Preparing for a Motorcycle Road Trip

planning a motorcycle road trip

Preparing for a motorcycle trip can be difficult, and frankly, Jim and I have had a few road trips where we were not prepared; however, now that we know more about preparing for a motorcycle trip, we are not so worried about forgetting something.

Below are a few tips that you may want to consider if you are preparing for a motorcycle road trip.

planning a motorcycle road trip

Weather Appropriate Clothing

Depending on when you are traveling, you will want to your gear to be able to deal with the elements. For warmer months, pack sunscreen, sunglasses and a cool neck wrap, and gloves, a heated vest liner, and waterproof outerwear during the fall and winter.

preparing for a motorcycle road trip

Maintenance

The last thing that you want is to breakdown and not have the appropriate tools. Make sure that you have motor oil, a bike cover, a tool kit, a tire inflation kit and jumper cables. If you are handy with a wrench, include fuses, spare spark plugs, and maybe a clutch cable.

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All the comforts of home

If you are like Jim and I you know that preparing for a motorcycle road trip is all about traveling light. However, there are some things that I like to take along including earplugs, lip balm, and toiletries.

In case of an emergency

Make sure that you pack a list of contacts and a first-aid kit. Don’t forget your medications, waterproof matches, a flashlight, phone charger, energy bars, and an emergency blanket. Always have water on hand as well as a few snacks that are easy to pack.

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Roll it up

When you roll your clothes, like Jim and I do when we are preparing for a motorcycle road trip, you can fit more than you would if you folded them.

Synthetics over cotton

Synthetic clothes dry much faster than cotton, and if you have just been rained on or washed your clothes and want to get back out on the road, pack the synthetics.

preparing for a motorcycle road tripCompare your list

If you are riding with a group, make sure that your riding buddies and your partner are not duplicating items. Share what you can to save room for more important things.

Keep your gear towards the front

Because the front is your motorcycles center of gravity, it is important to disperse your personal items evenly as it will make for a smoother ride, even with the additional weight.

Preparing for a motorcycle road trip

Group it

If you are preparing for a motorcycle road trip try and group your similar items in zip lock baggies as you can arrange your things neatly making them much easier to access.

Next week Jim and I will talk about the finer details of preparing for a motorcycle road trip.

Never an End to Harley Davidson History

Travels with Harley

2008 was a big year as far as Harley Davidson history was concerned with the beginning of the year seeing an all-new frame for the Harley Davidson touring family. Not only did this provide a longer wheelbase, but it also lowered the seating position making it easier to maneuver.

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On July 12, the new Harley Davidson Museum opened displaying hundreds of classic and custom motorcycles. The sixth and Canal Street museum also featured exhibits and never released photos and films from Harley Davidson history.

That same year saw thousands head to Milwaukee for the 105th Harley Davidson Anniversary. That same weekend the Harley Davidson Owners Group celebrated its 24th anniversary.

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In 2009, Harley Davidson history continues with its expansion into India. 2009 also saw the first three-wheeler available to the public with the new FLHTCUTG Tri Glide Ultra Classic.

Travels with Harley

In 2010 the XL Forty-Eight Harley Davidson was introduced which recalled the custom Sportsters reminiscent of earlier days. That same year Seth Enslow broke the world’s record for the longest motorcycle jump on a Harley Davidson XR1200. Bubba Blackwell in 1999 and Evel Knievel previously held the 183.7-foot jump title in 1975.

Travels with Harley

Harley Davidson history continues when the company streamlined the H-D1. This allowed riders to take possession of a factory built custom motorcycle with personalized customization. Later that year in 2012, Harley Davidson introduced the new Seventy-Two and Softail Slim.

Travels with Harley

In 2013, Harley Davidson opened a new exhibit at the museum, further solidifying Harley Davidson history with Project Rushmore allowing visitors to get a behind the scenes look at the original drawings and prototype of Project Rushmore touring bike.

2013 was the year that Harley Davidson turned 110. The anniversary saw thousands of people celebrating Harley Davidson history, with Travels with Harley’s own Jim and Demea Loyd participating in the parade proudly carrying their H.O.G. chapter’s flag.

Travels with Harley

Another new exhibit at the Harley Davidson Museum opened on April 10, 2014 and sees James Cameron’s classic film, The Terminator, come to life in the Terminator 2 Judgment Day exhibit. The special display includes a motorcycle used in the film along with costumes and props featured in the movie.

