Europe, North America ·
19 Days ·
124 Moments ·
19 September 2017
Fifth thank you. Everyone else. Your comments, likes, replies and messages kept us going. It made all the write ups and pictures worth while knowing they were getting home and bring appreciated. Thank you everyone.
Final thank you. I can't say enough about this bloke. 2 months ago he was in a life threatening accident and fractured his skull open. Not until 24 hours before did we know if he was coming. He's been my buddy, my soulmate, my crutch, my friend for 4000 hard miles and 13 days. He's not complained much (just a little), we've shared some amazing experiences, met some amazing people, and achieved something we will look back at the rest of our life. We will always have this is common, and no one will ever truly know how fucking hard it was. Darren house. Your my legend mate. I couldn't have done this without you and I'm forever grateful for what you did
That's it guys. Over and out. The planning for Darren's 50th starts now 😂😂😎😎🇺🇸🇺🇸
First thank you to my beautiful wife Louise Cleghorn. She gave me the balls to book this up. The opportunity to do something I'd dreamed off and let me go away for two weeks to accomplish my dreams. And then came to meet me when she was only a shadow of her normal self. I love you my darling.
Second thank you to Jill Baird and Joe. Thanks for the support and looking after my wife whilst I was away. Thanks for looking after the kids and all the support you gave us. Without you I never would have left England.
Third thank you. To my mum. Carol Cleghorn. Mum hadms single handily had the kids when Louise came to meet me. Without mum and dad we never could have booked Vegas and Louise never could have met me.
Forth thank you. To all my friends that came to Vegas. The last 6 days have been unforgettable. Amazing. We shared some incredible experiences and an insane amount of laughter fuelled by a similar amount of alcohol. Vegas reunion in planning. Invites to go out soon.
And as Frank Sinatra once said. "And Now the end is near" I feel it's the right time to sum up the last unforgettable three weeks of my life.
What can I say about it all. Am I sad it's over, well no in fact I'm not. I've achieved something few people can claim to have done. I've seen things I never dreamed off. I experienced things that I never expected. I had many highs, a few lows, but left with a bucket of memories. At the end of the day. I'm just proud. And thankful. Proud that we did something incredible, unforgettable, never to be repeated. And thankful for the opportunity, for the luck with the weather, no injuries, no breakdowns.
To wrap this up I have some thank you's that can't go without a few thank you's.
13 September 2017
were finally at our journeys end. We quickly googled a cheap motel and gratefully got off our bikes and unpacked. Beers, meal and a ride down the Vegas strip was ahead of us but for now at least time to reflect on the day. 320 miles. Utah to Arizona to Nevada. Smashed it. Tomorrow we have a gentle ride out to the Hoover Dam before we have to return to Vegas and say goodbye to the bikes. Wifey arrives early afternoon and then more friends. The party can soon begin. Lots more to look forwards to but East to West coast is done.
For 10 to 12 miles it cut through a mountain range at the Virgin River Gorge. It must have taken years to make. Bridges over canyons. Deep man made cuttings in the mountains. Just amazing. We ticked off two more bucket lists. Huge cactus lined the route and some tumbleweed blew across the motorway. Excellent stuff. Leaving the mountains another heavy rain shower, huge droplets hitting your legs like darts being thrown at you. Luckily we skirted the cloud and entered the Valley if Fire. It turned out it was well named. 110'F and we baked. Even at 80mph we just died in sweat. It really was horrible.
Huge power lines started to appear on the roadside and it was a clue Vegas was close. As we crested over a hill Vegas rose above the desert plain like a colossus. Huge towering building erupting from the desert floor. After 13 days we were nearly there. Traffic jams, crowded roads, irritated people reminded us what we hadn't missed at all. But a sense of relief came over me that we
The result is nothing short of stunning. Pillars of multicoloured rock, raised in symmetrical funnels pointing skywards, like a grand organ in a cathedral. Multicoloured and multilayered it really is amazing. Again no words of mine can do it justice. We went to 4 or 5 viewing platforms, ranging from landscapes to huge natural arches. Every time better than the last and more memorable.
Storm clouds were gathering and we decided to leave Bryce and head for Vegas nearly 300 miles away. We rode back out the same roads we'd came in on and then got hit by a huge downpour. We donned waterproofs but still got a soaking. As we prepared to leave Utah it had one more gem lined up for us. The Utah 20 West. A four lane road climbing and twisting through a mountain range. It was like a boys Scalextric track. Massive lanes snaking through the mountain pass. It was awesome. Losing the waterproofs we got on the Interstate 15. Vegas 200 miles away. The interstates engineering was incredible.
