Steppenwolf”s “Born to be Wild” is running through my head this morning. An article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune this morning reported a new event in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, that townspeople hope will become an annual event: “Dennis Hopper Day.”
What a change from the ’70s, when “Easy Rider” was a cult hit and Hopper and Peter Fonda played misunderstood, pot-smoking bikers! Dennis Hopper Day featured a rally and a ride out of town. As in the movie, bikers were accompanied by a police escort. This time, however, they toured scenes from the movie instead of visiting the local jail. Much of this change of heart can be attributed to Hopper himself, who made friends with local Navajo and Hispanic families and broke down cultural barriers during filming. Hopper died in Taos in 2010, but his spirit lives on.
New Mexico is a wonderful place to ride, with long, open stretches, snow-capped mountains and canyons to explore. The food is good, too. Navajo fry bread, right out of the pan, is a heavenly treat, and the New Mexican version of chili can blow your head off.
If the desert Southwest isn’t on your travel itinerary this summer, look closer to home. Ride Minnesota (you knew I had to sneak a mention in somewhere) can be your guide to some great weekend trips.
Get your motor runnin’ / Head out on the highway / Looking for adventure / In whatever comes our way
What a difference between traveling in a car vs. riding a motorcycle! Ralph and I just returned from a trip to California following the death of our brother-in-law. We lacked funds for a short-notice plane ride (and qualifying for “bereavement” fares is a pain in the butt!), so we drove the interstates. No time for backroads, although I have to say I-70 is the most scenic interstate I’ve been on, with lots of twists and curves through the Colorado Rockies.
We came back through Arizona and New Mexico to avoid the snow storms in the Dakotas. I enjoyed seeing the Southwest again: the red-striped rock formations, the blazingly-blue skies, the ruins of old Rte. 66 in the background. We got to eat Navajo food again (I love fry bread, but watch out for the cactus pads–they have a laxative effect!). But I missed feeling the sun and the wind and smelling the fresh piney air around Flagstaff.
By the time we hit the drizzle that accompanied us from Lincoln, Nebraska, to Minneapolis, I was thankful for the heater in the car.
Now, it’s back to work and back to promoting Ride Minnesota. I’ll be at the Rain Taxi Twin Cities Book Fesitval this Saturday at the State Fair grounds. It’s in the Progress Center, and it runs from 10:00 until 5:00. Excuse me while I go check my supply of books!