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Day 10.5 The Vietnam War Memorial , 5/26/18

Day 10.5, The Vietnam War Memorial, 5/26/18

Hi again. Just a few notes to wind up the Sit Reps for 2018.

There were so many FNG’s to brag about on this RUN. It was so good to see many come on board and enjoy the RUN and many have caught hold of what the RUN is about and have ordered their lives to make permanent changes. One, among many, is Frank Davis of California. He was brought on board by Don Burns and Frank regularly attends meetings.  In Frank’s words, the mission of the RUN is outstanding and the mission of helping all vets is a very good one and one that hits home with him. Frank has dealt with PTSD as a fire fighter for 28 years and 3 years ago he began to study and understand more of nutrition’s effect at the cell level on PTSD. He has also said that his belief in Christ has helped him and has really been the impetus in his finding the help he has needed. The RUN has given him the process to find healing and he encourages any one going through or dealing with PTSD to try to put aside the feelings of abandonment and come be a part of Run For The Wall people and you will find some of the healing you need.

An annual event for the RFTW is to gather at the Lincoln Memorial for a group picture.

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RFTW volunteers washing the wall at the Memorial.

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RFTW gathering at the Lincoln Memorial 2018

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Okay, this is the last one. Thanks so much for reading and I hope I have given you a taste of what the RFTW is all about. Please also visit mamag03.blogspot.com. for a bunch of great pictures and if you have questions for me, please contact me at sitreprftw2018@gmail.com

Roger Hageman

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Day 9, Nitro to Lewisburg, WV, 5/24/18

Day 9, Nitro to Williamsburg WV.  5/24/18

I wanted to go back to yesterday which would place us in Nitro last night. 5/23 We were at the Nitro presentation when the song by Lee Greenwood, I am proud to be an American, was played. The song had barely started when seemingly the entire front half of the people around the “stage” came together and held hands and lifted them up and began to sing along. It was an emotion packed moment-in-time that says so very much about the spirit of togetherness in the group last night. And then this morning when we were sitting on our bikes ready to go, someone honked their horn, then another and it erupted into a symphony of everyone’s horn going at the same time. There just seemed to be a joyful spirit among the group and it was fun to be there. The video I took of the song is about 3 minutes long and will not fit well in this format but may see it on the rftw.us facebook. I will try to include it here but if you cannot pull it up, send me an email and I will send it and some others. sSitreprftw2018@gmail.com Also you may visit the new sit rep for next year and she may have this posted now. Her name is Jean Galt and her blog is mamag03.blogspot.com. 

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Lee Greenwood song and the reaction of the RFTW teams

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We left Nitro so thankful for all the good things the people had done there and headed to WV capital in Charleston. If you have ridden with us before then you know what a beautiful peaceful place the rotunda is. We fit all 500+ bikes in there. We took pictures and enjoyed some down time and then headed to Rainelle WV. It is a long road, about 95 miles but the beauty of the place helps it to slip by quickly.

Rainelle is a very special place for the people of the RUN and we look forward to being there and sharing with the kids. They come out and stand along the fences and are excited to see us and I think we are actually more excited to see them as there are a lot of happy faces on all who are in the midst of exchanging signatures and some homemade pictures  and etc. I met Randy earlier at the capital and told him about Rainelle and later I saw him in the middle of a bunch of kids. He had a smile from ear to ear, and I asked him how he was doing. He said, “I love this, I just wish I had something to give them, I wish I had known”.  So, we made sure he had something to give the kids and when I left they were surrounding him and all had a good time. If you have not been to Rainelle, I will briefly explain what is going on. The first RUN came to a point where they had to either pay to go through a toll road or find a different way. Being just a little bit old fashioned and maybe a little stubborn they decided to go up through the mountains. The local sheriff saw or heard they were coming and alerted the teacher and the teacher took a chance on these old Nam Vets and had her kids out on both sides of the street and the local people were there too. They had made some small gifts and prepared some food for the riders and when the riders came into the town they saw the people on both sides of the street and thought they were interrupting a parade and were apologetic. Well when they were told the gathering was for them, you can imagine the change that came over the riders and it has been a real love affair for the last 30 years. I have seen hardened old growly vets who could not even smile all the way from LA, when they get there and the kids surround them, I see them smile and their whole world begins to change. I have seen it happen, it is like a miracle at Rainelle. It is worth doing the entire RUN just to be here and experience it. Yall come!

