On June 20, some of the world’s most courageous bikers set off on a life-changing mission. They started on a 7,000 mile challenge that stretches over two countries and through every kind of weather you can think of. These riders are all contestants in the Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge.
The challenge started at 6 a.m. from Key West, Fl. The riders were given only the directions to the next checkpoint. The first would be at Bruce Rossmeyer’s Harley-Davidson in Daytona. From there, the riders were given a second map that led them to Southern Thunder HD in Southaven, MS. As some riders were pulling into Southaven, many others had still not found their way to the first checkpoint.
I had the chance to look at one of the maps that the riders were following. I can say that they are very vague and give only street names; they do not include major highways, and many of the roads that are on the map have been neglected for years. This is not going to be easy.
After a brief stop in Rock Springs, WY, at checkpoint three, the riders would find a nice surprise in their next set of directions. They would be heading to Pine Ridge, South Dakota, to meet Sioux Indian Chief Red Cloud on his reservation. Although the official fourth checkpoint would be far away in Missoula, MT, it seemed that this visit somehow refreshed the weary riders I conversed with that day.
On a more somber note, there have been a few accidents along the way. According to a report from the Naples (FL) Daily news, there were two and possibly three separate accidents at approximately the same time and place in Immokalee, a small town southeast of Fort Myers. Later, yet another accident occurred at the same location. A fatal accident, on June 26, shortly before 2 p.m., was reported on the Hoka Hey Facebook page. The story was later confirmed by Trib.com. There was an overwhelming amount of support and love for the rider’s family from fellow challengers, as well as those on the Hoka Hey Facebook page.
We are only one week into this 14-day challenge, and there have been a lot of ups and downs. I heard people being accused of cheating, and others saying that the whole challenge was a hoax. Through it all, I have seen a brotherhood prevail above all else. Friendships were made, heartaches were shared, and an unbreakable bond was formed.
There will be one rider declared the winner of the $500,000 prize in Homer, AK, by the Hoka Hey officials. But, I get the feeling that all the riders in this race will be declared winners by their fellow bikers and families. You can be sure they will have an amazing story to tell. Bill Pixler, one of the challengers from West Virginia, summed it up for me when I asked him what he thought of the race so far. He simply stated: “I am having the time of my life!”
Naples Daily News Staff Report ” State Road 29, Oil Well Road Reopened After Multiple Motorcycles Crashed”
“Hoka Hey Forums” Facebook.com
“Troopers Investigate Fatal Accident” Trib.com