This is a blog by some great friends we met on one of our Motorcycle Tours this year.  We rode our Harley-Davidsons on Route 66 and the Grand Canyon.  We also rode our Harleys to Las Vegas and down the Vegas Strip to the Harley Davidson Cafe.  The on the Motorcycle Tour we rode to Zion and other great places through parks to Death Valley.
The blog has been translated from Portuguese because they are from Brazil.  So the translation is a little off.

I’ll take this space to thank everyone who read and followed the blog. I apologize for not being able to write anything better but I can guarantee that I tried my best. The blog will stay activated for issues involving motorcycles and motorcycle travel. Thanks too big kiss and be with God!

I dedicate this trip to the loves of my life: my parents, my brother and my wife.

Photo taken by Brian ( Ride Free Motorcycle Tours )

Coming home …

Leaving Big Bear Lake was difficult. A mix of feelings engulfed me. A week ago I did not know a single person who was part of the group and, at that time, I’ve missed every one of them. The care shown by the neighbor, and respect when making decisions, evidenced in the fellowship of sharing beer awaited the end of each day. The stories and tragedies divided each counted unceremoniously. I do not know if everyone felt that way, but I definitely was sad.

In another demonstration of love for work, Wil left the planned route and took us to the top of a mountain that serves as the basis for an emergency team from the Fire Department. The view from above view allows the whole region around. We were near the county of Los Angeles and, if there were so many clouds in the area, we could see a corner of the city.

From there we went to another one of those broad shoulders for our last breakfast together. But first, we took a last into a local gas station to refuel the bikes. The idea was to go out to breakfast and only stop in Los Angeles for lunch. As the mountains surrounding Big Bear Lake are cut by curvaceous slopes would take a long time before LA Anyway, in this gas station abuts a crown fine people with a car that is a show! The old Chevrolet (if I’m not mistaken) took over a decade to be restored to the original parts! The patience and dedication that you are enviable. According to the owner, Randy Jackson (American Idol judge) has offered some cash for clunker.

 

These motorbikes are worth a fortune in the bucket!
This must be the cleanest engine in the world!

After refueling stop in an area called kidney of the world ( World’s Edge). We were astounded by the view, and we are even more when we can enjoy it still. The descent from the mountain presented us with a unique view: watch the clouds below us! While we drank our coffee we were surprised by a frightening noise. I could not understand what was happening, but before we could get the cameras, several sports cars passed at high speed. It was a festival of Lamborghinis, Porsches, Aston Martins, and certainly other very expensive cars that I do not know. Like I said, it was so fast that the picture should stay.

 

View the last breakfast of the trip

The output of the mountain was tense. The wind was pushing the clouds against the rocky walls and forcing them to climb. Result: mist strong! We had to reduce speed because it was hard to see.

The calm mountainous surrounding Big Bear Lake to the urban chaos was a leap. We again cross the long straights crossing the great American cities. The weather was great for rain and we got to take a boring drizzle, but nothing more.

The  freeway  clogged with cars speeding on the Saturday was unexpected. That was the only time my wife got scared. But, unlike what we see in Brazil, compliance with the motorcyclist in the United States is to thrill. At no time were closed by rude drivers or go through any situation of risk (because of cars and / or trucks). Without wanting to pull sardines pro American but, in this respect, for the very lack Brazilian arrive at this level of traffic education.

 

Back to LA

This trip was undoubtedly the most exciting experience of my life. The joy of riding a bike for seven days in the company of a loved one is priceless. In the bargain, we have the pleasure of seeing some of the most beautiful places in the United States and, why not, in the world. I was honored to meet a group of amazing people, each with a life story that spends some valuable teaching. It was a privilege to know each individual, and certainly this experience will create an everlasting bond between each of us, even though we do not see more. Since returning I have spoken to my friends bikers plan a similar trip. Based on what I experienced, I can not wish for anything better.

Day 6 …

Inevitably wake up and not think that the penultimate day arrived. And that wonderful experience of life a time will come to an end. My day begins with a reminder of places visited and the feeling that each location has caused. The anxiety of the first day with the arrival in Laughlin and many miles ahead. The first image of the Grand Canyon and how nature is always able to surprise. The mountains surrounding the colorful green cozy Zion Park. The human courage and ingenuity in deciding to erect a city like Las Vegas in the middle of the desert. The charm and frightening sweltering Death Valley … and now the wife warning that it’s time to take a shower.

Like all other days, we have breakfast at some roadside that favors a specific point in the region, providing us with (another) unique and unforgettable sight. I could not enjoy my breakfast because the spring heel prick my bike was gone! Imagine the fright at the sound of iron hitting against something. So understand that was the side stand  were up three long seconds! I had to hold the rest of the bike with the left foot until finally stop.

Tabajara Patch! Now only works with help manual.

Breakfast and taken Tabajara repair done, it was time to accelerate. Death Valley is getting milder as we head toward Big Bear Lake. Over time we again see trains in the distance and some buildings that house shops and residences. Just under three hours later we already see the return of mountain ranges “alive” on the horizon and we parted desert rearview mirror.

Two things struck me: the change in the landscape and, consequently, the climate, and the extremely closed curves in U tearing the mountains. The distance between the pine forest that surrounded us and the sand was dry but a few miles, the difference in vegetation, seemed impossible as a desert nearby. Nature was alive and rich. The humid air was pleasant. Since the curves were not as friendly. We were forced to open a large distance between vehicles to avoid a collision. One of the drivers apologized to me at the next stop because he braked so sharply in the first few corners. Fortunately, everything worked!

We arrived early in Big Bear Lake. The city is quiet and very pleasant. The trees clearly indicate the season and get there early fall was not bad either. We stayed in a hotel that is lakeside. For anyone planning a honeymoon, Big Bear Lake can be the ideal place. In winter, cold freezes the lake and the landscape is taken by Snow White. We ended the day with a fellowship moved the meat and beer.

Room view

Wil warned us that the next day we’d grab the most beautiful road to travel. Hard to believe it could be true. “Wait and see …”

Death Valley

Leaving Vegas was almost a relief. Although we have not experienced any inconvenience or unpleasant situation, back to the bikes and nature seemed to be “the right thing”. We checkout from hotel amid a lobby so full it seemed they were distributing money! Okay, there were a few meters from a casino in Las Vegas.

While waiting in line I chatted with one of the group members on bikes, of course. I showed the pictures of Zero Engineering and talked about the three bikes he owns. A BMW R 1200 GS, a Ducati I do not remember the model and its newest acquisition: a Hellcat 132. The bikes of Confederatemotorcycles are constant characters of my impossible dreams. Many people think the bikes of the brand ugly and weird but I always liked the design of them peculiar. I’m such a fan of Confederate who was very happy just to know the owner of one! How would a dear friend: “Hey poverty …”

The output of LV was quiet despite the heavy traffic. We managed to get a few minutes on thefreeway that circles the city and move towards Death Valley. Being an extremely hot place the idea was to cross it before 12pm to not run the risk of getting sick or under any serious problem with the bikes. As we were in October we’d grab something around 38 degrees Celsius. It is rare and inadvisable to go there in the middle of the year. To get an idea, the highest temperature ever recorded on earth was there at the beginning of the twentieth century: 56.7 degrees Celsius!

Upon entering Death Valley signs indicate that there will be no place to fill in the next 70 miles. They also suggest that drivers of vehicles with air conditioning cooling shut off not to overheat the engine.And I thought to go there bike was stuck.

A few minutes later we go, officially, that natural oven, one of the bikes had a problem. The battery had burned (partially) in the middle of Death Valley! Timing perfect! We stayed there for almost two hours in the scorching sun and drinking plenty of water saving energy in the best way possible.Since there was not tried in the shadow move too. Even for those who live in Brasília and is accustomed to a few months of extremely dry and very hot, it was not easy.

Death Valley

Problem solved and hit the road. Shortly after we arrived in Badwater Basin. This location is the lowest point in the United States: 85.5 meters below sea level. The heat is unbearable and there a mountain range cuts around any air passage that eventually could pass that way.

