Posted on Leave a comment

Southern Route RC Newsletter – July 2022

RFTW Southern Route

Welcome to the first XXXIII Southern Route Coordinator’s Newsletter.  Please allow me to begin this first of many newsletters by introducing myself. My name is Kris “Eyes” Wood. I recently moved to Wilder, Idaho, where we live on a small farm with the dogs, chickens and wildlife. My husband Don “Doc” Wood and I raised eight children together and currently have 16 grandchildren.

Run for the Wall Southern RouteI learned about the run from participating in PGR missions. I felt the travesty of RFTW being mostly an unknown event that involved hundreds upon hundreds of veterans. I decided to write a book, Run for the Wall – A Journey to the Vietnam Memorial.  My goal in writing the book was to raise awareness of the run and the need for Americans to actively support veterans.

As I have traveled across the country speaking about the run and sharing the book, The many veterans that have been given a copy, share how seeing the photos and hearing the testimonials have helped them come to terms with their combat experiences. Even if they are not able to ride with RFTW, the healing power of the run is there for them.

After the first year on the run, we were hooked and have returned year after year. I have held many positions on the Southern Route, including; 50/50 rouser, tail-gunner, assistant platoon leader, platoon leader, quartermaster, sit-rep writer and a three-year stint as the assistant route coordinator. I am honored to have been appointed as your Southern Route Coordinator for 2023.

The Southern Route has many devoted and hardworking volunteers. Michelle “Stonewall” Phelan has been appointed as the SR Assistant Route Coordinator and together we will plan and execute a safe, meaningful, MISSION FOCUSED Run for the Wall.

The mission is why I ride and why every rider that registers and shows up on the run should be riding:

To promote healing among ALL veterans and their families and friends, to call for an accounting of all Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action (POW/MIA), to honor the memory of those Killed in Action (KIA) from all wars, and to support our military personnel all over the world.

We each have a different and unique reason for riding. I recently contemplated why I ride. When I was 15 years old, my Dad, a World War II veteran drank himself to death, did he suffer from PTSD, or shell shock, I will never know.  The brother-in-law that took my Dad’s place, went off to Vietnam. Upon his return, he was not the same young man that left. Two years ago, he succumbed to Agent Orange related cancer. Freedom is not free and there is never enough that Americans can and should do for our veterans, hence I ride.

As we prepare for RFTW XXXIII, I encourage you to mentally prepare for the run. In your heart and mind, answer the question; Why do I ride?

If you are interested in a leadership position on the XXXIII run, please go to the Run for the Wall website and complete the volunteer form. If you were on the run last year, please complete an After Action Report (AAR), also found on the Run website. If the run is to continue, we need devoted, mission focused volunteers, if you are able, please volunteer.

I am honored to have been mentored and befriended by the Southern Route Family. I wish to thank those that have held this position before me, that have reached out to me with advice and encouragement; Roger “Cowboy” Mead, Billie “Bugs” Dunlap, James “Stoney” Stone, Laurie “Airborne” Clay, Reid “Pops” Choate, Raymond “Ghost Rider” Wyatt, Bob “Captain America” Nelson.

As the SR-RC, I am available to you. If you have an issue, something to share, do not hesitate to contact me;


Kristine J. Wood “Eyes”
Route Coordinator, Southern Route

Posted on Leave a comment

20th Anniversary Southern Route T-Shirts

Southern Route is pleased to announce pre-orders for the 20th ANNIVERSARY SOUTHERN ROUTE T-SHIRT.
✏️📚✂️All proceeds go to the SR Education Fund ✏️📚✂️

It’s easy to order:
Print the Order Form
Fill out name, shirt sizes and where you will pick up your shirt
Write a check made out to Run for the Wall, Inc. REMEMBER to write on the memo line, SR 20th Anniversary shirt
Mail to Bob Nelson
Your shirt will be waiting for you in Ontario or in whichever city you will be joining the run.

Captain America would like all southern route riders in maroon shirts for the group photo at the Lincoln Memorial.

Posted on Leave a comment

Southern Route – Day 12 – Rolling Thunder and Vietnam Veteran Memorial

The day dawned early for participants in Rolling Thunder. Staging began 5:45 am in the underground parking garage. SR road guards were responsible for escorting RT participants to the Pentagon parking lot this year. The responsibilities rotate every year.

