An Aussie Invasion
Australians love sending their cultural icons to the USA.Sam Worthington, Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban and Kate Blanchett are probably the best known, although former San Francisco 49er Jarrod Hayne has turned a few American heads down under.
Now Australia’s latest attempt to influence American culture is about to hit the West Coast in the form of a quirky motorcycle television show for a motorcycle road trip filmed from Los Angeles to the famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota.
The show is controversially called Temporary Australians in order to try and dispel the many negative stereotypes that surround motorcycling in Australia and covers a huge and diverse range of motorcycling activity including road and dirt track race meetings, Harley rides, drag racing, motocross, charity events, clubhouses, bike shows, sports bike activities, female riders, trike gatherings, industry developments, women riders, law enforcement motorcycle clubs, outlaw motorcycle clubs, Christian motorcycle clubs, advocacy groups, celebrities and politicians who ride.
Temporary Australians also tackles some social issues such as tattooing, biker relationships and their meaning as well as looking at controversial issues such as wire rope road barriers, police profiling and the growing use of anti-association legislation in Australia.
The show has attracted a supportive and healthy aggregate audience via repeats since first airing nationally in 2013 on Channel ONE, part of the TEN Commercial Network in Australia. Currently Series 4 is in its first repeat season on this sports based channel across Australia.
As part of the filming for Series 5 a crew of four will be in Los Angeles on Thursday, July 21 and on Sunday, July 24 will start filming a road trip from LA to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota via Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Wyoming.
Temporary Australians plans to film not only the scenery but discover the many positive aspects of the American motorcycle culture and in the same way try to help dispel some the negative opinion that many in the general community may have about bikers in the USA.
Below is a filming schedule. Each day will begin at 8am with some interviews with local bikers about the riding culture in the various states, followed by a press conference for interested local media.
2016 Temporary Australians Filming Plan for USA Road Trip
- Thursday July 21. Arrive and pick up bikes at Carson.
- Sunday July 24. Film Bartel’s Poker Run around LA and 1pm Press Conference at Bartel’s Harley Davidson in Los Angeles.
- Monday July 25. 9am Head off to Las Vegas.
- Tuesday July 26. 9am Interviews at Red Rock Harley Davidson in Las Vegas followed by local media conference.
- Wednesday July 27. Filming from Grand Canyon Village Arizona to Kanab Utah.
- Thursday July 28. 8am Interviews followed by local media conference in Kanab Utah.
- Friday July 29. 8am Interviews followed by local media conference at Salt Lake City Harley Davidson(head to Idaho via Bonneville Salt Flats and Twin Falls where Evil Knievel attempted a jump).
- Saturday July 30. Filming in and around Boise.
- Sunday, July 31. Day off in Boise, Idaho.
- Monday, August 1. 8am Interviews followed by local media conference in Boise at High Desert Harley Davidson.
- Tuesday, August 2. 8am Interviews followed by local media conference in Prairie City, Oregon.
- Wednesday, August 3. 8am Interviews followed by local media conference in Joseph, Oregon.
- Thursday, August 4. 8am Interviews followed by local media conference in Lewiston Idaho.
- Friday, August 5. 8am Interviews followed by local media conference in Missoula Montana.
- Saturday August 6. 8am Interviews followed by local media conference in or near West Yellowstone, Wyoming.
- Sunday August 7. 8am Interviews followed by local media conference in Cody, Montana.
- Monday August 8. 8am Interviews followed by local media conference in Sundance Wyoming.
- Tuesday August 9. 8am Local media interviews. Filming in Sturgis starting at Harley Davidson Bike Show and NCOM Building.
- Wednesday August 10. Filming interviews and rides around Sturgis with an Aussie Tour.
- Thursday August 11. Filming around Sturgis.
- Friday August 12.Filming ends and head for LA.
- Tuesday August 16. Bikes returned cleaned and fuelled to LA.
