On August 6-7, my dad (Butch) and I participated in the First Annual Charlie Mike Memorial Ride with the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association (CVMA), NC 15-1. Butch explained to my mom (Jo) and me that “Charlie Mike” means the letters “CM,” which means “Continue the Mission.” This was a 1,000-mile ride in 24 hours in remembrance of the 43 North Carolinians who are MIA in Vietnam. This was an Iron Butt ride, but all of the riders rode for the reason, not the patch. This iron butt ride was unique because (1) the entire route was within North Carolina, and (2) we travelled country roads, highways (2 and 4 lanes), and interstates. “Cowboy” from CMA (Christian Motorcyclists Association) volunteered to follow in his truck pulling a 17’ trailer containing a fully-equipped mobile motorcycle repair shop. “Cowboy” is a very special person!
Charlie Mike Memorial Ride
August 6-7, 2010
Before we left the house, Butch poured anti-Monkey Butt powder in his pants. He put some in my seat. I appreciated the thought until we got on the highway headed to Lillington, North Carolina (about 45 minutes south of Raleigh, NC). At highway speed, the butt powder was flying out of my seat. Because of the air flow behind the fairing, we had a cloud of butt powder around is. From behind us, we must have looked like we were smokin’. I sneezed and sneezed and sneezed. Let’s not do that again!
Before going to the staging area at the Veterans Memorial Park in Lillington, Butch stopped at a gas station to fill-up. When he hit the starter button, we heard the starter clunk, and we lost all electrical power. Butch thought we blew the relay. I sniff checked the Harley and told Butch it was the butt powder’s fault. He called Jo, who was on her way to the Veterans Memorial Park. When she arrived at the gas station, Butch and I were trying to figure out the problem. Butch asked Jo to go to the staging area and tell the ride leader (Charles “StrangeMan” Lyles) that we broke down. I decided to go with Jo to supervise. While we were gone, Butch called Randy at Ray Price H-D and Randy talked Butch through possible things to check before calling for a tow. Jo found a Harley mechanic and we brought him to Butch. Michael “Glock” Mills is a CVMA member going on the Memorial Ride. When we arrived at the gas station, Butch was putting his seat back on my Harley. The battery terminal bolts were a half turn from being tight, but it was enough to cause the problem. Many thanks to Randy for quickly talking Butch through the troubleshooting so we could get on the road. My seat takes time to put on the Harley, so “Glock” installed the side panels and saddlebags while Butch worked on my seat.
The ride departed at 1:15pm on Friday. It was hot! We had 17 people on 14 bikes, plus me. We ran into traffic in Fayetteville and we hit Charlotte during Friday afternoon rush hour on US 74. We fried in both towns because of stop and go traffic and lots of traffic lights. A VFW post in Charlotte had pizza for us, so we inhaled a quick dinner. I shared my pizza with Butch. We lost a lot of time in traffic in Fayetteville and Charlotte, so we had to ride hard through the night. We rode into a beautiful sunset as we headed into Asheville! We stopped for fuel and changed to night glasses; I put on my clear lens Red Baron goggles. We reached the halfway mark near Burlington at about 12:30 am. We arrived at a VFW post in Roanoke Rapids at about 3:30 am for re-hydration, coffee, stretching and snacks. “StrangeMan” gave a refresher safety briefing. To sort of quote “StrangeMan”, this ride separates the men from the boys, the women from the girls, and the dogs from the puppies!
We rode into the sunrise between Greenville and Jacksonville. In Jacksonville, we stopped at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial where other CVMA and Rolling Thunder members were waiting for us with refreshments. We picked up a couple of riders to go with us to Lillington. We stopped at the USS North Carolina battleship in Wilmington, where more people met us with refreshments and we picked up more riders.
We didn’t stop to sleep, and we reached our 1,000-mile mark between 12:30 and 12:45pm (about 23.5 hours). We were about 15 miles east of Dunn at the time. When we arrived in Dunn, a lot of bikers and cagers met us, along with a fire truck, and police and sherriff’s escort. We were escorted from Dunn to Lillington, where we had the closing ceremonies. We had no accidents and no break downs during the ride! I think there were several people, including riders, who thought we would not make it. My driver and I rode for the cause. This was a great ride for a great cause, and all of the riders looked out for each other. They gave me the road name “IronMutt!” Is it possible that I’m the first biker dog to complete an iron butt ride?
I didn’t move all Saturday night and Butch said I snored LOUD. I’m looking forward to next year and putting my tongue in the wind for the Second Annual Charlie Mike Memorial Ride.
Thanks Nick and Wade at Ray Price for working us in without an appointment to get new tires and pads before the big ride, and, again, thank you to Randy! Two paws up to Ray Price and his team, to the CVMA, and to the CMA!
Cowboy's Truck & Trailer
This is a version of an article submitted to the Raleigh H.O.G. newsletter (HogWash). The edited version appeared in the September 2010 HogWash. The video is on YouTube. The song "Rollin' On" is courtesy of MeanStreet Riders.
Click on the left picture to see my Iron Butt Association certificate