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A video from Project LiveWire’s Route 66 tour August 13, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motorcycles, Road trips.
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A few weeks ago, Harley-Davidson motorcycles took a Route 66 tour to introduce riders to its Project LiveWire prototype electric motorcycle.

Alex Chacon of Modern Motorcycle Diaries produced this video about the electric bike and the tour. You’ll see a few Route 66 landmarks in Arizona and California, including plenty of motorcycle geekery.

(Image courtesy of Harley Davidson)

A message from our sponsor … August 6, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Motorcycles, Movies, Road trips.
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A few years ago, Julian Audic of France took a Route 66 trip to produce a documentary for French television.

His efforts to get the film broadcast are ongoing. If television doesn’t work out, Audic says he’ll make the documentary available via video-on-demand on the Internet.

In the meantime, Audic was able to use a bit of the footage for a commercial for a travel agency, All Ways on Wheels. Audic also received help from Nicolas Grendena with visual effects, plus a drone — which are becoming increasingly common in such usage — for aerial footage.

ALL WAYS ON WHEELS from Julian Audic on Vimeo.

Disclosure: I was interviewed by Audic for his documentary. It didn’t make the cut for the commercial.

Bob Waldmire art featured at Harley-Davidson Museum exhibit July 10, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Art, Events, Motorcycles, People, Photographs, Vehicles.
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The artwork of Bob Waldmire, the famed and beloved Route 66 artist who died of cancer in 2009, is featured in a current show at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee.

“The American Road,” which began June 14, “takes visitors on a journey highlighting the evolution of the quintessential American road trip from its early beginnings in 1930 to what it has come to represent in pop culture today,” according to a news release. It features photographs, film footage, slide shows and travel memorabilia.

Waldmire’s artwork is prominently featured Gallery 3 of the show, which displays a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu that was custom-painted by him. I’m pretty sure that’s vehicle is owned by Dave Jostes of Rochester, Illinois, who has showed up with the car to several Waldmire-related events.

Waldmire’s spiral notebooks and sketches — including some of the earliest of his career — also will be displayed.

Waldmire’s legendary 1972 Volkswagen minibus still can be seen at the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum in Pontiac, along with a schoolbus he converted into living quarters for a time. And his intricate artwork can be bought here and at souvenir shops on the Mother Road. Waldmire also served as the indirect inspiration to the Fillmore VW minibus character in the Disney-Pixar “Cars” films.

The photography of Jeff Kunkle, co-founder of Vintage Roadside, also is featured in the gallery.

“The American Road” will run at the museum until Sept. 1.

(Images courtesy of Harley-Davidson Museum; hat tip to Ace Jackalope)

Harley begins Route 66 tour with its electric motorcycle July 2, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motorcycles, Road trips.
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Harley-Davidson announced about a week ago it would begin a Route 66 tour with its Project LiveWire electric motorcycle — a prototype that’s not yet for sale.

Apparently the tour has begun. Although Harley’s website doesn’t have a schedule posted online, a photo was posted Tuesday of the motorcycles at the eastern beginning of Route 66 in Chicago:

And a tweet indicates the tour was in Kirkwood, Missouri, today:

And WGN-TV in Chicago also did this segment about the new motorcycle:

The video is helpful in that you learn a few things during the interview with the Harley rep:

  • The motorcycle’s top speed is 92 mph, but goes from 0 to 60 mph in 4 seconds.
  • The motorcycle gets about 60 miles on a charge, but Harley cautions it’s just a prototype — implying an actual production motorcycle would get more.
  • The motorcycle indeed sounds different, like a turbine, instead of the ultra-noisy “Hog” mufflers.

You can follow some of the tour’s progress on Twitter through the #ProjectLiveWire hashtag.

Harley’s rollout of electric motorcycle includes Route 66 tour June 19, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Motorcycles, Road trips.
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Harley-Davidson Motor Company Side View

Harley Davidson this week announced it’s created a prototype electric motorcycle, called Project LiveWire, that will be touring the country — including Route 66 — so riders can see it, ride it, and offer feedback to the company.

… The Project LiveWire Experience invites customers to test ride, provide feedback and learn more about the story of the motorcycle. Even those who don’t yet ride will have the opportunity to feel the power of Project LiveWire through Jumpstart – a simulated riding experience.

A 2014 U.S. tour – kicking off with a journey down Route 66 – will visit more than 30 Harley-Davidson dealerships now through the end of the year. In 2015, the Project LiveWire Experience will continue in the U.S. and expand into Canada and Europe.

Harley’s website, the full U.S. tour schedule for LiveWire will be announced next week.

The motorcycle will not yet be offered for sale, nor have any specs been released about the motorcycle. But an article in Yahoo! Finance provides some helpful perspective:

… An electric street bike from Mission Motorcycles with a range of 140 miles and a top speed of 150 miles an hour sells for $59,000, but you can pay $75,000 if you’re so inclined. It is not unrealistic to think that a Harley electric would cost somewhere around that price.

If there is any single thing that defines a Harley, it is the bike’s rumbly, throaty sound, but the company is not going to try to replicate that on the electric version. Instead, the company’s chief marketing officer said, “Think fighter jet on an aircraft carrier. Project LiveWire’s unique sound was designed to differentiate it from internal combustion and other electric motorcycles on the market.”

Harley also produced this teaser video of LiveWire:

(Image courtesy of Harley Davidson)

French tourist dies in motorcycle crash May 4, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motorcycles.
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An apparent Route 66 tourist from France died in a motorcycle crash Saturday on Interstate 40 west of Albuquerque, reported the Albuquerque Journal.

Erick Hamel, 53, of France died in the crash. The newspaper said he was part of a group of 15 who had landed in Albuquerque and were beginning a tour of America.

KRQE-TV in Albuquerque also had some details about the crash:

The event took a tragic turn shortly after when a female driver of one of the motorcycles lost control and hit the trailer of a semi. [...] While officers were investigating they could not find the semi that was hit.

A video report:

The Journal said Hamel was a passenger. Both people on the motorcycle were wearing helmets, but Hamel’s was knocked off during the accident. The woman suffered minor injuries and is being treated at a local hospital. Neither alcohol nor drugs appeared to be a cause.

The crash occurred near the Rio Puerco area west of Albuquerque. Route 66 in that section is unavoidable interstate. The accident closed I-40 for a few hours.

A timely upload September 15, 2013

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motorcycles, Movies, People, Road trips.
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The makers of the ongoing “Operation Route 66″ documentary project posted eight minutes of the film just a few days ago.

I’ve seen other parts of the film, but this is the most arresting:

op rt 66 8min from Operation Route 66 on Vimeo.

I’m not sure whether it’s a coincidence the excerpt was posted when the United States stood on the precipice of another war, or whether the filmmakers wanted to remind us of examples of war’s long-term consequences on its soldiers.

The deep unpopularity of the prospect of another war in the Middle East shocked many lawmakers and pundits in Washington in the past couple of weeks. That unpopularity undoubtedly was fueled by Americans who encountered Iraq War military personnel — such as the Tulsa woman above — who came back damaged, or who didn’t come back at all.

Fortunately, cooler heads have prevailed … for now.

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