You know when you’re in the middle of doing something questionable and you’re not sure which way to go with it? Maybe you should ride it out and see what happens? Or maybe you should just quietly and discreetly slip away?
Saturday afternoon, I got both girls down for their naps and headed out to do some erranding. Since I was just going up to Merle Hay, I decided to forgo the highway and drive through town on University. I headed up 28th street and was waiting at the light behind a couple cars, to turn on to University. There were police cars guiding traffic and blocking us from entering the intersection because a whole troop of motorcycles were going through. I thought, “Oh cool, a motorcycle field trip kind of thing”, because there were so many of them. Then, the police wrapped it up and pulled through following the cycles. The cars ahead of me turned and so did I.
As I’m driving though, I begin to pay a little closer attention to what is really going on. I see probably 50-75 motorcycles ahead of me and another 200 or so behind me. There are also some cars scattered in here and there, and those cars have their blinkies on. Oh crap, I’m in the middle of a funeral procession. What do I do? What do I do? The road I want to turn on is really not that far away, do I just stay in the line and turn when I need to? Or, do I turn off on some random road now and get out of this procession? It was at this point, that motorcycles started riding up the center lane and the very outer lane. Crap. Crap. Crap. I can’t turn off because then I’d draw attention to myself trying to maneuver through the really thick crowd of cycles. I decide to stick it out. I’m pretty sure the cemetery they are going to is just past my turn.
Nope. The cemetery they are going to is a couple blocks before my turn. I see it just as we creep up over the hill. I think, “okay…as they are all pulling into the cemetery, I will just keep going straight.” No big deal, it’ll be okay. Then as we get closer, I see that not only has DMPD stopped all traffic going the other way, they have also closed one of our lanes. There is nowhere to go, but into the cemetery. I look for an out, but there is no out. All I can do is follow the traffic into the cemetery and hope for the best. I’m thinking maybe I can just branch off to another part, like I’m visiting some other grave or something.
Nope. The 4,000 motorcycles have completely taken over the cemetery and are literally ushering people to the gravesite. I saw a little parking spot off to the side that I decided was going to have to do. I pulled in, put the car in park and left it running. I tried to sit as still as possible and not make any noise. I was absolutely mortified. I didn’t know what to do, so I just sat there, trying not to make eye contact with anyone. After probably 10-15 minutes, the procession had ended and everyone was in the cemetery. I watched the police wrap it up again and open up the lanes. I then, very slowly and quietly, inched out of my parking spot and crept back out of the cemetery.
As I drove away from the cemetery, I couldn’t help but look back and take in the sea of cycles. Aside from pictures of Sturgis, I have never before seen so many gathered in one place. Even though it was obviously a very sad occasion for them, it was a beautiful sight. So many gathered for one last ride.
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