Was able to visit the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument near Coolidge AZ. There is not much left to this ancient Hohokam Village but what remains is rather impressive given its 700 year battle against the relentless desert sun. Visiting sites like this give me pause to dwell upon the many footsteps that have tread upon the land throughout our human evolution. It is unfathomable to comprehend the amount of skill, ingenuity, and complete dedication to survival it took for these industrious people to not only survive in such a hostile arid climate but thrive.
I am always so proud of myself when I go to IKEA and buy a pre-fabricated table and successfully put it together. The Hohokam Peoples, hunted where animals did not dwell, grew crops where water did not exist and built a village with little to no natural resources other than dirt and tenacity. Portions of this historic settlement still exist as a monument to those who have refused to give up even when all seemed lost and hope was beyond reason. I can’t help but to think of the words of Winston Churchill who said, “Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
I am in the process of planning a ride through Southeast Colorado which I am calling the American Travesty Tour. I try to research the historical significance of places that I plan on visiting on my motorcycle. I find that a bit of inquiry before the trip, makes the sites I see more vibrant and impactful. Planning this ride really made me reflect upon the concept of the duel Characteristic of Man. The notion that an individual can be both good and evil is not all that easy to swallow until one really dwells upon the deep unending depth of an individual’s soul. Were all capable of doing wondrous positive things as well as committing horrific acts of evil. What is an even more bazaar is that individuals often can do these things in conjunction with one another. Researching the historical significance of the Sand Creek Massacre and the Granada War Relocation Center in Southeast Colorado put into perspective the wrongs that my own country has committed. These are not the only sins that burden my own cultural identity but give me a sense of what we are all capable of doing if we do not live with an ethical and spiritual conscious. As a combat veteran, I can tell you that I am proud to be an American but one also must keep their hearts open to learning opportunities that we can learn from the past.
On November 29th 1864, America lost its moral compass when a force of Colorado US Volunteer Calvary under the command of US Army Colonel John Chivington attacked a peaceful village of Cheyenne and Arapaho Native Americans. The encampment was filled with mostly women and children, since the men were out hunting food for the upcoming winter. The band of Indians were requested to move to the Sand Creek area of Southeast Colorado and were guaranteed their safety by the American Government. In their village flew an American Flag along with a White Flag underneath the stars and stripes which was raised by the tribe to show their peaceful nature. Most adult Cheyenne and Arapaho men in the encampment were either sick or too old to attend the hunt. There is no real accurate causality list but it is safe to report that more than 100 Arapaho and Cheyenne Native Americans were killed, mostly women and children. This attack became known as the Sand Creek Massacre. This blood bath lead to further violence throughout the region when countless reprisals were made against white settlers in response to the Sand Creek Massacre by Native American Warriors. It’s a classic sad tale of hate begetting hate. Not all the military personal under Colonel Chivington participated in the massacre. Captain Soule who was in charge of Company D of the 1st Colorado Calvary ordered his men to stand down and did not attack when given the charge orders. Captain Soule latter testified against Colonel Chivington. On April 23, 1865 Silas Soule was murdered in Denver, CO while on duty as a Provost Marshal. Evidence suggests that his untimely death was payback for his eye witness testimony against Colonel Chivington.
Granada War Relocation Center, also known Camp Amache was a Japanese Relocation Camp located just outside Granada, CO in Southeast Colorado. In the spring of 1942, Japanese Americans were rounded up and forced from their homes and made to move to one of ten such Japanese Relocation Camps. Individuals were only allowed to bring one bag to the relocation centers and were forced to sell their valuables and property including pets and livestock before getting forced out of their homes. It’s hard to fathom such fear and hate which lead to such an abysmal act. While their family members were stuck in War Re-Location Camps, Japanese Americans were fighting the fascists in Europe. The US Army 442nd Regiment was made up of mostly men of Japanese ancestry and was the most decorated unit for its size and length of service in the history of American Warfare. The 442nd Infantry Regiment earned 9486 Purple Hearts and was awarded eight Presidential Unit Citations. Their motto was “Go for Broke” and they lived up to that creed with twenty-one of their members being awarded the Medal of Honor.
I never have posted my pre-ride research before an upcoming ride but felt so affected by what I learned that I wanted to put in words and share. I plan on taking this journey in the next few months and will hopefully be able to share more information.
I have no photos to prove I rode the Loneliest Road in America. Forgetting to take photos for a two-week ride on my motorcycle has not been my finest moment as an amateur blogger. Over the same two-week trip, I also forgot to put on pants at a family re-union dinner. Oh yes, this is a true story. I walked into the room with a short sleeve shirt, shoes, hat and boxer underwear. I totally forgot my pants but luckily was wearing white boxer briefs which could almost count as shorts but are definitely classified as underwear. The whole family noticed my fashion blunder and I will go down in the family history as the dude that forgot his pants at the Family Reunion. Luckily shortly after that incident, I got back on my cycle to ride one of the most majestic roads in North America. The Loneliest Highway through Nevada is not just a clever name to increase tourism, it is legitimately desolate beyond compare. Think of the Desert Planet Tatooine in Star Wars and you will have an accurate representation of the isolated motorway. The Loneliest Highway is part of U.S. Route 50 which starts in Ocean City, Maryland and runs all the way to West Sacramento, California. Highway 50 has been named the Backbone of America which defines its rural spirit. The Loneliest Highway is a subsection of this interstate which is located in Nevada. This stretch of payment is a philosophical bikers dream. It’s not filled with wondrous curves or insane pathway cliffs but its barren landscape breeds independent free thought. In the desert, the lines of communication between our consciousness and soul become more linked and primed. Back in 2003, I lived in the desert in South East Asia for a year. During this time, I wrote without abandon with more conviction and feeling then I have ever felt. This could be explained by many reasons but I always thought that the desert environment served as a muse which affected my soul directly leading to my literary expressions. It could be the open skies, the vivid sunsets, mesmerizing dawns, murderous sun or extreme deadly heat but for some reason, the desert enhances ones own own self perspective.
