Day 5

The $100.00 pee

Thunderstruck… the 7k stop

“I won!!!”

By JB Brostrom – Thursday morning is a scheduled late start. At the bikes at 10:15. We have only a 15 minutes ride to our stop at Visual Edge Edge Technology / XMC, Inc. The Pack will have a changing of the guard this evening. This morning there was a spirited breakfast as can happen with such a diverse group. The most alarming pice of information is that Lone Star had some lame excuse for not being able to clean Cal and Papa’s bike. We did appreciate the clean windscreen but the shine on the other three bikes was evoking envy. No matter, we decided to press on.

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Time to mount up and parade back to I240 and then north-easterly just 4 miles and then back on I40 East toward Nashville for about 4 miles. Once again we apologize for the few Memphis-onians for whom we impeded and caused you that extra 47 seconds of travel to your next destination. We understand the importance of you and forgive you of your travel hubris.

Soon we are back on the surface streets making our way to VET/XMC. This is a new stop for the Pack and we had no idea of their level of preparedness. We make a right hand turn off the Main Street into a commercial building complex. We are following a very slow moving 18 wheeler. Seems he may be searching for his/her destination. The big rig pulls over after noticing they were holding up the parade of Patriots. As Papa leads us up the street we notice a row of tents and a gathering of well dressed and smiling people. “Well, that has to be us!!!” It certainly was. We pulled into the parking area to a roar of the crowd AND AC/DC Thunderstruck, in the same manner as Michael Jordan used to enter the arena during the Bulls’ championship runs. It was nothing short of EPIC. This is all new to Cal and the look on his face was telling. We certainly were Thunderstruck!

We parked in formation and doffed our protective cover to a throng of admiring pedestrian Patriots. Little did they know the level of admiration they were receiving. Humbling, emotional and appreciative.

We made our way to the tented area and were introduced to the team… and this organization redefines “team”. Michael Cozzens and Sean Seward have done a magnificent job in carrying on the work that Bill Hamilton started.

Michael Cozzens, Sean Seward, Bill Hamilton.

There were many conversations about the Pack and our mission and our bikes and our travel stories. We had photos ops and eventually the DJ (who was spinning every motorcycle rock-n-roll song from the 70s, 80s, and 90s.) handed over the mic to Michael, Sean and Paco. The end result was a presentation of a check for $3,500.00. A wonderful donation to the Jillian fund. We do good work!

When finished the mic was given to founder Bill Hamilton for a blessing before we dine. Sean introduced Bill and told the story of his brother who died from a childhood Leukemia AND in his introduction of Bill included the the announcement that as as of today founder Bill is in remission one year. Our celebration takes on an even greater purpose. Before he blessed our food and travels Bill Hamilton told us more details of Sean’s brother and finished with the announcement that he would match VET/XMC’s $3,500.00 donation!!! $7,000.00 at this stop alone!!! I’m not crying…are you crying?!

Let’s eat!!

The party wanes and the Pack needs to get to Nashville and check into our hotel. We have a date at the famous Jim Kelly’s Steakhouse in Nashville and should shower before.

The Pack fired up the engines and paraded around the complex and back along the front of the building to a chorus of fans and some photo/video opportunities. We proceed back to I40 East to Nashville. We will have one fuel stop once we’re about 100 miles out of Nashville.

Since we are in Memphis we were treated to refreshments and Memphis style BBQ with all the fix’ns. Just a marvelous and uplifting gathering. Turns out we have been too hard on Memphis-onians. Seems it is more of a general Tennessee issue. We proceed with all of our defensive driving skills heightened.

The ride through the Tennessee hill country to Nashville is quite scenic. We made our way the 90 miles to our scheduled mid-point stop and fueled up. The Mars’ Rover Rover was keeping time and we were supported well at this stop. Snacks and hydration from the Judge and sun screen from GAL gal Kim. Speaking of the Make American Great again ladies… there is a rumor that Great America Leasing will be picking up the tab at Jim Kelly’s tonight. BONUS!!

