Posted on Leave a comment

Southern Route 2017, Day 9

Wytheville VA – Lynchburg VA 130 Miles

Finally a dry day!!! We have taken to calling Ghost Rider, Rain Dancer. My electronics still aren’t working. I’ll do the best I can on my phone.  As soon as I get a working computer I will amend and enhance the final few days of sit-reps.

Day 9 began in a very wet Wytheville Memorial Park. Before too long, the sun came out and began drying everything out. It was heavenly!

General’s Driver gave a $2,000 donation for a Spiller Elementary School grant.

The children sang Bring him Peace. I am not able to add links to the sit-rep from my phone. You can view the video on my Instagram account, RFTWthebook or my Facebook page, Run for the Wall – A Journey to the Vietnam Memorial. I will upload them here as soon as possible.

After the visit in Wytheville, we headed to Montvale Elementary School. The ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway was spectacular. After the rain storm everything was Clean and sweet smelling. The sun was shining which made for a perfect ride.

Once we arrived at Montvale,  we enjoyed a box lunch, a musical performance and a slide show. The school principal was presented with a Run for the Wall plaque and a check for $3,000 for a grant. Another grant was awarded to Kirstin Dooley in the amount of $750. Kirsten will be majoring in biology in the fall.

We then rode 13 miles to the D-Day Memorial. We enjoyed viewing the exhibits and the beautiful scenery. A Route photograph was taken as well as platoon photos. Like I said, I’ll post them as soon as I can.

It was then onto Harley Davidson Lynchburg for pulled pork sandwiches, t-shirts and the repair shop.

Every year I make notes on things I want to remember for next year. The 2017 list of things to remember for 2018 goes something like this:

* waterproof rain gear, isn’t waterproof

* HD tour packs are not waterproof

* put all electronics in double dry bags

*bring an extra laptop

Tonight’s quote, which I wholeheartedly agree with, “There are two ways to do something. The right way and again.” The Navy Seals

Ride safe into D.C. Tomorrow. Looking forward to visiting friends on other routes and hearing how their ride went.

Good night, ride safe????????????❤️

Kristine “Eyes” Wood


Posted on Leave a comment

Southern Route, 2017 Day 8 -Addendum

Chattanooga TN – Wytheville VA, 285 miles

My laptop is in the shop getting repaired (I hope it’s repairable). Now that I am home and have a working desktop computer I thought I would add what didn’t get in the original sit-rep.

After the morning briefing, the riders walked behind the Harley Davidson dealership to the Silverdale Confederate Cemetery. I have a serious soft spot for cemeteries. Could be because I used to be a funeral director. Anyway, every year the caretaker of the cemetery is on hand to meet, greet and discuss his beloved Silverdale. Jerry Wormesley began caring for the cemetery in the early sixties. He was still working full-time so did not have a lot of time to devote to it’s care. As time went on and he had more free time he became more diligent in caring for the cemetery and it’s inhabitants.

View this post on Instagram

Riders visit the Silverdale Confederate Cemetery.

A post shared by Kris wood (@rftwthebook) on

A brief history of the cemetery: A field hospital used to be in the location of the new hotel just behind the cemetery. When a soldier died at the hospital, he was buried in the adjacent cemetery. All the medical records and interment records were burned when Sherman burned Atlanta. To quote Jerry, “Sherman was very careless with matches.” Which according to Jerry had just been invented. The cemetery fell into the hands of a local farmer. When he passed away it went to his wife. In 1904 the property was purchased by a Veteran’s group for $75. In 1946 the stone arch you see in the photo was erected. By 1962 the woods had encroached on the cemetery. About this time the cemetery came to Jerry’s attention and he began clearing the trees and brush from the grounds. In June 1979, the cemetery came to the attention of the Chattanooga Area Relic and Historical Association (Jerry is a member) and the United Daughters of the Confederacy (Lynne Fouraker) is a member. Both groups began to care for the cemetery.

