Day 10 - May 28, 2010


We were up before 6:00 yet again and breakfast was in the motel dining room.  It was one of the few meals that we had to buy.  We had our last riders meeting of the trip and there was a lot to talk about.  Especially, the traffic getting into D.C.

We hit the road at 8:00 and it was a pretty cloudy day.  We went 95 miles to our first gas stop and it was a very busy station.  I figured out years ago that when we all pull up to the pumps and all pumps have 8+ bikes each waiting to get fuel, I pull up to the building and go inside first and there is no waiting for the restroom (which is a real good thing most of the time). There is also no waiting at the counter for a Gatorade either. When I'm done inside and ready to get fuel, the pumps are almost ready to use and the big lines are now for the restroom and the counter!  Don't let anybody know of my solution to the easy way to do this.  The 10th day on the road led to some anxious moments especially with everybody in cars and trucks seeming to not want to tolerate almost 100 motorcycles trying to stay together.  It was quite a challenge, but a big thanks goes out to all our road guards who did a great job of guiding us through a lot of traffic and construction obstacles.

Our next stop was at Rocky Gap Maryland Veterans Cemetery in the State Park area. This is another wreath laying ceremony for our group.  The Junior Marines were there to greet us as well.  When we pulled in I spotted Vince, who was the Schneider Truck driver for the Ride for Pride truck from last year.  It was good to see Vince again and he said likewise.  We all formed two lines for the ceremony and there was a 21-Gun Salute and Taps played again.

We had to cut the visit a little short to be able to get to our next fuel and lunch stop, which was another 56 miles down the road.  Again I did my plan and it worked out great as there was nobody at the pumps when I went to get fuel.  We are now seeing a LOT of other motorcycles both on the road and at the different fuel stops too.  However we have not seen a group of our size yet.  When we lined up this time, we had all of the original people who left Sacramento, California, at the front of the pack.  Traffic was getting pretty crazy and on top of all that, we had only so much time to get to Arlington National Cemetery for our group wreath laying.  Jerry and Mike rode ahead to get our parking and the shuttle to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier all set.

We rolled in with 77 bikes as the rest of them went straight to the motel.  Jerry was getting a little worried that we would not make it on time.  We arrived with 5 minutes to spare.  We hurried up and got on the shuttle and they got us there just in time.  Our 4 guys looked very sharp with their white shirts and flag neck-ties and black vests with the National Veterans Awareness Ride big patch on the back.  Steve, Dan, Noah and Ed were the wreath layers.  It went very well and looked great.  We got back on the shuttle after watching the guard on duty for a while longer.  We were treated to the royal 45 minute tour which was not planned.  The tour guide gals did an awesome job of narration and history of who's buried where and how things came to be.

We got back to the bikes and got lined up and hit the roads at rush hour time of around 5:00.  Wow, what a mess.  Our road guards deserved double pay for how they got us the 10 miles or so to the motel.  We were very impressed, which is a lot more than I can say about all the blocked motorists.  We went back to the same motel where we have been staying for the last 5 years.  It's all good except the Internet, which is too weak to get a signal and they have no plug in port either.  After getting my stuff in the room, I went down to the Chillicothe Ohio group of about a dozen guys and gals.  Wray Jean's husband, Jim, and Darryl were doing the food prep and BBQ for dinner.  They told me to get up and help myself and I accepted.  Another guy named Jim too, asked me about Orenco Systems in Sutherlin Oregon.  It seems that he is a distributor for them and their septic filter systems.  I told Jim that they buy a lot of tools from me and that they are all real good people.  He said that he stayed in Roseburg a couple of years ago when he last came out to their plant.

Then a strange thing happened with a charter bus with people from Shang Hi, China on it.  The bus turned a corner too sharp and Gary watched it hit a Mercedes.  The car driver was honking but the bus driver did not hear him.  So they were stuck here by our motel for a while.  About 8 or 10 of them started looking at the bikes.  One of them came over to where we were all sitting around by the group’s trailer and one of the visitors poked his head in the trailer to look.  I went up to him and took his camera from him and pulled him over next to Wray Jean and I took a picture with both of them.  After he realized what I was doing, he had a super sized smile on his face.  Next thing you know the whole bunch of them were all over by our group.  I then took off my shirt and they were all surprised by my tattoos and all their cameras came out and we all took turns posing together for group pictures. Jim was motioned over for pictures by one of the Chinese guys, and he looked at Jim's belly and he stuck out his belly as far as he could to try to look like Jim.  It was a priceless moment and laughter was all around everyone!  By then we were attracting quite a crowd and I took them over to my bike and showed them how I start it with a screwdriver, brought to you by "Oregon Tool & Supply"! They were all impressed, I think.  They hardly flinched when I open up my train horns.  They loved it all.  They all took turns posing with me and the Ratbike, as over a dozen cameras were out by now.  They all had cameras too, and I motioned to one of them to get on the back.  He did!  So I climbed on and started it up and drove off with him.  Keep in mind that none of them could speak even a single word of English.  I rode around the motel and when I got back every one was cracking up.  The guy on the back loved it so much, he went and got one of his gal friends (wife?) and put her on the back. I placed my red helmet on her head and it just about covered her face.  I rode her around the building too and once again, laughter was at an all time high!  We all posed for more pictures and I went to hug one of the gals, and she got a look of panic on her face and ran behind one of her friends.  Oops, maybe she wasn't ready for that!  I went up to my room and brought down an Oregon Tool & Supply T-shirt and gave it to the beer belly 'want to be' guy.  He proudly put it on and I took him back to the group for more pictures.  Then a younger Chinese gal came up who was the interpreter for their group.  I asked her to tell her group that they are very funny people to be around and that we had a good time with them.  The guy that I gave the shirt to had the gal ask me to sign it for him.  Jim got a felt pen for me and I signed the shirt for him.  We were all laughing so hard we were crying.  What a show!  It could not have gone better if someone tried to plan it.  The Chillicothe group asked me what I was going to do to top that act for tomorrow night.  Who knows what will happen with the never ending adventures of "Ratbike Milo".  Stay tuned... By the way, it is after 11:00 and it is absolutely pouring outside.  It started raining a little bit just before dark.