Detours and pecans
We had a new member join our group this morning. We’ve seen Bill at every dealer stop since Bakersfield, CA, but today was the first day he rode with us. He’s a fascinating guy, and has been riding his 100th Anniversary Ultra all over the country. Consistent with our “big things” theme from yesterday, Bill suggested that we go see the world’s largest pecan which was right along one of the possible routes for today.
On the way to the pecan, we hit some road construction and a detour. As the lead rider in our group, unexpected route changes can be a little stressful. If I’m riding alone, I don’t really think much about it, but I didn’t want to take the group many miles in the wrong direction. Just as I made the decision to follow the official detour route, I saw one lone bike continue down the original route toward the closed road.
I immediately recognized the custom paint on the bike. It was New York Myke, owner of San Diego Harley-Davidson. As anyone who has had the opportunity to meet him will tell you, he’s quite a guy and if anyone was going to figure out how to ride through a torn up road or bridge, it was him. Sure enough, we saw him later in the day and he said the road was in fact closed. He talked the workers into letting him ride through and saved himself at least 20 miles. Only Myke.
Well, the world’s largest pecan was in fact large, but it sure looked more concrete than pecan. Regardless, it was an amusing roadside diversion and appropriate for a quick group photo.
Michael Lichter, a well known motorcycle photographer spent a little time with us today. It was really cool to see his son Sean getting into it as well. Michael rode their bike while his son sat backwards on the passenger seat taking what I’m sure were fantastic riding shots. I’m sure you’ll see Michael all over Milwaukee covering the festivities for various publications.
One really cool moment this morning. We rode past a elementary school where kids were out for recess on the playground. While many kids went on with their games while we cruised by, one little boy was instantly drawn to the fence where he watched and waved with excitement as we rode by. He’s got the fire and I’m certain will be on a Harley-Davidson when he’s older.
We weren’t planning on our lunch being part of our “big things” theme, but it sure was. Our practice of asking for a local restaurant recommendation at our gas stop has served us well. We were pointed towards Logue’s in Hannibal, MO. Eric ordered a pork sandwich and it was unbelievable. The bun was dwarfed by the piece of meat. In fact, we all had great meals. I’ll have to remember this place.
Our last dealer party of the trip was in Springfield, IL at Hall’s Harley-Davidson. They had a great event, complete with food, a band, as well as the mayor and police chief who welcomed the riders. We met up with even more ride routes and shared lots of road stories. One of the H-D ride leaders, Julie, led a group in from Union City, TN.
One aspect not to be forgotten, is that along the way to Milwaukee, riders are raising money for MDA. Curley and Pat from H-D took the stage at the dealer party and took on the role of auctioneer. They did a great job entertaining the crowd while auctioning some cool items and raising money for Jerry’s kids.
I had an amusing moment as I was ready to head to my hotel room tonight. What was my room number? With a different hotel every night, keeping track of today’s room number vs. the one from yesterday is getting more challenging. Things are beginning to blur together. Probably means I’ve been on the road too long. While I’m on the subject of hotels, we’ve had some great ones on this trip, and we’ve had some not so great ones. This probably isn’t the place to get into specifics, but a couple of them really rolled the red carpet out to motorcyclists. I wish they were all that way.
It is hard to believe that the ride is coming to an end. One more day. I’m looking forward to being home (I haven’t seen my home or family much this summer), but this has been an amazing journey. I met all kinds of interesting people and saw parts of what makes this country great.