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Thread: Rolling Thunder 2011

  1. #1
    Senior Member Piney's Avatar
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    Rolling Thunder 2011

    Well, since Ken said something about the quietness of the On Two Wheels board I thought I’d try a ride report. This will seem quite bland compared to the flavorful writings of Adam, but here goes.

    (Yikes, I just read what I wrote - this write up is a bit long. So, I’ll post it as several individual posts. Ken, let this be a lesson to you: Be careful what you wish for – your wish just might come true! )

    Every year for the past 10 or so years I’ve gone to Rolling Thunder in Washington, DC. For those that are not familiar with it, Rolling Thunder was first run on Memorial Day Weekend in 1988. It originated as a demonstration by (primarily) Vietnam Veterans as a way to demand from our political leaders a full accounting of all POW/MIAs. Their aim was to announce their arrival for their demonstration with the roar of their motorcycles in the Nation’s Capitol. The Rolling Thunder organization has vowed that the demonstration rides will continue every Memorial Day Weekend until ALL POW/MIAs are accounted for. This year was the 24th Ride for the Wall.

    The bike was packed (camera, water, rain gear, and a turkey sandwich) and out the door I went. Stopped for gas, then off to D.C. Most of the way I had the road to myself – 2 lane highway (Rt. 70) through the Jersey Pines (where I live…hence the screen name Piney) to an unfortunate requirement – I295. I had the road to myself most of the way there until a semi appeared ahead. Rt. 70 is a great road – pine forest lines both sides of the road most of the way to I295, although it’s mostly straight it is still scenic enough to be enjoyable and the speed limit is 55 – which means closer to 65 is usually tolerated. This truck, however, was keeping it right at 54. Since it’s only 1 lane in each direction passing can only be done in designated areas, and since it was the start of Memorial Day Weekend – typically the start of the “Jersey Shore” season - most travelers on Rt. 70 were heading West, to the Jersey Shore. That meant an almost unbroken line of traffic in the opposite lane – and no passing opportunities! Eventually got around the semi and picked up the pace once again. Since there isn’t much to it, the rest of the route was: I-295 South to the Delaware Memorial Bridge, cross into Delaware, RT.13 South to RT 1, to Rt. 299 West, to Route 301 South. Once on Route 301 South the trip takes on a whole other dimension. Once again I had the road to myself – if I saw 10 other cars the entire way that was a lot. Two lanes of excellently maintained blacktop through some of Maryland’s fine farm country. Aaahhh…you can smell the country in the air. It was warming up quite nicely and the ride was the best! About an hour and a half outside D.C. (at the slow speed I ride) there is a rest stop…I pulled in and ate the turkey sandwich my wife had made for me that morning. Man, was it good. Along with a cold bottle of water I was refreshed and ready to push on.



  2. #2
    Senior Member Piney's Avatar
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    Next up was the Chesapeake Bay Bridge across the Chesapeake Bay. It’s not that long – only about 4.3 miles – but when it opened in 1952 it was the world’s longest continuous over-water steel structure. I’m not sure why but I really enjoy riding over bridges and I enjoy this one a lot! As I was crossing I was met with a huge buildup of cars – 3 lanes wide as far as the eye could see, all backing up – going in the OPPOSITE direction! They were all heading out of town. Stopped for gas and back out onto Rt. 50 West into D.C.

    Got off onto Rt. 295 South before entering D.C. in order to take some local streets into town. Benning Rd. leads right to H Street, which takes you right through Chinatown. The aromas coming from the restaurants in Chinatown were amazing. A quick right onto 12th Street, up to I Street, left onto I Street and down to 21st Street and the Hotel Lombardy. Great little hotel in Georgetown – a small college community of D.C. - with excellent service. Convenient walking distance to downtown D.C., restaurants, the National Mall, and more importantly to me, away from the 100,000-plus motorcyclists in town for the weekend.

    My wife and daughter left later in the day to meet up with me for the weekend. They arrived around 8:00 – after surviving a flash hail storm on the DuPont Circle. Out to dinner we went and then to bed.

    Saturday was baseball day. The Washington Nationals recently built a new ballpark along the Anacostia River near the Navy Yard so we wanted to check it out. If you want to see some pictures I took during the game you can check them out here (http://www.flickr.com/photos/7564185...7626843597776/).

    Dinner and a stroll around the National Mall after the game (a few pictures here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7564185...7626850008890/) and that was the end of a pretty relaxing day.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Piney's Avatar
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    Sunday my daughter and I headed out to the Pentagon to line up for the Demonstration Ride. We left early hoping to be among the first riders to exit the Pentagon. In years past we’ve tried a number of different approaches to the ride – come in along the river to the Pentagon – only to be told “Road Closed” go that way…then riding around trying to figure out how to get in; one year we rode up to Gaithersburg and rode down with the Harley dealership’s organized ride…and were so late that we got pushed to the “overflow” parking, and were among the last to leave. The thing is, every year you can count on two things in DC on Memorial Day Weekend – rain and very hot, humid weather. Usually Sunday is the hot, humid weather, and the longer you’re in the Pentagon parking Lot the hotter you get…there is almost no shade to hide under.

