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Monday, May 16, 2011

Arrival day - 12 May

The morning took us from Annapolis to RFK stadium in DC. Once again the weather was absolutely outstanding. Although the ride was relatively short in nature it was probably the most hilly day we have experienced. We still kept a pretty rapid pace which made the constant rollers a little challenging for some as we got closer to the city. There is alot of anticipation on this date as we all know it is the finish of our journey. Getting to RFK is always looked forward to, even though we know once we get there we will sit around for a while waiting for the other chapters to arrive.

Here we are preparing to leave the only rest stop that we had for the day. This was at one of the Target stores. Target is an amazing sponsor for the Unity Tour. They host some of the rest stops for us and provide us with bananas, Gatorade, water, fig newtons and various other things. It is always a good place for us to stop.

Here is our approach to RFK stadium. This is the stadium in the background. We came to the stadium from a different side this year. We were welcomed this year by an area where the Army had set up some various vehicles to include three helicopters. The helicopters were running when we arrived and took off a little after we were in the parking lot. Here is a photo of the choppers while they were hanging around.

This is John and me hanging out with the chapter President Pat O'Brien at RFK stadium. As I said we get here and have to wait for a bit. This year we were one of the first groups to arrive. Another chapter arrived a short time after we did and then about an hour or so later the riders from the Challenge Ride arrived. This was the group that Michelle was with so it was good for us to see her.

Once everyone arrives at the stadium we all get formed up to make the last 3 or so miles into the Memorial. This year we again took a little different route than last year to make our way to the site. Here are a couple of photos on our way there. This is about the only time that the pace is very slow and all of the riders abide by the "two by two" rule (riding two abreast). It is a great time to reflect on the past three days and the meaning of the ride for each of us. It is also a time of great anticipation as we all know that within a few minutes we will be greeted by thousands of people at the Memorial.

We made sure once again this year that we were on the left side of the column as we rode to the Memorial. Our four officers are on the west wall of the Memorial. So we line up on the left side as we ride in so that we are on the west side as the riders split and enter the Memorial site.

This year we were met there by one of our fellow officers (Jeff Carroll) and the chief and his wife. It is great to ride into the Memorial to honor our fallen and to see some faces from back home there waiting for you also.

Here we are with the chief (Bret Farrar) after our arrival at the Memorial and prior to the arrival ceremony.

After all of the riders arrive there is a ceremony conducted to welcome everyone and present the Unity Tour donations to Craig Floyd of the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund. This year the Police Unity Tour donated $1.5 million.

It is all such a worthy cause and a great honor to paricipate in the ride.

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