Ok, just into the hotel from 13 hours on the road, riding from Indianapolis to Higginsville, Missouri. What.A.Ride. The American Legion Riders Legacy Ride.
First day jitters are always evident, as everyone seemed to be at the anointed starting place at least an hour earlier than necessary. Post 64 on the west side serves as the customary location; they didn't disappoint this year either. Good road breakfast, everything set to line up, and kickstands up at exactly 0800. Can you tell these guys were in the service?
Now, you may be asking yourself why I'm pimping this ride, and the Legion in general. Okay- I'll tell you.
Four Million Dollars.
That's right- Four. Million. Dollars.
No, that's not my 'writing fee' for this (although, Mothax, I could use it) but what the Legacy ride has generated IN ONLY 5 YEARS. That's right. A bunch of motorcycling gearhead veterans, mostly retired, has generated FOUR MILLION since the first ride took place. Last year was over 680k. The first night before the ride- over 120k in that one night alone was generated.
What does all this go for? What is the goal here?
The goal is to raise an endowment based on 10 million in donations. With that, they will have enough for a fund to run nearly in perpetuity to serve..whom?
This is the good part- this, is what the FOUR MILLION will do- help the sons and daughters of those fallen in the GWOT and their educations. And those sons and daughters of those who will fall in the years to come.
This is an amazing accomplishment in such a short time. Many, many Legion halls have a Rider contingent; the primary task for those Riders is to work raising funds thru local rides and events, and bring awareness to their areas. What better way than do do it doing something you love to do anyway?
Listen, another reason I'm doing this is to raise awareness of service clubs to the those who read B5, and may not know much about them. I'm talking to all you GWOT vets out there- yeah, at 24 or 25 this don't seem like much, but let me tell you- they need you, WE need you, and it's more fun and family oriented than you'll ever realize (until you join!) So take a look- even if all you do is ride, on behalf of the Legion, you'll be giving back a ton to your community. That's all I ask...
Now, some notes on today's ride:
-Nearly 500 riders took off from Post 64 at 0800 this morning, and hit the road. EVERY bridge, EVERY town, EVERY location was waiting for us to pass thru or by. It's incredible the support that America has for its veterans. On the Ride, you can experience it like no other way.
-This ride's most notable participant is National Commander Clarence Hill. For the first time in the 5-year history, the National Commander will ride the ENTIRE ride from Indianapolis to the Convention site. Given how busy these guys are- that is an incredible feat. Riding his own bike, too.
-My sympathies to those in Indiana- your roads suck west of Indianapolis. I hit some real kidney killers; any lighter a bike and I would've ended up in a ditch. When we hit Illinois? Glass.....
-Missouri drivers hate giving up road to bikers. Or groups. They suck in every inch of road like they own it. Several times line-cutters trying to dive in front of bikers nearly wiped them out. We do under the speed limit, and we still have to ride deathly cautious at every merge point. It's truly sad.
-Effingham, Illinios greeted us for lunch- blocking off the entire downtown to fit all the bikers in order to get into the legion hall. Gorgeous area, bunting and flags on the buildings.
This is what we see when we ride- fertile, green fields nearly ready for harvest; thick, congested rows of corn just waiting for the harvester; the smells of farms along I-70. Only on a bike, can you take this all into your senses. Not your air-conditioned 'cages' traipsing up the freeways. We ride hard, we ride tight, and we ride safe. But see America we do.I can't wait for the next 4 days.
Now, if I can ever get the proper CABLE for my HD camera, I'll share some better pics and videos. Yeah, I love technology..
Oh, and the bike- to remind you, I'm riding a 2010 Ultra Glide Classic. A Sunglow Red color. It is fantastic. The power-on-throttle is intoxicating; the stability and smoothness must be ridden to be believed; this is NOT your fathers Harley. Even after riding all day, I'm feeling really good, minus the sun and heat effects. I've got tons of room for all my stuff, and the balance is so good I don't even notice I'm loaded. Tunes, cruise, and power. I want for nothing else...
Tomorrow, we'll learn about my ride leader. Yeah, this you gotta see...