First things first — Happy Fourth of July eve, everyone! On this very eve in 1776, the Continental Congress was preparing to adopt the Declaration of Independence and thereby declare our great nation free of British colonial rule.
To be clear, this week’s episode of Ride with Norman Reedus was not an Independence Day special. There were neither fireworks nor star-spangled helmets to speak of. But that doesn’t mean watching the new AMC series didn’t make you feel all sorts of fuzzy Americana feels.
In fact, this week’s episode was packed full of moments that just made you want to shout out “‘Merica!” in a state of heightened pride. Why? Because in this episode, Reedus’ travels took him to Texas, where the spirit of independence and American character reigns supreme.
Check out a few of the most patriotism-inducing moments, and join us in celebrating this colorful patchwork country we’re lucky enough to live in — and, you know, Reedus too. We’ll use any excuse to celebrate him.
1. When Reedus meets New York-based artist and former pro skater, Jake Lamagno
— Ride with Norman (@rideamc) July 4, 2016
When two New Yorkers like Reedus and Lamagno meet in Texas, hop on a couple of motorcycles and set off for their first ride together, it’s like…
2. The first glimpse of Limey Bikes’ Elijah and Chris
If you ever needed a prime example of America’s melting-pottedness (just go with me on this one), you got one in Texas native Elijah R., Britain native Chris K. and their custom shop where they work on vintage Japanese motorcycles.
3. During Elijah and Reedus’ laugh-off
When Reedus compliments Elijah on his distinctive laugh (guffaw? I feel like it was a guffaw), it hits ya right in the feels. Doesn’t it just make you proud to be part of any country dudes like this come from? I could listen to these two laugh all day long.
4. When Reedus and Lamagno meet (and eat tacos with) Sin City director Robert Rodriguez
— Ride with Norman (@rideamc) July 4, 2016
First of all, they go to Troublemaker Studios. Troublemaker Studios! How’s that for a studio name? It echoes the sentiment of this episode, which Reedus sums up as “people who just don’t play by the rules.” Color me all shades of green with envy when the guys get a behind-the-scenes tour of the set of From Dusk Till Dawn. Reedus gets to sit on the Jesse James bike built for Grindhouse and then they sit down and shoot the shit with Rodriguez over a couple of tacos. If that’s not livin’ the American dream, I don’t know what is, man.
5. Watching a crowd full of Texans headbang along to a set by The Well
There’s something that just feels inherently American about some good ol’ fashioned headbanging, am I right? But what is especially rad about this show is that it’s happening in this super-hip and edgy pocket of Texas that most people wouldn’t expect. It fills me with the frontier spirit, I tell ya.
6. Along every bend of the Twisted Sisters route
— Ride with Norman (@rideamc) July 3, 2016
Honest to God, I can’t help but feel some seemingly primordial patriotism well up inside of me when I watch Reedus and Lamagno hug the surprisingly hilly terrain of Texas. Two badass bikers on the open road in Texas? Hell to the yes.
7. Two words: barbecue joint
As a Southerner, I can tell you in all certainty that good barbecue is every bit as American as apple pie. It’s a bona fide way of life in the South. When the guys stop for a bite at The Hog Pen, it’s hard not to wish you were right there with them, rockin’ a red, white and blue bandanna and watching Reedus pose for fan pics while you stuff your gut with some ‘cue.
8. When they shoot the shit out of stuff with old-timey guns
Everything about the guys’ experience at the gun range, A Place to Shoot, screams, “Yes, please!” Where do I sign up for this? The gun-range guys with the old-timey outfits really drive home the Wild West vibe, and it makes me want to grab a six-shooter and start a duel in the streets.
9. Meeting Colt Wrangler (and his killer ‘stache)
As a writer, one of my favorite things about ‘Merica is the insane mix of incredible characters who make it up — and you can’t get a much cooler example than custom-bike-builder-slash-mustachioed-extraordinaire, Colt Wrangler. You guys, his name is Colt Wrangler. That’s No. 1. As for No. 2, check out his ‘stache. And, No. 3 and No. 4, he talks like a rasta-redneck-yoda (definitely a compliment) and he introduces Reedus to a little game called Chicken Shit Bingo.
10. Learning about yet another great American she-ro
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Now that all the Mother's Day fluffy dust has settled, here's a classic shot of my Mom riding a rank bronc in the 80s! I couldn't ask for a better role model, mentor, or mother. Here's to the baddest mom on the planet! Love you @crystal.lyons! #bareback #bronc #wpra #prca #roughstock #mothersday
When Colt takes Reedus and Lamagno on a tour of his shop, they come across some old pictures. At that point, Colt reveals the badass rodeo rider in the sepia-toned photographs is none other than his mom. Could this family adopt me? They’re so interesting we need a new word for interesting. And here’s the thing: Reedus has given women everywhere even more American fem-spiration. New life goal? Meet Colt Wrangler’s mom.