Day 6 – May 24, 2010

No Images for this day

I was up at 5:30, and not a cloud in the sky.  Our group ride consisted of 54 bikes as we rode to the AMVET Post #2 for a great breakfast.  We were also treated to a JROTC Drill Team showing us what they could do.  We had a police escort from there to the Des Moines VAMC for another hour+ visit with Vets.  There were a lot of empty beds, which is good!  We did find a few guys to speak with.  They were very happy to have someone to talk to.

When we got back outside we found that it was rapidly getting warmer.  Great start for riding.  We went a few miles on I-80 and then headed north up to Marshalltown to the Iowa Veterans home.  We had a nice two lane ride for about 45 miles and had a police escort into the home.  There are some very cool, centuries old houses in this laid back section of 'old town'.  The streets are lined with huge trees that form a canopy over the drive.  When we pulled into the property we formed two lines.  The one on the right proceeded onto the sidewalk and we all rode on the walking path with about 30 bikes and parked where we stopped, wheel to wheel.  Some of the wheel chairs could barely get by.  The other line of bikes stayed left and lined up in the parking lot.  There were at least 30 patients waiting for our arrival and we had a very good greeting by all of them. I spoke with a guy named Mike who could not move his arms, but could talk just fine as we conversed about my bike.  He got wheeled back inside and came back with a key chain lanyard that said Iowa State Veterans Home, and wanted me to have it for my bike.  I thanked him and tied it on the front of the bike.  We were called into the cafeteria for hamburgers and desert and we ended up being late to leave as we were having such a good time mingling with patients.

Back on the road on the two lane for another 40 miles or so and on I-80 again to our next fuel stop.  It was getting very warm the farther we got.  We got off again at Iowa City with a police escort to the Iowa City VAMC.  It was a lot of riding through town to get there.  It was a very small pull around but we managed to get almost everyone stuffed in there.  We were told in no uncertain terms, "NO pictures of Veterans".  The privacy laws in action.  I was even asked to sign a release to have a picture taken of me and my bike!  I told them it's all public knowledge and I don't need to give them permission.  They insisted!  We were given a guided tour of the new wing with a lot of new modern stuff.  The rooms were very user friendly and meant to be more of a living area, instead of just a plain old hospital room.  The new innovations are meant to make the long term Veteran's stay much more comfortable.  The director of the hospital, Barry, rode the missing man formation on his Gold Wing to our next stop at the Davenport All Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

Before we got to Davenport, our group got off the freeway and right back on again so we could pick up another group of riders who were waiting there lined up ready to follow us into town.  That made us around 100 strong and a great looking line.  Well we think it was a great looking line but some truckers and commuters would probably disagree! We pulled into the cemetery and past a large group of people waiting for our arrival.  It was a real cool scene!  We visited for a while and I saw some old friends from past runs there and it was all good.  A fine program was put on by the Marine Corps League and a lot of other groups were there to make our stay enjoyable.

It was almost 6:00 when we left to go to dinner, and 94 degrees.  We found out on the news tonight that Davenport set a new record high for this day in May.  It was a welcome relief to get inside the American Legion Post #26 for dinner.  They had an excellent choice of food and desert, including ice cream.  It was a good time for cool ice cream.  We are invited back to the same Post tomorrow morning for breakfast.  Our Motel is very cool as well.  It needed to be as hot as it still was outside.  Headdog got a text message this morning from Peggy in Evanston, Wyoming (where we had snow a few mornings ago) and she said that they have a foot of snow now!  WOW!  Timing is Everything!!!