Monday, August 20, 2012

The Call of the Road, and a Few Great Men's Answer

The rush of the wind, the roar of a powerful motor and the freedom of the open road. It's little surprise that throughout the history of the motorcycle, it has attracted many famous and well known men. The allure of the motorcycle's freedom and the image of racing down the highway on the edge of life and death, are a powerful drug to many, and that image has endured today. It is what still attracts many to riding. The open road, and the freedom it brings, as well as the relationship every rider has with the fine line between freedom, living and death. Follow LRS as we investigate some of these "legends" who answered the call of the road, on this segment of LRS Myths, Legends and Tales from the Road...

T.E. Lawrence, aka “Lawrence of Arabia” - was a passionate motorcyclist and a believer of the Brough Superior. Brough Superiors were often considered the “Rolls Royce of Motorcycles” during Lawrence's day. Lawrence even had his custom-made due to his short stature of 5’5. To accomodate this, he ordered his bikes with a smaller back wheel to accommodate his height. It's known that Lawrence owned seven Brough Superiors during his life. He lovingly called them as his "Boanerges" (Sons of Thunder), and named each bike "George" (the first was George I, the last George VII). In 1935, while riding George VII and awaiting delivery of George VIII, Lawrence was involved in an incident and swerved to avoid hitting two boys on bicycles. He was thrown over the handlebars, and died a week later from his injuries. He was only 46 years old. Lawrence believed in pushing every ounce of performance out of his Brough's ; It's unknown how fast he was going when this incident occured, but it was likely around 100 mph, the bike’s top speed.

“A skittish motorbike with a touch of blood in it is better than all the riding animals on earth, because of its logical extension of our faculties, and the hint, the provocation, to excess conferred by its honeyed untiring smoothness.” -TE Lawrence
Marlon Brando- Before becoming famous, Brando was known to get on his Triumph Thunderbird and ride just for the pleasure of riding. It's said he often rode all the way into the southwest, to find peace and solitude. 

“It still pleases me to be awake during the dark, early hours before morning when everyone else is still asleep. I’ve been that way since I first moved to New York. I do my best thinking and writing then. During those early years in New York, I often got on my motorcycle in the middle of the night and went for a ride–anyplace. There wasn’t much crime in the city then, and if you owned a motorcycle, you left it outside your apartment and in the morning it was still there. It was wonderful on summer nights to cruise around the city at one, two, or three A.M. wearing jeans and a t-shirt with a girl on the seat behind me. If I didn’t start out with one, I’d find one.” -Marlon Brando

Charles Lindbergh- As a young man, Charles Lindbergh had a love for the mechanical workings of machines in general and especially for internal combustion engines. In high school, he ordered a twin-cylinder 1920 model Excelsior “X” motorcycle through the local hardware store. While it is said that Lindbergh was a shy and quiet young man, he rode his bike fast and hard, and as many of his friends remembered it, rather recklessly. “I loved its power and speed,” he admitted. On the way in to the town he lived in, Lindbergh would tear down a path that ran past a power plant, through thickets of thick bushes, and along the steep banks of the Mississippi River. One person who saw him on this path said this about the experience fo watching him, “it seemed like he wanted to see how close to the edge he could get without plunging in.” The owner of the plant became so concerned with Lindbergh's unsanctioned backwoods racing that he closed off the trail. But it seems Lindbergh had speed in his blood, and the future pilot was as cool on that bike as he was behind the controls of a plane; he never had an accident.

Lindbergh on his Excelsior

James Dean- Many know the name of James Dean. Many will remember him for the tragic car accident that took his life, while driving in what some speculate, was a cursed Porsche. What many don't know though, is that from the age of 15, Dean loved anything with 2 wheels. His first motorcycle was a 1947 CZ 125cc. He would later move on to a 500 cc British  Royal Enfield. His love of speed on two wheels earned him the nickname "One Speed Dean". Dean would go on to sell his Royal Enfield for an Indian Warrior TT. The last bike he would ride, before his "cursed" Porsche speedster claimed his life. 

