Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sunday Drive

After church this morning, we drove up to Old Town Auburn to have lunch. Gerry had mentioned driving up to Truckee, he pulled off in Auburn instead. We usually go to Awful Annie's in Old Town. There wasn't any parking close by so we turned around and came back down Lincoln Street. We drove down one of the side streets and Gerry saw a space and made a quick U-turn. We got the space in the nick of time, there were 2 other vehicles wanting the spot. We walked across the street to Mary Belle's. For as many times as we've gone up there to eat, we have never stopped at Mary Belle's. The restaurant has been open for 48 years and is housed in a building that is over 100 years old. It's pretty small inside with about 9 tables, a couple of them sat 6 people and the others 2 or 3 people each. The waitress who waited on us said that they have a back room that seats about 40 people or so.

Gerry saw that they had homemade corn beef on the menu and the waitress told him they cook the corn beef themselves. So he ordered it with eggs. The corn beef was mixed in with hash browns. He said it was good yet not like he's had at other places. I had diced ham with scrambled eggs, a fresh fruit cup that had strawberries, cantaloupe and grapes mixed together and toast.

We walked through a few shops before we got back in the van. We then drove down Hwy 49 along the American River into Cool, through Coloma, Lotus, Green Valley Road into Folsom and home. Coloma is where a lot of people rent rafts and float down the American River. It is really pretty through that area. The Tour of California Amgen riders went right through there last month. The climb from the American River up to Cool is pretty steep with a lot of switchbacks. I didn't have my camera with me although I think I've taken pictures through there and posted on the blog.

It was pretty warm today, it got up into the 90's. I closed up the house and turned the A/C on soon as we walked in the door. About 7:30 I turned it off and opened up the house. There was a nice Delta breeze coming through and it felt good.

Yesterday Gerry did the second part of Friday's mission. He said there weren't as many riders, however there were a whole lot more Marines that came up from Camp Pendleton where the Marine was stationed. I think he also said there was a group of Air Force guys there too. He took one of our coolers and stopped at WalMart to get some water and ice to share with the guys. It was very hot standing in the sun.

I'm including the email that Gerry received that the ride captain sent out to the riders. It is very well written. He mentions what an awesome mission it was and I have to agree with him. What I experienced on Friday was outstanding!! Am so glad I went with Gerry.

Here's the email:
SSgt. Adam Perkins Mission, Part One:

The Patriot Guard Riders gathered together at McClellan AFB in the early afternoon of Friday, June 4th to honor the arrival of SSgt. Adam Perkins, KIA May 17, 2010 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. SSgt. Perkins lost his life while defusing a roadside bomb. His partner lost both his legs.

SSgt. Perkins joined the Marine Corps one week after 9/11 because he wanted to do something about what he witnessed on television. He was on his second deployment to the region as a volunteer to take the place of a fellow Marine who was a new father. He'd been deployed about one month when he lost his life defusing that bomb. Perkins, 27, was deployed with the 1st Explosive Ordinance Disposal Company, 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group.
SSgt. Perkins was well aware of the risks associated with his chosen job in the Marines, so he left behind video tapes of himself reading bedtime stories to his son, so that his son would remember him. His son is 9 months old.

The PGR staged 62 bikes and 4 cages. The riders entered the flight line just prior to the chartered jet carrying SSgt. Perkins touching down. Parking the bikes in a row on the tarmac, we dismounted and formed a flag line. Besides the riders, only two police bikes, the Marine Honor Guard, and family were permitted on the flight line. The media was present but were restricted as the family preferred.

Once the airplane stopped, Adam was transferred to the funeral coach by the Marine Honor Guard. We then formed two rows with flags in hand along the flight line. Moving out, the Marine Honor Guard marched ahead of the Adam's coach between our two flag lines, toward the exit gate. SSgt. Perkin's procession consisted of LEO's from many different agency's, including the Rancho Cordova Police, Sacramento Sheriff, Police, CHP, Metro Fire, CA Fish & Game, US Border Patrol, FBI Bomb Squad, and others I'm sure I missed. With twenty or so squad cars up front and countless motors to escort Adam's coach followed by his family members in three limos, the PGR fell in behind about nine FBI Bomb Squad trucks.
We eventually proceeded down Greenback Lane toward Price Funeral Home in Citrus Heights. Metro Fire had positioned a number of their trucks along the route and many firefighters stood at attention, saluting as we passed by. At one overpass, there were two large ladder trucks – one on each side of Greenback Lane with their ladders extending over this six-lane roadway, one reaching upward toward the other. Our day was completed when SSgt. Perkins arrived at the funeral home.