So the day had come. Our last full days riding was upon us. It only seems a few days ago, and yet a lifetime ago that we started in New York. But life goes on.
We started the day early and headed up Red Canyon. A tiny twisty road through a tight canyon. Holes cut in cliffs for the road to push through. The landscape as we have become used to of late stunning and red. The air was chilli, the roads empty and good time was made to breakfast. Two pancakes and lots of tea later we headed into Bryce Canyon. It seemed a lot busier than the GC or perhaps it just seemed that way as it's smaller. Again tight curving roads climbed into the canyon. At one point hitting over 8700ft. When the car parks arrived the jaws dropped. Where the GC is huge and vast, Bryce is beauty personified. The shapes and symmetry of the rocks formations were incredible. What used to be a sea bed, and raised over millions of years, is now subject to below freezing temperatures and hot desert extremes.
And so we made it. After leaving Brice canyon we headed for Vegas. 320 HOT !!! miles later and we in a crappy motel before moving to the Bellagio tomorrow.
And the erosion becomes more extreme the further you go. The Bridge.
Climbing higher, 8400ft above sea level. Things just got better and better.
Where the Grand Canyon is massive. Bryce Canyon is beautiful. Water freezing, expanding, cracking and then melting has made these formations that remind me of a huge cathedral. Amazing place.
Another early start today. Destination Bryce Canyon which is literally just up the road. First a quite ride through Red Canyon and these cool arches. Shut chilly this morning compared to recent days but I'm sure it will warm up soon.
12 September 2017
The next destination was to get near Bryce Canyon in Utah. We rode again through stunning canyons, off the plateau and into boiling desert valleys again. We rode through the Red Canyon and 200 miles later Bryce Canyon was within our reach, but the setting sun and shift in time zones were against us. We tried to check into a motel asking for $150 a night. Urrrrr, no thanks we are used to paying $60 to 80 a night. Across the road was a RV park with some wooden huts with beds in seemed like a viable option. $35 a night with bed linen and towels. Booom. That will do us nicely. So what is the showers we're in a shower block and the hut creeks as the timbers cool. It had Comfy beds and electric. A short ride into town for dinner and home to chill in our new home. All kitted out with wireless. I just love small things like this. It's what makes the experience all the more worth while. Tomorrow. Bryce Canyon.
We rode around one corner and a heard of Bison grazed at the side of the road. It was an amazing sight to see them in the wild. We rode through the Kaibab forest some areas decimated by fire in 2003. After an hour we arrived at the north rim. Nothing can prepare you for the Grand Canyon. I've seen it before. From the top and bottom aboard a mule but it still defies description. It's enormous. Gigantic. You could fit countries inside it. It's just bloody huge. Some things are described as beautiful, stunning. The GC is just vast beyond description. It's over a mile deep. 18 miles wide and nearly 300 miles wide. Seriously that's bigger than some counties. It took over six million years in the making. Imagine the earth changes in that time. We sat, we gazed, we hiked a bit and we struggled in the thin air. But it's amazing. Nothing can compare in sheer awe factor. We left reluctantly after a few hours.
Today was an early start day. At 07:30 the bikes were packed and we were on the road. The last rays of the previous days sun were scorching. This morning the sun rose and a clean crisp air greeted us as we headed out of Cliff-Dwellers. The low sun lit the already red cliffs into a blood red colour which guided our path towards the North Rim. The roads were to die for today. All day we turned, climbed, descended and lent the bikes over. For once using the sides of the tyres and not sat in the middle. We started to climb of the cliff shelf up to the north rim through twisting canyons. 3000ft we climbed. Unexpectedly forests emerged and lined our route. The temperatures dropped and the tress gave off a sent to die for. If you could have bottled it you could have sold it. A sweet coniferous sap that filled your nostrils. As we entered the Grand Canyon national park we stopped for breakfast. After a belly of pancakes the final drive down route 67 which again was a bikers dream.
The local motel wanted $150 for the night. We've been paying between 60 and 80 so we told him to sling his hook. Directly opposite was a RV site doing these tiny huts for $35 for the night. Bed linen. Towels. Showers. All included. It's going to be awesome.
Amazing. Seeing a herd of buffalo on the way out of the GC park. Amazing stuff. They were dust rolling and grunting. Amazing to see.
Views over the GC. I had to push myself to get some of these. I'm not great with heights and some of these were pretty scary.
Heading into the Grand Canyon north rim through the Kaibab forest.
Climbing 3000ft off the plateau into the North Rim. Spectacular scenery as we're becoming accustomed too.
Filling up at Cliff Dwellers at 7:30 before leaving.
