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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

RFTW 2009 - Pt 6 (Rich)

May 19th
This segment covers Meridian to Chattanooga. This was one of the few times that breakfast was on our own. However, the hotel had a continental breakfast for free, so once again, free breakfast. As we do every morning we have our meetings. Each morning we also pick up new registered riders. What we do is get all the new FNG’s up front to applause from the rest of us. The coordinator than asks us to look at them and asks us what we say to new FNG’s. We all holler “Welcome!” Then they are told that they are a part of our group and if they have any questions, to ask anyone wearing an arm band of any color. Our job is to get them to their destination, whether it is part way or all the way, safely.

Again, we depart with a gas stop (not free) with a destination of the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center. As we roll up to an entrance you notice flags lining each side. Then you see the patients lining the walkway and cheering us. Many of them are in wheelchairs and accompanied by hospital staff. As we dismount, we go over and mingle with the patients.

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Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center

While here, we were fed lunch and were able to visit patients in their rooms. I have trouble doing this for some reason. It is something I am working on to overcome my reluctance to visit my brothers and sisters that are bed ridden. The director of the hospital gave a short speech thanking us for being there and making the Medical Center one of our stops.

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Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center Director

After lunch and a visit, we mounted up for the ride into Chattanooga. As a side note, I had emailed and called a guy I served with in the Marines. His name is “Buzz” Griffey. So far he has not returned any email and phone calls. Last year when I saw him, he was not in great health. I haven’t talked to him in several months and I am getting worried. I told him I was doing Run for the Wall and that one of the stops would be Chattanooga. That is where he is from even though he lives in Chickamauga, Ga. He has 8 acres just south of the battlefield. We toured it last year when I was there. Hopefully, he will call me soon.

But back to the story. We stopped outside of Asheville for a gas stop and a surprise snack stop. If you have spent any time in the south, you will recognize the food chain store called Piggly Wiggly!. I swear to you that is the name. I have proof. See the picture!

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Piggly Wiggly! They really exist!

While here, a local motorcycle club provided snacks which consisted of hot dogs and chips. Of course, I had to have something. I couldn’t just ignore that good old southern hospitality, could I. like I said earlier, too much food and not enough exercise.

On the road again and heading for Thunder Creek Harley in Chattanooga. We were warned to be alert because we would be getting there right around the commute hour and that traffic would be horrendous. Once we got there, everything turned out pretty good. Traffic was heavy but our road guards did their normal outstanding job and got us all thru without any problems. We got to Thunder Creek and found parking to be real bad. We were parked on a long downhill driveway. I wasn’t too comfortable with that because my bike is loaded. I managed to pull way over and turn slightly left so that the bike wasn’t pointing downhill. I felt a little easier with that.

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The driveway at Thunder Creek HD. It doesn’t really show its steepness

The HD shop provided supper for us. Hamburgers and hot dogs and all the fixings. They had entertainment set up outside, also. There were vendors and also the Tennessee Veteran’s Memorial Wall. It listed those men and women from Tn. who served and gave all. It is another instance of why I love sunglasses. I can’t look at it for too long.

They did have entertainment. Of course it was country and you know how much I just love country, NOT! But one thing I did do. I found the cheapest pair of gloves I could find. Along the way, Karoni lost one of my summer leather gloves and I lost one of my summer gloves. So all I had was a leather set. I bought a padded, fingerless set that I used the next couple of days. Fortunately, the HD part of the gloves that I paid so much extra for are all black and hard to see.

1 comment:

FAPORT International said...

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