Day 11 – May 29, 2010


We left as a group at 9:00 a.m. to ride to the Wall.  The road guards did fantastic while letting us go through red lights and also blocking incoming lanes too.  We got there in about 10 minutes as it would have taken twice as long to do the 10 mile ride.  We went to the Wall and did a dedication to a couple of guys whose names were on the wall as fallen heroes.  It was an emotional time as the sister and brother of one of them were with us here at the dedication.

After that we rode over to the D.C. Ramblers clubhouse and had a great lunch they had prepared for us.  The D.C. Ramblers are a motorcycle organization that was established in 1937.  They are all super nice guy's and gal's.  I also saw Brendon, who is a neat kid who dresses in fireman turnouts as if he was working on the fire truck, just like his dad. He got on the Ratbike for some more pictures just like last year.  Two years ago he would not come near my bike because of some 'unknown' reason.  Then last year, he was my best friend, as he is this year too.

We left as a group to go to the Fort Washington Harley shop.  I pulled right in and parked up front, like normal, for me anyway.  One of the guy's working there came over to greet me and welcomed me back. He said he remembered getting an oil drain pan for me when the gal inside said, "NO, you cannot change your own oil here"!  He saved the day, and their reputation back then and he is just as cool today.  After about 45 minutes of 'show & tell' I joined Ray and his brother, Jerry and cousin Ed and Kathy, and Terry and Steve and Carrie, and Janet and we followed Ed through old town D.C.

It was getting quite hot again and we finally found a place near Thunder Alley to pull our bikes in and park on the lawn.  I was the last one off the street and as soon as I got on the lawn and pulled the clutch in, the bike snapped forward and died.  I had no clutch lever and figured that I had broken another cable.  I told the guy's that I just broke a clutch cable and they all said, "oh, no!"  I said it's all good!  It's perfect timing when it chose to break.  It could have been in traffic, or on the way back home, where people would have had to wait for me.  Someone pointed out that I always seem to find the positive in things, no matter how bad other people think things are.  I walked to the vendors in Thunder Alley, where there were a lot of booths set up as usual.  After 20 minutes or so I walked back to my bike to put another clutch cable on figuring that it was probably cool enough to work on.  Of course the bike had a crowd around her as I started to pull on the cable to get it out of there.  To my surprise it would not come away from the lever where it always breaks.  I tried the other end and it was solid too.  Upon further inspection, I determined that the cable was not broken and the problem was in the adjustment hollow bolt that the cable goes through.  The piece that it screws into, which is bolted to the frame, stripped out and the adjustment bolt just slipped past the threads.  I pulled all the stuff from my back pack and I located a fine thread nut and put it on the adjustment bolt and put it all back together, and now all the pressure is on the nut with good threads.  I was also doing a tour of the bike as I was working on it.  When I stood up a guy pushed a five dollar bill into my hand as we shook hands.  I asked him "what was that for?" He said "gas, hamburger, or whatever, I just got at least five dollars worth of entertainment out of just listening to you talk about your bike!"  Well that there was funny.... When the group got back to the bikes, I had been done fixing it about 10 minutes earlier.  Timing is everything!

We got back on the freeway going South and the group got off a couple of exits before ours to explore town and find a place for dinner.  I kept going to our motel as I had already been invited for a fish fry dinner by Darrell and Becky, and Wray Jean and Jim from the Chillicothe group.  We all had such a good time together last night, and I already knew it was going to be hard to top that!  It was a relatively calm night compared to last night.  A lot of people were staying up late and were planning to leave for the big parade at 6:30 tomorrow morning.

Knowing how hot it will be waiting for hours in the hot Pentagon parking lot, I will not miss riding in the Parade this year. Instead, we planned to leave at 7:30 tomorrow morning to head west to hit the homeward trail.......