Thanksgiving Fun Facts

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As you sit down with family and friends this Thanksgiving take a moment to remember one of America’s most well loved holidays, while you ponder this list of little known fun facts about, “Turkey Day.” The Pilgrims that arrived from the United Kingdom in Plymouth New England on the east coast of America were the very first to celebrate Thanksgiving. The feast itself lasted three days, and according to historians was more about

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celebrating a successful harvest and the ability to stay alive as apparently hundreds of colonists died the first year after arriving on Plymouth Rock. Back then, both the Native Americans and the pilgrims also danced and sang, which makes perfect sense doesn’t it? Who could eat like that for three days straight?

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The Wampanoag Indian tribes were the first to celebrate Thanksgiving with the pilgrims. The tribe also taught the colonists how to cultivate the land and how to use what grew wild in the new land. You may be fond of your turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, Mac and cheese, pumpkin pie and of course stuffing and cranberries, but the pilgrims and the Native Americans most probably said thank-you with a mouth full of lobster. Other first Thanksgiving choices included chicken, rabbit, fish, quail, and duck with sides such as hickory nuts, cabbage, radishes, goat cheese, eggs, onions, beans, squash, leeks, dried fruits, honey, and maple.

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Apparently, somebody forgot to put forks on the Mayflower as the pilgrims ate with their hands, spoons, and knives. One of the founding fathers of the United States, Benjamin Franklin, urged the United States to make the turkey the national bird of America. Obviously, that didn’t happen. Thanksgiving became official on October 3, 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln issued an official Thanksgiving Proclamation. The national day would be the last Thursday in November.

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Nearly 290 million turkeys are bought and enjoyed for Thanksgiving in the United States, with California being the largest consumers of Thanksgivings favorite bird. Most folks presume that Thanksgiving is an American thing. However, the Canadians also celebrate the day of thanks on the second Monday each October. The average weight of a turkey purchased for Thanksgiving is 15 pounds. A 15-pound turkey will have around 70 percent white meat with 30 percent dark meat.

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The most popular Thanksgiving leftovers are sandwiches, chili, casseroles, soup, and burgers. Not all turkeys gobble. Hens make a clucking sound while the males gobble. This Thanksgiving, Travels with Harley would like to wish everyone a very safe, loving, and happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your family and friends, and don’t forget to say thank-you!

More Christmas Trivia

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If you follow our Travels with Harley blog, you would have learned a few interesting things about Christmas that you probably didn’t know. After a little digging, Travels with Harley has come up with a few more interesting tid bits about Christmas that you may not be aware of.

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Frosty the Snowman didn’t start his life out as the lead character in a song or a TV series. In fact, Frosty the Snowman wasn’t something associated with kids at all. Frosty the Snowman was the brainchild of an ad executive back in 1890 that used Frosty the Snowman to market whiskey. Frosty was brought back to life after prohibition when he began to appear in ads for Schlitz, Jack Daniels, and Chivas Regal.

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Although American children place stockings on the mantle or elsewhere if there is no fireplace, Dutch children expect Santa Claus to fill their shoes with extra special gifts.

One of the most popular Christmas songs, Jingle Bells, was actually first written for Thanksgiving. Written in 1957 by songwriter James Pierpont, the song was originally called One Horse Open Sleigh. So popular was the tune at Thanksgiving that people started to sing it during Christmas as well.

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Located in the King’s Canyon National Park in California, the United States first national Christmas tree is aptly named the, “General Grant Tree,” and measures more than 300 feet tall. Officially named the national tree in 1925, the General is a giant sequoia.

The Christmas turkey wasn’t always the star of the holiday dinner in the UK. In fact, Roast turkey didn’t become a popular menu item until about 1851 when it replaced the traditional Christmas dinner entrée, roast swan. However, the Royal Family enjoyed the ever popular Boars head as the main course for a few more decades.

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Christmas is full of symbols, with the humble Candy Cane being one of the most popular and one of the most controversial. Some say the Candy Cane originally dates back to the year 1670 in Europe and signifies the shape of the hook that Jesus used to shepherd his sheep with the red and white stripes indicating purity and the sacrifice of Christ. However according to some the significance of the Candy Cane remains the same, but was created by a candy maker in Illinois.

Interesting Christmas Trivia

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The holidays are here and that means Christmas is just around the corner, but as you most probably know, Christmas is more than just shopping, baking and eating. Christmas is the time of year when Travels with Harley takes a moment to remember family, friends, and the magic of the season. With that being said, Travels with Harley would like to share some Christmas trivia that you probably don’t know.

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Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer started as a Montgomery Ward store promotion back in 1939. Robert May was hired to write a story about Christmas that could be given away to shoppers. Mays brother in law was so impressed that he wrote a song in 1949 prompting Burl Ives to record it 10 years later in 1949.

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The very first Grinch who Stole Christmas TV special was released in 1966 with Boris Karloff narrating the series. Dr. Seuss’s creator, Theodor Seuss Geisel, originally thought that Mr. Karloff would be too scary for the special, but the network won out and proved that Boris and the Grinch were a perfect fit.

