5/10/23 – What? In Maryland Already? Alexandria, VA to Bethesda, MD

Miles: 19.95 Today / Total 1825.91

Elevation Gain: 623 ft. Today / 32,642 ft. Total

Last night, I reached out to Mr. Chase, my boss at the US Military Training Mission in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, back in 2014 and 2015. He had been living in the Washington D.C. area and working for the Navy, but I wasn’t sure if he was still in the area. Luckily, he is. He replied back, and this morning picked me up from the church and took me to a nearby IHOP for breakfast. He is the funniest, most intelligent person I have ever worked for or with, so it was fun to be around him again and to hear his insights on a wide variety of things. Hghlight of my week, Mr. Chase! Thanks for taking the time to come get me and further enlighten me.

After he dropped me back at the church, I hopped on my bike and headed to the Capitol Mall. Ed was already there, and we were going to ride around and see the memorials together, starting with the Vietnam Memorial. I had sent the team the panel and line numbers where my brother’s name is engraved on the Wall and the link to his page on the Wall of Faces

I brought up the bottom item on page 1 of Chip’s page on “The Wall of Faces,” posted in 2017. “Final Mission of PFC Charles M. Hardy,” tells what happened the night he died, gives the names of the other 19 Soldiers who died with him, and tells the lessons learned. And believe me, the failure on the part of the personnel who designed and built the LZ (landing zone), where he and 19 other Soldiers died in the very first enemy attack, is very sad and makes me cry every time.

The names on the wall are arranged on order of death, so we looked for the names of the men who died with my brother, and sure enough, the 19 other names all surround Chip’s name.

Our original plan was just to ride around the Mall and see all the Memorials. We saw a few memorials en route, but the original plan went out the door when we got to the Cemetery.

While we were standing there, Jon and Craig from our group arrived, and Jon announced, “We’re here for you!” I showed them Chip’s name and read them the Final Mission and cried some more. John went over and picked up some paper and a pencil so I could etch Chip’s name, and another of our riders pulled up just before Ed and I left to go see Arlington Cemetery. It was a sweet moment.

The inscription on this US Navy Seabee Memorial fits all of my girlfriends and sisters. “With willing hearts and skillful hands, the difficult we do at once, the impossible takes a bit longer.”

Touring the home and slave quarters of Robert E. Lee, which is a really nice exhibit, took quite a bit of time. There was so much information we had never heard or seen before.

Nearby was the Civil War Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Then we went to the gravesite of John F. Kennedy, Jacki O and their two infants who died at birth, as well as nearby graves for Robert, Edward and Joseph Kennedy Jr.

After which we checked out a bunch of the huge ornate headstones that are in a section of the cemetery for high ranking officers.

And then we headed over to watch the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. After looking up the timing and number of steps taken by the Soldiers of the Old Guard as they pace in front of the tomb, pivot, and reposition their weapons, we were experts in the regimen they follow.

On our way back to our bikes, we stopped at the new Women of the U.S. Military Memorial. I’m standing by the only monument we saw. More of an exhibit, the memorial was pretty interesting.

At this point, we were out of time. We checked Google Maps for the route to the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad, that was hosting us for the evening, and rode on the Capital Crescent Trail for the majority of the route there.

At the fire station, the fire chief was heating up the barbecue to cook hamburgers and hotdogs for us.

A 35 year old firefighter, who recently found out that he has MS, came to the barbecue along with his wife, who is 7 months pregnant with their first child. I didn’t get a chance to talk to him, but I wonder what his outlook is, with his diagnosis.

Perfect segway for this link. Please consider donating, if you haven’t already.

Several other friends of the firefighters also came to the barbecue, including the owner of a nearby bike shop, his wife and 8 year old daughter, who brought a couple of side dishes for the dinner. Before dinner, he asked if any of us need help with our bikes, and I did. My valve stem has been leaking air every time a attach a pump to it, and yesterday, my rear tire got down to 20 lbs pressure while I was riding, which is VERY low. I’ve been wanting to change out the valve core of that tire, but we don’t have the high capacity pump with us that might be required for the job. So this guy had me follow him a couple of blocks to his shop, where he checked my sealant level and replaced my valve core in less than 5 minutes. Naturally, he refused to let me pay him for helping me out. SUPER nice guy.

When dinner was over, I walked to a nearby grocery store for a few items, then set up my bed, started charging all my devices and laid out tomorrow’s gear and clothing. We slept upstairs above the bays where the Rescue Trucks are parked, and the firefighters went out on calls all night long, while I slept like a baby. Even sight seeing is exhausting.

8 thoughts on “5/10/23 – What? In Maryland Already? Alexandria, VA to Bethesda, MD

    1. It made a couple of the Gus cry too. Did you read the Final Mission at the bottom of that link? If they had cleared the brush from around LZ Nancy before 20 men died there, Chip might still be alive.


  1. Hi Elieen, This is Jo Beth again.I can understand how tired you were. Washington, DC is a tiring place because of the humidity there. Zack lived and worked there before qe were married. I spent alot of time riding around looking at things . Going to the Vietnam memorial works up some emotions that I have rarely felt in life. As it most likely did for you also seeing the tribute to your brother. His name carved in the memorial wall forever remembering that he died for his country. You visited his resting place which probably made you deal with his death once again. I am happy you got to this. You are quite a person Eileen Hardy you live the out what Seabee stands for . I appreciate you so much more than you know because you are inviting us all into your life freely.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reading about your activities for this day certainly brought tears to my eyes. I have heard you mention your brother a few times and it was nice to experience this tribute to him through your visit to the Vietnam Memorial. I am happy that you received wonderful support from your biking partners. There are many good caring people in this world! Stay safe. Mickey


    1. Truly there are, Mickey. What I am learning is that there are people who have compassion and they act on it. It’s a quality and a choice. I appreciate your thoughts and insights, Mickey!


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