History of Jims Harley-Davidson T-shirt Quilt #1 8/07/2012

The following story about is my Harley-Davidson rides and each location visited where I bought named t-shirts with colorful motorcycle images. I purchased my first Harley, a Dyna wide glide, in Feb 1999. My mother, Irene Curtis, passed on Dec 29, 1998 and I just finished closing the sale of my mother residence in Oconomowoc and I stopped in at Wisconsin Harley Davidson on my way back to Illinois. By the time I left the dealership I had tentatively decided to purchase a motorcycle and was on my way home to tell Linda about it and the closing of mom’s apartment. When I arrived home, Linda said she had received a call from Wisconsin Harley-Davidson and the motorcycle was mine if I still wanted it. The phone call had preceded my arrival by 15 minutes.

At first, I only rode locally to the Kenosha Hog Chapter and around Lake County into Wisconsin. Then, in August 2000, I made my first cross-country HOG trip named “Made in America Tour.”  Harley-Davidson teamed up with Ford Motor Company to create a Black & Orange Ford pick-up truck with a slogan “Made in America” meaning Harley-Davidson Motorcycle and Ford 150 Pick-up truck. The first stop was in York, Pennsylvania to

tour the York HD plant. We took on ride on the York test track with 8 bikes at a time on the track with a leader. We could go as fast as we want but could not pass the leader. I was the first bike in my section and I was hard pressed not to pass the leader but I surely pushed him hard.

  In that year Harley –Davidson came out with a new motorcycle called “The Duce.” We had our first sight of the bike at the York Plant. The last stop was the Ford Motor Company plant just outside of Detroit, Michigan, then on our way home.

In 2001 I went on my first ride to Little Angels pledge ride sponsored by Elgin Community College. The 2001 ride was the 14th, year celebration of this ride and had rode this pledge ride for the last 12 years. 

In August, I attended my first State Rally, The Wisconsin State Rally in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. I received my Masters Degree from the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse, so I knew the area well. It was one of my first rides with The HOG Chapter of Kenosha, Wisconsin and my first overnight without my wife, Linda. 

In June 2001, Harley-Davidson had a National Tour advertised as, “Get your kicks on Route 66”.  Michael Wallace, an expert author of a book about old route 66, led the tour. For two weeks we traveled the old route 66 through 12 states and ending at Saint Monica Pier in LA, California. There were 10 over night stops with a get together at each stop explaining what to look for during travel the next 2 days. It was most informative. After the tour, over I stayed with my Aunts who lived in California before I headed back home to Illinois.

In July, Harley-Davidson introduced their Great Lakes Tour, which would be a three-times navigation of all the great Lakes in three different tours. The first was called “Full throttle ahead”, a tour of Lake Superior which I attended on July 1, 2002 with Jim & Linda Barnich and two other couples. On the Great Lakes Tour, the final chapter tour of Lake Michigan in 2005, my wife Linda joined me. 

In 2003, we purchased a 100th anniversary model Ultra Classic because the bike was more comfortable when riding distances with a passenger. The bike had an intercom system that allowed us to talk and sing to each other while on the road.

In 2000, I attended my first State of Illinois HOG Rally. The first four years the rally was held in Springfield, Illinois. In 2005, the governing board accepted other cities to sponsor the State of Illinois HOG rally. 

This quilt shows the years 2008 in Effingham, Illinois and the 2009 Rally in Ottwa, the 2010 State Rally in O’Fallon and 2011 Rally in Rockford. My wife Linda joined me for the 2011 State Rally in Rockford, Illinois. I missed the 2012 rally in Chicago due to lack of good riding in the area and was the first State of Illinois Rally that I missed in 12 years.

In 2004 I was introduced to a guided ride called “ Ride for Kids” by Nielsen Enterprises of Lake Villa. The ride is sponsored by the Pediatric Brain Foundation Inc, which conducts research into causes of brain tumors. My first ride was in 2004 and every year there after. If I could not make the ride, I made a donation to the foundation. As my first charitable donation, I have contributed to the foundation each year there after.

In July 2004, I attended the National HOG Rally in Atlanta, Georgia and discovered riding in 100 degrees temperatures was not enjoyable. After the rally, a group of us traveled over to Cherokee, TN for the evening and then over to Tennessee State Road 129 that is affectionately known as “The Dragon”. The road was 11 miles long with 318 curves, some of the scariest I ever had riding a motorcycle. I did survive and was glad that I had the courage to ride the route twice. 

In August 2004, my son Tim Marshall Curtis joined me in a ride that was called, “America 911 Ride”. Our first stop was in Somerset, PA, where the passengers forced the plane to crash in a farmer’s field instead of crashing into the White House. At that time, in 2004, the shrine was in a farmer’s field on private land. That changed in 2007 and became a National Monument. Our second stop was in Washington D.C. to view the Pentagon and visit the site where those who had lost their lives were remembered with markers. Security was so tight that no images could be taken, so it was just another stop. The last stop was in New York City where we visited the site where the twin towers once stood. Then we went on to the hotel which was just off Times Square in Manhattan. We had our final presentation out in the street in front of the hotel. Tim & I enjoyed several more days in New York City before riding back to Illinois.

This concludes a long process that began on May 25, 2012 by choosing which of the locations T-shirt squares would go well in this quilt. By August 5, 2012, all blocks assembled, I finished sewing on the last Gray border. Then it was taken to the Sewing Source in Lake Villa, IL on August 7 for final quilting. The quilt was finished on September 7, 2012.  The quilt is still a colorful topper for my bed. 

A few years later, in response to an appeal for a fund-raiser, I and members of 

the Crystal River Harley Rider’s Club in 2015 used the same construction methods that resulted in a queen size quilt for a raffle. Only Florida Harley events t-shirts were used and shirts were contributed from the membership. 

The End