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Posts Tagged ‘HOG 25’

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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It was a bit of a slow morning today after dinner and drinks at the Mermaid pub near the AmericInn in Mounds View, MN.  What with the Splash Bay adventure (indoor 100′ waterslide) an all…

We woke up to find the roads all wet from a series of thunder showers that blew through the region overnight.  Fortunately we were heading in the opposite direction and the main freeway was dry.

By design our “Welcome Home” day was set up to be a shorter ride with a little over 300 miles to cover.  We were staying at the Holiday Inn Express in Delafield which is about 30 minutes west of Milwaukee.  As a tight knit group that’s been riding together for years we spent some time over breakfast debating freeway vs. alternative back roads, but decided that the incentive of seeing the world’s largest ball of twine paled in comparison to just getting “home”.

WisDOT Oil-Mix Repave

WisDOT Oil-Mix Repave

There was a change in the air…we started seeing more motorcycles.  After two hours into the ride it was clear we were on to something big as there were now a lot of motorcycles on the road. 

And speaking of roads the Wisconsin DOT has it hands full.  I’ve never ridden an Interstate that had so many cracks, ruts, seeping oil and holes as I-94.  We came upon several “repaving” sections where WisDOTs oil-mix covered with light sand had me thinking of dirt track days in my youth!  In addition there were a number of areas where they were milling off the top of the two concrete slabs where they mate up. 

Wisconsin Fun

Wisconsin Fun

I’m not sure what they were trying to accomplish, but it was like an orange peel…open and rough, rather than an apple peel, smooth and tight.  Don’t like my fruit analogy?  Then choose your own…bottom line it was over a hundred miles of brittle, bumpy riding.  It wasn’t any better the closer we got to Milwaukee and later on we found that the urban roads in and around Milwaukee also had deteriorated or were worse than the Interstate.  They have a major issue as described in this report.

Santiago and Eastwood

Santiago and Eastwood

We arrived mid-afternoon and to commemorate our achievement we rinsed the 2,176 miles of bugs off the bikes.  The Holiday Inn had set up a great bike wash area and we took some time over refreshments to reflect on The Ride Home and chat with all the riders who descended on the hotel and made the pilgrimage too.

Next up are the accounts of the action on the ground from the HOG 25th and 105th event celebrations…

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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Mac

Mac

The previous day could be best summarized as bugs, wind and heat!

Hoping for less wind than yesterday’s Montana adventure we got up early.  Actually, one of the guys in the posse (and you won’t believe this), wakes up minutes prior to the time of the alarm!  As if he has some subconscious alarm clock telling him it’s time to go. 

At any rate, we were greeted with even more wind than the previous day which meant full-face helmets to provide some relief from the 30MPH sustained, gusting to 40MPH “breeze.”  The weather service issued a wind advisory across the entire NoDak state…like we didn’t notice!

NoDak Farmland

NoDak Farmland

US Highway 2 runs east-west through the northern side of NoDak and Interstate 94 runs east-west through the southern side of state. Interstate 29 runs north-south on the eastern edge of the state.  We made a mid-course change in our plans and decided to drop down and take one of only two major roads in North Dakota which runs diagonal (northwest-southeast) through the state — US Highway 52.

US 52 provides an ever changing mix of agricultural farm and pasture land, native wetlands, and small lakes set on rolling landscape, but the wind was howling and made for wicked motrcycle driving!  Tolerable as long as we headed directly into the gusts, but on US 52 we were often diagonal to the wind direction and it was interesting riding having to compensate.  All day I couldn’t help but wonder when are they going to turn North Dakota into one big-ass wind farm…

Farm

Farm

We picked up Interstate 94 east at Jamestown.  Louis L’Amour, the western novelist, and Darin Erstad, the pro baseball player in the 2002 World Champion Anaheim Angels, are both natives.  In my “fun fact” search of NoDak tidbits I ran across this little video of some dude’s cam-cording the NoDak landscape from his pickup truck while driving across I-94…and listening to some kind of Scottish music.  Can you spell F-U-N?!

About an hour later we arrived in Fargo.   Fargo is the largest city in North Dakota and situated on the Red River.  It’s the place people most relate to in the Coen Brothers movie starring Oscar-winner Frances McDormand and William H. Macy.

