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Friday, June 02, 2006

Rolling Thunder: Waiting for The Parade

It’s finally Sunday and I’m up early early early. I hear the motorcycles start up at 4:30 AM headed out to the breakfast. Lucky them!!! Yes, I know it’s early in the morning but if I were on my own bike, I would have been out there with them!! Honestly, it is a crazy time to get up and get out, but the experience of Rolling Thunder—I’m thinking if I was going to do it, I might as well do it right!! LOL…..

No worries, my grumbly non-morning front seat rider wasn’t moving until the last possible moment, so I head downstairs to Starbucks to find coffee and pastries. Only to find them setting up and not opening until 7:00 AM….grrrrrrrrr! I don’t get the Starbucks concept. Not only do they not open early (I mean 7:00 AM in a hotel—business people do get up way early sometimes you know), they don’t stay open late (I think they close at 8:00 PM) and they charge an arm and a leg for coffee………

Corporate American at it’s finest. Now, if I could only find that one product to spin……*grins*…………….

The hotel computer center is free so I wander down and check my e-mail. Respond to the various projects I’m working on, talk to my friends and catch up on the gossip back home. I am without my PC for the weekend, so it’s a little strange not to be connected electronically. However, it is heartwarming to see all the shout outs from my friends!!

Coffee and pastries in hand, e-mail read and answered…time to head back up to the room. My partner in crime is still sleeping so I un-quietly putter around to signal wake-up time—we still have to pack and get geared up. Of course, share my pastries too….

Finally, packed and loaded up…now it is a matter of waiting for the other half of our group to ride in. They are on time and they spend a few moments getting sun block on and chatting about the day’s events. Sun block on and chatting dispensed with—it’s time to get on the road. It’s a bit past 9 AM at this point.

Waiting to get into the Pentagon parking lot

The hotel was a short hop from the Pentagon. You’d think that getting there three hours before the parade start time would avoid most of the insane traffic. NOT!! We get in line with the hundreds—no make that thousands--of bikes who all have the same idea—ride The Rolling Thunder Parade……then we turn the corner and what I see just amazes me.

Hey, that's a lot of bikes.....

Err....LOTS of bikes.....

Thousands upon thousands of motorcycles!!! This is just way too cool!!! We make our way into the parking lot and park. I’m thinking it’s going to be a long three hours until the start of the parade.

View from the hill

Cell phone in hand, I call my friend Karla to locate her. She and her family are parked up on the hill and I finally get to have more than a five minute hit-and-run conversation!! She looks fabulous—especially for someone who just spent the last three weeks on the road with Run For the Wall….and I’m happy to see that she’s intact and doing well. She survived the entire Run with only one mishap—a flat rear tire from a nail she picked up on the road.

Karla and Me!! Whoohooo found her!!

The first words out of her mouth were—“yes, I packed too much”! If you know Karla personally, you’d understand. I love riding with Karla—I could leave on a trip with her with nothing on my bike and she’d be prepared for me. That’s just the way she is!! Over pack is an understatement!!

It’s all good, Karla, you still have my respect…….she was asked to become a Road Guard and was officially named “Screamer”… can ask her that story….if you want to know… I know nothing!!! LOL!!!!

We wandered around looking at the bikes and chatting….catching up on the gossip and stuff. I had broken away from my group so it was girl talk. Girl talk and motorcycle talk equals good!! I also got to meet a good many of the working crew for RFTW. It was nice chatting with them. Somewhere along the line the challenge was put on the table…am I doing the run next year?

Well, if I can work it into my schedule….yes, I will. We’ll see how it goes.

At any rate, our visiting time came to a close and Karla wanted to prep for the parade so we parted ways. I wandered off to find my other friends. All I can say is thank goodness for cell phones otherwise I’d still be wandering around the parking lot at the Pentagon looking for my friends!!!

The noon hour rolls around and the bikes start leaving the parking lot. Karla rings me and says she probably won’t be leaving for another hour. That’s due to where she is located in the pack (and they were up at 4:30). Sigh, we are at the tail end of the parking lot so I’m thinking at least a couple of hours after that.

It’s getting really hot out there on the pavement.

A photgraphic vantage point, perhaps??

And the image from standing on the bike

My friends decide to find a bit of shade to get out of the heat and I stayed behind. I parked my fanny on the bike for a nap—which was a bit warm but I did manage to get a catnap in. I also had the opportunity to talk to the folks parked around me. Nick and his new wife Chrissy. They were up from New Jersey with his new in-laws. They were telling me that this was a test run before a long ride they were going to take….He was on a lovely V-Star. The other folks around me were mostly from the surrounding area. One young lady stopped and asked me if the bike I was sitting on was my own…..heh! I only wish. The beautiful Road King was not mine! Although I could see it in my garage, I somehow doubt the owner would turn it loose! Hey, I totally understand. Somehow I feel the same way about my bikes.

It was fun talking to all the people around me. It’s very interesting to hear their backgrounds and stories; it was such a group of diverse folks all coming together for Memorial Day and motorcycling. I had way too much fun!!

My group hunted me down—I think they thought I might like a bit of shade. Yes, I was getting warmer than I liked so I headed down. They were sharing a bit of shade with two ladies from New York. They had been doing the parade for a number of years so it was really neat to listen to them as well.

Finally, the line of bikes thinned out and it was getting to be our turn to leave. It was after 2:00 PM. Crank the bike….and wait…….

Okay, it’s our turn to go….and off we went……and I’m taking pics the whole time. I was under orders to make sure the get the DC landmarks and the Marine who stands at salute in the middle of the street. Okay, okay, okay!! Let me be in charge of the images!!! Gee….my request to him was to make sure I didn’t fall off the back…ha ha ha!!!

Waiting done and finally on the road…the adventure continues….tomorrow…

Keep the Shiny Side Up!!

~The Rainbow Wahine


Gymi said...

Great story, I can't wait to see the pics.

Giest said...

yes, i think everyone would love to see the pictures! i know i do!

Christine said...

Sigh, you guys..I'm working on the images as I write...the traffic on blogger is extemely high at the moment so the image download is blowing up on me...but they'll be up sometime tonight!

KT Did said...

Sounds like it was a perfect ride, even the waiting part. The fun is in the people and the ride. Okay, me three...can't wait to see the pics!!