Is it really over?
Trip Start May 19, 2010
35Trip End Jul 24, 2010
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Where I stayed
The Oceanfront Inn
Breezewood, PA: This town was basically a large truck stop. Chad, Frosty, Amber and I had breakfast at the Denny's diner in town (their wasn't much better) and then we unloaded bags in to everyone's rooms. We also went out on a hunt for a birthday cake for Jeremy, Devin and Howard since their birthday's were all close. State Farm had a nice dinner for us outside by the pool and we hung out for a long time talking after. Nothing too exciting happened this day.
Emmitsburg, MD: That day's ride was very trying and very long for the riders. Since Emmitsburg is so close to Gettysburg, the ride was routed through the battlefields which ended up causing a lot of confusion. It is always difficult to have people offer to mark a route or ride with the riders since they aren't used to how things usually run. Many riders ended up lost and it didn't help that it was a really hot day as well. Thankfully, almost everyone made it to dinner and laid a wreath at the Fireman's memorial. Three of the state farm guys actually laid the wreath since they used to be firefighters. Later that night we took a small road trip up to Gettysburg for some Rita's and hung out in the parking lot.
Washington, D.C.: Amber and I left early in the morning to beat the DC traffic and to make sure that everything was squared away at the hotel. We stayed at the Arlington Court Suites which was only two blocks away from the Court House Rd metro stop. We hung out most of the day at the hotel and then later joined the riders at Walter Reed. World Team sponsored a steak and lobster dinner at the hospital for the riders, staff and patients. My mom, Kenny and Dylan also came to the dinner that night. We tried to get a group to go out later that night but most of the riders were either too tired or visiting with family so I had an early night in.
"Rest Day" in DC: I put this in quotes because this was probably one of the busiest rest days. The day started off with lunch at the capitol building with one of the US senators. I missed almost all of it because Andrew and I spent a long time finding a place to park the Queen. By the time we joined up with everyone else they had already finished lunch. I was too tired to walk back to get the car so I snuck away with Amber and took a taxi back to the hotel. There my mom picked up Amber, Matt, Carl, Devin and I and took us to the DC Marina. We took the boat out for the day and ended up hanging out in Georgetown for a bit and getting some Asian food for dinner by the Marina. The rest of the riders that day rode their bikes to the Arlington Cemetery where they laid a wreath and then road to the Iwo Jima Sunset Parade and had a picnic lunch. Dylan ended up staying the night with me in DC too so he could ride the next day.
Fredericksburg, VA: I had planned to ride at least to lunch this day but I woke up feeling terrible and decided not to ride. Amanda and I quickly drove to Fredericksburg to drop off bags and then doubled back to meet up with the riders at the Marine Corps Museum near Quantico for lunch. Dylan managed to ride almost the entire way to lunch without quitting which was about the same distance I had ridden too. Anything over 40 just seems insane on your first few tries. Later that night I had dinner with my dad's side of the family and hung out with Chelsea for a bit. It was weird going through Stafford and not staying at home too.
Richmond, VA: This was a pretty easy day for me. Amber, Frosty and I arrived at the Hilton Garden and the majority of the rider's rooms were finished. The hotel staff was awesome and sent plenty of help with the bags so we were finished by 9:30. Good thing too because the riders had a shorter day and showed up around 1. State Farm had a really nice lunch and then later that night MWV (one of our sponsors) had dinner for us. I sat with the CEO of Dominion and talked to him for awhile about CNU (he knows President Trible). I also met up with some employees at MWV that were interested in having me intern for them sometime soon. It would be a nice place to work, their office building is beautiful and has a really pretty view of the river. We went to a local place for ice cream and then called it a night.
Yorktown, VA: We left that morning and headed to Rory and Eric's hotel first since they had to have separate accommodations. The Coast Guard Training Facility did not have handicap accessible rooms. They did get to be right across the street from Yorktown beach though so it wasn't too much of a sacrifice. We spent the rest of the day organizing rooms and bags waiting for someone to complain about the dorm style rooms and twin beds. They were actually pretty nice dorms but it definitely paled to the Hilton we were at the night before. We had dinner at the Coast Guard cafeteria and then Amber and I cleaned out the Queen for the last time.
Virginia Beach, VA: This day completely flew by. Amber, Lawrence and I drove down to VA Beach and unloaded our bags at the Oceanfront Inn. It was already miserably hot and the temperature was still climbing. We made it back to downtown Norfolk in time to have lunch at Hooter's (I had never been there before, it was a little weird) and meet the riders on the other side of the Elizabeth River ferry. They kept up good spirits even though they had been pulled over by the police at the James River Bridge for not having a permit and WTS was fined. They also got to ride through CNU's campus which I thought was pretty cool. After the ferry, I took over as lead for the last 25 miles to the beach. We had tons of police support so the ride went very smoothly. They came in right on schedule, but sadly I missed their entrance to the park off the boardwalk because I was busy fighting traffic to find a parking spot for the Queen. I did make it back in time for the ceremony and the wheel dipping. It was less a wheel dipping then more of a whole body and bike in water dipping. It was really fun though and I am glad I got to celebrate with them. Even though I didn't ride, I still feel as much as part of the team as if I had. Later I went back to my hotel to shower for dinner with the riders, staff, family and friends. My mom, Dylan, Kenny, Aunt Jennifer and Raven also made it to dinner with me. It was a really nice seafood buffet, probably one of the best meals of the trip. Van gave a speech calling out the interns quirks and the rider's funny habits but I could tell this trip had really moved him. Mike Claver also gave a speech almost without crying for once. I said goodbye to some of the riders who I hung out with on the beach later that night until almost 3 AM. Many of them had early flights and decided to just not go to bed.
All in all this trip has really changed my perceptions on America, the military and our wounded veterans. There is a patriotism that I didn't know existed all throughout America which was awesome to see. I have also seen all of those famous lines such as "amber waves of grain" and "purple mountains majesty" which makes me really appreciate the beautiful things America has to offer. I hope to stay in touch with all these riders and staff and hopefully see them all next year at Face of America.