Ballad of Pip and Lit­tle John

Road Trip - - CONTENTS - Story & Im­ages © Jim Free­man

Forty years ago, I un­der­took a lit­tle hike through the Caprivi re­gion of North­ern Namibia with a bunch of young guys. One of those fel­lows was Jo­hannes Groe­newald, known to most as Groe­nies but, to a se­lect few, as Lit­tle John.

We were as un­like as you could get: Lit­tle

John was enor­mous and – as the say­ing goes – built for com­fort and not for speed. I, on the other hand, was of medium height and whip­pet-slim (my good­ness, have the in­ter­ven­ing years changed that!) and my nick­name among the boys was Pip.

One thing we had in com­mon was that we could keep go­ing … and go­ing … and go­ing. Not sur­pris­ingly, this is a trait we have main­tained in later life. Only, now we do it on wheels … and not our feet.

Lit­tle John, who de­scribes him­self as “a semi-re­tired en­tre­pre­neur,” owns four Har­ley-david­son mo­tor­cy­cles (one in Dubai) and spends around ten days a month rid­ing around with his wife on the back of his “scoot” of the mo­ment.

On top of my pas­sion for mo­tor­cy­cles I also pos­sess a 2007 Jeep Cherokee Lim­ited Edi­tion and I was par­tic­u­larly in­trigued to dis­cover that Jeep and Har­ley had re­cently re­newed their global co-brand­ing ini­tia­tive. Here, I thought, was the chance for Lit­tle

John and I to go on a road-trip to­gether for the first time; he on his Har­ley 2200 cc with Ul­tra Lim­ited Stage Four per­for­mance up­grade and me in the lat­est 3.6-litre Jeep Wran­gler Sa­hara.

It was not to be as he had other com­mit­ments, but I know I got the best of the re­sul­tant deal: not only did we get to catch up over sev­eral cold ones at his home, he also handed me his keys to a 1690 cc Elec­tra Glide Ul­tra Clas­sic. So, in­stead of do­ing a seven-day trip in the Jeep, of which three would be along­side the bike, I got to do both. Hap­pi­ness is …

This is the fifth con­sec­u­tive year that Har­ley-david­son and Jeep has a co­brand­ing re­la­tion­ship, in terms of which Jeep serves as a key part­ner and of­fi­cial spon­sor of ma­jor Har­ley events and ral­lies through­out Europe, the Mid­dle East, and Africa.

Ac­cord­ing to a Jeep state­ment, “the re­in­forced re­la­tion­ship builds on the core val­ues the two brands share: free­dom, ad­ven­ture, and a pas­sion for the open road … with all of the ex­pe­ri­ences it brings. Both pro­duce ve­hi­cles that en­cap­su­late the very essence of free­dom and the spirit of ad­ven­ture and al­low cus­tomers to live out their in­di­vid­u­al­ity in a strong and dis­tinc­tive way. Own­ers of the two brands also share some­thing very spe­cial – a sense of be­long­ing that of­ten trans­lates into highly cus­tomised ve­hi­cles that re­flect the cre­ativ­ity and per­son­al­ity of their own­ers.” True words …

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