235 miles. Los Lunas to Grand Canyon
11 September 2017
The canyon is rightfully world famous but I didn't know about the mountains. I've approached the south rim before and you don't see anything of the stunning mountain scenery. The day was drawing in and the sun dipping towards the mountains as we reach Navajo bridge. The only river crossing of the great canyon. We stopped to chat to other admirers, grabbed some pictures and soaked up the memories. Locals told us of a little known stop ahead called Cliff -Dwellers. "Small cabins, good beer, nice rooms, crap food". It sounded perfect to us. As we arrived as the sun was setting over the mountain cliffs and it was a relief to get out of the saddle. Another day I'll never forget. Now, what the hell are we going to do all night with no phone coverage or wireless. Better get a drink in. Night.
We sat in awe looking at it taking in the immensity of what had happen. 26,000 miles an hour. 50,000 years ago. Solid iron-nickel and weighing several hundred thousand tonnes it vaporised everything in its path. Just 150ft across but made enough energy to equal 20 million tonnes of TNT. The figures were staggering. After an hour it was time to leave.
Jumping in the i40 again we headed to Flagstaff. A dead Puma lay by the roadside, the trains vanished but motorcycles were more frequent again. We left i40 at Flagstaff and headed for the Grand Canyon north rim. Less popular than the south rim, but higher, not as accessible but better views with better access for us the next day. The red desert approached, its oncoming secret given away by the pink clouds on the horizon. Soon red desert surrounded us, huge red cliffs and mountains guided the road northwards. The heat was immense and we both died in the heat, the bikes showing 110'F. Water stops were a 30 minute essential interruption
"Take It Easy" and had breakfast overlooking the famous junction. Route 66 intercepts the town and we thought we'd ride our last part of 66. Unfortunately SatNav had other ideas and took us down a dirt track where 66 basically ran into ruin. On the plus side a Roadrunner (beep beep) crossed our path and dashed across the poor excuse for a road. We said goodbye to 66 which had become a good friend over the lasts two weeks and we may well never see again.
We headed back to the interstate, destination Barringer Crater. The crater is somewhere I've wanted to visit since I was 8. Dreams of a cowboy with his Stetson sitting in a rock flooded back as we approached. The ground rose above the flat plain where the meteor had erupted earth up in the air falling as a barrier around the immense hole. We parked, paid and climbed. Oh my god it was stunning. A huge scar in the earth, the demonstration of immense power that devastated an area and changed life on the planet.
Oh my days. Where do I begin. What a day.
In fact let's go back to last night. After dinner as we were walking back to our motel a solitary open door beckoned us with the sound of good music. It looked a decent joint and in we went. Inside was a lonely bargirl and a guy sat at the end of the bar drinking on his own. Within an hour we were all best friends, sharing drinks, shots, lagers and doubles at pool. Jeremy and Meagan were both native Navajo Indian and had great stories to tell. Meagan kept the juke box going and told us tales of the town and her travels. It was such a beautiful experience and so unplanned. Eventually we had to say goodnight and make our move back. Carroll bar.
This morning we headed out for breakfast at Winslow. It was a 30 mile blast down the i40. We rode alongside cliffs with precarious rocks balancing above the interstate, the same size as most of the lorries and ten times the weight. In Winslow we had to go to the famous corner from the Eagles song
Running out of places to stay tonight and found this little gem nestled up against the cliffs. 10 or 12 little cabins. A bar, restaurant and gas station. Three rooms left. Oh yes please. Bikes at Cavedwellers.
The only crossing point of the Grand Canyon. The Navajo bridge. I never even knew a crossing point existed until we got here.
Everyone obviously knows about the Canyon. But I had no idea these huge red mountains existed on the route to the north rim.
We left i40 at Flagstaff and headed towards the north rim. At first there was green and then this. The red desert is coming. The clouds lit up pink and then the desert appeared.
Here at last. The huge meteor crater. A mile across and the most well preserved meteor crater in the world. Created by a meteor doing 26,000 miles an hour. 50,000 years ago. Solid iron-nickel and weighing several hundred thousand tonnes it vaporised everything in its path. Just 150ft across but made enough energy to equal 20 million tonnes of TNT.
When I was a young boy about 8 or 9 years old my mum and dad gave my an old geology book. It was a little hardback book with black and white pictures. One page had a picture of a cowboy sat on a rock with his Stetson on staring at this enormous hole in the ground. It was the Barringer meteor crater. It always captured my imagination as at the time, and some believe it still to be what caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. I used to imagine being that cowboy and looking at something that had such an enormous impact on life on this planet. Today I get to fulfil my dream of a 9 year old boy and look at what that cowboy was looking at. Probably the thing I've been most excited about all trip.
