TBT – Made in America

*Just a little 2019 disclaimer: I’m not publishing Throw Back Travels in chronological order. Or alphabetical order. Or by total miles traveled. It’s actually a very complicated algorithm involving the number of screaming children multiplied by the number of barfing dogs, to a factor of the number of pages… It’s actually very complicated. It would take me a really long time to explain it. I just didn’t want you to think that I was just picking the easiest, most picture-intensive, dialog-light trips just because… OK, that’s exactly what I’m doing. And with that, here’s Made in America!

For our Summer 2006 riding season we decided to try something new. Every year the American Motorcyclist Association sponsors a series of contest rides/do-it-yourself tours. You sign up for the desired contest(s), and they provide you with a list of places, things, clues, names or whatever information that particular ride requires. The goal is to accumulate points by photographing your bike at as many of the locations as possible.  

The great thing about these rides is that we are remodeling our entire house, and the house simply refused to allow us our usual weeks-long sabbatical for a lengthy motorcycle adventure. This trip let us have a summer full of fun little weekend rides, and along the way we found great places we had never been before and beautiful roads we’ll surely ride again.

Sounds straight-forward enough, right? But keep paying attention, because this is the part where we usually lose people. The ride we chose was called “Made In America”, and here’s how it worked:

As you may or may not know, the US has been home to a great many motorcycle manufacturers over the years, most of them pre-WWII and most of them now defunct. Our goal was to find towns (or cities, neighborhoods, counties, municipalities of some sort) whose name is the same as that of any of the dozens of now-expired American motorcycle manufacturers on the list provided to us by the AMA.  

We had to get a picture of the bikes in front of a sign clearly indicating the town’s name, and the minimum needed to complete the challenge was 15. Got it?  Good, ’cause it gets a little weirder.  

As a special challenge, we needed to figure out 15 current motorcycles manufacturers from anywhere in the world that do not have a town in the US with the same name. For example, there is a town called Honda in California, so we could not use Honda.  With this challenge, we could get our picture of our motorcycles with any sign depicting the manufacturers name; it did not have to be a dealership sign or anything directly related to motorcycles. Are you still with me? If not, I’ll try to explain more as I go because now it’s time for pictures…

Apache Junction, Arizona
(Apache, 1907-1911)

Badger, California (Badger, Years Unknown)

Buckeye, California
(Buckeye, Years Unknown)

Buckeye, Arizona
(Buckeye, Years Unknown)

Camden, California (Camden, Years Unknown)

Columbia, California
(Columbia, Years Unknown)

Electra, California (Ghost Town)
(Electra, 1913)

Fowler, California
(Fowler Four, Years Unknown)

Franklin, California
(Franklin, Years Unknown)

Hawthorne, California
(Hawthorne, Years Unknown)

Keystone, California (Ghost Town)
(Keystone, Years Unknown)

Liberty, Arizona
(Liberty, Years Unknown)

Miami, Arizona
(Miami Cycle Co, Early 1900’s)

Paramount, California
(Paramount, Years Unknown)

Pennington, California
(Pennington Mfg, 1895-1900)

Pioneer, California
(Royal Pioneer, Years Unknown)

Wagner, California
(Wagner, 1904-?)

Williams, California
(Williams, 1910’s)

Williams, Arizona

Williams motorcycles 
featured a 3-cylinder 
engine which 
mounted inside the 

*2019: I’m going to write something here because this page is openly mocking my attempts to maintain any sort of reasonable formatting.

Wilsonia, California
(Wilson, Years Unknown)

2019 Addendum: Holy Crap. I have made a terrible error in judgement. It is actually WAY less labor-intensive to copy and paste huge amounts of text from our old webpages than it is to save & transfer like 83,000 pictures. Were there 83,000 pictures on this post? Because it FEELS like there were 83,000 pictures on this post. I know it’s easy on you to just scroll past all thes pictures, but you’ve got to cut me some slack here. I’m going to soldier on, in spite of what is sure to be a pretty epic save-and-transfer repetitive stress injury. In the future I may have to break longer trips up into multiple posts, because have you seen how many pages there are from our Arctic Circle trip? My brain hurts just thinking about it. Anyways, here we go with the You Can’t Get There Challenge. 83,001…

We hit the motorcycle shop motherload with that Kymco shop! This shop also has Royal Enfield and Gas Gas, but they don’t count  because there are towns with those words in their names.

In the end, we were two of only four people in the whole country who completed this challenge! Our plaques are proudly stacked up collecting dust with all the rest of our cherished possessions, but when the house is remodeled to the point where we can actually start hanging stuff on the walls, they will be prominently displayed somewhere.*

*2019 Addendum: These plaques went on to spend nearly a decade on the walls of our motorcycle shop, The Cyclesmiths in Kernville, CA. They were recently boxed up for our move to Sturgis and will once again be languishing away, collecting dust, and waiting for us to return from our trip and once again display them a place of honor.

2 thoughts on “TBT – Made in America

  • This post is great—a really interesting and fun read! There are so many cool challenges out there for people who like to ride. My only critique is that you need more photos……………………..lol. Joking, of course. I love seeing all these photos of your adventures. I had no idea there was a ghost town in California called “Electra.” I must visit this place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was fun! Not putting this blog post together, but the ride. Come to think of it, I think doing this blog actually took as long as this ride.

      Anyhow, this is one of the Grand Tours that I talk about in my endurance riding presentations. It was one of the first rides of this type we’d done, and a fun precursor to competitive endurance rallies.


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