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Bikers with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment weave their way through Joshua Tree National Parks winding roads during 2/7’s first motorcycle ride Sept. 10.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Andrew D. Thorburn

Marine motorcyclists take to the desert

10 Sep 2010 | Lance Cpl. Andrew D. Thorburn Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

Motorcycle riders from 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment hit the open road during the first battalion ride to Keys View at Joshua Tree National Park Sept. 10.

The ride was an opportunity for the command to build camaraderie and to gain experience with the new and younger riders, said Gunnery Sgt. Simon Sandoval, the company gunnery sergeant for Headquarter and Service Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines.

Initially a ride on historic Route 66 was planned, but later modified because it was thought to be too far away for the first ride, Sandoval said. “So we decided to do something local and from there maybe do a trip to Las Vegas. Before the riders headed out, they reviewed proper motorcycle management and road safety procedures. The ride leaders focused on the Twentynine Palms Highway and the dangers inherent to the area.

“When you make it to Joshua Tree National Park I want you to spread out and go in a single file line,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Charles Villalobos, the executive officer for Headquarters and Service Company. “You are going to be tempted to look around. If you do, your bike will most likely start to swerve,” said Villalobos, “I don’t want you guys right next to each other if that happens.”

After the run down they broke off into pairs and went over each others motorcycle inspection sheet.

“I think [the battalion-sponsored ride] is a good idea and fun, especially during the work hours,” said Lance Cpl. Rodolfo Ramirez, an assault man with Company G. “This is a chance to see who in the battalion has a bike.”

With the bikes cleared to go they divided into groups of five and headed out to Keys View. As everyone arrived, they joked with each other and enjoyed the view of the valley.

When everyone had taken in the view, they broke down into their groups for the ride back home. Many were already looking forward to the next time the riders could mount their bikes and ride.

“I would like to see this if not once a month at least every other month,” Sandoval said. “This is all about experience, camaraderie and having a good time.”

Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms