It is the summer of 1973 and I just purchased my first Triumph TR-6, a 1971 Saffron Yellow with tan interior (6 more have passed through my hands since then). Before going back to our junior year at Purdue University, a buddy & I decided to "Head West", with no plans or real direction other than to get in & drive.
The 6 is loaded with the barest of provisions - a pair of shorts, a pair of jeans, a few t-shirts, a sleeping bag and a water bottle. Off we go across Illinois, through Missouri, arriving in Kansas after dark. We push until after midnight and finally crash in a rest area. Upon awakening, we are aghast at how flat and desolate the landscape is. Eager to leave this behind we are on the road early, only to see more of the same as we enter eastern Colorado. Here we exit I-70 and head southwest on 2 lane with C-Springs as our destination. As we reach the foothills, the road gets more interesting and we decide to test the 6. The road is straight as an arrow, but flows from the peak of one hill through the valley and up to the next peak - 25 miles stretched out in front of us and not another car in site. We push the 6 to its limit and discover that @ 110mph it is more like flying than driving as the front end has lost contact with the road!
From C-Springs we are up to Denver, then Boulder to party with the local college crowd. We sleep in the 6 that night tucked in the back corner of the parking lot at the club we closed down. Now we are off across Utah headed for the Grand Canyon. Top down the whole way even though it is over 100 degrees - whats a little sunburn! It is here that our first problem pops up. One our 8 track tapes messes up - we have 3 for the trip (Led Zeppelin, Uriah Heap, Doobie Brothers). I spend 2 hours rewinding it by hand but it works. We crash out in the brush behind the tourist attraction "The Hole in the Wall Gang" hangout. When we wake we are completely covered by caterpillars that have fallen out of the overhanging trees - oh well, better than rats or snakes!
Our next problem arises in the barren wasteland of northern Arizona - an inspection station ahead. Do we detour hundreds of miles or risk getting busted (ahem). We push on and survive as they are only looking for fruits & vegetables. Finally the Grand Canyon and a real campground with pay showers - the best money we have spent as it is now 4 days since our last shower in Denver. We spend a couple of days here to rest & recoup and then it is off to Dallas. Another college buddy is interning here and said to come visit. On the way we crash in a rest area in West Texas and end up sleeping on top of concrete picnic tables because we're afraid of rattlesnakes. On to Dallas only to discover our friend left 3 days earlier - no cell phones or Facebook to stay in touch.
Up through Oklahoma with a night spent alongside the service road at the interstate exit - waking up with a curious herd of cattle peering over the fence at us. On to St. Louis to see another friend - who thankfully is there. Better yet, he works at the Budweiser brewery. The next morning we start with a tour and then an extended stay in the tasting room thanks to him. After a few too many Buds we hit the road on the final push back to Indiana. We arrive safe & sound - tired, dirty but triumphant. The 6 never misses a beat. We cover over 5,600 miles in 10 days including a couple of days laid over in Denver & the Grand Canyon. Several days we are on the road for 16-18 hours. I'm glad I did it then, because I could never replicate it again now! Daryl Trick 6