The Parade

A promenade through the Milwaukee area, ending at the lake front

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The parade route is shown above. It is about ten miles long, and was lined with people for it's entire length. It began in the huge parking lot up at the Milwaukee County Zoo, and ended at the summerfest grounds, on the shore of Lake Michigan. Along the route, riders passed through residential, commercial, and industrial areas. They crossed a number of bridges and passed through Milwaukee's downtown. They then rode through a warren of side streets in the old Third Ward, before reaching the festival grounds. Out of the hundreds of thousands who came to Milwaukee, only 10, 000 were chosen to ride in the parade. Most of the rest made their way down to the lake front to wait for them, or joined the throngs who lined the parade route.
      I stationed myself at a couple of spots along the route. The first was just east of the freeway interchange visible on the map above. This put me across from the central library, at the top of the hill which slopes down towards the Milwaukee River. The second spot was just before the bridge which crosses the river, and the third was just after crossing the bridge going east towards the lake. I then walked slowly up the parade route towards the festival grounds, stopping for a moment at the intersection of Milwaukee Street where the parade turned south. I ended up with a few shots at the end of the route, and saw the last units of the parade reach the end. The whole thing lasted perhaps two or three hours.
     It would have been nice to cover more of the route, but there was only so much time, and it is only possible to walk so fast, particularly through the density of the crowds present. Harley had photographers in some of the motorcycles, and had a number stationed along the route. They have some great pictures up on their web site. I hope to do a better job at the next big parade, and am looking forward to being there for the 105th. Harley will have another small reunion ride late next summer, as they do every year, but the 105th will be the next big one. I hope to see you there.

The parade has not begun yet, but members of the Marion County Indiana Sheriff department are showing off for the crowds which have gathered and are waiting for the parade to start.

A few others jump the gun. The parade has not started yet, but these people have taken advantage of the empty streets to get down to the lake front.

A look east down upper Wisconsin Avenue.

The side streets are lined with bikes. Of the hundreds of thousands who have come to the reunion ride, only a small portion will be taking part in the procession . Most have already come down to the festival grounds, or have found a seat to watch.

Motorcycle police have come, by agency, from all over the nation. Some assist the Milwaukee Police in traffic management.

Here we go. The bikes are coming, thousands of them, but first the Harley semis are coming as a sort of vanguard to clear the way.

A helicopter hovers overhead, following the progress of the leading elements of the parade.

Here they come, intermingled with part of the police vanguard. Motorcycle officers came form all over the country. In some cases it seemed that half the force of certain departments must have been here

A number of sidecar rigs were just behind the leaders. These vehicles had special passengers. The children seen in the sidecars are afflicted with MS. Harley has a number of special events, and runs a fund raiser for MS.

A very young girl, almost too small to see over the edge of the sidecar, peers at the crowd. She is one of the MS kids. At our present state of knowledge, it is unlikely that she will live more than another ten years.

Another young MS sufferer. There are no old MS sufferers. We will see some of these young people again at a presentation Sunday night.

Despite an unpromising future for sufferers of MS, this young man is all smiles, and seems quite happy for the day.

The regular riders come. The vanguard, police escort, celebrities, and MS kids have passed. We now begin to see the parade of riders from all over the country, who have come to celebrate Harley's 100th.

A group from Wichita says thanks to the city of Milwaukee.

The march of the HOG groups begins. These chapters are formed all over the world. They rode in groups, by chapter, near the front of the parade.

Mother in law rides in the sidecar, and seems pretty happy to be there.

A group of riders representing Wal-Mart.

Another HOG chapter, but I can't read the flag. There are scores of them.

On to more of The Parade