Photos taken and let’s go. No big surprises but really hot then arrived at a restaurant with air conditioning and ice water! An oasis!

The rest of the way was far more enjoyable than Death Valley. Although inhospitable and have a typical name of some locality in Lord of the Rings, compensates know the area by desert beauty.Just do not risk going there in June / July.

Straight endless. The line of sight tapers in time.

We made our last stop of the day for panoramic photos before we reach our destination. It was there that I dropped the bike! I hesitated at the time of exit with gravel shoulder and the front wheel just sinking into the ground. Who holds the bike over 400 pounds? Fortunately she tilted slightly to the side and ready. The dog kills the Electra Glide is so great that prevent a more serious decline.

We were marked with reservations to spend the night in a family hotel opposite a rest stop . How we got there almost dark I did not notice a trailer park across the road. Only the next day did I understand how there could be so many people in the hotel restaurant.

Hotel in Death Valley

The hotel is owned by a former NASA official (I think) with a nice retirement and those who work there are his sons and daughters. Being a really familiar environment, and “only” an extra income for the owner, you must be careful with the behavior. Any trampled on the ball and you are unceremoniously kicked out of the place.

Vegas, here we go …

The next morning started early for the group and the reason was one: anxiety. While expectations with Grand Canyon had been overcome and Zion Park has been a surprise that more enjoyable, Las Vegas was the main star. The talented American to sell well what interests them is undeniable.Movies, videos, music and photos on Las Vegas spark the curiosity of any mortal.

The output of Zion Park took us to a town nearby. Like most small American cities that had beautiful houses without fences, asphalt in excellent condition, local trade and shy but efficient signaling impeccable. The only thing I checked there was a local cafe and its toilets. LV was the goal!

On the way to Las Vegas found several groups of motorcyclists but no motorcycle club. There was a situation of estrangement between the various groups. Quite the contrary, the compliments were customary among all. Another thing: I did not see a bike under 1200cc roads! They were ALL powerful and 99% of Harley Davidson. Incidentally, Americanism makes them look crooked you if you walk on a road bike with a Japanese American. There was no shortage Electra Glides, Street Glides and Road Glide Ultra impressive but on two occasions we passed GoldWings (Honda).

The temperature was high but did not cause major problems. The water stops, refueling and bathroom were constant but never contained enough about to undertake the trip. The will arrive in Las Vegas was such that each stop was short. The group’s guide, owner of Ride Free Motorcycle Tours  and professional traveler, Wil Sakowski, pitched a surprise and left the planned route to show us the Valley of Fire. Also a park (not sure if national or state), the place is home to the mountains redder and I’ve seen many petroglyphs left behind by people who lived there hundreds and / or thousands of years. 

Valley of Fire
Petroglyphs (Photo RFMT)

We set up the bikes and we went finally to the destination of the day. More than an hour inside the park looking for a landscape dead gorgeous but, once again we see signs of civilization. A huge condo rich, certainly, since the mansions to lakeside leave no doubt that to live there you have to have a lot of money, was the first sign that we were close to those huge casinos and the famous Strip.

For very little we did not have anything to delay due to an accident. The danger of walking in a group with people you do not know (and, sometimes, never walked in groups) is that primary errors are committed. Keep a safe distance and NEVER, NEVER stop suddenly in the middle of the track seems obvious to anyone. Unfortunately, it happened to us a few times and did not seem obvious to one of the group members. Thankfully nothing serious victimized one of the most beloved of the bunch who, before the scare, earned the nickname skid mark. 

The “fun” of Las Vegas seemed smaller than on television. Although hotels are colossal, the impression I’ve always had is that the place was even greater. Maybe I have not enjoyed the best arrival in the city since it was after 16h and I needed to get in “my” most anticipated target location until 18h. With the  check-in  baggage and accommodation in rooms would take more than an hour to reach my goal in Las Vegas. In hindsight, it is likely that my anger has spoiled the moment (for me).