Thanks.The Temporary Australians USA Road Trip is only possible thanks to the generous support of Harley Davidson USA, Heavy Duty Magazine, Travel Nevada, Utah Office of Tourism, Tourism Idaho, Travel Oregon, Visit Montana and Visit Wyoming as well as Bartel’s Harley Davidson Los Angeles, Red Rock Harley Davidson Las Vegas, Salt Lake City Harley Davidson, High Desert Harley Davidson Boise and Grizzly Harley Davidson Missoula.
Day 1/2 . Topanga Canyon Ride to San Fernando Valley Thursday July 21.
This was the first day in Los Angeles and we picked up a couple of borrowed Harley Davidson Ultra Glides. Next we dropped into Bartel’s Harley Davidson in Marina Del Rey, just north of LAX and then Tim the cameraman and I headed off to the San Fernando Valley for an interview with lawyer Richard Lester, founder of the National Coalition of Motorcyclists. The way that our GPS led us avoided all the unbelievably heavy LA freeway traffic by taking us up the Pacific Coast Highway past some famous and sun drenched beaches, to a road through the LA Hills called Topanga Canyon Boulevard. This road took us through an exhilarating section of twisties up the high LA Hills and over into the San Fernando Valley. What a ride!
Day 1 . Los Angeles Sunday July 24: Bartel’s Poker Run
Today was our first filming day and we spent it with some of our new Temporary American friends at the Bartel’s Harley Davidson Poker Run. 101 bikes turned up for this ride and our crew was escorted by the local HOG Chapter to make sure that we didn’t get lost.The trip crossed LA via freeway and suburban roads into the LA Hills and onto the famous Mulholland Drive, which is hugely popular with riders because of the many tight corners. After a couple of stops to gather additional cards, the bikes headed into the San Fernando Valley and then back on the freeway and to a biker bar called The Garage in Culver City in West Los Angeles for the second last card stop. Then we took to suburban roads again for the final leg back to Bartel’s Harley Davidson for live music, a feed and the final card. After about two hours the results were announced and a local biker named Sonny won best hand and our own Moreno Julli won worst hand…at least he won something, better than the rest of us! Next door to Bartel’s was the intriguingly named bike shop called Route 66, which rents Harleys as well as selling Triumphs, Royal Enfields and scooters. Named after the famous American Highway that runs from Santa Monica Pier in LA to Chicago, although some of it has been absorbed into freeways, it can still be travelled as it was in the 1920s. Colleen managed to find the start or end, depending on your point of view, in Santa Monica. One of the other highlights on the day was meeting two of the actors who played Mayans MC members in Sons of Anarchy. It was announced recently that a spinoff of Sons, focusing on the Mayans MC, is in the pipeline. Another was lane filtering though the clogged freeway traffic that surrounds LA. It’s legal here too!
Day 2. Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
At the poker run a number of locals including Ron Bartel recommended that we leave early on Monday morning to avoid the horrendous early peak hour traffic. So come Monday morning just after 5.30 am we headed off to find the best way out of Los Angeles. Our GPS took us through South Los Angeles via some of the industrial and poorer residential areas to join up with Highway 10 and from there the way out was pretty quick to join up with Interstate 15 that heads to Las Vegas. Once we cleared the very big hills the heat was really noticeable, getting near 40 degrees Celsius very quickly. As a result we stopped a few times for water breaks and finally a fuel stop at Baker in eastern California. We had made Baker on an Ultra tank but there were enough fuel stops along the way even if we had had less capacity. Shortly after Baker we crossed over into Nevada where the heat seemed to climb again and casinos started popping up. Because of our early departure we actually arrived in Las Vegas in the middle of the day, pretty washed out though. Interestingly our hotel in the downtown or the old part of town, was right across from a biker bar, which looked pretty inviting until we saw the ‘no colours’ sign. Apparently bikers were welcome but club affiliations weren’t. Once night arrived we went for a wander to check out he sights and discovered a bit of Aussie influence. Apparently lots of Aussies visit the place. After these discoveries it was a welcome respite from the hoards of people to have a quite meal at the Harley Davidson Café on the famous Las Vegas Strip!