Travels with Harley

To this day Harley Davidson history continues to grow with new and exciting chapters to add to Harley Davidson history, and you can bet that Travels with Harley will be right there to share Harley Davidson history with you as new chapters begin to develop.

Travels with Harley

Harley Davidson history is fascinating, and if you have a story that you would like to share with Harley enthusiasts all over the world, send us your story here and you may be featured in one of our popular Travels with Harley blogs. We can’t wait to hear about your adventures making your very own Harley Davidson history.

Harley Davidson motorcycles during the 1950s

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After the last of the Harley Davidson founding fathers, Arthur Davidson, passed away in 1950, the company was in for a restructure of sorts with the second generation of management taking over.

The second generation of Harley Davidson motorcycles management took the company to newfound heights over the next 44 years, replacing the original founders of Harley Davidson. Although there were plenty of ups and downs, thanks to mechanical problems, image and the rise of the Japanese manufactured motorcycles, Harley Davidson motorcycles remained true to the tradition that was originally established by the founding fathers.

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Harley Davidson motorcycles the 50’s

In 1950, Harley Davidson motorcycle racers won 18 out of 24 National motorcycle championships while setting six motorcycle records.

Always the innovator, Harley Davidson motorcycles introduced the K model, which featured a side-valve with an integrated transmission and engine that would compete with Great Britain’s sportier style motorcycles. The K would eventually become the Harley Davidson Sportster.

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Celebrating 50 years in style in 1953, Harley Davidson motorcycles created a new logo that depicted a, “V.” The, “V,” was in honor of the V Engine that had brought Harley Davidson so far in such a short time. The V had a bar overlaid that read Harley Davidson with the words below and above, “50 years-American Made.” Harley Davidson made a medallion version of the new logo that was placed on the front of the 1954 model fenders.

In that same year, Hendee Manufacturers, the name behind the Indian motorcycle, leaves the scene going out of business. For the next 46 years, Harley Davidson would be the only United States motorcycle maker. In fact, because the founding fathers kept faithful to development, quality, and most importantly, tradition, Harley Davidson is the only survivor of what used to be 300 motorcycle manufacturers in the United States.

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Over the next couple of years, Harley Davidson motorcycles continued to rule the Daytona 200 track with a seven-year run of victories. During that same time, and over the next eight years, Harley Davidson racers rode to victory in the Grand National Championships.

Travels with Harley

When young new star Elvis Presley posed sitting on a 1956 Harley Davidson KH 957 XL Sportster for the cover of the popular magazine the Enthusiast, Harley Davidson remained at the top of the heap.

In 1957, the public was introduced to the Harley Davidson Sportser. Premiering as a smaller version of the hog it featured a 55 cubic inch overhead valve engine. Within 12 months, the Harley Davidson Sportster was being hailed as the very first super bike creating yet another Harley Davidson motorcycles legend.

Travels with Harley

Never one to rest on its laurels, the decade finished out with the company unveiling a new rear suspension and the hydraulic rear brake on the new Duo-Glide Big Twin Harley Davidson motorcycles Models in 1958.

Next week we’ll take you to the 60’s and beyond to share another piece of Harley Davidson motorcycles history on Travels with Harley.

Motorcycle Road Trips Myths and Legends

Travels with Harley

Last week I really enjoyed sharing the ride to Hannibal Missouri. Jim and I have great memories when it comes to our Motorcycle Road Trips and can’t wait to create new ones this year. We hope to get to the Myths and Legends Tour, October 21st to the 27th and the 175th Anniversary in Sturgis, in the Black Hills from August 3rd to the 9th. We have talked about Sturgis in a previous blog and would love to make it one of our Motorcycle Road Trips this summer.

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Speaking of Myths and Legends, there are quite a few surrounding Harley Davidson and motorcycles in general. Below are three of my personal favorites.

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Most people who don’t know anything about Motorcycle Road Trips tend to class a group of riders together labeling them as, “Hells Angels,” and although we certainly aren’t being disrespectful, most of the groups that you see together on Motorcycle Road Trips are actually Harley Davidson Owners Groups. If you follow our blog, you will know that Jim and I belong to the Bourbeuse Valley Chapter here in Missouri.