For me the Loneliest Highway started near Carson City, Nevada along U.S. Route 50 and ended in Delta, Utah. If you’re going to ride this isolated route, then be prepared for nothingness. For the first time in my life, I did my homework. My research found a limited amount of Gas Stations along the way. I packed an external gas reservoir, to supplement my small gas tank. This was absolutely needed and was used on multiple occasions. Sun block is needed and a lot of it. With every stop, I applied sun block. I found that the scent of the lotion much better than my natural odor (showers were limited on my trek). There are plenty of places to camp for free in National Forest and Bureau of Land Management Property. Watch out for small desert creatures that can ruin your evening if you choose to sleep under the stars. I traveled with a foam bed roll, sleeping bag and fully enclosed bivi shelter. I am a huge wimp; the thought of waking up with a rattlesnake in my sleeping bag or scorpion on my forehead makes the bivi shelter and absolute essential for desert camping. Don’t be fooled, it may be scorching hot during the day but at night the temperature drops and a sleeping bag is mission critical. Sitting under the night sky while camping on the Loneliest Highway is one of the most peaceful environments I have ever witnessed. The sounds of the desert, vast star infested atmosphere and the loneliness of the place, transfixed my emotions and brought me into a dream while still conscious. It’s a great place to be with one’s self and ponder life’s many conundrums.
We live in the microcosms of our own lives, and we rarely self reflect on the ills of our fellow man. Every day we should think about those less fortunate than ourselves and hopefully take action to assist others in need. On November 11th we celebrate the service of our Veterans. It is my belief that Veterans should be honored on a daily basis not just once a year.
Veterans Day gets its history from the end of World War I. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Germans signed an Armistice to end the war, which was supposed to end all wars.
Legislation was passed in 1938 to make Armistice Day a National Holiday dedicated to the cause of world peace and gave tribute to World War I Veterans as well. In 1954, the United States officially made Armistice Day into Veterans Day.
Veterans Day is a special time to remember deceased veterans as well as thank and honor living veterans who served honorably in the military. Memorial Day honors service members who died in service to their country.
My FJR is no more. I just had to much back pain and butt woes to keep my sports tour. There was nothing wrong with that Yamaha, the fault lies with my ever growing belly. The good news is that I traded in my old bike for a brand new Honda Interstate. It has a 1300 CC engine with an upright laid back sitting position which I love. It’s like riding on a pain free cloud and love the lines on my new Honda. Here are a few photos of my recent ride in Colorado.
Why do you love to ride? This question has been answered by millions of writers, enthusiast and bloggers throughout the last one hundred years. Songs have been inspired by the subject as well as movies made; all based upon our shared love of motorcycles. For me, the thought of the question never loses its luster. There is no wrong answer to why you love our two wheeled sport. As long as your personal reason is heartfelt, then no one can ever judge your response. The best part of this question is the desire amongst some of us to express it with such conviction and enthusiasm. The percentage of us who actually ride motorcycles is relatively few but our passion manifest its self throughout society. Yes it’s cool to be a motorcyclist but those of us who are really connected to riding care little of such trifle things. I am just another over weight middle aged balding dude who happens to ride a motorcycle but once I get on that cycle, life changes. When that engine starts my brain transcends reality. I no longer think about work deadlines, spreadsheets, mean people or silly little worries that hinder the soul. The sound of the engine drowns out all that negativity and life begins a new as the RPMs sky rocket down the road.
As we live our lives, we often get stuck in the quagmire of foolish discontent. For example, today I found a leak in my garage. There is a water leak around my chimney and I need to get it fixed. This was a real downer for me. The worry of the cost to stop the leak and to fix the interior damage stresses me and takes me down a notch. This worry is a legitimate concern and I have a responsibility to fix this issue for the welfare of my family. The problem becomes more of an issue because I will hyperfocus on this leak in my garage and if not careful will let this burden lead down a path of discontent. The cure is a ride on my cycle. Being on two wheels has the inherent ability to level set my consciousness and bounces me to a better place. When I am riding, I am no longer worried about bills and problems at home/work. All my attention is focused on listening to the sounds of the road. This is a two way conversation between your soul and environment around you. Our minds are so much attuned to the outside world because we are astutely aware of how much were exposed to the dangers of the world while on a cycle. It’s this feeling of exposure which is the reason for my love of motorcycling. There is something about putting oneself out there that make you feel the passion of life. Have you noticed that your sense of smell and hearing and sight are much more vibrant while riding? Once I get in that saddle, my awareness level peaks. It’s not exactly the same but I had a similar feeling while being deployed in combat scenarios in the Army. Ones senses just goes into overdrive and you feel that rush. That feeling is what drives me crazy about motorcycling but its more than that. When I am riding, I feel some sort of connection to the pathway set before me. So the road is not just a predestined route, it becomes integral part of the journey and is an extension of you and your motorcycle. Chasing adrenaline is part of my motorcycling experience but only a small part. Its more about that spiritual Zen like state that becomes you while riding.
Why do you love to Ride?