25 September 2013

Mail Call

This year we will miss much of what makes the Midwest such a wonderful place to live... leaves changing color in Autumn. We're already in Destin, and with a few trips home to check on the house, retrieve mail, and touch base with family and friends, will be here until mid-March.
Our reasons for coming down this early are twofold:
-I intend to run to the County Clerk's office and declare myself a Florida resident so my vote is no longer an act of futility, tilting at the imagined windmills on the far Northern Horizon in "BigTown", where Food Stamps and Social Security Disability checks keep folks smiling and satisfied to be unemployed. Living here more than half the year makes that an honest endeavor.
(Bein' HONEST. Now THERE'S a weird concept!)
-Secondly, we have, over the last year, befriended a young couple here.
She's nearly 24, blonde, and pretty as that "speckled pup" we're always hearing about. He's a little older than she chronologically; quite a bit older emotionally. A West Point Grad, he wears a Green Beret at work, and in less than two weeks he'll be boarding the flying silver tube for another tour of duty where folks are shooting real bullets and blowing themselves up with huge cars-full of explosives. This time he's going to Afghanistan.

They were married in July. They're just beginning to realize we have "adopted" them. We want to help him as much as possible as he prepares to once again go and support and defend the Constitution. When he's only available to her via email or SKYPE, we want to be around to try to put a smile on her face.
She and Sara Jean get along great. That's wonderful for me, 'cause you surely can imagine how much I HATE having two beautiful blondes listening to my line of crap.

My special ops friend and I have lately had several discussions about how being a warrior has changed over the years.
Obviously, MUCH has changed. But some things haven't changed at all.
Lawyers are still endangering our troops with their foolishness-
"R.O.E.", Rules of Engagement still handcuff our brave men, just as they did when we were conducting "police actions" in Viet Nam (and I suspect, maybe to a lesser degree, Korea.)
They're a necessary evil, but I think we hurt ourselves and endanger our men unnecessarily, and our enemy soon takes advantage of our honor.
Collateral damage is to be avoided at nearly ALL costs, even if those being damaged are most likely aiding and abetting the enemy. The situation is worse now than it was during the VN era- Drones and satellites are ALWAYS watching. Every radio frequency known to man is being monitored. If you make a mistake, it's only a matter of time 'til everyone in the chain of command above you knows it.

One of the bright spots of the day in VN was checking the mailbox, finding a letter with that certain handwriting, lightly scented with a fragrance that helped you remember why you were there risking your life in the first place.
Now and again there would be a note to come pick up your "care package"... Cookies, canned meats, cheese and cracker assortments, candy...
The sorts of things that were sometimes difficult to come by. This is how I learned to love smoked oysters on crackers.

I think I'll try to remind our beautiful blonde friend to write a personal, scented note now and then.

And, WE will be sending a box full of non-perishable foodstuffs, (including smoked oysters and crackers) as often as we can afford postage.
Others did it for me forty years ago.
It's payback time.

13 September 2013

13 September 2013, After Action Report:

She was sick.
But like a trooper, she reported for duty.

Her Caribbean Cruise docked Sunday. She was sick when she got off the "Freedom of the Seas".
Monday she flew home. She was sick when I met her at the airport.
At home, she puttered around and cleaned up a few messes I had made during her week of absence, then went to bed.

It was a short night.
We were up and at 'em early Tuesday. We had a long hard drive to make it to the "Two Million Bikers to D.C." rally.

We dropped Lucy off at a friend's, then headed Eastbound at 0730 hrs.
Sun shining, not a cloud in the sky, traffic was light, the only fly in the ointment was her bladder infection...
"Do you need to 'rest'?"
So we made a potty break every hour or so. Every stop added about 15 minutes to "Carmen the Garmin's" estimated arrival time. It's the first time my prostate irritation wasn't the main cause for our lack of progress across the map.

It had been almost forty years since I had been to West Virginia. One of the reasons for our early departure was to arrive there during daylight so we could see the vistas.
Boy, was it worth it! Sara Jean ooooohed and aahhhhhed for hours, while I wished she was behind the wheel so I could enjoy the view instead of having to worry about keeping the big brown Dodge truck with the motorcycle in the bed centered on the narrow, curvy, up-and-downhill road.
Then it got dark, and beautiful, scenic roads became stressful.
I was glad to see the "Welcome to Virginia" sign, knowing that the topography would level out and we'd reach our destination, (Manassas) in an hour or so.

We checked into the motel, then made a quick trip to Wally World for "must haves"...
Vitamin C lozenges and beer.
We were in bed at 2330 hours. Sleep came quickly.

I woke to the sound of V-Twins rumbling by outside.
A good sign.
While Sara Jean showered, I backed the truck into a ditch and offloaded the bike.
Then it was my turn in the shower.
We were saddled up and headed toward D.C. by 1100.

We crossed the Potomac at about 1130 hrs. and I was disappointed...
Yeah, there were plenty of bikes around, but not in the numbers I hoped for.
I was praying for gridlock, but traffic was still moving pretty freely. A group of bikers shouted and waved, (probably at my beautiful wife!), and we stopped to ask if anyone knew of a "plan".
No one did. But rumors abounded-
-There was a group of over a hundred thousand bikes coming in from the local Harley-Davidson dealership.
-The "Million Muslim March" was taking place at "The Mall", and after their rally they had a permit to parade down Constitution Avenue. Bikers were to remain respectful and calm, but were to start engines and REV them up as the group passed.
Well, that was better than nothing.

