Monday, April 20, 2015

#1 Tour of Honor - Hawaii

Wow, what a ride, we grabbed the #1 Hawaii title. 

We decided to participate in the Tour of Honor Motorcycle ride while we were in Hawaii. The Tour of Honor is a self-directed ride to memorials and monuments around the United States. You can visit as many sights as you want on any route that you choose. Trophies are awarded to the first three riders to visit seven destinations in each state. The #1 trophy had not yet been claimed for Hawaii so we decided, what the heck, let's do it! 

We rented bikes out of Waikiki and began our ride at 10:00 a.m. Luckily the young man working at the rental shop suggested we visit the sites in town last as we would be going against traffic at the end of the day.   

Today I am going to share with you the sites we visited and some of our experiences. To meet the rules of T of H you must take a picture of your rally flag and bike with the same view as posted on the T of H website. Which explains the unusual pictures. 
Please note: We were not prepared to ride motorcycles while we were in Hawaii so we did not have proper motorcycle clothing. Don't do as we do, do as we say! Wear long pants, gloves and a long sleeve shirt when you ride. 

Our first stop was to Punchbowl Cemetery. It is an ancient warrior cemetery located in a volcanic crater overlooking Honolulu. A wide staircase extends from the floor of the crater to the "Court of Honor" flanked on both sides of the staircase are ten "Courts of the Missing that include 28,778 etched names of soldiers MIA from World War II, the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War. 

From Punchbowl Onward to Pearl Harbor

Bikes aren't allow on the ferry boat to the Arizona Memorial so I had to get a picture of the bike and the rally flag in front of the sign. The ride organizers are very careful, NO CHEATING! 

The official photo to prove I was there. 

USS Missouri Memorial, required photo

The USS Missouri is moored on Ford Island. It served from World War II through Desert Storm and is a highly decorated battleship, best known for hosting the Japanese surrender ceremony that took place on Tokyo Bay, September 2, 1945

Now we ride to the opposite end of the island to Haleiwa.   

Wailua-Kahuku War Memorial located at Haleiwa Beach Park. 
This was the easiest of all the memorials to visit. It is located just off the side of the road, we pulled off the road and parked. No ferry ride, no shuttle...
This is a memorial to all the local veterans that gave their all in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

The most difficult photo was in Kaneohe at the Marine Corps Base

It might not look tricky but remember when I said "do as I say not as I do" well how we were dressed came into play here at the Marine Corps base. We rode up to the guard at the entrance and told him we wanted to see the Pacific War Memorial. He took one look at us and said, "I can't let you ride on base without, long pants, long sleeves, gloves..." We had to park our bikes outside and walk past the guard tower, obtain a visitor's pass and then walk over to the war memorial. When we received the visitor's pass we were told, "do not take pictures of anything but the war memorial".

This made it a little difficult to get a picture of our bikes anywhere on the base. Luckily the judges ok'd our entry with the photo we submitted.  Better luck to the next riders that try to get a picture on base.

Off we go to HUNT for the B-17 Memorial 

By the time we went looking for the B-17 Memorial, the sun was setting, the wind was picking up and it was getting cold. This monument is located at the Pali Lookout but we were  not sure exactly where. The monument is just a little plaque on the side of the ramp at the lookout. The road to the top of the lookout is one of the most scenic roads on the island. This is one spot we never would have ventured to if it weren't for Tour of Honor. 
I was  nearly blown off the side of the volcano trying to get this picture. 

Since we could not take our bikes to the monument we took this picture to prove we were really there.  I know the rental helmet and bike are dorky. Not at all like my Harley or Shoei.

The final stretch - back to Waikiki where the day began

   Hahahah, this picture could have gotten us a ticket or thrown in jail. Downtown Waikiki is very crowded in the evening. There was no place to park so we rode into the park on the sidewalks. Parked in front of the monument, snapped this picture and got the heck out of Dodge. Desperate times call for desperate measures. No way we were not going to get this last picture. I guess Hawaii Five-0 was busy somewhere else :)

This memorial honors four different regiments comprised totally of Japanese-Americans, who fought for the US in World War II.                

