Friday, October 11, 2019

~ Maiden Voyage ~

"The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

Robert leaving Three Rivers, California for La Joya, New Mexico

My bike is packed and ready for its maiden voyage out to the Badlands of New Mexico.  A farewell kiss and picture from Denise just before I leave.  My bike is broken-in with 700 miles on the odometer.  I start my motorcycle and wave my final good-bye.  The adventure begins.

I love Western movies, especially the line by Augustus McCrae in Lonesome Dove: “Ain’t nothing better than riding a fine horse in new territory.”

The adrenaline begins to calm down as I stop thinking about the trip and begin riding the trip.  My motorcycle is running smoothly and the 6th gear is a real treat.  My 2019 Indian Springfield has the Thunder Stroke 111 V-Twin engine (111 cubic inches).  There are many electronic gauges that I’ll soon master in the miles ahead. Though it is 200 pounds heavier than my Yamaha Road Star, it “feels” lighter, well balanced.

This trip will follow much of the Historic Route 66 and end in La Joya, New Mexico. There will be a story about Petrified Forest National Park for RoadRUNNER Motorcycle Touring& Travel so my words will be few about that portion of the trip.

My good friends Sandy and Robert ~ they will spend a month traveling Historic Route 66

Today is September 11th, a day to remember the lives that were lost and impacted on that epic day in New York.  I was unaware of the date as I reached Apple Valley. It was then that I looked down at my odometer which had exactly 911 miles and this date registered. This was special.  I stopped by Walmart, bought an American flag, and placed it on my motorcycle to ride freely across the wild west. Many people stopped by to admire my Indian and a few asked to have their picture taken next to it.

My brother Wil off to work ~ nice patriotic tie!

My odometer reads 911 miles on September 11th

Near Kingman, Arizona I follow Historic Route 66 towards Valentine to pay my respects to Danny Cypert.  In my previous article, Mile Marker 88 is my tribute to him.  The memorial is a bit hard to find (just past Mile Marker 88).  Going east, it is on the right-hand side of the road, just past the lone white house.  I'm happy to see that the owner still flies the American flag.

In Memory of Danny Cypert 1942 ~ 2007

My first camp is one of my favorites.  It is 9 miles south of Ash Fork, Arizona on Highway 89.  My camp is on the Kaibab National Forest where primitive camping is allowed. 

I like this spot because it is quiet and away from the highway.  There is plenty of dry firewood.  My usual spot from last year is there and my fire ring is still visible.  Cell phone reception is sketchy so I send Denise my location from Ash Fork.  She knows the exact spot as we’ve camped here before.  There are several pieces of large volcanic rock scattered about so it requires concentration to navigate to the campsite. The fire warms me quickly and soon I am cooking my dinner over the open fire. I have a hammock but tonight I favor the firm ground.  Sleep comes easily, even with a full moon that tries to keep me awake. I love to hear the coyotes who greet the new moon.  My Indian Springfield is nearby and seems content with its first camp.  There will be many more.

Historic Route 66 ~ Ash Fork, Arizona

The weather across Arizona was mild until I reached New Mexico. They said it had been dry for a long time until I rolled into the state.  The sky turned dark and heavy rains came down in buckets.  Rain on a motorcycle is not too bad but when rain turns to hail, well that’s a whole new game. I was riding from Mountainair towards to Tijeras along Highway 55 and 337 on a leisure ride when the rain came from nowhere. Within seconds, the hard rain turned to hail and the road turned white.  It was unsafe to continue so the big tree ahead offered shelter.  I didn’t have time to put on my rain gear so I’m wet. It just wasn’t safe to stop on this highway covered by the flash flooding.  The summer storm lasted an hour before it was safe to continue. The dry spell in New Mexico was over.  I saw to it.

My new iron horse proved that it was capable of enduring its first severe rainstorm.  Me, I was a bit nervous with the hail.

Historic Route 66 ~ Williams, Arizona

Historic Route 66 ~ Wigwam Motel Holbrook, Arizona

Historic Route 66 ~ Petrified Forest National Park

Me, my bike, and El Morro National Monument. I camped here last night

In the days ahead, I would visit my sister Elva and her husband Robert in Abo, see my cousin Tudie in Belen, and visit with my good friend Stanley in La Joya.  

Before heading for La Joya, I stopped by Leo’s for some green chili jerky and noticed a new sign.  The sign designed and installed by Jay and Joaquin looks fresh and inviting.  Jay owns and operates 505 Fitness and Wellness a new business in Belen providing quality health and wellness to all, especially young people in need of a new positive direction.  Jay's gym was impressive and like today, an occasional semi-pro boxer stops by for a workout and nutritious drinks.  

Joaquin and Jay who just finished the sign

Joaquin, semi-pro boxer, and Jay

La Joya Fiestas were full of good music, food, and friends.  I always stop by the cemetery to pay my respects to our family and friends, seeing a few new headstones.  The petrified tree placed years ago for our grandfather Pablo Griego has weathered time well.

Abo Ruins - Salinas Pueblo National Monument.  Rain is imminent 

My good friend Stanely with his grandson, Cason in La Joya, New Mexico

Cousins' James and Art in La Joya, New Mexico

Pablo Griego . Nacio 1-25-1841 ~ Murio 1915

Petrified Tree Headstone ~ Pablo Griego

New Mexico's open highways ~ heading west

Rain is coming

The rain begins to fall lightly.  I stop for one last picture.  I reflect on the trip thus far on my dependable Indian Springfield that has carried me along lonely New Mexico roads.  My Indian is impressive.  It's time to return home.  Light rain often turns into heavy rain. 

My Indian Springfield, after 2,300 miles and seven days, proves that it is ready for the 'adventure that lies ahead.'

Saturday, October 5, 2019

~ Waypoints ~

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” —  HOWARD THURMAN

Waypoints, Volume 1: Zen Motorcyclist

Bud Miller once gave me valuable advice as a new motorcycle journalist.  His advice was concise and to the point, "Write from the heart, even if it causes pain."

His advice served as a cornerstone for my own motorcycle tales. Once I began to write from the heart, words flowed easily.

My friend Bud, the Zen Motorcyclist, recently authored a memorable piece - Waypoints.  It's well worth reading.  Check it out........

What’s Inside:

Motorcycles Are Dangerous
Coming Alive
Four Legs, Two Wheels and a Grateful Heart
You Can Go Home Again.
Kindness and Familiarity of Strangers
When My Ship Comes In
Lost (and Found)
A Little Bit of Everything
Do What You Love
More Alike
The Cure for Grief
Halfway to Somewhere
“To Feel Normal Again
Every Time I Turn Around
Dandelion Rides
Beautiful and Broken
The Best Lessons
Better Shared
If I’m Right, Smile
Company Along the Way
Old Is New Again
The Lotus
It’s What We Do
The Glass is Beautiful