Video Fix:
October 31st 2014 (day 2,710)

Genuine Hockley
Well, here it is: 64 gigs, hours of riding footage distilled to a three minute video - very watchable, even for cage riders.

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Date:
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GENUINE HOCKLEY
10/31/2014
Arizona / Nevada / Utah / New Mexico
3:28.23

30 fps
MP4
138,480 KB
Don't have QuickTime media player? Click here to download.

 

 





 

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Day 2,705 - Phoenix, Arizona
23:48hrs - October 26th 2014
The Best Time

In two weeks Steve and I rode over 2,100 miles, visiting four states along the way - Arizona, Nevada, Utah and New Mexico. We stayed in a variety of hotels, a resort, and cheap classic ranch-style motels complete with original and faded flickering neon street signs. Some rooms, costing just $40 a night, were covered with threadbare carpets so dirty they turned our feet black. The Harleys, parked just outside our door and opposite our neighbor's which held a handwritten rent payment notice, were always a relief to find waiting for us in the morning.

On the fringes of boarded-up towns, we played pool with locals in dimly lit biker bars where the low hum of conversation abruptly stopped and all drinkers turned to watch us enter. After ordering our first pitcher of Budweiser, conversation resumed and by the end of the night we would leave knowing a few names, local stories and small town politics.

We got riding advice along the way from retired NY and LA policeman turned cowboys. From an old weathered vagabond hippie, "right on, man", backpacking with his mutt, his best friend, around a country he sadly no longer feels a part of. Conversation came easy with complete strangers outside 7-eleven refreshment stops, sipping Root Beer and Dr. Pepper. One couple, sharing a motorbike, were  searching unsuccessfully for a bar. Another, a shaggy physiotherapist touring on an heavily-laden worn out Honda coated with dust and hundreds of stickers, pins and trinkets accumulated over five years of touring, enthusiastically offered us his favorite roads, stop-offs, and some homegrown medicinal plants.

We met tourists from Germany, South Africa, England, Sweden, who, like us, were touring the vast frontier land of a country where a brutal, adventurous and legendary history, just 150 years old, still feels close enough to embrace. We got into character, the relaxed, in-the-moment indifference of the happy, dusty, carefree traveler: wearing Navajo jewelry, cowboy hats, a handlebar moustache, and yes, matching Tshirts without fear or care of judgement or ridicule.

We did the obvious: cruised Route 66, rode over the Colorado River and around the Grand Canyon, we stacked chips on Bellagio Black Jack tables and placed dollar bills on a Vegas stage; We did the unexpected, too: riding into the heart of Monument Valley with 'Jerry Springer', our Navajo Indian construction worker/part-time guide; We stood on a corner made famous by an old Eagles song that somehow saved an even older town; We leaned against the same bar that the legendary Earp Brothers and Doc Holiday once shared, sipping eye-watering locally distilled 110-proof bourbon from thick shot glasses.

We sat in the middle of empty highways that seemed to go on forever. We raced a Roadrunner, marvelled at a Snowy Owl that flew just ten feet in front of our bikes. We shed safety gear, strapping helmets and heavy leather jackets to the spare seat just to feel the excitement of riding free with the sun on our faces and the dry desert wind stirring our hair. We listening to our iShuffles which played the ultimate sound track for a Harley Davidson road trip: Steppenwolf, ZZ Top, Jackson Brown, The Rolling Stones...

We rode every day on motorcycles that exemplify the American spirit of freedom and adventure. We toured across deserts, vast dusty plains, through canyons pin cushioned with thousands of posing saguaro cacti. We rode over mountain ranges, climbing over 8,000 feet in altitude, feeling the temperature drop 40 degrees in under an hour. We stopped frequently on long empty roads to stretch, and listen to the deep, empty silence of nowhere.

We argued, as brothers sometimes do when they spend a lot of time together. But the bikes separated us, and a little time on the road always brought us back together. It is the most time Steve and I have spent alone in our lives. How often, really, does the opportunity arise, without a parent, spouse or friend to distract and mediate?

