This past week has been one of the busiest I have had in a long time. I flew in to the Toronto Pearson Airport last Sunday, was picked up by Lou DeVuono of the Heroes Highway Ride and whisked off to the BAN event. After watching with much dismay the way in which the testing was done, completely falling out of the J2825 protocol, Lou and I headed to Port Perry.
one of the tests being conducted at the BAN event
The next morning I got on the gorgeous motorcycle lent to me for the week by Classy Chassis in Lakefield. The 103 Screamin Eagle and I took about an hour to bond but bond we did.
You could not wipe the grin off my face - what a great machine to ride!
We met up with Graeme Hume and Howard Galganov and the 4 of us headed to the Poconos to meet up with riders from the M25 - a Christian Motorcycle Ministry and members of the Jewish Motorcycle Alliance. Our destination was to be Ottawa and the Never Again Ceremony on Parliament Hill.  I had the great honour and privilege of riding with Trapper Cane, the National President of the CAV (Canadian Army Veterans Motorcycle Units).  Trapper took some time with me when we were on the Hill the night before the Never Again rally to talk to me about the buildings on Parliament Hill and what they housed and symbolized. I was in awe of this man's knowledge and love for our country.

Trapper Cane - a grizzled veteran who told
an amazing story of an Auschwitz Tattoo
The day of the Never Again Rally dawned bright and sunny and saw somewhere around 450 riders and about 500 non riders take the Pledge of Never Again - No more Holocausts, No more genocides - I urge you to read this coming Thursday's Busted Knuckle Chronicles for the full story!

After the moving ceremony on Parliament Hill 175 motorcycles made their way towards Trenton. 50 of them would stay on to take part in the Heroes Highway Ride.  As we headed towards CFB Trenton memories flashed in my mind's eye of being a little girl, my dad so handsome in his uniform, holding me in his arms on this very base. I was amazed how little has changed on the base but as we would find out at the dedication services for what will become the Afghanistan Repatriation Memorial, many big changes will be happening at CFB Trenton.

After another moving ceremony, we riders were invited to take part in a BBQ at the Junior Officers Mess - it was wild having the members of the military serve us and thank us for being there and for supporting them.

Graeme Hume delivered an emotional speech of welcome
to all of the riders and what the
Afghanistan Repatriation Memorial means
Friday it rained all day and I and my room mate, Joyce Kaufman - an American Journalist, radio and TV show host took advantage of a down day. She did her writing and photo editing and I did the same and also got all of the articles that had come in for the paper edited and off to Darryl our layout artist. Finally done all my work at 8pm I was able to visit with a friend from Belleville and later took some time to visit with the various people who joined the meet 'n' greet in the Loyalist Room of the Holiday Inn.

Joyce Kaufman - a vocal freedom fighter
and journalist that I came to know, love and respect immensely
I finally had the opportunity to meet the world renowned author Don Norris - what an honour. The man is so talented and so warm.  I also had the distinct pleasure and honour of meeting Darlene Cushman. Darlene is a Silver Cross mother who lost her son in Afghanistan in 2007 and she and I spent a great deal of time talking and sharing. I can not express to you what a valiant and amazing woman she is and hope you will read the coverage of the Heroes' Highway Ride and Darlene's story about why this ride is so important to her in the June 14th Edition of the Busted Knuckle Chronicles.

L- R Lou, Darlene and Trapper Cane
While the number of bikes coming in from outlying areas for the event were down, hampered by the violent storms of Friday night, I was gratified to see three parking lots at the base be filled with riders - as I walked around, talking to people and taking photos - I was on the lookout for any police profiling activities.  I had been promised by the organizer of the HHR that inspite of the fact that this ride was going in to Toronto and would have a huge police presence that the police had agreed to allow any Canadian, any rider who came regardless of patch to attend and show their support of the troops and would for this one day leave their agenda as police officers behind.

I am happy to report that no one was hassled or profiled as was evidenced by some of the three piece and one percent clubs that were present. The concerns that many had over the safety of the event due to the riders being broken up into smaller groups to leave the base did not materialize and while the display of the bikes may not have been as impressive as a solid procession, the ride went off with only one hiccup.

That hiccup involved somewhere around 25-30 bikes who had jumped out ahead of the lead group of bikes - apparently they were waiting at one of the rest stops to get ahead of the ride. The OPP moved the group of riders to the centre lane in order for the main parade of bikes to go by and and as these riders slowed down - they caused - unfortunately a car and a truck to end up in a collision behind them, but from what I hear no one was hurt.  I was way back of the front of the group so I never saw what transpired and sooner than go on hearsay and speculation I am waiting to hear from the OPP as I have a call into them to find out exactly what happened and why.

When we arrived in to Toronto, the Toronto Metro police had the express lanes shut down on the Don Valley Parkway and all 2,500 - 3,000 bikes arrived safely.  We were greeted by a display of the military, fantastic vendors, wonderful music and an incredible show - with Lou receiving the Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal for his work in recognizing the troops. (He was nominated by Wayne Johnston of the Wounded Warriors and Mike Blais of  the CVA.)  Several members of the CAV were also award the Diamond Jubilee medal for their work in supporting veterans.

Darlene Cushman gave an amazing and heartwarming speech about what the Heroes Highway Ride means to her as a Silver Cross Mother and there was not a dry eye in the place. Comments swirled around me about how people just wanted to hug her.  Her pain and loss was so palpable.

I do not want to dilute the coverage of the event in the Busted Knuckle so I will leave you to exploring on Facebook and in the many other social networking sites to see the photos and videos that other people have taken.

It was a proud day to be a biker, a Canadian and a human being.

I am editing videos and naming photos for the rest of the day after I take that pretty, pretty machine I have been riding for the last week back to Classy Chassis.

There are so many people that I need to thank including the guys and dolls of Classy Chassis, Mackie H-D for their amazing efforts to get one of the bikes from South Carolina that had broken down - repaired - they even lent that rider a bike so he could take part in the HHR - all of the vendors, the musicians, my brothers and sisters from the CAV, Howard Galganov, Joyce Kaufman - the list goes on and on - amazing people doing amazing things to help each other, and to support our troops - I want to thank Lou and his wife Anne, Graeme and his wife Ann, the members of the Canadian Forces at CFB Trenton - the work, love and dedication that was portrayed were nothing short of miraculous.

Congratulations to all who did their part - for one day you were all Heroes in my eyes - thank you for making the 4th HHR fabulous.

I have already heard some of the plans for the 5th Annual Ride - which will be again changed up this time leaving from a smaller community like Whitby and turning around to end up in Trenton - I do not wish to betray any confidences about the 2013 ride until Lou and Graeme are ready to have the information made public but rest assured that the HHR's 5th ride will be unparalleled in the experience it will offer the rider and the military personal that it will honour all.

The news feeds are quiet so far this morning and Ali will be checking up on them later today to ensure that as we find out about the things that can affect your day and your life as a rider are made avaialbe to you as soon as possible.

Visit where our job is keeping You informed.

I leave you with a few funnies shared with me by some of the zaniest people in the world - my Facebook and email friends!

Belt Drive Betty
Editor & Rider

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