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Harley-Davidson Museum

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This whiskery Grey Beard Biker always gets a chuckle from people’s reactions to us bikers. We are cut from a different cloth, molded from a different piece of clay. We don’t always fit neatly into a specific box. We are all different, but we are all alike. Some of us have beards, some of us don’t. Some of us have tattoos, some of us don’t. Some of us have long hair, some of us, like yours truly, have none – preferring a nice shaved head (bald is, after all, beautiful!). Some of us ride metric crotch rockets, some of us don’t. Some of us wear leather vests, some of us don’t. But our love for being on two wheels unites us.

The Brotherhood

What the non-riders, who look quizzically at us, do not understand is the brotherhood nearly all bikers share with each other. While we are not all members of a motorcycle club (M/C), we are all members of the same club. That member of a 1% motorcycle club, riding along a highway on his stripped down bobber, will pull over to help a fellow rider on a BMW adventure bike. He will not leave him/her stranded. That’s the way bikers act.

Biker Handshake

Yours truly can go into any biker bar, anywhere in the country, walk up to another biker, shake hands, embrace in a man-hug, slap him on the back and enjoy a beer with him. Even though we have never met before, we know each other. We may well come from different socio-economic backgrounds, but the differences between us don’t push us into different corners of the same room. Instead, we will belly-up to the same bar, swap stories from the road, talk about our children and grandchildren, customizations we have done to our bikes, where we rode the previous weekend and where we plan to ride next weekend. We may swap phone numbers so we can enjoy a future ride together. The chance encounter may well lead to a long-lasting friendship. But even if it doesn’t, every time we see each other while out riding, we will call each other brothers.

First Impressions Can be Deceiving

This Grey Beard, bald headed, tattooed biker cannot easily be defined by someone making a cursory glance at his exterior. He doesn’t dress the way he does to make an impression – or to be someone he is not. A stranger may well think I am a construction worker who toils all day in the sun and associates with “less than desirable” people by night. And while their “less desirable” people may well be who I choose to hang out with, I am not a construction worker.

What a quick cursory glance at me cannot tell an outsider is that like many other bikers, I am a business professional. I have been in the software industry for nearly 30 years. Since the mid-1990s I have flown all over North America for work. During this time, I have logged nearly 3 million miles on American Airlines and another 1 million on Delta Airlines. I cover my tattoos with a long-sleeved dress shirt, put on a suit and tie, go into a boardroom and present complex business solutions to a group of executives who inevitably have no idea what my true passion is: riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles and hanging out with my brothers and sisters. But your Grey Beard Biker is not unlike other bikers. His fellow bikers come from a wide variety of professions: lawyers, media executives, business owners, firefighters, cops, bankers, teachers, company presidents, soldiers, farmers, truck drivers, builders, bar owners, mechanics and yes – construction workers. But at the end of the day, what defines us is not our profession, but rather our brotherhood.

Bringing Together Different People

Without my love of riding, there are a lot of people I would never have come to know. This reminds me of a time, in July 2017, when your Grey Beard Biker was coming back from a ride along Lake Superior, the north woods and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I was on my last couple days of a 10-day vacation, and had taken the high speed ferry across Lake Michigan. No trip to Milwaukee is complete without a stop at the Harley-Davidson Museum, so I made a quick stop there, before I headed back to Tennessee the next day. After going through the museum, we decided to grab lunch at the on-site restaurant. Sitting at the bar, enjoying a barley-pop, I noticed a fellow rider next to us with Night Stalker patches on his vest. Being that we live in Clarksville, the home of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (S.O.A.R./Night Stalkers) we struck up a conversation with Bulldog. It turns out that Bulldog knew our next door neighbor, Monk, and had served with him. We swapped numbers with Bulldog and added each other on Facebook. This has turned into a truly wonderful friendship – brotherhood. Coincidental timing and our mutual love of riding brought us together.

This past April, somewhat at Bulldog’s urging, but in truth because I wanted to see Bulldog again, I scheduled a weeklong vacation to ride the Twisted Sisters in the Hill Country of Texas – Bulldog’s stomping grounds. All told, eight bikes and nine riders left Clarksville and made the journey to Kerrville, Texas – our home base for riding the Hill Country.

One of the riders on our trip had been a long time friend of Grey Beard on Facebook. We had only met a couple times in person – and to say our political views were not aligned would be a major understatement. I am sure my unnamed friend was a little apprehensive about riding with a group of bikers for a week, with very divergent views. All of us, enjoyed our time together and while we did talk politics, there was a mutual respect for each other’s views and beliefs. I later read that my unnamed friend expressed a bit of anxiety about the ride – but that he believed stepping outside his comfort zone would be good. I am sure he would agree that it was a great experience and he would do it all over again. This is what brotherhood is all about!