Of the many riders we had in attendance, eleven were on their first mission. Thank you for being a part of what we do: Paul DelRio, Rena Gibson, Henrik Poulsen, Al Kennedy, Deborah Kennedy, Doris Blatchford, Steve Booth, Temple Smite, Patrick Murphy, Donald Peterson and Terry Dickman. You have embarked upon a mysterious and wonderful journey now. Please come back soon.

I thank all of our riders from the NorCal Capitol Region. Additionally we had Patriot Guard Riders from Redding, Solano, Manteca, Stockton, Woodland, Colfax, Auburn, the Bay Area, and I'm sure some from parts unknown to me. In addition to the many PGR, Adam was honored by riders from the ALR, Old Guard, Viet Nam/Legacy Vets MC, Combat Veteran's MC Assoc., and again I'm sure I've missed mentioning some groups for which I apologize. Thanks to Chuck and the Bagpipers in attendance as well as the Soldiers Angels, Blue Star Moms president, Barbara, Police Chaplain's group, and any others possibly not mentioned here.

We are grateful to Officer Lane of RCPD and the CHP for including all of our riders in "the package", providing traffic control for us. I give a big shout out to SSgt DeWitt, CACO USMC for your kindness, cooperation and help. Your assistance is unsurpassed. The professionalism your team exhibited is beyond reproach. Thanks to Ben & Jody of Price Funeral Home for making us feel welcomed. By no less, we are extremely thankful to Adam's family for allowing us to be a part of this day of honor and respect for a true American Hero, SSgt. Adam Perkins. May he rest in peace and your sorrow healed.

Part Two:

Saturday, June 6th, The PGR on 25 bikes and 2 cages gathered, and scrambled for shade in the parking lot of the LDS church in Antelope just before noon. Again, we had many riders from afar, represented by different clubs and organizations. We also had a rider joining us on her first mission. Thank you Debbie Purrington.

We set our flag line in two rows on each side of the main entrance of the church. Soon, it was apparent the time we had scheduled for this mission went awry and we were winging it again. Nonetheless, we were holding the line when Adam Perkins arrived in the funeral coach led by a five-bike "missing man formation" from the Capitol Region PGR. This escort was provided by riders Mickey G., Carl with beads, Jon Cronk, Bill Palmer and JD.

Guests trickled in up to and after the service for SSgt. Perkins began inside the church. We stepped down for the next hour during the service. At the conclusion of the service and unbeknownst to us, a busload of Marines from Camp Pendleton had arrived, dressed in blues, to participate in the rendering of military honors. The PGR fell in, formed a semi-circle flag line around the family, Honor Guard and guests. The Capitol Region PGR looked like we always do, very well! The honors were provided in a sharp, precise fashion with a gun salute, presentation of three flags to the parents and wife of Adam, followed by the saddest 24 note song ever written, Taps.

The service concluded, and we were turned loose mid-afternoon. It was an extremely hot couple of days, but we were made comfortable with plenty of water provided by Gerry and John & Ardis Riley out of the back of their vans. The Rileys also provided extra flags, which were used on both parts of this mission. If there was any success on this mission it would not have happened without the help I received from Ride Captains Mickey G, John & Ardis. I appreciate your unwavering support.

In conclusion, I regard this as one the finest missions I've had the opportunity to be a part of during the past three years. The respect shown towards this Marine Hero, Adam Perkins was top-shelf. The interaction between the LEO's, Funeral Home personnel, the LDS Church, Marines, and the PGR was remarkably professional and cooperative among all. I am grateful to all my brothers and sisters standing together many hours under two tough day's hot sun.

As a Marine and neighbor of Adam Perkins, I am humbled by each one of you for your sincere heartfelt work and respect put forth for our Hero and his family. This was an exceptional opportunity to show our respect and honor to young Mr. Adam Perkins, his friends and family, and each one of you fulfilled this with my utmost admiration.

Again, I thank you all, and especially for allowing me to be a part of it with you. For the past two days, your light has shown bright.

Gerry told me that the parents of SSgt Perkins worked for the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department. He wasn't sure if they were deputies or not.


  1. Outstanding e-mail from the ride captain. . . very descriptive and well written, and again very touching.

  2. Thanks, Jalna. I thought it was well-written too.