The Zero Engineering  has a store in the United States and this store is in Las Vegas. Founded in 1981 by a Japanese, produces custom bikes for as little as $ 30,000 (average). They use classic Harley Davidson engines (panhead, shovelhead, knucklehead …) and are, in my opinion, works of art. When I heard that Las Vegas would go through immediately went on the company website (www.zero-eng.com) to see the hours of operation. As we arrived on a Wednesday I knew they were only open until 18h. Arriving in town shortly after 16h endangering the only thing I really made ​​sure to do in Las Vegas.

Type 9 by Zero Engineering
Type 6 by Zero Engineering

Know the store’s Zero  was an accomplishment. Break, I decided that a big problem was with me from the beginning of the trip: the helmet. I took my old war helmet use in Brazil. Helmets Brazilians obviously have no legal force for use in the United States. The peck Inmetro not worth it. You need to get a helmet (DOT) which stands for Department of Transportation, or approved by DMV American.

The trip was all done without the police bother us even once. In no time we were stopped, and to be honest, I saw the police for the first time in Nevada (third state visited by us). According to some American riders and vendors, the police never Czech helmet. However, if you are stopped and a policeman resolve to take a look on the helmet and the helmet is not approved, the fine is heavy and headache can be huge. As each state creates its own laws can be fined, receive a fine and have collected the bike, get a ticket, take the bike and have taken to appear before a judge, and so on. And there is the fine that applies custody as punishment plus court costs. We saw this with some friends of ours who rented a car before traveling by motorcycle. They went out for shopping and parked in prohibited place. Received a fine of $ 40 plus fees in the amount of $ 280. This heartbreak I do not wanted to have.

After returning to the hotel, eat and take a shower, it was time to meet Las Vegas. The city is filled with people worldwide. As there (almost) everything can go to the American spree. And take beer on the street (most states who are taking fine alcoholic beverage in public), blatant advertising for employees of love disguised as massage therapists and dealers discreetly offering their wares.The hotels and casinos are huge equally impressive. Many people like Las Vegas but I found the city depressing. Not because of construction and population but excited for what comes after the euphoria. Drunk people peeing in the street, staggering and vomiting. Something like some Brazilian cities after the culmination of a night of carnival. As I had a much more positive image of the city ended up disappointed. I think I’m getting old. My biggest surprise was discovering the next day that everyone in the group felt the same way!

“Zion Park is even better” – Wil Sakowski

The first spectacular image I had of the Grand Canyon will mark me forever. There, in that moment, I was sure that that trip I would hardly see a place so amazing again. A few minutes later I saw several lights appearing intermittently in the bottom of the canyon. I did not initially and kept quiet. A short time later they reappeared and so I went to ask one of the guides, Brian, what it was. He said that there are some facilities for people spend the night down there. And with that, they enjoy to do track.

The structure assembled in Grand Canyon National Park was a huge surprise to me. I always thought the Grand Canyon was a wild place where people stopped on the edge of the precipice and camped at night. Certainly there are parts as well as he has over 440 km long but we stayed in a great hotel! The place is simple with a food separate from living quarters. There is a restaurant close by and within the park is all paved and well marked. There I also realized a dream: I’ve been a motorcycle without a helmet. The speed limit needs to be respected in some places but in others it is possible to accelerate moderately.

We went toward the various  rims inside the park that allow spotting the Grand Canyon from different places. This took much of the morning as there are dozens or hundreds of these places there. In each of these edges is a place to park your bike, car, bus and / or trailer.

One of the many angles of the Grand Canyon

We continue to travel and for much of the path followed the abyss of this beautiful natural monument. The region is still inhabited by Indians Navajo  although they only have Indian ancestry as a peculiar characteristic. The white man could contaminate native and now they walk in  pickups wearing jeans and shirt. Some products sold as art  Navajo were actually produced in China! It is a beautiful example of progress …

“Territory” indigenous

The road that led us to our destination of the day is perfect. The scenery is beautiful and a little more urbanized. Several homes and businesses up and running along the path. A note: the first day of travel we could follow the fate of the homes that served as a shelter for the first inhabitants of Route 66. They abandoned homes today are ghost towns composing. The livelihood of most of those who remain in these homes is the theft of motorcycles and the production of methamphetamine. This, fortunately, is not the case of the highway that leads to Zion National Park.

