i was stoked to see
the new hotbike japan which
features an article on our
cross country trip. they
used kens film ,no digital
and chris did a really cool
drawing for it. i wrote the
here are a few scans
from the article.
It’s hard to put a trip like this into words. Other people have tried to sum up our trip for me and have used labels like
“a hard time”
“a once in a lifetime opportunity”
and “the experience of a lifetime”,
I can’t simplify it into just a few words.
It was long fucking ride.
The crew consisted of Ken Nagahara on a 1968 BSA,
Chris Lindig on a 1969 Shovelhead, and myself (Max Schaaf) also on a 69 Shovelhead.
The objective was to ride from Oakland Ca. To Brooklyn
NY…. with the possibility of riding home, back to Oakland.
Everyday you wake up with nothing else to do but to keep riding. Pack your shit up, drink some of Chris’s campfire coffee and pray that your bike fires up. The bike leaves first, then your mind follows it down the road. You’re at it again, listening to the motor, watching the road ahead, checking over your friends’ bikes as they roll next to you. No talking, rolling towards a destination that feels a million miles away. Some times the “what ifs” consume you. There is a lot that could go wrong, an easy place to die for sure. But when faced with the little fuck-ups; flats, breakdowns, outta gas, or lost…. You just keep looking forward. Get me to the end of the day; get to where the road leads you. America is still beautiful, there’s lots of folks still down to talk.
“Where you boys coming from?”, was a question we answered everyday. On the way to Brooklyn I would answer that question like this,
“We are headed east until we hit the water.”
On the way home I would answer,
Gas stops of course are mandatory. With our small tanks those stops happened about every hour and twenty minutes. I welcomed the stops. Fill up, lay down, drink a beer, soda, or coffee…. and just stop for a minute. It became clear fairly quickly that at these gas stations we were the locals’ captive audience. You can’t fight it and have to welcome the conversation that is placed upon you. It was one of my favorite things about the trip. People were friendly. Ken and I ran across two Native-American men outside
of Wyoming who stood and talked to us for about a half hour. They were excited for
us and shocked that we chose to ride these particular machines across the United States.
The word “freedom” was often spoken to us. Freedom is a powerful word, and I thought
of its true meaning often. I enjoyed the freedom from myself, the constant distraction of the road and all that lay before me. The everyday humdrum that had no choice other than to be ignored; food, sleep, and physical pain become secondary. Keeping your bike running with you on top of it was the primary objective. In the beginning we planned on the possibility of maybe only riding one way, the further we rode it became clear that this idea was an impossibility. So we rode the road home as well. Oakland Ca to Brooklyn, Ny and back to Oakland. About 7000 miles.
Now that I’m home I look back on the trip as a chapter in this amazing life that I cherish. Hopefully an experience I can soak up again. –MAX SCHAAF-