Jerry and Lynne are the movers and shakers that connect the cemetery to Run for the Wall. Santa Ed was given the task of auctioning off the last cemetery patch but instead he passed a hat and requested donations for the cemetery, $1,300 was donated by riders. I asked Jerry what he would do with the money. The first thing he mentioned was paying for subscriptions to Ancestry and Fold3, both on line genealogy services. He needs them to continue his research in identifying the unidentified 116 soldiers interred in the cemetery. Stay tuned for next year,  I have it on good authority that there will be a new cemetery patch for sale.

Jerry has been very successful in his research. Thus far he has identified 39 of the 155 soldiers at Silverdale. This is painstaking work. Researching the doctor’s records of who was in the hospital and who might be buried in the cemetery. Once he has confirmed that a soldier is in the cemetery he begins the painstaking work of finding a living family member. Only a living family member can request a grave marker from the U.S. Government. Without a family member there is no money for a marker. In lieu of markers, Jerry had these two tablets made with the names of the 39 identified soldiers listed on them.

One success story Jerry is very happy about is that of William Youngblood. After identifying Mr. Youngblood as being interred Jerry began the search for his family. Jerry found a living grandson, yes grandson, in Texas. The grandson requested the grave marker and Jerry had it placed at Silverdale. In January of 2015, Mr. Youngblood’s grandson, great grandson and great-great grandson came to Silverdale to meet Jerry and to pay their respects to their grandfather. How is that for a great story! We ride for those that can’t, for POW’s and MIA’s. The soldiers interred at Silverdale Cemetery have been MIA’s for well over 100 years. A big thank you to Lynne Fouraker and Jerry Wormseley for giving riders this unconventional way of fulfilling the Run for the Wall Mission.


Once again it was time to mount up and ride the leg to Knoxville Truck Stop, a 79 mile seemingly easy leg and then on to Greenville, Davy Crockett truck stop, another easy 89 mile leg. HAHAHA, it proved to be anything but easy.  After we pulled out of the Thunder Creek Harley, it began to rain in earnest. We thought it was raining before, little did we know what lay ahead. It rained cats and dogs, lightening and thunder. It rained so hard it was difficult to see the bike right in front of you. The pack slowed down and moved to the number three lane. About that time, trucks and cars came between the number one and two platoons. This split the pack into two groups. I happened to be leading the 2nd platoon and consequently the entire back half of the pack. Remember my road name “Wrong Way Eyes”. I was laughing hysterically, if they only knew who was at the front. Luckily we were able to catch up to the front of the pack and made the proper turn at the transition. Well, 5th platoon was a little further back and did not see Road Guard, Wicked frantically waving his arms at the transition. Yep, 5th platoon took a wrong turn. Luckily they were able to right it rather quickly. At one point the pack was split into three groups. Riding in the rain certainly offers new challenges. By the time we pulled into Greeneville and the Davy Crockett Truck stop, the entire pack was safely back together.

When we reached the Davy Crockett Truck stop riders were told not to leave their bikes that we would be pulling out as soon as the last bike fueled. At that time a severe weather warning alert came out from the weather service. Riders were then told to get inside the Davy Crockett Truck stop. Yep, 500 soaking wet bikers squeezed into the Davy Crockett truck stop. I felt so bad, their floors were a sopping wet disaster. We sheltered in place in the store until it appeared that the worst had passed. Then we got on our bikes and rode right into the storm. ⛈????????


We stopped for lunch at the Bristol-Black Wolf Harley Davidson shop. We normally eat outside on their back lawn. It’s a beautiful stop and a beautiful shop. This year we were huddled under the tent set up in back, trying to dry out before it was time to saddle up. We rode on into Wytheville, riding into the same storm for the third time. Any  normal, sane person would have taken shelter for the DAY and not rode into the same storm three times. As you know, Run for the Wall doesn’t have that option so we ride on! There were no accidents or mishaps due to the weather. Just goes to show when we are all paying attention and at the top of our game, we can do it!