An hour before we arrived in Zion stopped to refuel at a gas curious. The sign on the roadside reveals that the convenience store has gasoline, beer, lottery games and weapons. I went in expecting to see some double-barreled shotguns and some rifles with sights for hunting. Hit. What I never imagined was that they had assault rifles (those kind of movies Schwarzenegger) and AR-15 rifles!

Like the day before, arrived late to the destination. It was night when we got in Zion National Park. A faint hint of light at the time helped to visualize the silhouettes of towering mountains that surround the site. Inside you must walk at reduced speed. The park has a rich fauna and present. Mountain-lions, buffaloes, birds and various other animals give life to the environment.

We stopped in the hotel parking lot and, again, the structure of the area struck. Wooden cottages with gas fireplaces to fit in the forest that surrounds the foothills. A canteen away houses a restaurant, a store of  souvenirs and a cafeteria.

Refectory of Zion Park

The next morning decimated my certainty concerning beauty unparalleled anywhere else on that trip, compared to the Grand Canyon. The red mountains in conflict with the blue sky and green vegetation forms a striking harmony of colors. You can see and hear all the wildlife around and get lost for a few minutes, that natural sanctuary. If Zion Park is better I do not know but he is as remarkable as the Grand Canyon.

Leaving Zion National Park

Laughlin to Grand Canyon …

The day before he was taken by the immense anticipation surrounding the beginning of every trip.The reason for the anxiety now was the Grand Canyon. We would have a lot of ground to run and meteorology indicated that the week would be hot. A quick stop at a local clinic assured upcoming 200-mile journey without major concerns with fuel.

The output of Laughlin was through a bridge over the Colorado River (which runs the city) and separates the state of Nevada Arizona. Less than thirty minutes after our departure we stopped in the small town of Oatman. The local economy is based on tourism and mining. The structures and buildings are a town of the old west. Houses made of wood and has aged quite evident that a centenary city and stopped in time. The oddest thing is knowing that the miners are armed city! As in the days of the gold rush, they dig with picks and put “earnings” in bags. The well paid by local businesses and collected so they stand up.

Oatman

A special attraction are the workhorses in the streets. Quite peaceful, not a threat unless you’re with food in their hands. Our breakfast was the best style american  biker . That means standing up and eat anything hot. Resorting to small restaurants found in single street of Oatman is a solution for the most demanding morning with breakfast.

Forbidden feed the puppy

We left Oatman by a winding road and it requires a lot of attention. The track is narrow with little movement. The HD Electra Glide is a motorcycle like any other despite the 410 pounds but in very closed curves, be careful. My biggest difficulty was to maneuver it with their feet. I 1.75me she is high for someone like me down. I also learned that if you stop with the front wheel facing the odds tilt it to the side and fall are considerable. The weight of the bike is brutal! On the second day of travel I was still getting used to the “chubby”.

Leaving Oatman

Less than two hours later we were surprised by a flat tire on the bike of one of the group members.According to the guide and owner of Free Ride Motorcycles Tours,  Wil, Fat Boy has a tendency to stick the rear tire a lot more than other Harleys. The cause could not explain it but he has extensive experience as a mechanic and, although the Fat Boy is not the best selling model in Los Angeles, he fixed most of the Fat Boys flat tires than any other bike. Who knows!

An hour and half later we returned to the road. The tire of the bike had no air chamber then a patch solved. The delay in repair was due to a problem with the portable air pump. The battery was discharged and could not use it manually.

The green region is changing as the Grand Canyon National Park nears. The colors are more vivid and the cold increases considerably. Some distant mountains with snow peaks exhibit.

Because of the setback we got there late in the day. Describe the experience of arriving at Grand Canyon would require a vast vocabulary and elaborate beyond long. I’ve never seen a natural monument so big and so beautiful. We beholding that wonderful sight as the sun disappeared over the horizon and the night shrouded in slowly.