After a quick ride over to the Pentagon, it’s a long wait for the ride to begin. The first rider rolls out of the Pentagon parking lot at 12:00 pm. It makes for a very long day. Disclaimer, I did not participate in the actual Rolling Thunder ride this year. I did go down to the mall to Thunder Alley (row of vendors) and walked around the mall during the event. Things get a little crazy down there. Nothing like Sturgis crazy, every one is respectful, and kind. Looking at the vests, most riders are veterans or supporters of veterans.

We walked over to the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial. I did not go with RFTW yesterday, it was a little too crowded and I needed a little space. As you can imagine, I am a little tired and my emotions are a little raw. We had a pleasant visit at the wall tonight. Lots of people paying their respects but there was a little breathing room.

A few photos from today and yesterday:

I ended up with the “Mission Accomplished” plaque in my room. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to snap a couple photos with it. To all my fellow DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) members. Thank you for your support and encouragement. The plaque is right next to the DAR patch on my vest.

Yesterday, the “mission accomplished” plaque was laid at the apex of the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial.

This year I carried tributes of three KIA from the Vietnam Conflict. Two of the soldiers, I have POW/MIA bracelets for. I purchased them from Alice Kraatz, Michigan CAR (Children of the American Revolution) project. Alice is raising funds to send Vietnam Veterans on Honor Flights to Washington DC, to their memorial. If so inclined, please visit her webpage and purchase a bracelet. All proceeds go to Honor Flight.


The other tribute I carried, Richard Swayze, he is the Uncle/brother-in-law of my California DAR friends. He is not forgotten!

In Memory if the Men & Women that served in the Vietnam War and later died as a result of their service. We all know many of these and continue to honor them and remember them.

A beautiful statue and reminder of the soldiers that served, boots on the ground in Vietnam.

I thought this “Boots on the Ground” tribute from American Legion Post 1, out of Jacksonville, Florida very powerful. More reminders of “why we ride”.

Well this wraps up the 2019 – Run for the Wall, sit-reps. This has been my third year serving as the Sit-Rep writer. I am not sure what next year will bring, if I will have this job or if it will be given to another rider. I’ve enjoyed sharing the run with you and hope you will tune in next year as we continue the mission of riding for those who can’t.

I am shamelessly going to plug the book I wrote, Run for the Wall – A Journey to the Vietnam Memorial. I wrote the book to raise awareness for the Run, for POW/MIAs and to support our veterans that feel so despondent that they are taking their own lives at the rate of 22 a day. The book can be ordered through the store and on my website at or through Amazon. The book sells for $39.95, a fraction of what it cost to create the book. It’s a beautiful coffee table, pictorial of the run. If you know a veteran that needs the healing ride of the mission, I encourage you to send him a copy of the book Run for the Wall – A Journey to the Vietnam Memorial.

In closing: “The Bible says the angels of heaven are God’s army; When you stand in Arlington, you know God has a damn good one.” Anonymous


See you in 2020, May 13 – 22, 2020

Posted on Leave a comment

Southern Route – Day 11 – Mission Accomplished – Washington D.C.

Today began early with staging in the Holiday Inn underground parking lot for the ride into Arlington National Cemetery (ANC). Run for the Wall is the only organization that is allowed to ride motorcycles into ANC. We are given permission for 400 motorcycles to ride in. All bikes must enter together and exit together. The FNG’s are given first priority to ride in to ANC. I am allowed to go as the social media rep. I am live on Facebook as we ride in and for the wreath laying. The videos are available on the official RFTW facebook page.

The ride into Arlington

Four selected riders are given the honor of laying a wreath at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This year, Shirley Scott, long time supporter of RFTW was selected as the wreath layer for the southern route. I wrote about Shirley in an earlier post. She is a long time RFTW volunteer and works tirelessly all year long in support of veterans.

RFTW lays the wreath at Arlington

Every year when I visit ANC with RFTW, I sit on the same park bench. Every year a veteran comes and sits by me and I have the opportunity to make a new friend. This year, I met Hacksaw, he met his Army buddy this year on the run. They haven’t seen each other or spoken in 50 years. Through tears he shared what a grand reunion they have had. He was in a motorcycle accident a few years back and never thought he would be able to ride again. How grateful he is to be at ANC and to be on the run. What an honor to meet such an American Hero.

