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.


Well Seasoned Fool said...

High praise for all you who participated.

Jess said...

I'm still infuriated by the lack of media coverage.

cary said...

Thank you, GB, for two things.

First, for your service in a country no one thought we should be in (talkin' 'bout DC here ...).

Second, for standing up, riding in, and being counted.

Third, for adding to the pedigree on that bike that's headed my way!

(ok, start the "jarheads can't count" jokes in 3, 2, 5 ...)

The Old Man said...

Nicely done, amigo. Any guesses as to the total number of scoots?
Everyone and no one formed the chain of command... Bet it felt good.

Old NFO said...

Thank you and Sara Jean for making the effort to get up there. You and all the others are the TRUE Patriots!

Anonymous said...

I read a bumper-sticker in a Harley Shop where I work this morning, which made me think of you, Greybeard.

"For those who fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."

I'm not a Vet, but I can certainly appreciate those who are. Thanks.

I'm posting as "Anonymous" for lack of a blogspot account, but thanks for the recent BFR & Instrument refresher practice -- you know who ;)