It was the best time.

 

 


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Phoenix, Arizona

October 25th
2014 (day 2,704)

Day 14 - The Road
The destinations on this trip have been remarkable - from old mining towns, classic Route 66 diners, the Vegas Strip to the majestic Monument Valley, but it's the road that connects them all together that we've enjoyed the most. Since we left Phoenix we've chased mirages on desert roads stretched tight from horizon to horizon. We've clung to adrenaline inducing mountain roads with white-knuckle bends so tight the recommended speed limit drops to a mere 15mph. We've cruised open plains during strong crosswinds on roads swept clean with tumbleweeds, and we've glided over smooth sweeping empty roads that meander, bank and roll so perfectly, they can only have been made for motorcycles. There's a focus, a connection to the road you feel when you're riding a bike, it's new to me, and I love it! - Neville

 


 



Tombstone, Arizona

October 23th
2014 (day 2,702)

Day 12 - Cowboy Country
New Mexico welcomed us with a big yellow sign and yet another time zone. The cooler climate in the mountains gave way as we rolled into the Bohemian town of Silver City, populated with many arty shops. Back on the road again, and after a quick repair to Nev's gear linkage involving a shoe lace, we were back in Arizona and heading to the border town of Douglas. We didn't do Mexico this time around, but headed through the old mining town of Bisbee to the legendary Tombstone. Cowboy hat suitably donned, we both swaggered our way down Main Street - Neville got into character by trimming his beard to honor the fallen at the O.K. Corral. Coming out of Big Nose Kate's Saloon after dusk with the street deserted, we felt the history and nostalgia. - Steve

 


 



Winslow, Arizona

October 20th
2014 (day 2,699)

Standing on a Corner
Day 9 brings with it our most miles, 233, which is enough to carry us out of Navajo Territory and into Winslow - a sleepy Arizona town made famous by a song written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey. The town has a tribute, suitably located complete with a 'flat-bed Ford', massive Route 66 inlay on the road and a bronze statue. This song hit home with many folk, as surprisingly there was a continuous throng of posers and picture takers, with the adjacent gift shops offering the obligatory t-shirts, and yes, we did partake. We finished our day playing pool in a bar with locals. Tomorrow we head southeast, to New Mexico, but riding over 8,000 feet in altitude, we'll keep a close eye on the weather as the temperature is expected to plummet from the 90 degrees we're used to, to the low 30's! - Steve

 

   

 



Monument Valley, Utah

October 19th
2014 (day 2,698)

Day 8 - Monumental!
We are now well and truly in Navajo territory, as we are on their reservation. The Navajo are a proud tribe and set their own rules, such as obeying Daylight Savings Time, where the rest of Arizona does not. This takes us by surprise every time we dip in and out of the reservation or go into Utah. However, the timing of observing nature's marvel that is Monument Valley, is irrelevant as the beauty and awesome nature is timeless. We got Jerry, a local Navajo to act as our guide and take us to areas of the Valley that are not available to tourists in their own cars - necessary as motorbikes are not allowed on the dirt tracks. The landscapes and commentary explaining which movies used the legendary backdrop are impressive to say the least, with the list including John Wayne and Tom Cruise, along with memorable Marlboro adverts. - Steve

 


 



Kayenta, Arizona

October 18th
2014 (day 2,697)

Day 7 - Feeling More at Ease
Steve's been riding and racing all manner of motorcycles for over thirty years, at white-knuckle speeds of up to 180 mph, by comparison I only passed my bike test earlier this year, have accumulated just a week's worth of riding, and am happiest when cruising a quarter of my brother's top speed. Perhaps, to compensate for my lack of riding experience, I'm making up for it in appearance - if I can't ride like a serious biker, I'm trying my best to look like one. I've got a week's worth of stubble, I've bought a bandana which I'm wearing in a sort of 80's-style tribute to Axl Rose, along with jeans and a t-shirt which have yet to see the inside of a washing machine. I had a chinwag with a 'real' biker in an old mining town a few days ago, 'enjoy the ride, man' he said, 'but watch out for them cages.' Luckily, except for the Vegas Strip, we've got the old highways almost completely to ourselves. And I'm thankful for that. - Neville

 


 



Las Vegas, Arizona

October 17th
2014 (day 2,696)

Day 6 - Vegas Baby!
Still racking up the miles, over 750 to be precise. The empty and twisty mountain roads that took us into the old mining town of Oatman, complete with pit donkeys that are descendants of the originals, gave way to the desert expanses of Nevada with long straight highways. Vegas attracted us like a magnet, and after a day's ride in 100 degrees, we finally rolled into The Strip. To keep the theme of this road trip going we stayed in the original downtown part of the city in a $40/night motel that gave 'skanky' a new definition. The Strip didn't disappoint and Bellagio was most welcoming and kept the drinks coming free, as long as they could attempt to empty our wallets. The stay was short, as the blackjack is highly addictive, so back on the road and into the mostly 'dry' state of Utah. Stay tuned! - Steve

 

 



Kingman, Arizona

October 14th
2014 (day 2,693)

Day 3 - Bad To The Bone?
We finally made it to Route 66, America's most historic highway from Chicago to LA. Even though it's fragmented, little used by modern traffic and well worn in places, it's a nostalgic stretch of tarmac which oozes the spirit of adventure for folks travelling west. Cruisin' on Route 66 riding Harleys is about as good as it gets - the wind in our hair, American classics blasting through our headphones, and for a particularly quiet stretch of highway when we shrugged off the helmets, we felt a little bad to the bone. A few really cool old garages are littered along the road, and we couldn't help but stop and absorb some history. Folks thought we were the real-deal, and seemed a little disappointed with the English accents and the requests for cups of tea! Vegas next... - Steve

 




 



Sedona, Arizona

October 13th
2014 (day 2,692)

Yeehaw!
A sequel may not always live up to the original, first time around experience. But, 'The return to AZ', is rapidly turning into an epic adventure of truly memorable proportions. Just 2 days in, Neville and I have already covered 250 miles, drank whiskey in the original bar that The Earp brothers and Doc Holiday frequented, and even posed with a Winchester rifle with obligatory cowboy hats. I wore the black one of course to confirm the 'outlaw' in me...! Our steel horses are performing admirably and munching the miles that only American Iron can. The scenery is of course, as stunning as I vaguely remember from 35 years ago, and is truly not disappointing. Superlatives don't do it justice. Another 12 days to go and every minute will undoubtedly be of epic proportions and unforgettable. Bring it on! - Steve

 

   


 


Quick Fix: 26° 24' N / 81° 53' W
Shore leave: Florida
October 1st 2014 (day 2,680)

Returning to AZ
With my older brother, Stephen, sporting a sheath knife on his belt (he was always the practical one), and me a blue bunny rabbit's foot for good luck, we first explored Arizona together in 1978. Perhaps it was because our parents dressed us alike (two-for-one deals at Kmart?), but people just assumed we were twins, and for almost two years we did everything together - exploring the Wild West with a feral excitement and enthusiasm that comes so naturally to two boys, aged just seven and nine, who had just moved from a damp, overcast England to the vast bright adventurous expanse of cowboy country. But time and travel changes most things, our family moved back to England, we grew up, chose different roads, and rarely, now, have the opportunity to spend time together.

But in just ten days Steve and I will return to Arizona where we'll once again share the same road, side-by-side, for an epic tour on the back of Harleys. We'll cruise the Grand Canyon State, Nevada, Utah and New Mexico. Ride on classic Route 66, explore Whisky Row, Vegas, Sedona, Monument Valley, old mining towns and forgotten highways. I've designed some tee shirts for us to wear - so we'll match. It'll be just like the old times without, perhaps, the blue bunny rabbit's foot.
See you soon in Arizona, brother!