Route 66. Standing on the corner in Winslow Arizona.
10 September 2017
Pool. Beers. And The Eagles. With Jeremy and Meagan at the Carroll bar. Great to hear some Navajo stories from true native Americans.
Horizon it was time to leave. Dodging thunderstorms and torrential downpours we headed to the closest town for our ritual shower, food and beer. An incredible day I will never forget. I loved New Mexico. Before I got to Arizona it was my favourite state. Long live the king. The king is dead.
You were looking through a window of two worlds. The landscapes on either side were so different. One side red rocks and the other sandy outcrops.
We crossed into Arizona and quickly left the interstate and headed to Painted Desert national park. As we approached I noticed the bottom of the clouds were pink. I thought my mind was playing tricks on me but the reason soon became apparent. The painted desert is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. Pinks. Browns. Reds. Greys. Whites. Blacks. Stunning stunning scenery. No wonder the Navajo thought this was a magical place. Private roads and 15mph limit with spotting lay-bys every 200 yards only meant one thing. No helmets or jackets. With the punishing heat it was a small relief. For two hours we admired the scenery before heading to the Petrified Forest. Another area of outstanding beauty where wind and rain has exposed buried fossilised trees. Again it was enough to take your breath away. As the sun was dipping to the
New Mexico to Arizona. 280 miles. Los Lunas to the middle of nowhere (I think it's called Holbrook)
We started off the day making the decision to catch up some time and wind the throttle back on i40 instead of a days riding on back roads. The plan being to take in some sights in Arizona. Leaving Los Lunas we quickly picked up a nice back road that cut across to i40. 20 miles of sweeping roads and amazing scenery greeted us. A lunar landscape one side of the road and grotesque moulded holders the other side like a old mans screwed up face. Trains came and went and we luckily filtered through roadworks with no delay. i40 greated us in a howl of exhaust and it was time to wind the throttle back and bang out 200 miles in very quick time. A days riding took us 2.5 hours. When you need them, interstates are amazing machines. Lorries past like mobile chicanes, a dead coyote on the hard shoulder, and huge red cliffs with multiple layers like a wedding cake stayed on our right. It felt like
Thunderstorm dodging. Got a few spots but how we escaped a soaking nobody knows.
Bloomin chucking it down.
Petrified trees. 225 Million years old. After they became fossilised the land around them had eroded and the tree fossil remains.
Approaching thunderstorm. At first they were coming in one direction. We saw some lightning strikes in this direction before all hell started letting loose with thunder claps coming from all directions. It was time to Foxtrot Oscar.
Petrified tree. Just an awesome place. 225 million years to turn a fallen tree into a fossil as hard as stone. Incredible.
Petrified Forest looking East.
Darren being braver than me. Petrified Forest again, this time looking East.
Newspaper Rock. Petrified desert. Navajo inscriptions on the rocks dating back centuries.
Painted desert. Just one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. Got quite lost in myself and felt very emotional. Stunning. Just stunning.
Private reserve that you pay $10 and drive around a marked route with stop off points. No helmets. No jackets or gloves. 10mph and just soak it up.
Helmet and Jacket free around the painted desert reserve. True hippy bikers now.
Painted Cliffs rest area. 200 mile blast on i40 this morning. Early start heading for the Painted Desert.
Red Rocks Park. Next to i40. Couldn't stop as we were motoring at 90Mph. Nicked this off google to show what we were passing. Stunning red cliffs surrounded by desert.
9 September 2017
..... It really was kids dream stuff. We past a herd of antelope, saw clouds turning into skyscrapers and laughed as a lorry of watermelons went past. A huge white lake appeared, bordered by pure white sand dunes and the water gave an incredible reflection. Silent wind farms littered the desert and the wind seemed to die down for once. As we dropped into Albuquerque a 12 mile canyon decent with constant S bends was our day long prize. However the boiling cauldron of heat that greeted us was unbelievably oppressive. Albuquerque is surrounded by mountains and a bowl of 100'F at 6PM in full motorcycle gear was hard to handle. We left Albuquerque and crossed the Rio Grande into Los Lunas for end of day motel. Shower. Good beer. Fantastic day. Couldn't have asked for more.
For me. Today was the best days riding we've had. We left Tucumcari destination Albuquerque. The biggest city in New Mexico. We left 66 straight away and were immediately blessed with twisting roads between rock formations and then the most stunning views of the desert. The road switched from straight roads across flat desert to twisting raising and falling curves between rock outcrops. The views really were amazing. For once we were glad of the straight roads to take in what was around us. Every time we stopped termites crawled everywhere and we were sure we could here rattle snakes in the scrub. Wind and rain turned rocks into grotesque forms of their original self, small cactus appeared in the roadside and the sun just kept belting down. RV motor homes littered the desert landscape and huge clouds cast shadows that looked like armageddon was about to descend on us. We chased trains across the desert landscape and the drivers willingly sounded by their klaxons whenever we beckoned ..
