Thursday, April 26, 2012

Archive - "Been There, Sniffed That" published in Behind Barz Magazine, January 2012. (added to my blog April 26, 2012)

I rode Charlotte Motor Speedway!  My driver commented after our laps that the track looks much larger from the stands than it does when we’re driving on the track.  Our top speed?  We reached 100mph with the throttle full open coming out of turn 2 onto the back stretch during our second lap.  There were GoldWings rolling around 120mph.  There were 217 bikes at this event on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.  This event benefits Speedway Children’s Charities.  Most of the bikes seemed to be GoldWings since this event is sponsored by a GWRRA chapter – I think GWRRA Chapter L2 in Mooresville, but I’m not 100% sure.  It wasn’t all GoldWings at the event.  There was a sprinkling of Harleys here and there.  Those GoldWings moved faster on the track, but in my opinion, the Harleys SOUNDED totally pawsome with their throttles wide open!  Regardless, I’m now a member of the “100 MPH Club”.  My driver used his “JD” helmet cam (a gift from Jeff Davis), and my Chewy Cam worked at this event!  We posted a 35-minute video on my web page so people can see portions of this event from my perspective.


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Photo by Gary Henry
Evan Parton invited me to join the “100 MPH Club” a couple of months before the event.  I think I first met Evan at a Patriot Guard Rider mission in which ol’ Bill “Jammer” led the PGR and others in escorting the Travelling Vietnam Wall from the Virginia / North Carolina border to Concord, NC in late March 2011.  I remember leaving at o’dark thirty in the morning with Thomas “G.E.” Sanders to link up with ol’ Bill near Mebane, and it was coooooold.  Anyway … when Evan first invited us to Charlotte Motor Speedway, we weren’t sure if we would be going because Black Friday is the day my driver and my mom celebrate their anniversary.  They were married on Black Friday (loooong story), but it’s easier for my driver to remember and it’s always on a Friday!


My laps on Charlotte Motor Speedway were dedicated to our Fallen Heroes and their Gold Star Families. The flags on my Harley are the same flags that accompanied me on my ride across the USA in May 2011 in honor and remembrance of our Fallen Heroes.  My driver and I had a moment of silence before rolling to the infield. A few names that came to mind include Michael Rodriguez, Adam Ginett, Mark Adams, Scott Brunkhorst, Willie McLawhorn, Michael Spivey, Mikey Swink, James McClamrock, Amy Sinkler, Jeff Sherer, Mark Bradley, Aaron Blasjo, Lucas Elliott, Ross Carver and many many more. We also said a prayer for Cory Remsburg, an Army Ranger I met last year who was wounded in action and overcoming a traumatic brain injury.


While on Charlotte Motor Speedway, we didn’t see the affects of the “Slobber Factor.”  The temperatures were very comfortable, so I wasn’t panting and drooling.  Don’t know what the Slobber Factor is?  If you know us dogs, then you know we pant and slobber when it’s hot.  Put a dog on a bike, and that slobber flies in the wind.  However, riding on a bike with a fairing and windshield changes the air flow.  I can only bark for my Harley Ultra Classic.  At about 45mph and less, my slobber drips onto the top of the saddlebag cover and the top of the tour pack.  My driver has to put a coat of wax on those areas often because my slobber leaves spots on the paint that are hard to buff out.  At about 55mph to about 65mph, the air flow will float my slobber forward and it lands on the back of the windshield and slowly drips down the windshield before drying.  Most of the slobber lands on my driver’s shoulder or the back of his neck and helmet, but some of the slobber reaches the windshield.  At interstate speeds, particularly with a head wind, my slobber drifts forward, the air flow coming from under the fairing is diverted upward by the gas tank, which pushes my slobber upward to the air flow coming over the top of the fairing.  Guess where my slobber lands?  My slobber splatters my driver’s glasses.  If the air flow is just right, it’ll land on his face and sometimes on his lips, especially if I let go of a big, juicy, heavy slobber.  On those hot summer days on the interstate when we exit to refuel, my driver fuels the bike, then you’ll see him clean the dried slobber spots from his glasses and my doggles.  Well, I wasn’t slobbering at Charlotte Motor Speedway to see the air flow does.  I’m guessing the air flow might push it a little above my driver and maybe it would hang long enough for the rider behind us to get slobbered on.




