Total Pageviews

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Patriot Guard Riders

One of the service organizations with which I am active is the Patriot Guard Riders (PGR).  See the link for an explanation of who we are, and why we exist.

I rode a PGR mission north to Berlin, New Hampshire yesterday, to honor the service of WWII B-17 crewman Lionel Routhier, who died this week at 91.

It was a beautiful day.  Only two of us PGR showed up, partly because of the short notice of the mission, and partly because of the fact that the NH PGR is a bit thin in members north of Franconia Notch.  As a result, I make it a point to try to ride North Country missions.  Reno, my PGR compatriot on this mission, is a Vietnam era veteran of the U.S. Navy's submarine service.  He rode his Harley south from Pittsburg, New Hampshire, which is approximately the same distance from Berlin as is Campton, somewhat over an hour's ride.  After the service, the Routhier family thanked us for our presence. 

Held at St. Kieran's cemetery in Berlin, the graveside service (with military honors) was conducted by Pastor Dean Stiles of the Jefferson Christian Church.  The good pastor came to talk with us before the service, and again after it.  It happens that after spending a considerable time in the U.S. Navy Seabees, he attended Plymouth State University, majoring in anthropology, and that among his revered professors were my colleague Dr. Grace Fraser, and my special colleague-friend Dr. Kate Donahue, with whom I joined the faculty of Plymouth State College back in 1976, and with whom I have marched in many academic processionals over the ensuing years.

Pastor Stiles arrived for the service on his 1986 Honda Gold Wing, while I had come on my 1982 Honda Silver Wing.

After the service, I stopped  in Gorham at Labonville, Inc.  Labonville is a top-quality woodsman's outfitter of whom I have been a customer since 1966, when my first wife (Midge Cross) and I had a cottage in Randolph, nearby to Gorham, NH.  At Labonville I bought a pair of Hi-Vis gloves, perfect for hand-signaling turns at night, and something I have long wanted for use on my two vintage BMWs, an R60US and an R27, both of which predate standard turn signals on BMW bikes.

At Labonville, I got into a rather extended chat with Retail Division Manager Laurelle Cote about travel, dogs, schools, camping equipment, and the Scots' heritage.  Before I left with my one small purchase, the delightful Laurelle went into her office and got me a Labonville cap.  I shall wear it with pride.

Next, at Laurelle's suggestion, I stopped at Gorham Hardware, where I found two quart-sized gasoline containers for emergency fuel on my upcoming ride to Alaska, now only two weeks away.

Finally, I paid a courtesy call at Highacres, the summer home of the Cross family in Randolph, finding no one home of my former in-laws, but having a good chat with Ann Kenison, who works there part-time.  I also met Ann's granddaughter Alivia, about three, who has appeared in my son Brian's photo portfolio.  It is a tiny little world up there in the North Country.

The old Honda GL500 ran strong all day.  I think he is "champing at the bit" in anticipation of our ride to Alaska.

1 comment:

  1. Good morning Duncan,
    This is a wonderful article. Very insitive, informative and fun as well. And thank you so much for the kind words. It was such a pleasure meeting you and listening and swapping stories. I hope we meet again sometime. You are a peach! Say hello to the Eskimos for me and give a wink at any polar bears you may come across, they are my favorite. Drive careful and enjoy your next adventure. Laurelle


Please use no profanity in your comments. My granddaughter and other young people will be reading this blog. Thank you.