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The Harleys are Coming!

Harley-Davidson 100thHere in Milwaukee we're in hog heaven -- literally! This weekend Harely-Davison Motorcycle company will mark their 100th anniversary in business with a huge Harley parade through the middle of the city, followed by music and festivities at the lakefront. Actually, the party has already begun in the city, with thousands of Harley riders from around the world already in town for the weekend bash.

Currently there are 4 groups of Harley riders making treks from the Northwest, Southwest, South Central and Northeast this week, arriving in Milwaukee in time for the 100th anniversary celebration.

So, this town is going to be a hoppin' place the rest of the week and this weekend. Already, every hotel room in town is booked solid. Yesterday I heard that riders have booked up hotels within a 50 mile radius for this event. There are even people who've rented out their homes to visiting bikers, in some cases $1000 per week! There's one way to pay the mortgage.

At the party portion of 100th there's supposed to be top-secret, musical guests flying into town. I've heard rumors of Elton John, Tim McGraw and Kid Rock, but who knows. There are already plenty of planned musical acts playing at the Summerfest grounds on the lake, and many, many parties happening all over the city. I get the feeling the average Harley rider will have no trouble finding something to do this week.

I was in downtown Milwaukee on the parade route for the 95th anniversary back in 1998 and it was amazing. The rumble of bikes and the array of Harley-Davidson motorcycles on display was very impressive. New bikes, old bikes and everything in between were rolling through town. I think I stopped vibrating from the loud pipes on Tuesday of the following week!

The design firm I worked for then produced 10 home-made signs with "Welcome to Hog Heaven" on them. During the course of the 95th ride, riders passing by asked if they could have them as souvenirs. We managed to give every single one of them away within minutes! The riders were tickled to have them and we were pleased to contribute to their positive experience. Funniest thing is, I bet all 10 of our signs are hung up in the garages and dens of bike riders around the world right now.

For the 100th anniversary ride I happen to live closer the starting point than to downtown, so our family is planning to make our way to the start of the Harley parade route on Saturday and experience the event first hand. I hope to get some great shots with my Canon digital camera and post them here on the weblog come Monday.

I'd also love to have a story to tell. I'm hoping I can run into a few out of state, or even better, international Harley-riding visitors. I think it would be interesting to hear what riders from around the world think of the Harley-Davidson 100th Anniversary event and Milwaukee. So, stay tuned for that.

Lastly, if you're interested in the 100th, here are a few links to learn more about it:

Official Harely-Davidson 100th Anniversary Site
OnWisconsin's Guide to the Harley-Davidson 100th Anniversary
100th anniversary Story (Flash)
The Ride Home Photo Gallery
Harley Owner's Group (H.O.G)
Harley-Davidson 95th Anniversary Article archive

If you're not far from Milwaukee and would love to see and feel the rumble of 100,000 loud-piped Harleys as they parade through the center of town, come on over this coming Saturday August 30th -- it's gonna be a blast! :-)

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