I’m stranded in New York. My custom made motorcycle was lifted from the streets of Brooklyn. Farmers had fixed the bikes fractured frame and a quarter pound of pepper plugged its popped radiator. Despite its difficulties it had brought me to the starting point of the fourth annual Ride4Humanity charity run, and now it was most likely being scrapped for parts. After almost a month of searching I was about to accept the fact that this year I wouldn’t be able to take part in the ride from New York to Los Angeles.
I wouldn’t be able to take part in the ride from New York to Los Angeles.
Just as I was on the phone with Jet Blue, Indian motorcycle was calling on the other line. They had heard my story over the news and stated that they would like to offer me the most luxurious motorcycle that Indian has made to date. The trip just went from good to amazing! I had been given the opportunity to ride cross-country on a dream machine. I was accustomed to riding a hard tail 360 with no suspension, which I did to represent abused animals. Now I was on the other side of the spectrum with a 2015 Indian Roadmaster.
I was on the other side of the spectrum with a 2015 Indian Roadmaster.
I called my buddy UK Speed. He said to take the Staton Island ferry from Manhattan and he would meet me at the terminal. We rode over the Goethals Bridge to the Indian dealership in Union, New Jersey. I was given a tutorial rundown and signed for the motorcycle. I rode it straight off the showroom floor. Riding out of there felt like a dream. I was on the Rolls Royce of motorcycles with all the amenities. After a day or two I acclimated to being able to lean back, relax, and enjoy the smooth ride.
I rode the motorcycle back to Brooklyn and parked it in the exact same spot that my bike was stolen from. Nothing can stop Ride4Humanity.
Nothing can stop Ride4Humanity.
That night I rode until the sun rose. I was on such a high of freedom and exhilaration from having a brand new motorcycle and being able to complete this cross-country run. Less than a mile down the road I saw red and blue lights flashing behind me. You can’t be serious I thought. A cop pulled me over and stated that I was splitting lanes. He showed no mercy for the cause and wrote me a citation to appear in court. It was a bit of a buzz kill but I didn’t allow it to stifle my spirit.
The next day happened to be Indian Larry’s annual block party. There were many photographers and journalists in attendance. I parked the Indian at the entrance where there were motorcycle enthusiasts beginning to crowd around. They had only seen the bike in advertisements and had heard about the company’s big comeback. There were many comments on its beautiful engine and automatic features. While there Darren McKeag applied war paint to the face of the Indian. During this event was the Brooklyn invitational. There were choppers displayed in gallery light like I’ve never seen before. Amongst the mix of music and art were one of a kind masterpiece motorcycles.
Taking place in the following days was the Motorcycle Film Festival so I decided to stick around in New York a little while longer. There was an array of films encompassing why we ride and featuring motorcycles from around the world. All the producers and directors were intrigued and fascinated about how I obtained this brand new Roadmaster. Jack Crank pulled me up a chair and embraced me like a brother. I took about eight different excited women for a ride around the city.
The next morning it was time to hit the road, but first I walked into Sign Master a sign shop located in Brooklyn. They were willing to create and donate decals displaying the phrases Ride4Humanity - New York 2 Los Angeles – A Benefit for Best Friends. I applied these to the bike to represent the cause and the charity. As the sun was setting and the fog was rolling in I crossed the bridge to finally begin this long awaited 3,600-mile trek.
begin this long awaited 3,600-mile trek
Beginning the journey had already been an adventure in itself. I was grateful for the motorcycles heated grips as I set out in the damp and dreary weather.
I rode through the night finding spots to rest along the way. This motorcycle was so comfortable that I slept on it numerous times. I even chose it over free hotel rooms which were provided by the Sheraton. It felt like an RV on two wheels. I arrived in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania the following evening. There I met up with a group of bikers who had just finished the Distinguished Gentleman's ride. We exchanged stories and they showed me around town. One of the guys was a custom fabricator and offered to apply white scallops to the front fairing. While I waited for him to get off work I wandered into Threads on Carson, a nearby skate shop. I was checking out some shoes that would fare better in the rain as the forecast called for a heavy storm to hit in the next few days. I began talking with the owner of the shop who supplied a lot of gear from Crooks and Castles, which was one of my sponsors. He gave me a pair of psuedo motorcycle skate shoes. They worked out perfectly and I was very thankful.
I hit the road again and headed through the Liberty Tunnel. I was just below Lake Eerie when the storm hit. I pulled over for some shelter from the thick fog and sleet. It was there that I spotted a Cabelas. After hearing my story and seeing the current weather conditions the marketing director authorized me to have over eight hundred dollars worth of gear. I left feeling indestructible. I was a weatherproofed storm trooper. My new armor and the Indians heated seats kept me warmer on the bike than I was off of it. I rode all day and through the night in the pouring rain until I arrived in Columbus, Ohio. I stopped in front of a club where a bunch of bikers intriguingly approached me to check out the motorcycle. That night I slept under a tree on the bike in the elements. A few hours later I hit the road once again.
It was such a convenience to have multiple charging stations on the Indian. All my devices were always fully charged and ready to go. Forty-eight miles out it began to snow in Springfield.
Forty-eight miles out it began to snow in Springfield.
The supreme maneuverability of the Roadmaster kept me calm and in control. The rain gear provided a perfect shield as the snow and hail persisted over the state line and into Indiana. I kept riding until I hit St Louis at about four in the morning. I slept on the Mississippi river next to an abandoned train station.
When I awoke I caught wind of the Rat Run Rally. There were over 5,000 bikes just about to head west. I took off with a pack from Shady Jacks Saloon to the ending point at the Long Shot Saloon in Portage Des Sioux. When I arrived I noticed a booth set up by Indian motorcycle. They requested that I park front and center to show off the state of the art machine that I currently had the pleasure to be traveling on. That night I camped out again.
In the morning I couldn’t wait to hit the road. All I wanted to do is ride. Good thing because I made a wrong turn and ended up in Kansas City. Winter clouds crowded the sky and the brisk air drooped amongst the farmland. For the first time I was finally heading south. Every one hundred miles it rose about five degrees. The wind had subsided and I was surrounded by open road. I felt like a pioneer. The motorcycle drove itself. It was so comfortable that I kicked my feet up, leaned back, and just cruised. I relaxed and breathed in the country air. I observed the shimmering sun set golden rays upon the land.
Late that evening I arrived in Oklahoma City. A crew of local outlaws called Wheels of Soul saw me stopped on the side of the road.
They skidded out and turned around in the middle of the freeway to make sure I wasn’t stranded.
I had just been taking some photographs. I was stunned that they went to such great lengths for me, but that’s the biker brotherhood that is constantly experienced on the road. Turns out they had heard my story through the news. I was greatly appreciative and felt compelled to ride with them. I went back to their clubhouse and took a tour to check out their hot rods.
That night I stayed in an actual hotel room. While at the Moto Film Fest I had met the marketing director of Rev’it!. She sent me a package to the Sheraton. It contained a black leather jacket with body armor. I slipped it on. Wow, I thought. This is the nicest jacket that I have ever placed on my body. I left feeling well rested and restless. I made a quick pit stop at the Indian dealership where they cleaned and prepped the bike for Texas. I went with the owner to a Wind and Fire motorcycle meeting where they presented a $3,500 check to the community. That night I crashed on the couch of one of the firefighters.
I left early morning and rode through Turner Falls. It was by far one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I rode through super slippery rivers and small pathways by gorgeous waterfalls. Nearby campers shared their lunch with me. I rested and replenished, absorbed the amazing scenery, then rode into the sunset reaching Austin Texas.
I stayed with my buddy Dan and his son Tristen on their 250-acre ranch. They handled Uno the beagle that won best in show in 2008 at Westminster. They were very excited to see the new 2015 Indian Roadmaster. I rode around the ranch herding goats and cows. I’m blessed to have such great friends on the halfway point to home.
Next stop El Paso. One hundred miles from town I ran out of gas. I was next to Boob Mountain in the middle of nowhere. First I called the BAM Society but there were no bikers within the vicinity. Finally AAA showed up with a couple gallons of gas to get me to the nearest station. I fueled up and met some friends who were eagerly awaiting my arrival. There I had a good meal and a good nights rest and was ready to rock and roll in the morning. My buddy rode me out of town over Trans Mountain and into New Mexico.
