Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ride to Remember

Well on the road at 6:30 to start my ride to remember. It had rained last night and there was a heavy fog in the valleys. Slow ride down the hill and onto the blacktop, get the mud off the tires and let the thunder roll. Headed down to East Randolph and over the Chelsea Mountain road over to Tunbridge, home of MSgt Tom Stone. I picked up my first hero 2nd Lt Joseph Fortin. Now riding in good company I past the Tunbridge fair grounds, the sun was just staring to burn through and shower the valley in a yellow glow. I head down to Sharon, the home town of Sgt Carton Clark, there I picked up LCPL Adam Strain. Now time to get out of the fog so head up the W. Hartford - Quechee Rd. a nice twistie road that will take me out of the valley and into Quechee the home town of LCPL Jeff Holmes, I pick up Sgt. Justin Gravey. With my three riders I have a long run to make up to St. Johnsbury to continue my ride. I get onto the interstate roll on the throttle and sit back and relaxed. With time to think the magnitude of this ride starts to hit home. These men gave there lives for freedom, not here but in some far away land. They were sons, brothers, fathers. These are heroes by my definition, "to do what needs to be done, regardless of the consequences". They are all from towns that I have been to before, but not for the same reason. As I ride I wonder what kind of men these heroes were, who there friends were, what these towns were like through there eyes. The sky is full of dark clouds now and I expect that I will be getting wet, even though I can see clear skies to the west. I do run into a little rain in Bradford but not enough for rain gear, out of the rain in Wells River. I get of in St. Johnsbury home of 2Lt Joey Fortin. There wasn't much going on in the downtown, a few people at the gas station filling up or getting coffee. I pick up LCPL Jeffery Holmes. Now for a short ride over to Danville on Route 2. The sun is know out and the clouds are burning off. Danville is typical small Vermont town and is the home town of Cpl. Ian Muller. I pickup Sgt. Steven Deluzio. I need to go to Walden which is the home town of SSG Tristen Southworth. Be cause Walden is such a small town there is no official stop on this ride, but I want to stop anyway to pay my respects. Now onto Hardwick the home town of Spc Scott McLaughlin and SSG Chris Merchant. A hopeful town that is starting to rebuild after the end of a logging and granite industries and loosing many buildings in the downtown to fire. I pickup Sgt. Josh Johnson. Now onto East Montpellier, which is a nice road to ride, smooth, hilly and scenic. East Montpelier is the home town of SSG Jamie Gray. Its time to take a break, I've been riding for 3 hours and need to stretch. I pickup Sgt. Michael Voss. I am getting toward the end of my ride. I decide I want to make two more stops. I head over to Norwich, which is the home town of Col. James Moore and Maj. Robert Soltes. and the home of the oldest private military academy. I pickup SSG Jesse Strong. I am now done with my ride except one more stop in Randolph Center at the veterans cemetery for my last stop to say good bye to my riders before going home.

I want to give a special thanks to my friend Joe Oliver from California who sponsored me on this ride with a donation to the Vermont Fallen Heroes Memorial. Joe and I served together in the Army 20 years ago. Thanks again Joe.