Nothing compares to hitting the open road on a motorcycle. For the past 24 years, I have had the privilege of exploring the country with friends and colleagues on our annual motorcycle ride as part of The Accelerators Motorcycle Club.

Each year, we choose a new route, usually around 3,000 miles roundtrip. We’ve seen almost every corner of this great country—and the scenery only gets more and more beautiful each time. I love seeing new places. Even more than that, I love really connecting with people in a way that no meeting in a boardroom can.

This time, our group of 39 people and 23 motorcycles headed west. We started in the Chicago area, hopping on U.S. Route 20, the longest road in the country. It’s a beautiful route that goes through some very scenic areas.

Our first big stop was in Galena, Illinois, the historic home of Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th President of the United States. From there, we crossed over the Mighty Mississippi River and stopped for lunch in Dyersville, Iowa. We learned that we were just a few miles from the site where they filmed the baseball movie, Field of Dreams. We decided to take pictures coming out of the corn—just like they did in the movie. But instead of baseball uniforms, we were all dressed in our motorcycle gear.

From there, we stopped for the night in Fort Dodge, Iowa, before making our way to Sioux City, a former campsite of the Lewis and Clark Expedition situated on the impressive Missouri River. We had a blast at an old western restaurant while in town, and it was hard getting people to leave because they were having so much fun. After an afternoon of riding in the rain, we were ready for a refreshment when we pulled into Bassett, Nebraska, a town of about 600 people in north central Nebraska. It’s a beautiful area, with plateaus, valleys and great people.

We noticed folding chairs lining the streets and had no idea why. It turned out to be the town’s annual parade. The people were outstanding, and everyone on the trip loved the parade. It was such a unique experience. My wife, Jana, talked to people from a nearby farm. She loved them so much, she wants to move there.

The scenery was fabulous along U.S. 20, and Nebraska was amazing. We had several fun stops along the way at old western towns, including Gordon, Nebraska, and Lusk, Wyoming. We visited some gorgeous national parks in that region.

I was excited when we arrived in Breckenridge, Colorado, a Rocky Mountain ski town that has changed tremendously since I visited when I was younger. There were a lot of fun activities. We went up the highest ski lift in the United States, where people were taking toboggan rides down the mountain and zip lining.

Next year is the 25th anniversary of The Accelerators, and it’s already shaping up to be another great ride.

I can’t wait to tell you about next year’s trip.

Until then,

Sheriff Bob

The 2017 Accelerators Motorcycle Club

The Accelerators taking a break at a Phillips 66

Great view of Route 20 from my motorcycle