Day 2, Flagstaff to Albuquerque
Woke up early this morning. Way too early. Headed over to the meeting location. At the meeting, I mentioned the activity at Milan and handed out the cards for riders to read with the Milan children. I passed out all I had and hoped it would go well. Then Six-String brought more cards and more riders got one. So we should have been covered when it came time to say the pledge with the children at Milan. Next Cornman mentioned the collection for Milan Elementary school and the t-shirts being sold to benefit the school (got me one). He then asked for further contributions and the money started to come in for all services. I don’t know the total or which branch of service donated the most, but later at the school more than $2600 was donated. Our Ambassador Leader read a bio of an MIA whose remains were reported found, but when this was investigated none were found, a sad moment. She always concludes “This is why we ride”. She’s right. Remember Parry Hopper, owner of the shovel that was used to break ground on the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial? She was at our meeting this morning. So cool. Then we got the usual lesson on hand signals by our road guards. I don’t know why they demonstrate them every day. They obviously don’t use hand signals that are specifically for use in platoons and they usually mess up a signal to two anyway. It’s no wonder one platoon in our group was confused which hand signal to use for staggered formation. Oh well, like a friend of mine always says “it is what it is”. Immediately after being released for our platoon meetings, the 5-minute horn sounded. At my platoon meeting, about all I had time to tell everyone was follow the person in front of you.
We headed out of Flagstaff on time and the further we headed east the warmer it got. At our fuel stop in Holbrook, everyone was either running inside or shedding gear depending on the severity of circumstances. Someone had graciously provided Danish muffins for Run For The Wall members inside. I had a couple, they were good. Then I had a couple more. Thanks to whoever provided them. We then left for our next fuel stop which was determined to be a “fuel & go” style stop. We were not supposed to leave our motorcycles, but the hydration truck was set up for our convenience and some like me took advantage of it anyway. We’re always told to hydrate and take advantage of the hydration truck, right? So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I went over to the hydration truck and got a fruit drink. Those are so good. I love the green ones. A lady there looked at my vest and pointed at one of my pins and asked where I got it. I told her I got it a long time ago and didn’t remember. Later I saw folks from M25 huddled around this kind woman offering a prayer for her. She was crying over some emotional event I didn’t learn of. Anyway, I went up to her took the pin off my vest and pinned it to her blouse and she really started crying. She said something about an angel, I didn’t hear. A few of the M25 folks thanked me and shook my hand and left me wondering what I had done. I’m used to giving people stuff off my vest. Sometimes children point things out and I give whatever it is to them. They think it’s some type of treasure and it’s really just a trinket. I like making people happy is all it is.
At Milan, I grabbed my camera, my pins and my poker chips and headed toward the children. After handing out nearly everything to the children outside, a rider asked me if I knew where the Chaplains Corp was. I said I didn’t know and asked what the problem was. She said there was a man on a trike that was having trouble. So I went over to him. I recognized him. He’s a good friend of mine. His wife was there with a couple others. After determining his blood glucose level was low, I ran for some Gatorade and had him drink some. Medics from inside the came out and checked him out further. An ambulance came by but it was determined it was unnecessary. We were told he needed to eat some food and rest inside out of the heat and after helping him inside he soon felt better. Meanwhile I missed the Pledge of Allegiance with the children. I really wanted to be there when we recited the three pledges with them. I’m sure it went great and that the children were impressed. I did finally get inside with them and took some pictures of the event. I got some great shots of our riders eating in the cafeteria after that.
Next we headed to the casino for fuel (again sponsored) and then lined up to be escorted into Albuquerque. If you have not witnessed this event, you have missed one of the wonders of the world. It’s truly amazing. What a blessing all the motor officers are as they help us enter the city completely by ourselves right into the Harley Shop that sponsors our evening meal completely unmolested by a single vehicle. Burgers and dogs and all the fixings. There was so much smoke from the grill, you would think the fire department would have been alerted, but no. There was a long line, but it went fairly quickly. There was a great band playing as well. Lots of favorites. Good times.
About time for me to go, I mounted my bike and proceeded to carefully maneuver out of my confined space only to drop my brand new Ultra Limited 115th Anniversary bike right there in the parking lot. I’m sure everyone saw it. Were you laughing? Well, I’ll bet it was funny and I’m sure you were thinking you were happy that was not you. Some folks standing close quickly came to my assistance and helped my get it up right. I drove away embarrassed. Oh well. The meal was great, the music was great, the company was great. No sense letting a small thing like that ruin my evening. Anyone get a picture?
“We Ride For Those That Can’t”
Tom “Twotone” Lystrup – Platoon 5 Leader / Midway Route SitRep Writer
I’d appreciate your comments. For those that have emailed me their comments, my thanks and my love to you all.