Last April I went on National H.O.G. Rally 2016. It happened in Petrópolis, in the state of Rio de Janeiro.
Together with Nathalia, my best friend and his girl and his parents, we travelled left São Paulo, leaving early morning. Before that we met with more than 100 riders at a Harley shop. We were scorted all the way with Federal Police with their Harley-Davidsons and a support vehicle from HD.
The engines running, we lined up, it is a funny thing to ride in such a big pack. You don’t know anyone, yet the spirt of confraternization and brotherhood among the riders is there and you can feel it between the smiles and the leather. You look at each other and in the road take care of each other while one or another stupid driver tries to break the formation. Counting with the police in our pack helped a lot since they helped to organize the line and keep up the pace.
Between gas stations and recover stops you get cought up in conversation with some group. While the sun cook our skin under the leather you see why those kind of passions brings people closer. Empathy kicks in and while you listen you get every kind of story. Someone who fell sometimes and broke some bones, even so, to break the strees of running a business, he has to make these long runs. A father and a young son are traveling together to streightens their bond, while he teaches the youngster how to respect people he doesn’t know because he knows nothing of their personal strugles.
On the highway, we went throght the beautiful green mountains.
The road is magic. Inside a car you get confy in the confortzone, radio, snacks and long seats. In a motorcycle you can really feel the wind, the smells, the sun, the track under your feet. It can get scary as hell, but that’s life, you have to go ahead. You keep pushing. You are tired. You keep pushing. You are amazed by the beautiful landscape, you remember how little you are. You remeber to be humble. And you keep pushing. And it feels great.
Petrópolis comes from the latim junction of Petrus (Pedro) and Polis (City). For those who don’t know, Brazil had a royal family and use to be an Empire in the 1880’s. The emperor D. Pedro I was going to Minas Gerais (General Mines) state and was amazed by a place on the mountains nearby Rio de Janeiro. He bought a state there where he could spend summers with his family. His son, D. Pedro II ruled Brazil throught 49 years, of which he spent 40 summers in the city – that became capital or government headquarters while he stayed there. In 1846, the emperor founded Petrópolis city, with imigrant policies, stablishing a German colony.
With that, the city is an awesome touristc destiny with Atlantic Jungle throught the hills, its palaces and amazing germanlike architecture.
In April, about 95% of the hotel capacity in the city was taken by Harley riders from all over Brazil.
Petrópolis also holds one of the oldest breweries in Brazil, Bohêmia, founded by german imigrant Heinrich Kremer.