Friday, July 2, 2010

Rolling Thunder

So, our Memorial day weekend starts with us tired as dogs, sitting in the rain, watching an extremely impressive display of precision and dedication by the Marine Corps. We finally had to put up the white flag and call it quits, but really all we could do was escape to the shuttle buses, because they wouldn't be taking us back to the bikes until the parade that we had been watching was over.

The group itinerary still had a visit to the WWII memoral planned that night, but as we waited for the second wave of buses, the rest of the gang came to the same decision we had.

The next day, we slept in a little and ended up going to a party at Fort Washington H-D, before meeting back up with everyone at another dealer party in Fairfax. Back in the city, we walked the Wall and and hit up the vendor stuff for a while, rode through an empty businss district to dinner at a Thai restaurant, then got our nighttime visit to the WWII memorial. This was a pretty damn profound moment there with the Washington Monument hovering a few hundred feet away, and the Lincoln directly opposite, facing it from a across the reflecting pond.

This was followed by drinking activities.

In the morning, we passed up the 5:30 departure by those members who were involved in setting up Rolling Thunder. This would have put us in the very front of the 'civilians,' but we settled for the middle of the pack and left at 8:30. That, um, didn't work.

What that did do was get us there pretty much at the exact moment that the main parking lot became full. Now, it would be no disaster to be at the front of a string of connected auxiliary lots., but unfortunately, this is not at all what happened. As traffic was diverted away from behind us into the second lot, our group of strandees ended up in the front of a remote parking lot that was not seen by another bike until the process finally reached it and poured it full as the last bikes rolled in much, much later. Out of hundreds of thousands, we were among the last thousand or two to leave the Pentagon. We did have plenty of time to check out the 9/11 memorial. It also gave us the opportunity to see the last few minutes of something that has become a well-traveled internet video: a solitary Marine in salute as riders pass by his elbows for over 3 hours. We've seen this salute become a tradition; this time we verified it ourselves from the tail end. Culminating a weekend of remembrance, a very solemn symbol of what makes our nation great.

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