After the laying of the wreath, riders return to their bikes to ride over to the Lincoln Memorial for the group photo of all three routes.

The southern route riders were asked to sign the “Together we Ride” banner. Pictured here holding the signed banner, are Southern Route leadership; Bugs, Captain America, BigVic and Slacker . Thank you for your service, gentlemen.

After the photo, riders walk over to the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial for the laying of the mission accomplished plaque and to pay tribute to those whose names are engraved upon the wall.

2019 Mission Accomplished🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

If you’re interested in learning a little more about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier…

In closing this Memorial Day Weekend:

“They do not need our praise. They do not need that our admiration should sustain them. There is no immortality that is safer than theirs. We come not for their sakes but for our own, in order that we may drink at the same springs of inspiration from which they themselves drank. Woodrow Wilson, 1914

Posted on Leave a comment

Southern Route – Day 9 – Wytheville, VA to Lynchburg, VA

The day dawned beautiful and dry in Wytheville. I think it rains more in Wytheville than the sun shines so it was a welcome sight.

The “Why we ride” moment was shared by “Cobb”. He met the sister of Gregory Benton in Ontario and he carried him to the wall for his sister.

At the end of the rider’s meeting it was shared that a couple left their jacket on their bike. The jacket blew off the bike when they pulled out. The jacket was recovered but the $600 cash in the jacket pocket was not. A hat was passed to recoup at least some of the funds so they could get home. Guess how much was raised??? Yep, EXACTLY $600! Generous riders, looking after their family. Do you believe in coincidences?

As we were lining up on the streets in Wytheville, “Bugs” asked if I would like to ride at the front of the pack, next to him, in the Assistant’s position. Duh, YES!

Back to that coincidence thing. The ride out of Wytheville is my favorite leg of the entire mission. Riding through the Shenandoah Valley is breathtaking. Too many personal ties to share… just trust me to say, it was an experience I will never forget. Thanks Bugs.

After visiting with the children in Wytheville, we hop on over to Montvale Elementary School where we have lunch and watch a music program put on by the students.

Always a favorite of the riders. Enjoy the video clip:

“Chrome” is blowing the horn to alert rider’s that they have 10 minutes to get to their bikes, to prepare to pull out. Beautiful back drop to a beautiful day.

Our next stop took us to the D-Day Memorial. A beautiful memorial! Platoon pictures were taken and a wreath laid.


Down for the night in Lynchburg, VA. On to Washington D.C. tomorrow.

🌺🌺🌺BE SURE TO WEAR A #RemembrancePoppy🌺🌺🌺
On September 27, 1920, the poppy became the official flower of The American Legion family to memorialize the soldiers who fought and died during the war. In 1924, the distribution of poppies became a national program of The American Legion.
Poppy Day is celebrated in countries around the world. The American Legion brought National Poppy Day® to the United States by asking Congress to designate the Friday before Memorial Day, as National Poppy Day.
On May 24, wear a red poppy to honor the fallen and support the living who have worn our nation’s uniform.
#NationalPoppyDay #AmericanLegion #Veterans

In closing:
“We sleep safely at night because rough men (women) stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us”. Winston Churchill

While I am sleeping safely at night. I am not sleeping enough. Sorry about the typos, bad grammar and spelling. Tomorrow night and into the weekend will be better. There is so much I would like to share that I might have to continue posting until well into next week. Good night, see you all in D.C. tomorrow.

Posted on Leave a comment

Southern Route – Day 8 – Chattanooga, TN to Wytheville, VA

The riders’ meeting began as usual. “Santa Ed” was invited to the sound stage. He shared his experience of saluting the pack from the overpass as they rolled in.

Let me preface this by saying Santa Ed is a huge supporter of the run and has been a platoon leader and camping coordinator for years. With his declining health, due to issues from Agent Orange he hung up his platoon leader sleeves and became an Ambassador. Santa Ed is well known and well loved on the southern route.

The video is a little long but well worth watching.


Upon completion of the meeting, riders walked behind the Harley dealer to the Silverdale Cemetery. An old Confederate cemetery from the Civil War. There are 155 soldiers buried in the cemetery, 39 remains have been identified due to the donations of RFTW riders. “Wookie” and “1st Nav” have been the driving force behind the efforts.