These are only a few of the great men who've followed the ways of the open road. It seems more often than not, however, that behind a man who has done great things and has a vision, there is a story of someone who loves the freedom of the open road on a motorcycle. The freedom that can only come from riding in the wind with the roar of a powerful motor at your back. The road is always calling, and there will always be great men and women to answer that call. Stay tuned next time, for another portion of LRS Myths, Legends, and Tales from the Road...

by Jeremy West

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Headed home,

So now that we have been there done that and got the t-shirt from Sturgis we are headed home.

One of the best parts of going on a long trip is the concept of getting to sleep in your own bed again, and thats what I hope to do in a couple of days.

Our route home is through Jackson Hole Wyoming, Twin falls and then home to reno.

We passed through Jackson last night and could get a hotel room if we wanted to. We finally found one in Briggs just a few more (40) miles up the road. I slept like an angel last night as this hotel has by far the best beds we have yet found on the road.

Today is our rest day and it felt good to rest and recuperate in the best westerns Hot Tub here in brigs.
I plan on cleaning the bike up a little this afternoon, It desperately needs it, 4000 miles and plenty of bug guts has turned the road king into something that looks like the swamp thing. I washed the 8 inch Dark tint ULTRA LRS windshield last night and it looks as good as new. It has saved me quite a few times, as large rocks tossed up from semis riddled the bike like bullets from a spitfire.

A long day driving across the desert of wyoming was well rewarded when we drove into jackson last night just as the sun was setting, the view of the Teton mountains was fantastic. The enjoyment of the ride however was interrupted by a long line of traffic about 20 miles from jackson. Some stupid teen girl was texting and pulled out infront of a biker. We made it to the front of the traffic just as the ambulance left. His ULTRA GLIDE lay smashed into the pavement and my heart sunk, the girl who had hit him sat in the back of a police car crying, in my opinion no amount of crying will make up for the 20 seconds she spent not paying attention to the road. Accidents happen, but the most important thing to remember is that its no accident when you are being negligent. This was biker down number 3 on this trip.

Here are some pics from yesterdays ride from Hot Springs SD to Briggs Idaho.

The river that runs through Big Horn state park

Heading west coming out of the desert into Wyoming's beautiful mountains

Just before the 26 connects with the mountains we drove through a spectacular canyon with awesome red painted walls, I felt like I was riding my horse through a john wayne movie, in my very own spaghetti western moment.

I stopped to do some business, and looked back at the bike , I liked the picture so here you have it.

This was a beautiful view of the desert and the carved canyons formed from millions of years of erosion. 

The Tetons at sunset

Im too ugly to take my helmet off, so I had leave it on for this picture. 

Waiting in trafic, near where a biker was downed by a negligent teen aged texter. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Finally arrived at Sturgis, then Rushmore at night

Wow, now that is what I call a Long Ride....... 2500 miles or so on our Long Ride to Sturgis and we finaly arived. Day 6 of our ride took us from Cody Wyoming to Sturgis SD seeing devils tower on the way in, and then on to Mount Rushmore and Hot Springs.

 So many people! So many Bikes. While walking around downtown we found 50 or so LRS windshields on the different bikes we saw. Ill admit I had a pride-full moment getting see our product on so many good looking rides. We found a cool guy to take a picture with Vader for us, American tattoos and all! We walked around listened to the music visited with some friends and after a while it was time to leave the biker mecca.
The Rally
Mount Rushmore at night!

This guy was nice enough to hold Vader, for a picture. Don't they look good together?
As we left Sturgis, we decided to visit Mt. Rushmore. As the sun went down the danger increased as we drove through the black hills on the way to the monument. We had a very close call with an ADHD dear who almost ran right in front of my bike - Man those mountains are full of critters. We made it to Rushmore just in time, and in one piece.

 Jeremy had received a tip from a friend on HD Forums who told us to visit the monument at night for the lighting ceremony. I'm glad we did! It was pretty cool to see the mountain lit up at night. It was very patriotic.

We rolled into Hot Springs at almost midnight and the owner of the hotel had been cooking indian food, not a good smell but we were too tired to care. It was a long day, but worth it. We had Shell gas station sandwiches for dinner, since nothing else was open. Umm, healthy eating! Here's some of the pictures we took yesterday, from Devil's Tower, Sturgis and Rushmore.