Two-wheel numbers kept increasing. Bikes were backed perpendicular to Constitution Avenue, and there were bikes as far as the eye could see. Big groups of bikes continued to arrive and pass on the Avenue, greeted with waves, cheers, and "V" signs made with index and middle fingers from those of us along the boulevard.
Weather was sunny and hot, but thank God there was a breeze blowing. If not for that, there would have been MANY heat-related injuries in the crowd. As it was, we watched as several ambulances passed Eastbound, lights on and sirens in use.

More rumors-
The Muslim crowd wasn't as big as hoped.
Then more rumors-

The Muslim crowd was virtually non-existent.
Numbers we were hearing were unbelievable:
Out of a hoped-for 1,000,000?

Hours passed.
We were sweating, but everyone was walking around, meeting/shaking hands with other bikers and visiting.
Sara Jean was flitting around like a butterfly in a meadow. She never meets a stranger. I noticed several guys taking pictures of my wife. In spite of being a little under the weather, she was having a ball.

We were all united in our mission.
The Washington monument was behind us. Through a break in the trees we could see a corner of the White House a block or so away. Several bikers saluted the White House with one finger as they passed on Constitution Ave. (The confused would call them racist!) Me, I'm uncomfortable with that gesture, but I understand how we've reached this point in our history. I think division has been part of the plan all along.
That plan has succeeded in spades. (Wait... is that racist?)

1500 Hours:
Word was passed around-
The "Millon Muslim March" was a complete disaster.
There would be no parade down Constitution Ave.

What now?
Bikers shrugged their shoulders and asked one another, "Is this a success?"
Our intention was to send an undeniable message-
"We're mad as HELL, and we're not gonna take it anymore!"
Yes, it was an undeniable success.
Kick stands up, we started engines and went our separate ways, anxious to watch the news and see how the media traitors would report the day.

Of course, they reported it just as we expected-
Which is to say, for the most part they avoided reporting it at all.

But the "Million Muslim March"....
There wasn't even a "Hundred Muslim March".
And those of us on bikes got a shot of adrenaline...
There wasn't even a true leader at the head of this movement, yet hundreds of thousands answered a call, mounted up, and drove several hours to be counted.

They may not want to report the truth.
But I HAVE to imagine someone noticed.
And I hope this was just the start of a process that eventually will heal this Nation.

God be with us all.

Sara Jean approached a young Buck Sergeant walking past and thanked him for his service. He emphatically responded, "Thank YOU ALL for running the Muslims away!"
She then told him that he should give everyone the "Peace" sign as he walked along Constitution Avenue.
To that he responded, "We can't do that. If they caught us they'd Court Martial us."

This is the world we now live in, folks.
Lawyers... thanks SO much.

11 September 2013

Quick Thoughts from Manassas Two/Too-

-Sara Jean is running a low-grade fever from an infection, (bladder?)
It seemed we stopped at every other rest area to "rest", which my prostate thought was just fine, thankyouverymuch. But a rest stop adds about 15 minutes to arrival times and that contributed to the fact we spent nearly 15 hours in the pickup yesterday.

-Considering the above, I'm more than a little concerned how we'll handle "rest" stops on our D.C. ride today.

-I could never have imagined how much we're enjoying our "Sirius" radio on these trips...
No searching the dial for a station carrying something of interest.
Just don't park under a metal canopy when you're REALLY interested in what's being broadcast.

-Two lane West Virginia roads are breathtaking... until the sun goes down.
Then they are downright scary.

-Cummins Diesel engines are awesome. We climbed VERY steep grades yesterday and "Big Brown" never had to downshift once.

-Diesel fuel is generally $.30 per gallon more expensive than gasoline.

-After check-in we went to "Wally World" to buy some "gotta haves".
Two employees we encountered there were very gruff.
It was late. Maybe they were at the end of a bad shift.
I hope this isn't an indication of the general attitude of folks here.

-We woke early this morning to the sound of V-Twin thunder rolling by.
I'm trying to imagine "two million" bikes in a town this size...
If anything close to that number show up, you won't be able to spit without hitting a bike and offending a brother/sister.
I hope we get those numbers.
I'll resist the urge to spit.

10 September 2013

Quick Thoughts from Manassas, Virginia-

We're here safely, thank you Lord.

We checked into the motel at 2300 hours. I was hopeful we'd be dizzy from trying to count bikes on the road as we arrived, but there were almost NO bikes on the road.
I suspect (hope) everyone arrived earlier to get a good night's sleep.

I had forgotten how absolutely beautiful is West Virginia!
We now are planning another trip here, just to ride them thar hills.

Off to bed now.
Prayers for a good showing of bikes tomorrow.
Prayers too for this ailing, "never waste a good crisis" Nation.

09 September 2013


I apologize for the paucity of posts, but I just haven't had the inclination and situation together to facilitate writing.
I'll try to rectumfy that.

The bike is in the bed of the truck.
In the A.M. we depart Eastbound.
God willin', we'll be in Manassas, VA tomorrow (Tuesday) evening.
Wednesday morning we hope to join two million of our bestest friends on two wheels in D.C..
Denied a permit to rally, I can foresee many of us having some sort of minor problem that necessitates a stop and check.

Watch the news.
I'll wave.
I promise.