When asked, 1st Nav explained, “There should be no ill feeling because they were confederate soldiers. They were obeying orders. Whether your government is right or wrong they served their country. We honor them as unknown dead. Let’s find out who they are.”

Wreath laying at the Silverdale Confederate Cemetery, Chattanooga, TN

Wookie & 1st Nav

The first leg out of Chattanooga took us through the beautiful hills of Tennessee. I have a feeling the lush green hillsides are due to high humidity and lead to lots of mosquitos. I am not fond of either.

On the way to Knoxville, I saw first hand why road guard “Stonewall” is named such. A car tried to go around her as she was blocking an on ramp. She put that driver right in his place, she was like a stone wall and there was no way he was getting around here. Way to go Stonewall!

We were stuck on the 81 interchange for about 30 minutes. The gauge on my bike said 110 degrees. I am calling it 200 degrees on the black top. Needless to say, it was sizzling!

Pulled into much pomp and circumstance in Wytheville. Dinner was held at the Wytheville Moose Lodge. Delicious steak and baked potato dinner.

Every year, the southern route-road guards hold a ceremony in the parking lot to present the RGITs (road guards in training) their second sleeve. This has always been touted as a rather, private, secret meeting. Well, since my husband was being awarded his second sleeve, I was invited to the meeting.

Road guard captain, “Captain” did a very nice job, presenting the new road guards with patches and sleeves. Congratulations “Doc”, “Mario”, “Recon”

It was a late night, I fell asleep before hitting the post button. Sorry about that. Each passing day, it gets more difficult to stay awake on the bike, I had to get a little more sleep.

In Closing:

“I am more afraid of an army of 100 sheep led by a lion than an army of 100 lions led by a sheep.” Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand

Posted on 2 Comments

Southern Route – Day 7 – Meridian MS to Chattanooga, TN

Another emotional day on the road.

Day began in the agricultural pavilion in Meridian, MS. The arena is for cattle auction. This city girl is not accustomed to cattle auction arenas. if it weren’t for the run I would not have the opportunities to see things out of my norm. Just another thing I love about the run.

The riders’ meeting began with prayer and before we said the pledge we reviewed the correct way to say The Pledge of Allegiance of the United States of America. We call it the THREE COMMA Pledge. There are only three commas in the pledge. People tend to add a fourth comma after “One nation”. There is no comma after one nation, it should be said as one continues phrase with no pause. “One nation under God”. Now that you’ve been told, it will drive you nuts when it is said incorrectly.

Yesterday the gas stop at the Tallulah-Love’s Truck Stop was donated by “Stonewall” our road guard/LEO liaison. This morning, she shared with the riders her reason for donating this same gas stop every year. Her husband,Roger Edwards Phelan Jr. Major in the USAF. With a 27 year flying career, served in Vietnam and the Gulf War. Roger was an FNG in 2009. At that time he was being treated for four different cancers, all of which were in remission. While serving in Vietnam he was exposed to Agent Orange. Before going on the run, Roger was frustrated and unhappy. Stonewall shared that, the man she got back from the run was not the same man that left. He came home with gratitude and love. The run changed his life. Ultimately, Roger, lost his battle with cancer in February 2010. Before he passed, they decided that they would donate this same gas stop every year. Thank you Stonewall for your service, sacrifice and dedication to continuing the mission ❤️❤️❤️

This is why we ride!

If you read last night’s sit-rep, you read about the missing staging team. Good sports that they are, they came to the morning rider’s meeting ready to sing the little diddy I wrote last night. Hehehehe, I bet they don’t miss the turn next year.


We left Mississippi under cloudy cool skies. As soon as we passed the Sweet Home Alabama sign, the road side was lined with “ginormous” magnolia trees. We’re talking huge, the size of a house. The trees were covered in large magnolia blossoms. It was a beautiful sight to behold. I thought my little magnolia tree back home in California was doing well, until I saw the Alabama magnolias.

We stopped for gas and then rode another five miles to the Tuscaloosa VAMC, Veterans Affairs Medical Center.


The VAMC rolls out the red carpet, the sidewalks are lined with patients and staff, lots of flag waving and clapping. I posted a video of the pack riding in on the RFTW – closed facebook page, check it out.

Riders were escorted into the atrium/gym for a lunch of pork sandwiches, chips and cookies. From there, riders are encouraged to visit with the patients.