Tucumcari to Albuquerque. 281 Hard but best miles today. Best days riding for me for sure apart from last 10 miles when the heat got to me. Awesome roads. Had a great buzz going all day. And stunning scenery.
White lake. Stunning white sand lake. Just incredible reflections and what looked like salt on the bed but hiding by the surrounding countryside it could have just been dried white sand.
Dirt road. Riding down a river of bright yellow desert Daisy's. SatNav chose an interesting route for us. Loose gravel and mud on a compacted base. It made the riding interesting shall we say. Hahahaha.
Wind and water erosion at its best. This is the middle of no where. No sight seeing route or anything. Just random rocks out in the desert.
Left this morning and it immediately took us off 66. Oh my days. Immediately into desert and rock formations. Stunning. Just stunning. This could take a long time with the scenery like this.
Much needed energy boost today. At the end of every day I've had the shakes. I can't explain it and I don't know the reason why. But today is the first day I've woken up with it. And no it's not beer. Only had two beers last night and was tucked up in bed by 9:30. Kix on Route 66
Route planning the last six days of our trip whilst lying in bed at 7:00AM
8 September 2017
Sadly the state of many a motel on Route 66.
Temperatures soared, the roads became narrow and straight again. We rode one section, 40 miles long and saw one lorry, one car, and three cowboys herding cattle down the road. It was the most remote we'd felt all trip. No houses. No towns. No cars. Just the occasional Ranch entrance that disappeared off into the distance.
Darren saw a 7ft snake wriggling down the side of the road but I was watching my fuel gauge which was diminishing rather alarmingly. Two ghost towns came and went with abandoned gas stations before one appears in the nick of time. We set our sights on Tucumcari back on 66. We crossed into New Mexico. Gained another hour in time zones and finished at a motel back on 66. Shower, food, beer, bed beckons.
A real mixed bag day today. Just crazy roads again and lots of hard riding in barmy heat and desert regions but awesome stuff again
We left Canadian fairly early and headed for breakfast 20 miles down the road. The roads were wide and sweeping, climbing and snaking through the landscape of rocky outcrops. The road soon picked up the railroad which meant it became straight and followed industrial centres. Aiming for Amarillo we stuck with it until we reached our destination and the Cadillac Ranch back on Route 66, 10 upturned cars semi buried in the ground.
We passed a commercial Ranch with thousands of cattle in pens. They went on for miles like ants disappearing into the distance. Huge trucks delivered grain and a massive reservoir the water. 66 turned into what we disliked before, it followed the interstate and nothing to look at but passing trucks. After some lunch we decided to give 66 a wide berth and head north into open countryside. What a fantastic decision that was
Got a bit nervy on petroleum in the desert. The last two towns we rode through were deserted with derelict building and abandoned gas stations. Squeezed 240 miles out of the tank but only had 28 miles left before the bike broke down in the middle of no where. Thankfully this one came along in the nick of time.
Can you see it. No neither could we. 100s of miles of desert regions. Nothing out there but snakes and scorpions that want to ruin your day.
I saw this coming from a distance and couldn't work out what it was at first. As we got nearer I realised it was tens of thousands of cattle. They disappeared into the distance like ants. Huge lorries delivered feed and tractors pushed the feed around. A huge industrial operation. Amazing.
One of our must see attractions. We joined 66 again at Amarillo and the Cadillac Ranch is just on the outskirts. What I didn't know was they are re sprayed and sprayed again and again EVERY day do they end up with stalactite formulations dripping from them. We spent 15 minutes mouthing around before moving on.
The desert is coming. It's coming Very Very slowly into everything we do and see. Like a creeping vine it's replacing the landscape around us. The red soil has gone and sand a rock is appearing. Early breakfast stop to refuel how positivity.
7 September 2017
Where do I start with today. Today was not a biking day. In fact the roads were so straight at one point we came to a bend and I nearly fell off. The roads were massively long. In fact some where over 10 miles arrow straight. Thank god for the music and passing scenery. Green turned to red dirt. Houses were so sporadic that people waved from their lawns as we past. We stopped seeing other bikes pretty soon after passing Wichita. We saw trains, lots of trains, all of them over a mile long. At one point we were riding alongside one and the guy was waving and sounding his klaxons. Luckily we got it on the bullet cam video. Crops stopped after a hundred miles and were replaced with horses and cattle. We ran over a 6ft dead snake in the road and baked in the 100degree heat. Mini Dust storms chased across the horizon kicked up by farming vehicles and trucks. Oil Derricks nodded there approval all the way to Texas as we tore up the 300 miles we needed to do today. We arrived in Canadian ....
..... continued.... just across the Texas border and found some accommodation pretty easy. Shower, change, and out for beers and food at "The Stumbling Goat" bar. Hopefully a chilled evening and ready for bed later.
Riding with a full face mask. Moisturising three times a day. Factor 70 twice a day. But all that and riding in 100 degrees day after day for 10 hours a day does this to your face. Bet the wife can't wait to See me.
Dry riverbed. You could see it going for miles in either direction but when in flow is obviously strong enough to create that escarpment.
Old timer. Ghost town. Down left were bars and a cinema. All gone now. Average she 55 now. All young people left. Hardtner Kansas
Metal sculptures at Rose Hill.
6 September 2017
Another example of how amazing people are tonight. I googled a few bars and although "True Lies" was smile walk it seemed worth a visit. The place was full of pretty mean looking Harley bikers. Built like buses and tattoos everywhere. We did our usual thing, acted confident and sat up front at the bar. To cut a long story short one guy, Lance cane over and we chatted about bikes. The Vets Harley Legacy club he was a member of and his past life. As he left he gave us a card, saying anything we needed, any trouble we found ourselves in to give him a ring and he'd help. He was stone cold sober by the way. After that one of his buddies even came over with a beer he'd already bought for us. Handshakes all around and we said our good nights. Top guys. Top stories.
Tomato Juice and Lager. You know your in the middle of America when someone drinks that !!!!
We left 66 behind us today. To be honest it runs alongside the interstates and is splattered with burger joints, motels, truck stops and people. We headed out into the countryside and within 30 minutes knew it was the right choice. Roads following streams, leafy canopies and twisty roads gave way to miles of straight roads and grasslands. The trees disappeared and the temperatures rose. Tomorrow we should see desert for the first time. It's the people's that makes the memories and every time we stop people come over to us and ask what the hell were doing. But it's amazing. We got chatting to a father and son farmer. A group of Goldwng owners and ransoms at every fuel stop.
Wheat fields have given way to cattle. Trees to grasslands. Twisty roads to straight roads. And it's 25 miles between each small town now. Things are a changing, and it's only going to get more dramatic as we hit desert.
295 miles today day. Today was a biking day. Leaving 66 behind us for a few days and hitting open countryside. At first the roads were undulating, twisting and turning through small valleys, rocky riverbeds and canopy of trees. But after 180 miles this gave way to grasslands and open plains.
A dramatic change today. Roads are getting longer and straighter, fewer vehicles and less towns. The heat haze is amazing. You can't tell a lorry is coming at you until it appears out of the haze. And the trees have disappeared, just grasslands now and the occasional tree around a watering hole.
So that day we crossed from Missouri to Kansas and straight into a little town called Kansas (but not the Kansas we all know). Nice red brick roads, deserted roads and small bars and shops.
Passed through Nevada (the town not the state) which looks like a nice place to live. Countryside transitioning from agricultural to cattle now. We saw a Dead cow and Cowboys herding cattle in a field. Fantastic.
Gold wing couple pulled over in a garage just to chat to us and chew the fat. Picture on SLR.
Stopped for a drink at "Arts Family Restaurant" and Darren wanted to look in a gun store in Collins. In the diner were 20 odd old folk on trikes and Harley's. It turned out they were all Vets and part of a biking club. We got chatting with lots of fun and banter. I heard one of them say "Those guys certainly ain't from around here". Hahahaha. Next we went in the gunshots and chatted to the lady owner as she politely showed us around. Crazy what you can buy with a driving licence.
Chillin by the road and two guys (father and son we think) came down to check we were ok. Stood there for 15 minutes chatting about life and travels. I took they're photos on the SLR. It just amazes me how friendly they are and how they are interested in what your doing, where your going, why your doing it. They were spending their day pulling hay from one field to another. Life can be so simple. Tremendous guys.
Dead straight roads. Yellow flowers everywhere . Eagles and buzzards soaring above you. Amazing stuff.
Highway 133 into Richland. Only 7 or 8 miles long and 25 miles from this mornings start in Waynesville but what a road. Velvet tarmac and rollercoaster hills and bends. Epic stuff. You were hitting each ride not knowing where the road was going next. Already away from normality and the diner went silent when we said good morning. Great stuff.
So today's plan is to break away from 66 for a few days and hit open countryside. Destination Wichita .... cue Glen Campbell.
