It's 4am. Do you know where your Milwaukee is?

Posted  Tuesday, Aug 26, 2008 , by  Mark-Hans Richer


It's very early, dark and chilly. I'm a little numb after the long night saying goodbye to the many good people we met on our ride. I have decided to head home to see my family as soon as I can, since the coming days will be even busier and full than the last ten. I have a side bag full of gifts for them and am looking forward to bestowing the talking monkey (don't ask).

Popeyemuseum We crossed the mighty Mississippi yesterday into Illinois on a beautiful morning. Soon came the sweet apple and peach orchards and beautiful horizontal panoramas of corn and soybeans only cut through by our two lane roads. Then we discovered "spinach" in Chester, IL, the home of Popeye. We stopped by the Popeye museum housed in the two-level house where the sailor man’s creator originally drew the comic. I bought a "swee pea" t-shirt for a friend. And as I ready myself at 4am for the final ride of my now 2500 mile journey, I guess you could say I'm strong to the finish “cause I's eat me spinach...”

Last night were the final parties before Milwaukee. In Urbana we gave the Mexicans a thrill they did not expect: They got to meet Willie G. And his wife Nancy, his daughter Karen and sons Bill and Michael. The first family of Harley-Davidson graciously agreed to meet with our crew. We had to sneak the Mexicans and the rest of our crew into the back service bays to avoid creating a scene, and the arrival of Willie G. back there was met with wild applause. They were stunned to see the man himself. We took dozens of pictures in the service bays with the faint smell of oil and gas all around - as it should be!

Urbana Photowithwillieg

We finished up after a sprint to Bloomington and a very nice reception at Chuck's H-D run by the amazing Winnie, a woman who runs a tight ship, loves the business and treats her customers like family.


So, as I finish this amazing and humbling journey, I am satisfied I have lived up to my principle of doing this trip like any of our customers would - by carrying what I brought. We had a car following us, but I never used it, instead insisting on carrying my own backpack and stuffing my own side bags. My Screw It Let's Ride bandana is very dark on the edge where it has met my forehead over all these miles, and my jacket carries an assortment of bug guts back home with me too.

It's time to let the real celebration start, and meet hundreds of thousands more of our customers. I will roll into Milwaukee tonight for a kick-off party after I reconnect with my wife and daughters today, and will raise my hand to all in celebration of the spirit of Harley-Davidson and our riders. It's a celebration of 105 years of our corporation, but more importantly a celebration of 105 years of riders and their adventurous lives.

And it's merely the first five of our next hundred years of discoveries about ourselves.

Posted Tue, Aug 26, 1:43 PM by Jake Philmon Lake Charles, La.

Our two day trip Home to Milwaukee was great, We had a wonderful time at the Museum, the food, weather,and the concerts were great. We meet some great people from Milwaukee at Miller Park. Sue and Con, Doug Donna, Richard Dixie during the Sugarland concert. Our ride was safe and the experience in Milwaukee was very enjoyable. I can not wait to see all of our pitures. Sorry we missed Bruce S. we had to leave early due to the Hurricane.

Posted Tue, Aug 26, 1:43 PM by William Ihlenfeld III

Thanks Mark for the story and the introduction to your V-Rod Muscle. As a new rider that began riding in April of 08, I cannot believe I rode 1800 miles in 8 days with similar bugs on my jacket and cold fingers in the morning. I look forard to seeing you on the 110th.

Posted Tue, Aug 26, 1:43 PM by Lauren

Thanks for stopping by in Chester. It was great to meet you guys. Maybe next time the Popeye Bike will get a chance to ride along with you. Happy 105th.

Posted Tue, Aug 26, 1:43 PM by Cathy from the home of Popeye

Thanks so much for stopping by Chester IL...we enjoyed your visit and we look forward to seeing you again in 5 love to get the Popeye bike out and join you!

Posted Tue, Aug 26, 1:43 PM by Sven Goldenblum

Tell us more about the monkey, man.

Posted Tue, Aug 26, 1:43 PM by Tom MIller Kingwood Texas

Congradulations to all..I was at the Party and seen yall ride into the New Harley Dealer in Kingwood, Texas. Enjoy the HD Party and have a great time..maybe Ill be able to make the next one...Ride Safe on your journeys home.

Posted Tue, Aug 26, 1:43 PM by MEL BOUGHTON


Posted Tue, Aug 26, 1:43 PM by Tom Eiden, Owner Starved Rock HD Ottawa IL

Mark-Hans, I Really enjoyed your blog of the Ride Home You put it in the perfect perspective of all of us who have been riding for decades (49 years fr me) Hope to see you in Milwaukee. By the way, the bottle of wine you sent us in Rapid City was perfect Thanks, Tom

Posted Tue, Aug 26, 1:43 PM by Bob Cone Middleburg, FL

Being laid up with a bad ankle I was able to read what my fellow riders are doing. I felt like I was there. Thanks for the Blog, man. I will make the 110th. Sparky.

Adventure is there for those who seek it. Mark-Hans Richer (H-D CMO) is not afraid to push the envelope. As a man who has 23 years of riding under his belt, he finds the best way to make life slow down is to ride full speed ahead on his new 2009 V-Rod Muscle. The most noteworthy of his many experiences on the road took place while handling fierce hail and rain on his way through the Italian Alps.

Mike Morgan

H-D Staffer Mike Morgan is blogging the sights and sounds from the 105th.

Peter Reitzfeld

Read what Peter Reitzfeld has blogged since he left NYC.

Ken Ostermann

Rolling in from Salinas, California, check out what Ken Ostermann has blogged.

Mark-Hans Richer

Coming up from the roads of Mexico City, see what Mark-Hans Richer has blogged.