May 17th 2010 By T. Waters
Sure, funerals are great for memorializing the life of the recently deceased, but sometimes they can be just a little bit boring. Same old eulogies, same old black outfits and same old hearse transporting the coffin to the cemetery.
Unless, of course, you live in southern Illinois, where Last Ride Hearse, LLC
is offering something a little bit different for anyone wanting a unique final ride in a custom built 2009 Harley Davidson Road King modified into a trike and a pull-behind hearse.
Company founder Darren Youngblood first saw such a rig when he and his wife Amanda planned her father's funeral in December of 2008. They saw a brochure for such a hearse and were able to make arrangements to have her father taken to the cemetery in one in January 2009.
The hearse and trike are two separate vehicles, linked by a fifth-wheel connection. The hearse is made mostly of fiberglass and has windows to allow full viewing of the deceased person's casket.
The couple was so impressed that they later traveled to Bedford, Penn., where the hearses are produced to meet with the manufacturer and order their own. Thus, Last Ride Hearse, LLC was born.
"Almost every time I have it out people drive beside me taking photos with their camera phones. Most of the time the look in their face is shock and amazement," Youngblood said.
Though based in tiny Crainville, Ill., Youngblood is willing to travel for funeral services. The farthest he has traveled at this point is to Decatur, Ill. -- a three-hour trip.
Youngblood offers the hearse for free to military personnel killed in the line of duty. While motorcycle enthusiasts might seem to be the primary market for this unique hearse, Youngblood said that it is really for "anyone who wants something different."
But don't approach Youngblood about using his hearse for events other than funerals: "I had several people wanting me to decorate it up and take it around at Halloween. My response is and always will be, this is not for use as a side show. It is to provide people with a respectful, dignified last ride."