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Mary Ellen McKay – Why I Ride

mem-01Ok, so technically I’m a passenger, but the thrill is still the same. I love the feel of the bike, the open road, the wind in my face, and the beautiful scenery that mesmerizes me.

I have always loved motor-cycles. I almost got one for my high school graduation, but my mom talked my dad out of it. So instead I had to share a car with my brother. But the interest never left.

mem-02Fast forward to 2005 of my previous life. I was an excited half owner of a Road King Classic and join IVHOG. It was a little intimidating standing in a room of “Bikers”, but soon came to realize I was among an awesome group of people. The rides were fun, and the people were even more fun. I met some really special people that I am proud to call friends.

Doing mostly local rides on the back roads, the feeling was wonderful. Those days were mostly trailering to destinations – Myrtle Beach Bike Week, Ocean City MD Bike Week, and Milwaukee 105th Anniversary. But once there, the riding and camaraderie was awesome. So much fun.
In my new and better life, I am passenger on John’s 2003 Electra Glide, and the proud half owner of a 2011 Ultra Limited. One vacation we headed south; rode the Blue Ridge Parkway, did the Tail of the Dragon, headed to New Orleans, over to Oklahoma to visit a friend, then stopped in Memphis for a night. While visiting my brother in Nashville, we rode on the Natchez Trace Parkway for a few hours.

mem-04One trip we rode with John’s parents and their Gold Wing Chapter to West Virginia. (Can we at least do the speed limit, people?). Another trip with John’s parents was to Maine, where we spent a week trying various Lobster venues. We stood in line for 2 hours at the world famous Red’s Eats. Well worth it.

We have been to the Florida Keys twice, and I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t been there. Simply stunning, especially riding the 7 mile bridge, where we were surrounded by clear, sparkling water and beautiful blue skies.

mem-05My greatest feat so far is the ride to Sturgis last August. Of course I couldn’t wait to buy the patch “I Rode Mine to Sturgis”. It was 3 wonderful days of just riding to get there. OK, so we stopped sooner than we wanted the first day because of a thunderstorm in Indiana, where it hadn’t rained in over a month. But we made up for it the next day, and rode a little longer than these old bones wanted. From Sturgis, we rode south to Colorado then east to Missouri to visit family before heading home. What an awesome 2 week vacation. I will definitely be doing that trip again, probably waiting until the 75th Rally in 2015.

mem-03This year we are just starting to plan our riding vacations: some with friends and some on our own. And I’m sure some “impromptu” long weekends where the destination just isn’t known at the start of the trip. Riding is such an enjoyable freedom and I am very fortunate that John loves riding as much as I do.

Whenever it’s a choice between travel-ling by car or by bike somewhere, bike usually wins. Yes, my heated gear gets used quite often, but with-out it, I wouldn’t be comfortable and my riding would only be during the warm weather. This way, I can ride all year long (to a point – I do have my limits!). Ride Safe.

Mary Ellen McKay

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