Sunday, 22 February 2009
Following the Tyretracks of Hopper and Fonda
Utah, beautiful Utah. Riding into Monument Valley, homeland of the wonderful Navajo Indians and John Ford epic Western movies. We were the only ‘cavalry‘ there that day but the Indians were friendly and drove us round in 4x4’s, playing their flutes for us. Yes, they make their living from tourists, they know that, they told us so, but they were the most warm and friendly people you could wish to meet. These people were patriots, Native Americans, the descendants of the country’s ancient history, the grandsons and granddaughters of the heroic “Windtalkers” of WW2. We were in the presence of greatness. We did our best. The place was a truly moving and spiritual experience and I don’t usually do ‘moving and spiritual‘. Empty mountain roads, massive rocky canyons. Vast blue skies with those clouds from ‘The Simpson’s‘. Sweeping high-speed curves that led us across the Colorado River at Lake Powell. The deep joy of a rumbling Harley formation swinging through those big fast bends. Blimey, was it really this good? Yes. I left a five-minute gap so I could ride alone, at 60mph for 25 miles, without seeing another human being. Eagles soared, tumbleweed tumbled, mountains graced the horizon all around me and with that engine rumbling as only a Harley V-twin can, I sang my heart out for a while and then settled back, taking in the realisation that I was alone on an arrow-straight road stretching to vanishing point. Just me. No ‘knees-down‘, no ‘wheelies‘, no 0-100mph in ten seconds superbike “speed me to the next life” crap, just a remarkable, solitary and personal motorcycling experience that I simply have to live through again, because nothing else has come close.