Day 3. Las Vegas to Grand Canyon via Route 66.
Before we continued our journey east we stopped off at Red Rock Harley Davidson in Las Vegas for some local interviews for Series 5 and to be interviewed by a local journo who was particularly intrigued by the show’s quirky name. A number of staff and HOG members met us and talked on camera as well as Bethany Drysdale from Tourism Nevada. After this was done several of the HOG members took us for a filming ride down the Strip and then escorted us out of town, that is showed us the way towards Kingman in Arizona. On the way we passed the giant Hoover Dam catchment and we then hit the border amidst some of the most barren landscape that I have ever seen, like something off Mars I reckon. After a few hours we reached the town of Kingman and decided to get off Interstate 40 and take 80 miles of the historic Route 66 that has been around and apart of American folk law since the 1920’s. We stopped at a general store that looked like it was built around that time and the owner reckoned that heaps of bikers take the ride and stop at the store. The further we went into Arizona the cooler it became. Stopping at William for fuel we saw an historic western town complete with horse drawn vehicles and lots of accommodation. We kept going towards the Grand Canyon as we had a place booked just outside the Grand Canyon National in Tusayan, a good choice because the owner is a rider and one of the guests was a bloke from Melbourne riding his Harley. To say he was surprised to meet some Sydney riders would be an understatement. You never know who you will meet on a road trip!
Day 4. Grand Canyon to Kanab Utah.
Getting into the Grand Canyon costs money but if you plan to visit other national parks then a national pass works out cheaper. It cost us $80 usd for two bikes and four people. So far we have visited two parks and two more on the agenda it certainly saves money. At the Grand Canyon we started at the Village and rode towards Cameron in Arizona, stopping at several lookouts including the best of all called Grandview. After a few hours we headed off on a surprisingly good motorcycle road with some great corners and as we approached Cameron saw some breathtaking views especially coming down onto the Desert. It was pretty hot from there to Kanab but the ride was brilliant through ever changing scenery. One thing that did catch us was the time zone change to lose an hour, which in various states is irregular in a way similar to daylight saving in NSW and Queensland.
Day 5. Kanab to Salt Lake City.
Kanab really is a surprise packet. Surrounded by foothills and canyons it is really popular with bikers in that region. Many use Kanab as a base to visit the nearby national parks including Zion and Grand Canyon. We met a bunch of Harley riders at our accommodation who stopped by on their way to the little town featured in the showdown in Wild Hogs. Kanab is steeped in movie history with many westerns involving the likes of Clint Eastwood, John Wayne and Frank Sinatra. We were shown around the last remaining set from that era which is based in the centre of town. Local riders included the local Police Chief on his Harley and one of the local tourism staff on his BMW. Our local contact in Kanab was Camille Johnson who grasped out accent very well and acted as our official translator. Local media were very good as well promoting our visit and ten reporting on it. Heading out on Route 89 was as beautiful ride as you could imagine with canyons, corners, rocky outcrops. After a while we took the Cedar City turnoff and then onto the Mammoth Creek Road in the high country which was heaps cooler and some fantastic corners and views. Back on Route 89, which is back road that goes all the way Salt Lake City, we ended up by mistake on Interstate 15 into Salt Lake City with a legal speed of 80 mph and a traffic jam reminiscent of Los Angeles and dropped in at Salt Lake City Harley Davidson to check out this joint dealership with Indian Motorcycles.
Day 6. Salt lake City to Bonneville Salt Flats then Twin Falls and Boise in Idaho.
