Military stories from past to present, both wars.

Wild Hogs Part Deux

June 26th, 2007 Posted in The SandGram v1.0

Dear Gang,
There were three morale boosters while over in Iraq that made the world of difference for me. First was, an organization that I am a fevered believer in. Second was Boca Java Coffee. They sent over two hundred pounds of coffee to us over the course of our last couple of months there. Finally, having the internet available to email to home, family and friends made a world of difference for a solid piece of mind.

Well, I can tell you that being invited by Marty and Sue Horn from to participate in a fund raiser up in St. Louis was a no brainer this past weekend, I mean, you call, I haul. “Hey Marty, just give me the who, what, where and when.” All I had to do next was to get permission from my Commanding Officer which went like this if you were sitting next to my desk when I called. “Hey honey, do you mind if I fly up to Missouri for a fund raiser for Marty in June? What is it? Ohhhhh just a little ride to help raise money for the cause. Bike ride? Well, no not a bike. Yes, a motorcycle, guess I left that part out of it. Yes honey, you did tell me that I could buy another airplane before I ever bought a motorcycle. I promise I’ll be careful. Yes, I will only smoke a few cigars with Major Pain. You don’t mind? Great, thanks honey, I love you too!!”

The big hurdle was done with two phone calls, one to the wife and the other to jack up my life insurance and I was on the road to Missouri. Della Williams, a dispatcher for the Wentzville Police Department, put the whole thing together and man did she do a fantastic job. She arranged for T.V. coverage of the event with Channel five of St. Louis, two free Harley’s from Pat, a great supporter who owns “Doc’s Harley” of St. Louis, the ride route, the Army color guard, a band, picnic, poker run and hotels for us. I’m talking about months of planning to put something this big together.

Everything worked out great till Saturday morning when we found out that Maj Pain from One Marine’s View was stuck in Pittsburg and wouldn’t arrive till one pm that day. The ride started at 11am and we made the decision that we would not leave a Marine behind, so a small group of us would take off late and go get him. Taylor Batten, a live wire thirteen year old girl, who is an honorary Gunny in the Corps, drove all the way down from Michigan with her Family, Cathy and Kevin and brother Tanner for this event. If you go back to Major Pain’s site, you can read all about this wonderful little lady and what she has gone through. She surprised Major Pain at the gate as he was walking up the terminal.

As it turned out, just six bikes for the ride was a lot nicer than in the pack with the other two hundred. We had Harry as the lead, who is a Lieutenant for the Wentzville PD, Leon and Kriss who are Sgt’s with Wentzville as dash three and six, Gary, Marty and myself. The ride started off easy enough as we headed West on highway 70, the only problem was a line of thunderstorms moving our way. As we cruised along the highway, the skies became darker, then you noticed all the cars heading east bound with their headlights on and covered in water. Then it hit, a few drops at first, followed by a complete deluge of water. The Bikes handled great as we slowed up and took shelter under an overpass. The thunder boomed, visibility dropped to a half mile and it poured for a good 40 minutes as we waited. Harry was able to pull up Accu-weather on his phone so we could get a good peek at the storms. “Hey Taco, you’re a pilot, what does this mean as he showed me the radar picture. It wasn’t good; the line of thunderstorms was over our entire route for the ride. We figured out that we needed to head West, through this, go about twenty miles west or so and then head south to come in behind the line of storms.

With a solid plan and a break in the rain, we took off again. The only problem was the next wall of water we hit about ten minutes later. Our speed dropped down to a crawl as we were pelted with water. Your glasses fog up, you can’t see worth crap and the worst part is the water running down your soaked Levi’s legs into your boots. (that sucked) No stopping this time, we pressed on through the rain and busted out onto the other side of the front into sunshine. Back up to seventy miles an hour in the heat of the sun, we dried us off pretty fast. Except, for the wet boots.

The next couple of hours, once we got off the highway and headed South on route 19, was some of the most beautiful countryside you have ever seen. Sweeping valleys with some good size little mountains and lots of green trees covering many small rivers. Our plan worked great as we watched the storm front off to the east and traveled behind it. The end of the ride was down near Fort Lenoard Wood where Della had a band playing and a cookout by the VFW. It was an outstanding ride and all for a great organization. If you have the chance next year, come on out for it! You won’t be disappointed. I’d like to thank Della, Terry, all the Officer’s of the Wentzville Police Department, The Batten family, Pat from Doc’s and of course Marty and Sue for a great time. I think Major Pain and I lost our butt’s somewhere after two hundred miles out of five hundred, but I would do it again in a heartbeat and twice on Sunday. Until then,
Semper Fi,