Sky Dive Arizona is Disneyland for skydivers. It’s an oasis with plenty of grass, trees, and a swimming pool in the midst of an otherwise barren desert. The facility has offices, aircraft manifesting, classrooms, an indoor packing area, equipment sales, food, a shower and laundry facility, camping area, and recreation hall. The wind tunnel is astounding, floating, gravity-free. Watching the Ariel ballet of choreographed group skydiving is truly amazing. Typically they would have 45-60 seconds of freefall to practice these complex maneuvers but the wind tunnel allows for minutes on end. I realize that the phrase “get in the wind” truly applies to skydivers; they can reach speeds well in excess of 200 miles an hour. Will and Eliza head to the hangars to check out the Super Otters and Skyvans, capable of taking 23 skydivers to 13,000 feet in 15 minutes.
I return to the bikes, this is my chance to scrutinize every detail on Excalibur: bone-stock Electra Glide Classic, some Hoka Hey stickers on the saddlebags and faring, and raggedy yellow Hoka Hey bandana hanging off the trunk. A TC96 power plant, extra seat pad, additional saddlebag brackets, stock handlebars, 10-inch windscreen with windscreen pouches, tank bag…what’s this handwritten saying taped inside the tank bag, and what the heck is that little voodoo doll attached to the handle bars? “I put 27,000 miles on her in three months,” Will startles me. I point to the adage on his tank bag. Will tells me that Eliza gave him that before Hoka Hey. “It reminds me of my mission,” he states. I point to the little doll. “That’s an Indian prayer doll. She gave me that too. She got it from her mother. It’s my totem. She named him GoGogetem.”
Winning is having faith and faith is believing something is real that hasn’t happened yet.
We leave Sky Dive Arizona and this tiny road in the middle of nowhere ends at a T. Will sits idling as if pondering whether to turn left or right then suddenly darts across the hard road and rumbles up a dirt road towards the distant mountains. I follow. Dirt and gravel; it’s not too bad, but not my choice to pilot a half ton of Harley and rider. The scene is spectacular: endless freshly plowed dirt rows and not a human in sight. I hear his stereo playing a song by the Allman Brothers Band, “Midnight Rider.” No, I’m not gonna let ’em catch me / no, ain’t gonna catch the Midnight Rider. Will seems to need this space to ride. I can’t begin to imagine what motorcycling through the Himalayas alone must be like. The dirt road ends and becomes, well, just dirt and in the distance a beat-up truck approaches. We stop and greet. “Howdy,” smiles a weathered old farmer. “Enjoyin yer ride?” Will says it’s a great road and asks where it goes. “Pretty much nowhere but you feel free to ride all of it son. This is my land, and I don’t reckon ever seein’ a big bike on it.” They laugh and wave goodbye.
Will, Eliza, and I stop for a while and chat. Will is more comfortable on his motorcycle than anyone I’ve ever met, and he seems at home no matter where he is. I get the feeling these two live fully in the present and fearlessly embrace the future. It was out here in the desolate desert we discussed philosophy, life tenets, and his beliefs. He also gave away one of his riding secrets (see sidebar). On the dirt road back a large hawk flew low alongside us for the longest time as if even he was surprised to see such large hogs traversing his terrain. Yes, Will Barclay gave me insight into what it takes to win. Winning anything requires training and practice. His machine? Basically bone-stock, much like the man, a bone-stock human named Will Barclay. He is going for it again. Hoka Hey 2011 now challenges riders to 10,000 miles through all 48 contiguous states and Canada to Nova Scotia. What makes him think he can win again? Probably the same tank bag mantra that this Midnight Rider has been chanting since day one: B
Barclay’s Secrets: #1
Will saw I was riding an ’11 Road Glide Ultra, and he showed me his FLTR Wind Deflector Kit (PN 57000063), designed especially for the Road Glide. Will had a set on his Electra Glide; by redirecting rushing wind from below the rider he felt it changed the aerodynamics and reduced buffeting. Enough so that it was a valuable addition to his Electra Glide and it easily snaps on and off without tools.
Check back at baggersmag.com for more of Will’s riding secrets.