Friday, August 30, 2013

H.O.G.* heaven

Potato-potato-potato, or so they say. That's the classic sound of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, thousands of which are motoring into Milwaukee this weekend for the 110th anniversary of the company. There's a parade on Saturday, open to all riders. It's not a long route, but the procession goes on for hours - an impressive display of Milwaukee iron.

The main drag one street over from my condo is partially closed, as there is a large Harley accessory shop located there. They need the extra room for parking, as well as for the giant merchandise tents that popped up in the middle of the road.

Short geography lesson relevant to the following paragraph: Milwaukee sits at the confluence of two major rivers, the Milwaukee and the Menomonee. The Menomonee River flows through a valley that is significantly lower than the surrounding area. There are three main north-south auto viaducts over the valley, at 35th, 16th and 6th streets, as well as a high rise bridge over the harbor. The viaducts are used by hundreds of people (including me) to get from the south side of town into downtown or on to points north. Both the 16th and 6th street viaducts have roads at their midpoint going down into the valley. Note that the Harley-Davidson museum and the affiliated Iron Horse hotel are located at the base of that road coming off the 6th street viaduct.

It's just been announced that the 6th street viaduct is closed from the midpoint road to the south end, for additional parking for motorcycles. Holy moly, that will be a lot of bikes. It essentially puts the entire span out of commission for the weekend, as no one in their right mind would drive into the valley, then try to get through the traffic around the museum to get up on the northern half of the bridge.

We put up with the inconvenience, though, as the anniversaries (100th, 105th and this year's) pump a whole lot of green into the local economy. You pretty much can't get a hotel room this week; people are also taking visitors into their homes for the weekend. It is a phenomonal time to people watch; Harley owners cover the spectrum from incredibly eccentric to unexpectedly mainstream.

So yeah, my weekend will be spent dodging motorcycles.

*Harley Owners Group

1 comment:

melissa said...

Gary's own a Harley. Whenever we have a bit of money, even if it's a silly amount, he says he'd like to get one. Maybe one day. :)

Hope you can rustle up some quiet!