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Ms Angie and others meeting a few of the Patriot Rovers


We haven’t ridden much in the past two months, but when we ride, it’s almost always for a purpose.  We attended “The Gathering V” at Abundant Life Worship Center, which raised money for Carolina Patriot Rovers.  I sniffed out HotRodz in Fayetteville, NC, met Debbi Britt, and hounded “One More” for treats while the service team changed my rear tire and brake pads.  I like HotRodz – comfortable sofa chairs for my driver to lean against while he sits on the floor to pet me and watch TV, eatin’ potato chips with “G.E”, and chompin’ on treats from “One More!”


We attended what we understood to be Raleigh-Durham airport’s last Flight of Honor.  The Flights of Honor fly our veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect at their memorials.  The focus of the Flights of Honor have been our WWII veterans, but I think they also fly veterans who may be terminally ill.   


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Ol' Bill "Jammer" giving the mission and safety briefing for the
Triangle Flight of Honor

I rode with Raleigh H.O.G. and I dressed as Santa Paws in the annual Christmas Parade in Raleigh.  My driver rode as Arrrroooodolph with antlers on his helmet and his nose painted red.  We saw a few friends along the route and my driver took pictures.  My driver takes lots of pictures and he posts them on my Facebook page for anyone to view and tag. 


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Here comes Santa Paws

Please join my driver and my mom in praying for Ed, as well as all who are battling cancer.  I joined about 70 of Ed’s friends on a ride to support Ed and Cindy in Ed’s battle against pancreatic cancer.  I know many more who could not be there are supporting Ed through prayers.  My mom won battles against cancer TWICE, so we understand what Ed, Cindy and all patients and family members are going through.  And, yes, even pets sense something different about their families.  We may not understand the details of what’s going on, but we know our human family members need our love and comfort.


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I gave my custom bandana to Ed
Although celebrating the birth of our Savior occurs once a year and has passed in 2011, the spirit of Christmas can be in your heart everyday and forever!  Do you want to know how?  The next time you see a member of Christian Motorcyclists Association, Bikers for Christ, or any Christian organization, ask them.  Or, you can contact the church that my driver and my mom attend and ask to speak to one of the pastors, ministry leaders or deacons (www.macedonia-nc.com).  I know they will help you.  I don’t know if dogs and cats go to Heaven, but I’m hoping that if lions and lambs will be with Jesus, then maybe there’s a chance that God allows other animals into the Kingdom of Heaven.  If not, that’s OK because God knows what’s best.  I have a great life with my driver, my mom, and my friends – sort of like “heaven on earth.”  It’s much better than the alternative if my driver had not found me and adopted me:  euthanization!  Yes, I was scheduled to be put to sleep if no one adopted me on the day my driver and I met.

Have a pawrific 2012 and I hope to be able to sniff (meet) you somewhere on the road!

Keep your tongue in the wind!

Chewy
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"G.E." and "One More" during the Ride for Ed


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I saw friends along the Raleigh Christmas Parade!


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The Gathering V for Patriot Rovers
(l to r) Pat Chsenhall (Pastor of Life Abundant Christian Center, Angier, NC),
David Cantara (Patriot Rovers), and Tom Meese (PGR)


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Ol' Bill "Jammer" and Patty at the Ride for Ed


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Raleigh Christmas Parade -- looking forward from about the middle of the pack


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I trust my Harley with HotRodz in Fayetteville, NC
(l to r:  "One More", Ty Adelman, Susan Zappe, Debbi Britt - owner)

Archive - "Been There, Sniffed That" published in Behind Barz Magazine, November 2011. (added to my blog April 26, 2012)

Sometimes I’m asked to tell a funny thing that I’ve done.  About two years ago, I was at a 3K dog walk to benefit the SPCA.  My driver and I were the only ones to arrive on a bike, and there were hundreds of dogs there.  We went to the registration table and my driver was given a clip board and pen.  He stepped out of the line, and dropped to one knee to complete the paperwork.  I wanted my friends to know that my driver was mine, so I marked his hip.  By the time I finished, the wetness soaked through his jeans, and he jumped up and yelled “Chewy!”  I jumped back as if to play, wagging my tail and giving him my happy look of “What?!?!”  My driver’s jeans dried during the walk, but everyone thought he stunk.  That was the first and only time I have ever intentionally pissed on him.   
 