5 September 2017
I just want to say something about the yanks. Today on a picturesque corner of the world me and Darren pulled over for some pictures and chill time. Within ten minutes two vehicles past and both stopped to ask if we needed any help
This evening we went to a bar full of young men in the local forces. At first they were dismissive of us. But within an hour we were chatting. Within two hours we were all best buddies.
Even the bar manager offered to bring us home. "Your the two English guys in the bikes right, I don't want you riding them back to the motel, I'll take you". He didn't know we had left the bikes and Taxi'd to the bar.
In the U.K. (Well maybe just where we live) no one would talk to strangers in a bar. No one would stop to help a vehicle on the side of the road. People here seem to have more time for each other. Less barriers. No one would offer to take strangers home. Maybe we have just been lucky. But it's really opened my eyes over here. Or maybe it's the cute accent ?
A relatively quire day today. We left St Louise at 8:30 and stopped for breakfast just down the road at the courtesy Dinner. Four French toast later and we headed to Eureka motorcycles to pick Darren up a ram mount for his phone. The place was amazing. Bars. Restaurants. Showrooms. All for motorcycles uses. Walls full of exhaust pipes and biking memorabilia . We eventually hit the open road and went across county to the Meramec River US 66 Bridge which was a little disappointing but still worth a visit. We then followed 66 for the rest of the day to the Wishing Well motel and the biggest rocking chair in the world, at Cuba and Fanning respectively. We finally ended up at St Robert after a detour down an unmade road (thanks Darren) and found the Relax Inn for the nights stay. Then into town for beers and food.
Jennifer and Jackie looking after us and our two new best mates from the local forces division.
A very sedate 175 miles today. St Louis down 66. Took it nice and easy with lots of stops and Route 66 site seeing. Today was a rest day in effect. Nice early finish and off for beers n food.
These packed motels are becoming a bit of a concern. This to an Indian guy not doubt with a huge machete under the counter.
And sometimes 66 does this to you and then road just runs out. Darren assured me the road must go somewhere. 1 mile later and lots of new pairs of pants he was pretty proved incorrect.
On 66 you have to love tacky. Worlds biggest rocking chair at Fanning. Had a nice chat to the owners, and had an ice cream sat on the rockers.
Wagon wheel motel. One of first motels on route66 serving customers since 1936 and still in use.
You don't want to hit one of these on a Harley. Otherwise it's a way one trip to the end of your holiday. Bigger than it looks. Armour plated and the size of a medium dog.
The Missouri PP. One of the most perfect roads I've ever ridden. Undulating bends. No straights. Tarmac like carpet and Def Leppard blasting away. Bright sunshine and a cool breeze. Just having the time of my life.
Breakfast before we hit the open road at the Curtesy Diner. Today's highlights. The worlds biggest rocking chair. Hahahaha. Whilst in a America right 😂😂
4 September 2017
Stacy entertaining us at Joey Bs on the hill. The MEATBALLS were massive.
It's difficult to find superlatives for a day sometimes when you know there is better to come. But today was another superb day. We left Chicago outskirts around 8:30 AM and headed out into the countryside looking for 66. After 40 odd miles a tiny town called Seneca found us and we stopped for breakfast. Breaking out again we quickly found 66 and Route for the day was imprinted in our fate. Small towns and big towns came and went. A strong side wind kept us keen all day but the slower speeds meant it wasn't a massive issue. A shut road confounded us but Darren assured me it was passable ducking under a digger arm. We rode into St Louis along the Mississippi River and through some dreadfully decayed and abandoned homes and shops. It really was a dreadful place. Arriving in St. Louis we saw the Gateway Arch and crossed the river to get a better picture. Motels beckoned and we raced the approaching thunderstorms to get home dry. Unloading our bags as the rain started. Another awesome day
Day 3. 295 miles today. All back roads and mostly Route 66. Illinois to Missouri. Chicago to St. Louis. So different to the interstate days. More breaks but harder on the body. But lots more to see.
Rode into St. Louis through some awful derelict areas. One road along the banks of the Missouri River. We then crossed the river and captured this shot of the Gateway Arch. Stunning architecture before heading for a motel and just beating the approaching thunderstorm.
Even shut roads couldn't stop us. Yeah you can squeeze a Harley through there. See Darren in the distance. 😂😂😂😂
Came across this picture card town called Carlinville. In was stunning. Little shops. A beautiful town square with a bandstand in the middle. It reminded me of Groundhog Day. It reminded me of Groundhog Day. It reminded me of Groundhog Day. It reminded me of Groundhog Day. I'll stop now.
Restored brick road in Auburn on Route 66
Quick stop in this little 66 Trophy Town
113 miles on 66 this morning. What's different about it other than any other road. Well nothing really but you just have to live the dream. Plus it's a hell of a lot bumpier.
