Saturday, July 07, 2007

Harley Dealers

Here is another from Gerry from Valpo. Click any photo for larger.

Took a trip into the Indiana flatland today. Went down SR 421, which goes between Michigan City and West Lafayette. It’s one of my favorite roads and I have traveled it quite a few times moving my son to and from Purdue University (as if it isn't bad enough that Gerry likes Notre Dame, here is a reason for more hate! - Dan) over the years. It is also a nice scenic road to ride my ‘sickle.

La Crosse, IN is one of the small towns on 421. La Crosse is where 421 intersects SR 8 and they even have a traffic signal. La Crosse Super Foods is a notable landmark for those of us who savor the taste of wild game out of season when the freezer has been emptied of venison etc. “Rattlesnake, turtle & more”. Yep. Cue the Deliverance banjo music, please. They also do a great job processing deer.

I also made a side trip to Kersting’s Harley Davidson. It is a 40 mile run to get from here to there.
If you had a million bucks and wanted to open your own Harley Davidson dealership where would you put it? Near a large population center with an aging well-heeled baby-boomer demographic or out in the middle of cornfields five miles south of a tiny country berg? Mr. Kersting picked the second choice in the early 60’s. He did OK. These days H-D tells you where you can put it, take it or leave it. Mr. Kersting would have been rejected if he applied for his location today.
Kersting has a very unique dealership in the middle of nowhere. Being eight miles south of North Judson, Indiana on SR 39 definitely qualifies it as nowhere. What draws folks to Kersting’s from far away is their motorcycle “museum”. It is a destination point for many riders “just because”. Kersting’s was also a dealer for the short-lived Excelsior-Henderson resurgence a few years back.

Over the years Kersting has collected dozens of vintage bikes. Here are photos of just a few of my favorites, which are the rare single cylinders models from the 50’s and 60’s. A high school buddy had one, it was 350cc. These photos are posted below this post, in a separate post.

I especially like the giant Harley made from tractor tires. Reminds me of the giant 3-D fiberglass fish, totem poles and mice seen alongside Wisconsin interstates.

My buddies call Harley dealerships “stealerships” because they charge way too much to service a bike. H-D also stands for Hundred Dollars because that’s the least you’ll pay for a service visit, unless it’s an oil change. Most charge a minimum $50. for a 3-qt. 10w50 oil change and chrome filter. I can get it done myself in the garage for under $20. It’s way too easy.

Info on Kersting’s is here.

Usually I can wrench my ‘sickle myself. If I run into a problem I can’t fix my cousin and buddies re kind enough to help me git-r-done on the cheap. The reason Harley dealerships charge so much is because neo-bikers like cash-happy Oby-Gyn’s, Orthodontists, Attorneys and Hedge-Fund managers, etc. have driven up the cost of Harley purchase and cost of ownership.

Compare a Harley directly next to a Honda Shadow or a Yamaha V-Star or Victory and the difference is obvious. The high resale value alone makes H-D worth the investment. And they’re made in the USA.

Oh well, Live To Ride…Ride To Work.

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