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.
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.
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.
Silverton Texas, Briscoe County. First taste of a small Texas Town.
Old Briscoe County Jail.
John, Myself and our impromptu tour guide. He had lots of stories.
Graham – Testing out the bars.
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.
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.
Today wasn’t the most scenic, but this isn’t a complaint by any means. I just was glad to be out riding. It was nice to see a different part of the country, and run through small towns with good company.
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.
Getting primed at the Big Texan Steak Ranch
To good people, and more fun ahead!
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.
They didn’t know any Tony Christie Either. We had that covered though.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
From Easy Rider, 1969, La Contenta Bar, Opening Scene.
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.
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:
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
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
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.
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 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.
Dennis Hoppers grave, Taos New Mexico
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.
Parading without a permit – Easy Rider in 1969
Wyatt and Captain America, Las Vegas New Mexico 1969
The Historic Plaza Hotel, 1969
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.
Aaaaaand, here it is.
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.
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.
Cool little town. We took some time and walked round
Bruno, John, Graham and I. Just outside the train station
We spent our time, then headed east. Found us a cool waterfall.
Group shot of the Easy Rider Inaugural Tour Crew
Up through Wolf Creek Pass
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
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
After breakfast in Kayenta, we loaded up and headed out. Today would be a short day, but not short on scenery. Monument Valley was a few miles away. The wind had died down, the feral dogs were behind us, and we rode on in. I never get sick of this place.
In 1969, they rode it at dusk. We rode it at dawn.
Easy Rider Screenshot from 1969. In 45 years, the scenery hasn’t changed much.
Dr. Phil, Riding Captain America through Monument Valley. Riding this bike just makes you feel cool all over.
EagleRider had another plan for us. A tour through the valley floor. Another reason why they’re the best at what they do. This wasn’t just a motorcycle tour, everything is about the experience. Its just their mindset.
Little guy (me) didn’t go the bathroom before we left, so I had to get that handled. I was holding everyone up, and they took the opportunity to give me a ration of shit coming back to the tour trucks. lol, perfect. Felt like I was home. All in good fun.
Our tour guide was Navajo, and shared his stories. We weaved around the valley floor while he told us of Navajo life, history, a little bit of the language, and locations. A great little tour.
Two Mittens, Monument Valley
2 Mittens, screenshot from Easy Rider in 1969
Mr and Mrs Tczap, and me (Mr Zip). Enjoying a tour of valley floor.
The draw of this place is that you can’t really take it all in. A picture is worthless, you just need to see it.
John Ford Point, Monument Valley. For 2 bucks here, you can sit on a Gelding and pretend you’re master of all you survey. I like this beast, makes me look taller.
They Call it John Ford Point for a reason…
The biggest difference between me and Ana, is she makes this look good.
A fun couple of hours, and another nice break. Some good conversation, and a good amount of laughs. Everyone had a good time I think. We headed back to our bikes and down the road again.
I ran ahead, so Bruno could get some pictures. The hill from Forrest Gump.
This is my State. Pretty proud to live here.
We ran the 24 miles to Mexican Hat. I first ran through here in 2009, with my 12 year old daughter on a daddy daughter weekend. It was dusk when we hit Kayenta. No room, at any inn. It was dark when we ran through Monument Valley, and headed past Mexican Hat on the bike on the way to Bluff Utah, where we finally found a place to stay. I remember passing the Mexican Hat lodge Inn in the middle of the night. Cool little place, lots of neon and out in the middle of nowhere. Kept thinking how this would be a good place for an old school biker retreat, like they used to do it back in the day. One year later, I got together with some good friends in B.A.C.A. , of which I’m a member of, and it ended up happening. My buddy Drifter knew the guy that owns the land directly below Mexican Hat, and now that retreat happens every year. Kinda cool.
From there we headed to Bluff, Utah for lunch. Twin Rocks Cafe.
ehh, I’d have named it something different.
Getting ready to head out. On to Four Corners.
Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico. The only place in the US you can be in 4 states at once.
Pete and Linda took their turn, heading into Farmington.