10,000 Lakes

10,000 Lakes

Another 3 hours of wind-whip-lash we were approaching the Twin Cities (St. Paul and Minneapolis).   It’s hard to determine which city you are actually in.  There is no visible dividing line; the cities really do blend into one another.  Minneapolis is an all American city, the people are chill, there’s no east coast ‘tude, and there’s water everywhere…a great vibe.  The best part of the day was that we’d seen the wind drop off significantly and the end of a 500 mile day came to a close.

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

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Havre Sunrise

Havre Sunrise

I got up early and went outside to stretch my legs for a bit. It’s nice outside, mid-70’s, which makes it a decent temperature for riding.  

We departed Havre, MT about 8:30am on the 3rd day.  For reference day #3 was Monday, August 25th.  We lost an hour of sleep due to the mountain time zone change and felt a bit rushed once we realized it was going to be a high mileage day.  We wanted to get some miles under our belt before the day’s temperature heated up.

Unknown to us was the fact that the largest infrastructure project ever tackled by the Montana Department of Transportation was finished just prior to our arrival.  A $30 million project spanned 33 blocks of Highway 2 within Havre’s city limits. More than 280 businesses and residents now have entrances to their property right off the Highway.

At 11am it was 90 degrees and by 1pm the temp gauge on my windshield was pegged at 100.

Montana Farmland

Montana Farmland

We had to suffer some and be uncomfortable most of the day. It’s incredibly monotonous scenery now, some rolling hills, but mostly wheat plains into the horizon as far as you can see with the occasional Milk River crossing breaking it up.   The Milk River is a tributary of the Missouri River, and runs 729 miles long thru the state of Montana and the Canadian province of Alberta.  The river got it’s name from Captain Meriwether Lewis, of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, who described it as:

“the water of this river possesses a peculiar whiteness, being about the colour of a cup of tea with the admixture of a tablespoonfull of milk. from the colour of its water we called it Milk river.”

We crossed this river all day long and I lost count of the number of overpasses or small bridges. 

From Havre to the North Dakota border, the surrounding area is known as “The Hi-Line“.  To the locals who know it from the early Great Northern railway route.  My Montana relatives always refer to this area as the “Golden Triangle” which is one of the most productive farming regions in the country.

We continued east through the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation then to Malta. From Malta, we continued on to Glasgow, just north of Fort Peck Dam, and then into the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. We stayed either on or within the reservation for much of the remaining trip through Montana. On the reservation it goes through Wolf Point and Poplar, and then exits the reservation a short distance before leaving the state.  We hit the final town in Montana of Bainville and said goodbye to the “Big Sky” state.

Welcome To North Dakota

Welcome To North Dakota

We stopped at the North Dakota border for a “welcome” to the state photo op.  North Dakota has been converting sections of US 2 from two lanes to four lanes for many, many years. The section from Grand Forks to Minot was completed several years ago. The section from Williston to Minot was just completed this year in a campaign that began a few years back and was labeled “Across the State in Two Thousand Eight”.   In actually, US 2 is a four-lane road now from the eastern edge of Williston for a stretch of about 343 miles, leaving only 12 miles to the Montana border which is a two-lane highway.

Between Williston and Minot, the road provides several high points where you can view beautiful landscape for many miles in all directions.   We ended our riding day in Minot after ~440miles.

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

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As thousands of motorcycles depart from 105 starting points and follow the 25 national routes to Milwaukee I’ll be among the many riders roaring across the heart land to the Milwaukee area.  I’m looking forward to doing my small part in contributing toward the economic impact of the Harley-Davidson 105th Anniversary Celebration.

As a serious blogger, I try to provide consistent and valuable content, but I’ll be taking a break over the next several days while enjoying the “Ride Home“.  No, the blog doesn’t necessarily take much time, but it’s one less thing to think about along with less electronics and chargers to pack in the saddle bags.   Also I’ve learned that an odd thing happens when you’re not blogging: you come up with lots of blog ideas!   There is something about riding in the wind which generates plenty of ideas.

I’ve appreciated the cooler temperatures we’ve had in the Northwest these past few days, but soon it will feel like someone has a blow dryer in our face because warmer temperatures are on the way.

The journey begins tomorrow…

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