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.
Wednesday August 27, 2008
Our final day of riding, and anticipation of what is to come.
The morning in Wausau was a flurry of activity. Based on the sounds outside my room window, the early risers hit the road at around 6:30am. Gene and Tim from our riding group took advantage of the relatively warm morning to head home early, so our group would be smaller than in the previous couple of days.
The plan is to gather at Wausau Harley-Davidson for breakfast and departure at 9:30. We weren’t aware that Capital City H-D in Madison had organized a group ride from Wausau to Madison that would leave at that same time. So we watched over 200 bikes mount up and head out while we gave them some space. We left at 10am, using the extra half hour to chat with our old and new friends about plans in Milwaukee and where people were staying. Pictures were taken, smiles were everywhere.
At our final gas stop, we made sure all of the non-Milwaukee folks knew where to go once we reached town. Some were pointed to exits (Jim and Cynthia are staying at the HOG campground, Dave and Jackie in Wauwatosa, Fred and Debbie in Cedarburg, AJ and Hoorda at a hotel Downtown, and Milo was heading for Chicago to weld his bike together). Vince and Jennifer Nye (Jennifer joined us after working with her video crew) volunteered to lead part of the group directly to Juneau Avenue for the Kick-off Party.
So after more than 2000 miles, the group split and headed out on their own. I thought it was like the “So Long, Farewell” scene in The Sound of Music. Not sure who was Liesel.
Though we all knew that we would see each other, or at least be looking for each other, throughout the rest of the week. That made the good-bye feel a little less final.
OK, to wrap this up, here are Steve’s newest rules of the road, as developed on this trip
The first rule was developed in Missoula, Montana when I discovered that my motel room key no longer worked. Frustrated, in a hurry because the group was preparing to leave, I ran to the desk to get a new key. The quizzical look on the young woman’s face told me something was wrong. Then she said, “Sir, that’s a Holiday Inn key, this is a Best Western.” So Rule Number One from this trip, don’t keep hotel room keys.
Rule Number Two. When the GPS and the billboard on the side of the highway disagree, use the directions on the billboard. Somebody paid for the billboard.
And Rule Number Three, yellow tinted goggles lie. They tell you things about the weather that are totally not true. On my first day of riding I used my yellow goggles. I was convinced that the sun was about to come out the whole time I was riding. Combine yellow lenses with and optimistic attitude…and it could be dangerous. I would have ridden into a hurricane with those things on.
If you’ve read these blog entries throughout my adventure, I thank you for joining me. Hopefully, my blessing of being in a position to do a ride like this, to have an experience like this, was shared with you through the time we both spent reading and writing.
And thank you to my riding partners, my coworkers and my new friends from around the country and around the world, for being part of this once in a lifetime adventure.