The Captain America bike turns heads. A lot of thumbs up, from people in the know. Bruno was riding with me still, and about 30 miles outside of farmington in Ship Rock New Mexico, I sped up and so Bruno could take this shot. Seems like most of my adult riding life I’ve been rubbernecking for old roads. He sent this to me today. I quite love this shot.
The Tczaps, crossing the San Juan River. I dig this picture.
We headed into Farmington. We checked into the Hotel there, and I had the chance to finally take the Captain bike out. I took it. Stopping at red lights, rolling her down the main drag for a few miles…. It was pretty cool. You know people are looking, and you just can’t but help feeling completely bad-ass. After all, this is the most famous bike in the world.
And yet, and the end of this day I went down and did my laundry at the Hampton Inn. It was time. I called Mrs Zip, found out what was going on at work, and slept like a baby. Good day.
We left Flagstaff, Fueled up and headed north on highway 89, toward The Sacred Mountain Gas Station from Easy Rider. This was the first Movie Location from Easy Rider I’d ever found, and I’d ridden by this a dozen times. I was on my way home, on a Sunday, and blew off the next 2 days chasing down Easy Easy Rider in Arizona. Riding is fun enough. Chasing down a mystery makes it even more fun.
Sacred Mountain Gas Station in 1969
Sacred Mountain Gas Station from Easy Rider Today
We pulled in, took some pictures and doubled back. Not far up the road.
Sunset Crater to Wupatki is one of my favorite roads on the planet. This trip, it became maybe my favorite. We were pulling in to pay the park fees, and Steve had asked me to go ahead to the turn off and wait for everyone. Bruno, an Italian Photographer and all around good guy was my passenger for the day.
No lie, right as I started out, I wasn’t born to Follow by the Byrds came up on my Ipod. Another good omen.
It was perfect. The morning still had shadows and the sun was coming through the trees. I was wanting to stop to get a picture where they picked the hippy up in the Movie, but I got pretty lost in the moment . Sunset crater road and scenery haven’t changed since Easy Rider was filmed. For a couple of minutes, I was in 1969. For me, that was the best moment of riding the whole trip. If you go down there to see this, I highly suggest taking that song with you. Beautiful.
I also had plans to have a buddy of mine meet us there, dressed up like a hippy, so we could pick him up for for the full effect. It ended up not working out. Next time.
Some cool visuals from the movie, on that stretch of road (by the way, click on any image to enlarge):
We rode all of it. I rode up the 30 miles up to Waputki, and Bruno and I waited at the turn off. Bruno is an interesting guy. For living in Italy, he’s seen more of America than I have. He has the artists eye, and was good company. Wupatki is where they stopped for the night after they picked up the Hippy.
Wupatki Easy Rider Camping Scene in 1969
We were there. You could be a trifle, polite.
A small thing to ask. They’re buried right under ya.
Talking about Easy Rider, Hippies, and Camping on Government Grounds.
We headed out of Waputki. Only a few miles to the main road again, and back to making miles. This is where the best song of Easy Rider was filmed.
When they were filming, Dennis pushed for them to film in monument Valley at dusk. When you look at the cinematography, he wasn’t wrong. Its a big part of why this movie sticks with those who ride. At this point, we were well into our trip. I’ll be honest, I was starting to forget what day of the week it even was. On vacation, thats a good thing. I’d seen all these places, but never consecutively and not like this. It was always bolt to a spot, figure it out, and bolt home. Seeing it as one long ride was pretty special to me. My bike was purring, the weather was great, and the road wasn’t ending anytime soon. Found a new scene on the way there. We left highway 89, and headed toward Kayenta. I’ve ridden this before, but when I did I was always heading the other way.
“Hey Mister can you tell me…
Where a man might find a bed”.
“He just grinned & shook my hand….
No was all He said”.
The road into Kayenta was windy. The road into Kayenta is always windy. No complaints, we Knuckled down, and enjoyed the ride. We got into Kayenta early. I think it was like 3 PM or so. The plan was to ride into Monument valley, do a tour and eat Navajo Tacos. Looking at Monument Valley when we came in, it was a dust bowl. Steve postponed the original plan, and we’d do it tomorrow. A few guys went in, but the rest of us took a nap and hung out and relaxed for a while. I forgot to pack a swim suit, and some pool time would have been nice methinks, but a nap was almost nicer. After a couple of hours, Graham got restless, and we decided it was time to watch Easy Rider. We set out.