What a day, what an honor to visit the sights on Oahu that honor those that sacrificed so we can enjoy the freedom of living in this great country!!!
A big thank you to Jim McCrain and Robert Reavis for suggesting Tour of Honor to us.
I can't wait till the organizers list us as #1 for Hawaii.
Thank you to my great husband that willingly participates on these crazy patriotic adventures. You're the best of the best!!! 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Lessons Learned from 500 Miles in the Saddle

Practice = Improvement

The whole purpose of practicing is to improve. As I reflected on the 500 miles we rode this weekend I formulated the things I learned that will be most beneficial for me in May when we begin the Run For The Wall. 

1. Loose clothing is NOT good when riding at 75+ miles per hour with a 20 knot head wind. I opted to wear a very nice 2014, long sleeve Run for The Wall, Men's medium shirt that I purchased last year. I thought the thick cotton would be little warmer and the long sleeves would protect me from the sun. A men's shirt is baggy on me and that made me a less than pleasant experience as my shirt kept blowing up under my arm pits. So cruising along at 75+ I was constantly pulling my shirt down and tucking it under my butt or between my legs. Grrrrr, very annoying. Next Time: wear a women's fitted shirt. 

2. Handy Gadgets to have and use: Cruise control is 'da bomb!!! Oh my gosh, I fell in love with cruise control. I haven't taken the new bike on the open road to utilize the cruise control until this weekend. I see why Don insisted I get a bike with cruise control. 

Push to release gas tank cover: Oh my gosh, this little button is a dream. No more fumbling for the key after pulling into the gas stop. Just push the button and the cover pops open. One less thing to think about in the chaos of the gas stops. 

3:  Custom Parts are worth it: The custom seat and extra reach handle bars Don installed were an excellent choice. The bike fits perfectly. The seat was comfortable, after 250 miles I felt great. 

Next week's practice runs will involve the new CBs Don is installing. I will also be putting on the tour back (thanks for the suggestion General's Driver) to see how the bike handles fully loaded. 

If any veteran Run for the Wall riders have any preparation suggestions, please leave a comment.  A special thank you to my wonderful Jack of all trades, husband, Don for insisting on outfitting me with the best. Love you honey. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Practice Run - Day 1, First Stop

Practice - Practice - Practice

 In our effort to be uber prepared for this year's Run for the Wall, we have been making practice runs every weekend. This weekend was the practice run to simulate the first day of the run. We road from Orange County to Blythe, CA. Stopping for gas at the first gas stop on the Southern Route.

Don put me through what a gas up will be like, with two bikes at each pump and gassing up without turning the bike off or putting the kickstand down, a foreign concept.

The weather was mild, over the pass it was even a little chilly.

Those of you Southern Route riders will recognize this stop. A good place to buy a cold drink and to stretch our legs.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Practice Run Tomorrow - 40 Days Out

40 Days Till RFTW 

Only 40 days till riders meet up in Ontario, California  at the Radisson Hotel.  That means, it's time to get super serious about practice runs. Tomorrow we head out for a 250 mile ride to Blythe, CA. Part of the ride will be exactly the same route as Day 1 of RFTW.  Riding conditions will be similar to what we will experience on the first day. Okay, maybe not quite as hot or structured but as close as we can get without the real deal. 

Looking forward to a great day of riding. I'll fill you in tomorrow night on how the ride went. 

For those of you wanting to join us for the start of the run, be at the Ontario Radisson Hotel on Wednesday, May 13, 2015. The ceremony begins at 6:45 a.m. Plan to arrive early as parking is a challenge but doable! 

I am looking forward to seeing DAR friends and ALR Post 716 friends at the send off. 

Ontario Radisson Hotel
2200 East Holt Blvd. 
Ontario, CA