According to legend, the real St. Nicholas was born around 280 A.D. in modern day Turkey. Apparently he gave away all of his wealth to the unfortunate throughout the country, which grew into the legend of Santa Claus.

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Egg Nog would have to be the beverage that is most associated with Christmas. Historians track the Nog back to 1607 when Captain John Smith consumed it in the settlement of Jamestown. Nog refers to Grog that refers to any beverage made with rum.

Mrs. Santa Claus first hit the scene when she was mentioned in, “A Christmas Legend,” in 1849. Christian missionary James Rees who told the story of an old man and an old woman who carried bundles on their backs before given shelter on Christmas Eve wrote the short story.

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The Germans are responsible for the world’s first artificial Christmas tree crafting them out of dyed goose and duck feathers.

According to data collected by the social media website Facebook, the most popular time for a couple to break up is 14 days before Christmas. However, Christmas Day is the least favorite break up day.

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Quite a few countries in Europe believe that good and evil spirits were quite active during the period leading up to Christmas. The spirits became Santa’s elves thanks to Clement C. Moore’s classic tale, “The Night before Christmas.”

Every year more than 20,000, “Rent a Santa’s,” share the Christmas joy across the United States. These Santa’s receive mandatory seasonal training in order to maintain the jolly old St. Nick attitude that Santa is known for. Practical advice is also given including avoiding onions, garlic and beans during their tenure as Santa.

Next week we’ll share more interesting Christmas tidbits in another Travels with Harley blog.

The Harley Davidson Owners Group

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If you own a Harley Davidson and are not a member of the Harley Davidson Owners Group, you are missing out. Jim and I are both H.O.G members and love the benefits that you get when you belong to the Harley Davidson Owners Group.

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Created in 1983, the Harley Davidson Owners Group was started to build stronger and longer lasting relationships with Harley Davidson customers. The ties created by the consumers, the employees and the Harley Davidson company have helped boost the brand while focusing on the pride and authenticity of being American made. Harley Davidson Owners Group members will typically spend about 30 percent more on Harley Davidson clothing and accessories and Harley Davidson sponsored events.

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Every Harley Davidson dealership, both in the United States and overseas, has the opportunity to become a sponsor for a local Harley Davidson Owners Group chapter. Not all dealerships do, but a Harley Davidson Owners Group cannot start a chapter without a dealer sponsorship. Until 2014, only one chapter per Harley Davidson dealership was allowed. This was expanded to two chapters per Harley Davidson dealership. Should the dealership that is sponsoring a chapter close, the chapter can continue as long as there is permission from Harley Davidson.

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Harley Davidson Owners Group members organize events throughout the year, produce a newsletter, and usually elect officers from within their own chapter. Most of the events that are organized by H.O.G are ride related. Harley Davidson Owners Group chapters are managed by members who volunteer to collect dues in order to subsidize event and administrative running costs.

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Most of the Harley Davidson Group Owners events are for members only with guests of the chapter members required to sign a waiver. Some H.O.G chapters host rallies annually both collectively and individually.

The Harley Davidson Owners Group offers several benefits to its chapter members including roadside assistance.

Travels with HarleyA chapter member will receive H.O.G roadside assistance with the standard package when joining the Harley Davidson Owners Group. H.O.G. members will also receive a copy of the most popular motorcycle magazine in the industry, HOG®. If you are a member of the Harley Davidson Owners Group, you will also get a copy of the official Harley Davidson Touring Handbook and admission to any of the H.O.G. events sponsored by chapters from around the world.

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Other benefits of the H.O.G. include Harley Davidson insurance, Best Western Rides Rewards, motorcycle shipping, and monthly wireless savings with AT & T. The H.O.G Mileage Recognition incentive is another benefit that allows members to earn patches and pins for racking up miles on their Harley Davidson.

Jim and I love our Harley Davidson chapter and encourage other riders to find a Harley Davidson Owners Group chapter close by.

Never an End to Harley Davidson History

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

More Problems in the History of Harley Davidson

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Over the past few weeks Travels with Harley has shared the History of Harley Davidson coming up with some amazing facts and stories that you probably weren’t aware of. This week we will take you from the late 1990’s to 2007 in the History of Harley Davidson

The first overseas Harley Davidson factory opened in the free economic zone in Manaus, Brazil in 1998. The location positioned Harley Davidson in the Southern Hemisphere motorcycle market, securing another notch in the History of Harley Davidson.

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During the 1990’s and early 2000’s, the History of Harley Davidson saw its demand peak and began a program that expanded its dealerships throughout America. During that same period, existing dealers were waiting for new inventory for up to 12 months for some of its more popular models.

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Just like car manufacturers, Harley Davidson will record a sale when it is delivered to the dealer, not when a customer buys the product making it possible for a manufacturer to inflate the sales numbers. This requires Harley Davidson dealers to accept more motorcycles than they want or need. Known as channel surfing, it means that there could be a dramatic decline in stock prices, which is exactly what happened to Harley Davidson.

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In April of 2004, Harley Davidson Owners Group shares fell from $60.00 to under $40.00. Just before the decline, CEO Jeffrey Bluestein saw a profit of $42 million prior to his retirement. This was followed by a class action suit filed by Harley Davidson stockholders, who claimed that they were intentionally duped and defrauded by directors and management.

