Saturday, September 18, 2010

Warrior Thunder Ride

When you go to the website for the
the first thing you will see is,
"The Greatest Casualty is Being Forgotten"

Pretty powerful words to one as sensitive as I am... so when one of my good customers (shout out to Lyn Briggs) invited me to go on this ride and I found the website to see what it was about, I committed to joining this ride. I checked the schedule at my shop, made sure that the team working today would be okay without me and left early this morning to register.  I showed up with my not so pretty fingernails to the ride because I gave the Dirty Girl a quick polish with Lemon Pledge right before I left. I didn't want her to be SO dirty for the ride :) 

The mission of the WWP is simple:

.... to honor and empower wounded warriors.

Its purpose:

raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of severely injured service men and women

help severely injured service members aid and assist each other

provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of severely injured service members

The ride was launched from Paramount Harley Davidson in Framingham MA. When I got there, it was pretty evident where to put my bike :)

The bikes started rumbling in and over the next hour, the staging area filled with what looked to be a good turn out for this first annual benefit ride. We registered and were given a Wounded Warrior Patch and a nifty red white and blue wrist wrap in order to be allowed in to the base for the BBQ. 
You can see DG mingling in the crowd...camouflaged if that is at all possible by a yellow sport bike.
At about 11:30, we had the huddle to go over road rules... always a good thing. I raised my hand and asked about red lights and stop signs- did the escort mean that we would not be stopping at all?  The answer was yes, the 8 or so motor cops from area towns were there to volunteer their time to make sure our parade was safe and fun.  
11:45...Kickstands up!  We were going on a 50 mile loop through MetroWest Boston, ending at Natick Labs, the only active military base in MA (I think that is what I heard said). 

The Motorcops were giving us a little last minute information...and then we got the 'Start Your Engines' go ahead.  My heart always pounds harder when I am in the midst of motorcycles that are all starting at same time.  The rumble goes right to my bones and that first sweet smell of exhaust that says motorcycles! 

The temps today were on the cool side, which I kind of like. I think many riders were chilly... but as the route progressed, I was glad it was not baking hot today.  A large portion of the ride had roads with numerous 'tar snake' repairs... these are downright nasty in the heat of the summer, slippery and dangerous to motorcycle tires.  The cool temps today made them a non-issue and I was glad of that. 

I absolutely loved  having the police escort!  It made the ride a bit more exciting for me... I am like a little kid sometimes, I hear a siren and get excited.  I suppose that is what is supposed to happen though. :)  
The motorcops would rotate through their numbers to zoom ahead and hold traffic at intersections.  They would run their lights and sirens when doing this because they were up along side of us. I loved seeing the lights approaching in my mirrors, maybe I am easily entertained, but it did not get old for the whole 50 miles to watch them do this.
I don't know how many bikes participated, I would guess that it was around 100. I was smack in the middle I think.  Looking ahead, I could not see the beginning bikes as the line would wind up and around corners on the country roads:
And then looking in my mirrors, the same thing... headlights that went on and on:
It was fascinating to watch the reactions of the motorists that were coming the other way.  As the police bikes would ride up through our ranks with their sirens and lights going, some drivers would barely move to the side and keep driving.  I thought that odd.  Other cars would do what they were supposed to when one sees a police vehicle and pull completely to the side and stop moving.  What was funny though was that some of them were unsure about whether they could go forward again.  I saw a few cars simply stop and watch the bikes. 
The Warrior Thunder Ride felt most thunderous when we were navigating through downtown Hudson... a busy town center, narrow streets and traffic. It was fun because it was making such a statement!  Maybe these people will look in the newspaper tomorrow and see why all those motorcycles were parading through their town and make note of the WWP. Many shoppers and store people were standing outside watching us pound through. I waved to a lot of little kids today :) 
 Right on schedule, at about 50 miles, we pulled into the Natick Army Labs, showed our wristbands to the guards and motored on to the parking lot, the entrance to the base was a motorcyclist's dream and  I admit, I hit the throttle a little harder and giggled as I made my way to the parking area.

We parked our bikes and gave a round of applause to the men that made this ride so enjoyable and so safe. I have been on group rides before and the presence and support of police make all the difference in the world for the riders.  Many many thanks to these Boys in Blue that volunteered their time today!

We were then entertained by a great band and many riders had a feast at the barbecue.  I had a few oatmeal raisin cookies and a hot cup of coffee... sat for a bit and talked with other riders, and people watched, one of my favorite pastimes when in a large group. There were a lot of service people there today, probably most of them.  I was one of the people today who showed up to show my respect and thanks. 

I met a couple of the people who put this ride on, and you could feel their excitement. One fellow in particular, who was at Paramount, directing the parking.  He was in relax mode at the bbq...totally understandable and well deserved!  Thank you to Darren (I don't know your last name) for a great day! I hope that this ride was what you envisioned! 

As always, thank you for reading my blog...

Peace and Love, 


  1. Nice to see The Bee posting again!

  2. Nice Beee! You know that this Project is as dear to me as the PGR. Thank you for your participation Kate. I am sure there are people that follow you that will be made aware through your blog. Items sold for the WWP can be purchased at any Cracker Barrel resturant which excepts no profits from the sales.
    FYI they have girly cut T's. LOL
    and yes it is good to see you blogging again,,becuase it means you are riding,,,
    See All, Assume Nothing

  3. Bee, many thanks for posting this day's events. And thanks for coming out to support this great cause. We had a great time and raised alot of money because of people like you, great Americans. We are very happy that it was successful and safe and that we will present a nice check to the WWP.
    Darren Bean

  4. May God Bless and protect all of our warriors! Thanks for supporting them.