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Thursday, May 22, 2008

RFTW 20/21/22/23

Greetings - my mind is very dead right now. EMOTIONS, EMOTIONS - not to mention the driving. I'm lumping four days together here because that's how it is in my mind right now!!

Driving - as a Road Guard we see a lot of things people in the pack don't. But at a price. Our day starts at least an hour before anyone in the pack. We get up and out, coffee, and then set up our Road Guards all along their route to the staging area. At the staging area, the staging crew takes over. In theory, we relive each other for coffee, food, head calls, etc - probably the only time of the whole day where that almost works. Then we get divided into two groups - the regular Road Guards that travel with the pack primarily insuring security, continuity, cohesiveness, etc. And the Advance Group - they go out ahead and set up the road/intersection blocks, provide direction at crucial road junctions, and set up at the new area. Both groups spend a lot of time going back & forth or in and out. We probably due 150% more miles and I KNOW we burn up more gas then the pack. We also burn up the roads. Of course, we always hit the speed limit - while accelerating and decelerating. There is no truth to the rumor that I was driving frequently at 114mph. We try to encourage the riders, we compliment the good ones, and give direction to others, all the time remembering that both they and we are here voluntarily.

We see every movement and event thru a different set of eyes. After doing a Road Block where I saw all the participants come by, I then mount up and carefully, following the posted speed - give or take 40 MPH, I go from the tail end to the lead unit - flanking the pack, running in the open lane (or opening the lane), Following other cars, etc. Passing 300 motorcycles doing the limit, smoothly to boot, gives you some very warm fuzzies. Impressive to see that amount of bikes performing, in essence, a ballet. NOT easy for people that have never ridden together to have the confidence in themselves or the other drivers, but everyone learns.

I have to lump these four days together - they're a blur in my mind and anything I saw or felt is not dependent on which city. I will finish this page with bullet type comments -
kids on street corners, overpasses open fields, in their Mom or Dad's arm, held by their hand, leaning out windows - all with parents, grand parents friends and neighbors - all cheering, waving, holding signs, flags and OUR hearts. All saying thank you.

Young Marine Sgt that comes to welcome us and say thank you - just finished his fourth tour in Iraq and is visiting his Dad. We all shook hands - and - Dad had brain surgery and will be gone in 3 months - Welcome Home.

Kids in day care centers waving and cheering. I always want to stop and tell them thanks.

Kids in two towns wanting shine our machines for us.

Bartender down stairs that gives a free round to every Rider!

Free gas in Hurricane for the Road Guards.

Governor greets us in Kentucky.

Free breakfast lunch and diner in every city.

POW/MIA displays in every city.

Beautiful motorcycles.

Got to go - I'm dead.


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