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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Riding a Royal Enfield on Old Route 66

Route 66 was the path John Powell and his Royal Enfield G5 motorcycle followed from Chicago, Ill. to Santa Monica, Calif. It's a long way to go, especially on a motorcycle not known for high speeds or Gold Wing style cruising.

I asked him what the trip was like.

"If anyone is in the Chicago area, Bob Pilz at Scoots 4 U in Volo, Ill. is a great guy. He sold me a great bike and spent a lot of time showing me everything I would need to know about the bike. He also has a great shop with a lot of cool bikes.

"This was in New Mexico. I was following the Route 66 signs and the road suddenly turned from pavement to gravel. It comes up very suddenly, though there is a sign, I nearly locked up the brakes before hitting the gravel. I rode for a while at about 35 mph and then turned back to make sure the sign really said to go that way, which it did.

"I decided that it wasn't worth getting lost in the middle of nowhere New Mexico. So for this part of Route 66, I decided to follow the Interstate.

"But I had no problem riding at 75 mph and didn't have any trouble from semis.

"In Oklahoma there was a stretch of road where it was only paved in the center but it was too bumpy to ride in the center so you had to ride in the gravel. And yeah, in almost every state there are stretches of Route 66 where you're riding along and then out of nowhere there is a dead end.

"I've included a pic of one of the few instances they actually gave you a warning the road was going to end. I was going 65 mph when I saw this sign. I was like, 'Did that sign just say...? Oh crap!'

"In Arizona and New Mexico I had to ride on the Interstate a lot. Between Albuquerque and Flagstaff I got blown around a little bit from the wind but other than that, no problems."

Powell says the Route 66 trip was just a test ride for a longer journey he wants to take on his Royal Enfield.

You can find turn-by-turn directions on how to follow the old road on the Historic66 web site. The route changed over the years, bridges at some points have been torn down. It would take a lifetime to see the whole thing.

But it might be worth it.

1 comment:

  1. oh my, I'm having flashbacks! That spot in New Mexico is EXACLTY where I wiped out and got pinned under my '01 while riding Rt 66! I missed the sign and then, WHAM! GRAVEL! hit it at 60mph, tried to slow and the front wheel dug in, and I got a taste of New Mexico gravel.

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