Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Jim, May 10, 2019.
Nice pics Bob. Wish I had gone out but needed to clean up after Hurricane Dorian. JC
Great B&W pics, Bob.
I envisioned seeing good ol' Randolph Scott stragglin' outta the cactus patch, lookin' for a fresh horse...
Thanks 2M! We used to have this great old magazine in Arizona called Arizona highways.
It was an old publication and what I always remembered about it were these really gorgeous black and white photos of lonesome Arizona highways and small towns and scenic spots. I’m a wanna be Ansel Adams with an old bike! Haha!
Hey Bob do you as many recent photos of the other lady in your life? Or like me just your bike! HA HA HAW
photographed bike yours is and I know it straight away and I really like it.
Shhh! Don’t tell my family! I have hardly any photos of people, and probably thousands of photos of motorcycles!
Stumbling across history.....one ride at a time.
So I was sitting and looking at my super secret spy satellite images of the surrounding open desert, just looking to see if I could find something interesting to ride to. You wouldn’t believe how many obscure, lost and abandoned places lie out in the middle of nowhere. There are usually no signs on the main highways saying “turn left ahead and follow the dirt road for five miles to find the lost gold mine.”
Anyways I’m scanning what as far as I knew was just barren open desert and what do you think I saw?
Hmmmm....sure looks like an old abandoned air field and some sort of a test track right next to it. This bears investigating! Big Red is offline awaiting tachometer repairs so Blackie is on deck, I love that bike, never any drama it’s always ready for a ride!
I turned down the road that my satellite image showed and I rode it all the way until the blacktop came to an end.
Well......that would seem to explain the airfield. I’m standing there for a few minutes trying to decide what I’m going to do. I’m not really sure what to expect. I don’t see a gate....or a guard....a little peek wouldn’t hurt anybody.
I swear...the things I do for you guys
I decided I would go at least until I ran into a gate or a no trespassing sign or an airman carrying a gun.
I’m riding down a gravel road now , looking for the air strip. I did come to an old barb wire fence, but it had been cut ( looked like 30 years ago ) I ride right over it. I’m definitely inside the base now. The whole place looked completely abandoned, weeds had grown up everywhere. It looked like kids come out here at night to drink or do whatever kids do these days.
There were some surprisingly rather new installations, towers and electronics buildings. I can’t find the runway, I’m looking everywhere, I wanted to ride right down the middle of it. I pulled out my phone and brought up my super secret spy satellite to get my bearings and damn! What do you know? I’m parked on the runway.
Does this look like a 10,000 foot runway behind me?
Look again, see what’s left of the yellow arrows?
In this satellite photo , the yellow arrow shows the end of the road I came in on. The red arrow shows where my bike is parked in the photos above.
I’ll zoom in and you can see the yellow arrows painted on the runway. Again the red arrow shows where I was parked.
A little history is in order here. It turns out this airfield was built in the early 40’s during WW2 and was used a training base for P40s
The original airfield was built in the shape of a triangle with much shorter runways, somewhere in 50’s it had one runway lengthened to nearly 10,000 feet long to accommodate jets.
The earliest known photo of the runway in its original configuration.
I mentioned that there was some newer radar towers and equipment that didn’t seem to fit the dilapidated appearance of the runway. It turns out that the runway while way too crumbled and overgrown with weeds to be used any more, is still used to practice no landing approaches, for students to help relieve congestion at the actual airbase.
At the end of this article , I’ll post a couple of pages with more historical info if you’re interested.
And so I got my photo on the runway, even though it is unrecognizable. And no armed guards tried to catch me, still in all it was great fun. Even better when I found out later that back before I was born , young airmen headed off to war, rumbled down this runway in those big Curtis P40 Warhawks.
On my way out I stopped by the test track owned by Volvo. Couldn’t get too close, there’s the entrance
They’re not very friendly. When they saw me outside snapping photos the probably mobilized the security guards!
And so with that I turned and head back home. When I said at the beginning that I find these things out in the middle of nowhere , I wasn’t kidding.
Until next time,
That’s just totally awsome mailman!
How will he EVER top this?
But he will won't he?
Haha! Thanks guys! It’s too much fun!
Some underrated bikes there, Jawa Californian? Moroni 3-1/2, and yes Sunbeam S8.
I’m now on my trip to Winnipeg MB from Windsor, ON and yes, it’s not on the XS650 - but it is on a bike. As per my plan, I got up at 5:15 AM and crossed the Canada-US border at 6:00. I covered about 325 km before taking a break in a nice little diner in Roscommon MI. Then I crossed the Mackinac Bridge into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (always called “da UP” hereabouts) on schedule at about 11:30 AM and turned west on US-2 (note the bridge in the background)
That was before I discovered that the road is closed due to construction just west of the scenic lookout point where I took the photo - note the big Mackinac Bridge in the background). Sooo. ...a little detour, and I was back on the correct road. The ride across the UP is rolling and heavily forested but the area doesn’t have too much traffic and passing slower vehicles is easy.
I have certainly discovered one thing so far: riding in MI north of Saginaw may be a bit boring, but boy, do people go fast! I was “keepin’ up with the Jones” and that ST saw speeds that she’s never seen before - at least not with me.
I had hoped to get past Duluth MN tonight - but only made it to Superior, Wisconsin before the rain started and spoiled my fun so I jumped into a nice clean hotel and had a good dinner in a bar nearby.
Tomorrow is supposed to be dry - so all good. This is my first really long distance bike solo trip since I gave up riding in 1990, I guess 1200.9 km isn’t bad for the first day.
Very nice Bob. I was gonna give you a link to a website dedicated to abandoned airfields.... but I see you already have it.
Go on... go find a 'nuther... I dare ya.
Haha! I just about didn’t find the one I was standing right on top of!
Pete you are certainly right up there with the high mileage riders on this forum! You know how to go the distance!
When you said you pushed your ST to speeds you haven’t ran before, I can only imagine!
One hesitates to say but the wind was pushing on me like it weighed a TON or more.
How's the knee feeling about all those hrs in the saddle Pete?
It’s great Jim thanks. I’m sort of surprised but really, it feels just fine.
Wow Bob - you really do live in such a cool area (aside from the furnace-like temperatures) - so much history over such a wide range of eras from the ancient indigenous peoples through the “cowboy” era and the two World Wars and the Cold War and now modern stuff. Amazing.
...or should I say AmaZing.
Thanks Pete! Since I have retired and started exploring on my 650, I’ve been amazed at the history I’ve lived with all around me, that I just never saw. You do have to look for it!
Pete, How was the ride across the Big Mac? Riding that grate was a tendency to increase the pucker factor a bit IIRC.
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