My third motorcycle ride around the world has begun slowly with a ride around North America. Slowly because I am using a 1947 Indian Chief. At speeds above 100 kph parts start to fall off from the vibration. I tried a little "off road" with the Chief but found the clearance to be so low I spent more hours pushing the motorcycle than riding. With luggage it weights about 350 kilos, and my luggage is limited to a tooth brush, sleeping bag and tent.
The Indian was produced until 1952. Parts are much cheaper and easier to find than many for my BMW R80G/S. A piston, with rings, was $45.00 USD when I needed one. A rear tire was $95.00 and the drive chain cost $50.00. The problem with something this old is at the end of each riding day you spend some time maintaining the machine. This usually means tightening bolts that have come loose, adjusting things like the chain or float level, or fixing the wires. It is a constant effort to keep it together.
But God Bless this Indian Chief. What a wonderful way to see North America. People wave as they pass you, turn around and chase you down when they see what the motorcycle is, and quite often want to take a picture.
The most often asked question is "How old is it." I could tell them it is 100 years old and I think some people would believe me. The fans of the Indian Motocycle (yes, spelled without the "r" originally) are worldwide. Even owners of the Harley Davidsons like to admire it. What a difference from riding the BMW where the Harley people tend to try and look down on your motorcycle. With the Indian you can sometimes tell they are a bit jealous, especially of the fact I am making a long ride on it, sleeping in a tent, and seeing the world as was done 53 years ago when the motorcycle was new. On the downside is when they find me stuffing a rag into an oil leak at a gas station.
Next will be South America. There I will tour on an AMAZONAS motorcycle. The first one was made when the owner stuffed a Volkswagen engine and transmission into an Indian frame. Some call the AMAZONAS the ugliest motorcycle ever made. I think they would say the same of a duckling when born.
From the road in America, Dr. Gregory W. Frazier, Around The Globe, again.
July 27, 2000, Going Out Again - 'Round The World
October 4, 2000, Why Another Long Ride, The Plan, and Mr. Fish
October 10, 2000, the beginning, in America on an Indian
November 6, 2000, AMAZONAS-Tamed By Beasts in Brazil
November 22, 2000, Monster Cow, Wolpertinger and Autobahn Crawling Across Europe
December 22, 2000, Enfield 500 Bullet, India Motorcycle Dementia, Ozoned Harley-Davidsons and Gold Wings
December 25, 2000, Yeti on a Harley-Davidson, Nepal By Enfield, No Carnet Sexpedition
January 1, 2001, Haunting Yeti
January 25, 2001, Monkey Soccer, Asian Feet, Air 'em Up: Bhutan and Sikkim
February 12, 2001, Midgets, Carnetless, Steve McQueen on Enfield, Bangladesh
February 20, 2001, Higgledypiggledy, Salacity, and Zymurgy - India
March 20, 2001, Road warriors, sand, oil leaks - meditating out of India
April 8, 2001, Bike Cops, Elephants, and Same-Same - Thailand
May 1, 2001, Little Bikes, Millions of Bikes, Island Riding - Taiwan
May 15, 2001, Harley-Davidson, Mother Road and Super Slabs - America
June 8 , 2001, Crossing The Crazy Woman With A Harley-Davidson, Indian, BMW, Amazonas, Enfield, Hartford, SYM, Honda
January 1, 2002, Donged, Bonged, and Gonged - Burma
January 20, 2002, Secrets of The Golden Triangle - Thailand
March 31, 2002, Bear Wakes, Aims Green Machine Around The World
April 10, 2002, Moto Cuba - Crashes, Customs and El Jefe (Fidel)
May 20, 2002, Europe and The Roads South to Africa
June 10, 2002, Morocco Motorcycling, Thieves and Good Roads
July 30, 2002, Russia – Hard and Soft, By Motorcycle
August 30, 2002, USA – American Roadkill, Shipping Bikes and BIG DOGS
September 30, 2002, Good Times Roll Home, Riding With Clothes On, Team Green - USA
November, 2002, Mexico By Motorcycle - Gringos, Little Norman Bad Cock, and Bandits
March 2003, Laos by motorcycle - Guerrillas, Mekong Beering, and Plain of Coffins
July, 2003, Alaska by motorcycle – Deadhorse, Fish Story and Alaskan Bush
January 2004, Angkor, Bombed Out Roads and Dog Eaters - Cambodia
April, 2004, Minsking, Uncle Ho and Snake Wine
August 2004, Around The World Again, 1st Tag Deadhorse
February 2005, Colombia To The End Of The Earth - South America
January 2006, My Marriage, Long Strange Ride, Montana Nights
May 2006, Cherry Girls, Rebels, Crash and Volcano - Philippines
September 2006, Break Bike Mountain Ride – United States
March 2007, Kawasaki Cult Bike “No Stranger To Danger Expedition” - Thailand and Cambodia
November 2007, Lone Wolf Wanders: Bears, Moose, Buffalo, Fish
April 2009, Global Adventure Roaming: Burma through the USA to headhunters on Borneo
February 2010, Adventure Motorcycle Travel: Expedition to Alaska, then Java
Copyright © Dr. Gregory W. Frazier. 1999- All Rights Reserved.
Thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author,
and not necessarily Horizons Unlimited