Day 5 – May 23, 2010

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The morning looked like blue skies forever at 6:00 this morning.  We left our high priced Motel 6 ($75.00 a night) and went to Grandma Max's Restaurant next door for buffet breakfast and the riders meeting.  We picked up a couple of new riders and a couple left to ride south.  When we got out to the parking lot to go, the skies were black right above us.  And I thought the weather changed fast in Oregon!  It was looking bad just to the west so we were lucky to ride into lighter skies heading East again.

88 miles later was the next fuel stop and the weather was very good.  We picked up quite a few more riders there and 65 miles later we arrived at Bayless Park in Council Bluffs, Iowa, where we were greeted by a lot more riders and a lot of town folks who were really glad to see me and the Ratbike again.  As soon as I got off my bike a guy came up to me and said, "You’re Milo Anderson aren't you?"  I said, “Yep,” and he said, "I'm your cousin, Ken Anderson"!  He was riding a ‘99 Springer Softail, and he told me that he sold a ‘53 Pan Head that he had for years. He is a college teacher in Peru, Nebraska.  His uncle, Jerome (my first cousin) told him to go to my Web site and see when I will be going through Nebraska.  He got the schedule from the website and decided to meet me.  He said that the last time he saw me was in the early 60's.  His grandfather, Edmund, was my dad's brother, and yet Ken is 4 years older than me.  Ken said he will be in Woonsocket, South Dakota, the Tuesday after Memorial Day for an impromptu family reunion, so I can see some more relatives that I don't know I have!  My sister, brother in law, and my brother will meet there too.  It falls right into place for my return trip home.

We all went across the street for another lunch that was provided for us at the Masonic Lodge.  All the folks there are super nice and were very happy to help us out on our mission.  Back to the bikes and I said goodbye to Ken and his riding friend Brian as they were going to head back to Nebraska and we headed east.  40 miles more was another fuel stop.  Then we did 46 more miles and got off on a side road and went to the "Freedom Rock".  I saw pictures of it on the net before I saw it in person for the first time 5 years ago.  

Ray (Bubba) Sorrensen is the dedicated artist who constantly changes the pictures on all sides of the rock.  He was there and telling us about the picture he was painting.  He does his research and knows all about the Who, What, Where, When and maybe Why! Terry Mooney from Roseburg gave Ray some ashes of a fallen friend and asked him if he would mix some of them up in the paint so his friend could be in the picture.  Ray mixed the ashes in some green paint and proceeded to paint the front end of a UH-1 Huey helicopter while we watched!  What an honor and a great experience to be a part of that!  

It was then that Jennie arrived on the back of Keith's bike and we all had a great reunion with this wonderful gal from Chicago. Her brand new H-D Trike was back at the motel. She thinks that there is something wrong with it as she can only go 75 mph and she only gets 28 mpg.  She should talk to someone who has had one for a while and see what to compare it to.  

We were off on the road again to the Iowa Veterans Cemetery for a couple of ceremonies.  One of them was the unveiling and dedication of a new Vietnam Veterans Memorial Stone which is very cool.  The main inscription says, "NEVER AGAIN WILL ONE GENERATION OF VETERANS ABANDON ANOTHER".   We all got saddled up and went another 17 miles into town with a police escort to the Des Moines Paralyzed Veterans Association State Headquarters for dinner.  We had a very good reception by all those involved in making us feel at home.  Terry and I left to get to the motel before the big rush to check in.  Boy, are we ever glad we did.  She had us over booked and 4 people did not get rooms.  There were some not so happy campers.  There was another motel right next door, which came in handy.  We had to plead our case to get a room with 2 beds.  Mission accomplished and we got settled in and we hit the pool and the hot tub.  Time for bed for another fun filled day tomorrow.