BROWN DEER -- If he weren't such an ethical guy, FOX6's Ted Perry has always thought Vince Condella could find a way to claim his Harley-Davidson motorcycle on his taxes -- perhaps a self-driven weather-gathering machine deduction. After all, you can take the weather man out of the office, but you really can't take the meteorologist out of the biker.
Riding his motorcycle is one of the few off-camera hobbies Vince Condella shares publicly -- perhaps because it was a very public ride that got him hooked -- the Harley-Davidson 90th Anniversary Reunion Ride.
"Vince Gibbons, the late Vince Gibbons of course was really into motorcycles, and he said, you know, 'why don't you come along with me? You can ride along as a passenger and then broadcast along the way.' So I went along -- and that totally got me hooked," Condella said.
Five years later, Vince and his wife, Janet were licensed riders.
"From then on, it was fantastic. 1998, my wife and I rode in from Pennsylvania -- and of course, broadcast every night along the way. After about five days on the road, it was early June, we had some rain, it was a little bit chilly. We went all the way up to northern Michigan, crossed the Mackinaw Bridge and she and I riding our motorcycles with everybody -- that was very memorable. Then in 2003 of course, was the 100th. That was the big one. We came in from Baton Rouge, Louisiana -- did the southern route and that was hot," Condella said.
In 2008, Vince and Ted Perry tag-teamed the 105th. Perry came in from the east, and Condella from the south -- the weather guy getting the worst of the weather.
"We were broadcasting from outside Savannah, Georgia on the beach as Tropical Storm Fay was just off the coast. The next day, we rode in a torrential downpour -- in the rains of Tropical Storm Fay, and it was just a torrential mess," Condella said.
Condella started riding for the same reason anyone else does -- a sense of freedom, and a change of pace from the daily grind. An unforeseen advantage of that was a bond with a group of viewers who saw him as one of their own.
That connection was never more evident than in early May, when hundreds came to ride one last time with the guy they checked with on air before heading out on the open road.
It was a final thank you to Vince Condella from Harley-Davidson royalty.
And soon, for Vince Condella, it will be time to hit the road, en route to new adventures.
It does help being a meteorologist and a motorcyclist, because when you pick a day to ride off into the sunset, it helps to know which day the sun will be shining.