Readers and their Rides

Jeff Holland

Written by  December 31, 2004

I have known Jeff Holland and his long-time riding partner Susan Stribling for several years and have been on rides, short and long, with them many times. Due to circumstances, the accompanying photos were shot in Jeff’s garage. That’s a bit ironic since his bike doesn’t spend a lot of time in the garage because he’s always out riding it. Jeff rides more than anyone else I know. I enjoyed our recent visit about his motorcycling background and travels.

CC: What is your occupation?
Jeff: I’m a driveline and 4X4 mechanic.

CC: Why do you ride?
Jeff: I ride for relaxation and enjoyment. It seems I’m happiest when I’m on my motorcycle.

CC: How long have you been riding?
Jeff: I started riding in the dirt in about 1969 or 1970 and on the street since 1980.

CC: What was your first bike?
Jeff: My first street bike was a bone stock 1976 HD Sportster.

CC: How many bikes have you owned?
Jeff: I’ve owned four street bikes, all Harleys.

CC: How many bikes do you currently own?
Jeff: Two – my second street bike, a 1973 hardtail chopper Sportster, and my 2000 Road King that rolled over 70,000 miles just before Halloween.

CC: What do you like most about the Road King?
Jeff: It handles really well. I think the Concord Purple paint is really cool too. I also like the Road King’s versatility. I have a detachable tour pack and a detachable fairing for it.

CC: What is your most memorable riding experience?
Jeff: I took a “short” road trip one weekend with a few of my riding buddies that stands out in my mind. Rod Ames, Mike Gilkison, Steve Thee, and I covered 1,000 miles in 24 hours and 1,500 miles in 36 hours—all for a patch and a plaque. That was some real quality bonding time for us guys. It was an Iron Butt qualifier ride. We left Blue Springs Harley-Davidson at 5 a.m. and rode north on Interstate 29 to within four miles of the Canadian border. Then we rode back to Watertown, South Dakota, where we spent the night. We arrived home at 4:15 the next day.

CC: To what motorcycle clubs or organizations do you belong?
Jeff: I’m currently the Activities Officer for the Greater Kansas City Harley Owners Group.

CC: Which motorcycle rallies and events have you attended?
Jeff: Sturgis, of course. I’ve been to Daytona for Bike Week and for Biketoberfest. I’ve attended several annual H.O.G. rallies and state H.O.G. rallies. We attended both the 95th and 100th Harley anniversary parties. The 100th has to be the most memorable. I got to represent Greater K.C. H.O.G. in the parade. I kind of liked being a part of history!

CC: I understand you’re the 2004 mileage champ of your H.O.G. chapter. How many miles did you cover?
Jeff: I logged 22,122 miles over the 12 months from Halloween to Halloween.

CC: You must have been on some long rides. Please tell us about your travels.
Jeff: We’ve taken some week-long and ten-day vacations for trips. We’ve also done some lengthy rides on weekends. Our first long trip was in July. We spent the 4th in Cortez, Colorado, and toured the Four Corners area. We visited 11 states in 11 days riding through Yellowstone National Park; Moab, Utah; the Big Horn Mountains; and the Black Hills. It was nice to tour the Black Hills without the Bike Week traffic. We rode Spearfish Canyon and met about 16 bicycles and 3 cars. We actually got to view the scenery instead of having to worry so much about the traffic. We had a great time! That was a personal vacation rather than a chapter ride, but four other couples from the chapter went with us.

CC: That sounds like a great trip. Where else did you ride?
Jeff: I got home from the western trip on a Monday, worked for the balance of the week, and left on Friday night for Des Moines, Iowa. The next day I rode to Rochester, Minnesota, to see an aunt who had undergone a kidney transplant, so that was another 800 or 900 miles tacked on to nearly 4,000 the previous week.

CC: You had a trip to the South as well.
Jeff: There was a H.O.G. run through Memphis, Tennessee and Tupelo, Mississippi; down the Natchez Trace to Jackson and Natchez, Mississippi; on to Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana for a three-night stay. Then we crossed Lake Pontchatrain and rode to Mobile, Alabama, where we toured the battle ship USS Alabama in Mobile Bay. The three other couples who made the entire trip with us had not been to Florida, so we rolled on over there as far as the hurricane damage would permit. That was about a 2,500-mile trip over a week’s time. It was nice and easy, laid-back and casual. Even though we were in the heart of hurricane season, we never put on rain gear during the entire trip!