This was the welcome that those of us on the RUN received people at Robley Rex  VA Medical Center

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Robley Rex welcomes RFTW riders.

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That is it for me today, I hope that you enjoy. I have much more to post and I will see if I can get some more stories by the end of Saturday.

Roger Hageman sitreprftw2018@gmail.com

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Day 8, Corydon to Nitro, May 23, 2018

Day 8, Corydon to Nitro, May 23, 2018

A gorgeous day for anything you wanted to do except playing in the rain. Beautiful Kentucky and West Virginia sky with white fluffy clouds against the beautiful   green forest areas. And oh yes, that sweet smelling honeysuckle vine that adds an air of mystique and or elegance to the country side. Truly a post card day for riding.

What a beautiful country we live in, not just the country side but the people who come to our rallies or meetings are some of the most hospitable people I know. Nitro tonight, every server, greeter and etc. made sure you got good meal, ice cream, a hug and or handshake with a smile. It was one of those moments in the history of the RUN that seems to be repeated often, in each place we meet, and we are so glad it is. It seems to me, as someone who has been on 11 times now, that the RUN has grown in size and scope by about 1/3 to ¼ in the last year. Unofficial, of course. Not only have the number of bikes increased from about 350+- last year to 600+- this year. But what impresses me are the number of people who come out to support us and the genuine outpouring of affection and love from every source. It seems so many more people and companies step up to help with food and gas and other expenses. There also is a renewed expression of patriotism, nothing fake but a genuine heartfelt excitement, appreciation and enthusiasm, seemingly at every turn. We are most thankful for the great spirit of cooperation that exists now and we realize that it is not by accident that these things happen. Much of our success is due to much planning and hard work at every turn and we have very good leaders who do much work and planning. Harlan, our route coordinator, has done an excellent job in organizing and keeping thins running smoothly and directing all the moving parts. Sure, there are always problems when dealing with the many issues of a RUN this size. He could not do it by himself and he has surrounded himself with good talented people who have a heart to do things right and to get them done without fussing and problems. Still I am reminded of the proverb that says “that unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain that build it”. I know that all this has not happened by accident but there certainly has been much prayer behind what is being done. I believe God is blessing this organization because people are being healed and are being helped and He loves people and He will work through any person, group or organization that has a real mission of helping people. This RUN is a place where people can find healing and that original and sustaing source of healing is of course the Holy Spirit. All are to be commended for their spirit of cooperation in this the “Greatest Run In America”.

The temp was hot and humidity moderate and many of us were very tired as it took some concentration to stay alert, but still great to be riding. Our trip to Robley Rex V A Medical Center was another treasure. I think about every nurse in the building came out to welcome us and we were able to go in and meet some of the patients. It is good to so many of the medical staff with great attitudes and who love their work and people.

The engineering marvel of the Kentucky Vietnam Memorial is a must see.

I usually type up my report and add the pictures later. Last night my ability to pull up pictures has stopped due to my overloading it with too much of the wrong stuff. But, this will be to your advantage because we have a lady in our RUN who is an expert in doing her blog and she has a lot of pictures posted so I want you to go to mamag03.blogspot.com. You will be amazed at what she puts together each day so look at all her posts from days past and going forward. You will be able to enjoy her posts now and going forward into next year as she will be the sit rep next year. And that will be a good thing for everyone.

 

 

 

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Day 7, Wentzville Mo. To Corydon, In., May 22, 2018

Day 7, Wentzville Mo. To Corydon, In., May 22, 2018

Today was a beautiful day to do anything outside. Bright sunny skies with just a few clouds to take the blistering heat away. Needed to stay hydrated riding. We went from Wentzville Mo. to Corydon, Ind.292 miles, a light day for miles.

We left staging by the Church and headed a few miles to the Wentzville  Vietnam Memorial, which was the first memorial in the US for the Vietnam war. It has grown and been improved over the years and it is always good to see the young band members playing. Met two ladies there who were daughters of WWII soldiers.

I will show some random photos of the day with some explanations on them.

