Friday, October 25, 2013

Route 66

Route 66-     Motorcycle mania


This mode of transportation, and a life style to go with it, is  very popular in Second Life. Motorcycles come in countless  styles and prices. Styles include classics, antiques, steam  powered, contemporary, and even futuristic designs. You can  even have them custom made to your specs. The cost is  anywhere from free to thousands of Lindens. You probably  already have at least one, in your inventory. When you have a  motorcycle, your next concerns will be where to ride and what  to wear as you do. It's no fun crashing into things or into the  water. It wouldn't look right to go for a ride, wearing a  ballgown either. When I first began riding, I could hardly keep  it on the road. To practice safely, I would go to the Australian  Outback, where there are no roads and few things to bump  into. It was a good place to learn, but being a single sim, I  soon tired of going back and forth or in circles. I began  searching for areas that were made for riding motorcycles. I  found and joined a club, called Regent Riders. It's one of the  few clubs that I've joined that cost to become a member. The  current, one time, membership fee is $299. Members are  allowed to travel between 12 connected sims. Non-members  can ride on these sims, but cannot cross sim borders, unless  they de-rez their bike, TP to another sim, and rez another  bike. The connected sims have a Southwestern USA, Route  66 theme. I had been to all the locations, years ago, but just  took another road trip, so I could give a report of what you will  find, should you go for an adventure.

In previous articles, I have provided the SLURL for many of  the sims reported on. I have also explained how I find  locations to explore, by using the destination guide and world  map. Finding these places is part of the fun of exploring  them. For this report, we have produced a composite  illustration of all the sims in the Route 66 collective. We shall  leave finding and getting to them to readers, to maximize their  enjoyment.

Getting your kicks on Route 66

As I said, you can go to these sims individually, but to take  the full tour, start at the bottom and work your way to the top,  South to North. The 12 main sims run in a straight line, with 2  additional, residential sims, on the East and West. We shall  travel them in this order; Motor World, Death Valley, Route  66, Sunset Crater, Cadillac Ranch, Twin Arrows, Flagstaff,  Two Guns, Mojave Desert, MLCC, Diablo Canyon, and Santa  Monica. They are all strict about motorcycles only, but, being  a western theme, riding a horse is tolerated and appreciated.  Every time residents saw me on my horse, they wanted to  show me theirs and compare notes. Route 66 does not run in  a straight line and there are many side roads and there are no  rules about staying on the road. You'll get a lot of good  practice, using the world map and mini-map, in finding your  way around. Let us begin now, with the first sim.

Motor World

Before starting my road trip, I began here on foot. As I waited  for the textures to rez, I opened my radar (mini-map), to  locate where avatars were gathered, so I could introduce  myself and ask questions about local rules and customs. If  you don't know any "bikers", approaching and having a  conversation with them might seem a bit too scary to attempt.  Let me reassure you, having met many of them, in RL and  SL, those hard outer appearances are justs a mask, hiding a  lovable soul within. In the parking lot of the local hang-out, I  saw a member of the Hell's Angels Nomads named Blacky  Braham, sitting on his chopper, with his AFK  girlfriend/property standing within arms reach. I greated him  and said I was a reporter from SL Newser, doing a story  about the area. In my short time as a reporter, I have already  discovered that telling folks you are a reporter makes them  friendly and helpfull. Blacky said he would be happy to  answer any questions he could. My plan was, since horses  are slower and easier to control, to tour on horseback,  enabling me to see more without the hassle of trying to keep  my ride on course. When I asked him if horses were allowed,  he jumped off his bike and rezzed his beautiful black stallion,  which was from AKK Ranch, as is my white one, named Blue.  We agreed that AKK horses were the best, so felt like instant  old friends. I rode off to the top of a nearby hill, to get a  panoramic view of the sim. From my vantage point, I watched  as the handful of bikes circulated and attempted to break the  record on the "Scary Jump of Fire and Death", located  across the road from the hang-out. There was a scoreboard,  on the side of the jump, with the top score being the smallest  number. I can only speculate that the scores must represent  how long they had to stay in the hospital. I also spotted a  shop that sells MLCC motorcycles. Most of the sims I visited  had bars, but they were always empty, probably due to the  fact that I don't explore between 6-10 pm SLT. Those hours  are reserved for hanging out with my friends, at my favorite  clubs. From my hilltop perch, I spotted the bridge and  headed for the next sim.

