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600 Bikes Ride to Tuscaloosa Alabama VA Medical Center

Riders Visit Medical Center On Way To Run For The Wall

By Stephen Dethrage | sdethrage@al.com

Tusacaloosa AL VA Ride

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — In a long parade of Harleys, Hondas, Husqvarnas and more, more than 600 motorcyclists rode into Tuscaloosa Tuesday, stopping first for fuel and then for lunch at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Loop Road.

Riders from every corner of the nation and every walk of life on every kind of motorcycle spent a little more than an hour at the medical center. Most found a barbecue sandwich with all the fixings in the center’s indoor atrium. Others spent most of their time with the patients of the center, stopping to talk to veterans of the same war, members of the same branch of the military or complete strangers. Still others, dreading the thought of a good meal before another long day of riding, found a place in the shade to sleep for as long as they could before the group reassembled and rode on to Chattanooga, Tenn., where they’ll spend Tuesday night.

The motorcyclists were making one of many stops on the southern route of the annual Run for the Wall, a 10-day trek from California to Washington D.C. that culminates in the capital during the Memorial Day weekend. Once there, the riders on the southern route will reunite with those who took the central route through the nation to ride through Arlington National Cemetery and visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall to honor veterans, show solidarity for prisoners of war, and remember those killed in action.

One rider, Keith Jungjohan, was making his fourth consecutive run. The Terrell, Texas, resident was riding a Thoroughbred Motorsports Stallion “trike bike,” but was quick to clarify that he still rode his Harley Davidson.

“This one’s got air conditioning and heat,” Jungjohan said. “I can still ride my Harley, this one’s just more weather-friendly.”

Like many other riders on the run, Jungjohan is a veteran and rides in appreciation of the service of others, but taking part in the 10-day journey to D.C. and the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally is also personally rewarding to him.

“I’m a veteran myself, and I appreciate every veteran, this is how we show that,” Jungjohan said. “Plus, I’m still in pretty good health, and this makes me feel awesome.”

The riders spent Monday night in Meridian, Miss. Tuesday, the day they drove through Tuscaloosa, was their seventh day on the road. They will spend the weekend in and around Washington D.C., and most will participate in Sunday’s Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally and parade through the city.



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