The sun set upon the Arizona sign and I rode all night through the desert. Trains were whizzing by on both sides. The weather was wonderful and the ride was smooth. I was lounging and loving it. That night I slept at Willow Lake. In the morning I took a ride through Sedona. The blazing sun glowing off the red terrain was spectacular. It was definitely one of the highlights of my journey.
I made another stop at Watson Lake. The rock formations peered above and reflected throughout the glassy blue water. It was unlike anything I had ever seen before. All of the lakes in Arizona supplied me with the perfect spots for bathing and cleaning clothes.
The next night I pulled into a Sheraton, however I was too tired to even check in and slept in the garage. I spent one more night in Chino Valley, Arizona to visit my daughter Brooklyn. While having breakfast one of the horses came up to the sliding glass window. Apparently this rarely happens. It must have sensed that I’m an animal rescue rider. That afternoon before I took off I placed a blanket roll behind my back and it was a game changer. From then on I kept something to lean on.
I headed North back up to Route 66. I stopped at mile marker 360. It’s a sign that’s historic and nostalgic to me. They skidded out and turned around in the middle of the freeway to make sure I wasn’t stranded.
I made a one thousand mile pledge there with my 360 last year.
There was a slight wave of sadness that I would never see that bike again.
The night was creeping amongst the sand as I took off into the desolation. I didn’t see a single car the entire way. The road was in disrepair and dropped down to ten mile an hour curves. There were hazard signs everywhere and warnings to watch for wild animals scattered amongst the shoulders. By now it was one in the morning and the atmosphere was ghostlike. A wild animal would have been welcome at this point. As I dipped around the curves I was very pleased at how well the headlights lit up the sketchy terrain.
It was around midnight when I arrived in Kingman. Gradually some souls began to reappear, but I was on the way into Oatman another ghost town. When I arrived the only sound was a dog that incessantly barked from its wooden porch and wouldn’t let up. I continued to cruise, checking out the town as I felt the spirits checking out me. Signs warned me to beware of the wandering burros that seemed to be stuck in another era. Time had stood still, backtracked, and retraced the events of a mining towns lore. There was an Indian head engraved on the sidewalk in front of a souvenir shop. I decided this was the perfect place to rest. After a couple hours the barking dog calmed down, but if I even flinched he started up again for another good half hour of defending his territory. Despite the situation I managed to get a few hours of sleep on the concrete stoop of the Oatman Hotel and Saloon. I purposely awoke early to capture the sunrise upon the hills. I saw a deep incline that recessed into a valley. I rode the Indian up an intimidating hill like a cowboy. It landed me on a stretch of crosses. There were photos in remembrance of many fallen riders, the soldiers of the spirit of freedom. The light had just begun to creep above the land and the cliffs became alive with courage and colors. A photographer walked up who had been waiting all year to shoot the location in this particular lighting.
I took back off down the curvy roads, scraping the pegs along the way.
I took back off down the curvy roads, scraping the pegs along the way. Before I left I caught the daily show down at high noon. The blazing shots and rising smoke echoed and seeped amongst the town. There were die-hard Indian motorcycle enthusiasts who were in love with the bike. People would stare me down through the dirt roads, checking out this phenomenal ride.
I took off early evening and camped that night in site six at Lake Havasu. I ended up stuck in the sand while setting up photographs. Several hours later a fellow biker showed up and helped push me out. Devastatingly, his son had recently died in a tragic accident. He had lost control of his Harley Deuce while going over train tracks and hit a pole. I was sympathetic to his story and also grateful for his assistance. I meandered around town for a while then hit the road around four in the afternoon.
I had grown accustomed to riding at night and promoting during the day. I drove through Laughlin and Las Vegas staying off the interstate as much as possible. I had just started to realize the significance of this adventure. It had become a spiritual journey, a certain sort of pilgrimage into the unknown.
