The pattern is setting in. Wake up, pack up cords and clothes, get breakfast, go to the meeting and ride, ride, ride. Of course, this morning was a little different than the others. For the first time, there was neither rain or snow on the ground. Also, the meeting was at a movie theatre that was heated, so when we wanted to we could go inside and get warm.
The meeting went about as usual. When we took off, it was not as cold as previous mornings. New Mexico was doing its best to be warm but the clouds that had covered the sky yesterday followed us today as well.
We stopped at the Route 66 Casino Hotel. It has always been a great stop for a couple of reasons. First of all, the fuel for everyone on the Run is free. Second, they don't hold back on the snacks. They had beef jerky, peanuts, different candies, soda and more.
We continued into Albuquerque and turned North. We now took a different route than the one we had used to get to the Run and eventually ended up at the Camel Rock Casino, where we had lunch.
I needed to get in front of the bikes when we rolled into Angelfire, so I asked the Advance team if I could tag along with them for one leg in their car. I was a little disappointed I would have to be off the bike for a leg, but there was no other way to get ahead of the Run.
I think the ride on the bike might have been easier. We finished lunch in a hurry and got into the car just after the five minute departure alarm had been called. We got out of the parking lot just before it was too late and started on our way to Angelfire. It looked like we wouldn't be able to get ahead for a while because the police escort almost had us pull over so that the Run could go ahead. But they saw the Advance Team sticker on the windshield and let us pass. Soon we were well ahead.
The road was full of twists and turns. Going up and down mountainsides required these kinds of roads and was a hazard to the bikes. Luckily everyone came through safely as far as I have heard.
As soon as we reached the memorial I got out of the car with my equipment and set up the cameras for filming and taking pictures. It was incredible, watching every bike come up out of the valley and onto the mountain-like hill the memorial is built on.
When everyone was there, I picked up my cameras and went in the memorial. There were people all over, both veterans and citizens, looking at the pictures, items, models, books and rooms. Many people were very emotional as they took it all in.
As for me it was a humbling experience to see the dedication and sacrifice our troops displayed in their service. The pictures stuck out to me. Pictures of soldiers in Vietnam doing many things, from playing with children to taking cover from enemy fire. I remembered the pictures from previous years, but that did not take away from their effect this year.
The Chapel was a quiet place where people lit candles at the far corner and could sit and think. I tried to stay as quiet as I could with my noisy camera.
After looking around some more, Dad and I left for dinner, which was served a few miles away for free. The building was a little cramped, but we were all glad to eat. Someone volunteered to give free back massages and many people took advantage of it.
When dinner had finished, Mr. Kevin joined us again and we all went to the hotel. It is pretty fancy; I always feel kind of bad when we're at such a nice place to leave it so early in the morning the next day. Tomorrow we have to get up as early as 4:45 in the morning, so I'll try to get some hard sleep before the next big day. We will pass Colorado in one day and end up in Kansas according to the plan.