Ian, Tim and I have known each other since our kids were at school together. Someone had the bright idea of getting all the dads together for a drink one Friday evening and every first Friday of the month a gathering (of varying numbers) takes place. The First Friday Chapter has various sub groups - skiing, golf, motorsports and now motorcycling.
Ian and I did our first trip together about 6 years ago when we rode to the South of France for the European HOG Rally in St Tropez. I was on my Ducati ST3 (pictured) and Ian was on his Centenary edition Fat Boy (now unrecognisable and in different ownership). Since then we have ridden together on trips to Las Vegas, Florida and New England (and Ian has ridden Route 66 and a few European rides).
Feeling left out and slightly gay, Tim (in an act of alcoholic bravado on New Year's Eve 2007) accepted a challenge to learn to ride a bike (from scratch) and to join us on our trip to New England in May 2008. Against everyone's expectations he did it and he, Paul Martin (another FFC stalwart and a bit of a nutter) and I joined Ian in Boston (he had flown back from LA after riding Route 66) for last year's trip.
Our riding companions were Al Bellino (a very longstanding (I am not allowed to say "old") friend and former colleague (from Bankers Trust days) of my Dad, who I have known for about 30 years - far right in the Ben & Jerry's line up) and his two pals Roger and Guy. Together the seven of us covered around 1300 miles over four days through the spectacular scenery of Vermont, New York State, New Hampshire and Massachussetts. We had a fantastic time and vowed to return this year, a trip which is now just over a day away. Sadly Guy can't join us as his granddaughter is unwell (we will miss you Guy) but the US team is bolstered by some more Silver Surfers, who we are very much looking forward to meeting (biogs to follow).
Preparations are done. Tim announced this morning that he is going to have a "number 2" to avoid embarrassing "helmet hair" which we eventually worked out as being that he is going to have a short haircut. The weather forecast is for pretty much non-stop rain, but we are just assuming that Michael Fish has got himself a job Stateside and are packing shorts, tee shirts and flip flops.
So now a long flight (no booze as we are picking up the bikes when we land - how will we cope?!) and a 60 mile ride await us before we join up with the Yanks in Front Royal on Wednesday evening.