After the riders dried out a bit they were treated to a delicious steak dinner at the Wytheville Moose Lodge. Ghost Rider thanked the volunteers on the Southern Route, (170 of them) Fueling team, Ambassadors, chaplains, finance team, registration team, out reach team, $5 Marty, 50/50 team, daily raffle team, sit rep writer, Quartermaster, medical team, route photographer, honor guard coordinator that helped make the run possible. I am hoping next year we can get group photos of the various teams. Ghost Rider also announced that Santa Ed was selected to represent RFTW at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Wreath Laying Ceremony. My heart melted ❣️, what an honor.

Rider’s retired early for a hot shower and much needed rest. Everyone trying to figure out how to dry their gear.

I will add to the last two days of the run as life permits. I have videos of Montvale and coming into Arlington. Be patient with me, other responsibilities beckon.

“America without her soldiers would be like God without His Angeles” Claudia Pemberton

Mission > Self

Kristine “Eyes” Wood

Posted on Leave a comment

Southern Route 2017 Day 8

Chattanooga TN – Wytheville VA, 285 miles


It rained all day long! Not just a little rain, a lot of rain! We sheltered in place at the Davy Crockett T/A. Then we got on our bikes and rode with the storm into Wytheville☔️☔️☔️☔️☔️☔️☔️☔️☔️.

Apparently my laptop did not like the rain. It is frozen solid, kind of like I was earlier. Consequently, I can’t ride the sit-rep. If I can borrow a laptop tomorrow, I will be back in business.

I’d like to recommend a few new road names:

Ghost Rider – Rain Man

Big Vic – Wrong Way Vic

Bugs – Wrong Way Bugs

Doc – Wrong Way Doc

You can see what kind of day we had. I’ll be back tomorrow.

I’ll be posting picture snapshots of our day to my Facebook page and Instagram. I’ll fill in all the details tomorrow.

Good Night and God Bless????????

Kristine “Eyes” Wood

Posted on Leave a comment

Southern Route – 2017, Day 7

Meridian, MS – Chattanooga, TN  – 319 Miles

The mantra for today’s ride was: Adapt – Improvise – Overcome

The day began with an announcement that there would be a detour heading out of Meridian. At mile marker 32 the pack was taken off the highway,  we were taken back on the highway at Mile Marker 62.  It was 30 miles of back roads full of pot holes, sharp turns and gravel. Oh and did I mention it was raining? Essentially, we started the day behind. Hard as we tried we never made up the time but we adapted, we improvised and we overcame!

In addition to opening the morning meeting with the detour information, Ghost Rider shared with the group that when we left Ontario there were 1,611 Missing in Action from Vietnam. This week LCDR Frederick P. Crosby USN, remains were discovered and returned. As of today there are 1,610 still missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. This is why we ride! To Remember!

“Dying for Freedom isn’t the worst that could happen, being forgotten is.” WE WILL NOT FORGET! 

We crossed into Sweet Home Alabama at 8:15 am. Stopped for gas and a quick snack and then continued on to the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center. The staff and patients are so happy to have the riders visit. They line the street and parking lot to welcome us as we ride in. It’s a huge welcome home party in the parking lot! The riders are welcomed and taken to the atrium where we are provided a yummy pulled pork sandwich lunch. This year we took up a donation from the riders for the medical center. Then RFTW – Southern Route matched the funds. Riders donated $1,836.00 and with the matching donation a total of $3,672.00 was given to the VA Medical Center. The money used to purchase toiletries, birthday party supplies and other extras.

Lunch is served in the atrium and then riders are invited to go and visit patients at the medical center. I have met some wonderful American Heroes in the halls of the Tuscaloosa VAMC.

From the VAMC we made a short hop, only 100 miles, over to the Piggly-Wiggly for a little Thunder at the Pig. It just wouldn’t be the Southern Route without it. I eat one hotdog a year and it’s in the Piggly-Wiggly Parking lot. For some reason, they taste so good! We also had chips, watermelon, and crackers. And everyone gets their picture taken with “The Pig” ????. Not sure what the serious conversation Ghost Rider is engaged in. They look happy though ????. It must be the hot dogs.