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Gold Star Family Outreach Team from RFTW

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We had some interesting events yesterday. Corydon is such a favorite place for all the riders and we look forward all year to the great fish fry that they provide for us. Thanks much for the great outpouring of love and hospitality each year. You make a difference in the lives of the riders!!  I was just sitting down to my delicious meal of fish when of course the fire alarm went off and we had to leave the building, maybe next year.

Thanks for reading and watching. Comments are welcome at sitreprftw2018@gmail.com

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Day 6, Junction City to Wentzville Mo. May 21, 2018

Day 6, Junction City to Wentzville Mo. May 21, 2018

Another great and glorious day on the RUN. I started out to ride with the Ambassador team and I got to staging late because I was still finishing up yesterday’s sit rep and wanted to get it completed so of course I was running late and forgot to plug in my tether cord to my CB and left it in the trunk, therefor I could not hear the leader’s commands to go off the road so therefore I did not get to go out and meet and thank people along the way. That is the way it is on the RUN and I suppose in life too. Some days you just start out behind and you find it real hard to catch up. That is what this RUN is like, most of the time. Maybe it is just me but I talk to others and they chime in and agree with me. Unless you are really disciplined and stay the course it is easy to get behind and then it snowballs and  then you are really behind. I just needed to share that so you may get the impression that it is all fun and games and to a certain extent it is, but reality in any theater comes back to haunt you unless you prepare for it.

Okay, enough of my struggles. I arrived at staging just in time to leave with the ambassadors. They are a special group that gets out ahead of the main pack and goes to where the people are standing along the road and or on the overpasses and thank them for being there to support RFTW. Many people on the overpasses have been coming for several years and they are so glad to actually put a face to the RUN and to touch an actual person connected to the RUN. They are there to support the RUN and they are always gracious and supportive. The ambassadors give out pins, hugs and thank yous. Sometimes the people want to talk but when it (bikes) comes the bikes get their full attention and that is as it should be. I wanted to get some better shots but due to circumstance, like no CB hookup and etc. I was only able to get a few and I have some stock photos also.

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Great support people on an overpass for RFTW 2018

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The Ambassadors are led by the very capable Eric and Sonia Amond. Their dedication and attitudes toward the RUN are outstanding. They have been involved with the Ambassadors for 2010 +-. Ambassadors was started because we wanted a way for the pack to say thank you to the bystanders. To just drive by and wave seemed inadequate so the Ambassador team was started. It has been a very successful endeavor.

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Sonia and Eric leading the RFTW Ambassador Team. 2018

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We headed through Topeka to the fuel stop which was paid for the VFW national headquarters, and we thank you very much. Fuel on the RUN is often paid for by others which allows many to go on the RUN that otherwise would not be able to make it, so thank You.

We headed straight east down I70 to Concordia Mo. And arrived to a wonderful meal and presentations. A high light for many were the two WWII Vets that were present. They are Melvin Rehkop, 99, sitting, and Mel Bockelman, 90. Melvin shared with me that he was a young farm boy when he went to war and that 90% of all the soldiers in his community were farm boys and that their stride when walking was longer than most of the other men and they had to teach the farm boys to take smaller or shorter steps in order to march with the others. An interesting side note “coincidence” develop. Yesterday at JC I met two men from Dutch or Holland, actually I had met Maarten van Lunenburg in 2013 (?) when he was by himself and now his brother, Bas van Lunenburg, (on left) is here with him. They very much wanted to meet the WWII men as the soldiers had liberated Belgim during WWII.

Unfortunately I am out of time and I have much to post. I will get to the many posts when I can and if I don’t get them done before the end of the RUN days I will continue to post in the days after. Thanks much and I will talk with you tomorrow. Whats ahead, Road Guards, platoon leaders, many coincidental conversations that I must share as they are so interesting. Please be patient and I will do my best to get them out this week or maybe next.

Roger Hageman

Sit Rep for RFTW Central Route

sitreprftw2018@gmail.com

 

 

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Day 5, Goodland, KS to Junction City, KS, 5/20/18

Day 5, Goodland Kansas to Junction City Kansas, 5/20/18

We will have to wait a day or two for the Road Guard report, only so many hours in a day and many to try to track down.

