Monday, September 29, 2008

Wounded Warrior Unity Tour -- Day 1

Saturday morning I set out with 78 other service members from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard. The Marine Corps was represented by myself one other; we were the minority. The Wounded Warrior Unity Tour would raise more than $4,000 for the Fisher House at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and would take us from Ft Eustis, VA to Walter Reed.

We started in a large group until we crossed over the George P. Coleman Memorial Bridge and the Chesapeake Bay. As riders crossed the grates, several people destroyed tires. It sounded like popcorn. During the safety brief, they said this would be a problem. It was better to walk across the grates.

The pace after the first rest stop got really fast in no time at all. It would be every man for himself. I'm not sure why they were in such a hurry, there wasn't a prize. The quick pace coupled with inexperienced (not to mention plain stupid) riders led to several accidents.

Some where after the 50 mile mark my thighs began cramping of course it took me 20 miles to realize exactly what was happening. So I suffered along for quite a while. Once figured out, I promptly had electrolytes and a cliff bar. It took minutes to begin to feel better. Soon, I found myself riding strong.

We stopped briefly in Tappahannock before we began the climb to FT AP Hill. Go figure, AP Hill actually sits on a rather large hill. From HWY 17, we climbed nearly 6 miles to the base. At the top, we stopped for a pick. The day's riding wasn't quite done. After stopping for 30 minutes to wait for stragglers to get up the hill and for some photos, we had to ride another 5 miles to billeting.

I wish I could say we stayed in the Hilton with all the amenities. What we got were cinder block open squad bay barracks. The bunks covered and aligned along the bulkhead and an aisle down the center. As soon as we unloaded the vehicles and got a little cozy, the skys opened up. It rained most of the night. The barracks were a blessing, they were dry, they had AC and they were free! PERFECT BILLETING.

More photos can be found here.

Day 1 -
Distance - 108 miles
Avg speed - 18.2
Ride time - ~6hrs

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