I was reminded the other day that one of the legendary trips missing from our small yet perfectly formed series of trip reports is the famous Road 66. So I went to the Americas and did it.
No, not really. But I did it a few years back and just need to use the great power of my brain to re-collect whatever happened during those 15 days of riding. Thankfully I took pictures.
But before even setting foot in the land of the free, I needed a ride. And there is only one ride for the Road 66: a Harley Davidson. Now if there is one thing that I find impressive with Harley is the support network (more on the importance of customer service in another post). You just go to the Eagle Rider website, pick your landing spot, et voila! A brand new Road King Classic ready for the adventure. And not just that: the maps, the hotel reservations and even optional accessories like a helmet. Not rock’n roll I hear you say but I was young and needed to know where I was going.
Then the big day arrived. Landed in Las Vegas, enjoyed what the town had to offer that night and went straight to the Harley dealership the next morning. I like my bikes well sorted from a cinematic point of view so riding a Harley is always a “uh, don’t know” moment. But I like the Road King. It’s got character, space, comfort and a speed regulator which is useful when one wants to read a book or smoke a pipe whilst on the motorway.
Stuff my meagre possessions inside the big saddle bags and off I go, riding on the left lane as everyb… f**k, what’s this guy doing on my lane. Go away. Hang on, there’s something odd here. And finally after 2 good miles and one interesting left turn to the station the truth about this place slowly sank in my not entirely sober brain. The yellow lines which I always associated to England i.e. driving on the left had been subverted. Well, that’s that one sorted.
Top up the tank and off we go again, driving on the right this time. The bike is beautiful. Fellow Harley riders congratulate me at the traffic light. If only they knew… The lack of gloves should have given me away as biker buffoon but maybe I looked more hard core like that. Yes, for no good reasons, clearly, I didn’t pack the gloves, deciding that it was the way Harleys should be driven. A line of thoughts I haven’t had since then. Thankfully Americans ride horses. Quite a lot more than motorcycles apparently because I was able to find proper cowboy gloves in the local supermarket. I recommend them highly. I used them for a fair few years and only finished them in a 50 meters slide which saw me visit our good friends at the NHS. But that’s for another story.
Well-equipped I was now rid… nope. A few miles on the American highway highlighted another shortcoming of my otherwise perfect preparation. Highways are not really what the German would consider Autobahn material. It is probably why the speed is limited to 60 mph. Basically, in the middle of the desert, with gigantic trucks in both directions, the experience is more like going to your local SPA and asking for an exfoliating treatment… repeatedly. Ah yes, because I should have mentioned that I also picked an open face helmet, because that’s the way they were driving in Easy Rider. Now I have nothing against open helmets. I even possess one myself. I just don’t wear it. If I do, I come out of my bike after a ride and people think I’ve just lost a close family member. So I give it to my girlfriend who is generally too preoccupied by the speedo to think about crying.
All this to say that I bought a bandana and looked like a gangster for 15 days.
Oh, and the trip? Awesome. Road 66 – Vol. 2