~~ Rolling Thunder ~~
NATIONWIDE - The Rolling Thunder rides again.
For the second year in a row, the Rolling Thunder motorcyclist
organization is riding across the country to pay tribute to America's troops, veterans and POW/MIAs.
Bikers from Northern California, Washington state and even Australia gathered Wednesday at the KOA campground, riding hogs festooned with American and POW/MIA flags.
The group sets out this morning. CHP officers from the Barstow
station will escort the convoy all the way to Needles, where they will be met by escort from the Navajo tribe.
Joy Jeanette of Adelanto, founder of the California chapter of
Rolling Thunder, carries with her an album full of names and pictures of troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We will honor the dead and their families from each state we pass
through," she said.
The convoy will hold vigils and ceremonies at many stops along the way to bring awareness, they say, to the great debt the nation owes America's soldiers and
"We're here for a reason," Jeanette said. "We're not going to forget those left behind."
One of those, whose remains have yet to be identified, is Jeanette's brother, Donald W. Walter, who fought in Vietnam.
Most of the riders are veterans. Some have sons or friends in Iraq
and Afghanistan. What united them is a passion to keep the importance of veterans' issues at the forefront of the national consciousness.
"We will keep reminding the government until all POW/MIAs are
accounted for," Jeanette said.
At journey's end, thousands of Rolling Thunder bikers are expected to congregate in Washington, D.C., for Memorial Day ceremonies honoring the troops.
For Dee Lake of Quincy, paying tribute to Vietnam vets is especially important, and he is particularly looking forward to a vigil to be held at the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial wall.
"We need to support the troops after they come home, too," Lake said, citing post-traumatic stress disorder and marital problems as common problems among returned vets.
Recently retired CHP officer Craig Williams of Victorville says he's demonstrating his commitment to the troops because he has friends in Iraq and because he served for 31 years in the Army.
"We're all standing here because of them," he said.
( I DAMN SURE WISH I COULD'VE MADE IT WITH THEM! )
~~ RIDE SAFE ... STAY FREE!!! ~~
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~~ BIKER NEWS ~~
Vietnam - Vietnamese ministries are completing documents guiding the import of high-cylinder motorcycles (over 175cc) following the country's WTO commitments to do so as of May 31. Once the decree is issued, Harleys and choppers of all sorts might be seen cruising Saigon boulevards, delta paddies and mountainous highways atop
Deputy finance minister Truong Chi Trung said the decree is set to be issued next week by the ministries of trade, finance, public security, and
The forthcoming document will specify details on the import of high-cylinder motorcycles such as customs procedures, required conditions for driving license, types of vehicles to be imported, tax rates and safety and exhaust fume indexes among others.
Under Vietnam's WTO commitments, high-cylinder motorcycles will be
eligible to enter the country at the end of this month with no
limitations on quantity.
Previously, the import and circulation of high-cylinder motorcycles of more than 175cc has been banned in the country. Until now, these vehicles have only been allowed in the country with special permits for designated purposes.
The Ministry of Finance said that a temporary tax rate of 90 percent may be imposed on high-cylinder motorcycles - the same as on motorbikes. Besides the import tax, a 10 percent value added tax (VAT) will also be imposed.
A $5,000 Harley Davidson motorcycle (the cheapest they come) will cost $10,000 in Vietnam. Motorbike traders said that importers would only import motorcycles in small quantities to begin with.
With the forthcoming removal of the ban, several big motorcycle
manufacturers, including the US-based Harley Davidson, expressed
their plan to sell motorcycles on Vietnamese market.
Both local importers and high-speed addicts are very excited about the presence of such high-cylinder motorcycles.
According to the Ministry of Trade, strict requirements will be imposed to ensure safe driving. For example, only those aged from 25 to 55 will be allowed to drive high-cylinder motorcycles.
The buyers and users of motorcycles are required to have a license granted by competent authorities and vehicles distributors will only
be allowed to sell motorcycles to those who have the license.
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~~ I'M FREE ~~
For those who are suffering with the loss of a loved one ... this was a poem in a friend of mines memorial card that I lost to a bike accident in 2001.
It touches my soul every time I read it.
If you have poems from a loved ones "Memorial Card" and would like to share ... PLEASE DO!
