour – 314 Miles View Larger Map

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After breakfast we headed north east to Durango Colorado.

When they made the movie, they just bolted to Taos, with a piece of toast in their mouth while they drove, probably.    Who cares.    Peter and Dennis were hanging out in an RV, and the bikes were were in a panel Van, making miles.    We took the scenic route, up to Durango.

Durango Colorado - Easy Rider Location Tour

Cool little town. We took some time and walked round

Durango Colorado - Easy Rider Location Tour

Bruno, John, Graham and I. Just outside the train station

We spent our time, then headed east.   Found us a cool waterfall.

Up wolf creek pass - Easy Rider inaugural tour

Beautiful.

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Group shot of the Easy Rider Inaugural Tour Crew

Up through Wolf Creek Pass

Tunnel at Wolf Creek Pass, Colorado

Wolf Creek Pass. 10, 890 feet. My bike was sucking air, but she wanted to see all this bad as I did.   A great ride on a Harley-Davidson methinks.

I couldn’t help but have this song in my head.    Like, the whole time.    My gift to humanity is useless trivia, and random thought.   I present CW McCall, Wolf Creek pass.   white person trucker rap, from 1975.   Give you an Idea of the road, anyway:

We rolled down from Wolf Creek Pass, and had lunch in a place I’m not sure the name of.     We turned south, somewhere.   We were hungry, and ate a gourmet meal at a greasy roadside shop.   I think I had a buffalo burger with jalapeno’s on the side.  And fries.

On our way into Taos, we stopped at a bridge crossing the Rio Grande river.    The weather was hot, and some of us had some Ice coffee at a hippy truck while it held out.   The rest of us had some some ice water and cokes.      My ass was sore, and needed a break.   Vendors and lots of bikes is all I remember.   This was memorial day weekend, and everyone was taking advantage of it.

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

Rio Grande River

The Rio Grande River. This river ends up being the border between Texas and New Mexico, looking that-a-way.

Aussie John gave me a lot of pictures for this blog.   About 100 miles back, he also reminded me of good touring music.      I listened to this, as we rolled into Taos.    The desert was wide, the weather was good, and we were rolling 8 miles a minute, most of the time.  I knew that somewhere, I had deadlines and commitments.    I just didn’t have them now.   It was on the hotter side, but still…. a perfect day of riding.

We pulled into Taos, and I saw 2 spots from the movie on the way in,  that we’d see tomorrow.     I felt thrashed, but happier than hell.     What else would I rather be doing?    It was a hot day, and a long day and I fell asleep about as fast as I sat down.   This was the first of a string of 300 mile days.

Day 7 – Easy Rider Movie Location Tour – 280 Miles


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