Rebelliousness and Law Enforcement
We left McAllen this morning to a mariachi band, high school cheerleaders, and two firetrucks with ladders extended in full salute, complete with hanging American flags. The mayor blessed the bikes, and we busted a piñata to christen the journey further. About 25 of us headed out, including many who continued with us from Mexico.
An hour or so outside of McAllen, we hit a US border patrol checkpoint. When they learned that we were with Harley, it seemed like the whole department came out to talk with us. We pulled into a separate lane, parked the bikes and hung out with them. They ogled the bikes, shared some of their own riding stories, and we had a great time just shaking hands and talking bikes. We have also had fire departments and other local policemen join us on the trip, and they were happy to volunteer to help us - and we were grateful.
So, how does a brand that stands for rebelliousness and a certain attitude about "the law" find such a bond with law enforcement itself? It may seem a huge disconnect, but it makes a lot of sense too. Because Harley-Davidson also represents many of the same values that these men and women work so hard to protect: freedom and individuality, personal strength and having the guts to be yourself. And these law enforcers aren't beyond being attracted to a bad boy attitude, because everyone has a little of that in them somewhere. "Bad boys" doesn't mean they're not "good guys" (and ladies obviously). And these people are very, very good, and what they do is important to all of us.
Along the way to our destination in Houston (actually Kingwood), we stopped off at a party in Victoria, Texas, at a cool little corner dealership with a very friendly and casual homespun vibe. When I showed off the Muscle, a guy at the party called his buddy to get him down to the dealership to see it. Everywhere we've gone people have been surprised how much they like it when they see it in person. And thanks to the dealership for cleaning the very dirty bike (finally) so people could actually see the thing!
To complete the 300+ mile day across the flat green fields of South Texas, we went to another party at the brand new Harley-Davidson of Kingwood, an amazing place that only opened two days ago. And after we met lots of good folks and heard some more cool road stories, how did I get back to my hotel? An officer on a police bike (can you guess which brand?) who just wanted to make sure I found the hotel. Thanks to all law enforcers for what you do.
Tomorrow, a lot more Texas and a little Louisiana... and a military base!