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USO Friends at the Winston-Salem Tennis Open
We did a lot since my last article.  The USO of North Carolina invited me to be part of the opening ceremonies at the Winston Salem Tennis Open on August 22.  I had the pleasure of meeting several members of the North Carolina National Guard, a wounded Marine and Miss North Carolina USA (Brittany York).  That was my first time on a professional tennis court and at an opening ceremony.  Neither my driver nor I knew what to do, so we just followed the cool bagpiper.

On August 27, Hurricane Irene was running up the east coast of North Carolina.  We had tropical storm conditions when we left our house to ride to Asheville.  We ran into bands of heavy rain and wind until we were between Greensboro and Winston-Salem where we had partly cloudy skies and nice temperatures.  We rode a scenic route through Diamondback (NC 226A), a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Devil’s Staircase (NC 80) on our way to Asheville.  The S-curves on NC 80 were fun as my driver pushed my Harley left and right several times.  We also stopped at the grand opening of Harley-Davidson of Asheville, where we linked up with Raleigh HOG and spent time with Scott Northrup, who is the General Manager of the new dealership.  While at the dealership, I let my driver off his leash in a huge field adjacent to the shop.  He got away from me and I ran through some mud back to the dealership to find him.  My driver said he was going to give me a bath at the hotel, but Keith Zionts suggested taking me to the bikini bike wash.  My driver had baby shampoo in our saddle bag, and I turned it into a bikini biker-dog wash.

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Brady of "Team Brady" at the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation
Ride for Kids in Asheville, NC
Why did we ride to Asheville through a storm?  My driver and I were part of Team Brady led by Keith Zionts.  Brady is five years old and has a brain tumor.  He couldn’t attend the Asheville Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (PBTF) Ride for Kids last year because he was undergoing chemo.  My driver promised to have me at the event in 2011 if Brady was going to be there.  On Sunday morning, we linked up with Raleigh HOG and Statesville HOG south of Asheville and rode to Biltmore Square Mall, the starting point for the PBTF Ride for Kids.  We don't know how many bikes were there, but we know it was a few hundred.  The police-escorted ride took us on a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway and then on a highway to Lake Lure.  It was a pawrific day to put my tongue in the wind!  At Lake Lure, lunch was served for the Celebration of Life.  One of the riders didn't like her sandwich, so she gave it to me.  It was a ham sandwich and I loved it!  Team Brady placed in the top five in fund raising and we had our pictures taken with the Stars.  At the Ride for Kids, the children are referred to as Stars.  After the Celebration of Life, we rode with Raleigh HOG back to Raleigh led by Steve Metz.
 
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Spending time with Christi, the Gold Star Mother of Adam Ginett, TSgt, USAF,
KIA 19 Jan 2010, Afghanistan
On September 10, we participated in the USO Freedom Ride led by Rolling Thunder NC4.  I spent a few minutes with Miss North Carolina USA and I asked her to help me with a project for a child.  The project involved a cut out named Flat Stanley and Flat Stanley had to have his picture taken at different places.  It was so pawsome that Miss North Carolina helped us out with this elementary school project!  Two paws up to Brittany!  Rolling Thunder NC4 asked us to be road guards.  Being a road guard allowed us pawtastic photo and video opportunities.  Unfortunately, the memory card in our camera became corrupt and we lost over 400 pictures and about 45 minutes of video.  We spent two days trying to recover as much data as we could from the memory card.  Many thanks to the LEO departments that ensure our safety:  Wake County Sheriffs Dept, Harnett County Sheriffs Dept, Coats PD, Lillington PD, and Apex PD.  I apologize if I missed anyone.  You can view what we recovered on my Facebook page or on the USO Freedom Ride music video on my website. 

