No Ordinary Ride
What do the AWWA ACE 2011 conference in Washington DC, motorcycles, and Water For People all have in common? The Water Buffalos of course!
Once a crazy idea that “would never work”, the Water Buffalos are now an international success. Each year an ever-expanding group of motorcyclists—mostly professionals working in the water/wastewater industry—ride motorcycles from all over Canada and the US to the ACE conference to raise money and awareness for Water For People. So far, our current total raised is greater than $300,000!
The “herd” is now more than 40 people strong, and we are always looking for new riders. Bill Persich says, “Every year it is a new trip of a lifetime; this is not an ordinary ride.”
The idea began when Persich and I decided to ride our motorcycles from Washington State to the ACE Conference in San Francisco (instead of flying down). The trip was such a success, we decided to do it again at the next year’s conference in San Antonio. We did overlook one small detail: The fact that, this time, we would be embarking on a 6,000-mile roundtrip ride! At first it was just going to be the two of us. Then, we thought about posting the idea online to see if there would be other people across the country that would like to join in. But it wasn’t until we decided to raise money for Water For People that this went from something we “could” do, to something we “had” to do.
During the trips we have seen much of the greatness that this country has to offer, and have ridden some of the most memorable roads to be found. The herd has crossed almost every state in the union, with stops along the way at some of our country’s most iconic destinations, including Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, the Dragons Tail, Yellowstone, Route 66, along with visits to the Harley-Davidson and Getty Museums.
Our travels are always memorable … heading through wide, open prairies, twisty mountain passes, scorching deserts, and passing under the cool shade of high Alpine mountains or winding for days along postcard-worthy coastlines. And the camaraderie of a multi-day trip like this is magical; no Friday afternoon on the golf course can ever match up with this type of networking.
Each rider starts from home, wherever that may be, but we’re not alone for long. As we travel across the country picking up riders from some 20 states and provinces along the way, the real fun begins. By the time we get to the conference, we all arrive together as one HUGE herd.
Last January, the scope of our travels expanded as I embarked on a one-month solo trip from Seattle to the Water For People Winter meetings being held in Honduras. It was a remarkable journey, not the least of which because the trip allowed me to see, firsthand, some of the of the Water For People projects in Guatemala and Honduras. A video documentary of that extraordinary adventure is in the works, so keep your eyes and ears open for that one.
So how are you getting to ACE this year? Wanna Buffalo? We call our annual ride to ACE the Ride With Purpose, and it clearly is. Join the madness! The herd is always looking to expand, and we can’t wait to break 100 riders! Here is your chance to do something great and have a great time doing it! If you ride, or know someone who does, check out our website at www.RideWithPurpose.org. Or contact me directly at Khowe@woodinvillewater.com.
Author's Bio: Ken Howe is Woodinville Water District General Manager.
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