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Lay it Down for Safety

Thirty years ago most folks participating in Motorcycle Road Trips, or any ride on a bike for that matter, recommended that you lay your motorcycle down if a crash was in front of you or impending. Maybe that was because the tires weren’t as sticky as they are today and the brakes were less than trustworthy. Helmets back then weren’t that great either. The motorcycles of today are faster with some being equipped with ABS braking systems. Most riders have practiced good techniques when it comes to braking, know how to swerve or make a quick turn to avoid a potential accident, and would never lay their bike down. Doing so may slow you down, but it could also make things worse and throw you into oncoming traffic.

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Black is Cool

One of my favorite Myths and Legends when it comes to Motorcycle Road Trips is “Riders wear black to look cool.” Black leather pants, black boots, black gloves, black leather jackets and black chaps do look great, and although some may wear it to look cool, we call them, “Wannabes and posers,” Jim and I wear it because it is the best protection you can get when you are participating in Motorcycle Road Trips.

Travels with Harley

These days there are some colors that have been added to the mix. With that being said, I love my white, orange and black jacket and matching chaps. Today, gear is made from other materials and colors that have built in protection on the back, shoulders and elbows, but black is still the favorite when it comes to Motorcycle Road Trips.

Travels with Harley

However, black isn’t the best color to wear if you are participating in Motorcycle Road Trips after dark. Some of the newer jackets come with reflective patches making it much easier to see us at night. I love the one that Jim bought me because it is highly visible.

Things You Might Not Know About Harley Davidson

Travels with Harley

Harley Davidson is a name known all over the world, but what even the most enthusiastic motorcycle fans may not know is how unique that history actually is.

Travels with Harley

 

In 1901, William S. Harley created a blueprint for a motorized bicycle. In 1903, William and Arthur Davidson built the first bike that was made available to the public. A short time later, Arthur’s brothers, Walter and William joined the pair. William quit his job with the railroad in Milwaukee to become part of the Harley Davidson motor company.

Travels with Harley

The very first Harley Davidson was built in a small wooden factory, 10 x 15 to be exact. The name was crudely carved into the front door.

The first buyer of a Harley Davidson was a friend of Arthur and William, Henry Meyer. Hailing from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he was the first person ever recorded to purchase a new Harley Davidson from the small wood factory in 1903.

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C.H. Lang in Chicago, Illinois set up the first Harley Davidson dealership in 1904, the same year that the first motorcycle was built.

Not one to rest on its Laurels, the company entered its first race a year later in 1905 winning first place.

Travels with Harley

In 1906, Harley Davidson moved shop and opened its new plant hiring six employees. That same year the company released its first catalog. In 1910, Harley hired its first full time worker.

In 1910, Harley Davidson placed first in every race including speed, endurance and the hill climb.

Travels with Harley

Janet Davidson was the first woman to sit on and ride a Harley Davidson. She was the Davidson brothers Aunt who helped with the pin striping and writing the name Harley Davidson on the bike.

Harley Davidson earned the nickname, “Hogs,” in 1920 because the race team used a pig as a mascot. After every win, the driver would lift a real pig on the tank and drive his victory lap. The Bar and Shield Harley Davidson logo was painted in 1911.

Travels with Harley

Always a cult classic, Malcolm Forbes, founder of the magazine, loved the motorcycles so much that he owned fifty Harley Davidson’s and gave just as many away as gifts.

In 1998, Brazil became the first country outside of the United States to open a Harley Davidson factory.

Travels with Harley

The most expensive Harley Davidson motorcycle, the CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide, will set you back $40,000.

The Harley Davidson Road King has an Interesting History

0q93865r0q92365rAlthough Jim and I have a Harley Davidson Road King, I never knew much about its history, until I decided to do some research on my own.

Apparently, the Harley Davidson Road King replaced the Electra Glide Sport. Each Harley Davidson motorcycle has a letter model and a model name. This may be a tad confusing, but those model designation numbers can be a big help if you want to trace your models lineage.

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The first Harley Davidson Road King was introduced in 1994 and featured a windshield without the fairing and hard saddlebags. One of the Road Kings features was a retro headlight that was large and looked much like the 1960’s Big Twins. The first Harley Davidson Road King was a 60 horsepower motor with a fuel-injected Harley Davidson Road King being released in 1996. In 1999, every Harley Davidson Road King was equipped with a Twin Cam engine.

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A decade later, Harley Davidson added a custom Road King to its lineup that was very similar to the Harley Davidson’s Electra-Glide Sport. Along with beach bar handlebars, the Custom Harley Davidson Road King also featured a low seat height at just 28.3”. The Custom was made through 2007 although Harley Davidson came out with a Twin Cam engine that same year.