I ended up in Pahrump. I pulled into a RV spot and lied down on the bike. The wind really started whipping so I got up and looked for another area. The only place I found for shelter was an old self-serve carwash. I unintentionally frightened an attendant that wandered by but she allowed me to stay. I took a fourty five minute powernap then fired up the heated seats and grips and headed out for some more sunrise shots in Shoshone. I flipped a coin between Death Valley and Tecopa Hot Springs. Heads, Tecopa it was.
I have seen a lot of countryside but there was something extra special and surreal about Tecopa’s desert landscape. It felt like being on another planet. I soaked in the community bathhouse and rested my aching muscles. The open desert is so expansive, calming and magical that I was compelled to spend a little time in Death Valley as well. I rode 282 feet below sea level into Badwater Basin. This was heading in the opposite direction from home so I turned back around. On the way I stopped at a station where I bumped into Sundeep Gajjar. He was documenting his journey called an Indian on an Indian. It was ironic to run into another rider on a 2015 press bike but not surprising. The synchronistic energies of the universe are in full effect in the vastness of the mystical desert. I returned to Tecopa, built a fire, and camped out. The night was cold and the sky was filled with a multitude of brilliant stars.
In the morning I found out about a natural hot spring just up the road. I soaked for hours in the detoxifying mud of mother earth. This felt like the final resting point. I was nearing the end of this journey but didn’t want to let go. My home felt on the Roadmaster.
I pried myself away from this place that I had fallen in love with and took the long way home. I rode through Barstow and through the ski resorts in Wrightwood to alas Hollywood.
I had been on the road for a solid three months.
I had been on the road for a solid three months. Half of me was relieved to be home, but the larger half was eager to continue on. I slept and recuperated for a couple days. The bike was so reliable and performed so amazingly that I had no reservations about taking back off. So I left for the 31st annual Love Ride, a daylong motorcycle ride and music festival. While there I visited the booth set up by Indian motorcycle. Leo Hartog invited me down to the Wings, Wheels, and Rotors show at the Los Angeles Army Airfield. I was personally escorted onto the airbase to place the cross country Indian next to the Bonneville Indian. My bike was open to all the spectators to sit on, to touch, to feel, to honk, and to twist the throttle to unleash the thunder.
Then began the series of International motorcycle shows. I rode the coast to San Francisco through another storm. There were mudslides and boulders. Rocks scattered like marbles across the road. Cars where washed off the side and stuck every which way. This was the worse road I had ever ridden on. I was praying to make it across and once again the Roadmaster prevailed.
IMS sponsors Ride4Humanity and welcomed my appearance. I showcased the Indian at the front entrance for everyone to evaluate as they walked in. When I left the show I slept that night under the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a damp and dreary rest. I set off that morning to Las Vegas for SEMA. I was breathing, eating, and sleeping the ocean air on one of the most beautiful stretches of highway ever. There was ocean to the right and the edge of the Earth to the left. I was enraptured and enchanted. When I arrived I met up with another one of my sponsors Mad Industries for a product preview party in the penthouse on the 57th floor of Palms Place. I showed off pictures of the bike and told stories of the adventure to the attendees who where highly interested in custom baggers.
Then I headed to the show in Long Beach where I had the honor to meet Robert and Julie, the ones who had generously blessed me with this motorcycle. I parked it outside the Eagle Rider booth and gained some more exposure. I stayed and answered a lot of questions about the Roadmaster. Then it dawned on me how close I was to the 10,000-mile mark. I set my sights to ride.
The bike took me back to Tecopa where I picked up an unexpected passenger who was visiting from Vegas. She rode the last 600 miles with me. We rode through desert depths and across dams. We rode into a crumbling cathedral mysteriously lit by candles. We went through curvy canyons lush with life. We rode alongside rivers that reflected casino light. We kept riding at 27 degrees into the night. Then I hit the mark in Malibu. I rode 10,000 miles in less than 90 days ending the year with the most miles on any 2015 Indian Roadmaster.
I rode 10,000 miles in less than 90 days ending the year with the most miles on any 2015 Indian Roadmaster.
My time on the motorcycle was overdue and I reluctantly returned this iconic machine. It was a journey of so many calibers never to be forgotten.