After the Piggily-Wiggly is the 120 mile leg into Chattanooga, TN. This leg has the reputation as the worst leg of the 10 day trip. The traffic, and missionary ridge and all the interchanges… this year we were looking at adding rain to the mix. I am happy to report, the rain held off and we sailed right into the Thunder Creek Harley Davidson in Chattanooga, TN.

Observations from today:

  • The country side is beautiful, so green and lush. Too bad it has to rain all the time to look that way.
  • We dipped into Georgia just before riding into Tennessee
  • The Fallen Heroes Cart the Southern Route was escorting was delivered to Dallas Fort Worth yesterday. I will try to get a picture of it being delivered.
  • As of last night there are approximately 425 riders registered on the Southern Route


“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” Harry S Truman

Mission > Self

Kristine “Eyes” Wood





Posted on Leave a comment

Southern Route – 2017, Day 6

Monroe, LA to Meridian, MS, 227 Miles

There so much to share about the day. I hope there isn’t a word or picture limit. The day began in the Monroe, LA, Sam’s Parking lot under a light rain. After the morning meeting we headed over to the Monroe Civic Center for a Wreath Laying Ceremony. The ceremony concluded with the playing of Amazing Grace by James Stuart on the Bag pipes. Great video, the sound echoed in the community center.

After the wreath laying we went out to the parking lot to watch Louisiana State Police Motor Trooper, Michael “Playboy” Satcher show the riders what a Harley is capable of. It was very impressive! Another good video, someday I’ll be able to ride like that, hahahaha!

The Louisiana State Police Motor Troopers escorted us to the Mississippi state line where the Mississippi Motor Police took over and escorted us through Mississippi. I never saw one of the officers. Saw their bikes but I only ever saw them when I was zooming by at 65 MPH.

We stopped for lunch at the Jackson, Mississippi Harley Davidson Dealer. Riders had the honor of meeting some real American heroes. Ron Rosser, Medal of Honor recipient, not once, but twice. He was awarded the MOH by Harry Truman, WOW! He shared some of his life experiences. He is the oldest of 17 children. He holds the record for hand to hand combat (no clue what that means). He worked as a Chief of Police in Florida and he went nine whole days without shooting anyone.

He shared the story of taking part in a battle in Korea. Everyone in the battle was a casualty, wounded or missing. He was pulling the wounded out when a “Chinaman” pointed a gun at him. The “Chinaman” looked at Ron, looked at what he was doing and did not shoot him. Later Ron went to throw a grenade into a bunker when the same “Chinaman” stuck his head out. It was the same man that did not shoot him. Ron returned the favor and let him live.

Some quotes from Ron: “I am not a hero, I am a soldier, this is my country and this is what they sent me to do.”

Ron was taught in basic training, “Don’t be afraid cause it don’t help”

We were introduced to Bill Robinson the longest held enlisted POW from the Vietnam War. I asked how long he was held captive and his response was, “only 7.5”. I said incredulously years? He said yes, but that’s only 2703 days. I couldn’t hold back the tears. Southern Route’s “Gump” was also presented. AKA Joseph Hudson was held 22 days in Iraq.  Gump and I sat down at a table and he shared some funny insights into his views on being a POW and meeting other POWs. Below are pictured Bill Robinson and Joseph Hudson.

I really need to go to bed!

One more story, I met the owner of the Harley shop that provides this amazing experience for so many people! Wow!  So, this is Earl, owner of the Harley shop in Jackson, MS. He was talking to Gump and I. I asked him his name and he laughed and said, “Sum Beach”. I told him I couldn’t write that in the sit-rep and he told me that sure I could and spelled it out for me. Then he called over his son, “Stupid” and then he called his other son over “Dumb”. I was doubled over with laughter. I don’t think Sum Beach could be serious if he had to be. You’d never guess he was the owner of this very large, very successful Harley shop. A woman that was staffing one of the community tables at the event, thanked him for coming. He looked at me and smiled and said, “yeah, I spend a lot of time here”.

