Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Rough and Rumble. Rolling Thunder XVIII

Well guys, I really hope you enjoyed your Memorial Day weekend.

As planned, I attended Rolling Thunder in Washington DC on Sunday.

The day started out beautiful with a slight breeze, perfect motorcycle weather.

I hooked up with a best bud and we decided to ride from a suburban point in an organized ride to the staging area at the Pentagon parking lot. So we rode to a Maryland Harley Davidson dealer, got there around eight am with a thousand other bikes.

Riding in an police escorted organized group is cool. That allows the riders to have full access through intersections. We rode down Interstate 270 to the George Washington Memorial Parkway, a sea of bikers, mostly Harleys and there were hundreds along the roadway and on the overpasses waving flags and cheering. It was a very cool and moving feeling.

I've been doing these since 1993 and I've been to seven overall. The escorted ride was the best ever, but I was in for a big letdown once the group entered the Pentagon staging area.

I haven't been there since 2002, and what a shock I had once we entered the area. There are so many bridges and guard posts, 4 I counted on one of the Pentagon's side alone. They were built of course, to combat terrorism. But they took about one fifth of the Pentagon's former surface parking space. They cut off biker from each other and I was left staring at a wall for almost 4 hours.

In other years, we got down there after 11 am and waited 3 hours. This time we started out an hour earlier and didn't leave the staging area until almost 3 pm. Almost 5 hours just waiting to ride the two mile route. I guess the next time, but not next year, I will be riding with my bud and together we will ride ourselves down to the Pentagon lot. I don't plan on riding next year.
However the waiting wasn't in vain. Some shirtless beef was visable. I was shirtless until we started to ride because it had cooled down. Also a lot of nice bikes. Some had copper brush details, others just nice big Harleys like my Dyna Low Rider. It was cool seeing all the different Harleys.

However once we started to roll out of the lot, by that time, the crowds had dispersed and theree was only a few hardy onlookers as we crossed the Memorial Bridge , road behind the Lincoln Memorial ( if you plan on visiting Arlington Cemetary and the Lincoln Memorial, avoid driving this by car, there is plenty of construction in the area, you'd make better time walking or taking the tour bus), and before we swung onto Constitution Ave.a Marine who I later learned was U.S. Marine Staff Sgt Tim Chambers of Twenty Palms, CA saluted all 40 thousand bikers. Then we rode past the Vietnam Memorial Wall and continued riding the length of Constitution Ave which had been blocked off for the bikers to ride parade style. Now that was really cool. I got to see the Washington Monument and from a distance, the back of the White House.

Having said that, how was your Memorial Day weekend? I hope you had a chance to honor the dead as well as reflecting on how we as gay men have much left to do in fighting for our own rights.

I found out that Michael Egdes was crowned Mr. International Male Leather 2005. From a few blogs I have read, IML was as hot as ever. So maybe next year I can head out there, or if there's some butt room, squeeze in with Will and the other hot sauna men.

1 comment:

Will said...

With 14 of us in the sweat lodge, we were cheek to cheek--and I'm not referring to faces. Extremely pleasant. The most comfortable way to be in there was to have your arms around the shoulders of the men on either side, which just increased the fellowship.

You'd like New Hamnpshire in the spring--bikes EVERYWHERE. Also hunky bikers. Fritz tells me there are more motorcycles in NH per capita than in any other state in the nation.