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In 2000, several United States Police departments began reporting problems when it came to instability at high speeds. In fact, the California Highway Patrol reported weave and wobble instability while testing on a track in 2006. This problem was quickly dealt with at the factory providing another interesting chapter in the History of Harley Davidson. However, Highway Patrols across the country started to go with BMW instead of Harley Davidson.

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In January of 2007 more than 2,700 Harley Davidson employees from the York, PN plant embarked on a strike after the company failed to agree on health benefits and wages. The company shut down the plant after negotiations broke down. In February of that same year, an agreement was reached. However, the strike disrupted the national production of Harley Davidson causing a layoff of 440 employees. This also affected suppliers who were forced to lay off Harley Davidson workers because of the Harley Davidson strike.

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Next week Travels with Harley will share the last chapter of the compelling History of Harley Davidson from 2008 to today.

More Fascinating Harley Davidson History

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If you have been following our Travels with Harley blog over the past few weeks, you will be well versed on Harley Davidson history. This week we take you to the 80’s and 90’s to find out more about Harley Davidson history, and how it has changed motorcycles over the years.

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When AMF saw a decline in sales in the early 1980’s, the company decided to sell Harley Davidson to a group of investors that included members of the original Harley Davidson founding families thus solidifying Harley Davidson history once again. Today, the Davidson family is still involved with the running of Harley Davidson with one of Harley Davidson’s direct descendents, Willie G. Davidson serving as the President of Styling.

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During the 1980’s and the early 1990’s Harley Davidson history strikes again with the new owners introducing the model Harley Davidson families that are still being manufactured today. The Softail, FLT, and the Road King joined the ranks of the classics such as the Electra Glide.

In 1990, Harley Davidson introduced the FLSTF Fat Boy, which immediately became a legend as far as motorcycle design was concerned.

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Harley Davidson introduced the Dyna Line of Harley Davidson motorcycles debuting with the FXDB Dyna Glide Sturgis in 1991. That same year, Harley Davidson began the installation of a new art paint facility. The $31 million dollar factory in York, PA became operational by 1992.

Buell Motorcycle company

In the middle of the 1990’s, Harley Davidson took a controlling stake of the American sportbike and street bike Buell Motorcycle company and began manufacturing and selling Buell bikes to Harley Davidson dealers across the country.

In 1993, Harley Davidson celebrated in Milwaukee with a family reunion for its 90th anniversary with more than 100,000 people riding in the Harley Davidson motorcycle parade.

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By 1997, all inventory was moved from the warehouse on Juneau Avenue to a brand new parts and accessories distribution center in Franklin, WI. The 250,000 square foot facility is just another spoke in the wheel of Harley Davidson history.

Next week Travels with Harley will share the last chapter in Harley Davidson History from the late 1990’s to 2007.

The History of Harley Davidson Continues

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If you have been following the Travels with Harley Blog, you will be just as fascinated as we are with the history of Harley Davidson. This week we are travelling back to the 1960’s and beyond to give you more on the history of Harley Davidson.

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The history of Harley Davidson started the decade off with a consolidation of the Hummer and Model 165 lines into its Super-10 unveiling the Topper Scooter. That same year Harley Davidson bought 50 percent of the Aermacchi motorcycle division and imported the Aermacchi 250 cc horizontal in 1961. The motorcycle sported Harley Davidson badges and became known as the Harley Davidson Sprint. The Sprints engine was boosted to a 350 cc in 1969 and remained that same size until Harley Davidson discontinued the four-stroke Harley Davidson Sprint in 1974.

Harley Davidson Bobcat

When the Scat and Pacer were discontinued by Harley Davidson towards the end of 1965, the last of the two stroke motorcycles, the Harley Davidson Bobcat, was manufactured for just one year in 1966.

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When AMF, the American Machine and Foundry, purchased Harley Davidson in 1969, the workforce was slashed and production streamlined. However, this resulted in lower quality made motorcycles and a labor strike. The new motorcycles were inferior in handling and performance and very expensive compared to the relatively cheap and affordable Japanese motorcycles. Thanks to AMF, quality and sales declined almost bankrupting the company. The history of Harley Davidson and its name began to tarnish with some calling it Harley Ableson, Hogly Ferguson, and Hardly Drivable with the nickname, “Hog,” now truly tarnished.

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In 1976, the Harley Davidson Liberty Edition was manufactured to commemorate the bicentennial in America in 1976. It was at that time that Harley Davidson history would be forever controversial thanks to the Harley Davidson Confederate Edition. Released after the Liberty Edition, it was basically a stock Harley Davidson with confederate specific details and paint.

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The history of Harley Davidson continues with thirteen investors purchasing the troubled company back in 1981 from AMF for $80 million.

During the early 1980’s Harley Davidson informed the US International Trade Commission that the Japanese were importing motorcycles into the United States at such a high volume that it could threaten domestic motorcycle producers. After an investigation, then President Ronald Reagan imposed a 45 percent tariff on imported motorcycles whose engine capacities were greater than 700 cc. Harley Davidson quickly rejected the offers of assistance from the motorcycle makers in Japan, but did offer to drop their request for the overseas motorcycle tariff for Japanese loan guarantees.