Death Valley

The main road here runs straight to the next sim, along the  West side of the sim. I found myself at the crossing to the  third sim and had to turn around to tour it. If one takes the first  right after entering from Motor World, it becomes a maze of  mountain roads, with sharp turns and great views. One road is  a dead end, where you can dismount and chill in privacy. I  pictured Moses, riding his chopper here to jot down the ten  cammandments. I saw little else here to report on, so  retraced my steps and headed for the next sim after passing  through a long West to East tunnel on the North side of Death  Valley.

Route 66

There are two large clubs that I saw. "The Sons of Anarchy"  was empty, but "Tobacco Road" seems to have folks in it all  day long, with as many coming as going. I stayed for a while,  chatting with the locals, dancing and playing trivia, before  continuing my exploration. There is a motorcycle shop, called  CC Custom Choppers. Their bikes cost in the $2800 range  and are beautiful. Out front, they have a rezzer which gives a  driveable demo of the bike you want to test drive. Nearby, I  spotted a warehouse shop called "Nemesis Firearms". I  looked inside and could easily see how well the shop name  fit the hardware inside. There were other motorcycle clubs  and shops. When I saw a small shop, at the north end of the  sim, with a sign saying Beer-Amo-Bait, I thought I had died  and gone to redneck heaven. I came back to my senses and  rode off to the next sim.

Sunset Crater

I only spotted two buildings on this sim. It's easy to see why.  A huge, active volcano takes up most of the sim. There is a  spiral road to the top, but drive slow to avoid spots where  cooled lava partially blocks the way. Arriving at the caldera, I  found myself wondering if I could walk on the bubbling lava.  After all, had I not been to the moon, in shorts and T shirt and  the bottom of the ocean, without scuba tanks and jumped off  the Eiffel tower, without a parachute? I decided, the best way  to answer this question would let you try it first and  report back to me. I had forgotten to pack my asbestos flip- flops, so quickly made my way to the next sim.

Cadillac Ranch

This sim gets it's name from the real Ranch in Texas. Years  ago, when I came here, I saw a collection of cadillacs, nose  in the dirt, tails in the air, but on this visit I criss crossed the  whole sim without finding them. Perhaps, in compliance with  the no cars rule, they had been replaced with a row of old  motorcycles, painted gold and half burried in the dirt. There  were some bars and lots of small homes. The roads were  gravel, instead of black top. They did a good job of creating  the feel of life in rural West Texas. It made me thirsty for a  cold beer. That's pretty good, considering, I don't drink beer.

Twin Arrows

It's not hard finding the crossing to this sim. Two giant arrows,  sticking out of the ground, are visible, even with your draw  distance set at minimum. Par for the course, the first building  you see is a bar, followed by a gas station and a cafe. Better  fill your tank, because this is one place you don't want to run  out of gas. This would be a great location to film a cowboys  and indians movie. Howling winds fill your ears and the only  movement, other than you trying to get elsewhere, is the  tumblin' tumble weeds. On the Northeast corner, there is a  biker hang-out, called the "Voodoo Lounge". In real life, I've  driven from Texas to California, twice and, both times,  promised myself I'd fly next time. This is like the old question  of what is the sound of one hand clapping. In this case, what  does a whole lot of nothing look like. Almost to Flagstaff, I  saw a pair of mountain lions. If they could speak, they were  probably saying, "We knew you wouldn't stay for dinner".


Sandwiched between Twin Arrows and Two Guns, Flagstaff  is like a virtual oasis. The grass is greener, there are lots of  interesting shops and you can rent a house, as opposed to  buying land. Downtown, check out BUR Classic Motorcycles,  for affordable bikes with test drive demos. Next door is V- Twins, with great clothing and even prefab houses. On the  East side of town is Highway 420. Along this road, you'll find  Neximus Racing and Drag Strip and Jumbo's Rockin' Biker  Bar. Going North on 420, you'll pass an outdoor stage, called  C.H.M.C. Rock Yard, with a motel across the street. On the  next block, to our left, a building announces a soon to open  Burlesque show hall and across the street, on Hwy. 420, it  comes as no suprise to find the "Moms4MJ" head shop. The  door to Moms was locked and a large sign in the window  provided a long lists of days and times that they may or may  not be open, depending on if they felt like working. Dang  hippies! Make sure your canteen is full, because we are  headed back into desert in our next sim.

Two Guns

The name itself suggests that the only difference between it  and Twin Arrows is that this is it's polar opposite. Always  looking for the silver lining, I can tell you one good thing about  this place. You'll be glad that you didn't bring your kids with  you, because, by now, they'd be driving you nuts with, "Are  we there yet, are we there yet.....". Oi, on to the next sim.