Oh so very much to cover today so please read fast as I try to type fast. This was a very special day as most of them are but this one seems to be special to a lot of the riders. Maybe it is because of the long sleepy road to get here, maybe because of all the flags that are placed everywhere, maybe because they treat us so very special, maybe it is because they presented all the Vietnam Vets a special pin of thanks. I suppose it is different for each, but it became emotional for most of us when we came up to all the people and the man, many flags. Most of us were really touched by the outpouring of love and appreciation for the riders and or Vets. So appreciated, thanks very much for making it happen.

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Two beautiful servers at Goodland RFW breakfast 2018

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As you read about the few things that are written here please remember that it represents only a small fraction of the event that I experience in a day and a very tiny fraction of all the events that transpire on just one day on the RUN.

Take a look at this picture. Do you see fatigue like I do. This dear couple, pray for them, they are exhausted, this is early in the morning at Goodland and I just happened to be going by to see this. Rockie is the head medical person for the RUN and she is busy and Roadside is a platoon leader. They are trying to maintain a household with two dogs in a car and yet be available whenever an emergency arises. This RUN can be very trying and tiring too.

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This trip is tiring and fatigue can be overwhelming.

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As per the course, Goodland folks fixed a great breakfast and sent us on our way. At our location in Goodland in the morning we had a service put on by our Chaplain team. They are great team lead by Curtis Hubble and he spoke from Isaiah 43. Later Keith also gave a message of inspiration. Isa 43:1-3, But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.  3 For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; Curtis spoke about the importance of trusting God to take care of the past and the future we face, it is best to face it with the Holy Spirit guiding us. Picture of servers X2 Rockel

 

We loaded up and headed to Oakley about 60 miles. Upon arriving with over 500 bikes and getting staged, I met a couple form Hawaii that are now living in Colorado.  They are Rockel and Fred Haskell who now live in Falcon Colo. They have been married 30 years and wanted to celebrate by going on our 30th year of the RUN. She rides a Can Am bike. I asked her what she thought of the RUN so far and almost with tears she explained that she had never seen such love and patriotism for across America. It has changed her perception and has given her more love for America. (her words). We are so glad you both came with us and are sharing in this American experience. Picture of bike and Rockel

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Rockwell Haskell RFTW 2018.

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Rockwell and Fred Haskell. RFW

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The next interesting coincidence was with two guys setting across the picnic table and they began to tell of things they do and they found out they live in nearby California town they raise the same kind of dogs for service dogs and interact with the same people in the God business. They were both very passionate about the dogs they have trained. Both were FNG’s and they were amazed at the outpouring that they seen across America, especially the overpasses. Their names are Ronnie Sever on the left and Ted Kapner. Picture

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Ronnie and Ted, dog trainers on the RFTW 2018.

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Next I met Lynn Vernon who works with Missing in America. It is an organization that addresses unclaimed remains of Veterans. They contact mortuaries and find out if there are any unclaimed ashes and then they do their due diligence in finding out if they have relatives etc. and when all the facts are brought out they will have a funeral for the remains and the people involved and provide for burial and final closure. We may think this does not happen often but according to her there have been over 1,200 such cases that her group has worked with. She made it clear that there are many organizations that come together to get the job done. Thanks for your part Lynn.

Before we left Oakley I just had to take a picture with these fine looking kids on their home from Church; Phillip, Abby, LJ and Norma too shy to be in the picture. Picture

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Philip, Abby, LJ w Roger. RFTW 2018

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Next we headed to Junction City by going through the fuel stop at Bunker Hill. That was a very sleepy leg and I was not doing too good and drank some Red Bull like the youngsters do and it helped a lot. Never too old to learn a new trick! Someday, you have got to come along or come out and see the staging, fuel crew and road guards all working together as one at a fuel stop and they do a very, very good job at it. It is masterful and exciting to see. Keep in mind that no biker ever knows where to go nor how to get there, well maybe some do, unless someone tells them. And our group is 47% FNG’s so they have never seen these places before.