Dusk at the Grand Canyon (photo RFMT)

From an idea to reality …

Planning a trip along Route 66 ended up being much easier than I imagined. The legendary and extremely popular American highway is visited by thousands of people annually. Also known as the Mother Road and / or Main Street of America, it passes through nine states starting in Chicago and ending officially in Santa Monica California.

I learned of the existence of Route 66 through the film “Easy Rider” to 12 years of age. Since the first time I saw the fateful ride of characters Dennis Hopper and Henry Fonda I want to make a trip through the main “street” of America. After extensive (and quiet) Internet search found the information needed for ongoing dream of traveling by bike from Los Angeles to Las Vegas through other tourist locations in the region.

There are several companies that offer American and brasilieiras packages to Route 66. My initial plan was to contact some of these companies (preferably one with good references) and just rent a bike. I would make the trip with a GPS in hand and a few dollars in his pocket. The idea was to run for a week without much planning (except in relation to hotels where I would sleep). When my wife asked if she could join the trip I thought it best to hire a company that specializes in this type of activity.

“I found” Little Ride Free Motorcycle Tours  (http://ridefree.com). The owner of the company is easily accessible and the price charged for them is high but fair. The package that I hired in Free Ride includes rent the bike, three meals a day, tolls, fuel and stay for a few extra dollars and insurance more elaborate. The bikes are rented from Eagle Rider a huge undertaking and something that has around 500 bikes in Los Angeles alone. For bikers and lovers of two wheels with Eagle Rider is an amusement park. They provide helmets, jackets, shirts, gloves, and of course, motorcycles. Many bikes. Harleys of many different models, ranging from “small” to 883 HD Electra Glide comfortable!A driver’s license for motorcycles is (obviously) and a mandatory credit card with a low limit ($ 100) needed in case something unforeseen happens.

HD Electra GlideHarley Davidson Electra Glide, perfect for the road and for the companion.

Leaving Los Angeles on a Sunday morning is quiet. There are few cars on the streets and freewaysare fast, safe and well signposted. After about 60 miles (96 km) on 210 East we enter into what looks like a small military town with a gas station. The bikes are rented with full fuel tanks but several stretches of Route 66 gas stations have not then you must always be fueling. 160 miles later we arrived at the legendary Bagdad Cafe! The place is extremely simple and well set off for adiner gets as famous but people worldwide. Besides our group found several French bikers friendly and well some women from Eastern Europe. Remember, the Bagdad Cafe on Route 66 and is not in Freeway parallel to Rt. A train track behind the cafeteria impressed with the number of trains passing and the size of locomotives and the number of wagons. In one of the trains was possible to count 105 cars!

Bagdad Cafe, the legendary restaurant that gave its name to the film Percy Adlon.

After a greasy breakfast and filling (sandwich, chips and soda) back to bikes and enjoyable time.The desert landscape is impressive and the number of cars on the road away from any sign of isolation. The tracks are well signposted and warnings are constant supervision. That did not stop the group velocity was above the limit. Luckily we had no problems with the police. The punishment for speeding varies from state to state and ranges from a few hundred dollars (the cost of the procedure enter the value) to a day in jail.

The hot and dry climate of California for the mountainous Laughlin (Nevada) is a leap and change in vegetation is bright but timid. Laughlin is seen as a mini Las Vegas. The entrance to the city is memorable and winding road requires that the focus remains on track and not in the awesome scenery.

Laughlin and the Colorado Belle casino.

The first day of the trip was peaceful and without major surprises. Knowing Laughlin worth it but it is not a place interesting enough for a comeback. The city is quiet and the casinos have a decadent air. People mesmerized by games and a smell of cigarette smoke pass an impression more real and less charming casinos. Nothing like TV to distort reality.

First of all …

The idea of ​​creating this blog came from my wife. Capricorn methodical and disciplined SHE decided that I should record my experiences with motorcycles. I did not like the idea and decided to leave laziness justify the denial. Not satisfied she created the blog. And gave me the responsibility. I appreciate your initiative. Register walk of life helps revive it indirectly in the future. Many times in my life I have just registered in my (poor) memory. It’s little but it’s something. With this blog I hope to remedy this in part.   http://ridefree.com