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
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.