Day 4 – May 22, 2010

Day 4 of Ratbike Milo's NVAR Ride Day 4 of Ratbike Milo's NVAR Ride Day 4 of Ratbike Milo's NVAR Ride Day 4 of Ratbike Milo's NVAR Ride Day 4 of Ratbike Milo's NVAR Ride Day 4 of Ratbike Milo's NVAR Ride

It’s 6:00 am and not a cloud in the sky.  Quite a change from yesterday’s weather with all the snow in the morning.  We rode over to the American Legion Post 6 for breakfast and the morning meeting.  We had 72 bikes that left Cheyenne with a police escort.

We rode 100 miles to our first fuel stop in Sidney, Nebraska.  The only issue of the day seemed to be the WIND!  It was wearing on everyone.  North Platte was our next fuel stop and lunch was provided for us across the street at their War Memorial.  I did a TV interview there and it went off pretty good (I was told).  Thanks to the North Platte Fire Department for lunch and for their friendliness too.  I also saw Dave Eastman there again.  I have seen Dave and a lot of his friends there for the last few years and Dave has been keeping in touch with me on Facebook.  Dave and quite a few more riders joined us when we left.

I had the pleasure of riding in the Missing Man Formation from there on out.  The 5 bike formation consists of Steve, our National Ride Coordinator, on the left and usually the State Coordinator (of which ever state we are in) on his right. I was in the next row directly behind Steve with an empty place next to me which symbolizes the 'missing man'.  When I looked over and saw an empty place next to me, it was a very humbling experience.  I would look at Allen Buckle's picture on my windshield and imagine him riding next to me like we did together for so many years until his untimely end on his bike on the New Years Day ride in 1995.  I miss you buddy!  The next row consists of two more run coordinators, which was Noah on the left and Steve, Headdog, on the right.  All 5 bikes move as one in lane changes etc... The next group is usually the road guards who guide us safely to our destinations, fuel, rides through town etc...  Approximately 10 miles before our designated exit, they take off and go on ahead to show us the exit and to block traffic.  It is a very well engineered event to watch unfold.  It is like 'poetry in motion', getting a very long line of bikes to our stops without stopping at red lights or having to fight with traffic.  The next group is the main pack led by our 'pacer' Buzz Neeb and a person of his choice beside him and everyone behind them is in staggered formation.  A lot of the guys have CB radios and keep in constant communication with each other.

When we left North Platte we finally got off I-80 and took Hwy 30, a small two lane road for the next 100 miles to Kearney for our next fuel stop.  There were about another 50 or 60 more bikes waiting to join us when we arrived.  I was still able to ride Missing Man for the last 56 miles to the Veterans Home in Grand Island.  The wind was getting a lot stronger except when there were trains on the track just south of us that seemed to shield us from the wind somewhat.  At one point Steve, directly in front of me, and me and my rat bike both took a quick blast of wind that blew us immediately to our left about 4 feet into the oncoming lane.  It is a REAL good thing that the lane was not occupied with an oncoming vehicle or I would not be riding or writing these stories ever again!  It was pretty wild for a while.

We finally got to the Veterans Home in Grand Island and we went into the large chapel to watch a program due to it being so windy outside.  We visited with quite a few Veterans, were treated to root beer floats, and talked to a lot of past friends.  We then went to the local VFW for dinner which was right next door to the home.  Lots of good conversation as we filled up their dining hall.  Top went to the next room over and was at the microphone doing Karaoke.  I didn't see it but Gary filmed it so we can see it later. We found our motel for the night and I was able to catch the last 25 laps of the NASCAR race.  We are into the next time change of Central Time today....