Kayenta Arizona Accommodations.
We found a Motel nearby, that in exchange for bringing in hungry people to eat, they’d furnish a television and a VCR. Graham talked them into it. We watched Easy Rider.
Watching Easy Rider, and Having dinner.
It was pretty cool to see on video the places we’d rode on the previous days. We headed back, and slept for a night. A good meal, and a nice break.
I woke up early, got some coffee and decided to jump on the bike and scout the perimeter. In a couple more hours, we’d head out.
I crossed the Colorado, took some pictures and enjoyed the morning sun. Made me think of one of the times i’d been here, in 1991, with Missus Zip.
Route 66, California. This sign has been here forever.
Old Route 66 until 1947
Colorado River morning. Behind me is the bridge from the Grapes of Wrath.
Random thought about bridges. As I sat there that morning and drank my coffee, I realized that 2 bridges connected 2 Fondas, crossing the same river. Peter, from Easy Rider, and his father, Henry from the Grapes of Wrath. They were both about the same age, and their respective movies made both of them famous. Both bridges are a stones throw from each other. I don’t know that any of this means anything, but to me it was interesting.
Grapes of Wrath Bridge, Route 66, circa 1940
Time to head back. Finished my coffee, and back to the fold. Kickstands up in 20 minutes.
Graham is a stud. she was there.
and ready to Ride. Nice Bike.
We headed out. On to Oatman, one of my favorite places.
We rode this, on our way out.
And this. One of my favorite bridges. Exactly like the movie. The Red Rock bridge (to the left) was torn down in 1977.
I can almost hear the Chorus…..
When you get off the exit at Topock, this looks exactly the same. Frontage road to the old Bridge.
Then through Topock, and on our way to Oatman Arizona. The road started bending more, and the ride was good. I don’t know how many times I’ve ridden this road, but its always good. The first time I found it, this road was gravel almost all the way to Oatman. Then route 66 hit a revival, and it got paved.
We rolled into Oatman and bummed around for about 45 minutes.
Paul and Big D, cooling off.
The crew, Oatman Arizona
We headed out of Oatman before noon.
Short break in Cool Springs, Arizona. Behind us, Arizona’s nipple.
Out of Oatman, to Kingman, where we had lunch at some 50′s diner. We headed on toward Flagstaff, wound through Seligman, Williams, and on to Bellemont. More Easy Rider there.
We pulled in, late in the day just like in Easy Rider. It felt pretty cool to show these places in person to other people.
Hey man, can I get a room?
Just like in 1969
The owner wasn’t there, so he wasn’t able to deny us a room. Wouldn’t have mattered, we had reservations in Flagstaff. Either way, you have to ride off and shout “you asshole!” Just like in the movie. I’m sure the owner would understand.
Our Crew, long day. Good Picture.
One last goodbye. Keeping it Real.
we headed the 10 miles into Flagstaff, fairly spent.
End of the day, Flagstaff Arizona
I had some work to do that night, so I had a couple of drinks at the bar, back to the room to get them done. A great day. We had a lot more ahead of us. Tomorrow we’d hit a few locations for the movie, and head into Monument Valley.
I woke up, and was looking forward to todays riding. This was my old stomping grounds, and I’ve never hit it where the riding wasn’t good.
We’d gassed up the night before, so it was blow and go down interstate 15 till we hit the first section of Route 66.
We headed south from Ludlow, down old Route 66. Until 1972, this was the main road, and to be honest I’ve never not gone this way if I was in the area.
