Best Western’s Rider-Friendly Program

By Joe Gresh, Photography by Joe Gresh

Having paid for my flight, first night's stay and meals with the preceding paragraphs, my next bike was the Street Glide, I think maybe it was called the Night Sweats...I really need to learn my Harley-Davidson model designations. They still make printed brochures in this country, don't they?

Deep, bass-boat metallic-blue, the Street Glide offers sweet handling, smooth, excellent brakes, and loads of cornering clearance. Seriously, who needs heritage when the present is this good?

There are enough iconic H-D features on the Street Glide to remind a rider that he's on the Real Deal. Like the key, or in Harley-Davidson's world, no key. H-D uses a gigantic metal jelly bean on the fork to work the ignition; a round, vending-machine key locks the jelly bean. A proximity-sensing electronic key fob disables the bike if you forget to lock up, as long as you don't leave the fob in the saddlebag like me. I'm betting that 47 of the Street Glides hefty 785 pounds involve turning the bike on and off.

The Street Glide's indicator lamps illuminate tiny symbols inside the tach and speedometer. I never did figure out what any of them meant, having neglected to bring an electron microscope on the ride. The rear brake pedal is more like a car's than a motorcycle's and the saddlebags want to run over your legs like a 90cc three-wheeled ATV. Remember to lift those feet on take off!

None of this spoils the Street Glide experience. Recent frame improvements, wide rims and radial tires take years off that V-twin mill. We hustled through Arkansas esses smartly and nothing hit the pavement in corners except my preconceived notions. I could actually own one of these. The bike simply makes me happy. I refused to give up the Street Glide as our ride leader Ron spooled miles of beautiful Arkansas hill-country past the Glide's not-bad-at-all shorty fairing.

Best Western is in the process of diluting...er...rebranding its hotel chain into three levels of luxury. If I'm assimilating the Best Western familiarization literature like a proper monkey, level one is your standard Bread 'n' Butter Best Western hotel. These properties feature older style, direct-to-outside entry doorways, small lobbies and smaller rooms. No special washing area but get the ground floor handicap-accessible room and you can wheel your motorcycle inside the bathroom to clean it. Level two is Best Western Plus, where customers pass through the lobby down hallways to larger interior rooms. Best Western Plus rooms are pretty darn nice and I can't justify them unless my wife is with me. Top of the pops level three is Best Western Premier, featuring portals into a fifth dimension where green-skinned, mind-reading nymphs devote their lives to satisfying your basest desires. More importantly, with Premier scrambled eggs and sausage are included for breakfast, along with fresh fruit.

Clinton Arkansas Room 218, found on the second floor of a Bread 'n' Butter Best Western measured 23 feet by 11 feet by 8 feet giving an interior volume of 2000 cubic feet. Best leave the serpentarium at home. A suspiciously similar looking LG through-the-wall air conditioner unit running a stock LG front-panel mounted thermostat provided excellent temperature regulation. Cool, moisture-free air and plenty of it was the watchword in Clinton. A slightly reduced-size cake of soap and a wall-mounted 1500-watt Sunbeam sock/underwear dryer sat opposite a one-piece fiberglass tub enclosure with grab rail. Lacking a large lobby or local bar in these dry-county digs, Team Apnea repaired to the parking lot to polish off a few beers along with the well-drillers, pipeline contractors and rock-cutters who were our fellow travelers.

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