By John “Papa” Brostrom – Oh boy.
The Pack was not pleased with having to be wheels rolling at 6:00am MDT. Our destination was Oklahoma City but… we had an appointment to visit ImageNet upon our arrival. Little did we know just how vitally important would be our “relatively” on-time arrival. Given we had 522 miles and we lose an hour crossing into CDT. We had 7.5 hours of actual travel time thus in a perfect world we arrive at 2:00pm. Riding on two wheels with a Pack of 10, one of whom has a literal peanut bladder (or a prostate the size of a grapefruit), is not the perfect world.
The plan was to stop first in Santa Rosa for fuel and a quick McMuffin. This would be about 110 miles… or 80 in Andymath. We knew the ride out would be cool but quickly we hit 55 degrees. The air was smooth and calm. The road was virtually trafficless. The sun was rising with some light cloud cover so it wasn’t blinding as we headed east. Shortly after Cline’s Corner the temp dropped a bit. I believe the lowest was 47 degrees. Cool but not uncomfortable.
By the time we rolled into Santa Rosa the temp was up. We fueled and met in the Golden Arches parking lot. The RV had fallen back – or the Pack had roared off without them and accounting for an RV climb out of ABQ we arrived well before them. It is interesting to note that the gents in the RV make us feel like pampered rock stars. We pull in for gas (or pee) and as we are lingering near the bikes checking messages and planning next stops we have water and snacks handed to us. Quite a luxury provided to the riders by Judge, Raj, and Berg. These dudes are adamant they get to all our stops to serve us refreshments. Thank you.
The ride into Texas and Oklahoma was none eventful… repeated short distance stops… over and over and over and over! The word of the day was WIND. We spent the bulk of the day in a constant reverse NASCAR right hand turn in order to stay straight. We pushed it hard and rolled into the hotel parking lot shortly at 4:00pm. Bert and his buddy Captain had come in from Iowaiga were waiting there to re-join the Pack. Also JBro arrived from H-Town so as we rolled in were are now 13 strong. Also Jennie and Kim from GreatAmerica joined the Pack!. It’s a party now! This place is lit! It’s going to get turnt! (<—for the record – I, Jenna Stramaglio, do not approve of such language used by someone who is well beyond the appropriate age of using such slang 😆).
To our delight and amazement two of Oklahoma City’s finest, on their motorcycles, were there to give us an escort to ImageNet. Friday afternoon rush hour traffic and we had a smooth ride in. All intersections were blocked and we were Rock Stars… Jillian Rock Stars! The motorcade rolled through downtown OKC, up Broadway, left on 8th street, and we followed the officers into an alley. As we rolled into the alley we could see a very large contingent of ImageNet personnel waiting in the parking lot. Cameras, cheering, welcoming! It is such an amazing feeling to experience this kind of welcome. A constant reinforcement of our mission and motivation to do this. ImageNet rolled out the red carpet. It quite literally brings tears to our eyes when we receive these welcomes.
We had an epic meet and greet. The ImageNet team were awesome hosts. We had a spread of sandwiches, chips, and and and dessert! An ice cream cookie bar that was outstanding. Monica/Amber (she was confused) gave an awesome tour. I’ve heard that the real Monica gave an equally fantastic tour. The best part of the evening was Ms. Major Payne (the other Amber) was already working on how to make this stop more epic next year!
We’re amazed and humbled at how this thing grows! Good things beget good things.
We made our way back to the hotel pining for a shower. After showers we congregated at the RV for some wine, cocktails, and Goldberg prepared hors d’oeuvres. We have truly been pampered by the Mars International RV with messers Goldberg, Raj and Youngberg… along with Jennie and Kim from Make Great America Leasing Again.
That would have constituted a Great day but the epic part had just begun. Boner, JBro, and Fish walked over to get some Buffalo Wild Wings and the crew retired from the RV to the hotel pool deck. This crew took over the area and a lone un-attached hotel guest braved the onslaught and stayed. He was quiet and kept to himself. Soon Goldberg re-opens the bar on the pool deck and our wings arrived. Good conversation and consumption ensued. After dinner we apologized to our guest after engaging him in the conversation. We found his name is AJ and he is in training for the FAA. We needed to be nice to him as he will be keeping us safe in the skies soon. Then we found out he is a Marine Vet. We thanked this Jar Head for his service. AJ decided to participate in the Spanish Inquisition. What an honest young man. Tomorrow will be a weather dicey day. Time to wrap it up and get some rest.