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Miller Park

Miller Park

The Club H.O.G. 25th celebration started Thursday, August 28th at Miller Park Stadium (home of the Milwaukee Brewers).  Free for H.O.G. members the day-long celebration was prior to the start of the 105th Anniversary event.

We departed about 9:30am to get a jump on the day and drove the twenty minutes which came to an abrupt stop on the Interstate near the stadium exit.  Surprise, there’s a huge traffic jam! 

H.O.G. Director

H.O.G. Director

Not knowing exactly what or where we were headed…the delay due to poor traffic control wasn’t obvious until after we got parked in the stadium lot.  Once parked, we waited in a long line that took approx 35 minutes to get into the refreshments and concert area.  Within an hour it became obvious that it was going to be a “sardine packed” day and the heat/humidity was increasing.  The State Police lined I-94 and started controlling access to the exit having people go around the stadium and come in from an alternative direction.  I’ve never seen so many motorcycles let alone so many Harley’s.  Incredible!

DB Bryant Band

DB Bryant Band

While we were in line we made some new friends and shared stories of the open road.   The camaraderie of standing in line meant we all got to chat with H.O.G. members from around the world.   Many seemed surprised we rode out from the Northwest rather than trailer.

Capitol HD Plant

Capitol HD Plant

As the day progressed all you could hear was the low drone of exhaust and see a constant stream of motorcycles snaking their way into Miller Park. Wow, the place was packed! I’d be remiss not saying there was excitement building. Space presented some challenges, but people were laughing, hugging, joking, and having an overall good time. We let the DB Bryant Band rock us for a while with their cool sounds.

Milwaukee HD

Milwaukee HD

Our group wanted to experience some more of the culture that Milwaukee had to offer, so we left for awhile to enjoy some authentic Harley dealer activity in one of the historic neighborhoods and we dropped in on Hal’s (New Berlin).  We did a drive by of manufacturing plant on Capitol Drive (Wauwatosa) where the powertrain operations are located.

I was told that H.O.G. distributed 250,000 pins and ran out in under four hours.  Wow!

H.O.G. Wall of Ink

H.O.G. Wall of Ink

We headed back to the stadium as it was getting time for Kid Rock.  First off we had to sit through introductions of Jim Ziemer (CEO), H.O.G. executives, MDA spoke person (Luke Christie) and Willie G along with his family.  I’m not sure where they all were prior to the speech, but 3 of the 5 people from Harley-Davidson who spoke were nearly DRUNK…their words slurred and barely understandable.  Willie G went off on some motorcycle story about Harley HYPHEN Davidson…reminding everyone that he had the last name in the motor company’s name….odd, very odd rant.  His son (Michael) did a nice job of interrupting the word slur rant of Willie G. and tried to make some sense of the family business and his passion for making the best motorcycles in the world.

Kid Rock

Kid Rock

Back to Kid Rock and man did he rock the crowd.  People lined the entrances excited to see this dude perform. The songs from his new CD (not on iTunes!) are dam good.  “All Summer Long” is terrific, but the live version of “Half Your Age” is one of my favorites.  The crowd was the biggest sea of people I’ve ever experienced at a concert standing at stage level.  The folks at H.O.G. thought ahead to have the jumbo-tron viewing screens under the beer garden tent and in the food vendor areas. It definitely allowed more people to enjoy the headline act.  Word is that Kid Rock is getting set to roll out his own beer and cigar brand.

All told, I thought it was one great day packed with a whole lot of fun and it was a really cool place to be. Great job H.O.G.!

Interested to know more about our “Ride Home”?  Read the road blogs for: Day 1 HERE, Day 2 HERE, Day 3 HERE, Day 4 HERE and Day 5 HERE.

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I’m not sure what it is, but sooner or later someone always asks… “Have you been to Sturgis”?  Like some kind of trick question and if answered NO then I’m not a “real” biker until passing this riding test through South Dakota in August.  

The answer is YES, I’ve been to Sturgis.  Twice actually in the past 5 years.  And yes, I rode mine both times…got the t-shirt and patch!  I rode out last year (2007) with a larger group of ten and back in 2002 with a group of five.  There is upside and downside to larger groups, but I suggest you try both before passing any judgment. We experienced rain, a snow storm (August, remember!) through Yellowstone and blazing heat in the Idaho panhandle.  The trips were not without minor incidents as you can’t control what happens on the road, but both journeys were successful.

It’s less than a month away for the 68th Rally.  Interestingly the Sturgis Motorcycle RallyTM has been trademarked.  It’s always about monetization and brand these days so, why am I surprise with that action?  Sturgis is not on my riding schedule this year, but I am headed for the 105th Anniversary festivities in Milwaukee and our route will take us either North or South of Rapid City/Sturgis.  Having lived years ago at the Stanley R. Mickelson Safeguard complex in Nekoma, North Dakota (the only operational antiballistic missile system ever deployed by the U.S.), it’s been a long, long time since I’ve motored East beyond the Red River in Grand Forks, ND. 