CC: You mentioned weekend trips.
Jeff: I accumulated probably another 4,000 miles on four different weekends through a program I put together for the chapter called HOGs on Worldwide Tour. We visited places like Cairo, California, Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia, Memphis, Nashville, and Holland without leaving the state of Missouri. It made me think of the line from the old Jim Stafford song “The Wildwood Weed” about taking a trip without leaving the farm, although he was referring to a different kind of trip. I guess 20 percent or more of my annual mileage was in-state. However, another weekend trip was a 1,300-mile stud poker run that took us through seven states in one day.

CC: Do you have a feel for what percentage of your miles were on chapter rides?
Jeff: I would guess 65 to 70 percent.

CC: Do you accumulate miles commuting to work as well?
Jeff: I do ride to work, but it’s only three and one half miles each way.

CC: Speaking of work, how do you manage to get so much time off for riding?
Jeff: It helps to have a boss who rides. I have worked for Stan Vollenweider for about nine years. I work all the extra hours that I can during the winter and when it’s really busy. Stan takes that into account and allows for comp time during the riding season.

CC: I know Susan is your passenger on a lot of your trips.
Jeff: I would guess she makes 75 to 80 percent of the trips with me. Obviously she’s included in all of the vacation rides.

CC: How many total miles do you expect to put on your Road King?
Jeff: I remember riding to Sturgis with you on the trip when your Heritage turned over 100,000 miles. I was impressed that you were confident enough in a high-mileage bike to take off on a long trip. You’ve inspired me to shoot for at least 100,000. I don’t have any reason to doubt the Road King will still be going strong then.

CC: How about sharing your plans for your big ride in 2005?
Jeff: I’m calling it the Moose Run of ’05. It will be a 17-day trip of roughly 5,000 miles in late August and early September. We’ll pass through around 15 states including Maine, and we’ll visit four Canadian provinces. We plan to see Niagara Falls, the Atlantic Ocean, and all of the Great Lakes. So far, ten motorcycles are committed to this H.O.G. chapter ride. There is time for the riders to have input as to the route and places they would like to visit along the way. I’m excited about the enthusiasm that has been expressed so far concerning this ride.

CC: What else is on your 2005 agenda?
Jeff: We’re repeating the seven-state stud run. We’re also going to make a trip to visit four state capitols in one weekend. There will be lots of other rides and charity events. I’ve been a grand donor to Bikers for Babies for 6 years and intend to extend that string.

CC: Getting back to the local scene, what is your favorite bike night spot?
Jeff: I like Paddy O’Quigley’s because of the location and atmosphere. Since my daughter Ashley works there I get to see my baby!

CC: How many tattoos do you have?
Jeff: I have two, one on each upper arm. The one on my left arm is new and bright. I’m going to get the old one updated soon so it matches.

CC: Who is your artist?
Jeff: Chris at Purgatory Tattoos has a great talent. He also seems to be a “real” kind of person – no B.S.

CC: Do you prefer riding by yourself or in a group?
Jeff: Most of the time I like the camaraderie of group riding, but there are times when I just want to get on my scoot and get the hell out of Dodge to clear my mind—just me, my machine, and Mother Nature.

CC: Who are some of your closest riding buddies?
Jeff: Steve Thee, Rod Ames, Ken Breedlove, Mike Gilkison, Dennis Hayes, Darrell Curfman, and Frank Fasl are a few. Gosh, I’m going to catch hell from the rest of my CLOSE riding buddies.

CC: Just for fun, which of your buddies is the best rider?
Jeff: My first reaction is Darrell because he is an instructor for motorcycle safety courses.

When I was shooting photos of Jeff and his beautiful Road King, he called my attention to two sashes tied to the handlebars. He explained that they were from the funerals of two close riding buddies who still share every mile with him in spirit. I appreciated Jeff’s willingness to take time to visit, and I also appreciate his friendship. If I were to select a picture to accompany the word “motorcyclist” in the dictionary, I would have to pick one of Jeff. Like the Energizer Bunny on two wheels, he keeps going and going and going…

Interview and photos by Stripe