Soon we were back on the road. There is a driver change in the Mars’ Rover Rover. Rookie Klinger takes the wheel. He has an update New York relaxed style. Not quite the aggressive New Jersey or Chicago style driving like that of Rover and the Judge. As we proceed the final 100ish miles Papa has a difficult time keeping the Mars’ Rover Rover in his rear view. We are not traveling above the speed limit. Given the less than patient nature of our Tennessean travel brethren, Papa focuses on the riders behind and the rather rough road ahead. The last 30 miles had two I40 pot holes that caused riders to literally be bounced out of their seats. Visions of 2013 danced in Papa’s head… “how is Paco’s back?!”

Soon we approached exit 204 and without incident… severe incident, we exited I40 and came to a very congested intersection. The oncoming traffic had proceeded into the intersection to when and was not moving. Thus when the light was green were were at gridlock. Apparently the car behind was oblivious to our situation and we choose to believe the honking was an honor to our cause. Then, in a gesture restoring our faith in Tennessee, the car in the middle of the intersection remained stopped to allow the Pack to file into line and get the last 200 yards to the hotel. We roared into the parking lot and parked up and under the hotel overhang. Another GAL gal had showed up and was taking photos/videos of our approach and had nary a flinch as we rolled up to her knees.

The Mars’ Rover Rover was only a few car lengths behind and rolled in as well in knee buckling fashion… or some sort of buckling…. mmmm

As they finished our check-in Paco and Papa were standing in the lobby. A young man approached to see if we were in line. We told him to go ahead as we were just chatting.

He inquired as to our group and mission. Seems it is not lost on people that we are on a mission. We told him of the Patriots Pack and the Gillian fund. He seemed interested and walked away. He returned a few minutes later with a crumpled up $5.00 bill. We try not to profile but we assume that $5.00 was a deeper dig than the $7k earlier in the day and he gave with sincerity and pride. Buddy, it is well received and will be put to good use. To cap the scene he returned a few moments later and presented Paco with a note. A photo of that note is attached. I’m not crying… are you crying?!

It is just after 3:00 and Papa announces we meet in the lobby at 6:15 to make our way to Jim Kelly’s. By that time Fish will have graced us with his presence. We are also anticipating the arrival of world famous GQ who had to drive form Knoxville to Atlanta to rent a harley and was on his way to Nashville. Time for rest and shower.

At 6:00 Papa headed toward the Lobby to find Fish standing out in the crowd. It is great to see him standing tall. Fish believes we cannot take the Mars’ Rover Rover into town to the Steakhouse and should Uber. Overruled!! We’re going to “crunch” into the air conditioned Mar’s Rover Rover and ride in a style that is not “cramped”. No one will “dent” our ego and keep a “ceiling” on the Pack.

Actually we find that the valet in Jim Kelly’s steakhouse will accommodate the Mars’ Rover Rover. We will “blow the roof” off this place tonight!

Before we depart we hear the roar of GQ as he rolls in under the spacious hotel overhang. A quick shirt change and we are off to dinner in style.

Dinner at Jim Kelly’s was an event. The GAL gals had arrived early and made sure the staff was ready. We had a room on the second level. This is a converted home from the early 20th century. The Insurance Robber-barren who built the home abandoned it for an even larger one that has since become the Governor’s Mansion. It has become a seres of restaurants but for the past 40ish years has been the location for Jim Kelly’s restaurant… which in one location or another has been around since 1932. We were introduced to the history by the manager who seemingly wanted to stay with this fun crowd… can you blame him? We were introduced to our server, Bob and his assistant Bob. Bob1 had the perfect personality for this spirited band. Bob3.. aka Judge refrained from tossing food so the night was already a success.

Drinks were ordered, toasts were given, appreciation for GreatAmerican Leasing was offered. Paco was so pleased to drink his libation from a martini glass rather than a red solo cup. It truly is the little things in life.

