Today the windows must have rattled at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. as thousands of bikers descended on Washington, D.C. for the annual “Rolling Thunder” motorcycle rally.
I’ve been lucky to participate in this event since 2002 when I was a new Delegate. Every year, the Fairfax Harley Owners Group find someone to give me a ride for the annual “Ride of the Patriots” sponsored by our Patriot Harley Davidson deadership. It is an awesome sight and even more awesome to hear when 10,000+ motorcycles get started at the same time.
This year, riders began gathering along Rte. 50 in Fairfax City at about 5 a.m. By the time I got there, the bikers were backed up from Fairfax Circle to nearly the intersection at Rte 123. That’s three miles or so.
The parking lot is full of folks who are there to remember Memorial Day and also have fun for all the right reasons. I met multiple Harley riders from points north (Quebec) and south (Colombia). All there to represent the red, white and blue. I also bumped into Mike O’Meara, the afternoon DJ at WJFK who used to give me an on-air interrogation when I was running for office.
Prior to the rally starting, there were several inspirational and well-received speeches given by local electeds and and a retired Air Force general. This year, Mayor Rob Lederer also presented the “Key to the City” to Patriot Harley owner Bob Dehaven who has organized this rally for years and supported the cause of returning vets.
At 9:10 a.m., the crowd was warmed up and the first group bikes fired up. I put on my borrowed helmet (with a sticker reading “POLITICALLY INCORRECT, MORALLY CONFUSED” on the side) and hopped on the back of a massive three-wheeler driven by a Fairfax HOG member. We rolled out. Down Rte 50, taking a left on Nutley Street and across to Rte. 66.
Then it was perfect formation along Rte 66 through Arlington to Rte 110 and eventually reaching the Pentagon.
The ride to the Pentagon was great. It was a gorgeous day, not a cloud in the sky. Thousands of people were out in the their lawn chairs to see the motorcycles scream by.
At the Pentagon, there was a festival atmosphere. Like a Grateful Dead concert mixed with military and patriotic themes. I stayed for a while, then took the METRO home — so I didn’t go all the way to The Wall.
Congrats to Patriot Harley and all the riders who showed their patriotism today.