Day 8 – May 26, 2010

Welcome to Day 8 NVAR and Ratbike Milo's Ride Welcome to Day 8 NVAR and Ratbike Milo's Ride Welcome to Day 8 NVAR and Ratbike Milo's Ride Welcome to Day 8 NVAR and Ratbike Milo's Ride Welcome to Day 8 NVAR and Ratbike Milo's Ride Welcome to Day 8 NVAR and Ratbike Milo's Ride Welcome to Day 8 NVAR and Ratbike Milo's Ride Welcome to Day 8 NVAR and Ratbike Milo's Ride Welcome to Day 8 NVAR and Ratbike Milo's Ride Welcome to Day 8 NVAR and Ratbike Milo's Ride Welcome to Day 8 NVAR and Ratbike Milo's Ride Welcome to Day 8 NVAR and Ratbike Milo's Ride

Our breakfast was at the John Franklin Miller Post #37 in Michigan City.  We had a super breakfast like you would order off a menu.  The guy's and gal's were very happy to have all the people to serve food to.  They had plenty.  We left and rode south on SR 421, a potholed, very rough two lane road.  All along the way there were people out in full force waving flags and holding banners and showing tremendous patriotic support. The same guy was sitting on a tractor for the last 5 years in a row waving to every one of us.  Complete schools were all out by the roads waving American flags, each and every one of them.  It was a fantastic show of support.  

After the first 50 miles we stopped at West Central School and pulled into the parking lot and lined up next to the curb where all the kids were.  A lot of the kids and teachers remembered me and the Ratbike, and some teachers told me they were following last year’s and this year’s trip on my Website.  The kids looked like they were enjoying our quick 15 minute stop and visit.  Maybe it was because it was the LAST day of school today.

We had a county by county police escort all through the state.  When one county ended, the sheriff would pull over and the next sheriff pulled out through his county.  The next stop was the Indiana State Veterans Home.  This was the best attended event by the Veterans who were waiting for us when we pulled in.  I was half way through the group of 127 of bikes.  My bike just happened to stop right in front of the main pavilion.  The first person I saw was Phyllis in her wheel chair with a big smile and a wave for me to come over to her and to greet her first.  We gave each other a big hug and she said she has been waiting all year to see me come back.  She then told me that she loves me and did not want to let go of my hand.  She asked me if I was ever in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  She said her daughter works there as a stripper, who dances on a pole or something!  I did some quick math and I guess Phyllis is in her mid 80's so that makes her daughter???  I didn't want to go there then!  I asked her if she wanted to get a ride in a side car on a Harley.  Her face lit up and she asked me, "Do you really think I can get a ride"?  I told her sure and the gal across the table said, "I want a ride too".  I asked her name and she looked at me a bit puzzled (I think she thought I should have remembered) and said it is Ruth.  Wow, I have seen Ruth too, every single year except last year and I could not find her anywhere.  I was glad to see that she was still there.  I flipped a coin and Phyllis called it and Ruth won the first ride between both of them.  The first ride was given to Charlie, a 91 year old Veteran.  Charlie made a wreath and gave it to our group to take to D.C. and lay it at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Chub is the guy who took one of his dog tags off his neck, during my first stop here 5 years ago, and put it on the front of my bike and every year he comes up to the bike and finds it hanging there and he gets a big smile and simply says, "Thank You."  The little things seem to mean a lot to shut in Veterans, and I'm glad that I have a small part in making them smile.  Steve, Headdog, presented the Veterans home with two checks for $500.00 each for the recreation department. and for the general fund from the Michigan City Wall Gang. Another check for $400.00 was presented by the Michigan City DAV.  Phyllis and Ruth both had a wonderful time getting rides in the special made side car to handle wheel chairs.   When I turned around there were another 5 or 6 people in wheel chairs in line to get their rides, just like at the fair!  What a real good, feel good stop where we know we made a difference.  A lot of us riders stood in line for food and took full plates to all the Veterans first before we took the time to eat.  We all mingled and ate with the Veterans and I can't say enough about how that made me, personally feel about this stop.  It was fantastic!  We had to leave all too soon it seemed but we have a schedule to maintain.

We crossed another time zone to Eastern Time and 20 miles later we pulled in for fuel again and were met by 8 Indiana State Motor Cops on Harleys.  I pulled my bike right behind their bikes and got off to take a picture.  They all gathered around the Ratbike and we engaged in conversation and pictures and a lot of laughter.  It was another "Kodak moment" that worked out very well.  When I pulled away to get back in line, I showed them how good my siren worked, and I heard that they were impressed (I hope)!  They did a super job in escorting us through traffic on the freeways.  It was getting hotter all the time.  Another day of mid 90's weather.

A couple of more gas stops and we were in Brookville, Ohio, to be greeted by a few riders and another police escort through town the long way.  Next time we need to speed it up a bit and get to the Am Vets place faster in this heat.  We had a very good reception from everyone there, especially John and Lisa.  A few people spoke to us and then we had the best feast yet put together by a lot of volunteers.  It is a very good stop for us.  Terry and I left and rode to his house and Dee showed up a little later.  Terry put our clothes in his washing machine and I checked my primary chain and fluid level.  Both were good and I tightened up the drive chain and went inside and took a shower.  It sure is nice to relax in a house instead of a motel room.

Tomorrow's supposed to be another hot day....