One of the local SLC journos dropped by while we were filming interviews with a couple of local Harley riders who own RR BBQ, one of the best reviewed eateries in town. She took great interest in what we were doing as did the store’s manager Tim Partridge who is also an active racer at Bonneville during Speed Week and gave us some great background info. Local tourism reps, Bill Krause and Cicily Kind gave us heaps of riding options with the mountains and ski fields virtually over looking the town. Bill then took us for a quick ride west to the Bonneville Salt Flats where we got to ride and tread in Burt Munro’s famous steps and then had lunch at the local servo/café that tributes many of the famous racers from Bonneville, including Burt. Once we refuelled we still had five hours of riding ahead on Route 93, another great backroad, with a stopover at Twin Falls, where motorcycle stuntman Evil Kneivel, once tried to jump the Snake River Gorge in a rocket. He failed and having looked at this base jumping gorge I can’t understand why he even tried, Shows me what I know as apparently a Hollywood stuntman is trying it again soon with the support of Evil’s son. It was getting late and we headed off on Interstate 84 to Boise. This nearly two hour ride on a flat interstate and into the sun was really challenging , especially in the excessive heat, but we made it and it turned out to be very worthwhile.
Day 7. Riding into the Boise Foothills to Idaho City and back.
After breakfast our local contacts Diane and Brian Norton took us over to High Desert Harley Davidson for some interviews and then a magic ride into the foothills to Idaho City. What a brilliant ride with sweeping corners and beautiful scenery only minutes from Boise and the flatlands that the interstate follows. All the local riders that we talked to raved about these foothills and the mountains behind them that is surely a motorcycling paradise. Sadly local bush fires had closed the mountain roads so we didn’t get to see and ride it ourselves. Back at High Desert Harley the promised free bikini bike wash was a bit disappointing. None of the male HOG members donned bikinis, or laughed at this joke for that matter, and it was left to some local lasses to do the work. That was great news for us because we got all the Bonneville salt washed off our Ultra’s before any corrosion occurred. Many thanks to Moreno for assisting the girls with this task. This particular dealership is setup on the outskirts of Boise with an adjoining Indian dealership plus a large rider training facility that was purpose built and owed by the dealership. It is an immense set up and literally dominates a huge area in that part of Boise. It is like riding into a motorcycle city. Inside one of the highlights is a virtual riding device that gives you the sensation of riding one of the great local roads. A great innovation!
Day 8. A day off in Boise.
A special thanks to Diane Norton for arranging an experience of white water rafting about 40 minutes out of town. Tim, Moreno and Colleen had a ball. All I remember was water, rapids and prayer. My thoughts are whatever happens in the raft stays in the raft!
Day 9. Off to Baker City and Prairie City in East Oregon.
Heading off to High Desert Harley Davidson again my GPS decided to send me east rather than west from Boise. Eventually we made the dealership and the cameraman from local Channel 6 who was quite interested in our road trip. Shortly after this we headed off with escort from Diane and husband Brian on the Interstate 84 to Baker City to meet up with the local tourism rep. Alice Trindle, who gave us a great rundown on tourism, history and motorcycle riding on this part of the Oregon Trail at the historic Oregon Trail Centre. At her advice we headed up to Haines then took the road into the Blue Mountains up some exhilarating corners to a beautiful spot known as Anthony Lakes, where the temperature was a sobering 40 Degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the 113 Degrees than we experienced in Las Vegas. Warm clothes became increasing important in this part of the USA. Off we went down the other side of the mountains to a biker friendly town called Sumter and then onto Prairie City for the night. To our great surprise and delight, the towns folk had erected a number of signs welcoming us to town. We certainly felt welcome and it became apparent that a some of the locals were planning to take time off work to go for a ride with us the next day.
Day 10. Visiting John Day, Ukiah, Mount Emily Recreation Centre La Grande and Joseph.
The day started early for Tim and Moreno who took Jenna and her friend from Travel Oregon who had admitted never having gone for a motorcycle ride. Well that sort of admission couldn’t remain the reality for long and it would be fair to say they loved their first riding experience. Meeting up at the Roan Café in Prairie City with a bunch of locals including local judge and the City Manager Taci, who often rides with husband John, plus a number of local riders led by Garth who then took us off to visit the Chinese Museum in the neighbouring town of John Day and then up the road to Ukiah that was filled with sweeping corners and breathtaking scenery. After lunch at Ukiah we headed off with one other rider to complete the loop through the Blue Mountains and found ourselves above La Grande at the Mount Emily Recreation Centre which is a government rub facility providing off road fun for trail bikes, motocross, ATVs and various other vehicles. Heaps of fun for local off road enthusiasts. As the shadows grew longer we found ourselves approaching the sleepy townships of Enterprise and finally Joseph, named after a revered Indian chief from that region and also famous as the home of legendary 30’s,40’s, 50’s and 60’s Hollywood film star Walter Brennan, whose family is still in the region.
