Red Helmets Ride

Sunday, October 5, 2008

On Saturday we had a full day planned - The Red Helmets Ride to the National Fallen Firefighter Memorial in Emmitsburg, MD. We had set the alarm to allow enough time for a quick McDonald's breakfast (Stu's concession to my fast food addiction - now broken - LOL!). We got up and out, dressed to the 9's for the cold temps. First McD had a tour bus....not a good thing so we continued on to the next one (good thing they are so prolific).

From there we headed to Stu's old headquarters where we would meet up with the local riders before continuing on to the ride start. Stu chatted with many old friends and co-workers while we enjoyed free coffee & donuts. Before we knew it, it was time to saddle up and head out.

We had a police escort which always makes a group ride more enjoyable. I have no idea of the number of bikes but it had to be in the 200-300 area. The day was perfect and we while we took mostly interstates, the ride couldn't have been better. We arrived at Costco in Frederick, MD where the rest of the riders were waiting (and more continued to filter in). Once again, Stu ran into many old friends and former co-workers. Costco went over and above, opening the in-store restrooms to over 500 bikes and probably over 800 riders. More coffee and donuts were in the offing but we opted to wander around, looking at bikes and chatting with folks till it was time to depart.

Once again, an escorted ride over the interstates, then into the little town of Emmitsburg itself where the streets were lined with town folk. The reasoning was to get all the bikes back together for the procession into the National Fire Academy campus.

We went through town on one road, then looped tightly back around another road that took us through town in the other direction.

From town we proceeded into the campus...the road was lined with the family & friends of fallen firefighters - recent and past. They snapped our photos as we rode in honor of their heroes.

Parking went very smoothly considering the number of bikes. A little chatting was followed by the official ceremony...short but meaningful.

From there everyone visited the campus, as Stu and I did a couple of weeks ago, shopped in the store and then headed off to lunch, home or just to ride. I took a minute to enjoy the bagpipes playing around the parking area. Then we opted for lunch with friends, followed by a great ride home.

What a honor to be a part of this ceremony...we hope to do it again next year.

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna & Stu


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