Harley-Davidson celebrated its 105th Anniversary in 2008. I was one of the 105 execs designated to start a ride from a Harley-Davidson dealer to the big party in Milwaukee.
Tuesday–Kennewick, Washington. Today was my day to bring the 105th celebration to the Harley riders of the Tri City area. And there’s no better way to do that than to eat hot dogs with them. So I did. Maybe I over-did it.
It was actually a fun day, chatting with local Harley riders and dealership staff. I heard lots of questions about the ride and the 105th.
The most common question was “when do all the riders get here?” It seems that the 100th Anniversary Ride and two HOG Posse Rides had conditioned the locals to expect big groups moving through whenever a ride was mentioned. The whole concept of 105 “start” cities feeding 25 main rides seemed to be lost on them. All they got was me and some great hot dogs. But I did my best to make up for not having 500 people with me today.
The first customers I talked to today, in the parking lot on the way in, were three riders from Ohio. All three of them are Rider’s Edge instructors (Rider Coaches for those of you “in the know”). They had just participated in the big safety conference in Billings, Montana and were heading for the Pacific Coast.
I did talk to several people who were heading to the 105th. One rider told me that he and eight friends were leaving in two days (not tomorrow with me). I expect to see Ron and his friends somewhere along the way to Milwaukee.
I also spent some time talking to Michael Shumate, the owner of the dealership. A great guy, as were all of the people I met at the dealership today. As a matter of fact, after we wrapped up at the dealership, we grabbed some dinner and headed off to what was one of the highlights of my day, a trip to the Franklin County Fair.
But not just for cotton candy and elephant ears. (An aside: They are really big into elephant ears here. There were two or three stands selling these tasty and delicious treats that are, yes, the size of an elephant’s ear. I even talked to a lady who was taking one home to eat later.) No, not just for elephant ears, but to help out at the motorcycle display at the county fair.
I met more Harley riders at the fair. One who had already analyzed everything possible about the new touring bike frame, and I’d put some money down that he will be purchasing a new bike shortly.
I can’t remember the last time I went to a county fair. What a great way to wrap up a trip to Kennewick, and to begin my travels back home.
Tomorrow morning, I leave the elephant ears and hot dogs behind and travel to Missoula, Montana. There, I’ll meet up with Ron Hutchinson and the “main ride” that left today from Seattle, and John Olin who start tomorrow morning from Wenatchee, Washington.
This is going to be great!