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Next week Travels with Harley will take you into 80’s and beyond in its very own history of Harley Davidson.

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.

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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.

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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.

Harley Davidson Motorcycles Survival Mode

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Last week Travels with Harley shared the history of Harley ending with Harley Davidson Motorcycles having some difficulties thanks to the Model T and the slight depression that hit American in the 1920’s, and as you will see in this week’s blog, the troubles with Harley Davidson were only going to get worse, for the time being anyway…

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Always thinking ahead, part of the Harley Davidson Motorcycles survival plan was to convince American Police Departments that Harley Davidson Motorcycles were ideal for law enforcement and by the middle of the 1920’s Harley Davidson Motorcycles were being used by over 2,900 state patrols and sheriffs.

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Harley Davidson Motorcycles soon began to captivate the public with law enforcement cops taking on a Wild West image complete with saddlebags, boots, and britches. Always looking to branch out and expand the Harley Davidson Motorcycles brand, Walter soon recognized the motorcycle look launching a successful campaign to sell clothing and accessories. It was this inventive marketing ploy that helped Harley Davidson Motorcycles survive the 1920s creating a booming market that remains successful today.

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Thanks to Harley Davidson Motorcycles marketing and additional improvements, which included front brakes and a larger engine, Harley Davidson saw its sales increase with over 22,000 motorcycles produced in 1928. The optimistic attitude of Harley Davidson Motorcycles returned with a vengeance, but proved premature with the Great Depression.

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When the stock market crashed in 1929, Harley Davidson Motorcycles sales began to plummet with only 4,000 Harley Davidson Motorcycles produced by the year 1933. To help with declining sales, Harley replaced the old block letter logo with a new and improved tank design that featured a stylized and graceful eagle. Harley Davidson Motorcycles also started making bikes in a variety of color schemes.

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With Harley Davidson Motorcycles development continuing, the EL model was released in 1936. The EL boasted a new engine that could provide riders with double the power, a new suspension, new tank design, and a new frame. When the new EL Harley Davidson Motorcycles hit the pavement, sales started to increase with production climbing to nearly 10,000 annually. That figure would remain until the end of the 1930’s.

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World War II would also see an increase in Harley Davidson Motorcycles sales and production with Harley Davidson building and shipping over 90,000 Harley Davidson military versions overseas for American allies.

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After the war, Americans began to return to Harley Davidson riding exploding the demand for Harley Davidson Motorcycles. To meet the huge demand, Harley Davidson purchased more manufacturing facilities in Wauwatosa, a Milwaukee suburb, in 1947. When the last of the Harley Davidson Motorcycles original founders, Arthur Davidson passed away in 1950, Harley Davidson Motorcycles were indeed the King of the Road.

Next week Travels with Harley will share what happened to the company when the second generation of Harley Davidson management took over from the founding fathers.

Harley Davidson Increases Production

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Last week Travels with Harley left you with the Harley Davidson entrepreneurs moving into the new workshop, which they had built themselves.

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After moving into the new Harley Davidson factory/workshop on Juneau Ave. in Milwaukee, WI in 1906, Harley and the brothers Davidson produced 50 Harley Davidson motorcycles in the first year in the new factory. In 1907, Harley Davidson became a corporation and by the year 1909, had hired 35 staff members, and increased the size of the factory by two. That same year, they produced about 1,000 Harley Davidson motorcycles.

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William S. Harley was obsessed with improving his Harley Davidson invention and started working on a two-cylinder engine design. After an unfortunate false start, Harley Davidson perfected the two-cylinder engine in 1909 and called it the, “V-Twin.” The V-Twin could reach top speeds of 60 mph and became a huge success. Because of the V-Twin, Harley Davidson became known as the company that built fast and reliable motorcycles. In 1910, Harley Davidson produced 3,200 motorcycles.

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True entrepreneurs Harley Davidson was constantly looking at ways to market the company and promote sales. “The Wrecking Crew,” was a motorcycle racing team sponsored by Harley Davidson and was known for a, “By the seat of your pants,” racing style. Thanks to the fame that was generated by, “The Wrecking Crew,” Harley Davidson remained in the news while stimulating sales at the same time. Not one to rest on its laurels much of the Harley Davidson profits went straight back into product enhancements and engineering.

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In 1912, Harley Davidson had another engineering breakthrough with a chain that would replace the leather drive belt. Just four years later, the step starter replaced the pedals finally removing themselves from the humble bicycle image. However, many people still depended on bicycles as an inexpensive way to get around, including the United States government.

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Always looking for inventive ways to market Harley Davidson motorcycles, Arthur Davidson became determined to convince government agencies, including the United States Postal service that Harley Davidson was the new replacement for the bicycle.

Arthur Davidson’s strategy worked, and in 1914, the USPS owned 4,800 Harley Davidson delivering mail, with the military become attracted to the fast and rugged Harley Davidson motorcycles as well.

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Growing in leaps and bounds, Harley Davidson production had reached 28,189 motorcycles annually becoming the largest motorcycle manufacturer on the planet. However, problems were about to occur when America suffered a mild depression back in the early 1920’s, causing Harley Davidson sales to slip, not to mention the release of Henry Ford’s cheaper and more practical Model T.

