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The alarm sounded at 6:00 a.m. The Michigan sky was hazy much like my eyes at that hour on a weekend morning. Quick shower, light breakfast, and on the road by 7:10 a.m. It was humid and moderately cool... 64 degrees in Port Huron. Light traffic motored South (West) on I-94. Warning signs of a detour at Woodward Ave were untrue. Cruised right through. The maiden trip to Detroit on my new 2000 Fat Boy was uneventful, but grand.
Arrived at a restaurant on Telegraph in 70 minutes... before my Michigan Rolling Thunder Chapter 3 friends. Food was good. Conversation centered on the events of the day. Bills paid and off to the staging site at VVA Chapter 259 (Down River Chapter) off Eureka and Telegraph.
Over a hundred bikes in the parking lot along with several Taylor City Police officers. We registered for the Bridge (to Canada) crossing. I picked up a pin for Glide and me. Chaps and jacket came off and packed up for the remainder of the run.
The VVA Chapter 259 President gave brief instructions about the ride to the Detroit (DVA) Vet Center. The chaplain said a prayer. At 10:00 a.m., the Taylor Police escorted the group. A Michigan State police drove erratically and on the wrong side of the road like a madman. About a mile or so on I-75 (North), he pulled over a biker who was not wearing a helmet. To each his own with the brain bucket, but that officer should have gotten a ticket for reckless driving. Other than that, the ride was trouble free…one bike pulled off with trouble…the President of VVA Chapter 259. Bad gas.
The Detroit Vet Center circle drive was full. Michigan Rolling Thunder Chapter 3 made room for the new arrivals (they arrived earlier). Customs paper work got reviewed. We stood in line again to submit crossing information, and get a numbered dot to cross the Ambassador Bridge. Hurry up and wait was something us vets understood.
The Detroit City Police joined the City of Taylor Police at the Vet Center. The signal was given. We were off. The route wandered though streets of Detroit that I had not driven in years... past a beautiful sight on Woodward…the new Tiger Stadium. The ball game crowd stood along the edge of Woodward to watch the parade of bikes. It was an awesome spectacle.
Finally, we arived at the Bridge... then, we crossed without stopping. The temperature was warmer and with more humidity. Our arrival in Canada slowed us a bit. A bus with disabled veterans escorted the group at a slow pace for the several miles outside of Windsor to Saint Clair College.
Our buddy (CC), met us at the college parking lot. Bikes from around Canada and the U.S. assembled there... many arrived early that morning. We barely had enough time to park... more instructions... this time from Ed Johnson followed by prayer for the group again. Departing the lot was slow but without incident for nearly 1500 bikes plus a bus.
Not having a clue as to how we were to get to our destination along the beautiful St Clair River... we just enjoyed the ride. People came to the edge of the streets on our route. They smiled and waved. It was a mini Rolling Thunder Run, but in Canada.
We arrived at the North Wall monument along the river. Parking was scarce. Someone volunteered his front lawn. (Some really nice people live in Canada.) I talked to a couple bikers about their Hooker pipes (bikers always like to talk about their rides). Those pipes would look great on my Fat Boy.
Pictures taken and greetings for friends that I had not seen in a long time, namely, Ed and Rick. The ceremony was an excellent tribute. We paid homage our fallen Canadian brothers. However, a veteran event is not complete without reference to those who still wait about the fate of their loved ones…those listed as POW/MIA. We remembered and honor them.
Goodbys and hugs at the end of the ceremony. The ride home was rainy (cold and hard) for most of the journey, but the events of the day was worth getting wet. It was a great day for a ride!
Gary D. Moore
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Update: February 14, 2017Top