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Bling & Hemati's Wild West Motorcycle Run 2013
Posted 5/14/14 by Bling Johnson
 
In the spring of 2013 I had the itch to get out and ride my Harley. I had always wanted to head out west through the desert and ride for days. The only problem with that is it takes time and money and I never had both of those at the same time. However, due to some circumstances that came together at the right time I knew this could be the year. A summer trip out west with no schedule, no plan and no worries all the way from Austin through the desert to the Pacific Ocean. At first my buddy Leo was going and he was able to get our other friend Eric Hemati on board.

As luck would have it Leo would have to back out due to some work obligations, so it was up to Hemati and I to put the "Wild West Motorcycle Run" together. Now for those of you that know the three of us, it's not too hard to figure out that Leo would have been the planner and keeper of responsibility. With him out of the mix, there was no telling what foolishness we would encounter.

Video: Bling & Hemati's Wild West Motorcycle Run - Day 1





Eric and I were leaving out on a Sunday and the plan was to meet at 11 and be on the road by noon. However, just like in the movie "Days of Thunder" when it was time for my bike to get out and run, I noticed a small leak beneath it in my garage the morning of the ride. Even though it was a small leak, there was no way I was heading out for a 4,000 mile adventure with the bike like that. I replaced a simple seal and headed over to meet Eric, who oddly enough had been at a pool party. Finally, at 3:30pm, we left Austin headed west for what was to be one of the best trips of our lives.

After 90 grueling minutes on the bike it was time for some food and relaxation (I know, if we're this weak this early how the heck are we gonna make it to the west coast). We made a stop off in Luckenbach for a burger and to see our good friend Abbey Road. She hooked us up with some Luckenbach bandanas and we were off again, heading west into the setting sun.

As the sun set we were on I-10 eating up the pavement and logging some miles with the warm summer air in our face and some Cameran Nelson playing through my headphones. We were finally on the road and it felt great.
 
We rolled into Fort Stockton in West Texas about 11pm. We found a cool lookin' vintage type Motel called the Comanche. We pulled up into the gravel parking lot and out came a pretty girl asking how we were doing. How was this possible in Ft. Stockton at 11pm? Turns out Carrie not only owned the Motel, but she was an avid Harley rider with a bike of her own. After bringing us a few beers from her personal fridge and some friendly conversation, Eric and I headed off to our room to get some rest.

Video: Bling & Hemati's Wild West Motorcycle Run - Day 2
 

 
The next morning our new friend Carrie said she was taking the morning off and wanted to ride with us for an hour or so. If you know Eric, it's extremely difficult for him to meet new friends (yeah right) and he invited her along. There we were on a beautiful west Texas sunny morning. Two dudes and a chic rumbling down the road headed for Pecos, Texas, home of the "World's First Rodeo". We said good-bye to Carrie and she promised to follow our journey online, since you could track our location live on a map as well as check out the videos, pictures and blogs Eric and I were putting up along the way.

The rest of that day was awesome. We headed into New Mexico, checked out Carlsbad Caverns and continued our westward journey into the Lincoln National Forest. This was beautiful mountain terrain that took us a few hours of twists and turns to get through, but it was some great riding. We finally made it into Las Cruses, NM and needed food. All we could find was an Applebees. Not what we were hoping for, but we made it work before we found a Motel 6 and crashed for the night.

Video: Bling & Hemati's Wild West Motorcycle Run - Day 3
 

 
We woke up the next day with one mission: To get to Phoenix. Now there's a whole lot between Las Cruses, NM and Phoenix Arizona. Let me list all of the things between those two cities: NOTHIN! However, the riding was spectacular. Desert highways mixed in with some mountain ranges. It got pretty hot that day but we didn't care at all. We stocked up on water and chap stick so we were good to go for an 8 hour trek across the desert.

We finally rolled into Phoenix where we met up with some friends and had a much needed "Welcome to Phoenix" happy hour.
The next day we were headed to the resort. No, we weren't staying there, but it looked nice on the Internet and we decided to head through the service entrance for some cold beer and some much needed R&R. Lucky for us our friend in Phoenix was also named Cerrie and she let us know which service entrance to use. Now I'm not saying she uses that resort pool in the same way we did, but I will say she sure knew some specifics about the service entrance that made us wonder.

