In route to meet the NVAR, Mike and I stopped for another photo at Johnny’s Bar in Hollister. Fortunately, at 8:30 a.m., they were closed – and we had front door parking. Gloria and Ruth took a moment from their morning walk to talk with us. Back on that fateful weekend, the 4th of July, 1947, young Gloria walked past Johnny’s each day without an offensive word heard – and then we were off.
Thirty riders; veterans of Vietnam, Mid-East, and Afghanistan wars, along with era vets and their supporters, departed on May 14, from Auburn CA for a ten day ride to Washington D.C. Our mission was to visit homes and hospitals to thank veterans of past and present wars, lay wreaths at cemeteries and memorials, and welcome back Gulf War vets with a medal of recognition. The daily schedule started at 5 a.m., pack the bike, eat, ride, visit, ride, visit, ride, eat, ride, visit, ride, visit, ride, eat, social time, and finally, sleep. No wonder I’m so late with this blog and photos – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
The sun burned across Nevada, my heated liners warmed me across Wyoming, and the winds knocked all of us around Iowa – there was not a dull mile. The birth of summer laid out across Indiana and all points east without even a sprinkle on us. We now have one more day to D.C.
We returned to visits that have been made since the NVAR began in 2005. Familiar staff and veterans welcomed us at each. Police and local Motorcycle Clubs provided escort service and joined in celebrations. American Legions, VFW’s, and AmVet Clubs set up breakfasts, lunches, and dinners – that stack up more like feasts. Along our pilgrimage, riders join the run, and tomorrow we’ll roll into Washington with over seventy bikes.
Photos below speak volumes of each moment and more will follow.