They both went to Monument Valley, and raced out of L.A.

This song is bitchen…

Left the office fairly pissed off today.  Getting pissed and out of control has never really suited me.   I can get over bullshit fast.   Came home, and felt a  little Metallica was in order.   Nobody chased me down with a biplane today.    See?   I already feel better!   Thanks, Metallica.

I got the bike back friday.   It was the crank position sensor, like they thought.   Good to have the old gal back.   I cleared out enough moving boxes, to get her a special carpeted place in the garage.

Next Friday, we  ride.   Idaho.    Its my wifes family get-together.     I sold a spot in the car for camping equipment, with me riding up on the bike.    I dig my inlaws, I couldn’t have asked for better.    I will however, milk that ride for all its worth.     There’s some caves, the saloon in Utah, a cool old lake, and whatever else I can find along the way.      Twist a throttle and drink in the scenery.    I’m in.

I get my patch back tomorrow.    Central Utah.    Where it started.

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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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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:

slab road texas

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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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.

Easy Rider Monument Valley

In 1969, they rode it at dusk. We rode it at dawn.

Monument Valley 1969

Easy Rider Screenshot from 1969.   In 45 years, the scenery hasn’t changed much.

Captain America bike riding through Monument Valley

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.

Monument Valley Easy Rider

Two Mittens, Monument Valley

2 mittens Easy Rider monument valley

2 Mittens, screenshot from Easy Rider in 1969

Monument Valley Truck Tour

Mr and Mrs Tczap, and me  (Mr Zip).     Enjoying a tour of valley floor.

 

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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.

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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.

Joh Ford, John Ford Point

They Call it John Ford Point for a reason…

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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.

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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.

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Mexican Hat

From there we headed to Bluff, Utah for lunch.   Twin Rocks Cafe.

Twin Rocks Cafe, Bluff Utah

ehh, I’d have named it something different.

Twin Rocks Cafe, Bluff Utah

Getting ready to head out. On to Four Corners.

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Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico.   The only place in the US you can be in 4 states at once.

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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.

Captain America - Farmington New Mexico

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.

Day Six – Easy Rider Tour – 175 Miles


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Day 0:   EagleRider Offices, El Segundo CA

Flew into LA a couple of days before, and the next day headed over to EagleRider for a meeting about the trip.   Met the EagleRider crew, and talked about the route.

I’ll admit, I had no idea what to expect.   I just saw a group of people from the UK, Switzerland, Brazil, New Jersey, Belgium and Australia.   Just names on paper.    Could be good or bad, and I had no idea.      I was  ready to ride and I’d figure it out as I went along.   Met Steve, our tour guide for the first time.    He seemed professional and pretty easy going.   In the end, my instincts weren’t wrong.      Brandon was on his first run with EagleRider on the chase vehicle, and felt we were both kind of in the same boat in a way.    We spent the morning getting a few things ready, checking out a few locations, having some lunch and shooting the shit.    We drove over to LAX to find a spot to park the bikes for our first stop, just as a plane was coming in right over our heads, just like in the movie.

Easy Rider LAX

 

A Good omen.    The first of a few on this trip.   It was starting to feel  like I’d finally gotten here.

We headed back to EagleRider to get ready for everyone to arrive and get everything ready.     We spent some time loading Captain America, a spare bike, and double checking equipment and tools.    I paid attention and tried to learn a thing.   Getting a feel for this tour, and how EagleRider works.

Easy Rider Tour

Easy Rider Tour Signage.   EagleRider did this right.  Official Tour of the Movie.    No one else can claim that.

I knew they’d built the bikes for this ride, but I’d never seen them up close.  I am not gonna lie – I had a woody.

Captain America Bike

First thing you notice on the Captain America BIke

Captain America Bike

Pretty damn nice job methinks

Billy Bike - Easy Rider

The Billy Bike

Easy Rider Billy Bike

Another Shot

Beautiful  bikes.     EagleRider did a good job.

About the bikes:  no, they’re not hardcore original.    Even Peter Fonda didn’t ride the whole route on a hardtail.   They’re softails, and V-twin engines.    They’re made to  ride.     They look pretty damn good.

Got to drive the EagleRider van to pick  people up.   They launched a whole lotta tours that day, so it was kinda hectic.   The focus for them is customer experience.    In my 2 weeks, it showed over and over.

 When everything was somewhat settled,  they gave me my bike for this trip.   2013 Street Glide.   Six speed, 103.     11 miles on her.

2013 Street Glide

2013 Street Glide. My bike for this ride.

We all got our bikes going, headed to the hotel.   Then dinner, at Gene Simmons Rock and Brews.      Pretty Cool Place.  Conversation was good, and we were all looking forward to tomorrows ride I think.

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Everyone was a stranger at that point.    That  would change.    In the morning, we’d  ride.   Quick Easy Rider stop at LAX, then on to Death Valley where the movie really starts.

 

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Exactly one week ago, about this time, I was sitting in the Court of Two Sisters, a   Restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans, wondering where the last 2 weeks went.

After 2 weeks of riding, I was pretty beat.   We’d ridden half way across the country,  But I really didn’t want it to be over.    Met some solid and quality people on this trip, got to tell  about the movie that I love and spend years figgering out, and had the longest stretch of riding I’d ever done at one time.   Basically, I just had the best time of my life.