~~ I'M FREE ~~
Don't grieve for me for now I'm free
I'm following the path God laid for me
I took his hand when I heard Him call
I turned my back and left it all
I could not stay another day
To laugh, to love, to work, or play
Tasks left undone must stay that way
I found that place at the close of day
If my parting has left a void
Then fill it with remembered joy
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss
Ah yes, these things, I too, will miss
Be not burdened with times of sorrow
I wish you the joy of tomorrow
My life's been full, I savored much
Good friends, good times, a loved ones touch
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief
Don't lengthen it now with undue grief
Lift up your head and share with me
God wanted me now. He set me free.
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~~ BIKERS CODE ~~
It used to be that all bikers shared a common bond, an unspoken code of ethics and behavior that transcended words and was built on actions. There was never a bible written on this Biker's Code and there was no need for such.
But the times are changing and there seems to be a lot of new riders out there. These days the riders you see blasting down the road are just as likely to be clad in shorts and sneakers as jeans and engineer boots. And the roughest, toughest-looking biker you pull up next to could be your doctor or lawyer and may be wearing a Rolex watch under his leathers.
There's nothing wrong with that, so long as these new riders learn the Code just as we old-timers did.
Being a biker used to be about using your creativity to take a basket case old hawg and using only grit and ingenuity, turning it into a one-of-a-kind eye dazzler, then risking your life on the asphalt on a bike you made yourself out of pride.
Bikers wore leather and grease because they knew cagers would just as soon run them down as look at them.
We were a breed unto ourselves with no union, no support group, and in many cases no family (they threw us out). We had to make it in the world of our own, against all rules, against mainstream society, and against all odds.
We survived and prospered because of the Biker Code and we never took shit from anybody. As an old scooter bro once said, "It's every tramp's job to school the young. How else are they going to know a Panhead from a bed pan?" Take heed, brothers and sisters, for our Code is a hallowed one filled with honor and loyalty, the likes of which have not been since the days of knighthood.
Be kind to women, children and animals, but don't take any bullshit about being a biker. This is an essential part of being a biker. It has to do with respect and honor. Anyone can be a quick-tempered fool. Be cool, stand tall and proud. Stand behind what you say with action.
Never lie, cheat or steal, always tell the truth. Bikers are always the greasy bad guys in the movies, but every real biker knows that his word is his bond. Your word is all you have in life that is truly yours. Guard it carefully and be something noble, for you are a true knight of the road.
If you see a wrong, fight it yourself, if you are about anything. You'll take care of problems yourself, find solutions.
Don't Whine. Absolutely no one likes or respects a whiner. Another way to think of it is, "Don't sweat the small stuff" Most of life's little inconveniences work themselves out whether you whine or not. Keep your chin up, you're a biker, not some lowly snail.
Never say die and never give up. Whether it's in a fight, a debate, or a business deal, no matter how bad it gets a biker never gives up.
Help others. When a brother or sister is broken down by the side of the road, always stop and help them. Even moral support, if that is all you can give, is better than riding on by. Remember life is about the journey, the ride, not getting there. You already are there. And don't just help bikers stop for anyone broken down, show the world that we are better than our image portrays us. Courtesy costs you nothing and gives you everything.
Stick to your guns. Do what you say you'll do, be there when you say you will. This is called integrity. This also goes back to standing for something. Like the song says, "You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything."
Life is not a drill, this isn't a dress rehearsal. This is life -- go out and take big bites of it. You've got no time to lose and bikers don't stand around waiting for the party to come to them they make the party. You only go around once.
Tomorrow you could be road kill, thanks to a snowbird asleep at the wheel of his Caddy.
Live life now, make the most of each moment.
All right, now let's review.
You are a biker, a modern-day knight of the road.
Protect the weak, walk tall and stand proud.
Your word is your bond. Stick to your guns.
Don't take any shit.
Life is not a drill.
Now go forth and ride.
When in doubt, ride. That's what we do...ride. If you want to ride around in a Day-Glo Hawaiian shirt and sandals, go for it, but if you intend to look like an idiot, at least don't act like an idiot.
These commandments are just a few of the broad strokes, there is a lot more to being a biker than buying a bike. If you just buy a bike, you are a motorcyclist.
Being a biker is a way of life, a proud way of life we hold in high regard with a burning passion for the open highway.
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