2017 started out just perfect. On New Year’s Day I saddled up and joined a popular tradition of many in our area, the Hangover Ride. Funny as it sounds, it started several years ago with a couple of friends deciding to start the year off with a ride in spite of their hangovers. It has grown to one of the largest New Year’s Day get-togethers in Central Florida. This was my first year to participate in the ride but it won’t be my last. With over 300 riders showing up for no other reason than to fellowship and ride, it was a blast. Folks started showing up at Frank’s Place in Ocoee around 9:00 a.m. and the numbers grew until about 11:00 when kickstands were up and they were headed for the next watering hole in Sorrento, the Oasis, or the “O” as it’s usually called. The O is a rather small bar but a favorite stop for many of us in our travels and it was packed that day. The gals working the bar stepped up and did a great job of keeping things flowing. From the O we headed to Puddle Jumpers in Tavares where some of us grabbed a quick lunch before heading on to the Hideaway, another favorite place of mine to hang out on the weekends. Owner Dan had the best of his staff on hand and they kept everyone happy. At 3:00 p.m., we all gathered out front in the parking lot for a group picture. I can’t think of a better way to start a new year than riding on a beautiful day with others who love to ride as well… Up in the Ocala area, just north of O-Town, War Horse Harley-Davidson hosted their own NYE celebration at the dealership during the day with music and free beer… We had some ugly weather on the 7th of the month and a couple of events were canceled and rescheduled to later in the month. The 8th was much nicer outside and several of the local dealerships held Customer Appreciation Days with free hot dogs, beer and bands. One of the events that was rescheduled was the Battle of the Bands at Gator Harley with four popular local bands competing. Keeper, 3 Ring Circus, Missin’ Piston and Highway Starz were lined up to play but the reschedule didn’t affect attendance at all. On the 21st the event was well worth waiting for, the weather was perfect and the bands put on a good show for everyone… Seminole Harley also rescheduled their Crimeline Chili Cook-off from the 7th to the 21st and combined it with a Riding Skills Challenge hosted by Matt Miller, a well-known trainer. The Seminole County Sheriff’s Department backed Matt up and a few of their officers took to the hardtop to show what they could do on a Harley…On the 22nd, our weather again threw us a curveball with threats of afternoon storms and possible tornadoes. Attendance at the Feed the Officer Poker Run hosted by Seminole Harley was far less than expected. The ride did take place but with the attendance way down due to the weather forecast, I’ve heard another ride will be set up soon to compensate… That’s about it from my part of the world for now. Till next time, be safe and take care of each other.