We’ll have plenty of time to reach Milwaukee and plan to take some detours and visit a town or two we wouldn’t normally visit.  I haven’t decided yet how best to capture the journey (photo blog or video snippets), but either way it should be a great trip.

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No, I’m not talking about a cold beer in your hand or your wish on the Oregon coast, but about Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.  This song is “off the charts”.

And, Harley announced Springsteen will be a main attraction at the Milwaukee 105th Anniversary celebration in August.  This will be an additional concert that will be held outside the Summerfest Grounds at the Roadhouse at the Lakefront and requires a separate ticket (read requires more $$ from your wallet) from the official 105th Anniversary ticket. 

Only 105th Anniversary ticket holders are eligible to purchase Bruce Springsteen concert tickets.  If you think you have back door around it think again.  The 105th Anniversary ticket holders are required to enter their 105th ticket package confirmation code to purchase a Bruce Springsteen ticket when tickets go on sale. 

For every official 105th ticket purchased, the ticket holder will qualify for one Bruce Springsteen concert ticket. If a ticket holder purchases multiple official 105th tickets in one purchase, they will receive only one confirmation code, but will qualify for the same amount of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band concert tickets equivalent to the number of official 105th tickets purchased. 

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band concert tickets are $40.00 (plus $2.50 for tax, shipping and handling).  Seating is limited. The concert tickets will be available only on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

Tickets go on sale April 5th at 8am (CST). 

Photo is courtesy of Columbia Records and Springsteen web site.

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The H.O.G. group put up info (members only area) about the 25TH Anniversary Concert and Ceremonial Spectacular in Milwaukee, WI.   Their event is part of the 105th celebration at Harley Davidson. (Note: Photo courtesy H.O.G./Clay Patrick McBride) 

The H.O.G. event is Thursday, August 28th and includes a night of music and celebration with Aerosmith and Kid Rock. There is FREE admission to CLUB H.O.G 25 (the 25th Annual H.O.G. Rally) at the Miller Park exterior grounds (one guest per member). Just show your H.O.G. card and walk in.  But, you’ll need to purchase tickets for the music portion of the event. 

In keeping it so simple that even I can understand, the theme is the 25th anniversary so, concert tickets are just $25.  There are 40,000 seats available and will go on sale March 12th at 8AM CST.  

Set your timer if you plan to go.

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Large Group-StarWhat turned out to be a post-Sturgis story telling and laugh adventure ended up being a birthday celebration for Eastwood, and a re-cap of the Reno-Street Vibrations ride…quite a milestone for the posse to reach this year and doing it on one of finest motorcycles on the planet!

First a big THANK YOU goes out to MC for hosting the gathering and devoting all the time to making it a successful party. Whoo hooo…

What better way to welcome a close of the Northwest riding season (at least without rain gear and winter gloves!) than to have a recap of the heat, the rain, the rides, the repairs, the pretty, the ugly, the FUN!

It was an amazing season of riding and one for Mac’s Most Excellent Adventure – The Movie!   And speaking of movies, a big (“bring it in close” hug) for Jimmy for the hard work on pulling together the movie/slide show of the trip.  Great music mix and something we can review over the years…THANKS!  So,  we’ve put up the Saddle Bags for another year and look to planning next year. Below are a bunch of picts from the party…
















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And speaking of birthday celebrations August 2008 is the 105th Harley Birthday party and 25th Anniversary of H.O.G. in WI. I’m thinking this could be a great adventure to add to my riding log book….

The first Harley Davidson motorcycle was created in 1903 with a single cylinder, three horsepower motor. In 1906, Harley Davidson manufactured the first 50 motorcyles bearing their name. The V-twins that it a household name today came out about 1909. The “Choppers”, we love, were born and “Hogs” were named for the extra room used to transport racing pigs without switching to a larger vehicle. In 1983, H.O.G., The Harley Owners Group, formed its first chapter. Today more than 1,000 chapters are in existence and more than one million members.

I’m looking forward to planning out the ’08 rides. If you are the lucky owner of a Harley then you know what its like being a member of the family.

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Harley will celebrate its 105th Anniversary in style next year as the details of the ride to Milwaukee become public.  Harley enthusiasts can ride home to Milwaukee via 105 different official starting points and along 25 major routes across the country. The celebration will take place August 28-31, 2008, with several exclusive ticketed events, as well as many activities that are free and open to the public.

Word on the dealer street is HD is going to do something similar every 5 years…special paint, emblems and welcome home ride.

Surf it on over here for more details.

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