Friday, May 8, 2009
Bike Ride and Banners! Face of America 2009
[photo above is from Angel Ann - see link at bottom of post]
I am a bit tardy in giving an after action report on the Face of America Bike Ride 2009.
I'd posted about all the wonderful banners that Angels and friends from all over the country had sent in. I received banners from more than 65 locations, and many people sent more than one.
They came from twin sisters, a grandmother and granddaughter, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Daisy Scouts, schools and day cares, individuals, and even several locations of the Hoosier Lottery!
I got some help from some familiar Angel buddies (Kathi and her daughter, the Banner Princess), but also from all the volunteer crews that set up the 7 rest-stops along the route. I bundled up banners and clothesline and clothespins so that each rest-stop could hang up a few banners on on whatever was available. At one location on Sunday, we simply commandeered a convenient barbed-wire fence. I got help from the wife and daughter of one of our wounded marines for that one. I remember chatting with them last year as we hung banners at a lunch stop waiting for their marine to arrive with the rest of the riders.
The ride kicked off right on schedule at 0730 Saturday morning in Bethesda. Kathi, the Banner Princess, and I hung up our first batch banners along the start, then cheered the riders as they got underway. No dillydallying for this crowd!
Not long after, while on our way the Milblog Conference, Kathi and I happened to pass the riders coming up the Clara Barton Parkway. All 300+ of them were causing a slight traffic jam but that was okay as it gave me time to roll back the Mini's sunroof and for Kathi to stand up through the roof and wave a banner that we had with us. Woohoo! We honked and hollered and yelled hello to Laughing Wolf and Chuck Z, and generally enjoyed the moment. I turned to Kathi after they'd passed and asked, "Did you get a picture?" "Ah. No." LOL.
I was back on banner-hanging duty with many others early Sunday morning in Frederick, MD. Kathi swung by the Milblog Conference hotel so that Greta could join us as well, and they met me at the first stop. The folks that had set-up up the stop-over site at Frederick the night before had hung banners all around the inside walls of the gymnasium where the riders had dinner and breakfast. Great idea!
After hanging banners along that barbed wire fence near a beautiful covered bridge, we dashed off to the finish line. The ride finishes at the home of a retired marine who lives midst the rolling hills at the edge of the historic battlefield at Gettysburg.
We decked out the neighbor's red barn once again, as well as a couple of parked cars. The rest of the banners were hung up around the inside of the lunch tents for folks to see as they enjoyed the live band and chowed down on some excellent BBQ.
The finish of this ride is always a special part of the event. A volunteer bagpiper, an impromptu artillery arch across the road, a cheering crowd, plus two Ospreys and a Cobra made it extra special. Check out Banner Princess's video here - she caught the audio of the bagpipes too!
Thanks again to World T.E.A.M. Sports, to all those who sent in banners, to all who donated or volunteered (Go Angels!) to support the event, and to all who rode in support of our wounded troops.
But most especially, thank you to our troops, who have overcome some tremendous challenges and have inspired us all over again.
For more pictures, go to Angel Ann's site HERE.
And a few more: