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.
Monday, August 25, 2008
A feeling of connection, and a feeling of separation.
It’s amazing what types of bonds build when people ride together. Our group of employees and a group of customers who have been riding together have become pretty close.
Sunday night included a couple cases of beer and a couple bottles of wine in the gazebo at the hotel. A few hours of story telling, and experience sharing. It was like we had to make up for separating on our two different routes that day.
About five miles into the ride Monday morning, I noticed that the extensive collection of dead bugs on my windshield was gone. It was perfectly clean! The people I asked at our first stop said they didn’t do it, but everyone reported that they were looking through “clean glass” this morning, too.
When I polled the group at lunch, Noel from Colorado admitted that he did it for all of us. A simple, yet great gesture.
At our first gas stop this morning (we wanted it to be a quick one), Cynthia from Washington (riding with her husband Jim) ran in and bought an armful of bottles of water and distributed them to everybody in our group.
Those are things that friends do for each other. In this case, these are friends we’ve made in the past seven days.
It’s great how Harley-Davidson motorcycles bring us all together.
Yet, the separation of the group is starting to happen.
This morning, John Olin left the group to deliver his son to college. That’s a big day for a family, so we wished him well as he headed off on a long ride to Iowa to meet his wife and son.
Monday evening, we said a temporary good bye to Noel and Yvette, who are riding ahead Tuesday so they can visit the Harley-Davidson Museum on Wednesday.
We’re all going to try to get together at the HOG 25th Anniversary on Thursday.
We had a great ride today.
First stop was Apol’s H-D in Alexandria, Minnesota. We were greeted by Jeff Romenesko, the exec from H-D who had this as his starting location, and a crew of employees from the dealership.
Then on to Duluth, where our dealers Denny and Suzanne threw a great party at their dealership. This was the first location that felt like a big party. Lots of bikes and lots of riders that were heading for the 105th.
Ron and I had some 105th items that we auctioned off, so MDA ended up with $475 more after we headed out.
At the dealership in Duluth, I met a rider from Germany who was in the midst of a six week motorcycle trip to the US. He’s headed to the 105th, too.
We also met a couple from Egypt. They made a very generous purchase in our auction (a VIP package for the 105th), then re-donated the 105th ticket (they already had theirs) so we could auction it again. Tomorrow they’ll ride with us to Wausau.
There is a noticeable feeling of excitement building as we get closer to Milwaukee. It feels really great to almost be home.