View this post on Instagram

Meet Earl. He prefers to be called "Sum Beach". No lie!

A post shared by Kris wood (@rftwthebook) on

Okay, one more story! Ghost Rider, the Route Coordinator asked for this one. Probably should have been first but I am tired.

This photo is of Mike “TOP” Poiriero. He works with Warrior Pointe which is a new organization for our young veterans. There are chapters or branches in most states. It is similar to the American Legion or VFW but only for the young guys. Their “motto” is IGY6, ” I got your six”. With the alarming rate of our young soldiers committing suicide, they are working tirelessly to let these young soldiers know they are not alone.

This was the first time I have heard of the organization. I will definitely look into it further and see what they need and what we can do to help.

Last Year Mike rode with Run for the Wall and this year he presented Ghost Rider with these two plaques.

Random Thoughts from the road:

  • I learned today that Mississippi is known as the hospitality state.
  • The beautiful green countryside comes with a price, lots of rain
  • We crossed the Mississippi River today late in the morning
  • Laurie “Airborne” Clay, MC or Stupid says “Hi” and he misses you

Tonight’s quote comes from our route coordinator, Ray “Ghost Rider” Wyatt

“There will be at least once between California and DC when each of us will question why we are doing this. The answer is in our Mission Statement: Mission > Self

In for another wet ride tomorrow, ride safe, ride smart! Good Night, God Speed

Kristine “Eyes” Wood

p.s. I am too tired to proofread, deal with it????



Posted on Leave a comment

Southern Route – 2017 – Day 5

Grand Prairie, Texas – Monroe, Louisiana 324 Miles

The day began in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Grand Prairie. Yes, once a year we attend church in a (typically wet) parking lot. There was quite a bit of thunder and lightening emphasizing each point the Chaplain made.

A few of us headed out for an “Out Reach”, that’s when a few platoons or riders go on a special mission, to visit an MIA family a veteran’s home or to lay a wreath at a memorial. Our out reach was to the Texas State Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial. The Memorial contains the names of 3,417 Vietnam, Killed in Action from the State of Texas. When the names are written out there is a visual impact which is much more powerful than just hearing the number, 3,417.

One of the riders on the mission with us is a serious, “bad ass” dude. He was very moved while at the monument because one of his buddy’s name is on the memorial. A poignant reminder,


The beautiful Texas State Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial

Our first stop was in Terrell, Texas, what a great, patriot town. The American Legion Auxiliary is out in force every year with home made sandwiches, cookies brownies and other gifts. They alway have a Remembrance Poppy for every rider. I promised to bring them a Remembrance Poppy from the California American Legion. The friendships we make along the way are part of what makes Run for the Wall so special.

The Mayor of Terrell awarded Run for the Wall a beautiful Proclamation, which in part reads: “Whereas Since 2004, Terrell, TX has been one of the destinations for Run for the Wall, May 21, 2017 marks the day that riders will arrive in Terrill, TX

Now Therefore, I D.J.Try, by virtue of the authority voted in me as Mayor and on behalf of the Terrell City Council do hereby proclaim May 21, 2017 as:

in the city of Terrell and urge all citizens to recognize and participate in this important event being held in our community and communities across the nation realizing it is the responsibility of each of us to support programs and events aimed at honoring those who have volunteered to serve our country and protect our freedoms.”

ISN’T THAT GREAT??? We need to get the White House to name a National Run for the Wall Day!

From Terrell we headed out for Monroe, LA. It finally stopped raining at the Louisiana State Line but it wasn’t to last. We rode through some nasty storm cells. It all cleared up though and we were fairly dried out when we pulled into the Shriner’s Hall for dinner.

