Little kid excited
Is it “always” or “never” return to the scene of the crime? I don’t remember, but after an early morning gas up I ride with Bill, John and Brian back to Harley-Davidson of Ocean County for some last minute fan-fare and good-byes. They’re having another party today (for their 8th anniversary) and we’ve got a few miles to cover, so we part ways. We are headed to York, PA where we’ll meet up with the rest of Bill’s family: Willie G, Nancy and Michael are coming from Staten Island, NY and Karen from New Castle, DE. The weather is so beautiful that the only thing that could make the day more perfect is if York was farther away.
As we get set to go, two locals, Glen and Ed, who are coincidentally heading to Milwaukee, ask if they can join us for awhile. We roll out of the parking lot six strong. Ahead of me I see tail lights; behind me, headlights. I get the chills and realize I’m excited – like little kid excited. Silly, I know, but it has been quite some time since I’ve taken a road trip with a group and I guess I miss it more than I knew. Plus, the last name of the guy ahead of me is on my gas tank. Pretty neat.
We pull over to get coffee and realize just how far away York is not. A hundred more miles, even for a first day, is not a tall order. We drink slowly and BS a bit. We talk about things that shine and things that make noise, different places we’ve been and where we are from. We talk about nicknames and where we should stop for lunch. Our cups are empty, and there’s an idea decided upon for food, so we go. At lunch we share more stories, some funny, some sad. I rave about my Road King and get knowing nods and smiles from everyone at the table.
Due to the lack of miles I already mentioned, we make it into town early. Stopping by Laugherman’s Harley-Davidson for a minute, we say good-bye to Glenn and Ed, then head to the hotel to meet up with the rest of the gang, unload and wash-up before heading back to Laugherman’s for this afternoon’s festivities.
At the Hotel, Karen’s husband, Scott, is outside sitting on his bike as we pull up. Not long after, Karen comes by just as Willie G. and Nancy and a half dozen or so other friends are pulling in. The smiles are big and there are hugs and handshakes all around. This is obviously a tight knit extended family that has been sharing life together for years. I am officially introduced to those I have not formally met before, and am graciously welcomed. It’s hard to imagine a bad mood in the crowd and I feel lucky that this has been my day. Soon it’s back to the dealership for another send-off party and signing by ‘the family’. Tomorrow we hit the road early.
One last thing worth noting: in the parking lot of the dealership there are two ‘9/11 tribute bikes,’ one of which lists the names of all the first responders that did not make it out of the towers. I search and find the name of the older brother of a good friend mine. Alfonse Neidermeyer was a Port Authority cop. Seeing his name immediately snaps my thoughts to his brother, Richie, and the rest of his family. God Bless.