I have a soft spot for Amboy. I first came here in 1989, with my wife to be and met the original Owner, Buster Burris. My wife and I were on our first long bike trip. We ate at his cafe, and he took the time to talk to us. He told us about what it was like back in the day. He had 7 tow trucks, going 24 hours a day. He was slinging hash and filling rooms. His garage didn’t have an empty bay. He said you could barely cross the road, it was so busy back then. Buster was an old man. His face was weathered, but had a light in his eye, and I could tell he was telling me about his ass-kicking years. He told me about Goffs, and how it was an older version of route 66. When the freeway was opened in 1972, it was like someone just turned off the traffic. He’d been here since the 1930′s, and now things had changed for him. He was now in survival mode. He even bulldozed most of the town he owned, so he didn’t have to pay taxes on it. Buster was a character, and my wife and I will always remember that conversation.
Believe it or not, Amboy is a lot busier than it was in 1989. Buster’s widow sold the town, and since then Amboy and route 66 has made a comeback. When I’m coming through this way, I always try and buy something to support the business. I like Amboy. It’s the closest thing to travelling back in time that I know of. Cool place.
Roys. This place is a landmark on Route 66
The EagleRider Crew in Amboy.
Bob, one of the EagleRider owners did a cool thing at this point. He spaced us out and let us ride a few miles apart. I appreciated that. I could see it coming a few days before when we were heading into furnace creek. You can tell Bob is a biker at heart; Alone time, on a bike in the desert is a beautiful thing. Its how I normally ride, and it was a nice change, I think for Everyone. The Eagles were the song of the day, and I distinctly remember this song coming out of the Street Glide. There’s something about the Eagles and the Desert that just fits.
Twist the throttle, open her up and feel yourself breathe. I’ll always remember that stretch of road that day.
We stopped for gas on our way up through Goffs, and then onto interstate 40. We missed Needles, and straight through to the Park Moabi exit. Shawn had a surprise. It was a short day, and we were staying at Pirates Cove. Pirates Cove beats the living hell out of anything in Needles. Good Call.
It was early in the afternoon, so we headed down, had a few drinks and ate lunch. At 3, EagleRider told us to meet them at the dock for a cruise up the river.
Pete and Linda. 2 of my favorite people this ride.
Our Crew. Living Large, and heading up the River.
The Easy Rider Bridge, we’d cross that tomorrow
Bob and Shawn, having a beer and a Broment. (uh, bro’s having a moment…)
9 miles up the Colorado River, 9 miles back. A perfect day.
The ride up the Colorado was great. It was nice to talk a bit, and get to know everyone. We came in before sundown, and went to the bar for dinner and a few drinks.
Big D. Belly up to the Bar!
I need to say a little something about Graham here. Graham is from the UK, and we became pretty good friends on this ride. He knows Easy Rider like I do, and the man has mojo. We teased him pretty hard, about words like “Aluminum” and “Route”, and at the end of the day he pulled out the King’s English card. A fun guy to ride with. He found a waitress he fancied, and asked her to ride with us tomorrow. This story will come into play in the next blog post. A really nice gal.
We drank, got a little stupid and had a whole lot of fun. I was really starting to enjoy this ride, and the people that came on it. We hung out till they closed the place, and ended up on someones patio. shooting the bull, and having a good time.
We all shared 2 room suites. I was with Daniel, otherwise known as Big D. Big D is from Switzerland, and speaks German, and very little english. All I know is that dude can drink, likes heavy metal music, and is the only guy who rode the whole trip without a windshield. The man is hardcore. I think he had more fun than all of us combined.
A bit of a late start this morning, but no big deal. We had a short day. I enjoyed Furnace Creek Ranch. Nice accomodations, and the weather was cooler here than other times I’d been to death valley. Around 100 degrees. Normally, this place is a blast furnace. We mounted up, got gas, and explored Death Valley.
I used to ride to this area on a friday night, after work. I’d forgotten how much I missed the desert. It’s open, wide open and rugged. The desert gets in your soul somehow.
Pete, taking pictures of the ladies. Thats how Pete Rolls.
Brandon, in his natural habitat. Brandon is a good egg.
John, and the Captain.
We left Zabriskie Point and headed the 16 miles to to Badwater Basin, the lowest point in the US. I’ve been to death Valley a bunch, but I’d never been here.
My bike was starting to stretch her legs. Really enjoyable ride.
Badwater Basin, Death Valley CA – About 3/4 of the way up that hill is sea level.