Let’s back up though and talk about the escorts we had today. Texas State Troopers escorted us out of Texas. When we hit the Louisiana state line the Louisiana Police Motors (I asked them their official name, that’s it) jumped in and escorted us into dinner. They did an outstanding job! They took us through the backroads of Louisiana to get onto the highway. It was a beautiful winding road, green on both sides and lined with people waving and cheering us on. We got on the Interstate 20 for a short distance but were taken off because of a Tractor Trailer accident further up the road. Once again we were riding through the backroads of Louisiana. It was a beautiful detour. Imagine if we did not have these professional escorts. We’d probably still be sitting out on the interstate.

All the riders appreciate the job they do and many were shaking their hands and thanking them at the the Shriner’s Hall. Ghost Rider, the Route Coordinator at dinner said, “he loves to see their blue lights coming up behind him in his mirror”. They seemed to be everywhere at once. As for me, I enjoyed seeing them as I rode by as they were blocking the on ramp to the interstate. They are very easy on the ????. Tomorrow they are giving us a riding exhibition. They are amazing riders. I will try to post a video in tomorrow’s sit-rep.

Louisiana Police State Motors – Easy on the ????

The Shriner’s out did themselves with the fish fry, gumbo dinner. They gave an excellent program on the Fallen Comrade Table. Our quote tonight comes from the symbolism of the lit candle: “Reminiscent of the light of home which lives in our hearts to illuminate their way home, away from their captors to the open arms of a grateful nation.”

Run for the Wall riders, keep that candle burning bright to light the way home!

Forecast is for rain, rain and more rain tomorrow. Be safe out there! God Speed and God Bless.

Kristine “Eyes” Wood

p.s. A big thank you to those that have mentioned reading the sit-reps. It’s nice to know I don’t stay up late writing for nothing ????.

Posted on Leave a comment

Southern Route, 2017 – Day 4

Odessa, Texas – Grand Prairie, Texas 349 Miles

Yes, folks a full day of riding and we are STILL in Texas! But, Texas has been good to us. The weather has been perfect, blue skies and sunshine, but not hot.

The day began with a delicious home cooked breakfast at the American Legion Post 430. Followed by the rider’s meeting which included the perfunctory hand signal review and welcoming the new FNGs. We had quite a few this morning. That’s because Texas is such an amazing, patriotic state!

We visited two memorials in the morning, (I told you Texans are amazing)! The Permian Basin and the Big Spring Memorial. The Permian Basin Memorial is a very emotional place for Vietnam Veterans to visit. I have been told the way the grass blows in the wind with the helicopter coming in for a landing and the pose of the soldiers in the statue, takes the Veterans right back to what Vietnam was like. It is always a favorite stop for the riders.

Permian Basin Vietnam Memorial

We also visited the Big Spring Memorial where riders participated in a wreath laying ceremony. A bag piper player concluded the wreath laying with the playing of taps and Amazing Grace.

Amazing Grace on the bag pipes at Big Spring memorial

We stopped in for lunch at the Railhead Building in Colorado City. What an amazing little town! I think time has passed it by, it is a very quaint and hospitable town. The lunchtime entertainment included music by the Sweetwater Municipal Band and two solo performances one by Clancy White who sang “God Bless the USA”, always a favorite! Meghan Owen sang “Orange Colored Sky” which is a Nat King Cole Song (one of my favorites) but she put a very clever spin on it. The words go, “out of an orange colored sky”. While she was singing the song a slide show was showing behind her, depicting various military aircraft with an “orange colored sky” as the backdrop. Both girls did a great job!

Riders departed Colorado City for Grand Prairie, Texas with a brief stop in Cisco. Riding through the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex area was exhilirating. I think all the riders were wide awake for that leg of the journey. We arrived at the Grand Prairie, Dubiski Career High School right on time. We enjoyed a short program, awarded a scholarship, handed out thank you plaques and called it a night.

Riding across Texas is such a pleasant experience. This year with the great weather it has been really a treat. As I was riding along the flat Texas country side, I noticed how West Texas is dotted with oil wells and cattle chutes, made me smile. I really enjoyed it when a ???????? train passed our ???????? train and both parties honked and waved. Only in Texas!

