I was getting a ride from one of the country’s great resorts, The Homestead in Hot Springs, VA, to the airport in Roanoke, 70 miles away. Any time I’m at The Homestead, I always ask the driver to go the scenic way to and from Roanoke -- a very twisty, treacherous run through the mountains -- because the views are spectacular.
Sitting backstage at the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, grabbing a little lunch (plus all the performers were back there, so it’s a revolving door of celebrities). John Tesh and his wife, Connie Selleca (sproing!) sit down at the table with me, and they’re very gracious, polite and unfairly good-looking. Then, like something out of a movie, Liza Minelli comes bounding over to our table, complete with the scarf/boa around her neck to say hello (uh, not to me, at least not at first).
Late in the day after another successful Love Ride out in California, Jeff Bleustein (then president of HD) and his wife Brenda say they’ve got a flight to catch and ask if I want to ride back with them to the dealership in Glendale to drop off our bikes. As we’re having this discussion, Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard from ZZ Top approach and say they’d like to follow us back to the shop, too. (Oh, the pain.)
So I’m behind the stage at the Love Ride in the VIP area where performers (The Love Ride always attracts big names) could hang out and chill before or after playing. The then-Mrs. hated being in VIP areas because she knows that neither of us are VIPs. But still, sometimes it’s nice to see how ridiculously well stars get treated. And I’ll take a tray full of good free chow any time I can get it.
Relax. Hagman’s not dead. But he damn-near killed himself in my presence. And damn-near took me and my then Mrs. along with him.
Out in L.A. – Glendale, to be exact – for the annual Love Ride, a spectacular benefit for the Muscular Dystrophy Association sponsored by Oliver Shokouh, of Glendale HD. This event raises millions every year and, as far as I’m concerned, Shoukouh gets nowhere near the credit he deserves outside the LA area for this event that has meant so much to so many kids and their families.
There we were, my pal Dana and I, riding company-owned bikes on a Sunday morning up in the southern California hills near Malibu figuring we’d eventually end up at one of the country’s best-known motorcycle haunts, The Rock Store, for coffee and breakfast.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one. We’re out at the Sturgis rally and, as usual, the HD staff is up and at ‘em long before the revelers awake (and grossly sleep-deprived from late-night misbehavior) getting things prepped for another extremely long and tiring day of entertaining umpteen thousands of customers. Early birds typically show up and stand in line at the Civic Center, wanting to beat the crowds and see all of the beautiful displays before riding up into the hills.
I’m giving a very informal (there was beer involved) guided tour of the Sturgis rally to several Wall Street bigshots, to give them a real taste of what this whole motorcycle thing is all about and let them see what several hundred thousand Harley riders in the same place at the same time looks like. I’d complained to several of them for years that they’d never be able to truly understand our business sitting behind their cushy desks in New York, so I was glad they’d taken me up on the offer to get upclose and personal with this stuff.
For HD’s 90th Anniversary celebration in Milwaukee, we were lucky to have Jay Leno agree to emcee our main-stage event. I should add that, as this was a major fundraiser for The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), Jay didn’t charge us one cent for his participation. An A-list celebrity who doesn’t charge for appearances or make you jump through hoops is very, very rare. Jay’s the real deal. Can’t say enough positive about him.
I’m not gonna lie. Paula Zahn’s spectacularly good looking. But in the prime of her career, when she anchored several network news programs, she was a supermodel-esque hottie. You thought so, too. Easily one of the most beautiful people on TV and hands-down the most beautiful news anchor. Very talented, too, I should add. Not just a talking head.