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Riders Depart Key West, FL - Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge

How about riding 500 miles a day for 14 days straight and then each night sleeping on the ground?  For some it’s just the kind of thing that makes it onto a “bucket list” and they’re ready to go.  For others it creates a moment of pause.

Endurance riders sometimes engage in endurance events known as rallies. Rallies take on a multitude of formats, differing in duration (anywhere from 12 hours to multiple days) and type of road.

That was the situation yesterday for about 1000 riders at the start of the Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge.  Riders left Key West, FL., exclusively on Harley-Davidson motorcycles headed for Homer Alaska.  Grueling ride?  Absolutely!  But, the challenge has the added benefit for the rider who travels the 7,000 miles first — they’ll win $500,000.

According to urban legend the term “Hoka Hey,” means “It’s a Good Day to Die” in Sioux. In reality this is a corruption of the intrepretation.  The reason people think it means “it’s a good day to die” is that the Lakota Sioux leader Crazy Horse famously shouted to his troops “Hokahey, today is a good day to die!” It meant something more like “Let’s go men, today is a good day to die!”

At any rate, the challenge is billed as an annual once-in-a-lifetime challenge where the contestants’ mettle will be tested.  Co-founders Beth Durham and  Jim “Big Jim” Red Cloud describe the Hoka Hey Challenge not as a speed race.  It’s about endurance.  Besides John Ryan holds the record for a continent crossing where last year he performed a crossing in 86 hours and 31 minutes.  The Hoka Hey contestants pay a $1,000 entry fee. They can have their miles sponsored for charity, much like a marathon.The route will span two countries, over more than 62 mountain ranges, 33 Indian reservations, 25 national forests, 8 deserts and 6 national parks. The daily routes are secret until each morning during the 14 days. The first checkpoint is somewhere in Mississippi.

I don’t know if this is the “Olympics” of all endurance rallies, but none-the-less good luck riders!

UPDATE: June 28, 2010 — According to reports out of Homer, AK, Frank Kelly, of Prosperity, S.C., and Will Barclay, of Highland, Fla., rode under the finish banner on the Homer Spit after finishing the Hoka Hey Challenge this morning (Monday).  The two men who’d only met on the road made a pact in Fairbanks when they left the last checkpoint about 3:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon: they’d finish first together.  Kelly, 34, works for AT&T and Barclay, 50, flies corporate jets. Kelly rode a 2009 Harley-Davidson Road King Classic and Barclay a 2008 Electroglide Classic he bought three weeks before the race — his first Harley ever.  Congrats!

UPDATE: July 7, 2010 — Allegations of fraud and questions on the legitimacy of the organization and winner payout prompt the first legal complaint.  Formally filed with the State of Florida’s Attorney General against the Hoka Hey Challenge and its organizers Beth and Jim Durham of Hot Springs, South Dakota. Jim Durham also goes by the name of Jim Red Cloud. More information about the complaint HERE.

UPDATE: August 3, 2010 — Excellent interview with Will Barclay, the winner of the endurance race HERE.  H-D should do a commercial and leverage this guy!  A shout out to Quick Throttle Magazine for making it available!

Photos courtesy of Hoka Hey web site, Andy Newman and The Citizen.

All Rights Reserved (C) Northwest Harley Blog
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Schweitzer Summit

Schweitzer Summit

I hadn’t been hiking on Schweitzer since 1979.  Not much has changed.  That’s how it is with the physical world.  It outlasts all of us.  We’re just a blip in time.  Sure we think we’re forever, but despite all the hosannas, even Michael Jackson’s music will soon be forgotten.  It’s not human nature…we’re talking Mother Nature!

Last August in route to the Harley-Davidson 105th Anniversary celebration I posted about the posse travels and stop in Sandpoint, Idaho which is home to Schweitzer.   And again over this past July 4th holiday weekend I found myself disconnected from everything deemed important and traveling the “long-bridge” across Lake Pend Oreille (pronounced: ‘pond –oh– ray’)… the largest natural lake in Idaho.  The lake is 65 miles long and over 1100 feet deep in some areas which explains why the Navy continues to perform underwater acoustic testing at an old WWII base.

LibertySchweitzer mountain is an amusement park of the mind.  Rather than going on rides, being turned upside down by some mechanical contraption, you look at the Selkirk Mountain landscape and your mind does somersaults.  How did this happen?  It’s hard to imagine a glacier which was part of the continental ice sheet forming a lake over 800 feet deep as far away as Missoula, Montana.   Now it’s only a “small” remnant of all that glacial action.