I was going to do this post each night on the road, but I wanted time to think about it some.    Even one week later, I’m still not sure I’ve digested it all.

So anyway, going to take this day by day, as I remember it, starting over 3 weeks ago.    Ill get through as much of it as I can.   A post a day, for the next 15 days should cover it.

To me, it was the best time of my life.   I wanna do it again.

here’s a primer:

We rode all of it, and then some.

 

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(Reuters) – Hollywood actor Dennis Hopper, best known for directing and starring in the 1969 cult classic “Easy Rider,” died on Saturday from complications of prostate cancer, a friend of the actor said. Hopper was 74.

The hard-living screen star died at his home in the coastal Los Angeles suburb of Venice at 8:15 a.m. PDT (1515 GMT), surrounded by family and friends, the friend, Alex Hitz, told Reuters.

In a wildly varied career spanning more than 50 years, Hopper appeared alongside his mentor James Dean in “Rebel Without a Cause” and “Giant” in the 1950s and played maniacs in such films as “Apocalypse Now,” “Blue Velvet” and “Speed.”

He received two Oscar nominations — for writing “Easy Rider” (with co-star Peter Fonda and Terry Southern), and for a rare heartwarming turn as an alcoholic high-school basketball coach in the 1986 drama “Hoosiers.”

“Easy Rider,” regarded is one of the greatest films of American cinema, helped usher in a new era in which the old Hollywood guard was forced to cede power to young filmmakers such as Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese.

The low-budget blockbuster, originally conceived by Fonda, introduced mainstream moviegoers to pot-smoking, cocaine-dealing, long-haired bikers.

“We’d gone through the whole ’60s and nobody had made a film about anybody smoking grass without going out and killing a bunch of nurses,” Hopper told Entertainment Weekly in 2005. “I wanted ‘Easy Rider’ to be a time capsule for people about that period.”

Hopper and Fonda were joined on screen by a then-unknown Jack Nicholson as an alcoholic lawyer, but it was not a harmonious set. Hopper clashed violently with everyone and Fonda later described him as a “little fascist freak.” Their friendship was destroyed.

Hopper fell ill last September. He continued working almost to the very end, both on his cable TV series “Crash” and on a book showcasing his photography. But his final months were also consumed by a bitter divorce battle with his fifth wife, Victoria Duffy.

Indeed, his private life was never dull. His marriages included an eight-day union in 1970 with Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and Papas, who later told Vanity Fair that she was subjected to “excruciating” treatment.

Hopper is survived by four children.

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Ballarat, California, 1969.   Theres some history there for a lot of things.    It’s one of those spots that maybe I need to head out this weekend and visit again.

Here’s some pictures of Easy Rider, from Ballarat California

Easy Rider Screenshot.  Ballarat California, Death Valley 1969

Screenshot from Easy Rider, 1969

Same shot in Ballarat, Today

I’m riding out there saturday night If I can pull it off to go see what it looks like, take some new pictures and get me a 3 part ride in.

This is the part of the movie before the credits.   This house in 1969 was where Wyatt rolled up the dollar bills, put them in a plastic tube in his gas tank, and put a cork in them.    It’s also where both Billy and Wyatt threw there watches on the road.

Here’s some more scenes from the house, sent to me by a friend who made a film about the movie, on replica panheads like the bikes in the movie.   This was Shorty’s house, from the film, and what it looks like today.

I’m heading out to ballarat.   Call it a tune up ride.  I need me a tune up.    It’s gonna be good.

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Pine Breeze Inn - Click for more Pictures.

The Pine Breeze Inn is the first famous Icon from the movie Easy Rider. This is where after leaving Ballarat California, Wyatt and Billy Rode till dark, almost to flagstaff where they asked for room at the pine breeze, and the proprietor immediately walked back in and turned on the no vacancy sign. They left, and billy shouted “you asshole!”, to head down route 66 a little further and camp by the road at some old ruined shacks. The pine breeze inn is still somewhat famous. For years bikers we’re still allowed to camp there, where the hero’s of easy rider we’re denied. It’s still alive, and in Bellemont Arizona. The famous NO VACANCY Sign has been altered somewhat since 1969 when Easy Rider was made, and it’s hanging at the entrance of the bar just a short distance down the street, still flashing no more rooms for hippies.

The Pine Breeze Inn

Cabins at the Pine Breeze Inn

Cabins at the Pine Breeze Inn

Cabin at Pine Breeze Inn

More Cabins

If Billy and Wyatt would have gotten a room, it would have been one of these

Pine Breeze Inn

Looking south. Thats route 66 in front of the Office there.

The no vacancy sign hangs in the bar a half mile up the road. It's been altered a bit since the movie, but it hangs prominently in the front of the bar.

Easy Rider Movie Route 66 Bellemont Pine Breeze Inn

The Pine Breeze, at dusk. 1969

Hey Man! You got a room??

Cabins at the Pine Breeze Inn

Where wyatt and billy were denied!

Pine Breeze Inn From Easy Rider
Pine Breeze Inn, Route 66
Billy and Wyatt headed on down this road...

Route 66 heads off in the distance. Billy and Wyatt slept up this road.

Signs of Life...
Easy Rider Poster on the Door

Easy Rider

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