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In 2008, the company came out with a Road King Classic. The limited edition came with hard covered saddlebags, whitewalls and laced wheels. The Harley Davidson Road King also got a facelift with a new frame. The fuel capacity of the Harley Davidson Road King was also increased to six gallons.

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I had no idea that the Harley Davidson Road King is used by over 3,500 police departments in the United States. It is also interesting to note that Hollywood used the Harley Davidson Road King in several films including Mystic River, The Jackal, The Manchurian Candidate, Marley and Me, and The Cat in the Hat.

Harley Davidson Motorcycle Riding Tips

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Jim and I both know that once you venture out on two wheels, it’s hard to get back on the road in a car, truck, or SUV. Riding a Harley Davidson Motorcycle is thrilling to say the least, but there are some things that all riders should know, when it comes to Harley Davidson Road Trips.

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Always wear a helmet, even if you are just riding down the street. Not all states require you to wear a helmet when you are riding a Harley Davidson Motorcycle, but if you value your cranium, it is better to be safe than sorry.

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Wearing gloves is almost as important as a helmet when you are riding a Harley Davidson Motorcycle. If the bike drops or falls, the first thing you do is instinctively put your hand down to break your fall. Yes, it’s a reflex action, which is exactly the reason you need to wear gloves.

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If you have been following our blog, you will remember that I had to have my boots repaired when we attended the 110th Anniversary for Harley Davidson. Luckily, Jim and I found a cobbler, but had we not; I would have had to buy a new pair. Wearing boots with good soles is imperative, especially if you tip over your Harley Davidson Motorcycle. If your foot slips under the bike, you are going to want some solid support.

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I do like to look good when I ride, but wearing a good fitting pair of pants and a jacket is another essential when it comes to a Harley Davidson Motorcycle. Proper riding leathers will give you protection from the elements and protection from the asphalt should a fall occur.

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I am always the passenger on the Road King, but Jim has always told me not to apply the front brake first. If a truck or car decides to change lanes right in front of your Harley Davidson Motorcycle train yourself to hit your foot brake before your hand brake.

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It may seem like a natural reaction, but it is important that you slow in, lean down, and power out. Keep everything inline and brake before you hit a curve. Grabbing your brakes too quickly when you hit a turn could upset the weight distribution, especially if you are riding with a partner on the back.

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A Harley Davidson Motorcycle does not have as much traction as a four wheeled vehicle. Jim is always on the lookout for debris and sand. Because we like to ride in groups, we keep an eye out for each other and point out hazards. If you do hit debris or sand, keep it smooth and slow, just as you would if you were riding on an icy road. Jim keeps our Road King as upright as he can to avoid losing traction if sand or debris is on the road.

Great Websites To Use on a Harley Davidson Road Trip

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As Jim and I prepare for our Travels with Harley Road Trip next month, I’m reminded about all of the things we need to do before we actually head out on the Roadking. I like to keep a list and do my due diligence the weeks prior to jumping on the bike. That includes reading the reviews for restaurants, diners and dives as well as the hotels we are booking and other things that we may see along the way. Harley Davidson actually has a Harley Davidson Road Planner on its website that you can use to plan your trip. It’s kind of cool, but I don’t stop there.

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While I was doing some research, I found a website that lists the best websites to use when you are planning a Harley Davidson Road Trip. The site is called Trip It and it lists the top sites to use if you are planning a motorcycle trip. You can even plan an online itinerary on the site and share it with the rest of the riders in your group.

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MotorcycleRoads.com is probably the best site for finding roads that others have traveled. There are free guides and maps offering up the most scenic Harley Davidson Road Trips and routes in the United States. I really like it because it also gives you the out of the way places that you wouldn’t normally discover unless you were a motorcycle rider.

EdelweissBike.com does the same things as the site above, but is really the leader when it comes to high class guided Harley Davidson motorcycle Road Trips both in the US and overseas.

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TravelingBikers.com is a very cool site that lists attractions, roads, tours, maps, weather, and clubs, bars, accommodations, and transport information. This site also has a kid’s page that lists events for the younger ones.

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AmericaRidesMaps.com is the most comprehensive Harley Davidson Pocket maps website that is designed specifically for those of us who choose to ride on two wheels. It’s handy and very easy to use. Best of all, there are dozens of excellent Harley Davidson Road Trip rides on every single map.

