I’m hauling mine to Sturgis.
BUT–I rode it 41,000 miles across Vietnam–with a playful vengeance for those who gave all.
Browse my web site; check out the photos and read some stories, and read what others have said about Harley Tracks. I’ve posted photos of a few who bought the book last year. One guy read the book in ten days, and I thought that was some serious reading, but last week I got news of a Vietnam veteran who read Harley Tracks in one day. That’s 95,000 words=over 265 pages of text, plus maps and photos. Wow! Many have humbled me with praise, but it’s those I rode for, and their brothers who returned, who deserve a far greater recognition.
I can’t ignore my sense of safety to pack my bike like the Vietnamese pack their 110cc motos (look through the photo albums). So, I trust you’ll understand me hauling my Fat Boy to Sturgis, when I’ve got a ton of books to haul, also. I’ll be back inside the Black Hills Harley Davidson store for book signings throughout the rally. C’mon in for a visit; share a story, check out my photos & slides, and buy a signed copy of Harley Tracks: Across Vietnam to The Wall.
Ride Safe & Never Forget
C U All in Sturgis
The NVAR touched the hearts of thousands of veterans across America, and they touched ours. We found, and recognized, vets from the War on Terror. We shared memorial and patriotic events with hundreds of school kids. In between those pleasures our days ran together with short nights, eat, ride, gas up, ride, eat, ride, gas up, eat, social time, short night > Weather was great and all arrived safely in Washington D.C. for Rolling Thunder.
It was great to meet many people at my presentation of Harley Tracks on Thunder Alley. I talked myself hoarse sharing stories and signed books for many, too. Contrary to a common assumption is that I’m not a combat veteran, and my journey across Vietnam was unexpected, as was the unplanned 6,000 hours to write about it. But I enjoyed every mile and hour. One guy, Doyle, stopped by the second day to say he looked forward to the second chapter.
Monday I packed, and enjoyed a stroll through the Museum of Art before a great seat for the National Memorial Day Parade. Me and Hack are on our track back to Mpls., where I’ve got a presentation at the St. Paul HD store on Saturday.
Memorial Day is not over. Each day our veterans and their families make the sacrifice.
Our 10th day. Today we ride into D.C.
It’s another great and safe ride; good weather & wonderful visits. Our group has grown to near 100 riders. Police escorts have insured our safe passage from Illinois, through Indiana, and across Ohio to West Virginia. It’s bittersweet that I’m now hauling my bike since Iowa, but for three years I’ve looked forward to presenting my book, Harley Tracks, at Thunder Alley during Rolling Thunder. So, the bike’s tied down with a ton and a half of books.
Included in our mission is to seek out Gulf War Veterans at each stop; at hotels, restaurants, hospitals & hotels, or gas stops. Our Vietnam Veterans did not receive the recognition they deserved when they came home from their war, and to insure that never happens again, when we find veterans who’ve served in the war on terror, we present them with a medal of recognition for their service.
Our mission began Tuesday morning with a visit to the Bowman Elementary School in Auburn; a wonderful bunch of young Americans thrilled to meet those who ride those shiny beasts–mostly from Milwaukee! Then a ride into Sacramento to visit veterans at the Vet Hospital.
The next day, after a hearty breakfast from the Auburn Jeep Club, 40 NVAR riders rolled east on the ride we looked forward to since last June. Sunshine covered the mountains and I didn’t even need my heated liners turned on, but as long as I wore them I did.
The Reno NV motorcycle police met us out of town and escorted us to the Vets Hospital for another great visit. A wreath was laid at the Vets cemetery in Fernley (out in the middle of NV), and we finished a 400 mile day in Elko. Thur. a.m., we crossed the Salt Lake Desert with an escort from Utah motorcycle clubs (about 150 – 200 bikes), then met 25 of Utah’s motor cops for an escort to the Salt Lake City Vets hospital. Man, we looked good going down the highways and expressways. At the hospital I had the good fortune to meet Delbert Boyington–a relative of the famous Pappa Boyington from WWII. (The 1970’s tv show Baa Baa Black Sheep was about him.) These can be emotional visits, as it was with LaFonda, whom I’ve visited with the past three years. She’s a sharp woman at 90 years old. Her best friend died a year ago, her husband and a son passed years ago, and now she wants to join them. I do hope to see her next year, but if I don’t, I’ll be happy for her, too.
Our escorts, clubs and cops, insured an undisturbed ride to Evanston WY for a wreath laying ceremony, and some lovely songs sung by the high school choir. After that, it was happy hour at the local VFW and dinner.
Thanks for the visit, and please look around my web site; maybe buy a book!
Please check back for more.
Thank you & Never Forget
Is it May, yet, has been the question for many riders since last June; anticipation for the National Veterans Awareness Ride (NVAR). April 30 was close enough and I left Mpls for my annual pilgrimage to meet the NVAR in Auburn CA. On May 18 we depart for a ride across America to visit veterans in homes and hospitals to thank them for their service, and let them know they are not forgotten. We also pay respect at cemeteries—none are forgotten.
I joined my NVAR brothers and sisters on May 16. Mother Nature was kind to me on my 3,300 mile ride out. Mongo & Nancy, in NE put me up for a couple nights, and we reunited in Auburn. Central NE passes with a beauty I’d never seen, and two lane hiways across WY and ID held the scenery and solitude I looked forward too. The ID desert hides some strange things out in the open; I missed the worlds first Nuclear Power Plant in the past, but it didn’t open till the end of May. (In the fifties, they spent ten years and a billion dollars trying to build a nuclear powered airplane! One of the few things they learned was that it was a waste, and Pres. Kennedy shut down the program.)
Hiway 20, across OR was a fantastic ride, and Don & JoEll were great hosts in Roseburg. I would see Don again in Auburn. Roger’s fishing trip cut our time together, but it’s always great to see him and Ellen in Veneta. (I met Roger at my Memento home in Nha Trang, Vietnam in 2009.) Cousin Kari drove me and aunt Martha up to Crater Lake on a perfect postcard day. Then I made my first ride into northeast CA, and what a surprise.
After a visit with my nephew, Sam, in Chico, and at the suggestion of a rider I met, I took route 70 toward Lake Almonar. Wow! One of the best trails ever. Trails cut the state forests for some of the best riding in the west. After a visit with a buddy up there, I spent 6 hours on a two hour ride to Auburn, and a great reunion with my NVAR family.
Our journey begins on Tuesday with local events, and Wed. morning we depart for our ten day mission to Washington D.C.
Please check back for updates on this web site.
I’ll post photo albums on harley tracks facebook.
Daily sit reps will be posted at nvao.us
Thank you, Thank a Vet & Never Forget.