One evening relaxing from a mountain hike I happen onto HBO and watched the Nicholas Stoller movie, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” starring Jason Segel and Kristen Bell.  It’s a comic look at one guy’s herculean task to deal with and get over a recent break-up.  Overall the movie was better than I first thought and afterward’s I caught the local news who were in an uproar over Sarah Palin’s resignation.  Palin was born in Sandpoint, and her father, Charles R. Heath, was a science teacher and track coach. I attended school where Charles taught after my father pulled orders for a tour in Vietnam and we relocated closer to relatives. Even though the Palin family moved to Alaska when she was an infant many in the area have a source of pride in her connection to the city.

Lake Pend Oreille

Lake Pend Oreille

I couldn’t help but connect the dots between the movie and how the resignation were seemingly intertwined.  Palin was like the ex-girlfriend they’re SO over, never want to see again, have already forgotten about – really it’s OVER – but they can’t stop talking about her.  Whatever you think of Palin, her argument for resigning seemed logical and the only “incoherent rambling” was coming from the obsessively focused media who couldn’t stop talking about her resignation and her potential TV show…yep, they are SO over her!  I half expect to see Keith Obermann (MSNBC) crying because he has no one to help drive up his viewer numbers.

Instead most folks that I visited were asking: Have you seen all the Michael Jackson coverage on TV?  Or speaking of resignations, how’s work going?  And what’s going on with all the IED troop casualties in Afghanistan?  It was a hysteria filled July 4th news cycle, but I’m thinking everyone needs to take a moment of pause, get some wind in the face, hike a mountain summit and enjoy becoming placed in natural perspective.

Photos taken at Sandpoint and Schweitzer Summit.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Are you ready?  You are not going to believe this.  You heard it first here on the Northwest Harley blog…Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (and Vice Presidential candidate) had a corn removed from her left foot.  Yes!  You heard correctly she was involved in a non-life threatening, non-surgical incident.  I can’t prove it with photo’s, but I’ve heard from the Rev Wright camp so, if you agree pass it along to 50 people.

So much “noise” being generated about Sarah Palin that the political landscape has become muddy murky with all types of reports being passed off as accurate.  I know we’re all stressed out about the damage of Hurricane Ike, but folks some of us are acting more stupid than others.

Palin SNL Spoof

Palin SNL Spoof

I saw a report about Palin being a motorcyclist.  Clearly a photo of her sitting on a Harley Street Glide would suggest her persona as an experienced rider extraordinaire…what about those safety patches and ABATE MSF training stickers?  Shall we then jump to a conclusion that she will seek to eliminate helmet laws, smog laws, and noise laws, just for us Harley riders?  Who knows. 

In April 2008 she did proclaim that May would be Motorcycle Awareness Month in this Alaska press release.  But the press even twisted that information!  ABATE is now Alaska Bikers Advocating Training and Education (ABATE)…and here I thought all this time it stood for A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments (ABATE).  This site in Indiana calls it American Bikers Aimed Toward Education so, it looks like certain regions are making adjustments to sound less subversive?  Here is the site in Oregon

Mary Peters Discusses Motorcycle Safety

Mary Peters Discusses Motorcycle Safety

It turns out that Photoshop is the application of choice for the “disinformation generators” and we’d be hard press to determine fact from invention.  Even the news outlets focus too much on the non-relevant “corn” stories vs. Palin having a life-long motorcycle philosophy or how having a motorcycle enthusiast in the White House would affect anything.  But wait!  Don’t we have a “motorcycle enthusiast” in the current administration…she’s called secretary of transportation, Mary Peters.  Yes, she is an actual Harley rider!  She’s made it her mission to get helmet laws enacted in all 50 states, but has cut training programs.  Not exactly the motorcycle rights advocate we might have been looking for, huh?   Ken Bingenheimer at the Passes and Canyons blog has done a great job writing about Peters.  Check it out if you want more information. 

My point is the political landscape has become so clouded with reports trying to be passed off as accurate in the main steam media that all I can say is good grief… readers beware

P.S. – Hey did you know that Palin was on SNL and now they are talking about how great of an actor she is…

P.S.S – Hey did you know it was being reported in the blogs over the weekend that when Palin was 5 years old, maybe it was 4½ she was seen playing in a mud puddle!  Now that’s not presidential and if you agree send this on to 22 more people, ASAP!

Palin photos courtesy of NBC and Xanga.

Peters photo courtesy of DOT.

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