I've been dreaming a lost towns like this. Only 50 miles outside Chicago and boom. Found one. Tiny little town. One road in. One road out. And banana pancakes for breakfast. Tiny family restaurant. Loving it.
The memories are two days old but the experience starts today. The tough miles are behind us. Now it's all slower more relaxed back roads. Lower daily mileage. No more interstates. No more toll roads. The target is St Louis today (not Louise as I keep wanting to type). So Route 66 landmarks along the way but lots of stopping for pictures and relaxation breaks. 9 hours to do just over 300 miles. This is be doddle.
3 September 2017
Bud light and fajitas sat outside at the Crosstown pub Naperville.
What can I say about the day it was to tally epic. We left in rain and didn't know if we'd make Chicago. It was 500 miles away after all. We got soaked for 2 hours but the waterproofs did their job before the clouds cleared and the sun shone. It was amazing. 150 mile chunks at a time. Refuel. Set off again. The journey was amazing. Stunning long roads. Cruise control at 80mph. Relax in your seat and smash the miles.
No pain. No aches just enjoyment. The i80 bought us all of the way in. Nearing Chicago the huge steel mills dominated the landscape. Towers and cranes with two story buildings on top of them looking like toy houses. Then across the massive Chicago state Bridge and into Chicago downtown. Nearing the centre speeds slowed and it was time for shades and no helmet for the last 2 miles into Chicago centre and the start of Route 66. We found it easily and stopped for pictures. A few selfies and then asked some random bloke to take one of us two.
Leaving Chicago on 66 we ended in Naperville and found an awesome old style motel. Cheep and clean. A quick shower then beers.
420 miles. Smashed....530 total today but the route planner split it into three sections for some reason.
The bloke only turned out to be a Hammersmith lad and fellow QPR fan. Cuddles with a complete stranger. Chatting to his family and banter for 10 minutes before heading out of Chicago on 66
130 miles this morning. Rained really heavy for the first 2 hours but the sky's have cleared and the waterproofs are packed away. 368 miles left to go to Chicago. Something tells me we will fall short by 50 miles but here's hoping.
500 miles today day. Longest stretch planned. And we wake to this. Thunderstorms planned and rain all day.
2 September 2017
Day .1, done. After lunch we ran into rain. 200 miles of soggy roads and spray in your face. Much worst for Darren who has a lower screen. It became evident we were never going to make it to our intended destination at Marblehead to see my mate Todd. We fell 180 miles short mostly due to the delayed start. After stopping for a cuppa and a Big Mac at Clearfield where the 16 year old girl was fascinated with our accents and kept coming to our table to ask if she could get us anything we decided to hit the road again. Within minutes we were in another rain cloud and decided to surrender to the elements for the day. After unloading the bikes now enjoying a few beers in Pizza Hut (yes, not even a bar in this small town).
First two hours riding done. Delayed at EaglerRider with paperwork, new headlight, break pads and tyres. Nice blokes though and handshakes all around. Riding out of NYC was painful with traffic jams everywhere but now on much faster roads. Stopped in a small town called Denville for burgers, fries and coke. Everyone asks where we're heading and it's the same response. Oh My Gawd. Spoke to Wifey and Drew but the phone network is SO crap I couldn't FaceTime 😫😫😫
Denville Dog and Grille.
Well here it is. Queens seems a bit of a dump, well where we are staying at least. We went for a walk last night and peered through the windows at EagleRider and saw what we assume we're our bikes. We can't pick them up for another two hours so a chillin get ready before the big off. I can't deny I'm a little nervous and excited. The unknown of a V-Twin 1.8 thumper and the sheer size compared to my sports bike. Oh well. I'm sure it will be fine. Time to get out of bed and get my crap on.
1 September 2017
Fleeced at Howard Johnson Inn, plus credit cards didn't work. $200 for a crappy room. Made ourselves feel better with a Taco Bell fajita. Yummy.
Hey. Let's play a game. You have to guess what's in my bag and I guess what's in yours. CELLO.
First free beer. Two ladies at our table. Life story in two minutes. Gave us their beers as they ran for plane.
Finally I can say we are going. The most stressful build up you could ever image. Darren fracturing his skull only 7 weeks ago. Tristan braking his arm. And Louise in hospital for the last week and only home yesterday. Right up to the last minute we didn't know if we were going. Darren only got permission to drive yesterday and Louise home at last. We're finally on our way. Time to put the past few months behind us and start the trip of my lifetime. I love you all. I'll miss you all. But this is something daddy has to do. See you in Vegas those that are coming. England over and out.