Sunday, July 27, 2008

"The Cruise"

Today we participated in "The Cruise" a motorcycle rally to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House here in Rochester. There was a 40% chance for rain and after an early morning shower, a check on the weather radar showed that other storms out in South Dakota were heading southeast and probably wouldn't affect us, so we decided to take part in this motorcycle event.

When we arrived at the registration site around 9:45, we found there were already quite a few other bikers there. This event gets bigger and better organized every year and this is the first time we've ridden by ourselves--not as part of a much larger group. We did see some familiar faces of people we knew from work out on the ride, so it wasn't like we were riding with a bunch of people we didn't know.

This year's route went through Fillmore, Winona and Olmsted counties--about 132 miles total. It was nice to travel some familiar roads and also ride down some new ones we've never been on before.

Our best reception was in Fountain, Minnesota--a small town in Fillmore County about 6 miles from where I grew up. The good folks of Fountain actually had their main street blocked off so bikers could park right on the main drag.
We also had a stop in Rushford, Minnesota--a town hit by a devastating flood only a year ago. It was strange to sit at the Kwik Trip and eat our lunch remembering last year's pictures of the same Kwik Trip store almost completely covered by flood waters.

My odometer turned over to 10,000 miles just outside of Rushford!

There is a large Amish community in Winona County near St. Charles, Minnesota and my best memory of today's trip was riding past the residence where the Amish families were having their Sunday worship and fellowship......seeing all those buggies parked along the driveway and waving to the little Amish boys in their white shirts and dark vests and trousers waving back at us!

By the time we got back to Rochester, the sky had completely clouded over and there were even a few sprinkles falling. We decided it would probably be best to head for home ASAP, but by the time we got halfway there, the sprinkles were getting more frequent and heavier. About 4 miles from home it was pretty much pouring and had been for a while as the pavement was pretty wet. In addition to the discomfort of wet clothes, rain spotted eyeglasses and windshields, the greater danger is losing control on slippery pavement when only on 2 wheels. Fortunately, we made it home without any mishaps.

We just heard on the local news that there were about 1200 bikers on this fund-raising trip, but no mention of how many dollars were raised for Ronald McDonald house. I will post that amount tomorrow as soon as the information becomes available.

Monday Update: Here are the results of yesterday's ride (an excerpt from today's local newspaper)
• 1,200 riders raised a record $104,392 this year.
• Rider participation has nearly quadrupled since the first official Cruise in 2001, when 340 riders raised more than $14,000.
• In eight years, the event has raised more than $500,000.


Anonymous said...

Just looked to see if you had a blog tonite, and there it was and you just posted it a few mins ago. Didn't know you were going on this "ride". We could have driven over to Fountain to see this gathering of bikers riding for a good cause. It sounded like fun for all.
Jane and Ethan were here today.

cindy said...

You rock, Ruthie! What a great fundraiser and a great summer Sunday thing to do. A little rain never hurt anyone, but I do understand about the traction thing.

Jayne said...

How neat to be a part of something so big and special to benefit such a great charity Ruthie. Glad you all made it home through the rain safe and sound. :c)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I am glad you made it home safe Ruthie. It sounds like you had a good time for a good cause.

Larry said...

I've heard about bikers do a lot of charity eventws-that's great! Whatever happened to the biker gangs of the 60's and 70's that everyone was afraid of?

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mom,
We didn't know the route until registration--in the past this ride has always gone north of Rochester, so it was fun to ride an area we were more familiar with.

Thanks Cindy, it was fun in spite of the rain.

Hi Jayne,
I was amazed to see how big this event has gotten. We haven't done the ride for a couple years and it used to start and finish at the local Harley dealer but now has grown large enough that the local college has become the venue by necessity.

Thanks Lisa, it was definitely an enjoyable time for a $20 donation and a few gallons of gas--in a few months the bikes will be put away again for the winter and this day will become a pleasant memory.

Hi Larry,
There are quite a few of these charity rides going on all summer in the area. In two weeks there's another one to benefit the local Red Cross and then a cancer one in September. It's a good excuse to do some riding, see the countryside and lots of other bikes in addition to raising funds for worthy causes.
I heard from someone who went on this ride last year that there were "Mongols" participating. I didn't see any scary looking biker gang types yesterday. Most of the people were like me (middle-aged)--and I'm guessing that might be what's happened to all those 60's & 70's biker gang guys--just look at Dennis Hopper & Peter Fonda!! ;-)

Mary said...

These results restore my faith in the kindness of people, Ruthie. Congrats for being part of such an important cause... I'm glad you made it home OK in the rain.

Sales of motorcycles have soared lately! Here in NC, fireworks sales have skyrocketed, too. We aren't traveling much anymore... I noticed a slight dip in the cost of gasoline lately...may the trend continue!

I'm wondering if you bike to work. Others I work with do.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mary,
This "cruise" has turned into a huge summer social event here in Rochester. I saw people from work I didn't even know were bikers!

I usually ride my bike to work on the days my driver (Mr. Johnson) takes vacation. People around here drive kinda crazy and I'm still not totally comfortable riding in the 3 lanes of traffic on US 52, so I usually try to get in the fast lane and stay out of everyone else's way. Remember that line from Top Gun? "I feel the need, the need for speed!" That's my motto when I get on the bike. :-)

Meggie said...

What a phenomenal fundraiser! What fun to be a part of it!

Julie said...

I wonder if other towns had a similar ride. I noticed a TON of bikers in Miami Ok last Saturday when I took my grandmother to the casino.
PS - because I am so terribly behind, I probably won't be able or remember to come back and read your comments, so if you reply and I don't comment back, thats why.

Marsha said...

What a fun ride this must have been. We usually hit a few charity rides but they are no where near as big as this one! How wonderful the $$ raised.

Mary C said...

That amount of money raised is awesome! Way to go! I'm sure glad you had fun and got home safely, too.