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Mile Marker: July, 2014

By Fred Nabkey

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What is the big deal about sitting in front of your dad on the tanks of a big old Harley-Davidson going down the road and steering? So he is 6 years old; biggest thrill of his life that he will remember forever. My first ride was sitting on the tanks of a police Hydra-Glide when I was around 6 (1957), and look what happened to me! Oops, never mind; don’t answer that. Seriously; it was a big impact on my life, and I still ride a “Big White Harley 74” that brings back some great memories. I will never forget you, Officer Dred Madison of the Grand Rapids, Michigan, Police Motor Unit. RIP, sir… The Lake Express Ferry has “motorcycles ride free” events every spring and fall. If you missed your chance at taking your motorcycle across Lake Michigan from Muskegon, Michigan, to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in May or June, they are also offering the special in the fall. From September 2 to November 2, motorcycles ride free; one-way or round trip. This is a neat trip across Lake Michigan on a high-speed boat, and it runs twice a day all season long. Drive up through Michigan and hit the high-speed to Wisconsin. The dock is only a mile or so from the Harley-Davidson Museum… Congratulations to Harley-Davidson Sales of Columbus, Ohio, on celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Brothers Francis, Edward, Ernie and Bud Osantowski originally worked the family-owned business, Platte Valley Cycle, out of their farm in Bellwood. The brothers were in their late teens to early 20’s, and knew back then the only motorcycle out there was Harley-Davidson because it was American made. They opened up the Harley dealership in 1964, and officially celebrated 50 years in May with an open house, cake and ice cream, vintage motorcycles (they do restorations) and a beer tent with music provided by Frequency. They also hosted a poker run to benefit Disabled American Veterans… If you are going to fly flags off the back of your Harley, don’t plaster pictures of it all over the Internet. Former State Senator David Zien of Wisconsin found out the hard way. Zien, whose previous million-mile motorcycle is on display in the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum, had a little issue with his powertrain and found out the flags (Stars and Stripes, MIA, NRA and a few others) cause a tremendous amount of drag that cause drivetrain failure. His warranty is still good according to Harley spokeswoman Maripat Blankenheim, just not his drive-train claim. Zien stated that he will still fly his flags no matter what… Bike nights will never be the same, according to Chaz Hastings, owner of Milwaukee Harley-Davidson. Every Wednesday starting on June 4 for the next 17 weeks it’s party, party, party, with a purely adult focus. Bands, barbecue ribs and wings from Bubb’s BBQ, samples from Miller Brewing, Lakefront Brewery and Jack Daniel’s will be offered under the 4,000-square-foot outdoor pavilion. Also featured will be bikini bike washes, body-painted cocktail waitresses and burnout contests, as well as the opportunity to get some ink from the onsite Milwaukee Ink Tattoo shop. Although this is in Milwaukee, folks, this is my home dealership, and a perfect example of how it is done… Michigan flat track racer Jared Mees has raced fellow Michigan racer Nichole Cheza on Harley-Davidson 750’s since they were young teenagers. It was fitting that they decided to tie the knot on the front straight at the Springfield Mile last September. They returned this spring to the Springfield Mile as husband and wife and also as members of the Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle Factory Team. Neither won the spring race this year as Jared placed 3rd in the finals and Nicole placed 8th. Best of luck to the couple this year and to the resurrected Harley-Davidson Wrecking CrewBill Moeller has been passionate about motorcycles forever. After emergency heart surgery a few years ago and struggling to keep his shop, Bore-Tec in Batavia, Ohio, open, Bill was diagnosed with leukemia. He is now cancer free, and his daughter Kelli, his biggest fan and cheerleader, set up an online fund to help her father realize his dream of going to the Bonneville Salt Flats to race this year. Kelli has been able to raise over $7,500 to send her father on a dream trip to race his motorcycle. According to Kelli, Dad is back and she owes it all to everyone involved… A special “thank you” to Scott Horinka of Effingham, Illinois, for sending me one hell of a care package. I collect dealer pens and key fobs as well as hats and I hit the mother lode here. He also makes some pretty mean jerky. Scott spends time truckin’ down the road and rides his scoot when he can. I made a mistake of saying he has a Shovelhead (And what is wrong with Shovels?) and some folks down there in Illinois are giving him some poop about it. No worries, Scott; screw it, let’s ride. You can make some money making that jerky… Congratulations to John Jendrow of Marion, Ohio, on being the last person standing to win the 2014 Sportster given away by Columbus, Ohio, FOX Channel 6’s Facebook contest. The drawing and festivities were held at A.D. Farrow Harley-Davidson… That’s it for this month, Brothers and Sisters; it’s all about you, the Midwest biker. Ride fast, but ride safe.

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