Journey 4 Justice Makes More Noise In Topeka Kansas [PICTURES] [VIDEO]
To say my last Journey 4 Justice trip to Topeka this past weekend was incredible would be an understatement. 6 trips, 8500 miles and this was the best; hands down. Video by Erik Jon Barrett. Part II is at the end of the story along with a large picture gallery.
I hit the road Friday at 5 AM in 24 degree weather with Brian Gary, Jerry Clark, Bill Richards, Kenny Love and Keith Reichert; we picked up Bob Hosier in Kersey. Our 8th rider, Danny Joe Mishoe, had bike trouble and would eventually catch up to us in Salina Kansas. We also picked up new team members on the Colorado 6 team Josh and Chastity Finley in Burlington.
For the most part, besides extremely frigid temperatures, the ride out to Topeka was quite uneventful. A good ride but by the time we hit Topeka it was early evening so we decided to unload, unwind and catch up with other team members from across the country. Erik Jon Barrett from Ohio 1, Gene O Overhoff and his wife Olga from Missouri 5, Melissa Hungness and her friend Sara from Oklahoma 2 and Kathleen Anderson and her boyfriend from Texas 3 were already there and greeted us in the hotel lobby.
It had all the makings of an epic weekend in Topeka and epic it was. For the most part, this story will not do the trip "justice" unless you were there to experience it. Some things you just can't put into words but I will do my best.
Saturday I took the troops out to Gage park so the new members could experience the outpouring of support from locals with waves, salutes and endless vehicles of all shapes and sizes honking the horns. From there it was lunch and then off to the cultish like compound to go express our right of free speech and express it we did, loudly! (The don't like us very much, in fact, we are loathed an hated by the cult...isn't it great!)
As we rounded the corner to enter the cult compound area we were all blown away with about 30 people who were already there at the Equity House located across from the compound. We were greeted with clapping and cheers and I think we made their day as much as they made ours with the reception. (Video on the J4J FB Page.)
We had only been parked and off the bikes for about 5-10 minutes before TPD showed up on scene. I knew in a minute he was there for us because the spectacle we rode into had not drawn any police officers. The issue was the bikes and our flags.
After talking with members of the wetburro baptist cult, the TPD officer (name and pics withheld on request) pulled me aside, asked for my DL and informed me that the WBC had every intention of signing a complaint against me/us for anti-picketing laws; for the third time in 6 trips.
The main issue was that my flags on my bikes were hanging over the sidewalk and some of our members had to walk the sidewalk after getting off their bike to get around them and over the Equity House. The bikes were also parked illegally which I find odd since TPD has never said that before. The picture of Brian Gary and Kenny Love sitting on the sidewalk with me was while I was waiting to see how bad the ticket and fine was going to be. The officer made several trips into the compound with my DL in tow so technically, I finally made it into their "church."
As it turned out, the TPD officer was very cordial and provided some valuable information on how to avoid the hassle in the future. We were told that if we left, the wetburro's would not sign the complaint; we did not leave. (You can kiss my you know what) We parked the bikes legally and removed all flags from within 50' of their compound and continued to wave flags from the Equity House. No ticket was issued (no idea why) but just about the time he was giving my DL back he got a call from his supervisor and was told he "had" to write it up for the City Attorney to review so there still may be another trip to Topeka in my near future for a day in court.
The day ended back at the hotel as my beautiful fiance Lesli prepared and cooked dinner for 19 of us in the courtyard with help from Chastity Finley. Brian Gary gave a birthday speech that brought me to tears and many others in the group as well. It was the most emotional birthday I have ever had and to see all those people who came with me last weekend to share in a belief of mine was humbling, flattering and makes me the luckiest person in the world.
The ride home? Ya, it totally sucked once again...but you can count me in for another birthday ride in 2013. Who's in!