Riding Route 66 on the Triumph America
After three days of desert debauchery (thank you, Coachella), I decided to ride back from California to Chicago via Route 66. Here’s what I figured out. I rode alone. The desert is hot as fuck; by noon it was over 100 degrees. I trust my bike but packed a dozen frozen water bottles anyway. Dying from heat in the desert is not on my top-ten list of ways to go. Whoever designed wind farms didn’t give a fuck about bikers. They will try to blow you off the road. Avoid. I was excited to see Joshua Tree. You know what I thought by the time I got there? It was more hot-as-fuck desert. I kept moving. Everywhere I stopped, people wanted to talk. Old-timers especially, reminiscing about their old Triumphs. Seeing those
geezers’ eyes light up was one of the best parts of the trips. Arizona is amazing. Don’t die without having gone there. If possible, stop by Oatman for the wild donkeys and rows of bad-ass bikers eating ice-cream cones and posting to Instagram. Ghost towns are real—and creepy. The town of Two Guns sounds a lot cooler than it is. Texas is a huge, mysterious place, littered with animals, ranchers, and enormous spaces. Everything was big and kinda plunked down wherever. Sixty-Six in Oklahoma is beautiful. Bright green fields and little ponds and trees everywhere. It was one of my favorite patches of road—long, pretty, and quiet.
TEXT AND PHOTOS BY CHRIS FORCE
About the bike I rode a 2007 Triumph America with Triumph saddlebags and a Saddlemen tunnel bag. It was a perfect luggage setup, with just enough room and easy enough to pop off the tunnel bag at night. It also acts like a decent back rest. I test rode a pre-production Garmin Zumo GPS, which I liked a lot in the more urban areas. It was easy to use while riding, even with gloves on. I also rode with a Scala Rider headset, which was handy for making calls while riding, but I mainly used it to listen to music via Bluetooth on my iPhone.
Everything looks pretty shitty in Kansas. I had never been to St. Louis. It reminded me of Hartford, Connecticut—kind of pointless and sad. I ate at a Quizno’s and wanted to kill myself. It rained like crazy when I pulled home into Chicago. A nice “welcome back.”
Published on Sep 21, 2012