Sunday, August 31, 2003

Harley blog.

This weekend thousands of Harley-Davidson enthusiasts have ridden their hogs to Milwaukee to... I'm not sure what, but I think to ride around, eat and drink, at a mass gathering of other bikers. According to the newspapers, it's a big deal in the Harley world. Conservative estimates say that 100,000 bikers rode to Milwaukee for the Labor Day weekend.

Last Tuesday morning, after a good night's sleep in my room at the Drury Inn in north Indianapolis, I went to meet Gail for our "free" breakfast next to the lobby. The place was fairly busy, with two easily distinguishable classes of overnight guests: the businesspeople -- suits and briefcases -- and the bikers, who turned out in leather. Both groups were generally middle aged. Most of these particular bikers seemed to be from Memphis, if their Harley paraphernalia was any indication.

Other than they way the two groups dressed at that moment, there was probably no significant difference between them, socially or economically speaking. Harleys are expensive, after all. It's entirely possible that one of the fellows at the table that morning, decked out in enough leather to re-cover half a cow, has an orthodontics practice in Memphis to get back to next week.

I don’t have any special interest in riding a motorcycle, but I know I would have rather been on a road trip that morning than a business trip. The bikers were in a jolly mood, and who could blame them?

On our way back to Chicago on Wednesday night, we stopped for dinner just south of Hammond/Gary, at an Outback Steak House. Among the various permutations of chain eateries and independent restautants on that stretch of road, that was one we could agree on. Next to it was a Hooters. We went in for dinner just as the sun was going down, and noticed a number of motorcycles parked outside the Hooters. Emerging about an hour or so later, after dark, we saw hundreds of bikers milling around the Hooters parking lot, and row upon row of hogs gleaming under the parking lot lights.


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