My Grandfather, James Boone, was a Harley-Davidson rider. He and my Grandmother, Arpha Boone, rode well into their 80’s. My Father, Joseph William Boone and his two brothers, James and George were Harley-Davidson riders too. As a third generation Harley-Davidson rider, I take special pride in the American brand that has been producing motorcycles for the world market for 113 years. Today with over 300,000 touring and commuting miles on FLH Harley-Davidsons, I have a special understanding and relationship with the brand.
Pictured from L to R: Joseph W. Boone, James Boone and George W. Boone. This photo was taken just after all three had returned from active duty in the U.S. Army in WWII.
We are fortune to own a 1958 Harley-Davidson FLH Duo-Glide Panhead Harley that belonged to my wife’s father. Colette and her siblings recall riding with their dad, Jerry Nace (also a WWII veteran) many times when they were younger. Jerry bought this bike from a good friend in 1959 when it was only one year old with 300 miles on the odometer. He stopped riding it in 1978 when it had 51,200 miles on it and never rode it again for the next 20 years though it remained in his garage safely tucked away. Today the bike is still 100% original and has 53,000 miles and climbing as I ride it once a week in the Daytona region. We have a Key West, Florida tripped planned for the Duo Glide as soon as we return from this trip to Santa Rosa, California. The Duo-Glide is historically significant because it was the first FLH to have rear suspension.
The 1958 Duo-Glide just received a good bath before we left for California on the 2017 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic with the new Milwaukee-Eight powerplant. Living two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean means frequent washings. This old Panhead runs like new, has original paint and nearly everything else and starts with one prime kick and one ignition on kick nearly every time.
My history of riding long distance began with a 1989 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic evolution engine. Since then, I have owned/ridden every Electra Glide Ultra Classics to a total of more than 300,000 miles. That makes the opportunity that Harley-Davidson has given us to ride the new 2017 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic powered by their newest v-twin, the Milwaukee-Eight, even more special.
This is the 2017 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic. It was shipped to us by the Harley-Davidson Motor Company last Wednesday. We picked the bike up from Rossmeyers Daytona Harley Davidson in Ormond Beach, Florida Wednesday September 14th. Friday the 16th we began our annual West coast round trip from Daytona Beach. This year, I am Master of Ceremonies for the 2017 AMA Pro Flat Track championship event known as the Ramspur Winery Santa Rosa Mile on September 25th. After only 4 days and 1,600 miles I have made some discoveries about the new Ultra. Visually the only real change in the bike for 2017 is the new Milwaukee-Eight with it’s single camshaft design, balance shaft and four valve head. There is more change however. The 2017 touring chassis HD’s have new Showa top shelf suspension components front and rear. In our next story, we will begin to break down the things we have learned about the new powertrain, suspension and other aspects of the newest touring class motorcycle from Harley-Davidson.
This morning we are at Harley Davidson of Pueblo in Colorado for an overdue 1,000 mile service at 1950 miles. This afternoon we will head west on “The Loneliest Highway”, HWY 50 across Wolf Creek Pass. It is one of the passes in Colorado that I have not had occasion to cross and Colette and I are both excited to test out the new suspension and engine as we press on to Durango tonight.
Several times on our first days on the 2017, I can’t help but wonder what my Dad and Jerry would think about this amazing machine that is the grandson of their beloved Harley-Davidson motorcycles. I also wonder what my Dad would think about my motorcycle-centric life that he helped me begin when he bought me my first motorcycle when I was 6 years old. More on that later. Until then, we will be chasing sunsets late into the day headed West.