Next week comes the trials and tribulations of the greatest motorcycle story ever told in Travels with Harley.

The Harley Davidson Entrepreneurs

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Harley Davidson is the most well known motorcycle in the world as well as the oldest. Harley Davidson truly is an American Icon and is the symbol of pure inventiveness, pioneering spirit and individualism. However, the world’s most recognized bike, the Harley Davidson, was actually invented out of laziness.

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Back in the late 1800’s, the bicycle enabled people to get where they wanted to go faster and farther with millions of people all over the United States exploring every corner of America using the humble two-wheeled bicycle. Nevertheless, that wasn’t quite enough for William S. Harley, a draftsman at the tender age of 21 and pattern maker Arthur Davidson who had just turned 20.

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In 1901, both of these young men, who had been friends for years, embarked on a mission to, “Take the work out of bicycling.” Their dream, which is still going strong today, was to build a bicycle with a motor that would allow folks to travel fast and reliably without using pedal power.

After sitting in the garage one night, William and Arthur realized that their dream could not be achieved without a mechanic, so they asked Arthur’s brother Walter to lend them a hand. Arthur was a railroad machinist who quit his job after the boys promised him a ride on their motorcycle.

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Once Walter arrived in Milwaukee, he quickly discovered that he would have to help the two build the motorcycle before he could actually take it for a ride, but regardless, he stayed anyway. William, the oldest of the Davidson brothers who was a foreman in the tool room at the Milwaukee railroad shop also decided to step up and pitch in.

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Work began in a 10 by 15 foot wooden shed with the name, “The Harley Davidson Motor Company,” painted on the door. The shed sat in the back of the Davidson home. Harley had top billing because, after all, it was his idea to build the motorcycle in the first place.

 

Travels with HarleyThe first three Harley Davidson motorcycles were produced by the four men in 1903 and, like early motorbikes at the time, had a single-cylinder engine, a bicycle crank, a leather drive belt, and of course, pedals. To start the bike, all you had to do was pedal, until the compression had built up, and ride away.

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The next few years were all about development with the partners building three more motorcycles in 1904 and another seven in 1905. Thanks to the growth of the company, the partners had to move to a factory that they built in Milwaukee on Juneau Ave in 1907.

So, what happens next? We will share more about the Harley Davidson partnership in next weeks, “Travels with Harley blog.”

Harley Davidson Events this Weekend

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Jim and I enjoy Harley Davidson road trips all year round, but like most other riders are partial to planned Harley Davidson events where we can catch up with people we have met in the past and meet new folks that enjoy riding as much as we do.

If you happen to be in the Chattanooga Tennessee area this coming Friday the 18th, from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm, head over to Thunder Creek Harley Davidson on Lee Highway for the Trail of Tears Remembrance ride Kick-Off Party. This family friendly event offers Harley Davidson enthusiast’s food, fun, live music, and vendors where you can buy licensed Harley Davidson merchandise.

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Fresno, California is the place to be this Saturday the 19th when Mathews Harley Davidson, located on Abby St., will be holding its Bike Show and BBQ. Vote for your favorite bike and enjoy great food, good company and a whole lot of fun.

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If you happen to live in or around Aurora Colorado, head over to Mile High Harley Davidson for the Free Pancake Breakfast. Starting at 9:30 am on E.33rd St. you best be quick as it is first come first served.

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There are all kinds of Harley Davidson events happening this Saturday all over the United States and if you are planning a road trip this coming weekend, there are plenty of Harley Davidson events to choose from like the annual Lombardi Leather and Legends Dinner at the House of Harley Davidson on West Layton Ave in Greenfield, WI. Catering to riders and non-riders, your ticket includes dinner, drinks, live music, a raffle, an auction and a special program with new friends, and of course, “Legends.”

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It really is tailgating season, even when it comes to Harley Davidson events. Hot Metal Harley, located on Lebanon Road in West Mifflin, PA is having a family friendly open house where you can enjoy free beer, food, and giveaways with really cool prizes. With live music and a bike show, it is one of the best ways to kick off fall.

Sunday September 20 promises to be a great Harley Davidson events day with amazing Harley Davidson events happening everywhere like the ride with Motor City Harley Davidson Owners Group to see REO Speed Wagon at the Freedom Hall Amphitheater.

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If you would rather ride this coming Sunday, and live in the New York area, you will not want to miss the NNY Harley Davidson Owners Group Fall Foliage Ride. Head over to Goodnough St. in Adams Center NY where you will ride from the RXCHD over to the Thendera Train Station to hop on the Fall Foliage Train. After the tour, you will jump back on your bike and ride to Lowville to enjoy an early dinner. Be sure to meet at the F.X Caprara Harley Davidson Dealership at 10:00 am as kick stands go up at 10:30 am.

For more information regarding Harley Davidson events this weekend, check out the Harley Davidson official website events page.

The New Fatboy Slim Softtail S Limited Edition

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2016 is just around the corner, and that means the Fatboy Slim Softtail S Limited edition has just rolled out and it promises to be better than ever.

Harley Davidson calls the new Fatboy Slim Softtail S Limited edition the most powerful engine available in a motorcycle cruiser, and Jim and I most certainly agree.

