Monday, July 10, 2017

May 28th - Sunday - TAPS - Rolling Thunder

I always look forward to Rolling Thunder. If I had known what this day would bring, I would have skipped it.  Rolling Thunder is an annual demonstration/protest by bikers from across the US to bring awareness of all the still unaccounted POWs and MIAs of the Vietnam war.  This was year 30.  Nearly 1 million bikes converge on the Pentagon parking areas, and stage a ride through the streets of DC to the National Mall where they hold a program of music and speech for the cause.  The ride lasts for hours.  Through Frenchy's connections with a group from Pennslyvania, we always have rides as Gold Star parents.  Laurie as not feeling well, and skipped going. She was then able to avoid what was to follow.

The day started well enough.  It was warm early and there was a firetruck on hand spraying water to help us keep cool.  We assembled, got assigned our riders and waited until parade time.  As we were on our bikes finally, and waiting to begin, the Air Force flew a B-52 bomber overhead to signal our start.

Then the rain drops started falling.

It rained throughout the entire ride. Easy at first, then heavier. by the time we got to the Mal, we were soaked.  They didn't have us park on the grass field where we normally end up, but along a street there.  The rain stopped as we were getting off our bikes.  As we walked through the mall to where we could get an Uber back to the hotel, it started raining again and would not stop until later that night.  We crammed too many of us into a too expensive Uber and spent a good half hour to hour trying to get out of DC back to Arlington due to the many roads closed for Rolling Thunder. Yeah, it was pretty much a nightmare. 

Still, our friend, Tim Chambers, The saluting Marine, was at his post on the route.  You can read tis amazing patriot's story here in his interview:
You should also visit his website here:

We got back to the hotel and them a few of us had to go back to help one of the riders retrieve his bike that had broken down before the ride. Luckily the rain had abated for this period.

That night, Laurie, our friend Gale and I went for a walk and ended up at a sports bar down the street that we've been to before.  We took seats I the patio that had open windows to the street.  While we were there, we invited Jeremiah and a couple of others to come join us.  Later, my new friend Richard and his wife came by and went to the upstairs room where a band performed.  He came down a couple of times to smoke and told us we should go up. We didn't but continued to sit with our group.  As it got later, our friend left, and Laurie and I decided it was right that we should go up before we left.  When we got upstairs, there was a pretty decent rock band playing and people dancing. ne couple that was there was our friend Tim Chambers and his wife. They are great people and we spent the rest of the night with Richard and his friends and Tim and his family. His mother was there too.  We had an epic night.

Vintage bike from WWII

1975 Harley - Don't ask

My driver and I. Our third ride together.

The National Mall in the rain.

Later that night. The band.  The bass player had an old Fender Jazz Bass just like the one I used to own.

The Chambers and McGlones

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