For those who gave all

Discussion in 'Road Trips/Touring' started by mc2, Nov 5, 2015.

  1. mc2

    mc2 Active Member Contributor

    As I felt obligated to ride across Vietnam to honor those who gave all, I'm equally obligated to share my story. I will post bits of it every other day through Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

    January 30, 2010:
    "I looked across a tidal current to the tip of Vietnam, a horizontal strip of land thirty-five miles wide to ten miles deep, without trails for Harley tracks. Hamlets, paddies, and fishing villages cut into its swamp, where people lived by simple means. How few had come to see it, I wondered, and had the war invaded its tranquility, too? Boils of water churned and merged across the massive flow, and within them, whirlpools swirled with a hypnotic attraction. I stared with mixed thoughts. I've had great adventures over years of travel, and now, I've laid solo tracks the length of Vietnam on a Harley Davidson. Not in my wildest dreams would I have considered that. Pride as an American to enjoy that opportunity was hidden in murky thought, as if the whirlpools pulled my soul into their spin. Humility lay over me, and thoughts I wanted to grasp were obscured from my understanding. Boils and swirls passed, and a boat motored in a world outside my thoughts. I stood confused on a threshold, like this adventure had chosen me, and it wasn't over."

    February 4:
    "Veterans returned to Vietnam for various reasons. Most, if not all, came with a heavy heart. I came for a job and found an opportunity to ride. But as I splurged with my free-spirited nature, my awareness grew for the loss on this land, even if fun and concerns for career issues overrode the depth of it. From my generation, 58,479 Americans and over 6,000 allies lost their lives on this land, and 1,636 Americans remain missing in action. The prospect for finding them diminishes each year. While I gazed across the beauty of the seaside, the delta, the Highlands, and the Central Mountains, I looked over the land many saw with their last breaths."

    "I had an opportunity to honor our veterans on the land they saw last in a vicarious manner I hoped they would appreciate, or even expect from me. To visit one or two battlegrounds fell short of what I could do when the whole country had been a battleground, a country which had become a land of welcome and beauty--perhaps a land and people they would have enjoyed under different circumstances. I would dedicate a ride across Vietnam to them."

    "I would ride with a reckless abandon for a life they didn't get to enjoy: a ride in the spirit of freedom."

    "My trek would run up one side of the country for a loop around the crown, the mountainous region north of Hanoi, and return on the other. There were crossovers between them that I would also track to carry the freedom of the ride as far as I could.
    It was more than a week to the Tet holiday, which offered plenty of time, but before I packed, Peter called. He wanted me in Vientiane (Laos) within the week. I felt deflated, the marrow drained from my bones, and my heart bled. Why would they mobilize now? Peter said I could return in a few weeks to arrange shipment of my stuff, and he offered storage for the Fat Boy at his home in Saigon. The project was on a twenty-two-month schedule, after which I would return for my ride of honor."

    Over the next four years I could not have planned or imagined where that ride would take me.
    For lots of photos and shorter excerpts, please visit:

    Thank you, Thank a Vet, & Never Forget
  2. Breeze3at

    Breeze3at Well-Known Member

    Thank you, I'll be following your updates.
  3. Joyflyin

    Joyflyin Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator

    I'm sure we will all enjoy the pictures! Thank you!
  4. Jeff Klarich

    Jeff Klarich Well-Known Member Contributor

    Sounds like you experienced a once in a lifetime ride, very cool.:D
  5. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Guest

    Very good read, will be following this one
  6. dolt

    dolt Senior Member

    I would be interested in any pictures from the Tay Ninh area; Tay Ninh Base Camp specifically. Northwest of Saigon and about 12 klicks from the Cambodian border. The air strip is still visible on Google Earth images.
  7. mc2

    mc2 Active Member Contributor

    I rode into the swelter of Tay Ninh area a couple times. I didn't know about the air strip, but the second time I went specifically to ride to the top of that lone mountain on the east side. An amusement park sits at its base, and guards wouldn't let me ride on it. Only a tour bus goes to the top. And I'm
    sad to say photos from the Tay Ninh area were lost with a dropped hard drive.
    Thanks for your service & welcome home