Thunder Road: H.O.G.S run wild on Hwy. 31

Published 10:53 am Wednesday, June 22, 2005

By By Lee Weyhrich
Hell's Angels didn't come through town this week but more than more than 700 Harley Davidson Motorcycles thundered through Atmore Monday morning. The bikersrode through Atmore as part of the H.O.G. (Harley Owner's Group) Posse Ride: Lower 48 The Eastern Campaign.
"They told us last night it was like 780 people," Keith Hutchison, a construction company owner from Austin Texas said. "They advertised it as being limited to 500. I think we've got seven different countries and 42 states represented in this ride. Last year we did every state west of the Mississippi, This year we're riding everything east of the Mississippi."
There was such a high turnout for riders that H.O.G. had a hard time turning people away. The campaign began in Mobile and riders will weave their way around the east coast states over the next 12 days. The tour will end at the Harley Davidson factory in Milwaukee.
"It's a 15 day ride," Hutchison said. "We meet up in Milwaukee at the Harley Factory and there's a farewell dinner in the evening. There's not another motorcycle club around that puts together an event that's so organized. This gives us the opportunity to see friends we've met all over the place. In the group I'm riding with we have two Texans, one guy from Niagra Falls, one from New Jersey, one from Tennessee, and one from Georgia."
Two of Hutchison's friends drove all the way from New York to Austin Texas to begin the ride with him in Austin.
"We came through Texas and stopped in Louisiana at one of the Harley dealers. One of my buddies had an oil leak and needed to get it fixed and while we were waiting they rolled out this new bike, and I said I had to have it," Hutchison said. " They told me they could make that happen. Long story short, I traded in the one I was riding on this one and I've already got 500 miles on it. I got a great deal."
So what happens if the weather is bad?
"It doesn't make a difference," Hutchison said. "A number of years ago I hit a hurricane head on and just had to ride it out."
Some participants came from the other side of the planet to participate in this ride.
"We're from Australia and that's a hard trip riding across the ocean ," Phil "Roo" Williams joked.
The group of five Aussies flew over from Australia to Milwaukee and began their ride where they will end it.
"We do these fly and rides where we fly into somewhere and hire a bike," Graeme Fisk said. "We flew into Milwaukee and hired these bikes at the Harley factory there."
Each of the bikes they hired have an identical Australian flag painted across the back.
"In three weeks time we will have ridden every state in America," Phil Wood said.
The Aussie group has done several similar trips around the world.
"We got the Internet down there and we signed up for these thing online," Williams said.
The riders will stop at Harley dealerships in all 26 states East of the Mississippi and will end at the Harley factory in Wisconsin July 2.

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