 

At this fuel stop I met another interesting couple that you will like. They are Sandra and Jim Judge and get ready for this. He started in Key West Florida and drove to Pruedo Bay in Alaska in 12 days and 15 hours. He does Iron Butts as a hobby. An Iron Butt is doing over 1,000 miles in 24 hours. I have done one and was wiped out the next day. He paced himself to do at least 500 miles per day. That takes determination as you have time for very short hygiene and eating and sleeping to keep your strength up. Okay, now guess how old he is, 82 years young. This is his 3rd RFTW and her 1st. He is driving her on their Can Am bike and having a great time. He is also a pilot, flight instructor, A&P mechanic and FFA Inspector. So, now what is your excuse, you can’t use that old line, “I’m just too old”, that doesn’t get it with these two. I know there needs to be balance but if able go for it. If you are using too old as something that keeps you from enjoying life or at least trying new things, stop it, don’t limit yourself and don’t limit what God can do in your life, go for it as best as you can. Picture.

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Sandra and Jim on RFTW 2018

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Our trip to Junction was uneventful until we entered the city. My-O-My, what a place. Hundreds of American flags throughout the route and the people there applauding the entrance of the pack. It made me proud to be an American and thankful for the Welcome Home that the Vets and others received. Life changing from my perspective. If you would have gone through that street and had seen what we saw, I believe you would well up with some pride also. I took a video but it is too long to Instagram but if you want a copy, please email me at sitreprftw2018@gmail.com. Our Outreah group

We enjoyed a rousing speaker by the name of Ray (? Last name) and we went on to be served a very tasty meal prepared by some more great, salt of the earth people. Thank you, thank you!

More pictures will follow today if tike allows.

Ride Safe, and may God Speed

Roger Hageman,

sitreprftw2018@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

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Day 4, Eagles Nest, NM. to Goodland, K. 5/19/18

Day 4, Eagles Nest/Angel Fire to Goodland, Kansas

We awoke in Eagles Nest to a beautiful morning. The mountains were beautiful. Now these are real mountains, not those little bumps you have back east and there was some snow and frost on the trees. As usual the ladies and men of Angel Fire and Eagles Nest had our breakfast ready and we packed out the hall one more time. We all really like the great food and service at this place, and I don’t think you could go anywhere on this earth and find it any better food and or friendlier people who invite you in again and again to share with you. Really a special place as others have been along the way. It amazes me how friendly, helpful, caring and loving the people are on this entire RUN. As I have said before, they work all year in some cases just to spend it on us, what a treasure they are to us and we thank God for them.

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Eagle with a fish sculpture at Eagles Nest

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Okay it may have been pretty out but it was pretty cold and made for a chilly ride over to Raton NM. (40+- degrees)  Along the way I happened to see about 6 wild turkeys, just as we came out of that beautiful canyon and a little further I saw what looked to be about 40 head of elk and they were more than a little disturbed by all our noise. There were also the ever present antelope that enjoy watching us and let us get close as we go by on the road and then they sometimes quickly decide to go across the road where we are driving. It didn’t happen today however.

Our fuel stop in Raton was paid for by the “Independent Riders” whose president is Tim Trujillo. Thank you for your continued support, it really does mean a lot to us, THANKS. There were refreshments provided for all of us by some gracious people. I know I have talked about this before, but it always bears repeating. The dear people who turn out to help feed us and put fuel in our tanks and do so many things for us, you are so appreciated and your kindness really touches the riders, they don’t expect it yet you are always there helping.

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The wonderful ladies serving us at Raton

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We darted off towards Pueblo and fueled up and went over to a large staging lot to stage for our trip to Fountain Colo for lunch. I have been on the RUN since 06 and have seen some good growth since, but it seems that now the growth is much bigger than in the past. In the past we would never fill a large parking area like we did today, approximately 5 acres. To watch the staging crew do  work their wonders, to be able to organize and get each person and bike in the right place in a matter of 15+- minutes, is fun to see. It is very organized chaos. I am part of the leadership team and hence I get a parking place towards the front of the lineup each time we park and that can happen several times per day. To make it easy for the parking ladies, they draw a line on the pavement and then put our names on the pavement. It is fun to see and now I realize that I have finally arrived as they now put my name in the pavement. How fun, it’s the small things in life, right!!!

We hurried off to Fountain Co. for lunch where they fed us in a very large fire station, see picture.