Mojave Desert

At long last, we have reached Southern California. Is there a  ray of hope, or was it just a small cloud, momentarily blocking  the relentless sun, that brings a smile to our parched lips? On  the North end, we see two large shops, suggesting we are  headed back into civilization, relatively speaking. The next  sim looks more promising, in the way of entertainment.


I can't decide if MLCC is the name of a corporation or the  roman numeral for 1150, but the southern half of this sim is  it's world headquarters. It's the place to go, if you want to buy  land in the Route 66 sims and the ground floor is a museum  of motor vehicles, including even four wheeled ones. North of  it, you can be sitting on the dock of the bay, looking at all the  pretty sailboats. Looking out in the bay, you discover why  these sailboats are all securely moored. The bay is home to  the biggest wave I've seen in SL, headed for Loon Beach.  Pack your swim suit, if surfing and sailing is your idea of the  perfect vacation. At the South end of the beach, you'll find the  entrance to Loon Tunnel, which runs under ground for the  length of the beach and exits on the next sim.

Diablo Canyon

The western third of this sim is sandy beach. The eastern  portion is a lush green area, with a beautiful private estate or  two. A large house is built on stilts, above a marshy,  protective moat. I couldn't help but feel, this might be the  retirement home of a notorious Bonnie and Clyde couple. On  the north end of the marsh, two alligators stand guard and will  snap at you, if you get too close. The gators were facing a  two story, three bay garage. Two of the bays were empty,  suggesting the couple had gone down to the Route 66 sim  for some dancing and gambling. My 6th sense told me to turn  my radio down and tip-toe to the next and final sim on the  tour.

Santa Monica 66

As I crossed the bridge, from Diablo, I remembered that,  while making a map for this tour, this sim looked as if it was  some kind of race track. It turns out, I was right, but what kind  of race track is anybody's guess. The entire track is on  towers, above the ground. Before attempting it, I had a look  about the sim. The track is boxed in by mountains. On one  peak, to the northeast, I zoomed in on a cool sculpture of an  angel, seated with it's head on it's knees. I couldn't tell if it  was meant to be sleeping or feeling shame, but the pose did  not suggest it to be strong or protective. On a northeast peak,  I spotted a large gargoyle statue, posed for an attack.  Walking about the grounds, I found five run down buildings. A  sign on the largest building proclaimed it to be "Maggie May's  Salloon". A quick look, over the top of the swinging doors,  revealed that the establishnent might still be used for  gatherings of roving biker gangs or the souls of the departed,  that had neglected the announcement of "Last Call". Either  way, I was not brave enough to set foot inside. On the West  side of the grounds, I spotted a couple of houses. Peeking in  the first one, it was unfurnished, but there was a dirty old  mattress, dragged close to the fireplace with a roaring fire  going in it. Somebody was here and must have left when they  heard hoof beats coming. Seeing a dog, leached to a stake  near by, added to the mystery. I rode over to the other house  and looked in the front window. There was somebody sitting,  motionless, in a rocking chair, wearing a long dress. I didn't  see a tag overhead, so panned my camera around to get a  front view. Imagine my shock, when I discovered it was a  skeleton! What started out as an inocent road trip, was turning  into a Nancy Drew mystery. I decided to ride over to the ramp  to the race track, to give my horse a little exercise run. The  first ramp that I approached had One Way-DO NOT ENTER  signs on it. Being the only one on the sim (according to my  radar), it shouldn't have mattered, but the girl scout within  insisted I take the other ramp. At the start, I hit Ctrl+1 to run  and M to switch to mouselook, I took off and ran the whole  course, without a single pause. I even got around the remains  of a wrecked car and motorcycle, without any problems. At  ground level, I detatched my horse and stood in the center of  the sim for a good 10 minutes, enjoying my double victory. I  had completed the race course and my tour of route 66.

I have to compliment the creators of these sims. Having been  through the South West, in real life, I know this simulation of it  is well done. I've always lived in big cities and the locations  and life styles, depicted in Route 66 are not my cup of tea.  However, I am a seeker of new things and knowledge, so  loved the adventure and writing about it. There are many  other SL locations for going riding on motorcycles and  horses. I hope I have stimulated your imagination to go out  and have a new adventure. In time, you will discover why Willy  Nelson was so happy to get "On the Road Again".

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