On September 24, I helped Operation Helping Hands for Heroes (OHHH) at their fund raising tent at Benson Mule Days.  I was available for photos and did my little doggie part to support OHHH.  OHHH is a 501c(3) non-profit organization which focuses on helping wounded warriors.  You can learn more about OHHH at www.operationhhh.org.
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Helping Operation Helping Hands for Heroes at Benson Mule Days, Benson, NC
www.operationhhh.org

October 1 was a busy day. We attended one event and portions of three other events.  We started the day meeting the Golden Retrievers from Patriot Rovers at the Ride for the Rovers.  There were six Rovers there.  Patriot Rovers rescues Golden Retrievers, trains them, and assigns them as companion service dogs to a wounded warrior or veteran with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Each Rover is named after a Fallen Hero.  The Patriot Rovers was founded by David Cantara.  David sometimes refers to me as the “original Patriot Rover.”  We were told that part of the idea for the Patriot Rovers comes from my background of being rescued and bringing comfort to people.  Patriot Rovers is a 501c(3) non-profit organization.  For more information about Patriot Rovers, visit www.patriotrovers.org.

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Dano of Patriot Rovers  (www.patriotrovers.org)


After the Ride for the Rovers rolled out of Ray Price Harley-Davidson, my driver attended the wedding of John Headrick and Hannah Stallings inside the showroom of Ray Price H-D.  They are a pawsome couple!  Since dogs are no longer allowed in the dealership, I spent time outside with Dave, the General Manager of Ray Price H-D.

After the wedding, my driver and I mounted up for the annual Miracle League Ride. The Miracle League is a baseball league for children with special needs.  Cary Police Department ensured we arrived safely at the ball field at Adams Elementary School in Cary, NC.  The bikers put smiles on the children’s faces, and I did my part to help.  After the game, the No Rules Riders led the group on back roads to Characters Quarters in Garner.  After we arrived at Character Quarters, my day wasn’t over.  After saying “later” to a few of our friends, we went to Locked-n-Loaded for Behind Barz Bike Nightz.  You can find my video of this ride on my website.

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Bringing smiles to faces at the annual Miracle League Ride, Cary, NC
We spent time chillin’ at Locked-n-Loaded in Garner, NC.  I take my driver there occasionally for lunch or dinner, and we sit in their patio area.  My favorite is their Philly CheeseSteak, but hold the onions and peppers so I don’t gas bomb my driver and my mom that night.

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Snoozin' in my drivers arms at Locked-n-Loaded (Garner, NC) for
Behind Barz Magazine's Biker Nightz


Earlier, I mentioned that dogs (pets) are no longer allowed in Ray Price H-D.  That policy change went into effect during the summer.  This policy has nothing to do with me or any dogs – it has everything to do with dog owners.  As is typically the case, it only takes a small number of irresponsible, inconsiderate or disrespectful pet owners to make it bad for all responsible owners, good pets and biker dogs like Snoopy the Biker Dog (Driver: Tim Wall) and me.  If my driver and I owned or managed a dealership, we would have implemented the same policy based on events that occurred at Ray’s.  What happened?  I know this is not 100% accurate, but I’m sure the dealership staff will agree that it’s generally correct.  Over a few days this summer, one owner allowed his dog to piss on a tire.  Two owners allowed their dogs to take dumps in the dealership – and the owners didn’t clean up after them!  Hey, we’re dogs and we can’t clean-up after ourselves – that’s the dog owner’s responsibility.  Dog owners should understand our body language when we have to go.  My driver knows my body language, always carries poop bags on his leash, and when he sees my body language, he takes me outside, picks up after me, and everyone is happy.  My mom recently witnessed a Home Depot customer allowing her dog to take a dump near the cash registers – and she didn’t clean up after her pet!  But, I think this is the kicker that led to the policy change at Ray’s.  A dog owner allowed his large dog to run loose in the dealership and drag the leash.  I think the leash got caught on the side stand of a bike.  Guess what happened next … yyyyup … the bike went down, which triggered an insurance claim, which led to questions by the insurance company about dogs in the dealership, which led to the policy change.  As I said, it takes a few people to make it bad for all of us good dogs, regardless of breed.  Dogs, you need to ensure that you are well-behaved and quiet before you allow your people to bring you to public people places, such as stores or restaurants.  Can you imagine the reaction of people eating at a restaurant’s patio and, at the table next to them, a dog takes a big, stinky (to humans) dump?  Customers will be quickly calling for someone named up-Chuck.  My driver and I have been to pet stores where dog owners didn’t clean up after their dog.  Just because it’s a pet store doesn’t mean the pet owner has no responsibility to clean up.  Dogs, you also need to ensure that your people are respectful and considerate of others, even in your neighborhood.  For example, in the subdivision we live in, I will sometimes find where a dog took a dump in our yard while walking with their owner, and the owner didn’t pick up the mess!  Why should I have to find those dumps in our yard, mark them, then bring my driver there to pick it up?  I respect Ray, Miss Jean and the dealership staff for putting up with irresponsible pet owners up until this summer.  My driver and I talked with them about exceptions for biker dogs, but the insurance company advised them against making any exceptions.  My driver and I fully understand and respect their policy.  Dogs, if you bring your drivers to Ray Price and you see that sign on the door, don’t be upset with the dealership – be upset with the pet owners who ruined a good thing for us.