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RFTLunch stop at Fountain Co. 5/19

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From there I had to run up to Denver because somehow I was “blessed” by with a broken CB antenna. In this RUN it is a good thing to have your CB on so you know what is happening all the time when we are moving. So I made the trip in little over an hour and they amazingly had the part at RPM Power Sports. Great people and they jumped on my bike like a chicken on a June bug.  They also noticed that my back tire was in serious need of changing and they said it was so bad that in a rain storm it may not hold and cause it to slip or slide. Who knew? They quickly (1.5 hours) the tire and I was off to Goodland and not able to get in until about 9:30 PM.  I am sharing this part with you as you probably have similar things happen to you and sometimes they don’t work out in getting repairs done but it is best to get them done in order to stay safe. It was the little thing like the antenna that caused us to see the big thing, the tire. I am thankful.

On a personal level, I am riding my bull named Fu Man Chu (sp) and I am getting to ride him more that 2.7 seconds. Some of you will recognize that from the song by Tim McGraw, live like you were dying. Well I am not dying yet but I bring this up to encourage you if you have not been out with us to come out, there is still time if you are on the eastern part of the US.

I was bummed that I missed the Goodland folks and the presentation that they put on. It is another one of our favorites. I know, I seem to say that with all of them but it is difficult to say which is best as they are all very good and the great people make the difference. Maybe here is a good place to talk about our great country. This is mostly fly over country and if you have not been it is high time you come with us and see the great heart of America. The people who help us and serve us and provide for us are some of the best on earth. They deeply care about others and the RUN gives them that opportunity to show it and gives us the opportunity to give love and respect back. We need each other.

Tomorrow night I am going to do a special on our road guards so stay tuned.

That is all for today and I am looking forward to tomorrow morning and the great service at the Goodland stop.

Thanks and God Speed.

You may contact me at sitreprftw2018@gmail.com

Roger Hageman

 

 

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Day 3, Gallup to Angel Fire, 5/18/18

Day 3, Gallup to Angel Fire, May 18, 2018

What a beautiful day for riding with friends and for this sacred purpose. This RUN is enjoyable and may be called fun and that  is a good thing, but let us not forget that the real purpose of this RUN is to Honor those who have fallen for you and me  and to honor the memory and to support the returning of our POW’s and MIA’s. This RUN is not about us even though we may feel good or bad on this RUN, it is immaterial to the success of our mission. Sure we can accomplish more by having and enjoyable time and we should enjoy this RUN. There are approximately 1,700 service men and women who have not returned home and are either imprisoned or perished without anyone knowing their whereabouts. Their families have struggled for years to locate them to find resolution and to bring closure. A daunting task! Unless we keep this in mind and actively support this, then who will. It is our mission is it not! Being of the age of most Vietnam Vets but having never served, I think sometimes what they would think if they saw us now. I am sure they would want us to live our lives and that is good but we should not forget them. Do we care? Does our Country care? I know that many do care and that is why I am glad we can go to the different memorials and at least pause and offer a prayer of thanks for the men and women who did serve and for their families and loved ones. What a gift they have given us the living. Their return and or resolution is really mostly out of our hands but we can pray for the families and we can vote for the right politicians and we can lobby. So let’s be about their business. Enjoy this RUN as it is good to enjoy it but let us remember our mission, to honor our MIA’s and POW’s, and if you just even start to whine about something on this RUN, stop a minute and think about how trivial your issue is in comparison to what our Vets went through.

Okay, I just had to say that as even “I” find myself adrift from the real message and purpose of this RUN and I need to remind myself that it is more important than my personal wishes. Amen and I hope you agree and if you have been thinking that everyone here is here to meet your every need, please get over yourself and lets have the best attitude we can to support our leadership in all they are wanting to accomplish on the RUN. Okay, again, I think I am done. J

I left Gallup in all its glory and headed on a breakout mission to Grants New Mexico. Usually a breakout is done by one platoon and enough road guards to make sure all goes well everyone finds their way back. I know some of you would never do this, but I forgot to fill my tank in Gallup and I was having the best of time on this run to Grants  and yep, I looked down when we were nearly there and my tank was below empty. I managed to zip into a nearby station and I put 5.73 gallons in my 6 gallon tank. Thank you Lord. Our road guards were as usual always excellent and got us there and back. Some of them are pictured below.

The two memorials we visited were Grants and Bormalillo New Mexico. They were in a well-cared for state and each place the people were gracious and glad to see us. I am thankful that we have people such as they are that take time and resources to honor with the upkeep of the memorials.

