May 22, 2019: Humbled, Honored, and Grateful

Good morning, Hotlanta! After an eventful night, the Pack was moving spry and early this morning. This is a fun and enjoyable event for us but… we never forget our mission. Better said, the public never lets us forget our mission. We are approached in elevators, at stop lights, in parking lots, in rest areas, etc. All are curious who we are and what we are about. “May I ask who is Jillian?” (marketing works!). What we do works!  What we do matters!

Today, Papa will escort Paco to Milner. It is a short 2 mile ride. Paco is meeting with some of the Milner team along with some of the FORZA team who are in to work with Milner. Other than a wrong turn, the ride over to Milner was completely uneventful. Paco dropped off and Papa returned to the Hotel to gather the balance of the Pack and prepare for our ride over to Milner.  Upon returning to the hotel parking lot Papa could see Lone Star preforming routine bike checks and maintenance. GQ was sauntering too and fro. The Judge was just getting off his private treadmill. JBro and Boner actually needed no wake up and JBro finally took a shower. We believe the first one since Arkansas! Fish was nothing but a tall bigheaded dude with a smile. We’re pleased to have him back on the road with us… if not for anything but his cigars. Slaw and KFly were even milling around in early anticipation for the day. Rover was in and out of the Mars’ Rover Rover. Berg? Even he was up and texting about arrival times at our auto warehouse later in the day at Charlotte. It will be a good day.  Perhaps our first Atlanta day in 7 years without inclement weather.

The ride over to Milner, without a wrong turn, was all of 4 minutes. The path avoided all traffic. As we approached the Milner driveway we noticed the entire driveway, parking lot and walk path to the building lined with American Flags in anticipation for our arrival. Cool!!  We parked, dismounted and were greeted by Atlanta’s best and brightest.  These greetings and welcomes Neve get tired and are always always appreciated.

 

The Pack was greeted with these bright faces AND a breakfast in the theater room. Paco and Charlie made the warm welcome official and we ate! The Pack were also given a well thought out gift basket and a t-shirt. On these rides a t-shirt is always welcome OR perhaps they were telling us we needed to find a laundry!? Milner was even a little Dusty (pun intended) before we left.  It’s always nice to see him. Thank you to Milner for your generous donation to The Jillian Fund. The Milner stop was just about an hour as we need to let the FORZA and Milner teams get back to business work, allowing us to get back to fundraising, vet awareness work!

Lone Star, JBro and Boner pulled out a little early. They would be getting fuel and hustling to our next stop, Friendship Harley Davidson.  JBro has a nuisance issue and they wanted to get a head start. Paco eventually climbed on his ride only to realize the key for his bike is in Lone Star’s pocket. A rushed call was made to Lone Star with the hope and prayer they were still at the fuel stop! As luck would have it they were. GQ communicated the issue and a sheepish Lone Star soon returned with Paco’s FOB. Jillian and her brethren were watching over us for this one. This could have caused us a good 90 minutes had we not caught him.

Oh well, we all proceeded to the fuel stop and rode to the Harley Dealership en masse. 25 minutes later we roared into Friendship Harley Davidson north of the north eastern Atlanta burbs.  As we rolled in we were being video recorded by our old friend and industry icon, Bob McGuire. What a treat. He would be riding out with us for a while.

Paco and Lone Star (with his cooler)

Turns out JBro’s issue is something that will need further diagnostics upon his return to Houston next week. It is not mechanical and will not impede his riding. The service tech did replace a rear riding light at no-charge. The Harley dealerships really do take care of bikers on the road. We kid because we care… Lone Star really does put his big Texas arms around our equipment each and every morning and even at some daily stops. In appreciation we presented him with a very cool cooler from Harley Davidson. It is always nice to see this prime example of a good and humble person blush!

A bit more milling around and we sounded the horn for departure… only to find Lone Star, with his mass of tools and sundry for the bikes all played out, working on KFly’s Kawasaki. This was a quick attempt at a seat adjustment and we soon saddled up to depart. Friendship road north east to I85 and soon South Carolina was on our horizon. A couple of hours out Papa was given the sign for a bio stop. Ahead 2 miles was a rest stop. Turns out to be a beautiful setting next to a Carolina lake. This was a good 30 minute stop. IT included more connoitering on KFly’s seat… by 5 people. There were several photo ops and of course… Hydration and snacks from the crew of the Mars’ Rover Rover.  The weather was much cooler than Hotlanta. Cloudy at times and cool.  Absolutely perfect riding weather. A decision was made to bypass the hotel and proceed directly to Streetside Classics for our wandering of the classic car warehouse and our air-conditioned BBQ. We’re all in!!

Soon we fueled in northern South Carolina and it’s Northern sister was on our horizon. Charlotte in 45 minutes. We navigated west around the Charlotte traffic scrum with aplomb. Soon we were on the north side of Charlotte in the vicinity of the Charlotte Motor Speedway and the warehouses of many famous racing families/teams as well as Streetside Classics. As we arrived, we realized this truly was a warehouse with more than 100 classic cars… all for sale of course. The Pack may have left some drool on the immaculate floors.  What a treat. Berg and Rover’s buddy, Larry was our host as many of these autos are his. The BBQ was spectacular.  The stories were even better.  Best??? Arlington, Larry’s company (formerly Carolina Wholesale and Digitek) presented us with a generous donation to The Jillian Fund. After cleaning tasty BBQ residue from our hands and faces we saddled up and began our trek back to the southwest side of Charlotte. This would eventually require some rush hour traffic time.  To our delight only about 5 minutes of our 30 minute ride was congested. With one more chance for Boner to play traffic police we made our way unimpeded to our hotel. (he really loves this move. Flashers, hand gestures to stop, horn honking, aggressive exhaust noice and traffic stops). We checked in and Papa took his migraine to bed at 7:00pm. We will have to report the evening’s activities another day!  All safe and sound and Systel in the morning. Then off to a new FORZA account in Marion, VA before resting in Richmond for the evening.  After Systel, JBro and Boner will head directly to Richmond as JBro has an afternoon Skype conference. Most of us have real jobs and we would be remiss of we didn’t offer appreciation for our respective organizations being gracious with our time. We thank you and the Jillian Fund Thanks you.

Signed,

Papa

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