Rolling Thunder Pinstop and 2011 Patriot Tour

Fort washington pin stop rolling thunder 2011

Today was a great day! Saturday May 28th, 2011 was the launch of the 2011 Patriot Tour and the annual Rolling Thunder HOG Pin Stop at Fort Washington Harley-Davidson.

The Patriot Tour opening ceremony took place this morning at Wisconsin Harley-Davidson. For the second consecutive year the Nation of Patriots will send an American flag around the country to honor the US armed forces. The flag will travel from one Harley-Davidson dealer to another traveling 14,000 miles through 48 states in 100 days. HOG Chapters like First State will carry the flag and do most if not all of the riding. This is a fantastic undertaking and I will be receiving the flag at Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson on Fathers Day. I will escort the flag to Harley-Davidson of Washington DC on June 20th with members of First State HOG Chapter. Once there I will pass the flag on to Assistant Director, Dan Claffey, of Fort Washington HOG Chapter. I saw Dan earlier today and got this awesome action shot of him directing traffic.

dan Claffey expert traffic volunteer

Harley-Davidson of Washington DC hosted the launch party and HOG pin stop for Rolling Thunder XXIV as they do every year. Hundreds, if not thousands, of riders congregate at the dealership the day before the Rolling Thunder demonstration. There are vendors, bands, free food and VIP’s from Harley-Davidson. If it weren’t for other local businesses, volunteers and their HOG Chapter the dealership would be shut down. However the Fort Washington HOG Chapter and other volunteers do an amazing job of directing traffic and helping out in a number of ways. I have seen them work the pin stop, help out in the parts department and hand out water bottles. In fact I got a great picture of Director Sandi Claffey aka Sparkles of Fort Washington HOG giving out water to hot ladies walking by. I personally want to thank Sandi for our water and Papa Johns for the mountains of free pizza that they gave out to hungry bikers like me and Diana.

sparkly sandi giving hot diana sparkling water

Doc directing pedestrain crossing

the crowds at Fort Washington

Below is a picture of the band stage, notice there is no orange in this one picture.

the band at rolling thunder XXiV

Here is a picture of two HOG regional managers, one officer of Fort Washington HOG and others working the Harley-Davidson Pin Stop at Rolling Thunder XXIV.

Fort washington hog officer and two HOg regional managers at rolling thunder pin stop

We went to the pin stop in 2010. Click here to read that story. The main reason we traveled down again this year was to test out our ride route for the upcoming Patriot Tour Ride on June 20th. I do not want to ride the DC beltway, too dicey! My goal is to avoid the beltway and take scenic backroads. Many of you may be thinking that there is no way to get to Fort Washington, Maryland without hitting the congestion of being in our nations capital. You might not believe there are scenic backroads in this area. But you would be wrong. I have a pretty good route and I am proud of it. Most of you reading this can handle getting down Rt 301 from Delaware and crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and getting off of Rt 50/301 in Annapolis at the exit for Rt 2 South which is Solomons Island Road. This is the same exit you take for Harley-Davidson of Annapolis.

From Rt 2 South, Solomons Island Road, I do the following:

  1. Take a left at Rt 214 East Central Ave
  2. Take a right onto Rt 468 Muddy Creek Road – Awesome backroad!
  3. Take a right on Swamp Circle Road – this is just a cool little farm road short cut, you can take Rt 256
  4. From Swamp Circle or Rt 256 take a right on Rt 258 Bayfront Road East – Nice backroad!
  5. Get onto Rt 4 North – a very nice parkway!
  6. Get off at the exit for Rt 223 South and follow Woodyard Rd – still nice backroad!
  7. You’ll start to come to some congestion and cross under Rt 5
  8. Woodyard becomes Piscataway
  9. Take a right on Steed Road
  10. Another right on Allentown Road
  11. A left on Tucker Road
  12. Take Tucker to Palmer Road
  13. Follow Palmer across Rt 210 Indian Head Highway and you are there!

The Mrs and I had another fantastic ride, I won’t call it an adventure. But we had a great ride today with the minor exception of riding under a few sporadic rain clouds and Diana getting hit in the eyes by small insects several times throughout the day. Some say she attracts small pests!

God bless all HOG Chapters around the world! Without the great HOG organization and people events like the Patriot Tour and Rolling Thunder Pin Stop might not be able to happen. You guys and gals in Fort Washington are awesome!

We welcome your comments below. Thank you in advance.

