The Year of Adventure

Tagging along on Kawi’s big rides

Published in the September 2013 Issue September 2013

This is definitely the “Year of Adventure” for Kawasaki—and thanks to Kawasaki inviting us along for a couple of rides with somewhat unique twists.

Last year one of Kawasaki’s big adventures was being a sponsor of the Professional Bull Riders circuit, of which we were invited to attend a PBR event in Missouri.

This year trumps that in a fairly big way.

We started the Year of Adventure on the Hatfield-McCoy Trails in West Virginia with a ride on the Teryx side-by-sides and then an afternoon of shooting Hoyt Archery bows at Delta MacKenzie Targets. We shared that story in the last issue of Dirt Toys Magazine (“Kawi Takes Aim At Best Trails In The East,” August 2013, page 18).

But we weren’t done yet with the Year of Adventure. In June we were invited to a Teryx4 ride and to the premiere of Disney’s latest movie, The Lone Ranger, in New Mexico. A good portion of The Lone Ranger was filmed in New Mexico so that seemed like the ideal setting to hold the premiere. At least that’s what we’re guessing Disney must have thought, because the event was held in Santa Fe.

The event consisted of a ride (and a quarter—we’ll explain later), the premiere, and then, for a few lucky ones, attending a press conference with the movie’s stars, director and producer.

Great Combination

It was that combination of events that made this trip so much fun--and unique. We rode about a half day in the Santa Fe National Forest, which by the way, when we checked in early July, was completely closed down. The forest’s website says, “Due to extreme fire danger and current active fires, the entire Santa Fe National Forest is CLOSED, with the exception of the Rio Chama Scenic River corridor and the Valles Caldera staging area.” So we were fortunate enough to ride the area, known as Caja Del Rio Canyon, before it was closed.

Truthfully, the ride was fun but pretty tame for the T4. It chewed up and spit out the high desert trails in the Caja Del Rio Canyon area we rode. There were some technical sections with plenty of rocks and obstacles that posed a few challenges, but the T4 swallowed them up, just another testament to the ride quality of this Kawi side-by-side. We dialed up about 25 miles for the afternoon.

That evening we went to the premiere of The Lone Ranger in Santa Fe, seeing the movie before anyone else outside of the Disney folks. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer even welcomed the crowd and introduced the movie. The official premiere was held later that week at Disneyland in southern California. By now some of you have already seen The Lone Ranger (we went again on opening day) or at least one or more of the movie trailers. We were thoroughly entertained by the movie (although some film critics took the estimated $225 million movie to the woodshed). It was action-packed and a fun story. For a quick overview of the areas (besides New Mexico) where the movie was filmed (remember our story on and the August issue of Dirt Toys, where we wrote about seeing part of the movie being filmed?), go to and then click on the “videos” tab and watch the “Locations - The Lone Ranger Road Trip.” Not only do you get to see some cool scenery but also one of the movie’s stars, Armie Hammer, riding his dirt bike as well as a side-by-side stuck in the sand on location. We won’t reveal which manufacturer’s side-by-side it is; you’ll just have to watch the video.

Not Many Takers

The next morning we were supposed to take a few of the entertainment/movie press for a ride on the Teryx4 at the Buckman Motocross Track near Santa Fe. Apparently those journalists are not morning people because only 4 of the 10 who signed up showed up to ride. Of course, those who showed up had a good time. After they left, we took to the track in the T4s and rode for awhile (hence, the “quarter” day ride).

We didn’t fully realize the size and scope of the event and Kawasaki’s relationship with Disney until we went to The Bishop’s Lodge, an upscale resort in Santa Fe, for the Global Press Conference. We ran Kawasaki’s press release June 17 on www.dirttoysmag. com, detailing not only Kawi’s relationship with Disney for the movie but also information about the opportunity to win one of several Teryx vehicles that are being given away.

The powersports products marketer is using the new re-imagining of the popular story to help carry product messages for its off-road motorcycles, four-wheel vehicles and street motorcycles. Go to our website for more information.

This was definitely the big time—for Kawasaki as well as for us.

The Big Press Conference

At the press conference were Ruth Wilson (Rebecca Reid), director Gore Verbinski, Johnny Depp (Tonto and the movie’s executive producer), Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger), producer Jerry Bruckheimer and William

Fichtner (Butch Cavendish). Of course, Verbinski, Bruckheimer and Depp were behind the blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

Here are some of the comments we picked up from the press conference:

Gore Verbinski - “I’ve always loved westerns.”

  • “I’m a big fan of westerns.”
  • “I have a lot of respect for everyone who worked on westerns.”
  • It was obvious from Johnny Depp’s comments that this movie was a personal crusade of sorts for him as he wanted to break down “stereotypes” about Native Americans and their treatment by the white man. To that end, he said the movie was “Potentially an opportunity to right a wrong.”
  • “This film was a great opportunity to chip away at the cliche.”
  • “I can remember very well as a young kid seeing the show [The Lone Ranger] on TV. I didn’t like how Tonto was portrayed.”

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer commented about the rare opportunity to film on Native American land.

“I think it’s wonderful how Native Americans have preserved the land instead of developing those lands.”

Along those lines, Verbinski said, the “landscape becomes a character in the movie.”

Armie Hammer - When asked what he learned in the movie said, “I learned how to ride a horse through a train while shooting two pistols.” Then he added, “Not sure if that’s a skill I need in Los Angeles traffic.”

More Johnny Depp

Here are some comments from a press release we received at the premiere. These are from Depp. “The Lone Ranger was just one of those sort of regular things that you would see on television as a kid. I watched it and I always identified with Tonto. And even as a kid I wondered why the Indian was the sidekick.

“And it wasn’t that The Lone Ranger was overtly disrespectful in the way he treated Tonto but I just thought, ‘why is he the guy that has to go and do this and that? Why isn’t he the hero?’ So that was something that was always on my mind. And I was told at a very young age that we have some Indian blood in our family ... who knows how much—maybe very little, I don’t know. “So what I wanted to do was play this character not as the sidekick to The Lone Ranger. I wanted to play him as a warrior and as a man with great integrity and dignity. It’s my small sliver of a contribution to try and right the wrongs that have been committed in the past.”

Here are a few interesting facts about the making of The Lone Ranger

  • In both Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly, several key cast members and filmmakers—including Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, James Badge Dale and Gore Verbinski—lived out of their trailers at base camp, enjoying nightly campfires and music. They were sometimes fed traditional stews and fry bread by a local Navajo family on whose land they were staying.
  • Filming in Canyon de Chelly, another natural landmark in the Navajo Nation, required the crew to utilize local safari vehicles, which are converted 60-year-old, four wheel drive trucks from the Korean War, humorously dubbed, “Shake ‘n Bakes” by the local people.
  • For a scene in which a derailed locomotive comes dangerously close to crushing Tonto and John Reidto powder, special effects supervisor John Frazier and his coordinator Jim Schwalm and their crew mounteda 25,400-pound locomotive on a 4,000-pound turntable which, pulled by cables, twisted and turned its way down a 10,000-pound track.We’re excited to see what Kawasaki’s next adventure will be.
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