Motorcycle: Live Ride - Cruising
Date: Sunday, October 31 @ 14:25:15 UTC
Topic: Motorcycle, Motorcycles, Motor Cycle
Harley-Davidsons may be sold, cherished and owned in every corner of the globe but there isn't a hogger alive who doesn't fantasize about cruising a Hog across the good ol' US of A. Epic American journeys are the stuff of Milwaukee dreams: thundering across the wide-open Midwest prairies or the baking deserts of Utah and the south-west; soaring over the Rocky Mountains or gliding down California's coast-hugging Highway 1. There is simply nowhere else where Harleys feel so resolutely, resoundingly right.
Harleys suit the United States perfectly because they're part of the cultural landscape you find yourself riding through. In the United States, Harleys open doors, start conversations and bring smiles to passing faces, but best of all is the way they glide over the staggering panoply of scenery that is the American West.
From the saddle of an ElectraGlide or Low Rider, America passes by at a pace your senses can get a hook on; horizons rise in waves, roll in like a gentle swell and gently recede under your wheels. It demands a different sort of tempo - more relaxed, less preoccupied with destinations — than riding in Europe. As it thumps over hills and plains, the big, lazy V-twin engine seems attuned to the environment in a way that other machines never could be. Then, with a jolt, you encounter somewhere like Utah - scenic America at its most extraordinary. Utah is Mother Nature under hallucinogenic influence. Utah has National Parks in profusion, all with something spectacular and different: Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce, Capitol Reef and glorious Zion, to name but a few. Next door to Utah are Arizona and the Grand Canyon, Colorado and the Rockies, Nevada's sweeping high desert basins and the red rocks and white sands of New Mexico.
From magical, mystical Moab, it's just a short ride up Highway 191 to Canyonlands. Hang a left and let the Harley thunder up the endless grades until suddenly the road stops and the world simply disappears. Gone. In its place, space — a void as big as the Alps. Half a mile (800 metres) below, the Colorado River surges noiselessly, framed by a rocky never-never-land that might be awe-inspiring if it were real. It takes a while to get your head around the fact that it is.
There's more. There always is in Utah. Shater Canyon, Grand View Point, and then the daddy of them all, the Green River Overlook on the "Island in the Sky". From here, the western horizon is 100 miles (160km) away, about the distance from London to Bristol. Around where-Berkshire ought to be is the baking wilderness of the Soda Springs Basin, through which Stillwater Canyon carves a distant trench which looks tiny but is fully 1,000ft (300 metres) deep. But for the shadows of passing clouds, creeping as though in awe of the landscape, it could be the dark side of the Moon.
If the landscape is dramatic, the sheer scale is extraordinary. Take Route 41 -cresting a rise north of Montezuma Creek, a view 200 miles (320km) wide leaps into sight. Seventy-five miles (120km) away in Arizona, the orange spires of Monument Valley guard the western horizon; to the east, the snow-capped Colorado Rockies are fully 125 miles (200 km) distant. This a scene that is far larger than many countries in Europe, and yet it's a single, sweeping view - or a panoramic day's ride on a Harley-Davidson. For the great, mythic emptiness of the United States, nothing else comes close to experiencing it all - and more - as from the seat of a Harley-Davidson V-twin that has been made in Milwaukee.
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