The best of the westMick was able to fulfill one of his life time ambitions by riding Route 66 with Blue Cucumber tours in 2010 and had the most amazing time.  He says that the experience was something not to be missed, if you’re a biker and love the open road then it is something that just has to be done!!  He cruised along the highways, experienced old town America, enjoyed different taste explosions at a variety of eating establishments, was in awe of both the Grand Canyon (or as Mick says the ‘giant hole in the ground’) and the Hoover Dam, wasted money in the casinos of Las Vegas and just soaked up the sounds and smells.

On his return he said that the only thing missing was having me by his side (or behind him) so it was then that we decided that the next trip of a lifetime we would do together…….we have just returned from doing the Pacific Coast Highway. We arrived in LA and were met by our American tour guides who promptly introduced us to the American buffet, a huge selection of anything you could possibly imagine to eat.  We sat and chatted and slowly acclimatised.  We then headed on down to San Diego for sleep and to be ready to collect our bikes the following morning.  Only having been a pillion on maybe three previous occasions I was a little apprehensive but also really excited.

The bikes were amazing, we hit the trail and started to eat up the miles. We rode, we saw, we enjoyed.  The views along Highway 1 and 101 were just breath taking.  Pictures don’t do it justice, you really need to experience them for yourself.  The biggest surprise was the elephant seals, a whole beach covered in them just basking in the sun, and boy did they smell!!  We all thought it was Darren at first…..
The Redwood forest was awesome, a 22 mile stretch of winding forest roads was a thrilling experience, riding past the miles and miles of strawberry fields, oh you could smell them, the coastal views, the mountains, the sun and even the drizzle made it the most amazing road trip ever.  All my fears of being a pillion were laid to rest after the first hour, I loved every minute of it, and after 1800 miles, I would do it again……

The tour guides were very friendly, helpful, informative, and supportive, the only downside was they just kept feeding us!!!!!!!!

What’s next Darren?

I approached this trip with some trepidation … never having ridden a Harley (and never particularly liking them !) the thought of 1600+ miles on one seemed quite a challenge. That said it’s for a great cause and it was a trip I always wanted to make.
All my fears were completely unfounded, the guys on the tour take care of everything for you and ease you into the riding gently. The trip itself was awesome, you couldn’t hope for more enthusiastic or knowledgeable guides, the scenery was breath taking and if people think it’s a holiday not a challenge … wait til you get to Arizona !

Can’t recommend the tour highly enough … suffice to say I’ll be doing another ! Am I Harley convert? .. not quite, but my bike did end up with a name, “Monty” .. if you want to know why do the tour and ask Darren!

As one of the founder members of Afghan Heroes and a mum of a fallen soldier I went on this bike ride down Route 66 to raise money for Afghan Heroes.

Not being a biker I really did not know what to expect, but what I had was a fantastic adventure.  Riding pillion (thanks Steve) on a Harley to visting towns of real old America along the way. The scenery was breathtaking, the food was amazing and the hotel/motels we stayed in were lovely.  We visited different sights and learnt things about Route 66 on the way.  We rode through both small and larger towns over the days but seeing the sights of the Grand Canyon were of course the best for me personally, it was truly awesome.

The organisers looked after us all the way and were always there to answer questions or to guide us on what we were doing.  Riding Route 66 was amazing and hearing stories about the route from our guides was great.
I would definately recommend this tour to everyone. Not only did I have a fantastic time, I also met some lovely people and made some lovely friends

I wanted to ride a bike around the states for years, had to be a Harley, it’s the only way honestly.

I had met Darren before and I decided that if I could help a really deserving person to enjoy what I love so much then that would be a good days work.  From the moment I arrived at the airport and met the rest of the team it was like meeting up with a group of old mates.

