Six Days On The Road
RIDE TO WORK by Steve Lita, Editor
…anyone who’s spent any extended length of time on the road can sympathize…
Daytona Bike Week 2019 is a fresh memory in my mind. You may be reading this in late April, but as of this writing, Bike Week is still going full swing. I couldn’t stay for the entire week this year, as I spent the week prior to the rally getting there from 2,833 miles away. Talk about doing things the hard way. I outlined the plans for my adventure in my column in issue #371. At that point, it was but a mere glimmer in my eye. Today, however, it’s history.
The adventure started in San Diego, California, and took four intrepid riders (and two almost as intrepid support truck crewmen) six days to cross the United States via what we thought would be the warmest, southernmost route from the West Coast to the East Coast. Little did we know, a polar vortex (who comes up with these names?) would produce freezing temperatures in central Texas on exactly the same two days we were going to be crossing the 800-mile-wide state. Thanks to modern technology’s cellphone weather apps, we were taunted by the prediction of comfortable weather on the day before our arrival at the western Texas border and the day after our departure from the state. Timing is everything, and ours was off by two days. Luckily, one of the bikes on the ride was equipped with factory heated grips and seat. And, yes, I hogged that bike to myself for almost the entire ride through the Lone Star state. The folks who designed our bikes must know what it’s like to be cold, being based in the frigid North, and they spec’ed some serious heaters for these bikes. Even in 35-degree temps, I couldn’t keep the grip heat setting at its highest. My hands got too hot on the 8, 9, or 10 power setting.
Participating in a group ride produces the paradox of being able to do something solo; ride your own bike, while doing it with others. To keep me company on this ride I didn’t opt for the helmet-to-helmet headsets some were using. I just blasted songs from my mp3 player through the bike’s speakers. And lo-and-behold I was treated to the blues/boogie tune “Six Days on the Road” several times. My player contains the version made famous by George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers, but Dave Dudley’s original from 1963 is a favorite of mine as well. Imagine, that song is as old as I am. It’s been covered by the likes of Sawyer Brown, Tom Petty, and Boxcar Willie. And anyone who’s spent any extended length of time on the road can sympathize with the lyrics. Any truckers out there know what I mean?
Perhaps you followed our adventure sporadically via social media as we checked in at various Indian motorcycle dealerships across the country. Indian Motorcycle Tucson lent us some tools and a bike lift for some oil changes on our new bikes and some minor repairs. Mission City Indian Motorcycle in San Antonio put out a spread for us and made sure nobody left hungry. And the showroom of G. Smith Motorsports in St. Rose, Louisiana (near New Orleans) is a sight to behold for fans of high-performance vehicles, both two- and four-wheeled varieties. Our hosts at every stop were gracious and generous with their staff and resources. A huge thank you goes out to all.
I’m not going to give away all the juicy details here, and I would never be able to cover everything in this one-page column. So, watch for stories about the ride, the bikes, and the people in upcoming issues.
Speaking of motorcycle people and one-page columns, check out who wrote a Guest Column for us in this issue on page 30. When Jordan and I spoke about the prospect of him contributing to American Iron Magazine, I didn’t have to think twice about it. I knew he was a good fit. He’s immersed in the custom motorcycle culture, and I know he’s done his share of six-days-on-the-road rides. Welcome, Jordan Mastagni.