Tonight’s quote is from General Norman Schwarzkopf “As young West Point cadets, our motto was ‘duty, honor, country.’ But it was in the field from the rice paddies of Southeast Asia to the sands of the Middle East, that I learned the motto’s fullest meaning. There I saw valiant young Americans of every race, creed and background fight, and sometimes die for ‘duty, honor and their country’.”

God Bless America and God Bless our Veterans!????????

Kristine “Eyes” Wood

Posted on Leave a comment

Southern Route 2017 – Day 3

Las Cruces, NM – Odessa, TX 345 Miles

Every year the run is different and every leg of every run is different.Today’s run certainly qualifies as different. This year the Southern Route decided to try something new, at least new to the Southern Route, I hear other routes already do it. What they do is switch up the order the platoons ride in the pack. For example, on Day 1, Platoon 1 rides at the front, on Day 2, the first Platoon goes to the very back of the pack and Platoon 2 rides at the front. Yesterday was day 2 and my Platoon was at the front, which is why I had such a fantastically good day. Well today was day 3 so platoon 2 was at the very back, behind the trikes, behind the can-ams and behind the trailers.

Now picture this, you have Platoons one and two at the very back of the pack, I think I better not tell that story. Let’s just say that on one leg I rode tail gunner. I was the last of the last, back of the pack. By the time I got into the fuel stop, gassed up, gulped down some water it was time to leave again. I didn’t have a chance to gather any material for a decent sit-rep. I can tell you the weather was good. Not really too warm. The food I gulped down was good. The people were friendly.

After a yummy breakfast provided by the American Legion Post 10 the mandatory morning meeting was held. As part of the morning meeting a hero of the day is shared. Today’s hero is Chris Kyle, U.S. Navy Seal and legendary sniper. Chris served four tours in the Iraq war and was awarded several commendations for acts of heroism and meritorious service in combat. During his four tours, he was shot twice and survived six separate IED detonations.

Chris was honorably discharged in 2009. After his service, he eventually paired with FITCO Cares Foundation, which helps veterans with disabilities or those suffering from PTSD. He also wrote his autobiography, “American Sniper,” an outstanding, gut-wrenching book, in which

Posted on Leave a comment

Southern Route, 2017 – Day 2

Phoenix, AZ – Las Cruces, NM, 398 Miles

Can you say, PICTURE POSTCARD PERFECT DAY? Today, the Southern Route had just one of those days. It began with staging at the Phoenix Holiday Inn at 5:30 am, followed by the usual, breakfast, flag ceremony, and a brief riders meeting. We were on the road at
6:58 AM under an azure blue sky and white fluffy clouds. The temperature was a whopping 68 degrees, can’t get much better than that☀️. The Arizona Highway Patrol escorted us through town, ahead of the rush hour traffic. I have to tell you, the Phoenix skyline was beautiful in the early morning light. Once we cleared the city the Arizona desert opened up before us and it was magnificent! The early morning sunlight shining on the saguaro cactus was indescribable ????????????????☀️.

Our first stop was at the Marana, AZ Circle K. For a small town they did a bang up job welcoming us. Flag waving Americans and many civic groups greeted us with ice cold water and snacks. The remainder of the rider’s meeting was held (as I said earlier, we were under a time crunch to get through Phoenix before the morning rush hour). One of the highlights of Marana was the flag ceremony performed by Golden Ranch Pipes & Drums Local 3832 Firefighters. There is a video showing it on Facebook @ Run for the Wall – A Journey to the Vietnam Memorial

After the brief stop at Marano, it was on to Willcox, AZ for lunch. Willcox is an amazing little city in the middle of the Arizona desert. After gassing up we paraded through town ending up at the Elks Lodge. We were greeted by local children, veterans and other civic groups. We were provided with a delicious lunch of pulled pork sandwiches, fruit and cake. The Willcox Police Department escorted us in and out of town. I was able to snap a photo of our escorts after lunch. I imagine that’s the entire police force ????????‍✈️. Gotta love small town America ????????.

