A Collection of Wild West Videos

I wore a helmet cam on this holiday of a lifetime, and whilst watching seemingly endless videos of scenery flashing by is no ones idea of fun I would like to share some with you.

Grand Canyon Helicopter Ride

Included in the tour was a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. The canyon from one mile up is an amazing sight. Here’s a quick video of us approaching the southern rim and flying above the Colorado River.

Monument Valley

One of the most amazing landscapes we visited was Monument Valley. This area has been the backdrop of so many westerns and big budget films that it almost felt familiar. This was our ride towards this iconic scene.

Moki Dugway

The Moki Dugway is a loose dirt & gravel switchback road carved into the face of the cliff edge of Cedar Mesa.

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It consists of 3 miles of steep, unpaved, but well graded switchbacks, which climb over 1,000 feet from the valley floor near Valley of the Gods.

I felt quite a sense of achievement riding a 111 cu.in. Vee-Twin American cruiser up this roadway. My Triumph Tiger 800 XRT might have been a better choice of bike to attempt this climb, but I made it. Look out for the cones at about the 4 minute 35 second mark where the road has fallen away…….

Zion National Park

Day after day we were constantly “Wowed” by the changing scenery. We thought nothing would beat the sights of the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley until we entered Zion National Park. This video shows us driving through the 1.1 mile tunnel cut into the mountain emerging to a stunning canyon (the tunnel footage has been set to double speed) . The second half of the video (excuse the poor editing) is us riding through the gorgeous sandstone rock formations.

Bellagio Fountains – Las Vegas

During our day off in Las Vegas we just had to visit the Bellagio and watch their famous fountains.

Death Valley

It took us about 90 minutes to ride into and out of Death Valley. The searing heat of 104 Degrees Fahrenheit and unrelenting sun made it hard work. As you can see from my video there is no respite and the ride is to be endured rather than enjoyed. Looking into the distance you can see the road disappearing. At least we can now say we have ridden through Death Valley…

Tioga Pass – Yosemite Hailstorm

In complete contrast to the previous days ride through Death Valley, 150 feet below sea level, we had climbed to 8000 feet above sea level and found ourselves riding through snow lined roads.

The weather changed quite suddenly as we rode through Yosemite National Park. Going from cool but bright and sunny to a freezing hailstorm. You can see and hear the hailstones hitting us and the bike.

Riding over the Golden Gate Bridge

Nothing more to say really… this is us riding over the icon that is one of the wonders of the modern world. It was cold and blustery riding over the bay…

Bixby Bridge – Pacific Coast Highway

There was one bridge that I was looking forward to riding over whilst travelling down the Pacific Coast Highway. And that is Bixby Bridge in Big Sur.

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Unfortunately I completely missed it… I rode over it without it even registering. I even asked Vance the tour guide when we were riding over it and his reply was “we’ve already done it..” Probably a good job as Kate hates heights and curves, and this bridge has both…

But once I started reviewing the footage from the helmet cam I found this video of us travelling over the famous Bixby Creek Bridge.

I filled two 32GB memory cards with footage during our two week, 2494 mile journey and a great deal of it was through absolutely stunning scenery. My particular favourite riding was through Yosemite and around the June Lake area. Which reminded us so much of Snowdonia in North Wales.

EagleRider Photos

We’ve been given access to the EagleRider Dropbox where Ken & Vance from EagleRider posted their pictures.

So I thought I’d create a gallery of a few of them from the tour.. click on the images to open a larger view..

Thanks to EagleRider, Ken and Vance for the photos…

 

Final Day In The Saddle – PCH1 Part Three

Pismo Beach, CA – Los Angeles, CA 225 miles

2494 Miles Completed

There just wasn’t time yesterday to write a more detailed post of our last day riding the Indian Roadmaster, so I’m writing this the day after…

We all went through the same morning routine that has been the norm for the past couple of weeks – breakfast, pack, load van, hit the road – for one last time. The days plan was to ride for an hour, mainly on freeways, to a place called Solvang for coffee. Then through Santa Barbara and Oxnard to Malibu finishing for lunch on the Pier in Santa Monica.

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The four Indian Roadmasters on the final morning

The ride consisted mainly of highways and freeways which are uninspiring but get you where you need to be. We arrived in Solvang as planned after an hours ride. Solvang is a Danish town built in the the style of Scandinavian settlers who populated the area. There are windmills, bakeries and coffee shops selling all types of Danish Pastries. I think everyone of us had coffee and cake here.. I was enjoying my Bear Claw when Kate reminded me what happened the last time I had a Bear Claw (It was the last thing I ate before the accident two years ago).

