A sharp pain explodes through my cheek. Delicate and spidery tentacles send stinging signals across the surface of my skin. The source of this quick and sharp agony—a chunk of asphalt, flicked up by some on-coming traffic.
Welcome to America!
Welcome to a six-week tour on the back of a Harley—little girl!
Growing up, I never thought it was peculiar that my mid-wife trained Mother owned and operated a motorcycle shop. While she loved that business, I never held any interest in Harley, motocross or 4 wheelers.
When I was six years old I was given a Pee Wee 50 for my birthday. I looked at the canary yellow plastic, listened to the ‘rumbling’ motor and promptly bursting into tears—‘but I don’t want to ride the motorbike!’ I screamed.
After a brief stint at BMX (the pure motivation being to gain trophies just like my brothers had), I quickly took on softer hobbies like playing the organ, dance classes and armature theatre. No helmets or padded gear required.
Meanwhile my Mother, as part of a worldwide Harley Davidson initiative, introduced HOG (Harley Owners Group) to our community. There were Thursday night rides, national and local rallies, fundraising events and other spontaneous weekend rides.
All the while I remained totally uninterested.
Fast-forward five years and Mum had sold the business and returned to midwifery and I had graduate from University. The obvious answer of course was to go get a job and start building a meaningful—or at least financial rewarding—career. At 21 that all sounded a little too ‘proper’ for me, so I chose to return home, work my buns off and then go travelling abroad.
And I did it.
Only I meet someone, so I bought two tickets out of Australia.
One warm afternoon, while sitting in a hostel in Paris, my partner was goggling things to do when we arrived in LA the following week. At the time we were big fans of the FX television show Sons of Anarchy, so when we discovered that members of the cast were gathering together for a fundraising event called Boot ride, we joked about buying tickets and renting a Harley.
Within minutes, the tickets were sitting pretty in our inbox and we had begun to fill out an online rental enquiry form.
Seven days later we were backing-up our Road King out the front of a diner in Canyon County.
We joined 300 other riders as part of the Boot ride campaign, riding for over an hour down main highways and suburbs into the heart of L.A. We had photos taken with the cast of SOA, heard some live music, and spoke to locals. By the end of the day we vowed to come back for another Harley trip, but next time it would be bigger and better.
One year later we returned to the states for a six-week DIY Harley Davidson tour. The final destination of this epic ride was South Dakota’s infamous Sturgis Bike Rally.
And yes, I did take my mother, thank you very much.