Yea! The parade!
TJ had received a parade pass - 5000 of them were randomly assigned to early ticket buyers - and a friend would pick her up at 0445. So I woke at 0400 to make sure she made it.
Ho ho ho! TJ had been up since 0300, had packed us up porta-chairs for the parade, and was ready for her ride to arrive.
He did, and off they went to form up in the parade body. predawn pre-parade
A little while later, we went down to the parade route, to get a good parking place & to get a good spot. Wow! Did we ever! Both, but we set up chairs right at the curb edge of the sidewalk, about 50 feet around the corner the parade would take.
Then we waited, & watched humans become a crowd. After all the good places filled up, people who showed up just in time for the parade asked if they could sit on the curb or in the street in front of us. No.
And then the parade started! A pre-pre-parade of several dozen motorcycle officers made sure the route was clear. A pre-parade of 3 huge H-D semis did the same.
And then it began! Whee! Willie G. & hls kids who work in H-D, & their kids rode by waving & smiling. So did other people I should have known, then a group of riders each of whom had raised at least $5300 for MDA during the year. Next came dozens of riders each bearing the flag of a Harley Owners Group (HOG) chapter. Finally came the 5000!
When TJ & her friend came around the corner, Lindy & Dennis - who'd taken pictures of other riders - jumped to get a picture of her. (Yea! This morning we know Lindy's - digital - worked!)
What other riders did they photograph - or try to?
One rider had devised a structure that let him carry 100 flags! Several riders sported magnificent horns (imagine Vikings). Some carried flags from their home countries - Norway, Finland, Mexico, Brasil, Argentina, Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand, & others I didn't recognize. Wowee!
There was a rider in top hat & tails, another in a bikini & chaps, a couple still in their wedding dress & tux. There were Aussie outback outfits & cowboys, one H-D covered with odds'n'ends. There were riders in buffalo skin "helmets", one passenger in not much at all, riders in costumes derived from our flag.
I cheered & grinned & clapped for damn near every one! So much so that some photographer with a camera as big as a human leg shot me from close up while I cheered & grinned & clapped for the riders passing behind him.
Then it ended with a flourish from the same (?) group of several dozen motorcycle officers who had made the pre-pre-parade sweep, and the same (?) 3 huge H-D semis who had made the pre-parade sweep.
Somehow it was 1230. We put away the porta-chairs in Dennis & TJ's car then joined TJ at Summerfest. TJ introduced us to half a dozen friends from the parade & from before, and we sat around in the shade & lake breeze recreating bits of the parade & before it, too excited & delighted to even eat!
Later we did eat, & we saw some more of Summerfest. Then we went to The Experience, an immense display that H-D put together. On the road (Lindy & I saw part of it at Riverside, near L.A.) it had featured (for me anyway) some of the 2003 H-D models. Here many of the 2004 models were available - really! People sat on them, rolled them back & forth, turned the handlebars from side to side. A control freak would have lost his manners!
But The Experience also displayed historical H-Ds, posters from 100 years of ad campaigns, clothes riders have worn, and probably lots else I didn't notice or forgot.
All that wore us out. It was after dark and the rock'n'roll had hours to go but we didn't. We came home, tried to watch some of the telly coverage, but were too tired for that even.
Hope you can tell we were still grinning even then.