America's 911 Ride or "I went for a ride with a few friends"
So....I went for a ride with a couple friends.....
Took my 1991 K100 along and it performed wonderfully! Not one issue, great mileage, and comfy (to a point) on the long stretches.
Here it is on 7th ave and 53rd St in NYC...
The ride was organized by the America's 911 Foundation and was a ton of fun! The ride was organized to memorialize the events of 9/11 and to pay tribute to the families, friends, and colleagues that were lost. This was actually the 11th ride as the first one was actually in November of 2001.
Their link is here: [url]http://www.americas911foundation.org/[/url]
I put most of my pics up into Photobucket...here's the link:
Here are the details of the ride:
Round trip for me, 1201 miles in 5 days. 1800+ bikes and over 2600 people in attendance. Destinations were the Flight 93 Memorial in PA, The Pentagon in DC, and Ground Zero in NYC
We (myself and 58 other motorcycles) left Spencerport, NY's ambulance base at 630am last Thursday and headed to Arkport, NY and met up with about 20 others. Then we headed to Limestone, NY to meet up with a few more and gas up. A long ride thru PA and lunch at DuBois and gas as well. Then we all headed on to Somerset, PA to link up with the main body. That is where I realized the impact of this ride. There were riders from Texas, Connecticut, and even the Peel Police from Canada were there! I talked to people of every part in our lives: Doctors, office people, line workers, tradesmen, police officers, firemen, medical response, you name it and they were there. We filled up all of the hotels right in Somerset!
After a short dinner and a walk around a humongous Harley place there in town, we kicked off the festivities with Donnie Iris performing. Robbie Knievil was there signing autographs as well.
Friday AM was early as we got up at 5 and got to the staging area at 6:15 to get ready. It's amazing how many bikes can fit into a parking lot! After some announcements and general business, we got going. In about 15-20 minutes, we emptied the lot. Word is that we had an 18-20 mile long line of bikes going. We rode by the Flight 93 memorial and then got going. Once we hit the highway, it got better - the stretch that we were riding on was completely closed off! We two lined it in the middle lane and moved it right along.
What was most impressive is that almost every single bridge has bunches of people lining the railings waving flags or just plain waving. There were fire crews, medical crews, cops, and more...all just waiting for us to roll by. This was like the best darn parade they could see.
It was a long ride with 4 stops going to DC. Along the way, we went through small towns and cities such as Cumberland, Leesburg, and more.
A quick story to show how moving this ride was: The State Police did not want the ride to go through Cumberland as they did not want traffic to be locked up for so long. The people of Cumberland said NO FRIGGIN WAY!! They told the SP's that not only was the ride route going through Cumberland, it was going to go right down Main Street!!! The sidewalks were lined with people 3-5 deep and all were waving flags and banners and signs that were thanking us for doing this ride. It seemed that every time we hit a new block or rounded a corner, there were even more people!
Leesburg, VA was packed as well. At least 4 sets of ladder trucks were pointed out over the roadway, draping an American Flag from their tips, creating an archway for us to ride under. This town was the one that got me. Halfway through, there was a soldier who looked to be about 50 or 55. He was dressed in his Class A's and was holding a crisp salute to all the riders that went by. I was in the last third of the group, so he must have been posted for a looong time. To make it even more poignant, two block later, there was another soldier, clearly in his late 70s or early 80s, in full uniform, no assistance, standing at a full salute as well. I can tell you that it is hard to ride when your eyes get all moist after seeing that!
A gas stop, then a stop in Hagerstown, MD for lunch, then another couple stops until we rolled around a curve and saw the Washington Monument and then the Pentagon. After securing the bikes and getting our rooms set, we ate, walked the Memorial on the Pentagon grounds, watched a wild thunderstorm roll through from the top floor of the Doubletree, and hit the sack about 10pm.
Up again the next day at 5 and stage up at one of the Pentagon lots by 615. We rolled out just after sunrise for NYC. This was the longest day to ride. We got to NYC at 830 after a couple stops, closing ceremonies in Linden NJ and then off to NYC. Up at 630. (yep, we got to sleep in!) and then we staged the bikes on 7th Ave and 51st. That was impressive to see all the bikes lining the road in NYC. A quick ride to Ground Zero and a ceremony there. We listened to a couple survivors, toured around the construction, saw St Paul's chapel, learned how intregal the place was during the moments and days after the event, and just wandered. I spent some time there in the months after pulling security and protective details on and off but never really got to Ground Zero at all. I honestly had to sit for a while just to take it all in and then let it all go. Remembering the harshness and the look and feel of the place almost 10 years ago was tough.
After it was all over (the ceremonies) we left out of NYC under a police escort from two local guys here in the Rochester area. I remember being very quiet for about an hour as we rode. We cruised out of NYC on the GW Bridge, rode the Palisades Parkway, and picked up Rt17 into NY. Spent the night in Binghamton after meeting some good friends, got up Monday AM and came home.
Obviously, there is not enough room to tell you about the whole ride, but you get the idea. I was looking for something special to do for myself as well as commemorate the 10th anniversary of the event. This was a good one to get involved with. Seeing the response from the people in the towns, feeling the connections with all the other riders, and just being part of something this big that connects to every person, was important.
Look at the pics. They only show a bit of the experience. Unless you go and feel it yourself, there's no way to describe it.
GOD BLESS THE USA!!!