AMER­ICA

NG DREAMI NIA CAL­I­FOR Downes By Andy old the same For­get about Har­leys. 66 and clichžd Route for top ideas our three Here are State the Golden

Motorcycle News (UK) - - New Bikes -

Ask most peo­ple to think of a road trip across Amer­ica and they will al­most cer­tainly say Route 66 on a Har­ley. It’s be­come so in­grained in the psy­che, we now think it’s the only op­tion for an Amer­i­can trip. Ex­cept Amer­ica is mas­sive, var­ied and of­fers an enor­mous bounty of bikes to choose from. MCN took an In­dian Chief­tain out into the Ne­vada desert for a taste of some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent.

Mo­tor­cy­cles make a lot of sense in Cal­i­for­nia. The weather is sub­lime and the stun­ning moun­tains are in sight and pep­pered with gor­geous rid­ing routes. Not to men­tion the wild deserts and some of the most in­cred­i­ble na­tional parks in the world, like Yosemite and Joshua Tree.

My route ahead stretches from Long Beach in LA to Las Ve­gas, Ne­vada, past Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Na­tional For­est, stop­ping for lunch in the old min­ing town of Barstow, past the World’s Tallest Ther­mome­ter and then into Las Ve­gas. Even in De­cem­ber the LA weather is 20 de­grees, sunny and warm on the neck. The pow­er­ful In­dian Chief­tain un­der­neath me is per­fect for the job and what might ap­pear to be a big bike in the UK, sim­ply melts away on the gi­ant six-lane-wide free­way out of Long Beach, to­wards San Bernardino and the moun­tains. The traf­fic is heavy but slic­ing through the lanes of slow­mov­ing cars is easy; the Chief­tain’s Blue­tooth work­ing with my iphone to play mu­sic through the speak­ers. The bike is in its el­e­ment and I’m lov­ing it; de­spite the hazy brown LA smog leav­ing a metal­lic tang in my mouth.

Still, I can see the epic moun­tains up ahead, draw­ing us in. Pulling off the free­way onto the 330 and the scenery im­me­di­ately changes. As the climb con­tin­ues, a light sprin­kling of snow ap­pears; a re­minder of our height above sea level and the time of year.

The stun­ning scenery con­tin­ues all the way through Run­ning Springs, Big Bear Lake and up as near the sum­mit of Sil­ver Peak as the road gets. Then the de­scent be­gins; the rugged rocky canyon walls peel back and the wide, open, dusty desert rolls out ahead. I love desert land­scapes be­cause, de­spite the un­for­giv­ing na­ture, they al­ways seem so peace­ful. This ride cov­ers it all, chang­ing in and out of dif­fer­ent worlds and land­scapes ev­ery hun­dred miles. It’s un­be­liev­able.

A lunch stop at The Idle Spur Steak House near Barstow was per­fectly timed. The dry desert air has left me gasp­ing for fluid; the prime rib burger is sim­ply sen­sa­tional and it takes all of my self con­trol not to or­der an­other.

The run down through the desert to Baker and a quick pic­ture stop at the World’s Tallest Ther­mome­ter means the fi­nal stage of the run to Las Ve­gas is ap­proach­ing. It also means a large, cold beer is fi­nally go­ing to be sunk.

Chief­tain proves that Amer­ica is true In­dian coun­try Now, where to find a beer in Ve­gas... Route 66 will take you to Ne­vada’s Hoover dam but you can go an­other way

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