Where will I be over the next few weeks?  The MeanStreet Riders are tentatively planning to be in Maggie Valley in early November – to RIDE, not play a concert.  If my driver and I can swing it, we hope to ride with them again and stay at my favorite pet-friendly hotel:  Smoky Mountain Lodge.  Raleigh’s Christmas parade is the Saturday before Thanksgiving, I think.  I rode with Raleigh HOG in every Raleigh Christmas parade since 2008, and it’s an opportunity to bring smiles to faces.  Last year, I barfed onto the street during the parade, and you can hear the reaction of the crowd in a video.  The annual Marine Corps Toys for Tots ride at Ray Price H-D is also coming up in early December.  Two years ago, my Harley won first place people’s choice in a bike show in the Toys for Tots ride.  My driver and I had no idea that we were entered, and we learned that the reason we won was because they thought I was an “accessory.”

It’s that time of year when leaves fall from trees and I like to sniff and mark piles of leaves.  If you ride on roads with fallen leaves, be careful – particularly in the morning when the leaves could be wet.  Deer will be testing our reaction times and riding skills, so be careful out there!

God bless America, our Fallen Heroes, those serving now, those who served, Gold Star families, and our allies.

Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, stay warm and keep your tongue in the wind!
 
Chewy
My Website
My Online Store
Behind Barz Magazeine


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Kim Butler (r) at Miracle League Ride, Cary, NC


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Flags for Fallen Military flag pole installation and flag dedication
in honor of
Michael Rodriguez, SPC, US Army, KIA 23 April 2007


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I turned the Bikini Bike Wash into a Bikini Doggie Wash at the
Grand Opening of Harley-Davidson of Asheville, NC


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Miss North Carolina at the annual USO Freedom Ride


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Miss North Carolina and I rehearsing for the opening ceremonies
of the Winston-Salem Tennis Open


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Typing my article


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Proofreading my article



Archive - "Charlie Mike 2011: IronMutt Rides Again" published in Behind Barz Magazine, September 2011. (added to my blog April 26, 2012)

Charlie Mike 2011 (CM2) was a totally pawsome success.  CM2 departed the Harnett County Veterans Memorial in Lillington, NC a little after 11am on August 5, and returned to their starting point 24 hours later.  This ride qualified the bikers for the IronButt Association’s (IBA) Saddlesore 1,000.  This year, I think 32 bikes completed the ride.  Last year, 14 bikes completed the ride in honor of the North Carolinians still listed as Missing in Action during the Vietnam War.   
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The Route

This was the second IronButt ride held by the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association (CVMA) North Carolina Chapter 15-1.  Why is it called Charlie Mike?  Charlie Mike is phonetic for the letters C and M.  In military terms, it means “continue the mission.”

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Brian Volk registering -- He is a veteran of the first Charlie Mike


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Fuz and Gail Melton rode from Martinsville, VA for this Charlie Mike event
The mission (purpose) of this ride was to honor our Fallen Heroes and veterans of the Korean War, sometimes referred to as “The Forgotten War.”  The Korean War started June 25, 1950 and an armistice (cease fire) went into effect on July 27, 1953.  Technically, South Korea and north Korea (nK) are still at war because no peace treaty was signed.  Most of the bikers rode for the mission and viewed the IronButt recognition as an added bonus rather than their purpose.  Fuz and Gail Melton rode from Martinsville, VA to be part of this mission, and I think we rode in a pawgantic, 1,000-mile circle around their home.

