After a little more than a day of travel time, we arrived at our first base in the Persian Gulf. Due to agreements with the local governments, we aren’t allowed to print exactly where these bases are located in the Middle East. Instead, we must refer to them as being located in “an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia.” As I write this, it is Monday and after another travel day, we’ve arrived at our second U.S. military base.
Instead of rehashing the day-to-day of the seventh Bikes Over Baghdad trip here on this blog, I’ll send you to the write-ups I’ve been sending back to ESPN.com/action and the videos being produced daily by Ryan Garcia. If you’d like a more detailed account of my butt whipping by a highly trained Working Military Dog, watch the second video first.
Day 1 – Saturday, November 10: CHECK OUT THE RECAP AND VIDEO HERE.
Day 2 – Sunday, November 11: HAPPY VETERAN’S DAY! CLICK HERE.
Only a few days in, this has already been such an incredible experience. I have the opportunity to travel to a lot of amazing places all around the world and meet and get to know equally fascinating people. But this is really unlike any trip I’ve had the privilege of tagging along on and I’m excited to tell this story in The Mag in December.
In 2007, I traveled to Guantanamo Bay with a group of wakeboarders. That was an incredible, eye-opening trip in its own right. But the atmosphere here is different. The level of sacrifice, even on these bases in more peaceful areas of this part of the world, is difficult to comprehend unless you witness it firsthand.
And the relationships the troops form with these riders is much deeper and more meaningful than the usual meet-and-greets they experience on base. These two groups have so much in common and have such mutual respect for one another. They speak the same language.
Tonight, the guys are hosting a BBQ and showing the Bikes Over Baghdad documentary, which was directed by tour organizer Christian Schauf. Tomorrow afternoon is the first BOB show at this base. I’ll continue to post photos and videos throughout the trip on this blog, as well as on Facebook, Twitter (@alyssa_espn) and instagram (@alyroe).
If you’d like to follow the tour, check out Bikes Over Baghdad on Facebook and follow the individual riders on Twitter and Instagram. (There is a full rider list in the first link.)