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The Fatboy Slim Softtail S Limited edition features a new gloss black air-cooled Screamin’ Eagle Twin Cam 110B™ engine along with sexy black lower forks, handlebar, axle nut covers and riser. The black hydraulic clutch assembly and the brake lever is also blacked out, as is the over/under exhaust with its slash cut mufflers. If you like black, this is something to consider when it comes to the new Fatboy Slim Softtail S Limited edition.

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You will definitely get the looks in the new Fatboy Slim Softtail S Limited edition. The horseshoe oil tank makes you think of an old Panhead chopper straight out of the 1970’s.

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Never to step back when it comes to technology, the new Fatboy Slim Softtail S Limited edition comes with a state of the art factory installed security system that is literally hands free. The hands free fob will automatically disarm and arm the Fatboy Slim Softtail S Limited edition security functions as you walk away or approach your new Fatboy Slim Softtail S Limited edition. All you have to do is place the hands-free fob on your ignition Harley Davidson key ring and it does the work for you.

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They don’t call it the Fatboy Slim Softtail S Limited edition for nothing, and with the new Fat Dunlop® tires, you are sure to get a much smoother ride whether you are cruising through the city streets or headed out to the country for a long weekend Harley Davidson road trip. These tires will give you amazing traction when you brake as well.

Unlike the Harley Davidson’s of old, the 1 ¼” handlebars offer a clean and bold look while being ergonomically designed for comfort, confidence and positioning.

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To go with the dark look of the new Fatboy Slim Softtail S Limited edition Harley Davidson has also added a slimmer seat that is ergonomically correct giving a more comfortable and solid connection to the road.

Jim and I love our Road King, but have to admit that the new Fatboy Slim Softtail S Limited edition is certainly worth a test drive, don’t you think?

Harley Davidson Weekend Getaways in Vermont

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September is here, and that means fall arrives mid-month and if you are looking for some terrific Harley Davidson weekend getaways, you will not do better than the East Coast. Although the West Coast does have its moments when it comes to the leaves changing color, nothing beats the cavalcade of colors in Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire.

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Vermont is known for its maple syrup and Jim and I truly enjoyed riding through Vermont on our New England Trailblazer Tour, and although it was certainly longer than most Harley Davidson weekend getaways, it was well worth the trip.

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To enjoy autumn, you have to get out to the roads less traveled on Harley Davidson weekend getaways and if you are planning a trip to Vermont, you will certainly find a few of those.

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Scenic routes for Harley Davidson weekend getaways in Vermont offer riders everything from farmland vistas to sweeping forests. You can even ride through orchards, farms, and historic downtowns where you will find great cafes, diners, fruit and veggie stands and loads of trailheads for waterfalls, valley views, and swimming holes. The motorcycle roads in Vermont can take you for quick 30 mile Harley Davidson weekend getaways to lengthy 210 mile road trips that may take more than a couple of days.

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If you follow our blog, you will know that Jim and I are passionate about covered bridges, and if you are as well, you will love Vermont as there are more than 100 of them that range from smaller type constructions over babbling brooks and country streams to the world’s longest two span Cornish-Windsor covered bridge.

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The best way to enjoy the fall on Harley Davidson weekend getaways in Vermont is to steer clear of the highways and make your way over to the secondary roads.

Vermont-30 is considered one of the best Harley Davidson weekend getaways if you are looking for rolls and curves that will take you past lakes and mountains. The 66-mile ride even takes you by the Bomoseen State Park on Lake Bomoseen where you can stop for a quick swim.

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If you are really looking for fall foliage, try the Mount Equinox Skyline Drive toll road that will take you 3,140 feet in the air. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a bite to eat before you make your way to the summit where you will be met with a 360-degree view of the entire state of Vermont, New Hampshire, and the Adirondacks. On a clear day, riders can even catch a glimpse of Mount Royal in Montreal, Canada.

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According to quite a few Harley Davidson weekend getaways enthusiasts, Vermont’s Scenic 100 route is simply the best. With 200 hundred miles of changing views, the ride takes you from Wilmington Vermont to Lake Memphremagog, which is just shy of the Canadian border. With no shortage of activities during the fall, such as hayrides, pumpkin patches, cider mills and farm stands, it is best to make your reservations a few months in advance, as it is extremely popular during autumn.

For the best Harley Davidson weekend getaways, Vermont has got you covered. Make your reservations today and don’t forget to share your story on Travels with Harley.

Fall Motorcycle Road Trips in North Carolina

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Last week we talked about fall motorcycle road trips and got some great feedback from our readers about their favorite fall motorcycle road trips, with lots of riders talking about North Carolina. One Travels with Harley reader told us that North Carolina has perfect weather, no traffic, great roads in the mountains, not many people and craft beer and food on every corner. Now that sounds like our kind of place prompting us to share some of the best fall motorcycle road trips in North Carolina.