Last year Dustin & Brenda introduced me to Sgt. Shane Strickland who served two tours in Afghanistan and one tour in Iraq. He was injured in a training accident. He will spend the rest of his life in a VAMC. While he is physically injured, he is mentally all there. I have been conversing with Shane’s nurses and sending packages all year. To have the opportunity to go and visit him again today was a special moment for me. I was also able to get a new point of contact so I will be better informed on what Shane’s needs and wants are.

While talking with Shane, I was called away to do an interview for the local news station. I think I’ve given an interview every day on the run, but today, I cried. My heart is so full of gratitude and sorrow for our wounded veterans. I am frustrated that I am only one person and there are veterans like Shane in every VA hospital. This is why I ride, to show my love and support for our veterans.

“Top Sarge” has been collecting socks, underwear and toiletries to give to the veterans at the hospital. Yesterday when she didn’t have what she felt were adequate donations, she asked Bugs to pass the hat. She would go shopping at Walmart with the donated money and deliver it to the hospital. Riders donated $1,200 and Shirley bought a lot of personal items for the veterans. She shared with me that it was very fun to go shopping with someone else’s money. We thank you Shirley for your dedication to the mission and to veterans. Looking forward to watching you lay the wreath at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

During lunch Bugs passed about four hats and asked riders to donate cash for the hospital to buy additional supplies for the veterans. The Southern Route RFTW was going to match whatever amount riders’ put into the hat. The generous riders’ donated more than $2,000 with the matching funds from RFTW, Southern Route donated more than $4,000 to the Tuscaloosa VAMC. Plus the close to $1,500 in supplies Shirley collected.

Way to go riders!!!!

On the road again, headed for the Ashville, Alabama, Piggly Wiggly. The Piggly puts on a wienie roast for the riders every year. It’s the best hot dog, I eat all year. Also, might be the only hot dog I eat all year. Riders’ dined on hotdogs, watermelon, ice cream, and chips. It’s a fun stop with plenty of locals out to cheer us on.

Ambassador report:

In 2015, four Marines; a Navy Sailor & a Marine Recruiter were shot & killed at a recruiting center in Chattanooga. The Ambassadors visited, all left a penny & paid respects for the Run.

Out Reach report:

“This is the sister of flight surgeon Bobby Jones MIA since Nov of 1972. This is the last known photo of her brother, he was always helping others and enjoyed helping the locals in Thailand.”

“We do an outreach to this family every year to visit Bobby’s mother who is now 102 and a half ,she calls us her boys and looks forward to us every year, she is a great hugger.”

I can’t believe tomorrow is day 8 and the run is almost over. I am not ready!

In Closing:

Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more, you should never wish to do less. General Robert E. Lee

The service in Chattanooga is bad. I didn’t even get to read through what I wrote. Sorry.

Posted on Leave a comment

Southern Route – Day 6 – Monroe, LA to Meridian, MS

As usual, the day began with the morning rider’s meeting. After the prayer, pledge and anthem, Bugs gave out the thank you plaques to the community supporters. Sam’s Club employees took up a collection and donated $2,239.24. An amazingly wonderful gesture.

Thank you Radar for posing with the check. You’re a good sport and an excellent route coordinator assistant. Thank you for your service and sacrifice, you’re the best! ❤️

Our numbers increase with every passing day. Platoons 3, 4, 5 and 6 each have 30 riders. Our total platoon numbers are 229 bikes, fuel team 21, staging team 18, ambassadors 21, road guards 21, for a total route bike count of 289 ish. That does not include the two up riders or the support vehicles and volunteers.

Rode a short distance to the Monroe, LA City Hall, escorted by the Louisiana State Police. Just gotta say, they are very easy on the eyes 👀.

At Monroe, a newscaster requested an interview with a veteran. I asked “Strings” if he would talk to the reporter, he graciously agreed. During the interview, he said,

“Because of RFTW, I am proud of my service. I wasn’t proud of my service before going on the run.” I thought that was very profound. The healing power of the run is real and it works!

From Monroe, we rode across the mighty Mississippi River and into the great state of Mississippi. Where patriotism abounds! We made a quick fuel stop and picked up the Governor of Mississippi.

