Friday, April 17, 2009

Officer Down Ride, Wilmington, NC

Mike mentioned something about this event several months back and Debbie and I decided to make it a long weekend around the ride.  We frequently checked the extended weather forecast for the week and it started to appear that it just might work out.
image
The Officer Down Ride helps raise awareness of Police officers and Firefighters who have been injured in the line of duty.

http://officerdownride.org

Since the ride started in Wilmington I thought the Summer Sands in Wrightsville Beach would be just the place for our weekend stay.  I have stayed there on numerous occasions but it has always been for business.  I called Don, who also rides a motorcycle, and made reservations. A big plus for the motorcycle traveler is the covered parking and the location is wonderful with most everything within walking distance.

http://www.summersandssuites.com/
Trip start time: 11:00AM Friday.
image
Travelling on 17 South from New Bern you first encounter Pollocksville and you need to be aware of the posted speed limit.  There is a good view of the Trent River as you ride across the bridge. As we passed through I saw several bikes at the Trent Restaurant.

image
The next town is Maysville and again there is a posted limit to be observed. Once out of town a few miles you are on the new four lane to Jacksonville.
image
Debbie decided on Cracker Barrel for lunch and I’ll have to say it was a good choice.  Since we skipped breakfast we were both a bit hungry.
image We stopped at New River HD and Debbie picked up a pair of sunglasses and then we continued on toward Wrightsville Beach.
image
About half way between Jacksonville and Dixon we noticed a NCHP car heading north.  Just a minute after that a sport bike blew past us heading south.  A minute later and the HP blew past us and had said sport bike on the road side.  What a way to start the holiday weekend.
image
We hit Wrightsville Beach about 2:30.  The weather had been wonderful the whole trip down with temperatures in the mid to upper 70’s.
image
We carried the bags to the room and got settled in.  Speaking of bags, we used the T-Bags Dakota model for the trip.  The bag is awesome and perfectly mounts to the the Ultra Classic’s luggage rack.

http://www.tbags.com/detail.aspx?ID=77&SelectedCat=4
image
Just a few hundred feet away lies the beach access path.
image
image
Mike called and the crew would meet us at the Summer Sands in the morning at 10:45.  We headed over to Tower 7 for some very good tacos.

Tower 7
4 N. Lumina Ave
Wrightsville Beach, NC
910.256.8585

Around Wrightsville Beach

image 
image









 image
image

image
7:00AM came around and the alarm sounded.  We got ready and headed over to the the highly recommended Causeway Cafe.  Unbelievable breakfast for both of us.  I had the country ham omelet  and Debbie had eggs over light with hash browns.  If you’re in the area stop by and enjoy some really good food with fast, courteous service.  Free coffee on the porch if you need to wait.

114 Causeway Dr
Wrightsville Beach, NC

image
Off to Carolina Coast HD to start the line up with Mike, Holli, Brett and Justin.  Brett recently acquired a BMW and Justin now owns a Nightster.
image

We arrived and one group was on the way out and the next was lining up.  Time for us to sign up!
image
Paperwork in-hand we line up and with a police escort we head to Leland, our first stop.
image 
We had an escort most of the way so we blew through red lights and stop signs.  About 5 miles into the first leg an idiot in a car runs up in the left lane and attempts to break in to the line.  They even cruise through the red lights.
image
 image

Here is the group at Leland Fire and Rescue.

image
image
We’ve been on a lot of poker runs but this was our first dice run.  After the stops the one with the highest total wins.
image 
I had wondered how many miles would be on main highways.  Not to worry, the majority of the run was on the winding back roads away from the main flow of traffic.
image
The group turns in to the parking lot at Acme-Delco-Riegelwood Fire and Rescue.
image
image 

Roll the dice, jot down the total and get the official signature.
image 
We mount up and head to the Brunswick County Government Complex.

http://www.brunsco.net/
image
This is the last stop before we arrive at Beach House Harley Davidson in Shallotte.  It’s near 12:30 by now and I hear quite a few mentions of food and drink.
image
Since the food is on everyone's mind this stop went fairly quickly.
 image
image 
I browsed the Beach House web site but the site can’t do justice to the real thing.

http://www.beachhousehd.com/Default.asp
image
image
I don’t know how many groups were in the ride but I do know where they ended up.
image
image
image
Plenty of food….
image
…and live entertainment.

The ride is over and we start to make our way back to the bikes.  Mike suggests we go back to Wilmington by way of Southport and the ferry.  Sounds good to us!
image
We didn’t quite make the 2:30 ferry so we gas up and check out Southport.  The weather really cooperated on this trip.  A minor threat of rain in the morning never developed and the temperatures were great, in the lower 70’s.
image
Southport has a nice waterfront park with a great view.
image
image 
A quick ride from the waterfront and we arrive at the ferry.  We had a short wait since at first it appeared that the ferry was full.  Not to worry. We drove on the ferry for the trip to Fort Fisher.
image
image
image
It was close to 5:00 by the time we returned to Summer Sands. For us, door to door, back to Wrightsville Beach we racked up 142 miles. Sadly we knew the long weekend was almost over and we had to ride back to New Bern tomorrow. Sunday morning came and it’s Easter.  Debbie and I attended service at Port City Community Church in Wilmington.  I thought riding a bike to church may be unique.  Not so.  There were a dozen or more lined up when we arrived.  It was a good service and I was most impressed with both the people and the level of talent that was evident especially during the video productions. 

We grabbed lunch at O’Charley’s and left for New Bern at 12:45.  We made a quick stop in Jacksonville, believe it or not, so we could warm up.  A bit cold around the ears after an hour of riding on highway 17 North.  Not quite as warm as Saturday.

For us it was an overdue vacation and one that was very enjoyable.  We got a chance to ride for a good cause with our friends down south and spend some time in Wrightsville Beach away from the daily distractions.  The complete trip was one of 355 miles and as usual it came with a flawless performance from the Ultra. 

Where to next….?

PARTING SHOTS

image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image

1 comment:

Larry said...

Ralph, that was the best record of any event that I have ever seen!

Can you email me to let me know if we have your permisiion to link this to our ODR web-site as we prepare for the 2010 Officer Down Ride?
Thanks, Larry Egerton
LarryEgerton@aol.com