Once we left Willcox, we had 193 miles left out on the road. We made a quick stop for gas and a break in Deming, NM and then onto Las Cruces, NM. The valley of Las Cruces, NM laid out before us (sorry if the valley has a name, feel free to comment if you know it) it was a spectacular sight. The sky was a crystal blue with more white fluffy clouds, it was truly spectacular. We pulled on into the Barnett Harley Davidson for a delicious Mexican food dinner.

I am telling you, life can’t get much better than today! Thank you to all the Veterans that make days like today possible. Today’s quote comes from General Robert E. Lee
“Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more, you should never wish to do less.”

Good Night and God Bless

Kristine “Eyes” Wood

Posted on Leave a comment

Southern Route 2017 – Day 1

Ontario, CA – Phoenix, AZ  – 335 Miles

The day began before the sun was up with all three routes staging in the convention center parking lot. I don’t care how many runs you’ve been on, that first day when over 1,000 bikes converge in one location is exhilirating!

Pulling out of Ontario we had approximately 325 registered participants on the Southern Route. Of those 325, approximately 170 hold some time of leadership position. It takes a lot of man power and lady???? power to make the run happen. Please consider volunteering for a position next year. With it being the 30th year, we anticipate even more riders than this year. To continue with the numbers, of those 325 registered riders, 40% are FNGs. A big WELCOME to our 2017 FNGs. They have done a great job so far. Not a single mishap today. CONGRATULATIONS, let’s keep it up.

After a brief Board of Directors welcome and introductions the routes split into their respective platoons for a brief platoon meeting. And then before we knew it, the signal was given to start your engines. The southern route pulled out at 7:35 am under gray skies. As we got down the road, we experienced a light drizzle and it was COLD. (I am from Southern California and 55 degrees is cold)! The sun finally came out about the time we reached Palm Springs. We pulled into the Stoplight 29 Casino in Coachella to a beautiful 70 degrees with a light breeze. Not like the heat we usually experience.

We had a brief riders meeting where Ghost Rider filled us in on a few more rules and expectations. We heard a few MIA stories. Tin Man shared the story of Captain Scott Spicer. Hoops shared a little bit about her MIA Father. After that it was back to the bikes for the leg into Blythe.

We could not ask for better weather. The temperature in Blythe was a wonderful 80 degrees. We were treated to a delicious lunch, donated by Subway Sandwiches, drinks donated by the Coca-Cola Company and program provided by the Blythe JROTC.

I just have to give a shout out to the citizens of Southern California. There were flag waving Americans on five over-pass bridges.  The CHP escorted us from ten miles out, into Blythe. The officers greeted the riders as they came into lunch.  Made this Californian proud to see that kind of support for the 2017 run.

Once again, it was back to the bikes for the two legs that would take us into Arizona and to our stop for the night. Once again the weather was wonderful! When we pulled into Phoenix it was a pleasant 80 degrees. We were greeted by lots of curbside clapping as we pulled into the Holiday Inn Parking Lot. A wonderful steak and chicken dinner was waiting for us.

That covers the facts of the day. I had a moment at lunch that I would like to share.   I sat down next to a couple and began exchanging pleasantries. I asked the usual…are you a Vietnam Veteran, yes…. Then we stood up for the flag ceremony and I saw a gold star patch on the Veterans vest. Yes, they are a gold star family. I looked at the woman and my heart swelled with gratitude and sorrow for the sacrifice she has made for this country. Before it was time to leave, I was able to give them a hug, with the promise of hearing about their son tomorrow. That is why I ride, for the sacrifices others have made for our freedom!

“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave” Elmer Davis.

May we thank God everyday for the brave young men that protect us.

young soldier.png

Until tomorrow, God Speed and God Bless

Kristine  “Eyes” Wood