Billie “Bugs” Dunlap and Governor Phil Bryant

You have to see the ride into Jackson, to believe it. Helicopters meet the riders at the state border and circle over head as the riders make their way to the Jackson Harley Dealer. We were treated to a nice sack lunch and an excellent Quarterdeck Ceremony. I managed to get a copy of the dignitary list, and it’s impressive!

To highlight a few of the invited guests:

Floyd James “Jim” Thompson was a United States Army colonel. He was the longest held American prisoner of war in U.S. history, spending nearly nine years in captivity in the jungle camps and mountains of Vietnam and Laos, and in North Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

Why we ride!

The keynote speaker was Major General James Livingston, three tours in Vietnam and the recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. I pulled his bio from the Medal of Honor website. It was such an honor to be in the same room with him. I hope you will read the bio and recognize the extraordinary service he gave.

During his remarks he shared that there are currently only 70 Medal of Honor recipients left. He also said, “If we have to go to war, we have the finest military in the world.” AMEN to that!

After the ceremony, riders enjoyed touring The Trail of Honor. Earl of Jackson Harley Davidson brings in period, war reenactors, portraying the American Revolution up to and including World War II and Vietnam, including cannons.

A little situation occurred at Jackson. The Jackson stop is a little tricky. There isn’t a large parking lot to stage in, so every year much discussion takes place as to the best way to stage 300 motorcycles. I understand this year, hours of conversation took place. All I have to say is:


Ambassador’s Report:

Today the Ambassadors visited the Museum that honors General Chennault & his acclaimed P40 Flying Aces. The American Volunteer Group, “The Flying Tigers”, combated Japanese bombing raids on China. The Chinese people continue to honor the General. “He saved our country” is an oft-repeated phrase spoken by all Chinese visitors.

In Closing:

“If we maintain our faith in God, love of freedom, and superior global air power, the future looks good.” General Curtis LeMay

Posted on 2 Comments

Southern Route – Day 5 – Grand Prairie, TX to Monroe, LA

Today began with church, not in the Wildwoods but in the Wal-Mart parking lot. I always enjoy the RFTW church service, it’s short and sweet but invites the Lord into the ride. From my earlier post, you already know that I believe he is with us.

After the church services, “Bugs” opened the rider’s meeting with the pledge, National Anthem and Prayer. “Hoops” introduced the “why we ride” speaker for the day, Shannon Spake. Shannon is an MIA daughter. Her Father, LCDR Dennis S. Pike’s plane was shot down on March 23, 1972. Shannon explains more in the short attached video.


We ride for Shannon’s Dad!

Shannon and I first became acquainted, on the run and then through Daughters of the American Revolution, of which we are both members. I am proud to have Shannon as a friend and wish her all the best on her next trip to learn more about her Father. God speed Shannon❤️❤️❤️

Our first stop took us into Terrell, Texas. This is a great little town with very patriotic citizens. The various organizations come out with gifts, and homemade treats with plenty of hugs and welcome home wishes. This is a special stop for me as members of the Kings Fort Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution come out to wave flags and give hugs.

Part of the wonder of the run is the people you meet in the towns we ride through. Year after year riders return to see the same smiling faces and receive hugs. Because of RFTW, I have family all over the country.

A 90 mile leg took us into Longview Texas. Oh did I mention, we had another picture perfect day. No rain, not too hot, beautiful green countryside, yep, just another lovely day for the southern route.

Okay, back to Longview, after a gas and go, we staged at the Longview Fairgrounds for lunch and entertainment. This is one of my favorite stops, but as I was told, I say that at every stop. Doesn’t mean it’s not true! We dined on a good old fashioned American lunch; sandwiches, chips and apples. It was yummy and filling.

There is a man that sings for us and I meant to get his name but I was called away for something else and didn’t get back to get it. He is there every year, and every year, sings some great patriotic songs. I requested he sing, God Bless the U.S.A. I think he gave an excellent rendition and as you can see in the video, the riders thought so too.


In Longview as we were finishing up inside, rider, James Dalton asked to speak to me. He shared with me, that James Yettman was in the parking lot asking for me. Mr. Yettman reads the Sit-reps every night and he wanted to thank me and let me know that he is following along with us in spirit. He would like to go to the wall to pay respect to his friends whose name’s are engraved there on, but his health will not permit him to go. He asked James Dalton to carry his picture with him to the wall. If he couldn’t be there in person, maybe just his picture could go. James Dalton and I both shed a tear as he was relating this experience. As you can imagine, James Dalton is honored to take Mr. Yettman’s picture with him.

