Day 4 of 9/11 motorcycle pilgrimage soggy and frustrating
BY MARK KONKOL Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org September 9, 2011 8:24PM
Updated: November 9, 2011 2:50PM
STROUDSBURG, Pa. — Sometimes a pilgrimage is a blessed, gentle journey. Other times it’s an unforgiving motorcycle ride in brutal, unrelenting rain on hazardous roads that force detours around flooded highways and leave 200 bikers lost somewhere in eastern Pennsylvania.
For at least part of the day Friday, Chicago Fire Lt. Tom Maloney’s Chicago to Manhattan ride in remembrance of those who died when terrorists attacked America on Sept. 11, 2001 suffered the latter.
Day 4 of the journey started around 10 a.m. — which was too early for some of the firefighting bikers, who admittedly enjoyed a little too much firewater the night before at a party hosted by members of the Washington, D.C., Fire Department. The group departed Arlington, Va. during a rainstorm that slowed to a drizzle while D.C. motorcycle cops led a slow procession over the Potomac River and down Constitution Avenue past the Washington Monument and Capitol Hill.
Flooding that forced the closure of the Pennsylvania Turnpike led to a GPS nightmare and delayed the drenched and rather crabby caravan near Harrisburg, Pa.
But after heading out on a new route, the clouds parted unveiling a faded denim sky and welcome sunshine in the rearview mirror. At dusk, we arrived road weary and tired in the Pocono Mountains at Stroudsburg, Pa.
Saturday the trip continues on to Manhattan in a police escorted caravan that’s expected to draw thousands of bikers.
Editor’s note: Mark Konkol has been riding his 2007 Harley Ultra Classic alongside Firefighter Tom Maloney on the journey to Ground Zero. Look for updates on Twitter @KonkolsKorner.