Sarah Palin Hops Motorcycle for 'Rolling Thunder' Rally

05/29/2011 at 02:00 PM EDT

Sarah Palin in 'Rolling Thunder' Motorcycle Rally
Sarah Palin
Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Landov
There was a surprise biker among the throng at Sunday's annual Memorial Day Rolling Thunder ride-along in Washington, D.C.: Sarah Palin.

"I love that smell of the emissions," said the former Alaska governor and recent mother of the groom Track Palin, as she wore sunglasses and a Harley Davidson black helmet, Fox News reports.

The ride, in which thousands of motorcyclists parade down the capital city's Constitution Ave., saw Palin rumbling down the route from the Pentagon to the Vietnam Veterans' memorial.

"How do you wear all this leather and stay cool?" Palin, 47, asked another woman, reports USA Today.

While she was welcome to ride Sunday in memory of our country's veterans, Palin – a rumored 2012 presidential hopeful – was not necessarily welcome as a candidate at the road rally.

"If she's here to support us and our troops, past, present and the ones that's name's written on the wall, that's fine," one veteran told Fox News. "This is not a political event other than to call attention to the accounting of our MIAs, KIAs that have not been brought home."

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