In recent weeks I have noticed a dramatic change in traffic along old Route 66, a veritable river of motorcycles and most have mufflers! Okay, in all seriousness though this iconic highway has long been a magnet for motorcyclists the recent increase is noticeable.
I suppose this shouldn’t be a real surprise. Route 66 and Harley Davidson’s are both American icons with almost cult like international followings. Factor in the high price of fuel and I suppose we will see an even larger increase in this traffic next year.
The excitement and fun made manifest in the big smiles of the riders I met in the past few months have almost, and I repeat in big letters, A-LM-O-S-T, convinced me that the time has come to discover the joy of the open road with the wind in my face and bugs in my teeth.
I am a little small for a full dress Harley and far to eccentric to drive something so common. If I were to loose my mind and take to motorcycles at this late stage in life it would probably be a Harley from World War II, a classic Indian, a Norton or perhaps a vintage Honda Dream.
In the past few weeks Kingman has been a stop for folks from Norway, Germany, France, New Zealand, England, and Australia – all on motorcycles the majority of which were built by Harley Davidson. It is almost as though I have a front row seat to an international parade!
There is a tangible excitement among many of these travelers that is almost contagious. It gives one a great feeling to see folks from every corner of the globe discovering what I did more than forty years ago – the desert southwest is a wonderland.
In talking with a few of these folks about their adventures I was lead to an interesting train of thought. Americans love the open road and their road trips. Europeans are fascinated with America and are familiar with motorcycles. Fuel prices will be higher next summer than they are now.
Will motorcycle travel become even more popular along Route 66 and other historic American byways? Will this new generation of motorcyclists be able to overcome the stigma created by an irresponsible few who insist on embracing the stereotypical “outlaw” biker racing down the highways with a deafening roar?
On to new business. The Route 66 Association will be meeting this Thursday evening at the historic Brunswick Hotel in downtown Kingman. I hope to have positive and exciting news to report this coming weekend.
The response to the forthcoming release of Route 66 Backroads is rather exhilarating. It is also a clear indication that the mystique and fascination with Route 66 is alive and well.
Well, the sun sets on another week and the time has come to listen to the coyotes howl under the starlit sky.
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