Harley Davidson Ultra Classic Electra Glide Vs 2012 Suzuki Boulevard M109R

Harley Davidson FLHTCUI Ultra Classic Electra Glide

This winter I had the opportunity to make two trips south of the 49th parallel once by air to Texas, and once on a road trip with my motorhome, trailer and Harley Davidson FLHTCUI Ultra Classic Electra Glide to Daytona. The flight to Texas was to participate in the launch of Suzuki’s new power cruiser, the 2012 Suzuki Boulevard M109R, while Daytona was all about the 65th running of Bike Week in Florida. Since 9/11, travel has never been the same as most of us know and I don’t think it ever will be. The United States has now become a victim of its own making as “homeland security” is always on the alert for the next shoelace attack. Don’t get me wrong; there is a need to protect one’s homeland,or even a personal household, from harm. But, on a personal note, I feel victimized whenever I travel south.

At airports I usually arrive with time to spare for the long lineups and the security checks where your baggage is inspected, your electronic equipment scanned and even your shoes must be kicked off, even if they don’t have laces. At some airports, you’re asked to undo your belt. If a bell goes off, your hands and arms must go straight out, while you hope your pants don’t drop to the floor as you collect your belongings. By now, you have already shown your photo ID twice, but get ready to do it again because you still have to get on the plane and you may be asked to present your identification by someone who checked you in an hour ago.

Harley Davidson Ultra Classic Electra Glide

From my home in Victoria it’s a short flight to Seattle, where you connect to your other major American destinations. But first, there’s another full check by Immigration and Homeland security: passports, photo check, recheck bags and check your shoes once again. And you’d be well advised to stay within the connecting flight area or you’ll be doing it all over again.

Harley Davidson FLHTCUI Ultra Classic Electra Glide

Hey, wait a minute, I still have my bags (I think they should have been checked through). But now I’m inside a secure area, where I know my luggage should not be. There is a nail clipper in my personal care bag, oh and what about the four-inch scissors and my riding gear? Man, that’s some dangerous stuff there! Even as I board the aircraft I know I have too many bags, but they let me take them as long as I can produce ID. So, how safe do I feel? Well, if I can do it without even trying, just think what the bad guys could do!

If you drive across the border, the lineup is usually an hour long just to get to the first checkpoint. Again you’re presenting your passport and answering questions: Where do you live? Why do you want to travel south? And so on and so forth … Then, the border guard’s eyes pop wide open wide as he spots my Harley-Davidson ring. (“Oh and your motorcycle is in the trailer?” He exclaims. “Well, pull over!”) So, you step out of your vehicle and into the customs agent’s office where more of your papers, photos and personal belongings are inspected.

2012 Suzuki Boulevard M109R

More questions: How much cash do you have? Where are you going? Why are you going there? “We’ll have to check the vehicle sir.” Meanwhile you have to sit there till you’re told to “Go ahead, have a good visit.” You watch others coming and going, and some people even had to leave their eggs behind. (“There goes breakfast honey.”) Now you’re in the “home of the free and the land of the brave.” Well I’m not so sure. Freedom, it seems, does come at a cost. And as you travel about, some neighbourhoods look pretty rough. At gas stations, it’s pay before you pump, gated residents are everywhere, and homes have bars on the windows. It’s quite an adjustment for a Victoria boy.


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