By Jane LaVoy
The best way to describe this ride ... OXYMORON ...
Within the first week of getting my bike endorsement, my husband and I got pulled by one of those Profiling Check Points where all the cars were waived past and only the bikers were pulled. I remember, they checked my helmet, my license, my registration, everything. Bikers waited their turn as each person's bike and information was thoroughly perused, and we lost a good 15 minutes of riding and listened to hours of complaining at our destination. It was talk about "us" against "them" and "my attorney said …" I was instantly made aware of the "Officers in Blue vs. Bikers."
But the Thin Blue Line Ride is the two worlds joined by a Biker Bridge of Charity and Concern for those in Law Enforcement and their families. Instead of worrying about those flashing blue lights showing up in my mirrors…I had the honor and opportunity to ride with the V.I.P. behind the flashing Blue Lights of the Men & Women in Blue!
Greg and I arrived at Cox's Harley-Davidson along with a crowd of others. We were instructed to the V.I.P. parking lot and were instantly greeted by an administrator from Kaplan College (one of the sponsors) who told us about the Criminal Justice Programs they offer. I instantly recognized the Yellow Softail ridden by Jason Taylor The Litigator and we parked just a few bikes behind him! We see that bike all the time! He must ride everywhere!
We grabbed our bag of goodies including our 2012 Thin Blue Line Ride T-shirt and got our wrist bands. I couldn’t wait to get inside and shop at Cox's Harley-Davidson. The place was packed, and we could smell the V.I.P breakfast just around the corner! As we followed the scent of food, I was stopped by Trip Harder the Traffic Reporter on Fox News Charlotte. We had passed his bike on the highway as we were heading to Cox's H-D. I was excited that he came up to me … should have known he wanted to meet our Dog! She loves bike events and evidently so does Trip!
Outside was busy, lots of activities and folks visiting and sharing. There was a special event photographer, Austin of Suitcase Photography, with a very "boobtiful" girl that would gladly pose with you and your bike! And you could purchase your photos at the end of the ride.
The Fire Truck Ladder was as high as it could go with the giant Stars and Stripes billowing from it. The officers on motorcycles made a uniform entrance, right down to a formal dismount, where we all noticed Officer Amanda! The D.J. kept the crowd busy, until it was time to go. Then in Carolina style, a Prayer, the Color Guard, and a bugler playing Taps, and then the roar of the bikes as we drove beneath the flag and out the long drive of Cox's Harley Davidson.
When you ride behind the flashing lights, you get a lot of respect. 50 miles of never having to stop. "Buff" officers (yes, there was some eye candy for the women too!,) controlled the intersections, as our miles-long chain of bikes road through without a glitch. I never could see the end of the line from my mirrors!
When we turned in to Harley-Davidson of Charlotte, we were led to the large parking lot where the HOG Rally was held in 2010. Greg counted over 20 bikes in approximately 20 rows in that lot and there were several other lots filled all around the Harley-Davidson grounds! Riding 50 miles on beautiful back roads must make people hungry! There was a special place for food and drinks set up by Jason Taylor, The Litigator, along with great hats from City Chevrolet, a flagship store of Rick Hendricks located on Independence Blvd. in Charlotte, and FREE Beer from Budweiser! It was cushioned seating, table clothes, and good eating from Applebees!! Did I mention FREE Budweiser Beer?!
With a great ride and full belly, we checked out our photos at the Austin, the Event Photographer booth! We headed to the large Travel Trailer display by Tom Johnson's Camping Center. There was one on display that made us drool!! (It would be perfect for Sturgis!)
Hendricks City Chevrolet had a Camaro that could really get someone in trouble - I loved it! It makes sense to me that when you ride a Motorcycle … you should gravitate to a "Bad A$$" car! It goes with the bike!
Inside Harley-Davidson of Charlotte, I tried to photograph the crowds and Motorcycle Alley. Staff was everywhere answering questions and making sales. The band, Rock Star, was cranking out 80's Rock, a lot of Guns and Roses and other songs that I am embarrassed to say I know all the words to. They were as much fun to watch as they were great to listen to.
The Retired NYPD Club put together a silent auction. The Carolina Rider's BIG RIDE Bus had drawings and giveaways. There was a 50/50, and so much more!
A day when Law Enforcement and Bikers were one! Taking care of each other like family. It was an Oxymoron, and I am thankful for these officers, and their families who support them. The Thin Blue Line is just a small way of giving back what the officers sacrifice for our well being and safety!
Thank you for all you do.
SEE PHOTOS FROM THIS WEEKEND'S EVENT IN OUR GALLERY!
To Donate: http://aprilfive.org/give.html
The April Five Organization will assist with expenses not covered by Industrial Insurance for line of duty injuries of sworn CMPD officers. Your donation not only will help the officers in need today, but those who unfortunately will need April Five in the future. Your support also shows your appreciation for the officers of CMPD, by recognizing the sacrifices that law enforcement officers and their families make every single day.
To see Jane's pictures go to: http://www.thecarolinarider.com/new_gallery/