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Memorial at Bonalillo we visited on RFTW breakout.

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From here we scooted up to the Harley Davidson dealership of Albuquerque were served a good lunch and lots of hospitality. We then headed out for Angel Fire and BTW we have Motorcycle Police escorts throughout New Mexico. They are a great bunch of riders that enjoy this gig a lot and are happy to make the RUN with us. Pictures will explain better so I am including some here. Also this lady Jean has lots of pictures that tell an amazing story about the RUN and her blog is mamag03blogspot.com. Please visit.

When we reached the memorial I took about a 6 minute video of the bikes coking if and I don’t think I can get it posted but I will send it to you by email  sitreprftw2018.gmail. please be patient as obviously I am on the road now.

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The Paul Burge Sculpture at the Angel Fire memorial

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At the Angel Fire memorial, a wonderful peaceful place, we watched a movie made about the war and it is called, “Letters Home”. Be ready to watch as the first time I watched it I left with much survivors guilt as our boys were going through hell over their and I was back here at home knowing about the war but not really appreciating the hell our boys went through. I also noticed a book you might like called, “The Vietnam Experience, Combat Photographs”. Inside the memorial it is a sobering and sacred place. If you have not been, put it on your bucket list. Also if you would like to help in laying bricks next September, contact the memorial and place a brick of you own or just come and help.

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Bracelets worn by prisoners.

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That is all I have for tonight and I hope you are enjoying the posts. If you want to communicate, use the email.

Until tomorrow, ride safely. God Speed.

Roger (Pops) Hageman

 

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Day 2, Williams to Gallup NM, May 17, 2018

Day 2, Williams to Gallup

I think we left Ontario with about 450 people registered and about 350 bikes total. It sure seems like there are more in the RUN. Each group such as Fuel Team may have 20 to 30 bikes each and when each team is added up there are sometimes nearly as many bikes in total in the groups as ther are in the main body of the RUN. There are several good things about the many different teams. Many different teams provide opportunity for many people to be involved in their area of expertise and the entire group functions better because of the many parts. (There is a spiritual truth there isn’t there)

We left Williams and headed toward Holbrook. The weather was great and has been that way the last two days. Being the spoiled rider that I am with this job I have, I am able to move outside the group when necessary and today was one of those days. I wanted to get ahead of the main group and go to one of the overpasses and greet and talk to some factory workers who work at a nearby coal fired electrical plant. I was invited to go along with the Ambassador, which was a renewed treat for me. It was good to honor the workers, salt of the earth people for sure, and to share just a little with them and leave some pins. America was built by hard working people like these men and women and it was good just to be there.

Next we headed to Holbrook NM. It is a special place for several reasons. One, the people are so genuine and the kids at the schools are terrific. I will show several  pictures that will explain better than my words so enjoy.

The last stop is Gallup NM. We were greeted for over 8 miles of dear people along the sides of the road that were waving flags and cheering for our men and women. We were also escorted into town by NM State motorcyclist and we will also have them for all day tomorrow. They really move quickly when they need to and me thinks it is somewhat of a game for them.

Gallup, NM. is a favorite for many of the riders because of the Navajo Nation’s presentation for us. The program was put on by the Black Creek Gourd Society. The Navajos believe the warrior is the top of the ladder in their world. In English warriors translates to soldiers and the Navajos show and incredible respect for the Veterans on the Run For The Wall. At one part of the program they ask the riders to join them. It is quite a site to see 200 bikers in leathers doing their dance. Comical maybe but oh so very sincere. They show us a level of respect that few people understand. I dare say if you were not there we could not explain it. They are very serious about the concept of our soldiers and their warriors are one. (Last paragraph by Dan Koster)

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An energetic teacher with her delightful kiddos.

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Navajo Dancers performing during lunch at Holbrook.

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I wanted to get some new pictures of the school kids and of our entry into Church Rock but circumstances do not allow so I am posting two from last year but they show what I intended to capture today, just a year old.

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Video Riding into red rock park Gallup New Mexico

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Passing by Holbrook school

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Okay folks, thanks for watching and or reading. I am now going to get some needed sleep. I truly appreciate your interest in these and if you have any questions you can email me at rftwsitrep2018@gmail.com.

Until next time, ride safely and may God richly bless you all.

