||Bus 'n Bikers
Success -- This is it! As Good as It Gets
By John Disque
How do you know when you've made it? When, exactly, are you at the highest point of the mountain? Is $1 million enough? How about $10 or $20 million? If at $100 million what do you do? Do you sit in your back yard, stare at the fence and just breathe? Do you stop investing and working and go spend it all? How many yachts would you like?
Success is relative: People compare and define it in their own way. No one says it isn't about money because it is and you're kidding yourself if you believe otherwise. My agenda with this article is to show you exactly how I define it and, if you wish, you can use it as a relative base for your own. For now, you should know that $40 million should do it. It really isn't that much, especially considering that the RV I need starts at about $2.5 million.
Imagine traveling around the country in complete luxury. Your luxury bus, motorcycles, a four-wheeler, your dogs, golf-clubs, Maserati and everything you need and want right there with you to go anywhere your heart desires.
Bus n' Bikers is an elite club of wealthy Americans who share the common love of luxury RVing and motorcycles. They all adore their freedom and they're the closest thing to my American dream that ever existed. The home and garden, the 9-5 job and the pension plan just didn't cut it. These people wanted more so, just like their businesses and their futures, they created their own dream.
An Elegant Dinner was served by the famous Dillard House Restaurant
for Bus n' BIkers at River Vista RV Mountain Village Resort
Bus n' Bikers began in Sturgis, South Dakota (famous for its gigantic annual motorcycle rallies) in 1994 and is the brainchild of Fred Thurston. Since '94 they gather twice a year and meet at the best RV resorts in the country. They boast the very best RVs (Prevost) and motorcycles in the business. Most prefer Harley Davidson, but it isn't exclusive to Harley riders.
Prevost RVs and Buses – this is the top of the line. If you plan to travel in sheer luxury, Prevost is the best there is. For more than 80 years they have led the market and this company continues to set the standard, break new grounds, and clear the path for those who demand the very best.
Bill Van Dyke: (the man in charge of one of this year's gatherings at River Vista Mountain Village RV Resort in Dillard, Georgia) and I got to know each other as we met up at the resort, sat down amongst the rest of the elite, and talked.
You could tell that Bill didn't quite know what to think about me. Somewhat guarded and reserved, it took a few days to prove to him that I wasn't there to hurt anyone or to take anything more than the inspiration of their story.
Eventually Bill "let me in" and began greeting me with a smile, a handshake, and a little more information. I suppose I proved it to him and you couldn't blame him for not knowing what to think of me. I was somewhat confused myself. It's not like Bus 'n Bikers needed advertisement or publicity. There's very little about them on the Internet. They have a website but it's private and you need a password to enter. They're very exclusive and limit their membership to 75 RVs. Being they are non-profit and the fact that most RV resorts cannot handle anything over 75 units it isn't as if they need to campaign for new members. This also works to keep them surrounded by the very best: In the world of freedom, RV-lifestyle and motorcycling, THIS is the top of the mountain so what could they possibly need from me?
It became less about an article and more about life. I couldn't take a picture of what I wanted to say so the camera and laptop were left in my cabin and I just walked up and joined them as-if….. just for a little while, I was one of them.
River Vista was their spring event for 2011. Usually the group meets twice a year - every spring and fall. They get settled into the area, map out courses throughout the mountain areas, and ride away into the natural beauty of America.
On a Monday morning Clark Scherer (owner of River Vista) and I piled into his van and followed Bus 'N Bikers through a mapped out course that led us through the most beautiful scenery I have ever witnessed: The Smoky and Appalachian mountains of Georgia and North Carolina. There I was with my camera strapped around my neck, snapping hundreds of pictures. The entire time you could hear me muttering, "I gotta get a bike!"
On my last night at River Vista I joined Clark, his brother Tommy, Bill and his beautiful, charming wife Laura at the resort's bonfire. Everyone was just sitting around telling stories, drinking beers, listening to music and laughing.
John: How did you do it, Bill?
He smiled and wasn't quite sure what I was referring to so I added that I knew some people found it rude to ask a wealthy man how he got wealthy, but I wasn't asking for any secrets.
Bill said he didn't do anything and now it was my turn to smile but he knew I wasn't about to let him off that easy.
Bill: Most people who get rich simply found their niche or some kind of void in the market that they could fill.
I added that they also had the courage to go for it and he agreed.
Bill: There's no secret to share, John. They found it, they went for it and they got a little bit lucky."
John: I grew up thinking the wealthy were the enemy. It was ingrained in me. We needed someone to blame but the common ground was that we didn't know any wealthy people. It's been a long road to overcome this but the truth is – they're just like you or me. They just have shinier, newer, cleaner, faster stuff.
I belong on a Harley driving through the cannons of America in the daytime, spending my evenings around campfires telling stories, laughing about the niche I found and had the courage to go for. The big difference with Bus n' Bikers is that their money didn't tie them down. They decided to take it one step further: to have their freedom – and this is it.
Published May 9, 2011
This article may be reprinted with permission from the Knoxville Daily Sun. Click here for reprint instructions.