In the morning I walked around hot springs which is a really cool old town, with buildings that have been in use since the civil war, its hot springs were considered to be healing for the veterans who needed help with digestive issues. To this day the town is occupied by retired veterans in need of medical treatment.
Devil's Tower

The bike's parked outside Devil's Tower

Vader on main street Sturgis

A giant Buddha on top of a building at Sturgis

The Hall of Flags at Mt. Rushmore

Some cool lights at Rushmore

The man behind Mt. Rushmore, well, a bust of him anyways.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Ghost of The Murray Hotel

Today we rode through the spectacular Yellowstone National Park. Before entering the park, we stopped for lunch in Livingston, Montana for lunch. As we ate, we casually asked the waitress if she knew of any interesting things around Yellowstone. She told us of an old hotel called The Murray. Rumor has it, that the an occupant of The Murray Hotel, loved this hotel so much, he decided to stay...

   The Murray Hotel was built in 1904 by Josephine Kline. Livingston was once a central hub of activity for Northern Pacific passenger trains. The hotel was built specifically to accomodate these travelers. But perhaps not all of them left the hotel. We heard from a former employee, that the hotel's room 303 reportedly had a ghostly guest. Guests have reported hearing knocking, seeing things move, and even see the ghostly apparition of a man in the room. We questioned the front desk clerk, who oddly, seemed reluctant to talk. Upon seeing the hotel, it's not hard to get the vibe that the building is old, while still being a beautiful building. Not being the types to give up, we decided we were determined to learn the story of room 303.
     We dug a little more, and found the story of room 303. The suite belonged to movie director Sam Peckinpah. It was said that Peckinpah was schizophrenic and liked to do a variety of drugs. He was known to put steel grates on his suites windows, and sleep with a revolver by his bed. He often woke in the night and fired the revolver into the cieling, luckily, never hurting anyone. It's said that after Peckinpah passed away, he loved The Murray so much, that he returned and to this day haunts the hotel. The suite has been kept as it was when he used it, and guests stay in it often by request. These are where the reports of things moving, hearing voices, and even sightings of Sam's ghost. We didn't see the ghost of Sam Peckinpah on this visit, or any other ghosts for that matter. But we did see a big part of Livingston's history and an amazing building.
    We continued on our way and by chance came across a book called "The Ghosts of Yellowstone", which gave us some new things to explore. We eagerly started up our bikes and hit the road in search of our next LRS Myth, Legends and Tales from the Road on the way to the great Yellowstone National Park. So tune in next time as LRS Myths, Legends and Tales from the Road takes on the legends and spectres of Yellowstone National Park.

On our way down the 89 in the Lewis and Clark forest we came across this old guy, he was only going half the speed limit and to be honest I thought he was gonna fall off the road. 

When we stopped for gas he rolled up behind us and I spoke with him for a while, he was on his way back from a couple of months in alaska, where he rode to the end of every highway on his KLR 650. What and adventure!  He had crashed his bike a few weeks ago and was forced to be laid up waiting for his thumb to start working again.
The big fairing on his bike was his own creation which he sells for 67 different motorcycles out of Arkansas. He still had a ways to go before he got home.  

We have vader for a mascot, he had tinker bell, who look like she had better days. 

Found this cool statue on our way to Livingston on the 89. Its at a spot that lewis and clark named after a member of their party. 

Plaque dedicated to all the trappers explorers and mountain men.

The livingston Train depot is one of the most beautiful train stops I have ever seen, it was designed by an italian man and is one of only two of its kind in the world. It truly is a work of art and worth visiting on any trip to livingston

Inside the depot is a museum of the way things were back when Livingston was the gateway to Yellowstone

Interesting train wreck

Jeremy outside the Livingston Train depot

We found this article which spoke of some of the shady characters who made this hotel home.

Rumor has it that on some nights this piano plays all by its self in the Murray Hotel

If you look real hard you can see a ghost in the window of this picture........ 

North gateway to yellowstone

Buffalo just where they belong, out of the road!

A group of japanese people really wanted to pose with my Harley - I let them sit on the bike as much as they wanted, took like a half hour to finish taking pictures and pretending to ride. I did my good job for diplomacy today. 

Beautiful ride away from yellowstone lake at sunset. 

We finally pulled into our hotel in cody about 11:00 pm, we were both exhausted,  its a good thing this little hotel had nice beds and hot showers.