The organisation, care and professionalism that go into these tours is fantastic.  Our bikes, mine a big black Harley Ultra (Bessie), were in good condition and it wasn’t long before we were on our way, every mile and adventure.  Riding through the desert in a t shirt, open face lid and mirror shades, clichéd but wonderful.  My passenger Adam had limited experience with bikes but turned out to be a great pillion and someone I admire very much.  Being ex military myself it was great to be amongst guys that worked, laughed and partied the same way, that’s not to say that you need to be the tours are there for everyone.

There were some truly memorable moments along the way but I could not tell you a favourite, the painted desert is a sight to behold, the Grand Canyon stupendous, Vegas tacky but hey it’s Vegas.  Words cannot some up the natural wonders to be seen along the route.  We had long days on the bikes but hey that’s what you’re there for after all and as riders looking after a wounded guy we very much took it easy at night.  We were often accompanied by our American Legion Rider Brothers and Sisters, the warmth and generosity of these fine people, particularly toward the guys was very touching.

If you want to see the sights, meet the people, sample the delights of this amazing part of the States give it a go.  If it wasn’t for buying pressies to bring home, and the odd beer I wouldn’t have needed money.  You wont go hungry, you’ll laugh a lot, you will meet some wonderful people and have memories that will last forever, I’m smiling writing this, it was so good I’m coming back again.

The best of Route 66After missing the Wootten Bassett bike ride in honour of our troops in Afghanistan, I decided to look on the Afghan Heroes website to see what I could do to raise some money and awareness for this charity. I could not believe that first page that came up read Afghan Heroes Route 66…   It had been my dream to ride Route 66 on a Harley Davidson ever since I was a teenager.

I had six weeks to prepare for this trip of a lifetime. From the moment I contacted Darren it was made easy, lots of help and support and good advice. When we all met at Heathrow it was the beginning of a fantastic adventure for me. The trip was well organised, even though we did do a few ‘U’ turns for photo shoots this just made it more interesting and fun.

Arriving at Santa Monica Pier on a Harley Davidson Low Rider and seeing the Route 66 sign on the pier was such a thrill, this feeling just continued the entire trip! I proudly got my first tattoo in Las Vegas, (Route 66 sign with Afghan Heroes written above and below with the date). This was my way of honouring our heroes. I took the helicopter flight over the Hoover Dam (at my cost) it was incredible; it’s an enormous engineering achievement and well worth taking the time to see. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better than this, we rode to the Grand Canyon National Park, crash helmets optional within the national park!!!

The people I met whilst riding though Flagstaff, Winslow, Holbrook and Show Low, just to name a few of the places, were friendly hospitable and interesting. Riding though the Desert in intense heat was certainly a challenge, how my son copes with the heat in Afghanistan wearing armour and combat gear I will never know! My only complaint is the time went far too quickly and I would have liked another week. Would I do this again? Definitely!

Many thanks to our guides and staff of Blue Cucumber Tours, Darren, Dave, Amy, and Spencer and to the rest of the group, you were all great company.

Every now and then in life you end up doing something that you’d never before imagined.

I have spent a lifetime collecting and riding Italian motorcycles so the thought of riding a Harley along one of the world’s most iconic roads was not really on my radar!

Supporting our service men and women both active and retired has always been an important commitment of mine. I met Darren, a retired member of our Armed Services, at the Motorcycle Show at the NEC and found myself smartly conscripted on to the tour of Route 66.

The first task after having paid for the trip was to set about raising funds. As I write this, we hope to raise over £3000 in support of the charities.

The tour began in San Diego where I collected a Roadking for the trip, reassuringly the bikes were all in “mint condition”. From that point on, for six days, I found myself constantly smiling, amazed by the warmth of the Route 66 communities, the iconic sense of humour and sheer joy of the open road. The bike, contrary to popular myth, handled very well indeed!

I was a little dubious about a “package” style trip as I generally travel alone, I guess like many independent motorcyclists I don’t like to think of my style being cramped. The organisation, care and local knowledge provided by Darren and Dave was fantastic and certainly made my trip.

In summary, great trip, great value for money, great cause.