Day 9

I don’t have a wallet. I’m a lawyer (sort of TMZish)

Cuffs are so last year.

By JB Brostrom – After a long day on Sunday. The Pack welcomed 8:00 start time. Meet at the bikes at 8:00 and wheels rolling at 8:15. We will take surface streets to our only stop today… Cobb Technologies. This is always a welcomed stop. It is always one of the final stops but Toni and team always provide us a warm southern welcome coupled with breakfast sandwiches and a little fruit for fiber.

Click here to donate!

The pack rolled smoothly and stress free through the winding streets of suburban Richmond. Papa led flawlessly until the business park and missed the driveway. Saved by GQ the Pack reconnoitered in an empty parking lot. The miss was less than 100 yards. Rolling into Cobb is part of the thrill. A rousing welcome by welcoming people.

The Pack parked in formation including the Mars’ Rover Rover. We dismounted and were greeted by our hosts. It was at this time we were informed that the Cobb organization had not been back into the building, as a group, since going virtual due to COVID. As a stilt of our arrival, today was their first day back as an organization. So, Cobb Technologies, the Pack welcomes you back as well!!!

There were great stories, catching up, photo opportunities and a catered Chick-fil-A breakfast. We could not ask for anything more. It is time for Cobb-ians (Cobb-inites?) to get to work and the Pack to depart.

Today we have a light schedule. A much needed respite after Sunday’s physical and emotionally taxing journey.

After Cobb Technologies the Mars’ Rover Rover will return to the hotel and begin the disrobing process. The riders will head t he 4-ish miles north to the Harley Davidson dealer north of Richmond. Papa is determined to stay off Federal Interstates today and the trip to Harley goes off without incident. We were greeted with water and a smiling face. We are usually obligated to tell the Pack’s story when, on the East Coast, we reveal we’re from Arizona. It was good to walk among our two wheeled brethren. After all the helmets, boots, and gloves were inspected the Pack begins to mount up for the trip back to the hotel and… naps… I mean emails. Seems Lone Star will have to wait until he is home to get his replacement tour pack latch/hinge.

Again with the surface streets. Papa follows a path that takes the Pack on the original highway 1 between historic (Civil War historic) Richmond and Washington DC. This is a narrow winding road back toward Richmond proper. Trees line the roadway and at times create a canopy. There are squirrels darting across the road. It is a know local fact that these squirrels are direct descendants from the squirrels that Grant’s army dined on at the War’s closing.

Back at the hotel we find that the Mars’ Rover Rover the riders help have managed to get three of the four sides disrobed.

The Pack all retire to their respective rooms for “work” and “email” certainly not naps.

The plan is to meet in the lobby at 5:45 to walk to the Mama Cucina restaurant. A few will have gone earlier to take over the Mars’ Rover Rover and display the remaining side with sponsor logos. Several of those sponsors will be represented this evening. It will be an epic evening to cap off our epic journey. Though we’re not finished we will celebrate as Tuesday we begin dispersing back to our normal boring lives.

Tonight’s dinner, will include an interesting group of organizations and personalities. The three major independent office equipment dealers/competitors in Richmond will join. This night is about the Pack and the Jillian Fund. Also joining are two competing leasing companies. Great America and DLL. All for the Pack and Jillian Fund. Several manufactures will be resented: Sharp as well Konica-Minolta through their Egyptian Muratec division. George, father of Jillian, from the Jillian Fund is our guest of honor. All in all there will be just shy of 30 people for dinner.

We arrive at the Mama Cucina restaurant to find the gathering has begun. This will be a night of communing and remembering and celebrating. Once all have had a drink the throng sits at the tables. Lone Star is chatting with the very few locals having picked a poor night for a quiet Italian dinner. He is, in Lone Star fashion, apologizing to them in advance and taking the opportunity to talk about our mission. Lone Star is very adept at engaging people… remember h is first career title was that of “Stimulation Supervisor”.

Not sure if he every was promoted to Stimulation Manager.

Once seated our server took another drink order. It was decided our service would take our orders and serve us salad. At that time there would be a short celebration/presentation. Before all this it was decided to go around the room and one-by-one, stand, announce your name and how you belong to this group or industry. Slaw, it is not your doctoral thesis…. stop already!!!

Soon we have had our entree orders submitted and salad is served. Papa gets to the head of the room and quiets the crowd. Paco stands and explains our missing man formation. At one of our tables is a reserved chair. No one is allowed to sit. There is a plate and a wine glass with a flower inside. Also a lemon wedge. This signifies those who have gone before us. Specifically our brother Paul Youngberg and Mathew Stone.

After Paco’s explanation, Papa will address the entire restaurant. First apologize for taking over their evening and second, asking for quiet as Papa sings Amazing Grace for a blessing of our meal. This will be the extent of anything somber this evening. Now we celebrate our mission and continued safety as we ride across America. It is also a celebration of an industry coming together for a common cause… The Jillian Fund.

If you haven’t already, now is good time to go to the fund page and donate:

The evening ends with many cannolis, hugs and photos. Outside the restaurant there is an odd looking gathering at the Mars’ Rover Rover. Seems the ever enterprising Rover has engineered getting the sponsors to remove their own sponsor logos. “Free labor”!!!

Tomorrow will be another big day. Not much riding but a celebration of a Day in May at Stone’s Office and an intimate dinner for the Pack as we disperse and begin our travels home.

SOURCE Industry Analysts Inc.

Sam Stone Speaks at SOE Charity Day in Richmond VA