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There are plenty of other sites that list the best routes for Harley Davidson Road Trips including BestBikingRoads.com, and MotorcycleRoads.us that offers Harley Davidson riders info on the best long distance cruising all over the planet.

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Back when Jim used to ride solo, you had to map out your trip the old-fashioned way, but not anymore. Thanks to the World Wide Web, it is easy to plan your trip before you head out, and for that I am truly thankful. I would hate to get lost on a Harley Davidson Road Trip.

Awesome Harley Davidson Owners Group Events

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I think I mentioned a few weeks ago about the New England Trailblazer Event we will be attending with the Harley Davidson Owners Group. Jim and I are really excited, which made me want to check out some of the other awesome Harley Davidson Owners Group Events events that happen in the United States.

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Most people don’t know about Pin Stops. Pin Stops are available to Harley Davidson Owners Group. At Pin Stop, which is usually located at most of the H.O.G events, members can pick up free commemorative pins at selected Harley David motorcycle events. The only stipulation is that you must be a national member of the Harley Davidson Owners Group and visit the distribution center during the events hours.

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Harley Davidson Owners Group Rallies are really fun and Jim and I have been to a few. We have met some great people who have become old and dear friends.

The Kentucky State Rally sounds like it would be a blast. Back to the Bluegrass goes from June 4 to June 7 and is located in Lexington, Kentucky. This H.O.G. Rally also includes scavenger hunts and guided rides. The H.O.G Meet and Greet is always a lot of fun as we get to meet up with old friends and make some new ones. I love checking out the vendors, as there always seems to be something that I want to buy. At the last H.O.G. Rally, I found a couple of really nice leather pieces that I fell in love with.

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If we had more time, we would love to register for the New York State Harley Davidson Owners Group Rally in July. The event is hosting a Peter Frampton, Doobie Brothers concert and I would love to see that. There is nothing better than rocking to the tunes that I grew up with. The event only lasts for two days, but it certainly packs in quite a few activities. Not only is there a distillery and wine tour, but the New York State Harley Davidson Owners Group Rally also includes a tour of the West Point Military Academy.

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When Jim and I retire, we would like nothing more than to participate in some of the great events sponsored by the Harley Davidson Owners Group. I’m hoping that we can fit in one or two before our September New England Trailblazer Event.

Travels with Harley Part One Harley Davidson Anniversary Ride

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If you have been following our blog, you will know that Jim has been riding for years, and although I am not a seasoned vet, I have had my fair share of, “Travels with Harley,” since Jim and I first got together. With that being said, this past Labor Day weekend was our first opportunity to ride to a Harley Davidson Anniversary event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As you know, we were really excited, and then when we were asked to carry our chapter’s flag in the parade we were downright honored.

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One of our first stops along the way for our Harley Davidson Anniversary event was at Charlie Parker’s restaurant in Springfield, Illinois, and yes, in case you were wondering, my cat is named after an eatery that was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Anyway, while we were there we ran into a group of riders from Illinois who asked us if we would like to ride with them. Of course, we jumped at the chance and really enjoyed riding with this great group of people who we hope to meet up with again, perhaps in another, “Travels with Harley.” Because they were staying just outside of Milwaukee, we split off just south of the city. Jim and I thought we would run into them sometime during the weekend, but unfortunately, no such luck.

The ride was pretty tiring and on top of that, Jim and I are used to getting up at 4:30 AM and are usually in bed by 9:00 so it is hard to turn that inner clock around. So, after we arrived at our hotel we decided to just relax crash and order room service. I also used our down time to make some rough plans for the next few days, as we had both been so busy at the store we didn’t have a chance to.

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The next morning I used Yelp to help us find the, “Best Breakfast,” and discovered a place called Zak’s, which is a café/coffee shop that was just a few blocks from our hotel. You all know how much a foodie I am and have to say that I was really impressed with the friendly service, good food, and even better prices. We chatted with a local resident who ate at Zak’s frequently. You always know it’s a great place to eat when the locals have meals there as well. Anyway, he said he’d had numerous offers to rent out his home, which he just moved into recently, but decided to enjoy the celebration as he had never been front row center for a Harley Davidson Anniversary celebration, and this was going to be a big one!

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Jim and I still have lots to share, plus a video of the Harley Davidson Anniversary parade, but you know me, I like to keep you guessing, and coming back for more, so don’t forget to check in next week for more, “Travels with Harley!”