by Omer K. Reed, DDS
Dr. Roy Hammond and his wife, Frances, have provided our profession with a major stepping-stone — something that really matters — representing a change that fixes the continuing-education process in the mind and heart of the participant.
The passion for CE has created combinations such as golfing, cruises, river rafting, and mountain biking, but the Ride & Learn Harley seminar is truly a first. Each year, Desert Mountain Adventures (Ride & Learn) offers four trips in the summer months — Lake Tahoe/Yosemite/Yellowstone; the Grand Canyon; Tennessee; and the national parks of Southern Utah. The destinations are selected because of their proximity to a Harley-Davidson dealership. Roy tells me that each year, they change at least one of the trips, and envisions trips to New Zealand and perhaps even Iceland. Wow!
The trip is designed for couples — husband and wife, parent and son or daughter, practice partners, or individuals with significant others which creates a fierceness in the camaraderie. Limited to 20 participants, each course features a recognized clinical instructor that allows a one-on-one, intense and personal "cross-fertilization" following the clinician's presentation. The fee, which is about $4,000, includes the cost of the motorcycle rental, insurance, an accompanying "chase" vehicle for luggage, fuel, hotel accommodations, CE clinician and course credits, national park admissions, and all meals. Again, wow!
Our group of 19 persons, representing eight states, gathered at Hacienda Harley in Scottsdale, Ariz., to pick up 10 new Harley-Davidsons. We had our choice of a Road King, Fat Boy, Heritage Softail, Heritage Springer, Low Boy — you name it! One person shipped his personal, sexy, one-of-a-kind bike from Virginia to join our tour.
Many of our fellow riders rode bikes in their youth and continued to ride. Some had not been on a bike for years, but had participated in three-day safety courses offered by Harley dealerships around the country.
On the first evening, we were given the protocols of how to ride in staggered formation to "see and be seen," and the safety features of using scenic back roads and a no-freeway route in beautiful Arizona.
After a great breakfast the next morning, we headed north out of Scottsdale to the Carefree Highway, across to Wickenburg and up winding Yarnell Hill, then onward to Prescott (altitude 5,000 feet) for lunch. Riding for no longer than 90 minutes at any time, stopping to stretch, fuel, and refreshments, the pace was extremely comfortable. Leaving Prescott, we wound our way up through the mountains to the mining ghost town of Jerome, a quaint, reconstructed village with one of the world's greatest ice cream shops. Down the slopes, we rode across the Verde Valley to Sedona, our first evening stop. Three hours of seminar format preceded dinner, with more fierce fellowship.
The fabulous Red Rock Country of Sedona and the enchanting Oak Creek Canyon were the focus of our attention on the second morning as we snaked up the switchbacks to the 5,000-foot-high plateau in Flagstaff. After a refreshment/fuel break, we headed across the Kaibab Plateau to the 7,000-foot rim of the Grand Canyon, where we had the fabulous experience of an afternoon viewing of one of the Seven Wonders of the World and our second CE evening. By this time, the group was solid "family."
The following morning, after a very fulfilling breakfast, we rode across the plateau to Cameron, stopping at a remote Navajo trading post to enjoy the culture of sheepherding artisans of northern Arizona. We crossed the largest Indian reservation in the United States on our return to Flagstaff, then motored down the back road to Lake Mary, Strawberry, and Payson on the Mogollon Rim, where we stopped for lunch.
After a hearty lunch in Payson, we rode down the Beeline Highway to Scottsdale for our third evening, where our CE clinician offered a most dramatic PowerPoint presentation on his work with a new patient coming in for care. He showed us his "Morley Box" package of data-gathering, treatment consultation, and the "before and after" slides of his cosmetic rehabilitations.
We deposited our bikes at Hacienda Harley, then concluded the evening with a dinner celebration. It assured us that we would all join again in seeing the wonders of this magnificent world and at the same time participate in the passion of continuing education.
My observation, made from the privilege of having participated in this superb system of CE and investing quality time with colleagues, is that this is the type of learning that seldom happens in the classroom. It happens interpersonally, enjoyably, moment by moment, during the entire trip. The clinician's presentation of the evening is the topic of discussion the following day.
Each attending dentist, because of his or her point of view and the window through which he or she sees the reality of the profession as shared with colleagues, becomes a form of continuing education as well.
Shoulders back, nostrils in the wind — there's nothing like the rumble of a Harley. Those of us who were on this trip are eternally grateful for the passion and inspiration of Roy and Frances Hammond, the initiators and perpetuators of this superlative idea.
Visit www.Ride&Learn.com and join us in 2004, as I have been lured to another Harley Holiday with the Southern Utah National Park tour next fall. I look forward to the Four C's of the Ride & Learn seminar: cycle, clinician, celebration, and camaraderie.
Isn't it strange how princes and kings,
and clowns that caper in sawdust rings,
and common people, like you and me,
are builders for eternity?
Each is given a list of rules;
a shapeless mass; a bag of tools.
And each must fashion, ere life is flown,
A stumbling block, or a Stepping-Stone.
— R. L. Sharpe