Day 11. To Hells Canyon and Lewiston
The day in Joseph Oregon began at a local biker bar with the owner Gary, Vicki from the Chamber of Commerce plus Jack and a few other local riders. They filled us in on local history and issues including an excellent bronze motorcycle that the local council won’t allow in main street. This tribute to local motorcyclists would fit in very well I thought with the statues that line the street. It appears they have a bit of lobbying to do to make it happen. After this we went to the local lake and burial place of Chief Joseph and then onto the famous Hells Canyon Overlook (American for lookout). The road there was reminiscent of some Aussie back roads, potholes, gravel, narrow corners and cars coming the other way. The occasional stray cattle made for a challenging but picturesque ride and the lookout had a spectacular view. Back to a nearby town of Enterprise for lunch then we headed off towards Lewiston in north Idaho via the famous Chief Joseph Overlook and the section of road known as Rattlesnake. This section of the Lewiston Road is 13 miles of twisting road down and then up to the plateau on the other side. great riding and beautiful country through Washington and then down into Lewiston through more great corners. What a ride!
Day 12. Lewiston to Missoula Montana.
Starting out a bit late today after a long ride to Lewiston was welcome. At 1oam we pulled into Hells Canyon Harley Davidson to find out about two famous rides that start near Lewiston. The first, the Old Spiral Highway was a revelation. Local television news dropped in to interview Tim and I after we had spoken with Randy, the stores GM.As it turned out the Spiral Highway was very close and only 8 miles long it starts across the Snake River and climbs brilliantly 1,000 feet over great corners and hairpin bends(the Americans call these ‘switchbacks’ for some reason), all well cambered for the discerning rider. The view at the top of the town was breathtaking and then the best was to come, we rode back down again and joined in US 12 that heads 215 miles to Missoula in Montana. This ride is glorious as it heads through the Nez Perce Indian Reservation along a series of rivers and small towns. Taking local advice we fuelled up just before the sign said ’99 miles of corners’ which doesn’t do it justice. The road is a bit rough at time but is unbelievably picturesque and the Northwest Passage Scenic Bypass that generally follows explorers Lewis and Clark route should be on everyone riders bucket list.
Day 13. Missoula to West Yellowstone.
Before we headed off to West Yellowstone we paid a filming visit to Grizzly Harley Davidson. As you can see from the pic Colleen and Moreno made a new friend there as well. Thanks to Denise Russell and her staff we got filled in on the great rides in Montana including the ride to the ghost town that goes by the name of Virginia City plus the numerous ways to motor down to Yellowstone Park. Particularly helpful was advice on how to handle angry/hungry bears…get in your car seems popular…won’t work for us though. One interesting story was the work of ‘Bikers Against Bullies’, a local initiative that is spreading to other US states. Time passes quickly when you are having fun so running very late we took Interstate 90 to Bozeman Montana to save some time. Stopping for fuel and lunch we came across one Evil Knievel’s favourite watering holes in Butte. Food was good and the owner is the daughter of one of Evil’s mates. Heading out again we shed the interstate and hit Highway 191, which is a picturesque and enjoyable ride all the way to West Yellowstone. Lots of bikers here, probably heading to Sturgis as well. Good to see we won’t be alone there…
Day 14. West Yellowstone to Cody.
