Author: J. Joshua Placa

2020 Indian Scout Bobber Sixty

The Indian brand has been in my bloodline for almost as long as the original was in business. Grandpa rode Indians, as did biker patriot Uncle Johnnie, who had the dubious honor of crashing a 1938 Indian Four. It sat literally in baskets, moldering in a New York City basement for decades before he decided to clean out cupboards and donated it to me some 2,500 miles away, but that’s another story. Motorcycle gods blasphemy aside, the wooden bins of what looked like nothing but centuries-old grime and grit-encrusted, disembodied parts looked grim. But there was priceless gold in that dirt, even if it needed some creative coaxing, sacrifice and bags of money.

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Cruising X-Country

The “Great Quest” is always at the back of the biker mind, especially during this pesky plague. This is a time when both the bored and the brave are chomping at the bit to traverse this vast country seeking discovery and adventure, and sometimes, if we’re feeling introspective, ourselves.

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Rapture of the Road

As pandemic weeks turn into months and the self-isolation becomes unbearable, Biker Opening Day quickly approaches with engines silent and eyeballs ablaze with visions of the open road and destinations yet traveled. There may be nothing you can legally do with your body more exciting than grabbing your partner and jumping on a motorcycle. No other human experience heightens senses and ignites instincts like climbing atop a great chuffing beast and hurling your body through space.

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Wupatki National Monument

Wupatki National Monument, just north of Flagstaff, Arizona, haunts its visitors with ancient Indian ruins, dormant but not dead volcanoes, frozen rivers of lava, and booming vistas of the Painted Desert. In one 35-mile loop, riders can see centuries of human and geologic history. Entering from the north end of the park, the landscape shifts from desert scrub to towers of petrified dunes in rusting shades of red sandstone, to green fir and piñon pine forests, to rolling fields of black volcanic cinder. The high desert is dotted by the stone remains of pueblo settlements whose people mysteriously vanished after centuries of habitation.

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