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Pack Leaders:  (l to r) Quietman, Boom, Bruzer, Schmuck and Joker
“Gundy” is the Commander (Leader) of CVMA NC 15-1 and had overall responsibility for CM2.  “QuietMan” conducted the pre-ride safety briefing, and “Cowboy” led the riders, families, and friends in prayer.  God blessed us when he gave us Cowboy.  Cowboy is a member of the Christian Motorcyclists Association and has a full-service motorcycle repair shop in his trailer:  “Covered Wagon Services.”
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Top:  Operation Helping Hands for Heroes supprting this mission
Bottom: (l to r) Gundy, Cowboy and Quietman give the pre-ride safety briefing

Jim Kazakavage flew a Gold Star flag on his yellow GoldWing, while his wife, Christi, was chauffeured by Ol’ Bill “Jammer” from sunny Durham on his Harley.  I like to think that Jim’s GoldWing is Gold, not yellow, because it is symbolic of the Gold Star.  Christi is the Gold Star Mother of Tech Sgt Adam K. Ginett, US Air Force, killed in action on 19 January 2010 in Afghanistan. 

On this mission, I brought the US flag that we carried across America in May 2011 in honor of our Fallen Heroes, while Thomas Sanders carried the Fallen Heroes roster from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, a Christian Flag, an Honor and Remember Flag, and a Patriot Guard Riders flag.  I also wore the Gold Star bandana that I wore across America in honor of our Gold Star Mothers and Families.  For those who do not know, a Blue Star Mother is a mother whose child is now serving or has served in our armed forces.  A Gold Star Mother is a mother who lost a child while in service to our country.  The Dogwood Chapter of the American Gold Star Mothers nominated and accepted me as an Associate Chapter Member in January 2011 because of what I do and have come to symbolize.  I’m still barkless over being accepted by this truly honorable and exclusive organization of mothers whose children gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

Because of the number of bikes, we were divided into two packs.  The first pack left at about 11:10am led by QuietMan.  The second pack left at about 11:30am led by Schmuck.  Gundy led the first pack to a cemetery at Lebanon Methodist Church at Mill Spring, NC.  We arrived at the cemetery shortly after the first pack departed, and Gundy was there to meet us, read a citation, and then he return to Lillington to prepare for the closing ceremony.  At the church cemetery lies PFC Bryant Homer Womack.  On March 12, 1952, PFC Womack was the only medic assigned to a night combat patrol.  The patrol came into contact with a much larger nK force and the US patrol took casualties.  PFC Womack provided medical aid to the wounded, although he, too, was also seriously wounded and refused medical aid.  While helping a wounded soldier, he was hit by fragments from a mortar and lost use of his right arm.  He refused medical aid again and helped the wounded by directing others in apply aid to the wounded.  He was the last man to withdraw and collapsed due to blood loss.  A few minutes later, he died while being carried by his fellow soldiers.  PFC Womack was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest award that a military man or woman can receive.  Womack Army Hospital on Ft Bragg, NC was named after PFC Bryant H. Womack.

We departed Mill Spring and ran into rain in Charlotte, NC and then south of Johnson City, TN.  We didn’t run into rain at night, but we ran into rain again south of Richmond, VA and into North Carolina.  We rode out of the rain by the time we arrived in Benson, and we had humidity and partly sunny skies on the final leg from Dunn, NC to Lillington.  My driver and I have rain gear, which he calls sauna suits during the summer.  With scattered thunderstorms during the summer, we carry our rain gear with us, but we usually prefer to get wet and cool off rather than put on our sauna suits.

We had two bikes that we know of that didn’t finish the ride due to mechanical or electrical breakdowns.  We had problems with our engine shutting off when we were caught in Friday afternoon traffic nearly Shelby.  At one point, our Harley was dead, wouldn’t fire up while we were coasting.  We pulled off the road and the “Covered Wagon” pulled in behind us along with Cowboy, Thomas Sanders, and our pack’s tailgunner.  My driver didn’t want to give up and was able to fire her up.  She would run OK at highway speeds, but would die in stop-and-go traffic.  Cowboy and my driver talked over the CB and they thought we may have had a load of bad gas (gasoline, that is, not digestive).  After two more refuels, my Harley was running fine and we were OK, except for my occasional gas blasts that my driver could smell.  It probably came from eating too much of my duck and chicken jerky along with snacks shared by my biker friends.  But, that’s OK – it’s all part of the experience!

