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Thread: A Little Help Needed With Across America by Motor-Cycle

  1. #1

    Question A Little Help Needed With Across America by Motor-Cycle

    Fellow AMCA members,

    My name is Mark Hunnibell. If you haven’t already heard, I am undertaking a centennial tribute ride across America on my restored 1919 Henderson.

    One hundred years ago, Captain C.K. Shepherd, who served in the British Royal Air Force in WWI, decided that he would spend his summer after the war by riding across America. C.K. came to America, purchased a brand new 1919 Henderson in New York City and then rode to Los Angeles and San Francisco, all at a time when paved roads were few and far between. C.K. wrote a book about his journey, Across America by Motor-Cycle, published in 1922. I have remastered and completely reset his original book resulting in superior print, eBook, and (in the next few days) a professional audio book. I have painstakingly researched C.K.’s route, seeking permission from private land owners, government agencies, and others in order to faithfully retrace it this year. Some of route remains unpaved to this day!

    I am posting about this major solo adventure here and now because it seems I could use some logistical assistance along the way, particularly at the starting point in New York City from July 2nd through the 5th (where parking, storage, and even just riding are all extremely challenging). If anybody lives in the New York City or New Jersey area and has a motorcycle, and is interested in riding with me as something of a “safety rider” to help guide and protect me from the treacherous NYC traffic during this portion of the mission, that would be greatly appreciated. Also, while I may have a few leads for storage/transporting my motorcycle in NYC for the couple nights that I’ll be there, I have nothing firmed up as of yet. If anyone has (or knows of) those kinds of resources and would be gracious enough to help me out a bit, I would be forever grateful (I’m not looking for hotel accommodations... just logistics).

    I am hoping there are many other members like me who dream of putting together a bucket-list solo adventure ride like this one is going to be for me. Perhaps you have already completed a similar journey by yourself or with others. I do not have a pre-existing staff or support team to help with this once-in-a-lifetime event, so I look forward to hearing from fellow AMCA members if you might have the time to help out with whatever you might be able to offer, no matter how brief or lengthy your ability to engage might be. My new web site is still being readied, but you can get the gist of this adventure (and route overview) here:


    This is an intentionally broad appeal so that you may better envision where you think you can help out. Even if you want to virtually go along for the ride, the web site will be a key link, so visit, send me an email, and I’ll put you on the “followers” list (though you can immediately also add yourself to follow the Facebook page as well).

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Mark Hunnibell
    AMCA #1364
    mark@acrossamericabymotorcycle.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Posts
    283

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    That sure sounds like a great trip to go on. Good luck to you and many blessings! I sure hope you do not have as many repairs as him, there are not enough cylinders.
    Last edited by ryan; 03-17-2019 at 12:24 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    201

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    Mark,

    Very interesting trip indeed!!! I'll be following your progress. I also sent you an email.

    Gene Harper

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Posts
    100

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    Mark good luck, be safe, keep us posted of your journey.

  5. #5

    Smile Audio Book of CK Shepherd's 1922 book is now available...

    Folks:

    Well, at long last, a professionally-produced Audio Book of CK Shepherd's 1922 book is now available. No, you don't get to listen to me! You hear an age-appropriate Brit bring CK's story to life. If you have even skimmed this book, the audio book brings a completely new dimension, understanding, and appreciation for his incredible journey. The quality of the production exceeded my wildest expectations. It is now available on:



    I am currently working on editing a video of my fun and games in Florida during Daytona Bike Week last week, starting at the Sunshine Chapter meet and ending up at the Broken Spoke in Ormond Beach. I'll be putting links to it on the Facebook page and web site when I get it done. Again, the web site is here:


    Cheers

    Mark Hunnibell
    AMCA #1364
    mark@acrossamericabymotorcycle.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Beautiful Northern New Mexico
    Posts
    2,797

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    Hello from Taos,
    Just in the last few months I finally found an original copy of the book and read it as I do all the literature I own. I found it interesting in an odd way. It tells little of the trip but more of his perceptions of America and his dismay at the lack of development in the "wild west". As a native New Mexican I was interested in his thoughts on this part of the world. Especially in the people of the Tribal Pueblos in NM. Many cross country trips crossed NM in the early years.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Robbie Knight Amca #2736

  7. #7

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    Robbie

    Thanks for your reply:
    Quote Originally Posted by Rubone View Post
    Just in the last few months I finally found an original copy of the book and read it as I do all the literature I own. I found it interesting in an odd way. It tells little of the trip but more of his perceptions of America and his dismay at the lack of development in the "wild west". As a native New Mexican I was interested in his thoughts on this part of the world. Especially in the people of the Tribal Pueblos in NM. Many cross country trips crossed NM in the early years.
    Yes, it can take a while to find an original. I found my copy in an antique bookstore in New Haven, Connecticut. I cannot recall exactly, but I think it cost me $400. I have also seen another original that is inscribed by the author to a member of his office staff on the occasion of her 18th birthday... a woman he went on to marry in 1939 and later have two children with.

