A Little About Us

A Little About Us
INTRODUCTION: First, allow me to introduce the members of this group...I'm Mike riding my 2003 Heritage Softail Springer...my wife Juju is on her 2015 Freewheeler...and Ed and Nancy are on their 2009 Heritage Softail. For the purposes of this trip we are referring to ourselves as H.A.R.P. HARP is a made-up name and it simply stands for Hogs And Retired People...and all that means is that we are members of HOG (Harley Owners Group) and we are...you guessed it...retired! The name came about when seven of us made a trip out west, but just the four of us this time. I've done blogs before, and this one will be for the same reason...to refresh our memories in our "Golden Years" (they say the memory is the second thing to go...and I can't remember what the first thing was). What is different this time is the blog is being shared by THUNDER ROADS PENNSYLVANIA MAGAZINE...Truly, an honor. This journey will be a round trip from, and to our home town of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The plan is to travel to the Atlantic coast at Ocean City, Maryland for the "Official" start on U.S. Route 50. We will follow U.S. 50 west for over 3,000 miles to its terminus in Sacramento, California. From Sacramento, we will head a bit further west to the Pacific Ocean before we begin to travel south. California Highway 1 and U.S. Route 101, better known as the Pacific Coast Highway, will be the route for about 500 miles to Santa Monica. At the world famous Santa Monica Pier, we hop on Route 66...The "Mother Road". Travelling about 2,500 miles to the north east, we'll arrive at the end of 66 in Chicago, Illinois. The "Official" end of our journey. From Chicago, it's just another 450 miles and we're back in Pittsburgh. We've made very few lodging reservations, thus eliminating the pressure of trying to get somewhere by some deadline. The whole purpose of this ride to see this country and whatever piques our interest along the way...and we will be looking for that giant ball of yarn! So we invite you to ride along with us. We hope you will find it both entertaining and informative. Please feel free to leave your comments and share this with anyone you feel would have an interest.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Background ...

For me, it began as a kid.  I would clip a baseball card to my bicycle so it would click against the spokes simulating what I imagined was the sound of a motorcycle.

I bought my first new motorcycle in 1973 at the age of 21.  My parents were adamantly against the purchase and refused to co-sign a loan for me.  A friend from high school and her husband agreed to take the risk...and I was off and running on two wheels.

Since then, we've owned a few bikes and logged more miles than we can recall.  Upon bidding farewell to the work-a-day world at the end of the 20th century, Juju and I have been back and forth across this country several times.  We've been to all 50 States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico...much of it in an RV with the bikes.  

On several of these trips, Ed and Nancy were right there with us to share the sights and stories along the way.  We often talked about those "someday" trips.  Frequently, the discussion was about riding Route 66: the Mother Road.  A few months ago, our conversation about this "someday" ride centered around the statement "Ya know, we're not getting any younger, so if we're going to do it, let's do it now."    Very little arm twisting was required and the planning began.  Having ridden several segments of Route 66, we always wanted to say we rode it from end to end (Santa Monica, California to Chicago, Illinois).  

During one of our travels out west with Ed, Nancy and a few other members of our little HARP group, we experienced riding a section of U.S. Route 50 through Nevada.  Route 50 cuts across the country passing through 12 States and the District of Columbia, as it makes its way between Ocean City, Maryland, and Sacramento, California.  In the late 1980s Time Magazine devoted an entire issue to this road calling it the "Backbone of America".  A less than flattering article in that issue named the segment in Nevada "The Loneliest Road in America". 

We found the road to be quite the opposite.  Granted, there is very little civilization; just a smattering of small towns where you can get gas, food and a cool drink.  But there was an obvious peace and visual beauty along it.  Not much to get in your way...no obstructions...no restrictions.  It was at this point, riding Route 66 became entwined with riding Route 50.   Then, the Pacific Coast Highway became the perfect way to link the two roads.

It's often been said that riding a motorcycle is the closest you can get to flying without leaving the ground...Here's what I think...only someone who rides understands why a dog sticks his head out of the car window.

I will attempt to write a little something as often as possible as we embark on this nearly 7,000 mile ride across the country.  I hope you enjoy it, and your comments (at least the appropriate ones) are always welcome.