    A quick 5 minute ride to the Pentagon put us in the north lot, but we had a bit of a wait. We got there about 8:30. The first bikes don’t leave until 12:00. Fortunately there was cloud cover and a regular slight breeze blowing, so it wasn’t too bad. Since we had plenty of time we decided to walk around and look at bikes, take pictures, and pick up a t-shirt and a couple of event pins. (To have a look at some of the pictures we took look here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7564185...7626720656937/)

    12:00 came and we wandered back t the bike to await our turn to depart. Almost precisely at that moment 4 Air Force jets flew over and that seemed to kick things off. (Someone posted a video on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbBEHwbcufA)

    We could hear the bikes that were leaving, but we were so far away that we couldn’t actually see them, although we occasionally saw a tall flag pole attached to a bike moving off in the distance. Eventually (about 1:45) we started up the bike and got underway. Man it felt good to be moving, as by then the sun had come out in full force. We made our way out of the parking lot, 2 by 2, over the Arlington Memorial Bridge to the back of the Lincoln Memorial, then down Constitution Ave. towards the Capitol. For some reason the crowds along the route were a lot sparser than in past years. Maybe the price of gas, combined with the economic situation in the country kept them away, but there certainly were fewer people there this year. Those that were there, however, were very enthusiastic – waving flags, cheering, thanking us for participating, and generally enjoying the hours of bikes clogging up the city. It was great!

    At the end of Constitution we hung a quick right onto Pennsylvania Ave. and then rode down to 3d street (1 block from the Capitol). The route then made a right and proceeded down Independence Ave. and down towards the Tidal Basin area. Most riders parked down there around 23rd St., but we decided to head back to the hotel for some food and air conditioning.

    Across the street from the hotel is a Bertucci’s Brick Oven Pizza joint. And every year our routine has been Bertucci’s for hot pizza and ice cold beer! We didn’t change our routine this year, that’s for sure. After eating we went back to the hotel, showered, and left to go visit family up in the Rock Creek Park area of town. More beer and snacks (we weren’t on the bike!), and a great evening with family (that we don’t get to see as much as we should) and we were back to the hotel to catch the finish of the World 600 (now known as the Coca-Cola 600) NASCAR race. (I still can’t believe Earnhardt Jr. ran out of gas on the backstretch!!! He had that thing won.)

  4. #4
    Senior Member Piney's Avatar
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    Monday was supposed to be hotter and more humid that Sunday (which was pretty hot) so I was up early to head out of town. My wife and daughter graciously agreed to handle all of the packing and lugging, so I only had to worry about me and my camera. By 7:00 I was on the road – out through Chinatown (no smells at this time of day) and out New York Ave. heading back to the Bay Bridge. Quick stop for gas and off again. Up Route 301 to Rt. 300 and out through the small village of Sudlersville – home to Hall of Fame baseball player Jimmie Foxx. (photo of statue in heart of town here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7564185...in/photostream) “Heart of town” is somewhat relative…it’s a small park on the right side of the road, and if you don’t have to stop for the red light you’ll ride right past it. In 11 years, I’ve never been able to make a green light at the only intersection in that little town! The ride down Rt. 300 is way out in the country and it smells wonderful (I took Adam down that road on our way to New Jersey back in 2005 – photo here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7564185...in/photostream ). Eventually I met up with Rt. 13 and headed north and back towards New Jersey. Over the Delaware Memorial Bridge, up I-295 and back home on RT 70 west. Again, not much traffic (apparently everyone was still at the shore because I read reports that the Garden State Parkway was a standstill virtually the entire weekend. Glad I wasn’t there!) Made it home without incident, got what little I had unpacked (my wife and daughter were home about a half hour before me and my other daughter had lunch waiting for me! It’s good to be the King!)

    Unfortunately, reality now sets in and it’s back to work tomorrow. But once again I was able to enjoy Memorial Day Weekend with my family in Washington D.C., my daughter and I got to make the Demonstration Ride, and see family. And we all did it safely! Can’t wait until the next ride.

    If you made it this far – thanks! Hope you weren’t bored too much…

    Also, if you decide to look at the photos and get prompted for a User Name and Password use “alphabetman@ymail.com” and “bh1234” (without the “ “) – that should do the trick)

  5. #5
    Senior Member Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piney View Post
    Monday was supposed to be hotter and more humid that Sunday (which was pretty hot) so I was up early to head out of town.
    ..................................................

    Also, if you decide to look at the photos and get prompted for a User Name and Password use “alphabetman@ymail.com” and “bh1234” (without the “ “) – that should do the trick)
    Hey, Rich, took up your offer and browsed through the Rolling Thunder 2011 set. Some great photos there! It was interesting to see the difference between the various 'bike's set-ups. There were the guys who were perfectly fitted to the 'bike, lower arms nice and parallel, elbows bent and relaxed, legs comfortably related to the pegs, visibly in full control and in complete harmony with their machines (and passengers). Some of the others made me wonder how they managed to get there without having severe cramps or falling off - their 'bikes obviously set up for 'pose value' rather than serious riding. Oh, by the way, no ID or password needed.