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Windmill in Solvang

Leaving Solvang most of us got stuck at a set of lights with me leading. Ken and a couple of others just disappeared and we couldn’t see them we were held up so long by the lights. We didn’t know whether they’d turned off or not and we were heading back the way we had just come in to the town but we kept going straight. Eventually Ken realised that we were all missing and pulled up at the side of the road where the whole group were reunited. More freeway work now, fast and an bit monotonous with nothing of note to write about.

Later we entered Oxnard, California and drove straight through I’m glad to say as what we saw of it looked like a dump of a town…. We did head back towards the coast road now to more spectacular scenery and to ride through the millionaires playground that is Malibu beach. There are some incredible looking houses over looking the coast here. Most seem to be precariously clinging to the cliff sides…..

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After a short stop for photos we hit the road for the ride into Santa Monica. After about forty minutes ride we can see the pier jutting out into the ocean and start to feel like we are on familiar territory.

Traffic gets heavier as we ride into Santa Monica itself and we probably break a few local traffic laws pushing to the front of traffic turning on to the pier itself. We ride the bikes straight on to the pier where the wooden boards reverberate under the noise of the large V-Twin engines.

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We have an hour here before we have to leave to fill up the bikes then return them to EagleRider. Seven of us head down the pier to Bubba Gumps for lunch. We tell them we only have an hour and they tell us we have a fifteen minute wait so we reserve a table for seven and hang about on the pier.

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The seven becomes eight  as Louisa joins us and we are shown to a table. No starters just drinks and entrees. Babs has her usual Clam Chowder the rest of us all have something different advising the waitress that we don’t have long before we have to leave. She promises to hurry our orders along. At 15:15 Vance comes into Bubba Gumps looking for us all to hurry us along as Ken is keen to get going. Fortunately we are at the “paying the check” stage of our meals.

We’re not the last back to the bikes and are waiting on the four Brit lads (who we affectionately refer to as “the girls”). We have just seven miles to do now to get to EagleRider but Vance says it will take an hour due to LA traffic.

Ken is concerned that we’ll get split up so gives us detailed directions to EagleRider. Me and Kate position our bike so we are right behind Ken. We leave the pier and join the heavy traffic on Santa Monica’s roads. First stop is to refuel the bikes ready for their next tour. A guy is admiring the bikes and is thrilled when I offer to take a picture of him sitting on my Roadmaster.

We stick like glue to the back of Ken’s bike through Santa Monica along a couple of freeways in slow moving, often stationary traffic. 1st\2nd gear all the way in blazing sun. It is hot, and the heat from the air cooled V-Twin engine doesn’t help, burning the inside of my right leg.  It’s hard work but eventually we arrive back where we started a couple of weeks ago, empty the panniers and top box and hand the keys back.

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Dropping the bike back at EagleRider HQ

The whole group seems a bit deflated but are thrilled to have completed the ride. We wander around the EagleRider store and pick up some discounted T-shirts…

The final leg is a bus ride to the hotel. We have just one hour before the bus returns to take us to the farewell party. We shower, change and meet in the lobby.

The party is at a custom bike shop – South Bay Customs – which is not only a custom bike workshop but also an art arena and party venue with live band. It’s a really cool place with custom bikes dotted around the workshop and a 1929 Ford Model A chop on a ramp.

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The band, called “Feed The Kitty”, are really good and play many of our requests shouted out to them. Including a couple of Skynyrd tracks and some ZZ Top from me…. and some AC\DC for Colin our last remaining Aussie.

Kate & Louisa
Kate & Louisa

The beer is flowing, along with Jack Daniels, and the dance floor is buzzing and it’s over all too soon. We are all presented with our Wild West patches for our jackets to certify that we have completed the 2494 mile journey. A long bus ride back to the hotel, as we get caught in airport traffic, and we all gather in the hotel bar for cocktails (Iced Tea for me of course).

We say our “goodbyes” and go to our rooms… Seems all too final and the ride is now over….. A few of us have an extra day or two here but I know we’ll all miss the camaraderie and companionship of bikers on the road.

Until next time……….

So, why do we do it?
Sitting astride an engine with wheels
Sharing space with juggernauts

Battling the elements…
…and the voices telling us no

Why do we do it?
We do it for the freedom
For the exhilaration

For the leaning forward
Leaning over
Or just laid back

For the individuality
And belonging

A roads and apexes
For the commuting, the cruising, the racing, the touring
For the adventure

For the miles
For the moments
For the feeling
For the ride!

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