Virginia Beach And Back – Riding For Karen, Victor, Women Riders and the Special Olympics

eastern shore

Adventure number two for 2011 is now in the books. Diana and I took a special overnight trip to Virginia Beach with a small group of members from our HOG Chapter. We left Delaware on Friday the 13th and came back on Saturday the 14th which was Harley-Davidson’s Womens Ride Day. The trip was full of meaning. There are several themes that tie together here so bear with me as I try to bring you up to speed.

Two years ago we were heading down to North Carolina with twenty or so members of our HOG Chapter. There was an accident. A women on drugs drove through our pack of motorcycles and killed our friend Karen Fortner. The first responders from Cheriton, VA and the surrounding area took good care of us and we have become friends with the police, firefighters and EMT’s. Terry Thomas, the President of the Cheriton Volunteer Fire Departmentand Investigator for the Northhampton County Sheriff’s Office, keeps in touch with members of our HOG Chapter and he invited us down to participate in the 2nd Annual Ride The Bay event. This is a charity motorcycle ride that benefits the Special Olympics of Virginia and crosses the Chesapeake Bay via the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel. We felt this was a good opportunity to go down unofficially as a second year anniversary to memorialize the loss of our dear friend.

Gladys, our Assistant Director and a Road Captain in Training, was close to Karen and eager to lead this trip. My wife Diana was also close to Karen and helped Gladys plan the ride. The ride would take place in May which is Women Riders month and the event was scheduled on the same day as Harley-Davidson’s Womens Ride Day. It was fitting that Diana and Gladys lead our HOG Chapter down to Virginia Beach to help the Special Olympics and honor Karen on Womens Ride Day. Unfortunately Gladys had to fly down to Florida to help her parents out and wasn’t able to make the trip. Diana who is a patched Road Captain took over the trip for Gladys.

I was also riding for Victor. Victor is a Harley rider from Pennsylvania who is currently fighting cancer and undergoing chemo treatments. His sister contacted me via e-mail asking me if I had any pictures of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel. She said that Victor’s special place he likes to ride is the Bay Bridge and Tunnel and that pictures would help keep his spirits up. Although I never met Vic or his sis I wanted to help out. I couldn’t help but feel there was a special reason all these events were tied together. I was able to get a DVD documentary from my brother’s mother in law about the building of the bridge and I forwarded that to Victor. Terry Thomas, mentioned above, stopped at the gift shop on the bridge and picked up a book for Vic that also illustrates the building of this historical engineering marvel. Yes, there is a gift shop on the bridge as well as a restaurant and a fishing pier. This is the most amazing bridge ever built! I don’t know if Victor knew all this much information about the bridge before, but he certainly does now. I tried to get some original pictures of the bridge from members of the Tidewater HOG Chapter but was not successful. So guess what?! This trip was for both Victor and Karen and I would go down and take some pictures special for Vic!

this is for you Vic

The weather report wasn’t exactly calling for sunshine for this trip. We had two riders back out in the morning before leaving because of the threat of rain. So what was originally going to be be four guys and five ladies each on their own motorcycle became three and three. Six is the perfect number for group rides so I was happy about having six. We got down to Virginia Beach by dinner time without any problem. One of our guys (Mike the 2010 Chili King) went on to visit his Mom, so we were down to two guys (me and Eddy) with three lady riders for the rest of the trip. The other lady riders were Erin and Dana. Erin was riding her husband’s Heritage and on her first overnighter as a rider and not a passenger. She was very excited and proud of her accomplishment. Dana was with us on the ride in 2009 when the accident took place and this was her first time back to the area since then.

Erin and her Heritage

Erin, the proud rider of this Heritage

the ladies and eddy

Diana, Dana, Erin and Eddy (all officers of First State HOG)

Later that evening we got a call from Terry Thomas saying that some of the event volunteers were backing out because of the weather report and they had to cancel the charity ride for the Special Olympics. He was upset because he felt responsible for us traveling all this way and having the event canceled. We didn’t mind. We had a plan B that was in tune with our other themes.