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Night Refuel near Natural Bridge, VA
We stopped for fuel, water and snacks about every 100 miles.  The route took us up the Shenandoah Valley on I-81 at night.  We crossed the 38th parallel at about Greenville, VA, which is the approximate latitude in which the Korean War ceased fire and the border became the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).  The two packs linked up on the interstate after midnight, and I think it was before we reached I-66 or soon after heading east on I-66 towards Washington, DC.  We became one pack for the rest of the ride.  We visited the Korean War memorial at about 4:00am, spent about 20-30 minutes there, took a group photo, then mounted up and headed south on I-95 to North Carolina.  While at our final refuel stop in Benson, Wizard mounted flags on his bike, and we rode to Dunn to link up with waiting friends and family.  My mom and my driver’s grandson, Chase, were also in Dunn to greet us.  In Dunn, Harnett County Sheriff Deputies escorted the bikers, family and friends to Lillington. 

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Group photo at the Korea War Memorial, Washington DC
After arriving in Lillington, Gundy led the closing ceremony and introduced us to Paul Hinkle, a Korean War veteran.  CVMA NC 15-1 Auxiliary presented me with a bandana and made me an Honorary Mascot of the Auxiliary.  After the closing ceremony and group photos, there were handshakes, hugs, and ear scratches and many went to the VFW post in Lillington, which had lunch waiting for us.  It was hot and humid and I know I would not be allowed in the VFW post due to health codes, so I took my driver home so he could give me a nice cool bath.  I snoozed the rest of the day.

For those who follow me on my website or my Facebook page, you know that this is my second IronButt ride with CVMA NC 15-1.  There were other two-time Charlie Mikers on this ride:   QuietMan, Glock, Wizard, Brian Volk, John and Paula Edwards, and my driver.  Last year, CVMA gave me the road name “IronMutt” after we passed the halfway point, and that road name stuck to me.

This ride was planned and coordinated pawtastically.  Safety was important throughout the ride and there were no injuries.  Will there be a Charlie Mike 2012?  If so, where will they go and what will be the primary mission?  Since dogs age much faster than humans, CM2 may have been my last long ride.  If there is a CM3, we will decide whether or not I will be able to be part of the ride as the ride date approaches.

I posted about 800 photos with some narratives of the ride on my Facebook page.  Go to my website (www.bikerdoggie.com) to find the links to my photos.  Unless something changes, you do not need a Facebook account to see these photos.

What will I be doing over the coming weeks?  I hope to ride in the USO Freedom Ride on September 10 at Ray Price Harley-Davidson in Raleigh, NC.  I’ve been part of this ride since I mounted my Harley.  Also, the Annual Ray Price Capital City Bikefest will be in Raleigh, NC on September 23-25.  Since becoming a biker dog, the only Bikefest I missed was in 2009, which was about two weeks after my driver and I were hit while on our Harley.  I hope to be there again this year, but I also plan to spend a few hours with Operation Helping Hands for Heroes at Benson Mule Days on September 24.  On October 16, Abundant Life Worship Center in Angier, NC will be sponsoring a fund raiser for my friends at Patriot Rovers (www.patriotrovers.org), which is an organization that provides trained companion dogs to veterans with PTSD.  David Cantara, the organization’s founder, says that the idea partially came from observing how I interact with grieving families and friends at military funerals.

Ride safe and keep your tongue in the wind!
(more photos below)

Chewy
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Pre-Ride group photo
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The Gold Star flag of Chrisi and Jim Kazakavage.  Ol' Bill "Jammer" was
Christi's chauffeur on this mission while Jim rode solo on his Gold (Yellow) GoldWing


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Sharing a smile with Schmuck at a peach stand


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Womack Army Hosptial on Ft Bragg was named after this Medal of Honor hero


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Riding through the night


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QuietMan preparing to lead the merged pack into Washington, DC


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Arriving in Washington, DC


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A portion of the Korea War Memorial


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Wizard and the sunrise east of Richmond, VA


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Glock and QuietMan are both veterans of the first Charlie Mike


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Brian Volk is a veteran of the first Charlie Mike


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Wizard with flags in the wind


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Paul Hinkle, Korea War veteran


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Chase (my driver's grandson) watched me so my driver could take pictures


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My CVMA NC15-1 bandana from the Auxiliary