There were lots of bikers in West Yellowstone when we arrived. Lots of tourists as well and the advice we had received that traffic could be a nightmare in Yellowstone loomed very large, so we decided to get an early start and get to the gate just before it opened. Our hopes were high except for the possibility of no where to hide if we found an angry bear. The road in was reminiscent of a scene from Jurassic Park. Lots of regrowth following a major fire a few years ago. The ride was picturesque though and we soon found ourselves lost amongst the buildings trying to find Old Faithful. There were lots of bikers as well so we didn’t feel that alone, although the general public were very friendly towards us, even before they heard our accent. After about 45 minutes Old Faithful erupted in front of hundreds of onlookers who had waited patiently. Heading off again we tried our luck on the north road and found, some moose on an island and a bison feeding in the distance. On the way back though one got up close and personal and we stopped for the pics opportunity. One of his mates took a stroll on the road south and the traffic jam was huge. Thankfully a ranger moved him on and we headed out the east exit towards Cody. Now the roads in the park have some great corners but the traffic and the speed limits take a lot of fun out of it. Heading to the north exit is pretty good but the ride to the east exit is something else. This entrance/exit was trail blazed by Buffalo Bill Cody back when Yellowstone was the only National Park in the World. Once you clear the East Gate the speed limits improve and the view is brilliant, all the way into Cody. What a ride!
Day 15. Cody to Gillette.
Our first night in Cody saw us drop in to the Cody Nite Rodeo. You can’t miss it coming from Yellowstone. It’s the stadium at the edge of town and boy was it fun seeing some very skilled people using rope and horses in unbelievable ways to chase cattle and sometimes riderless horses. It was great fun and we stayed until the end when the bull riding came out. No bull slapping though!Next morning we took in Buffalo Bill Center of the West which is five museums in one including one on Bill and another the plains Indians. We even got to see the original ,childhood home of Buffalo Bill, which has been moved here for display. After this adventure we checked out the some of the original buildings from the wild west era that have been collected from this region and put together near the Rodeo Stadium for public viewing. This was intriguing as the buildings are considerably smaller than they appear in the movies. After this we hit the Highway 14 again heading for Sheridan by way of the Bighorn Mountains. After lots on miles on open plains the Big Horn Mountain and Plateau was great to ride. Tight corners and rugged terrain going up, sheep country on top over 9,000 feet and great corners going down, although we could have done without the slow hay truck with no passing area. Back down on the plains we pulled into historic Sheridan and had lunch in Main Street at the Cowboy Café. Running short on time we took Interstate 90 to Gillette to catch up a bit of time. Halfway along we hit a series of thunder storms and cross winds than reminded me of the Hume Highway from Yass to Albury on Australia’s east coast, especially with a number of scary lightening flashes. Finally we made the Arbuckle Lodge in time to miss the main afternoon storm. Hopefully it will be gone for our final ride into Sturgis!
Day 16. Gillette to Sturgis.
Our last riding day to Sturgis started off with a short ride into Gillette to check out the Frontier Auto Museum and its restored cars and classic setup. After this we hit Interstate 90 to Sundance and then took some great back roads to Deadwood. Now Deadwood is famous for the shooting of Wild Bill Hickok and the Main Street makes sure visitors remember that event and its aftermath. The day we turned up there was a bike ride marshalling and there were bikes and people all over. After a quick lunch we took off to Sturgis to find our accommodation provided by Heavy Duty Magazine and then went to check out the lay the lay of the land. Everything I had been told about Sturgis is true. Bikes, people, clubs, trade stalls, industry displays of all types. There are plenty of bars for those so inclined as well as an NA and AA option for those over partying. The National Coalition of Motorcyclists was there along with many legal firms all out to contact bikers. Christian clubs, 1% clubs, HOG Clubs, in fact all sorts of bikers on all sorts of bikes. Harley seems to dominate but the event is clearly broad based and heaps of fun to visit, especially down Main Street where the bikes are lined up down both sides and in the middle of the road. An impressive place I reckon!
Day 17. Sturgis Filming Day 1.
