The Fellowship of the Shootout
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
We're embarking on our longest-distance shootout in MotoUSA history with a handful of the latest Adventure Touring motorcycles. The more I think about our mishmash crew of testers, the more I see a striking resemblance to Frodo Baggins and his misfit band of brothers set out on their glorious, box-office-money-reaping journey. We're a few short of a full fellowship, but there're plenty of things we're a few short of... Here's how it breaks down, minus the matching capes.
Bart Madson - Frodo Baggins - Our Managing Editor loves a good adventure. Touring is in his blood and he spent his childhood in a healthy portion of the region we're travelling through. This means he will often be in the lead. He does wear a ring, but not dangling around his neck by a chain that sears his wimpy hobbit skin. Nor does it make him invisible. In fact, his ring really has nothing to do with it. It's the GPS we've bequeathed upon him that is most symbolic. If successful, our Fellowship will bask in the glory of success, but he alone must bear the weight of failure.
Justin Dawes - Gimli - Hard working and loyal, that's our cameraman Dawes. He's also the shortest, roundest and has the biggest beard. Sorry, J-Dawg, there's no other logical choice. He's definitely the last one we're going to toss across a yawning abyss of doom. Plus, if he holds his Nikon by its lens, it's almost like a battleaxe.
Ron Maddox - Legolas - Ron is twice as old (minimum) and not nearly as fair-skinned or handsome, but he is skinny and sharp as a tack with his right hand. Like an elf prince shooting warts off smelly orcs, this adventurer is a surgeon with the throttle. He's nimble, lithe and loves technical riding. We'll be pushing him to grow silken locks of hair.
JC Hilderbrand - Aragorn - I really have no reason for this other than I don't plan on shaving for the entire 10 days. That's mostly where the similarities stop. The guy is way better looking, has tons more hair and does work with a sword that drives the ladies crazy. However, I shall be scruffy, like the idea of not dying along the way and wouldn't mind a chance to smootch Arwen (that's Liv Tyler for you non-nerds).
Dave Riant - Samwise Gamgee - Our version of Sam is also practical and a constant voice of reason. Fortunately, he's not nearly as annoying. Whether or not he can sniff out a rat like Smeagol remains to be seen. But, he and Bart are going to get along like BFFs because they both geek out on maps. There's a bit of Gandalf the Grey in there as well. Dave is our most seasoned, well-travelled ADV rider and people tend to listen when he talks. Unfortunately, we've never seen him in a robe and he doesn't own a cell phone - he had to borrow one for this trip. That kind of makes us doubt he can pull magic out of his ass.
Wish us luck.
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