    Ken.
    Die dulci fruimini!
    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

  6. #6
    Ridin Dirty dom's Avatar
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    Check out these pictures my boy snapped!



    RT051

    "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato "
    -Mussolini
    All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Piney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dom View Post
    Check out these pictures my boy snapped!


    Great pics. I just checked out the rest of his shots...very nice indeed. (except - all those photos and he didn't get one of me and my daughter...I am disappointed)

    Were you there with him Dom?



    .

  8. #8
    Ridin Dirty dom's Avatar
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    Naw, I regret not going.

    It was for the best though because if I saw that single lady on that hog I would not have come home!

    You looked through all 240 of his pictures?

    Ken Berry is one badass photographer. He has the sickest gear I've ever seen.

    Oh yeah, that first pic is Sarah Palin.

    Ken didn't even know he had it till I told him.

    "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato "
    -Mussolini
    All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Piney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dom View Post
    Naw, I regret not going.

    It was for the best though because if I saw that single lady on that hog I would not have come home!

    You looked through all 240 of his pictures?

    Ken Berry is one badass photographer. He has the sickest gear I've ever seen.
    Yep...I looked at all the photos he had posted. You're right, he's one bad-ass photographer. Is that how he makes his living, or is it just a hobby?

    In any event, great photos.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Piney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dom View Post
    Naw, I regret not going.

    Oh yeah, that first pic is Sarah Palin.

    Ken didn't even know he had it till I told him.
    I know how that goes. One year that I didn't do the ride, I stood along Constitution Ave. taking pictures. My buddy was carrying the U.S. Coast Guard Flag for the N.J. Rolling Thunder organization on his bike. As I saw the flag and my buddy coming down the road I focused solely on him and getting the "perfect" shot to print & frame for him. I finally got one that I liked. I happened to be standing there with Mark (Frosts08ultra), and he says, "Did you get him?" I proudly said "Yeah. Look." and showed him the image on the camera display screen. He asked me "Who's that?" I said, "My buddy. I got the shot." Mark then told me that he was talking about the guys from Orange County Choppers...they were right in front of my buddy...I hadn't even noticed them.

    Fortunately, that year they rode in both directions on Constitution Ave, so I was able to cross the street and get them as they rode past again. (photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7564185@N04/2188673216/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/7564185@N04/2268590197/)
    Last edited by Piney; 06-01-2011 at 06:05 AM. Reason: grammar

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by dom View Post
    Check out these pictures my boy snapped!


    You knew that was Sarah Palin riding behind the gal, didn't you?

  12. #12
    Ridin Dirty dom's Avatar
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    Piney: Ken B. is a software developer and we work together doing IT stuff. He does photography for fun.

    Litlbike: Yeah, I knew it was her.
    Last edited by dom; 06-01-2011 at 11:43 AM. Reason: I mean "together"

    "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato "
    -Mussolini
    All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Piney's Avatar
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    Dom, check your private messages...I sent you something.

    Barry, I just checked mine...better late than never...Thanks.

  14. #14
    Senior Member eesquared's Avatar
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    Sounds like your weekend was better than mine. We had the Rolling Thunder drive through here a few days ago and there were people and servicemen up on overpasses waving to them and waving flags for them as they passed through.

    I spent my weekend weeding the yard, packing and moving, fixing crap around the house for the new buyers....Bbbbooooooorring.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piney View Post
    I know how that goes. One year that I didn't do the ride, I stood along Constitution Ave. taking pictures. My buddy was carrying the U.S. Coast Guard Flag for the N.J. Rolling Thunder organization on his bike. As I saw the flag and my buddy coming down the road I focused solely on him and getting the "perfect" shot to print & frame for him. I finally got one that I liked. I happened to be standing there with Mark (Frosts08ultra), and he says, "Did you get him?" I proudly said "Yeah. Look." and showed him the image on the camera display screen. He asked me "Who's that?" I said, "My buddy. I got the shot." Mark then told me that he was talking about the guys from Orange County Choppers...they were right in front of my buddy...I hadn't even noticed them.

    Fortunately, that year they rode in both directions on Constitution Ave, so I was able to cross the street and get them as they rode past again. (photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7564185@N04/2188673216/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/7564185@N04/2268590197/)
    ROFLMAO, I remember that....

  16. #16
    Senior Member Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frosts08ultra View Post
    ROFLMAO, I remember that....
    The Teutuls are a strange family, sad that Paul Jr decided he had to leave. (mind you I would have killed the old man long before that.) That said the company produces some other-worldly designs that combine exotic shapes and marvellous metallic artistry with a sensible amount of functionality. Over here the only true custom builder I know is Lucky Buck, the builder of the Mantis, the perfect insectoid motorcycle.

    Ken.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Die dulci fruimini!
    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

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