See several holidays in one as you cruise down Route 66, just like the Hairy Bikers
FOR a couple of hairy bikers, there could be no greater road trip than Route 66.
Yet amazingly, TV chefs Dave Myers and Si King had never before travelled America’s coast-to-coast highway.
Hairy Bikers Dave Myers and Si King had never travelled America’s coast-to-coast highway, so decided to put that right for their new series[/caption]
Immortalised in culture, from movie Easy Rider to classic novel The Grapes Of Wrath, Route 66 has become hugely popular with bikers.
So Dave and Si hired a couple of Harley-Davidsons and followed suit for their latest travel series on BBC2.
Dave says: “It’s been on our bucket list for a very long time. What’s brilliant about Route 66 is that it tells the whole story of American history.
“It started in the 1920s in the Depression when people were migrating to prosperous California. There was a mass exodus through the Dust Bowl of mid-America.
Not only does Route 66 tell the whole story of American history, but as you travel down it you get to experience many different cultures – it’s like several holidays all rolled in to one[/caption]
“As a modern traveller you get to hear all about that. But you also get to travel from Chicago, which is really representative of the brash East Coast, to LA, which is the polar opposite, via Cherokee native Indian communities, Amish towns, Latin-influenced Texas and New Mexico. It’s a little bit of everything.”
For any tourist, whether you hire a motorbike, camper van or ever-popular Mustang, the route represents several holidays in one.
For within a two or three-week journey you can go from -9C and snow in Chicago to baking sunshine and more than 50C in the Mojave Desert.
Dave says: “It’s massively good value. Route 66 goes past an amazing biker bar in the Ozarks, Missouri. It’s quite hairy and bizarre and you eat chicken wings and drink beer.
Dave says the journey is good value for money, and of course there’s lots of offers of chicken wings and beer[/caption]
“There were people having Jägerbombs at 10am. Then a few days later you’re on posh Hollywood Boulevard doing a Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. It’s about as diverse as it can be. Each individual state has its own identity and laws and politics.
“It’s a very condensed experience. And by the end of it you begin to understand, with all the people who have migrated and settled across that route, what has made the America we have today.”
The BBC series shows Dave and Si meeting a Cherokee chef in Tulsa, hanging out with Vietnamese migrants in Oklahoma and finding out about the Bosnians in St Louis, as well as the farmers in Illinois.
Highlights included Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, one of the most photographed places on Earth and home to sandstone rock formations that soar to 1,000 feet above the valley floor.
Highlights of their trip included Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park and meeting a Cherokee chef in Tulsa[/caption]
Si says: “The Navajo history is tragic but the culture is still alive in Monument Valley. It feels familiar because of all the western films we’ve seen but golly, it is impressive.” Another stand-out for the best friends was meeting the Amish community.
Dave says: “We all sat around a table and we cooked a meat loaf with a salad and blue cheese dressing — lovely home-cooked food. It was delicious and we had the whole day there to learn about their culture. They are kind folk.”
Of course, one of the main interests for the Hairy Bikers throughout the trip was the food. And just as the climate changed hugely from state to state, so did the cuisine.
Si says: “There are two layers of cuisine in the States. There is the corporate American cuisine, which is what ordinarily the traveller is faced with — burgers, chicken wings and hot dogs.
The Hairy Bikers of course paid great attention to the food – they say there is corporate American cuisine but if you scratch the surface you’ll find an eclectic mix of flavours[/caption]
“But if you scratch the surface, America is defined by immigration and its eclectic mix of cultures and the food there is representative of those cultures.
“For instance in St Louis we ate Bosnian food — stuffed cabbage rolls, lots of grilled meat, bucketloads of plum brandy.
“Not that the burgers aren’t sometimes great, too. Outside Amarillo there is a burger stop called Angela’s. It’s been there for years and those burgers were amazing.
“You just have to ask people for tips and really get stuck in to get the best of each area.”
Go: Route 66
GETTING / STAYING THERE: Bon Voyage offers a nine-day Route 66 West Guided Motorcycle Tour from £3,825pp, based on a rider and passenger sharing.
Departing on dates from April to October 2020, it starts in Albuquerque and continues through New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and California. Price includes return flights, B&B accommodation and farewell dinner.
Plus, bike and helmets, custom riding jacket to keep, with a leather road book and Badge Of Honour tour patch, unlimited mileage, fuel, oil and one-way drop fee.
Also includes professional tour leaders and support vehicle for luggage, all taxes, National Park entrance fees plus the highest available levels of liability, accident, theft, damage and holiday interruption protection.
For details, call 0800 316 0194 or visit bon-voyage.co.uk.
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Both Si and Dave say they’d love to do it again — and take their families. And they recommend the trip to anyone, bikers or not.
Dave says: “If I was to go again, I’d take my wife and get a Mustang. Sling a bag in the back, stop at motels.
“That’s living the dream as much as it is to get a bike. It’s brilliant.”
- Hairy Bikers: Route 66 is on Thursdays at 8pm on BBC2.
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