From there we pressed on. More open road. I was really enjoying this ride.
Heading out of Death Valley
The Aussies taught me a new word. “crack a ton”, means break 100 MPH. I likey.
We rode to Shoshone, California, got gas and had lunch at the Crowbar Cafe and Saloon. There’s not much in Shoshone, and I’m not quite sure the crowbar was ready for all of us to show up.
Crowbar Cafe and Saloon- Shoshone CA
Then on to Baker. Cooled off at the Mad Greek, got an ice cream, then headed into Barstow.
We got into Barstow in the late afternoon. The Motel there had lost the ability to program keys, and the pool was out. Not that big of a deal. The nice thing, is the train behind the Motel only raged past every 30 minutes or so. It was kind of funny. I think EagleRider thought more about it than we did.
I stayed in that night, doing some work. The Whitehursts from the UK got married that night. At least I think.
Everyone had been checked out on their bikes, we had a welcome dinner the night before and were all ready to ride. left the Hotel after breakfast, mounted up, and headed out. First stop was LAX, a couple of miles away. This is where Billy and Wyatt sold the 2 batteries of whatever-that-white-powder-was before their ride to Mardi Gras.
Getting locked and loaded, ready to start out. Finding Easy Rider.
First Stop, LAX. Painting a picture of what happened here in Easy Rider in 1969. That punk Phil Spector was a no-show. Fokker.
From there, we made miles. Headed out of the city…. a long way from the city, because that’s where we wanted to be. Out of LA, to Death Valley. More Easy Rider there — The scenery started to open up, and the riding started to get nice.
First Gas Stop. I have no idea where this is. California, something.
You can tell a lot from a crew by the way they ride. This was a good crew. Everyone kept tight where they needed to be, and loose where they wanted. They’d done this before. Steve, Our tour guide got a flat in the California desert. Hazards of going first I guess. No matter, we had a spare bike and EagleRider had it handled. That spare bike came in handy. We hydrated at a rest stop for a short time, and that was the last bike incident of the trip. We headed north on the 395 towards Ballarat.
Rest stop in California, Swapping bikes. If there are road hazards, Steve will take a bullet for the team and run over them for you.
Open Road Ahead. I’ve missed the desert.
San Bernardino county is the largest county in the US, and it took us awhile to cross it. Stopped for lunch in Trona, California. Trona is a funny place. Pretty clearly a company mining town. I gotta say, They make a good burger. We were all fired up. Shawn and Bob busted out Captain America.
Busting out Captain America in Trona
Graham from the UK is hardcore Easy Rider. He’s got a replica Captain America bike signed by Peter Fonda. He knows the movie by heart. A great guy. Amicable, and really pretty damn funny. We started throwing movie references at each other by now. He was the first to take the helm. It seemed right.
My turn on the Captain.
We headed out of Trona, and made the 20 miles into Ballarat, where the movie really began.
Shorty Harris’s Home, Ballarat.
Ditch your watch.
Like Captain America Did
Shorty Harris House Now. It’s fallen in more since I saw it last.
The bike and I, Ballarat. A good moment.
It was here that one of the top 5 most embarrassing moments of my life happened. We were waiting for Graham, who was riding Captain America and missed the turn off to Ballarat. We were waiting for him, before I talked about what happened here in the movie. I took a drink of water (A man needs to hydrate), right when Bob said “Graham couldn’t make the turn, riding with an erection”. I lost it. It was then I spewed water all over the nicest lady you’ll ever meet, Martine from Beligium. She took it in stride, and I’m pretty sure I turned red.
Recovering from spraying Martine with Water. Eggghhh..
Heading out of Ballarat
I never set up a song for this trip. when we left, I shook the ipod and whatever played, played. Half way up the road, Born to Be wild started playing, just like it did in the film. Another good omen. It was perfect. We were starting the riding part of the movie, and I was eating it up.
From Ballarat, we headed the 80 miles to Furnace Creek for the night. Its an EagleRider tradition to crack a beer in the parking lot, and toast to the days ride. The first day was under our belt. Had dinner with Graham and the Aussies, then turned in for the night. Great first day. I slept like a baby, looking forward to another one.