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The Blue Ridge Parkway is located in Asheville, North Carolina and is a great example of fall motorcycle road trips. With breathtaking views, lots of twists and turns and no stoplights, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469-mile long motorcycle road trip that travels along the Blue Ridge Mountains ridge. Ride north to the Craggy Gardens, or head towards Mt. Pisgah. Don’t be in a hurry as there are plenty of vista points where you can stop and snap a pic. Lodges and restaurants are few and far between on the parkway and are usually only open for business between late April to late autumn

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North Carolina’s most expensive highway, the Cherohala Skyway, took about 34 years to complete and was unveiled in autumn of 1996. Taking you from North Carolina into the backcountry of Tennessee, the skyway crosses into the Nantahala National and Cherokee Forests and is one of the most popular places in the south for Fall Motorcycle Road Trips. If you have the time, visit the spectacular Bald River Falls.

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The Black Mountain Rag is one of the best fall motorcycle road trips that takes you from Black Mountain to the town of Bat Cave that is home to the world’s largest known granite fissure cave housing dozens of bat species. During your ride, you may want to do a little side trip up to Chimney Rock and hike into Hickory Nut Falls off the Broad River, which is popular for white water rafting and was the backdrop for the feature film, the Last of the Mohicans. Travel farther south and you will hit some of the best apple orchards in North Carolina.

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If you have your heart set on shorter fall motorcycle road trips in North Carolina, try the 107 mile Moonshiner 28 ride. The Moonshiner 28 offers stunning views of the Great Smoky Mountains and Nantahala Forest and is a winding road that is rumored to have once been the main route for moonshine transport. Today it is much less traveled, but perfect for riders who enjoy waterfalls, unsurpassed scenery, beautiful lakes, and mountain vistas. With the occasional eatery and antiques shop along the way, Moonshiner 28 really is one of the best fall motorcycle road trips in North Carolina.

Motorcycle Road Trips in the fall

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Motorcycle road trips are great all year round, but especially during the fall, and now that summer is beginning to wind down, we thought we would share some of the best places in the country to get on your bike for Motorcycle road trips while enjoying the cavalcade of colors as the leaves start to change their hue.

Although the peak time to see the autumn leaves is between the end of September through the middle of October, we thought we would share a few Motorcycle road trips suggestions so that you can plan your ride.

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Jim and I have had the pleasure of riding through the northeastern states when we rode with other riders on the New England Trail Blazer ride last year. Although autumn hadn’t officially begun yet, we were able to catch a glimpse of early fall with the leaves just starting to turn. If you want to enjoy motorcycle road trips during the fall, New England is certainly a great place to start.

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The Scenic Route 100 in Vermont is stunning and one of the best places to start your motorcycle road trips in the fall. This popular tourist destination is known as one of the most, if not the most, scenic drives in the area and is part of what is called the, “Skiers Highway.” The byway is 138 miles long and takes you through Rochester, Hancock, Granville, Bridgewater, Ludlow and Plymouth as well as a few other towns that include Stratton, Jamaica, Londonderry, and Stockbridge. If you want to enjoy Motorcycle road trips this fall, the Scenic Route 100 should really be on your list.

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The Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee offer travelers a visual feast anytime of the year, but especially when the leaves start to fall. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has several Motorcycle Road Trips that you can take to enjoy the colors of autumn. Spend a few days in Eastern Tennessee on Motorcycle road trips and stay in a delightful B & B so that you can wake up to a gorgeous fall morning in the Smokies.

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One of our favorite rides in Tennessee is Cades Cove. Most of our friends enjoy this trip because the 31 mile drive is located in the western Tennessee section of the National Park and is the perfect place to enjoy early fall colors. From historic buildings to breath-taking fall landscapes and wildlife, Cades Cove should not be missed if you are planning motorcycle road trips this fall.

If you haven’t started planning your motorcycle road trips for autumn, better get a move on!

More Great Biker Friendly Hotels in Arkansas and Texas

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Last week we promised more great biker friendly hotels in Texas but unfortunately after further investigation Travels with Harley has discovered that the D Rose Inn is gone, but has reopened under the name, “The Olde Leaky Inn.” The one of only two biker only hotels in the United States now accommodates others as well. The other biker only hotel, actually, now it is the only one, in America is located in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

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Advertised as the only Biker Resort, the Riders Rest Motel sits on six acres in Eureka Springs, Arkansas and really is one of the best biker friendly hotels in the country. With 10 clean biker themed rooms with coffee makers and refrigerators, the Riders Rest hotel also has lighted covered bike parking and a gazebo that sits next to a fountain. The Riders Rest also has an outdoor biker shower, BBQ’s, a fire pit, and horseshoes. The Riders Rest is a place that Jim and I are definitely going to have to check out one of these days. Anyway, let’s get back to the biker friendly hotels in Texas.

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The Full Moon Inn offers some of the best motorcycle trips in Fredericksburg and is located in the scenic Texas Hill Country. Just ½ mile from the infamous Luckenbach, Texas and about three minutes from Hill Country’s best wineries, the Full Moon Inn Bed and Breakfast sounds like a great place to kick back and relax for the night and is just what you need if you are looking for biker friendly hotels in Texas. It’s got a covered barn with a concrete floor parking space and a great BBQ area where you can grill a couple of steaks. Situated on 12 acres, each room in the B & B has a private bath, refrigerators, and a coffee pot.

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Located in Medina, Texas, the Medina Highpoint Resort, formerly known as the Koyote Ranch Resort, offers riders the best views of the Texas Hill Country with cabins that are situated to maximize the scenery. With camping sites and cabins, you will get the best of both worlds regardless if you choose to campout or take it easy in one of the cabins.

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You can even stay in, “The Ranch House,” that was built just after WWII and can house up to 10 people. Of course, if you choose to stay in a cabin, each one has a covered front porch where you can enjoy 100 acres of pure bliss. Also on the property is an infinity swimming pool and a couple of lakes where you can have a swim or cast a line. Calling itself one of the most biker friendly hotels, well not really a hotel, but a place to stay, the Medina Highpoint Resort offers riders what they call, “A little piece of Lone Star Heaven,” that you will not want to miss.

When it comes to the best biker hotels in Texas, you may have to do some hunting, but with the great roads available, you are bound to have a great time.

Places to Stay on a California Motorcycle Trip

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California is an awesome destination when it comes to a motorcycle trip, but if you are planning anything more than a day on your Harley, it is important to know a few things before you head out on your motorcycle trip. Thanks to the internet not everything is as it seems, especially when it comes to hotels, motels, Inns and other places where you can stay the night.

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One of the best things about Southern California is that you can enjoy the beach, the mountains and the desert all in a day if you wanted to, however, Jim and I like to spend some time in the areas that we visit, so we are always looking for great places to stay when we are on a motorcycle trip.

Travels with HarleyBig Bear is a popular tourist destination in Southern California, especially if you are on a motorcycle trip. The Bay Meadows Resort is one of the best places to lay your head, is biker friendly and just a few blocks from Big Bear Village. Located on Big Bear Blvd.

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you can rent a studio or a five bedroom if you are bringing a group along on your motorcycle trip. Most cabins and rooms have a kitchen where you can cook your own meals. There is also a pool, spa and sauna that you can enjoy after a long ride.

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Now that you have been to the mountains, head out to the desert and take the Palm Springs to Havasu motorcycle trip through the Joshua Tree National Park.

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The trip is nearly 266 miles, so unless you want to ride it straight through, you will want to find a good place to stay. Stop halfway at the Desert Center and spend the night at the Regency Inn in Blythe. It has a pool and plenty of motorcycle parking. Wake up to a free continental breakfast before you make your way into Havasu City where you will find dozens of places to stay such as the Nautical Beachfront Resort on the lake or the Heat Hotel, which is at the foot of the London Bridge.

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As we mentioned above Southern California is about the mountains, the deserts, and the beaches and if you are going to include the sun and sand in your motorcycle trip, there is no shortage of accommodations on the coast.

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If you haven’t been to Carlsbad on a motorcycle trip, you are missing out. With its fabulous sunsets and pristine beaches, it truly is the best place to end up at the end of your motorcycle trip. Established in 1960, the Beach Terrace Inn, located on Ocean Street, is like a walk back in time and is absolute beachfront. With your own private balcony, parking and free breakfast, you will never want to leave.

Next week we’re heading to the great state of Colorado, which has plenty of accommodations for you to enjoy on your next motorcycle trip.

Choice Harley Davidson Road Trip Eats in Virginia

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Virginia has so much history and is a great place to head for a Harley Davidson Road Trip. Jim and I have ridden through this great state a few times and are always discovering something new. I know that I would like to try a few more eateries the next time we go, especially after spending a few hours on Yelp.

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If you are heading for a Harley Davidson Road Trip over the Shenandoah Mountains, you have to take a break at the Brookside Restaurant in Luray. Located on 2978 US Highway 221 East this great little family style restaurant has been serving up home-style American fare since 1925.

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With menu items like the corned beef and hash for breakfast, a classic deli Reuben or Rachael for lunch and stuffed flounder for dinner. Save some room for peanut butter pie or buy one to take home. Change your Harley Davidson Road Trip plans and stay the night at Brookside Cabins, which is just next door and owned and operated by
the same couple, Bob and CeCe Castle. This great little property also has a country store and a gift shop.

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El Paso Grille on Stuart Street in Elkton, VA is known for its great homemade authentic Mexican fair and its portions sizes. Because it is right in the middle of Blue Ridge, there are tons of great roads to enjoy on a Harley Davidson Road Trip.

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Open from 11:00 am until 10:00 pm every day except Monday’s, this great little restaurant has some menu items that I would love to sample. If you find yourself out this way on a Harley Davidson Road trip The French Fries Texanos sounds like a great appetizer and maybe some fajitas for an entrée. Honestly it would be tough though as everything sounds delicious.

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Another place that I would love to stop for a meal is located in New Market and has been around for at least 50 years. The Southern Kitchen calls South Congress St. home and is a must if you are heading out on a Harley Davidson Road Trip in Virginia. Travels with HarleyDressed out like a 50’s diner with roomy booths and a jukebox on hand, the Southern Kitchen is a local hangout that is family owned and operated. Favorites on the menu include Lloyds Fried Chicken, Peanut Soup, and Sweet Iced Tea.

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We have been talking about food for weeks, so next time we’ll explore some great places to stay if you are planning a Harley Davidson Road trip in the future or a Harley Davidson Road Trip in the next year or so. Happy Riding!