Day 1 - May 19, 2010

No images for this day


41 bikes left in the cool morning air, from Auburn after the morning riders meeting. We expected it to get cooler going over Donner Summit. There was a lot of single lane travel over rough roads on I-80 due to road construction almost everywhere. As a newly formed group I would have to give us a C+ in riding formation, it got much better later in the afternoon. Our first stop was in Boomtown Nevada for fuel. It was a bit cool but I was prepared quite well for the coolness, as were most of us. 10 miles later we pulled into the Reno VAMC. We were quite a bit early and took the staff by surprise. They proceeded to usher out some of the patients to meet with us. After quite a bit of conversation outside we went inside to visit patients. We were ushered into the lunchroom instead where they had 50 box lunches waiting for us. Dr Kurt, who is the Director of the hospital, and Cheryl spoke with us while we ate. While walking down the hall we encountered Leroy, an 87 year young WWII patient. He was on a red 'hot rod' scooter with turn signals and wheelie bars on the back. He proceeded to show us how fast it would go. Leroy was a hoot, with all the stories he was telling us about helping build the Sears Tower and a lot of other tall buildings in his working days. A gal asked me if I would like to visit a bed ridden patient named Rafeal. I grabbed terry and we followed her to his room. He is on dialysis, and was not in a real good mood. He was a Green Beret in Viet Nam and was captured and was a POW for two long years. He broke down crying as he was telling us his service was not recognized due to some of the missions that he was on. It was like he was not even over there, he said. Terry and I listened for quite a while and I finally had to break it off and tell him we had to go visit other people. Wow, that was pretty heavy. We went back outside and found a whole lot of patients outside all around the bikes. My ratbike was again very popular. A lot of people told me that they remember me from the last 5 years coming by to visit. The best part was when we got ready to go, Leroy on his little red scooter, led our group out on to the street and down two blocks! I only wish that I could have seen the giant grin on his face! I know that he will be talking about that for a long time to come.

Back on I-80 East again and it was starting to warm up a bit as we were seeing a little more blue up in the sky. Lovelock was our next fuel stop 94 miles later. There was an Asian family who were taking pictures of me on my bike as I was riding by in the parking lot. I signaled to the mom, who spoke zero English, to come closer to me. She did and I grabbed her arm, and shocked the heck out of her, before she realized that she was going to be in the picture with me. Her daughter, who had the camera, loved it! The dad even started to laugh after he realized that his wife was not going to be harmed! We all thought it was pretty funny...I think! The last leg of the day was 123 miles to Battle Mountain for dinner and the night's stay. We went to the Shoshone Indian Reservation, for dinner served by the Battle Mountain Band of the Shoshone Tribe. We were very well received and they had some very good home made fried bread Indian tacos. Delbert is a proud American Indian Veteran and he takes pride in welcoming us onto their land. A couple of the gals there each gave me one of their homemade beaded trinkets and I had them pose for a picture by my new presents, that now are on my bike. Delbert's grand daughter, Gena is a very friendly sweetheart. She was talking and giggling up a storm! It was very refreshing to watch all the energy that she has. After a lot of goodbye's we headed off for fuel and to go to our motel. It was a very good first official day of this year's NVAR. Lots of great people to be around, and it makes it all the much better that I am going all the way to DC again!