Steaks were ordered and delivered to perfection. As is tradition, Cal, the newest Pack member was prompted to stand before the gathering and sing his high school fight song. If unknown then his college/university fight song. If unknown then god bless America or something akin to this. God bless American it is. Cal began his professional career as a Eastern Airlines Pilot and then when it collapsed he flew private for a time.

With an Italian Afro and a porn stache. Now he is in the cyber security division of PayPal. That is good for him as he would be on the street if trying to make it as a vocalist. Effort and enthusiasm are rewarded in this instance. Enthusiasm is relative… we’re talking about a pilot here. He told the story of landing and realizing engine 1 was on fire and had to put it out and land with one engine.. in a rain storm…. and Cal almost fell asleep telling his own story. We’re not sure if his pulse ever changes.

Well done Cal and the room even joined in the help finish. The newly minted Roverettes bailed on their rendition of whatever… no cuts for you!

Waiting for dessert, Papa excused himself to the restroom. No editorial license here: standing at the urinal a tall and distinguished man approached the adjacent urinal and asked about the gathering. Obviously you’re on motorcycles and are associated with the big RV out front. “How can you tell?” Similarity between the patch on the vest and the labels on the RV. Papa told him about our ride (peeing at this age give a bit of extra time for such a story) and the Gillian mission. Papa zippered up and washed his hands. Papa turned around to find the man standing with a $100.00 bill in the man’s hand and he was offering it as a Gillian fund donation. “I promise I didn’t pee on the Benjamin. Papa wiped his hands and accepted the donation. Papa asked the man his name. “Chris, my great grandfather built building as his home.” Oh, Chris is the descendent of the Insurance Robber-Barren who’s built the eventual Governor’s mansion and… the tallies building in Nashville. He dines at least once a week at Jim Kelly’s. Papa demands Chris join him in our the Pack’s private dining area so he can receive a proper Pack welcome and show of appreciation. Judge will disinfect the bill later. You can’t make this stuff up!

During dinner Paco received a phone call from Oklahoma. It was Kory’s wife Dawn. Seems Kory lost his phone at 80mph and it didn’t survive. Kory is trying to coordinate meeting us at the hotel. It was getting dark and he had yet to cross the Mississippi at Memphis! Paco handed the phone to Papa. Dawn informed Papa to take the next call to his phone. Soon an unknown Tennessee number rang and it was Kory on a borrowed phone. He had indeed crossed the river and was 200 miles out. Papa assured Kory we are at exit 204 and just a few hundred yards off the exit. Easy to find. He hung up. Mrs Kory continued to text throughout the night.

Not only did the Pack sing a round of happy birthday for the quite and demure Patti but.. it is Bob1’s birthday as well. So the cap off the evening we did a poor but spirited happy birthday for the much appreciated Bob1.

Fish left immediately because Mrs Fish locked herself out of the home. Fish needs to ride again next year. The Pack returned to the hotel and moved the Mars’ Bar to the lobby. Several of the members headed for their rooms and much needed rest. A few hung out bu the bikes for a cigar and a few in the lobby did their best to coax conversation from the quiet and demure Patti. She will be departing our service the morning along with the GAL gals. They will be missed. They will be replaced ty DLL’s

Gary Rigelsky. He has three sets of big feet to fill!

Most every one cashed in for the evening. GQ was cigaring with buddy John. Papa watched as New Mike / Lone Star was entertained by the shy and demure Patti. Papa was really waiting to assure Kory showed up. About 11:00ish we heard the familiar roar of this uniquely painted harley and our final Pack-er of the day arrived. A photo op was taken and Mrs Kory was assured her lifelong companion was indeed safe and sound for the night.

“Did we win?!?!?!” Was the 2019 battle cry. Last evening Kory arrived to: “I won!!!!!”

SOURCE Industry Analysts Inc.

The Jillian Ride Day 6 Novatech in Nashville TN to Perry PROTECH in Columbus OH