Follow E.B. Chester, Judy Wagner, Travis Metcalfe, and Jack Irving on their journey during the
2011 Hoka Hey Challenge
Team Chester’s 2011
Jack Irving, E.B. Chester, Judy Wagner, Travis Metcalfe
Here we are at Chester’s Harley-Davidson the day before the start of the Hoka Hey 2011.  The participants are arriving, checking in and generally participating in the organized bedlam.  Actually things are going well.  I tried to sleep last night and for various reasons got almost no sleep.  I was back at the dealership around 5:30am this morning.
This afternoon we are having the riders meeting at 4:00 to 4:30 or whenever Jim Red Cloud decides to start.  An impressive array of executives from Harley-Davidson, one of the sponsors of the event, are arriving in town at 3:30 and will be on hand for the meeting.  Following the meeting, we will have a cocktail hour with local barbeque.  Our plan to get the participants out for a good nights sleep, with a minimal amount of booze consumed, by six to seven this evening.
At daylight or 5:45 in the morning everything starts.  I am certainly ready.  I would leave now if I could. 
Judy, Travis and I are packed (for the umpteen time) and ready to start.  Travis is going to ride the first day with us and then break off and go directly to Reno and on to Sturgis with his wife Debbie.  He will meet us again somewhere following Sturgis providing Debbie gives him a hall pass.
One of the significant things each participant receives when they register is a serial numbered Challenge Coin in Hoka Hey décor.  I was honored to be awarded Hoka Hey Challenge coin number one this year.  I also have the number one coin from 2010.  Now I have the only matched set of number one coins in existence.  The Organizers also awarded Judy Wagner, my traveling companion a duplicate number one coil in recognition for her dedication to and help with the event.  This is quite an honor for each of us.  Now we will be left debating exactly which coin is truly number one as obviously one was made prior to the other.
Yesterday, Judy and I were interviewed for the documentary film being made about the event.  We sat on two stools, side by side, and spilled our guts.  Judy, normally rather retiring when it comes to public speaking, spoke of her dedication to this event.  Its total!  I think the most interesting question I was asked was “Exactly what does this Hoka Hey thing mean to you?”.  My answer:  Crazy Horse would use the war cry Hoka Hey as he rode into a battle.  Hoka Hey means “A good day to die”.  Well in Crazy Horse’s sense, he was saying he was “all in” in relation to the battle.  He would conquer his adversaries or “It was a good day to die”.  It signified to all that heard him that he was totally committed to what he was undertaking.  That is exactly how the participants in this event feel.  They are warriors of another sort and they are all in.  They have decided they will undertake this challenge and defy all odds to complete their task.  If they don’t, well “It’s a good day to die.”  Do or die.  It’s a total commitment these modern day warriors share with Crazy Horse.
Now obviously none of us plan to die in this undertaking but the dedication to our task the use of this phrase indicates is huge.  We will not be denied, period.
Chester’s H-D is staying open all night tonight to accommodate all last minute requests for supplies and service.  I am staying at the dealership and will attempt to sleep somewhere.  Maybe I can get some practice sleeping on asphalt outside in the heat.  Oh, I forget, because I did the route for this event and pre-rode it with Judy and Travis in May of this year, we are already disqualified and can’t win anyway.  We are riding for recognition only.  Well, sweet, cool, comfortable motels, here we come!
I’ll send along more at the end of the day tomorrow.  We will probably not stop for the night until very, very late on Saturday night or very early Sunday morning.  Out initial adrenalin will probably carry us for at least a thousand miles before we stop.

E. B. Chester

Judy Wagner

Travis Metcalfe

Well, once again we are off on the adventure of a lifetime.  Last year Travis Metcalfe and I rode the 2010 Hoka Hey Challenge which went 8,500 miles from Key West, Florida to Homer, Alaska.  We arrived in 10 ½ days and finished 115th and 114th out of 800 starters in Key West.  As the finishers between our finish and the leader were not tested to determine whether they had actually ridden the 8,500 mile route correctly there is at least a possibility that we actually finished closer to the leader than we know.

This year Judy Wagner, Travis Metcalfe and I are riding the “10,000+ mile” course.  Based on last years “7,000+ mile” course which turned out to be 8,500 miles, this years course is probably around 13,000 miles.  Who knows.  (Actually, I do as Travis, Judy and I have pre-ridden the entire course earlier this year to test the route instructions but if I tell the truth, I’ll have to shoot myself).  Last year we actually rode 9,100 miles so, as the course was 8,500 miles, we were dead lost for over 600 miles.  Since we pre-rode the course, we should do better in the lost department this year.

Judy and I are riding the entire event this year.  Travis is participating in the start from Mesa, Arizona and then jumping on the freeway and going back to his home in Reno and taking his wife Debbie to Sturgis.  Following Sturgis, he is planning on re-joining Judy and I in Minnesota and riding the remainder of the route with us.

As usual, we have been riding a lot to prepare for the event.  I got a new bike in February of this year and it now has around 20,000 miles on it.  Our riding included a 2,150 mile Iron Butt ride which Judy and I made in 33 hours coming back to Phoenix from the east coast in May.  We have been getting about 6 hours of sleep each night for over a month arising around 3am each day just to become acclimated to a low sleep regimen.  We have spent untold hours preparing our bikes for the trip.  Everything seems ready.  We will see!

This event is the ultimate tortoise verses the hare event.  I am not convinced that the fastest rider will win.  I think its all about heart and stamina.  It’s about one’s will to go ahead in the face of an overwhelming desire to stop or pause.  We plan to travel about 850 miles a day and, depending on the actual length of the course, finish in about 16 days.

For those who don’t know us, I am a Harley-Davidson dealer in Phoenix, Arizona and Judy is a retired business owner from the Seattle area.  Travis’ wife, Debbie, is the General Manager of our dealership in Reno, Nevada.  We are quite a crew but we are rider’s riders.  Travis is the best of us.  He probably rides over 50,000 miles each year.  We are an extremely compatible group.  I have ridden since I was in high school and am a pretty good judge of motorcycle rider’s abilities.  We three are well up on the ability scale.  We love traveling on a motorcycle and enjoy each other’s company.  We should be a factor in this event.

The event begins on Friday morning at daylight at Chester’s Harley-Davidson in Mesa, Arizona and travels through all 48 states and Canada to Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, the end of the road.  Judy, Travis and I will be in line and off we go.  The route contains some of America’s most iconic roads, bridges, byways and locations.  A really epic ride through our wonderful country.  We plan to ride around 850 miles each day in about 15 hours and rest a total of around 8 to 9 hours.  We will probably not rest for a couple of days at the outset and when we get close enough to the end to smell the finish line.  Everyone has 16 days to finish the event to become a recognized finisher.  I think this will require about 850 miles a day.  We will see!

I am going to attempt to write a brief email each day describing our progress.  We have a tracking device on Judy’s bike which is available to show our progress graphically.  This display can be viewed by going to the following link:

This link will be displayed in the main showroom of Chester’s Harley-Davidson in Mesa during the event.

Hoka-Hey —- It’s a good day to ride!!