 

 

 

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RFTW Central Route, Day 1, Ontario to Williams

Day One. Ontario to Williams:

This is the day we have been waiting for over 355 days since last year and it is finally here. So many, many preparations have been made, thousands of bikes have been repaired and readied to go and thousands of riders are at the ready. The air is filled with excitement and every rider wishing the best for each other and charging them to ride “safe”, a caution said many times but certainly needs to be repeated. This is a very special day for all the riders. All without exception have looked forward to this day great expectations. Some maybe with some fear of what the ride will bring out in them while others have great excitement about the day and week ahead. It is one of those things that you have to experience to really appreciate.  I will attach some pictures of the departure.

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Some of the riders ready to leave Ontario.

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A short video of Central leaving Ontario

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One of those RUN treasures I found sitting in a chair by the refreshment area. Many of his long-time friends walked by and greeted him with warm affection and hugs and hand-shakes, it was a blessing to see how they treated him. I did not know who he was although I have heard his name in the past and it was usually used with respect. His name is Bill (No Chute) Hanlon. Yep, you guessed how he got his name. He went out of a helicopter about 100 feet above the forest canopy and the canopy helped break his fall. Anyway he survived and lived a productive life and is no 74+-.  I guess they made them tougher back then. He is a lifetime member of the SAL, Sons of the Legion. His health seems to be failing him and I asked him what mattered to him in his life now. His words to me were “it is important to me that everyone gets out safely today and have a safe trip.. He also shared with me that it is important to him to give back and he is very proud to be a brother and a Vietnam Vet.

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Bill (no chute) Hamlin

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This was a fast day, about 402 miles through some open desert land with mesquite shrub that spread out for many miles. Just a side note, the signs along the way in the desert were interesting to me. Here we are, riding along in this somewhat desolate land and I kept seeing signs like “Big Sandy Wash” which gets me to thinking that if Sandy is that big, why can’t she wash herself. Another one read “Rattlesnake Wash”. Wow, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to wash a snake and certainly not a rattle snake. Maybe it was the heat, but it just seems a little funny or strange to me and of course we all know that a wash is a place where the water runs fast when it pours down rain, so, maybe, possibly, I was just seeing things a little different from all the heat or in desperate need of some “humor” at the moment.

Okay back to the real stuff. The ride from Barstow was uneventful and as we headed towards Needles the temperature began to climb. It was 107 when we arrived in Needles. If you are wearing much gear, 100 degrees is pretty hot and you would need to stay hydrated for sure. I am glad we could get to cooler temps as we climbed towards Williams. The country we traveled through does have its own kind of beauty and though it may seem useless and desolate it does have much value to some who live there.

The ]dear people at Williams and Needles always put on a great feast for us and they all raise their own money and provide all the food for all the riders. This is no small task and it is expensive. Legion Post #13 in Williams was one of the first outposts of the American Legion and they have been serving the RFTW for 17 years. The 30 people who work with Roger Ely prepare about 200 lbs. of pork, 150 pounds of beef and yes all the fixins and yes those wonderful deserts. Thanks so much to all of you who go the extra mile to make it great for us.

At the William’s Legion meeting place we did our best to honor Gold Star Mom, Dotty Morris who lost her brother in the Vietnam war. Her brother Michael Andrew Miller was killed in action on his 24th birthday when his plane crashed. Thank you Dotty for sharing with us and we are sorry for your loss. No picture available.

We also met Katharine, standing next to me, she is the daughter of a WW2 Vet and her mother is beside her.

Hope you are making sense of these posts and remember to say a prayer for all of us as we travel across this great land. If you have never been able to go on the RUN with us and are reading from your home or business, it may be harder to experience what we see as we ride. We see people along the roads, in the towns and on the overpasses who are there to genuinely thank the Vets and riders for their service. As I have observed the interaction for many years now, I have come to the conclusion that we really need each other. When you come out to see us on, you encourage us more than you might know and we so appreciate the many things you do for us. I believe also that it provides for you who come out to support, a place or point of contact that makes the service of men and women in the military and yes those alongside them, more real and you leave with a greater sense of belonging and purpose. So thanks for being at the overpasses and the towns and the roads we travel. YOU make it worthwhile. Thanks

Roger (Pops) Hageman

rftwsitrep2018@gmail.com