Mr. Yettman, if you’re reading this tonight, we’ve got your six. We will say a prayer for you and your buddies when we arrive at the wall.

You Mr. Yettman, are why we ride!

All you Vietnam Veterans, you’re not getting any younger. If you aren’t a biker and don’t want to ride with Run for the Wall, check into Honor Flight. They are taking more and more Vietnam Veterans to the wall. Don’t wait until it’s too late!

From Longview we had an easy 179 miles (two legs) to Monroe, LA. As soon as we crossed into Louisiana, I swear you could see the humidity in the air, it’s thick stuff.

Pulled into the Monroe-Shriner’s Hall for some homemade, delicious Louisiana gumbo. Really, really good stuff, the rider’s look forward to the gumbo every year.

Bugs gave out several thank you plaques. The Louisiana state officers that escort us across the state received a standing ovation. I am hoping tomorrow we’ll get a skill demonstration. I’ll record it and post it tomorrow, it’s impressive.

The JROTC did a very nice POW ceremony. Upon completion of the ceremony riders were dismissed.

In Closing:

“Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today’s world do not have.” President Ronald Reagan

I am sure the grammar and spelling are getting worse with each passing day and the lack of sleep is catching up with me. Sorry 😔

Posted on Leave a comment

Southern Route – Day 4 – Odessa Tx to Grand Prairie, TX

Today was a picture perfect day to ride, azure blue skies, white fluffy clouds, shirt sleeve temperatures and wild flowers galore🌸🌺🌼🌻!

The day began at the Odessa, TX American Legion Post 430 with a delicious breakfast of eggs, sausage, bacon, biscuits and gravy. Yum – Yum!

MIA daughter “Hoops” introduced KIA son that she met on the internet. In the attached video he explains who is father and why he has a destroyer named after him:


Donald G. Cook, P.O.W., died in captivity in South Vietnam, Saigon. His son W. Thomas Cook is the man speaking, accompanied by his son, Donald G. Cook and daughter Cleo Cook. Thank you for sharing your personal family experience.

Why we ride!

We went to bed worrying about a tornado warning but when we woke, the storm had crossed our path and moved further north. Made for beautiful day with only puddles visible.

We rode a short ten miles to the Permian Basin Memorial, a beautiful Vietnam Memorial. Southern route honor guard coordinator has gone above and beyond. He had custom vests made, and had the military patches sewn on, to represent all the military branches. He also included white gloves, another symbol of respect. Check out how how nice they look in these photos. Thank you Chaplain Bill, you rock!!!!

<img src="×164.jpeg" alt="" width="300" height="164" class="alignnone size-medium wp-image-12379"


We lunched in Colorado City at the the Rail Head City building. The Sweetwater Municipal Band performed live music. One of my favorite was the playing of the theme song for each military branch. Makes me cry, every time!


Many riders ended the day with a massage at the Dubiski Career High School, including me. The perfect ending to a beautiful day. This is my sixth year on the run and nobody ever told me about this secret massage section. Thanks Roadrunner for cluing me in!

Yeah! hooray! We have an Ambassador’s report. Took a little technological maneuvering but we did it!

“Today Ambassadors were honored to visit the WASP WWII Museum in Sweetwater, Tx. In 1942 women answered the call of their country & joined the Women Air Force Service Pilots. They trained male pilots in flying high powered pursuits & bomber aircraft. Today there are 36 surviving women ranging in age 96 to 103.”

“The Ambassadors, with humility & the greatest honor, dedicated RFTW Memorial Wreaths to 2 Medal Of Honor recipients in Odessa, Texas.
Alfred Wilson, Corporal, Marine, in action against hostile forces in Vietnam gallantly gave his life for his country. His courage, valor & selfless devotion to duty upheld the highest traditions of the U.S. Marines.
Marvin Young, Staff Sargent, Army, distinguished himself at the cost of his life in Vietnam, while serving as a squad leader reflecting great credit to his unit & the U.S. Army.
Let us never forget.”

In closing:

“The soldier is the Army. No Army is better than its soldiers. The soldier is also a citizen. In fact, the highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is that of bearing arms for one’s country.” General George S. Patton

We ride for those who can’t.