Marking miles

Just another excuse to ride and have fun

Kansas City, Mo., June 29—“It’s raining. It’s too hot. It’s too windy. It’s too cold. It’s too late. It’s too much trouble to uncover it and get it ready. It’s too much trouble to clean it up and put it away. I don’t have anyone to go with me. It won’t start.” All lame excuses for why my boat sits on the lift at the dock in the lake, 28 days a month. Funny thing—these are the same excuses people have for keeping their Harleys stored away in their garages for months on end.

On the last Monday in June, Harley-Davidson held its Million Mile Monday, another excuse for people to get those Harleys out of the garages, and for the owners to “just get out, ride and have fun” as suggested by Mike Keefe, Harley Owners Group vice president. Last year was the inaugural Million Mile Monday, a challenge to the 1.1 million H.O.G. members around the world to get out and ride, post their total miles for the day on the Harley-Davidson website, and as a group log one million miles on one day. The first Million Mile Monday exceeded everyone’s expectations by totaling more than 3 million miles on the designated last Monday in June.

This year’s Million Mile Monday goal was greatly increased from the original million miles to an optimistic five million miles. Kansas City H.O.G. chapter members did their fair share to attempt to reach the 5-million-mile mark this year. American Heartland groups logged more than 16,100 miles, and Greater Kansas City groups logged more than 11,100 miles. The worldwide total was 4,373,937 miles, just shy of the 5-million-mile goal. According to my calculations, that means the two Kansas City chapters added 0.64 percent to the total.

The American Heartland H.O.G. chapter, sponsored by Gail’s Harley-Davidson in Grandview, Missouri, offered two options for Million Mile Monday group rides: one that left at 7 a.m. for an ice cream-eating tour of Kansas, and another that left at 12:30 p.m., following the muddy Missouri River eastward along the scenic Lewis and Clark Trail.

Given my disposition for late to bed, late to rise, I chose the 12:30 p.m. ride halfway across Missouri. Twenty-six of us basically followed U.S. Highway 24, the Lewis and Clark Trail, east along the south side of the river past Lexington, then crossed the muddy Mo on a new bridge at Waverly. After a brief pit stop at Carrollton, we continued on U.S. 24 to Missouri State Highway 41 where we turned south toward Miami. Miami, Missouri, that is. On Highway 41 going south, we crossed the Missouri River again on an old bridge just before reaching Miami. We followed scenic, curvy county roads between Miami and Glasgow (Missouri, still).

One of the highlights for this particular Million Mile Monday group ride was taking a ferry across the river. At Glasgow, the old bridge across the river is being replaced, and in place of a bridge we got to ride across the river on a ferry. The ferry has been operating for about a year during the bridge construction, and the new bridge is due to be completed this fall. After a couple dozen more miles on curvy, hilly, scenic Missouri State Highway 87, we reached Boonville and the Isle of Capri Casino’s all-you-can-eat buffet. Ride to eat, eat to ride. We racked up 268 miles each from start to finish, plus the miles between home and Gail’s and Gail’s and home—probably about 7,800 miles for the group.

The 19 American Heartland chapter riders who departed at 7 a.m. headed to Emporia, Kansas, for breakfast and an ice cream snack. At Newton, Kansas, they had an ice cream snack, lunch at El Dorado along with an ice cream snack, and finally, a “brain freeze” (an apple cider slushy) at the Louisburg Cider Mill, and then back to Gail’s for 433 miles each—about another 8,300 miles to log toward Million Mile Monday. Ride to eat, eat to ride.

The Greater Kansas City H.O.G. chapter, sponsored by Blue Springs Harley-Davidson and Worth Harley-Davidson North, had a group of 20 head north to Iowa. They went to visit world-famous “Albert, the World’s Largest Bull” in Audubon, Iowa. Albert is a 45-ton, 30-foot-tall concrete replica of the perfect Hereford bull, complete with giant concrete gonads. Albert has been a resident of Audubon since 1964. The group lunched at Darrell’s Place in Hamlin, 2004 winner of the Iowa Pork Producers Association Award for the Best Breaded Pork Tenderloin sandwich. Ride to eat, eat to ride. When they joined another GKC group at the Fox and Hound Smokehouse & Tavern in Independence, Missouri, they had added another 504 miles each toward the MMM 5 million-mile goal. The other GKC group of 20 rode about 50 miles to the Fox and Hound for another 1,000 miles, so the two GKC groups racked up 11,100-plus miles for MMM.

When I parked my Road Glide in the garage, ironically, I finished up with 438 miles, and have my official Million Mile Monday Certificate of Participation to prove it. So I added 0.01 percent to this year’s total. Next for me, was 40,000-Mile Tuesday. I took my 2007 Road Glide in for its 40,000-mile maintenance. Luckily I didn’t have to buy a new back tire this time around.

So how much is a million miles anyway? Forty trips around the Earth’s equator would be about a million miles. Averaging 50 miles per hour, it would take you 1,666 days if you rode 12 hours a day. So in just over four and a half years, you would have traveled a million miles. It took former Wisconsin Senator Dave Zien eight years on his 1991 Harley-Davidson FXRT to ride a million miles, which meant that Dave apparently averaged more than seven hours of saddle time a day. He would also eat and exercise while riding. (See “Million Mile Man” in the June issue, or the article archives at www.thunder Are you up for the challenge?

No matter how you slice it, a million miles (126,720,000,000 slices of bread, edge to edge) is a bunch of miles. However, if 930 out of the 1,400 worldwide H.O.G. chapters had 30 members each ride 180 miles on the next Million Mile Monday, we could easily reach the five million-mile goal.


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