Friday, June 1, 2018

~ The Badlands of Texas ~

"I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than any city on earth" - Steve McQueen

"Honestly man, you're riding an Indian where?"

This eleven day trip and 3,434 miles is to a place called 'nowhere,' somewhere near the badlands of Texas.

An adventure for sure.

Thank you RoadRUNNER Motorcycle Touring and Travel for sponsoring this ride along some lonely roads from California, into Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.  And a big thank you to Indian Motorcycle for use of their 2018 Indian Chieftain Limited motorcycle on this epic adventure into the wild west.

I picked up the motorcycle at Herwaldt Motorsports in Fresno, California; a top-notch dealer for BMW, Ducati, Triumph, and Indian Motorcycle.  A family-owned business that speaks "friendly."

And to my readers, thanks for following me and putting me into the Top 100 Motorcycle Blogs on the planet.  I was the last one chosen, but then again, I have only one way to go, and that's up!

The scenery along Route 66 from California into Arizona and New Mexico stopped me every few miles to capture this iconic highway across America.

My ultimate goal is Big Bend National Park in west Texas.

My full story will appear later in my series, In Pursuit of Wildness at RoadRUNNER Magazine but I wanted to share a few pictures with new friends that I met along the trail.  After all, it is the personal encounters that for me make the journey meaningful.  The article will be out in the months ahead, so in the meantime grab the current issue RoadRUNNER Magazine, their 100th Anniversary edition, online or at the newsstands and read about some amazing rides by some very talented writers/riders.

The 2018 Indian Chieftain Limited has the new Thunder Stroke 111 engine.  It was absolutely a joy to ride and performed admirably on this long distance ride out to west Texas.  I'm spoiled.

Smooth, powerful, graceful - this machine turned eyes at every stop.

There are many ways to cross into Texas but my path is along the backroads.  I'll camp whenever I can and sleep under those wide open Texas stars near and at Big Bend National Park.  The night sky is brilliant.  My finger crosses the entire universe in one easy motion.  The stark night darkness is something I've not experienced since wide open places in Montana.  It is dark. Quiet. Peaceful. Wild. I feel alive. An honor to be here.

Matt, of Herwaldt Motorsports, hands me the key to this 2018 Indian Chieftain Limited and gives me a cool t-shirt and hat

Thumbs up.  This Indian with the Thunder Stroke 111 engine is awesome

Pure Indian to the last detail - love it!

Chris, of Herwaldt Motorsports, fits me with this awesome Indian helmet.  Steve appears a bit jealous that he's not going.

Denise drove me to Herwaldt Motorsports in Fresno to pick up this 2018 Indian Chieftain Limited

Along Route 66 in Barstow, California.  I love this Muriel.

Robert and Myles Griego at the Route 66 Barstow Mother Road Museum.  Myles is an adventure biker.

My first day was a long one, 585 miles.  This Indian is photogenic and an awesome ride.  
I sensed it too loved the adventure.

Met this biker who had 722,000 on his machine in Seligman, Arizona.

Scott Master owns Scott's Fly Shoppe in Spanish Fork, Utah.  Scott was on a 1,900 bike ride 
where we both needed gas in Springerville, Arizona.  Nice Triumph Scott!

My new friend Scott, and Robert.  I don't know who the guy is in the background, but he's now famous.

A personal invite to fly fish with Scott in Spanish Fork, Utah.

The photo below requires a few words about this special lady that I met at Sofia's Kitchen in Socorro, New Mexico.  It seems that she married a man who was working on the Panama Canal years ago.  Her husband had a ranch near Silver City, New Mexico and rode an Indian motorcycle in the 1930's.

She was friendly and told me that she was 103 years old, adding "I'll be 104 in two months."  I gave her my business card which she read carefully.  Impressive lady.  In Spanish, she says, "I see you are a Griego.  There are many Griegos' here in Socorro."  I nod.  She then wishes me well on my journey "Que se vaya bien."

The icing on the cake was when she said simply, "I like your Indian."  And words from a lady who is 103 years old!  I leave Socorro for the badlands of Texas with a smile on my face.

Calty Roos and her son Omar

My good friend Fred Dokie of 50 years puts me up for the night in El Paso, Texas.  
I think it's fair to say that he's an avid hunter, fisherman, and Raider's fan.

Jamie who rides a Harley Davison welcomes me at Chios Basin Campground in Big Bend National Park, Texas.

Shirley Joiner who I met at Panther Junction in Big Bend National Park provided me with the picture of her dad below,
Charles Louis Kirby

Charles Louis Kirby (1914-2005)

With the help of RoadRUNNER Magazine, they determined that he rode an Indian Scout, mid to late 1920's.  
Shirley later says "Thanks RoadRUNNER!"

These awesome guys at Indian Motorcycle of El Paso, Texas changed my oil and gave me one gallon of free gas 
adding: "Man, you arrived on fumes."  Thanks, Indian guys for watching my six.

New friends Sarah and Doug Greer in Lordsburg, New Mexico.  They are riding their bikes from Glasgow, Kentucky to California visiting National Parks along the way. 

Doug rides a Honda CB 500X and Sarah rides a Ducati Scrambler; real adventures in my book.

Doug and Robert in front of his bike.  Sarah has her own bike

Doug, Sarah, and Robert.  Bikers ready to hit the road west.

Retired "sign man" in Ash Fork, Arizona who spotted my Indian from above and came down for a closer look.

Highwire worker who sees everything below

My new friend Danny Kamphaus and Robert at Davis Mountain State Park campground in Texas.  
Danny is traveling from Kansas City out to California and many more miles in between.  Likely well over 5,000 miles.

Me, my Indian, and Williams, Arizona the "Gateway to the Grand Canyon."

Sarah, Denise, and Doug in Three Rivers, California.  They went to Joshua Tree and Death Valley National Parks on their journey from Kentucky.  And now, they are heading into Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.  

They will go home with well over 6,200 miles.  Impressive!

Danny Kamphaus, from Kansas City, joins me for lunch in Three Rivers, California.  
He travels light and extensively on his Harley Davidson.

I loved this adventure out to a place called 'Nowhere.'  Steve McQueen would be proud.  

There will be more to come from this story for RoadRUNNER Motorcycle Touring & Travel magazine.  

Big Bend National Park in west Texas is wild, scenic, and a destination worth pursuing.  

This trip into Texas on this Indian motorcycle was an awesome adventure.  When I returned home, I was asked: "What was your favorite moment on that trip?"

Thinking.  I responded.

"It was taking this picture above without another person in sight for miles and feeling like I found that place called "nowhere."