The Blueline Run
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Sheriff, Gerald K. Hege of Davidson County North Carolina is tough on crime and doesn't take any crap. Recognized as the toughest Sheriff in America, Sheriff Hege walks tall AND carries a big stick! Last year two of his officers were gunned down on duty, and he and his wife Geri set up a foundation called the Blueline Foundation.
The purpose of the foundation is to assist law enforcement officers who have been disabled in the line of duty or who may be experiencing extreme hardships. The name "Blueline" comes from the thin blue line between life and death which officers walk each day.
In support of this foundation and out of respect for the officers on duty throughout the country, Muthuh participated in Sheriff Hege's Blueline Run, a 225 mile ride through parts of NC and VA under escort by local officers along the way. Following the run was a benefit dinner and thrill jump show. - Be glad ya didn't screw up on this ride, cause Sheriff Hege had some accommodations waiting for you at the end if you did!
I even thought twice about wearing my (questionably illegal) skullcap helmet, but whaddahell..... I look good in stripes!
Leaving Durham, NC on Friday night, so I could crash at a buddy's place in Greensboro (and have a 90 minute headstart on tomorrow morning's ride) was not a good way to start a trip. Well, the headstart was a good idea, but it had been raining all day and still hadn't let up by the time I had to crap or get off the pot...(Hey, my kids and likely the Sheriff are reading this, I gotta watch my mouth)... I think this was the first time I ever had to BEGIN a trip in a rain suit...many times I ended up getting into it, but at least this time I could suit up in a dry garage. The 65 mile trip was completely in the rain but my one piece Harley suit did well. I wear a (gasp!) 3/4 helmet with face shield when I ride in the rain on purpose, so NO you won't see any pictures of Muthuh with a face shield. Got standards to uphold, ya know.
Next morning at 6:30am I follow Bill, who's driving his car - he's designated photographer for the ride and had a lot of gear to haul - to pick up a friend, Peter, who's gonna drive so Bill can hang out the window shooting pics. Stopped off for breakfast and hit the Davidson County Fairgrounds at 8:15am to register and meet the Sheriff again. (Met him a few weeks earlier during a photoshoot at Bills place...)
I was surprised to find about 75 bikes already there, milling around looking for the coffee and donuts...not any in sight. HEY! The place is crawling with cops and no donuts! What's up with that?? By 9am there's over 130 bikes ready to go. It was an unusual run in that this was not a brand-specific type run and maybe half of the bikes lined up were, uhhhh, other than Harleys. (Still can't recognize one of them from the other....)
The crew from CourtTV was there filming the event, and several interviews were being done on the fairgrounds. After a little pep rally from the Sheriff, everyone loaded up the bikes climbed aboard and waited while Sheriff Hege filmed several promos for the CourtTV segment that was going to be aired this summer covering this ride. (CourtTV says this is THE largest rated show they have.) As I was asked to cover it for this website as well as provide some of the photos for his Blueline Foundation website, I stayed discreetly out of the pack. (Y'all know how I hate riding in groups anyway.)
Once the promos were done and the group fired up again, I took off ahead of them to find some scenic overpasses to wait for the group to pass under for some photos. It really was an awesome site, with 130+ bikes thundering down the highway....ok, so some of them whined past, but its all for a good cause!... with Deputy Sheriff's posted along the route up to southern Virginia acting as roadblocks and escorts.
Our first gas stop was up near Mount Airy, (you may remember that from Andy and Barney days...this is the area that show was based in). Heading further up the mountain into Virginia, I pulled ahead of the pack again to meet up with an Internet friend living in that area for lunch. I knew stopping at the next stop for lunch with 130 bikes and maybe 180 people for lunch was going to be a cluster - uhhhhhh....well, it was gonna be a mess, so I stopped here instead.
I figured we had 10-15 minutes to spare before the group got there. We were mistaken....they all zoomed right past and I had to gulp down the food and go catch up with 'em. Took until back into North Carolina to do that, where we caught them all overflowing out of an overlook viewing the Blue Ridge mountains and the valley's below. The Blue Ridge is going to be the focus of several more rides in the future so I will hold off on the scenery vistas and overlooks this trip.
Watching 130 bikes all lined up one after another on the Blue Ridge parkway was a sight!... Often a view of the next couple bends in the road could be seen through the trees and they were ALL filled with bikes curving their way through the mountains. Arriving in Laurel Springs a little scattered out from the stops at the overlooks and craft shops, eventually the gang all arrived and swamped the one-restaurant town at The Stations Restaurant.
This really is a nice place, nestled next to a little motel right on the parkway...literally 100 feet away. It is Hwy 18 in NC coming up from Wilkesboro, NC if you're interested in stopping in on your parkway rides. Right away, the sky starts to threaten worsening weather and one by one some of the riders start to drift off down the highway. Within 30 minutes, before everybody has time to finish lunch, the situation gets worse, and people are firing up pretty rapidly and leaving the mountain. Most, from what I could see, had no rain gear.
Looks like the 'organized' part of the ride has gone to hell, and it's everyone for themselves to find their way back to Lexington. I, once again, suit up in raingear and face shield for the run down the mountain, and by the time I get to Wilkesboro I am in the middle of a helluva hard rain with pea-sized hail and high winds. Carports and gas stations and car washes are filled up with not only bikers, but many cars waiting out the storm. Amazed at the water-tightness of the suit I had on, I forge ahead and bull my way through it.
By the time I get to Hwy 601, the cut-off to Lexington, it is still raining and I decide to head on home, thinking the festivities tonight will be cancelled. Fortunately, somewhere between there and Winston-Salem, it clears up fast and I take a side road south to join what eventually looked like 3/4ths of the original crowd at the fairgrounds...took 'em about another hour to all dribble in, wet, and tired and hungry as hell.
The Sheriff set up a thrill show for us, with Chuck Sullivan's motorcycle stunt show. The Sheriff took 11 of his own cruisers... ( I think the last few cruisers were ready to retire anyway!) and set them side by side, and Chuck made a jump that landed perfectly on the far ramp. Immediately afterwards, he joined the Sheriff and his wife, Geri, for pictures and he was still visibly pumped about the jump.
Following that was a cookout for the riders and some entertainment. I chose to help myself to a couple burgers and headed out of town for the two-hour ride home. All in all, a fun day, although a wet one, and for a good cause. Sheriff Hege's Blueline Foundation benefits the officers and family of fallen officers throughout the country. This being the first annual ride, I'll certainly hook up for it next year.
In the meantime... watch for our next big ride at the end of the month up the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline drive to the Vietnam Memorial Wall for the annual MIA/POW Run for the Wall Parade.
For Information, contact: Muthuh@Muthuh.com
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