Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Holy Hail Storm
The story goes something like this.  Beautiful August day in New Mexico.  Blue sky, few clouds floating around, 78 degrees, no wind, current weather forecast...dry.  Perfect ridin' day.  Talk to one of my ridin' buddies.  Let's run some two lane about 35 miles, stop get a coffee, hang out a bit and catch up on local news.  Good plan.  

Nice ride to Madrid.  Park right in front of the coffee shop.  Order up some strong brew.  Find a table in the shade.  Doesn't get any better.  Thirty minutes into that laid back catch up conversation...BIG rumbling sounds.  Sun disappears.  Sky gets coal black.  First some light sprinkles.  Turns to hard rain, turns to BIG hail.  Oh...HOLY HAIL!  Grab the rain gear out of the bike bag (oh yes...always carry rain gear..always).  Use the rain jacket to cover the tank to soften the hail pounding down on the bike.  No place to run, no place to hide.  Wait it out.

Highway is running wild with 6" of water.  Arroyos creating new channels.  Need to find a new direction home.  Not hitting the back roads on this one.  Running slow and easy.  Wet ride home.  Temp drops to about 60.  Only in New Mexico.  You know what....doesn't get any better.

BTW: ALWAYS carry rain gear.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Friday, July 29, 2016

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
The 76th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is coming up fast--August 8-14, as a matter of fact.  For those of you who always wanted to go or for those of you who haven’t been in a while, you can experience Sturgis from the seat of your sofa with my new eBook, Freedom of Expression - Portrait of Sturgis.
 The book is 4 years of work shot in classic black and white documentary style.  It celebrates the men and women who rally together every year to immerse themselves in motorcycle culture, meet up with old friends, and to enjoy a little uncensored Freedom Of Expression.

Portrait of Sturgis is available as an interactive iBook from iTunes, for Kindle from Amazon, or as a PDF.  The book is $4.99 and can be purchased through my website: Carlan Tapp Photography.  Proceeds from the book support Project Sidecar, a program to offer sidecar rides for veterans suffering from PTSD or physical handicaps, preventing them from being able to ride a motorcycle again.

Saddle up and enjoy a piece of the Sturgis action.  Thanks for your support!

be strong, be safe, Carlan 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Highway 14 - Turquoise Trail National Scenic Highway
New Mexico State Highway 14 is a 54-mile-long state road located in northern New Mexico. The highway connects Albuquerque to Santa Fe and comprises most of the Turquoise Trail, a National Scenic Byway.  This two lane beauty climbs, dips, and turns through some of the most stunning landscape of northern New Mexico.  Historically, the Cerrillos Hills provided turquoise for the people of Chaco Canyon to the north in 900 AD.
Wild Hogs, the movie that is, was filmed along HWY 14 and in the classic old mining village of Madrid.  A two laner just waiting for a motorcycle.  Wind on your back,  sun on your face, pressing and leaning into the curves, putting the kickstand down in Madrid at the Mine Shaft for a burger and music.  Just doesn't get any better.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

US HWY 550 The Million Dollar Highway
U.S. Highway 550 is the official name for the 70-mile ribbon of asphalt connecting Ouray and Durango, CO.  But it goes by several other names, as well.  The best known name for U.S. 550 as it crosses the San Juan Mountains in Colorado is “Million Dollar Highway”.  242 turns, 71 miles, three passes over 10,000 feet, mountain rivers and lakes, jaw dropping views.  One great motorcycle ride!
 An original origin myth holds that the highway is buttressed by fill dirt that contains a million dollars in gold ore. Others maintain that the name comes from a phrase used to describe a common reaction to the road’s perilous twists and turns, especially in winter: “You’d have to pay me a million dollars to drive that stretch in the snow.”
Riding the Million Dollar Highway is to have your head on a swivel.  The road soars high in the San Juans, summiting three passes: Red Mountain (11,018 feet), Coal Bank (10,640) and Molas (10,970 feet).  Everywhere are stunning alpine panoramas.  At 1.5 million acres, the San Juan National Forest is the largest national forest in Colorado. The hillsides fronting U.S. 550 contain 23 varieties of evergreens.  Shoulders are limited and no guard rails are just part of the ride.
Stopping at Molas Pass Nancy and I met two couples on Harleys.  In less than a minute we were sharing stories of the road.  They were from Oklahoma.  Making a big loop up into the Rockies and then back to the flat lands.  Brothers and sisters of the road.  It wasn't hard for all of us to have big smiles on our faces as we turned in circles taking in the grand landscape and beauty of our country.  Sharing it.  That's what it's all about.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Friday, June 17, 2016

