Whether it’s going to an assignment or searching for an enterprise feature, I drive a lot for my job. I estimate that I’ve probably put in more than 200,000 miles for work, give or take a mile or two. Recently I had an assignment where I didn’t have to drive much at all.
Stroke survivor Herman “Max” Dierich, 75, was once an avid motorcycle enthusiast but now is confined to a wheelchair and recently started dialysis. Through the Twilight Wish Foundation, a group that grants wishes of deserving elders 69 or older, Dierich got to ride one more time.
From the Creekside Care and Rehabilitation Center in Stockton where’s he’s lived for the last 6 years, Dierich rode in a sidecar hooked up to a Harley-Davidson 2010 Ultra Classic driven by John Aires, a member of the California Valley Stockton Chapter of the Harley Owners Group. Other members of the group joined in the ride from Creekside Care to Eagle’s Nest Harley-Davidson store in Lathrop
When I arrived, Dierich was already in the sidecar rarin’ to go. I got some shots of the caravan as it left Creekside’s parking lot but I wanted to get shots of them motoring down the road. The problem was that it would be difficult, not to mention dangerous, to shoot and drive at the same time.
Reporter Joe Goldeen was also on hand for the story. He was headed toward his own car to follow the entourage when I called out to him and tossed him the keys to the company car I came in. “You drive” I said.
With Joe driving, I was easily able to shoot as Dierich and company drove through the streets of Stockton out to I-5. They then headed south to Highway 4 and then had a nice ride through the country east to Tracy Boulevard then to Matthews Road and finally to the Eagle’s Nest dealership in Lathrop. With Dierich too weak to get out of the sidecar, they literally toured the dealership on the bike. First through the showroom and then through the service bays. The ride home was just a straight shot back up I-5 to Stockton.
The whole time I was able shoot out the window, from the front, back and the side of them, telling Joe to speed up or slow down when needed. On the way home I had Joe move over into the slow lane and had the motorcycles pass us up, and Dierich gave me a happy thumbs’ up as they passed us.
It’s not often I have a chauffer on assignment, but when I do I try to make the most of it.