I will share one more coincidental meeting we had on this trip. The day after arriving in Kerrville, Bulldog had arranged a meeting with a fellow Night Stalker who was going to ride with us that week. Sam, as a retired Night Stalker, also knew my next door neighbor and served at Fort Campbell. We struck up a conversation at a biker bar the first day and it turns out that he lives 25 miles west of us and had made the same journey to Texas we did. We traveled over 1,000 miles for a coincidental meeting and live in adjacent counties! Two more bikers had just become brothers and friends. All of this, would never have happened without a mutual love for Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Final Thoughts

Grey Beard Biker has many brothers and sisters. He has met them during journeys all around the United States. These friendships will be enduring and will cause us to ride far and wide for “brotherhood reunions” – where we will meet new brothers and sisters. So I urge all people who look apprehensively at us bikers to do so with an open mind. We would inevitably help you out of a bind, we are perhaps the most generous single group of people with regards to charitable causes and when we are dressed in our business suits we are a lot more like you, than you would ever imagine – less, of course, the brotherhood.

The Grey Beard Biker™️
gbb@TheGreyBeardBiker.com
@Biker4Life on Gab

#NightStalkers #Brotherhood #NSNQ

Sobelmans’ bar area – where the fun begins!

Over the years, your lovable Grey Beard Biker has always stopped for good food. He knows great pubs, steakhouses, oyster shacks, Irish pubs, Cajun/Creole joints and little seafood shacks on the beach all over the United States. When he posts a review of an eating establishment, you know it’s Grey Beard Approved and biker friendly.

A world famous Sobelmans’ Bloody Mary

Having grown up in Illinois, it was always a quick jaunt to the Wisconsin state line, where a young wannabe biker could have an ice cold beer when said greenhorn was too young to grow a mustache. Doing so started the tradition for your lovable author of making a pilgrimage to the Badger State on a fairly regular basis. Some of the reasons Grey Beard would use as excuses to go to Wisconsin included: looking for black bears, fishing, snipe hunting, in need of a road trip, attending the Harley-Davidson Anniversary parties, being hungry, needing to replenish his New Glarus Spotted Cow beer or visiting other delinquents. LOL!

Needless to say, no trip to southeast Wisconsin would be considered complete without a stop at Sobelmans’ Pub N Grill for a burger – or if really hungover – a world famous Sobelmans’ Bloody Mary! And on those late mornings with a hangover, you must have one of their most famous burgers, “The Hangover!” That burger with the aforementioned Bloody Mary will get any biker road-ready in a hurry.

The Parking Lot from HELL
it is much steeper than it looks here!

Periodically, your biker buddy travels to this area for work – as was the case this week. On the way to the airport, the GBB was able to stop by Sobelmans’ for a burger, fries and a beer. As always, the service was fantastic, and the food was even better. Today’s burger of choice was The BOMB,” and it was everything a hangry biker could want: a big burger, cooked just right, bacon, fried onions and bleu cheese dressing. The fries were amazing as were the pickle slices. To wash it down, this old biker suggests pairing The BOMB with a Spotted Cow! While finishing the first Spotted Cow, Diego, GBB’s waiter, brought over a second one – for FREE! He claimed it was because they had poured an extra one, but Grey Beard thinks he was just going out of his way to please him.

If you are planning a trip to Milwaukee, perhaps to visit the Harley-Davidson Museum, make sure to get your biker fill of great beer and burgers at Sobelmans’ Pub N Grill. There are a couple locations around town, but the original is always the best. It is just south of the Marquette University campus on St. Paul St. If you are on your scoot, be wary of their parking lot. It is quite steep, with a single file line of parking spots on each side. Two years ago, on my brand spanking new CVO Limited, I pulled into the lot and kept going up, up, up. I got to the top and there was no parking available – even for a bike. Your lovable Grey Beard Biker had to turtle walk the bike sideways to get turned around. It was a very good thing this biker dude did not lean to the left while being a turtle walker, because the hill is so steep his big foot would have never reached the ground. That would have been quite embarrassing, to say the least. It is best to park in the street and walk over.

The BOMB!

Sobelmans’ Pub N Grill
1900 W. St. Paul Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53233
(414) 931-1919

The Grey Beard Biker™️
gbb@TheGreyBeardBiker.com
@Biker4Life on Gab

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