Video: Bling & Hemati's Wild West Motorcycle Run - Day 4
 


After a great multi-day break in Phoenix we were off to the city of Angels, LA. We rode all the way to where I-10 dead ends into the Pacific Ocean and we stopped at the beach for a picture. We finally made it as far west as we could. After a lunch at Neptune's Net in Malibu we rode inland aways where Eric had some friends waiting for us. Lisa & Michael Cumes opened their home to us and had a huge home made dinner waiting for us when we got there. We ate outside by their pool and had a great time. While Lisa is American, her husband is from Austrailia. At one point during dinner he was trying to explain how certain things are done in Austrailia. I let him know that I totally understood what he was talking about.



 

 He asked me how I could possibly know what he was talking about and I let him know I had been to Outback Steakhouse many times. He laughed, but to this day I'm pretty sure I offended him. Don't worry Michael, the next time I see you I'll get us a bloomin' onion and have them throw some shrimp on the ba-bie!
The next morning it was time to finally start heading back east. to LAS VEGAS! Now as we talked about earlier, planning is not a strong point for Eric or I. We didn't stop to think that based on our departure time from LA we would be crossing the Mohave desert. At Noon. In June. Now I've been hot before and don't have a problem with hot weather, but this was brutal. It reached 118 degrees and dry heat or not, it was freakin hot! We stopped many times along the way and at one point while in a convenience store I looked over and saw Eric inside the soda cooler trying to cool off. We hosed ourselves off, we soaked our bandanas in cold water and did whatever we could to cool off. We finally made it to Las Vegas and we were glad to get off the bikes for the first time all trip.

Video: Bling & Hemati's Wild West Motorcycle Run - Day 5 & 6
 


 
The next part of this story has a special meaning to me. Part of the fun of this trip was the interaction between us and so many of our friends via social media. As we posted videos and pictures we had a lot of people following what we were doing and most of them telling us how they wish they could be there with us. One of those people was my friend Jimmy Chung. Jimmy was at the first ever taping of the tv show back when The Bling Johnson Show first aired on tv. He had been a co-worker at a previous job and was always interested to hear about the show, work and asked about my kids regularly.

He text me and said he loved what we were doing so much that he wanted to cash in some of his hotel points and get us a room at the next city we were going to. Little did he know we had just arrived in Las Vegas with, you guessed it, NO PLAN. Jimmy put us up in a suite at the Westin Casino & Resort right off the strip in Vegas. That simple gesture by Jimmy meant so much to me not just because it saved us a few bucks, but because someone appreciated all the effort we were putting into the trip with the blogs and videos and it was cool that someone did something like that for us. Unfortunately, in April of 2014 Jimmy passed away unexpectedly leaving behind his wife and 3 daughters. When I went to his funeral I heard many stories about Jimmy doing similar things for other people like he did for me that weekend in Las Vegas. One more time I want to say, Thank you Jimmy and you are missed buddy.

 
After a fun filled few days in Las Vegas it was finally time to book it for home. We decided to hit Route 66 and had so much fun cruising down a road with so much American history. We were enjoying it so much at 95 miles per hour that one of the local police officers decided to test out his lights and pull us over. Once I told him I was Bling Johnson and I had a tv show we were filming on the trip I knew we'd be ok. Instead, he asked me to wait across the street while he got the real story from Eric. Eric smooth talked him as he is so great at doing, and even though we were clocked at 95 mph, we got off with a warning. The highlight of my trip was getting pulled over on Route 66 on a Harley for speeding and only got a warning.

I guess it made me feel like I earned some biker street cred, until Eric told me the reason we were let go is because he told the cop that I didn't have a tv show, that I was delusional and I had run out of my meds which is why we were speeding to make it to the pharmacy.

Video: Bling & Hemati's Wild West Motorcycle Run - Day 7
 

 
After another great night stay in Albuquerque courtesy of another friend of ours Jayla, we made the journey back to Austin completing what had become one of the best trips of my life. Eric and I formed a friendship and bond that will be there forever and it was so much fun sharing our journey with people we saw along the way as well as all of YOU that were following us online from all over.

Since we had so much fun on this trip, I decided to head out again this year.

Starting May 23, 2014 my buddy Leo and I are headed out on the Harley's from Austin to ride the Rocky Mountains of Colorado for a week. Like last year we'll be posting blogs and videos as well as a ton of pictures online. You'll also be able to track us live on a map as we ride through the Rockies. Get ready for "Bling & Leo's Mile High Motorcycle Run" May 23-30th, 2014.

 

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