Bike Rally Rumbles as Palin Drops in

Organizers grumble, crowds gather as she kicks off bus tour

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted May 29, 2011 11:45 AM CDT

(Newser) – Rolling Thunder turned into something more like Palinpalooza today when Sarah Palin turned up clad in black and causing a stir. And not everyone was gawking, notes Chris Cillizza for the Washington Post: "I’m very not appreciative of the way she came in here,” said Rolling Thunder honcho Ted Shpak , who has previously expressed his disdain for Palin's appearance. “If she wanted to come on the ride, she should have come in the back.”

“I don’t think she has any business having anything to do with Rolling Thunder ," says one attendee. "It’s not a political statement , so to speak. It’s not a Republican or a Democrat thing." Another was more forgiving of the military mom, noting "Her son serves." Palin was accompanied by husband Todd and daughters Bristol and Piper. Click through the gallery for photos—the AP even managed to take a few of the actual rally itself.

Sarah Palin, former GOP vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor, greets supporters at the beginning of Rolling Thunder at the Pentagon Sunday, May 29, 2011.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Sarah Palin rides on the back of a motorcycle at the beginning of Rolling Thunder at the Pentagon Sunday, May 29, 2011.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Sarah Palin rides on the back of a motorcycle and gives thumbs up at the beginning of Rolling Thunder on Sunday, May 29, 2011.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Sarah Palin watches as her daughter Piper gets a high five at the beginning of Rolling Thunder at the Pentagon Sunday, May 29, 2011.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Sarah Palin with her daughter Piper, center, answers a reporter's question at the beginning of Rolling Thunder on Sunday, May 29, 2011.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Sarah Palin answers a reporters question at the beginning of Rolling Thunder at the Pentagon Sunday, May 29, 2011, during the Memorial Day weekend in Washington.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Todd Palin adjusts the strap of the motorcycle helmet of wife Sarah Palin, before the pair joined thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts and military veterans participating in 'Rolling Thunder' rally.   (Getty Images)
Sarah Palin greets some of the thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts and military veterans participating in 'Rolling Thunder' rally May 29, 2011 in Arlington, Va.   (Getty Images)
Sarah Palin rides on the back of a motorcycle at the beginning of Rolling Thunder at the Pentagon Sunday, May 29, 2011.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Todd Palin greets some of the thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts and military veterans participating in 'Rolling Thunder' rally May 29, 2011.   (Getty Images)
Sarah Palin rides on a motorcycle before participating in 'Rolling Thunder' rally May 29, 2011,   (Getty Images)
Sarah Palin rides on a motorcycle before participating in 'Rolling Thunder' rally May 29, 2011,   (Getty Images)
Dave Wetiner holds a rose over the name of his friend Alfred F. Hallat at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Sunday, May 29, 2011.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Visitors look at the wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington on Sunday, May 29, 2011.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Motorcycles are lined up to get in to the beginning of Rolling Thunder at the Pentagon in Washington Sunday, May 29, 2011, for the traditional annual Memorial Day weekend event.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Shelly Pfennig, from Fayetteville, N.C., uses a bandana to help rest as she waits at the beginning of Rolling Thunder on Sunday, May 29, 2011.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
The Run for the Wall motorcycle group gets together for a group photo on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday, May 28, 2011.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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