    In terms of the content of the book, yes, it is much more of a collection of cultural observations than it is a "how to" book. The lack of logistical detail in places presented me with great challenges in reverse-engineering his actual route and timeline. It seems to me that he fell in love with New Mexico. His description of his view of New Mexico coming over Raton Pass is quite evocative. Although he lamented the plight of what has become of the "Indians," he was not completely consistent. Still, I have to remind myself it is unfair to use today's standards to evaluate the "political correctness" as it may have (or may not have) existed 100 years ago. In all cases, though, I feel like he was telling it like he saw it... unvarnished... with the perspective of a visitor with his own bias and understanding of the world.

    One thing that you may have noticed is the credit given to Dr. F. Rolt Wheeler for a few photos, including the "Pueblo of Taos" facing page 158 and the "Rio Grande" facing page 162. It took me a great deal of time to research this, but it is now extremely clear to me that C.K. never went to Taos and did not take those photos. The first photo was obviously taken in Taos, but the second was taken a few miles north of Embudo Station on the "Chili Line" that ran north of Santa Fe up to Colorado. I checked the train timetable in effect at the time and there is simply no way that C.K. was on that train. He could not have gotten back in time to continue his trip when various independent reports said he did. Instead, C.K. got those photos from his friend Francis Rolt-Wheeler who was a prolific author and adventurer in his own right.

    As a result of my efforts to research C.K.'s trip, I assembled about 1,000 notes, photos, and illustrations, many from C.K.'s own personal collection, and now have an annotated version to be published in May: Across America by Motor-Cycle: Fully Annotated Centennial Edition. My book will fill in the gaps and answer all the questions that people seem to have about the man, his ride, and whatever became of him. His son is coming to America for my ride and we will be meeting up at the Grand Canyon and later in Los Angeles. He gave me his father's compass so I would not get lost (told me I could to give it back to him in Los Angeles). I have two gold sovereign coins to sew into my belt in case I am waylaid by the sheriff in Maryland or banditos out west. In short, I have done what I can to make sure I am informed and prepared... now just need to get by bike run in so it is a smooth operation.

    If all goes as planned, I will be in Santa Fe one night arriving on Monday, July 22nd. Maybe you can come down to see me through?

    By the way, one road I am NOT going on (which C.K. did ride) is the original alignment of La Bajada Hill (about 15 miles southwest of Santa Fe). I have been out there on a scouting trip and the road is in extremely poor condition... I don't even think a skilled rider on a modern enduro or adventure bike would want to try it. Beyond that, the Cochití Pueblo has closed the lower portion of the road to protect areas of cultural and historic significance from marauding four-wheel adventure seekers. But, I can get to the top (albeit the road getting there is not exactly a good road) and will take some nice photos and then backtrack out to the main highway, and then cut back up toward the Rio Grand after passing the hill (north on NM-16 and then south on NM-22 through Peña Blanca) and generally track the Rio Grand on secondary roads all the way down to Socorro before heading west to Magdalena and Springerville AZ.

    Thanks again,

    Mark

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Beautiful Northern New Mexico
    Posts
    2,797

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    Mark,
    I also got that he had not actually come to Taos and the picture was merely a representation of tribal Pueblo life in those days in order to give readers a glimpse of his story (Taos Pueblo was very famous even back then).
    Here is a photo of the Pueblo in the '20s. New Mexico was very primitive in those days and even as a child there were only two paved roads in our town and most of the county had no electricity or telephones a good 30-40 years later. The original buildings at Taos Pueblo are a World Heritage Site, and to this day are as they were then. No electricity or telephone there! (As an aside, my copy came from Ebay last fall for a mere $69.00. A deal for sure).

    Taos Pueblo now!


    Taos Pueblo in the '20s. (note the chain on the rear wheel)
    Robbie Knight Amca #2736

  9. #9

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    Robbie

    If you figured out that CK didn't actually go to Taos, you may have figured out a few other things that don't add up... literally. It took a very long time for me to do this, but I did word-by-word analysis to identify every overnight stop and how it was described (e.g. "10 minutes west of Needles") and then plugged it all into a spreadsheet with dates. For example, I found that he listed more overnight stops between Kansas City and Santa Fe than there were available nights... so he didn't actually have ALL the stops/delays he reported. I also have concluded that he never made the side trip to Monterrey. If he had, he would have been over 5,000 miles on the odometer in San Francisco. I found a map he made years later showing his route as driven and it is interesting that it shows everything as I calculated, EXCEPT the trip to Monterrey.

    I don't mean to be a tease, but these details and a thousand others are in the book due in May. The publisher just sent me first cut at all chapters all laid out with photos, etc., and the sooner I get it back to them, the sooner it will be out.

    In the mean time, here's that photo of Taos Pueblo from CK's book (not so much for you... but for others). Looks pretty much like the same place. I don't know WHEN the photo was taken by Rolt-Wheeler other than it was before 1922 when the book was published.

    Mark
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10

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    I think there's a side car on the other side of that bike. Seems I can see the wheel through the spokes and just in front of the rear wheel. I cannot imagine trying to ride a bike with tire chains like that one has (unless it had the side car).

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