Running into Doc from Heavy Duty magazine was a great way to start the day. He gave us some valuable insights into Sturgis before we headed off on a filming run up and down Main street. We eventually found a parking space in a side street and then headed off to find the National Coalition of Motorcyclists’ building. With advice from a local 1% member we found the building and Louie Nobs, NCOM Board Member and head of Christian Unity part of this broad based coalition, who spoke at length about the development of unity in the broader motorcycle community and Christian clubs as well. We also chatted with a member of Soldiers for Jesus about some God stuff and for good measure checked out the Harley Davidson bike show in Main Street. After a few false leads we managed to track down Willie G. Davidson and he gave us a few minutes to talk about Sturgis and Harley Davidson. Back to the Rally Point for a biker wedding with the Sturgis Mayor officiating and then Doc took us out to the local drag strip for an open street drag meet that was sponsored by legend Bert Baker. Amongst other racing talents he demonstrated an ability to stir up his mates reminiscent of many Aussies that I know. In fact did it very publicly in the pits to his mate Scott and it was not a surprise that he stalled his old custom at the start line and lost against Scott’s custom Panhead Harley by several minutes. Back in the pits he humbly acknowledged his defeat to his pumped mate who also won a heap of trophies earlier in the day at the Harley Bike Show in Main Street including one from Willie G. Davidson ,who presented the trophy personally. Meanwhile Bert took it all in his stride and hadn’t even mentioned to some close friends that he was being inducted into the Hall of Fame the next morning. What a legend!
Day 18. Sturgis Filming Day 2.
Day 2 started early with the Heavy Duty Motorcycle Tour Ride into the Black Hills. Now this part of the USA is steeped in history around gold, Indians and mounted cavalry battles notably involving George Armstrong Custer. Even though he remains a controversial figure of American history he still has a town, county and state park named after him. However before we stopped there for lunch the ride travelled to Mount Rushmore to see this impressive engineering and artistic feat. The museum is worth checking out as it explains how the sculptor did this massive feat by exact measurements taken from a smaller model that he made. After a while Gay and Paul from Heavy Duty marshalled the bikes for a ride through the Custer State Park that surprised with its tight corners and its amazing spiral roads that in several cases took us through 450 degrees up and over thin bridges and then single lane tunnels up into the heights. Wait till you see the footage in Series 5. Quite remarkable! As a treat they even took a detour so that Colleen could see a heard of bison grazing next to the roadside with no apparent fear of humans. After Custer we stopped at the nearby Crazy Horse carving that is one day hoped to rival Mount Rushmore with its tribute to great Indian Chiefs. After a brief stopover we headed off to Deadwood and then onto Sturgis. On the way home we saw our first major motorcycle crash as a badly bent Harley was been picked up by the local salvage crew. Shortly after we caught the tail end of a rain storm complete with hail. Without doubt I will never forget Sturgis!
Day 19. Sturgis Filming Day 3.
Ever wonder what Octane is? The answer is simple! A new Victory motorcycle that Doc from Heavy Duty just loves. And after a quick test ride Tim and I agree. After a bit of riding footage we headed over to the famous Buffalo Chip Campground and later the new Full Throttle Saloon that has rebuilt on a new venue 4 miles out of town. In case you are wondering the old one is now a memorial following a devastating fire that was apparently caused accidentally by a staff member. Back to Sturgis we also caught the air force flyover and somehow managed to find Crossy from American Thunder Magazine doing what Aussie bikers normally do, swanning around the bikes. After all that it was off to an end of filming dinner and return to Charlie’s Camp to pack for an early start home on August 12. Tim and Colleen fly out from Rapid City while Moreno and I ride back to LA over the next few days to return the bikes. By the way our hosts in Sturgis, Kim and Roy, offer camping and some basic rooms if you are planning to stay in Sturgis for the rally in future years. They can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org if you want details. It will be sad to leave but filming is done and it has gone well, with only a few minor difficulties. Special thanks to Tim, Colleen and Moreno for all their help and prayer along the way. I am reminded of a great verse in the Good Book, Romans 8v28 ‘We know that in all things God works for good with those who love Him, those whom He has called according to His purpose.’ Good News Bible. Rings true for me!
Day 20. Returning the Bikes.
Heading out to the Rapid City Airport from Sturgis was a sad journey, not just because we were saying goodbye to Tim and Colleen but because our journey was nearly at an end. Moreno and I have to return the two Ultra’s to the Harley Davidson Fleet Centre in Los Angeles but the bonus is that the GPS sent us on some back roads through South Dakota and into the Wyoming Prairie via the town of Lusk. What a sight, reminiscent of the Kevin Costner movie ‘Dances with Wolves’, because of the endless grassy landscape. It was a privilege to see this land for the first time while riding through it and after a night in Casper we will be off to Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and LA in the heat but at least we will see some more roads untravelled in our trip, at least till we get to Utah and the great salt lakes!
Day 21. Casper to Salt Lake City.
Going for a ride on the Wyoming Prairies is great fun, especially if you take the back roads. Our Casper contact Darlene Matz advised us to ditch the Interstate and take Wyoming 220 down to Rawlins. But first she took us on a tour of the National Historic Trails Interpretive Centre to look at more history of the Oregon Trail and the Pony Express, who apparently were keen to hire young orphans because of the danger from local Indians. In fact, the standard issue for Pony Express recruits was a pistol and a Bible. A pistol for protection as they rode hell for leather between the horse changing stations and the Bible to keep them moral, or so the display said. This was a great visit and Moreno and I learned heaps about the hardships of the pioneers who travelled on to Oregon and the Mormons, who went on to Utah in hope of escaping religious persecution. So if you are heading this way in 2017 drop by for a dose of history and on August 21, 2017 you can catch the solar eclipse, weather permitting in Casper. Off to 220? Not quite. First there was a visit to the local Fort Caspar reconstruction in town to see how the US Cavalry lived back in the 1850’s and 1860’s who protected the settlers and the new fangled telegraph. Finally we hit the road and it didn’t disappoint. The road was a bit shabby but the scenery unreal. Back on an Interstate for the next part to Salt Lake City was a good move as we needed to make up time and getting into that part of Utah was a revelation as we rode in to the east of the city through the mountains with lots of fast corners. We passed a large lake with farmland, totally different scenery to the dry western side of the city. Finally we arrived , hot and dry to find our accommodation had been given away. Thankfully we were offered an alternative nearby and gladly settled in after another hot and challenging ride.
Day 22. Salt Lake City to Las Vegas.
Riding south from Salt Lake City was visually interesting. With the mountains to the left, Interstate 15 promised a nice 80 mph squirt to Las Vegas, at least until the heat became an issue. A bit more traffic, especially trucks, made it important to keep concentrating but still the scenery continued to be unreal, with farmland and townships sprinkled along the road. The temperature wasn’t that bad, in the 90’s but that started to change when we hit the north western corner of Arizona. The scenery changed as well, red and rugged. And the Interstate found its way down with lots of fast corners through some rugged canyons. Nevada was easy to recognise as well. Not just the casinos but the scenery converted to desert and then the temperature rose very quickly 115 degrees. After a while this started to get to me and we stopped for gas and cold drinks about 40 miles out. I have to say I was so pleased to finally get inside and cool down at our Las Vegas accommodation. This is probably the hardest part of our whole trip and thankfully after tomorrow morning it will be over when we finally get over the hills to the much cooler Los Angeles.
Day 23. Back to LA.
It was pretty hot in Las Vegas when we arrived yesterday so the plan was to leave early this morning for LA after first dropping by to say g’day to Red Rock Harley Davidson. It fact dropping by gave us an excuse to check out a private display of race bikes including some belonging to very, very famous riders by the name of Barry Sheene and Kenny Roberts. If you pass by this shop its worth a look see for these alone. Back on the open road it was a pleasant 105 degrees although on the top of the hills it occasionally would go under 100! Lots of vehicles on the road but no traffic jams until we were back in Los Angeles and then only minor thanks to some GPS guidance back to our drop off point. One big lesson: when you are taking this road and overtaking lots of trucks keep an eye out for fuel stops very closely. I missed two after they were blocked out by big semi trailers and nearly ran out of gas (American for petrol). Thankfully we made it back without major incident although we did notice more aggressive driving the closer we got to LA. Big answer to prayer I reckon!