Having just had knee surgery in March 2016, Wendy was not sure if she would be able to ride this year. Having previously ridden in four HHMCs: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014; and the Memorial Ride in 2015. She heard about the challenge in March of 2011 from a 2010 (Key West Florida to Homer Alaska) HHMC rider. After hearing his stories and finding that the 2011 challenge was riding through all the lower 48 states finishing in Nova Scotia, Canada, she was very intrigued. But, had no motorcycle, no license, no passport, and other than riding a dirt bike as a child, very little riding experience. The thought of no shower for days on end, and sleeping by her bike (no hotels or motels); well, it went on the list of things to do someday.
While in the Chicago area, May 2011, she fell in love with a purple and black Heritage Softail and bought her from Calumet Harley Davidson in northwest Indiana. Enrolling in the first available riding class at the Fort Myers Florida Harley Davidson dealer, she passed the class June 21st, flew to Chicago June 23rd and rode her 1,200 miles home. “I was either going to love it or sell her the minute I got home. I loved it!” After convincing her children and parents that she was not dying, they got on board and helped in every way to get her ready for the challenge, just 6 weeks away. In August 2011 she rode out to Mesa, AZ and took off on the challenge. She quickly learned along the way what switchbacks are, the effects of elevation, and what extreme wind, rain, sun, and exhaustion can do. She realized she needed way more riding experience and opted to go off route and just make it to the finish line in Nova Scotia for the end party. Having the most incredible time riding though 32 states, 2 Canadian provinces, for a total of 11,843 miles.