Back in 2009 we were going to meet up with Tammy Walker of Diva Customs. She owns a custom motorcycle shop in Virgina Beach that caters to women, and she published a book called Why We Ride that includes 101 uplifting stories of women and their motorcycles. Karen, Diana, and Dana all contributed stories as well as many of you lady motorcycle bloggers out there (BB, KT Did, LadyR and Boston). So now that the Ride The Bay event was canceled it only made sense to drop in at Diva Customs to celebrate Women Riders Day. Tammy keeps a special copy of the book in her shop where she tries to have as many of the ladies who contributed their stories autograph the book. Dana got to sign the book!

visit diva customs on women rider day

everyone having a good time at diva customs

I own this place

After visiting with Tammy it was time to gear up to cross that long bridge and then stop to visit the cross erected at the accident site in honor of Karen. I dropped to the sweep position so that I could take pictures while riding across the bridge. Please do not tell anyone I was taking pictures while riding sweep on a chapter ride. Not exactly safe Director/Road Captain behavior. But I had to do it for Vic! If I get in trouble for this it won’t matter because I got the picture of a lifetime! As we crossed the first section of bridge and approached the first tunnel a Navy ship crossed the bay right in front of the tunnel! I got the most amazing picture of us that looks like we are riding into the ship!

ship 1

Ship 2

ship 3

ship 4

going down

After crossing the bay we visited Karen’s cross. Then we headed home. Diana picked a route that skirted the rain and the Dover NASCAR race traffic. It was the long way, but it was also the scenic way. We had a great ride home, we avoided the rain, and we arrived in Newark, Delaware safe and dry. Dana and Erin did catch a little rain as they headed north to Wilmington.

diana and dana and karen

We had a great trip! 500 miles in two days. Nothing beats travelling with friends who can switch from plan A to plan B and enjoy themselves the whole time. Visiting Karen’s cross two years and three weeks after the accident had deep meaning to those of us that knew her and were with her that day. Taking pictures for Vic… awesome! I can’t wait to send these to him. You can have a sneak peek by clicking here.

Meet Pramod Roa aka Mo

Mo at Ride Like A Pro

Diana and I met Pramod Roa aka Mo last summer at the Delaware/Maryland State HOG Rally. Mo had recently purchased a Fat Boy® Lo and joined the Baltimore Metro HOG Chapter. He wanted to meet people at the state rally so he contacted me in order to volunteer. As the Volunteer Coordinator I can tell you he was a big help and probably the nicest person I have met in years. I even tried to persuade him to join my HOG Chapter in addition to Baltimore Metro. Meeting people like Mo is what makes HOG events fun, so you can imagine my pleasant surprise when Mo arrived on his Fat Boy® for the Ride Like A Pro class Diana and I took on May 1st in southern Maryland.

Mo on the range

I asked Mo if he would write a little something about his experience at the Ride Like A Pro of Maryland class and this is what he was kind enough to put together:

Hi, I ride a 2010 Fat Boy® Lo . I have clocked about 7200 miles on my motorcycle. I completed my Riders Edge Basic course in 2009 and then took the Riders Edge advanced course in 2010. Both the courses were at the local Harley-Davidson dealer at Baltimore and were conducted very well. I learned a lot from the skilled rider course at the HD dealership and wanted to further advance my abilities to become a safer rider (lots of tools driving out there, one has to watch ones back all the time) and also get over my inhibitions over corners. Hence when I heard there was Ride Like A Pro school around my area, I signed up immediately. I got in touch with Dave via email. He was very helpful and gave me all the info regarding the class. He was kind enough to reserve my place and let me pay at a later date due to issues on my end (Thanks, Dave appreciate it). I rode to Waldorf, MD on the may 1st and was pleasantly surprised to see Jay and his lovely wife Diana which made taking the class all the more fun.

The exercises were really fun. All the instructors were extremely competent, very helpful and encouraged everybody to do better all the time. For me it was a great opportunity to improve my skills, especially in the circle and also through the cones. I had a wonderful day riding on my motorcycle, getting to know it better and understanding it better. I walked away a better rider when the class was done.

I must mention that I am really grateful for having done the advanced rider course at the HD dealership which for me was a stepping stone towards the Ride Like A Pro class. I feel everybody who likes to ride and loves their motorcycles should do these courses. It was really great! Dave, Christine and the team at Ride Like A Pro of MD are really great people. I am really happy for doing this course as I have just improved my riding skills and that just made riding my motorcycle more fun. Me and my motorcycle communicate better now 🙂

Look at Mo Go!

Meet Officer Todaro

This is another video from 2010 HOG Officer Training called Lead.

Meet Luke

This is another video from 2010 HOG Officer Training called Grow. Luke was 15 years old and purchased a Harley-Davidson® motorcycle. He was at training and took classes with us. He even played the accordian on stage with the band. He was like a rock star! Cool young man.

Meet Cipriano Duran

This video is called Explore and was shown at 2010 HOG Officer Training. It gives me the chills everytime I watch it. Cipriano is the coolest!

Meet Cipriano Duran, a H.O.G. member whose weekend ride turned into an adventure that took him and his ’71 Sporty over 20,000 miles across the country.