One of the things on my bucket list has always been to ride the Route 66 on a Harley-Davidson. Scenes of the Easy Rider movie enter my mind, where Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper drive the long straight roads of the American Southwest.
The plan is to start in Flagstaff, Arizona and drive all the way down to the Santa Monica pier, the end of the Route 66. And of course make a detour to the Grand Canyon and to Las Vegas.
As I arrive in Flagstaff, I check in at the Monta Vista hotel in the Historic part of town. “The Eagle Rider shop is on the other side of town,” the man at the reception desk says, “on the Route 66 of course.” I leave my luggage at the hotel and hail a taxi.
At the shop, I’m received by Eagle Rider Jim, who’s a local from Arizona. He rides his bike every day over the Route 66 to get to work, which puts it in another perspective. “For the trip you’re about to make, I recommend you take the Fatboy” Jim says pointing at an impressive, ultra white Heritage Soft tail, standing just in front of the shop. I take place on the bike and push it to a vertical position to feel the weight. It has been some time since my last ride, so I have to get used to the weight and the power of the machine again. “It feels kind of heavy” I say while balancing the bike.
I push the start button and the engine emits the unmistakable Harley sound. I engage the first gear and the bike slides away very smoothly. “Take care and enjoy the ride!” Jim shouts. The bike roars when I accelerate and become part of the traffic on the Route 66. Again the visions of Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper pop up in my mind and I start spontaneously singing the ‘Steppenwolf’ song. “Get your motor runnin, head out on the highway… BORN TO BE WI-HI-HILD!”
Maarten Schäfer – Born to be Wild
by Maarten Schafer
Author ‘Discover the Middle-East and Africa’ and ‘Around the World in 80 Brands’
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