Quebec Road Warriors Riding Route 66
 Andre and Jean contacted me to create a motorcycle trip across the West on Route 66.  We spent time via Skype planning out their trip in detail.  The plan included shipping their bikes from Quebec to Las Vegas, NV.  From Las Vegas, we mapped out a detail route across the Southwest heading toward Santa Fe, NM.  The route gave them the opportunity to experience two lane open highways, stunning landscape, National Parks, and the wondrous Monument Valley, a personal favorite.  Right from the beginning of the ride they experienced sun, rain, snow, and fog.  True road warrior initiation!

After Andre and Jean arrived in Santa Fe we spent a couple of days riding together in the area.  I shared with them several of our incredible local two laners, including riding into the Galisteo Basin with a stop at the Mine Shaft in Madrid. (Some of the best riding in New Mexico)  Of course a trip to the historic Santa Fe Plaza was on the list.  

Historically Route 66 went directly through Santa Fe.  Old Las Vegas Highway heading east from Santa Fe is part of the original route.  The plan was for me to ride with them for two days and get them started west on Route 66.  From Santa Fe we saddled up and headed east on Route 66 to Las Vegas, NM.  
At Las Vegas we broke from Route 66.  Heading south toward Tucumcari we rode on one of New Mexico's little known jewels, Highway 104.  Dropping off the mesa takes your breath away as you press and lean into the curves.  The road is yours.  Not another car in sight.  Nothing can put a bigger smile on a biker's face.  When we pulled over for a short break, all of us were grinning ear to ear.  One simple word from Andre and Jean...WOW!
Tucumcari's Safari Motel is a Route 66 classic.  Beautifully restored rooms with beds you can really appreciate after a long day's ride.  Dinner at Dels with a cold beer and a juicy steak, another Route 66 classic.  After dinner we poured over the maps for Route 66 west.  I had supplied Andre and Jean with a special set of Route 66 maps.  Many riders think Route 66 is I-40.  Not true.  With the right maps one can ride most of the original Mother Road West to the Pacific.  Outside the sky was aglow with the neon of Tucumcari tonight.
Bright sunny morning.  Plenty of coffee, eggs, hash browns, sausage, and toast at the original KIX Diner got us off to a good start on the Mother Road.  We rode the original route west from Tucumcari jumping onto short sections of I-40 and then off again.  
 We road through Palomas, Montoya, Newkirk, Cuervo...ghost towns of the past.  Stopping west of Santa Rosa it was time for me to head back to Santa Fe and for Andre and Jean to follow Route 66 to the Pacific. 

It was a lot of fun planning the trip for them.  It was even more fun to see those oh wow moments and get to know two of our Canadian brothers.  Each night they kept me posted via text as they rode west, including a photograph of Jean seeing the Pacific for the first time.  As I say quite often...it just doesn't get any better.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Monday, June 13, 2016

Breathing Hard in Bokoshe:
After 6 years of documenting the devastating health problems of the people of Bokoshe, OK caused by the flagrant disposal of coal ash, Pulitzer Prize winner, Inside Climate News, an online publication, contacted me and together we worked to publish their story. Here is the link: Breathing Hard in Bokoshe.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A Tribute to Paul
Our nephew Paul finished his earth bound journey today.  Son, nephew, husband, father...all these and more.  Paul was a brother rider, a lover of the freedom of the open road.  An accident several years ago had left him in a suspended physical state.  No...not on a motorcycle, just a simple act of walking across a street and being hit by a car.  Life is short.  It can end it in a split second.  Too often it can be taken for granted.  Paul never did.  He embraced every moment.  I remember how he and his wife arrived for a family "get together" in Boston one time.  "Thought we would just ride the bike," Paul said.  "You know, it is just a short ride up from Florida."  That was Paul, embracing the moment.

Paul is free now.  It is easy to see him riding with the wind on his back, big smile on his face, embracing the moment.  Roll on the throttle brother, know you are enjoying the ride.  We will all miss you.

be strong, be safe, Carlan