For H.O.G.® member Gary Dodd of Salt Lake City, Utah – who accomplished this amazing feat in 2012 – it meant riding 36,737 miles in all 50 U.S. states, 10 Canadian Provinces, and 38 countries in North America, Central America, Europe, and the Middle East. Along the way he hit 19 U.S. State H.O.G.® Rallies, 10 (at least) national parks and forests, four Motor Company facilities, the Harley-Davidson Museum, and more dealerships than you can officially count on an entry form. He also made countless memories and met more fascinating people than he could possibly have imagined. In other words, he had the time of his life. “It’s a great big world out there,” he says. “I saw some incredible stuff.”
It Started with Sturgis
Gary had ridden dirt bikes most of his life but was never that interested in riding on the street until his cousin stopped on his way to the Sturgis motorcycle rally. “Hey, why don’t you come along?” he said. Not skipping a beat, Gary renewed his motorcycle license, rented a bike, and was on his way to the world’s most famous motorcycle rally.
The experience got his riding engine revving again, but it wasn’t until he retired in 2007 that he decided to buy a bike: a Harley-Davidson® Road King®. Five years later, the ABCs of Touring contest caught his attention and he decided to give it a try.
“I started just by riding around and taking a few pictures,” he says. “And then it just kind of snowballed.”
While in New Orleans for the 2012 Louisiana State H.O.G.® rally, he bought a new 2012 Ultra Limited. He also met some very successful ABCs of Touring riders who inspired him to aim high and taught him a few of their “secrets.” To get a top score, he realized, he would have to ride outside the continental U.S. and Canada. So when he got back home to Salt Lake City, Utah, he started planning. Ultimately, he arranged five separate trips to rent H-D motorcycles in Honolulu, Hawaii; Anchorage, Alaska; San Jose, Costa Rica; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and Munich, Germany.
Those adventures are now “kind of a blur,” he says. But what he remembers most are the people he met including a Harley rider in Helsinki, Finland who showed him how to properly tie down his bike on the ferry deck, a police officer in Poland who flagged him down just to admire his bike, and the fellow members he met at H.O.G.® rallies and other events around the world.
“Everybody everywhere was really helpful,” he says. “Harley riders are Harley riders, there’s always that commonality. And I’m still in touch with a number of folks I met along the way.”
Because in the end, the ABCs of Touring contest is not about the point total. It’s about the rides you take. The unforgettable experiences you have. The memories you make and the people you meet.