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Central Route Coordinator News – October 2019

Greetings from Southern California! Fall has arrived, temperatures have dropped to the mid 80s, and we are one month closer to May!

The biggest news I have this month is that we have changed our Day 4 overnight stop. We will overnight in Limon, Colorado instead of Goodland, Kansas. This decision did not come easily, because we all love that Goodland layover. The citizens of Goodland and the program at Northwest Technical College provide us with a delicious supper and hearty breakfast, space for camping, facilities for showers, and space for a church service on Sunday morning. They decorate the gymnasium in red, white, and blue and their elementary school children contribute their artwork and letters. It is a reception that we all deeply appreciate.

However, by overnighting in Limon, we cut 109 miles off a very long day and add it to Day 5, which is a relatively short one. In my opinion, that ride through eastern Colorado and western Kansas is one of the most grueling stretches of the entire run. By postponing the last leg of it until Day 5, we tackle it first thing in the morning, when we are all fresher and the winds aren’t as strong. This change also gives us more time between our breakfast and lunch stops on Day 5. Some RFTW old-timers may remember that we actually used to overnight in Limon. Though I believe this change will make things easier and safer in the long run, an overnight change like this does require a huge amount of work from the state coordinators. I would like to give a shout out to Tom (Twitch) Brunette and Carl (Rusty) Brown for their persistent efforts.

There may be other gas stop or lunch stop changes along the way as our state coordinators finalize plans through their state. I’ll keep you apprised as our plans evolve. As a reminder, the hotel list for all overnight stops will be published around the end of the year, and the final itinerary will be completed in early spring. Last year’s itinerary is still available on the website. Speaking of the website, I noticed there were still some openings in our staging and fuel teams. If you were thinking of volunteering, I recommend you do it sooner rather than later, as these teams do fill up.

Last month I urged you to start getting in shape physically for our 2020 RFTW. This month I would like to encourage you to start working on riding skills. If it’s been a while since you’ve taken an advanced riding course, I strongly encourage you to find one in your area and complete it prior to May. It’s easy for us to develop and slip into bad riding habits. Rider courses help us recognize and overcome these. A consistent theme in our After Action reports was the complaint that some riders did not know how to ride in a pack. A way to overcome this and gain experience is to join clubs or groups that do ride in a pack, such as Patriot Guard.

You have a lot to do in the next 204 days! Get busy!

Regards,
Tom “Boomps” Miller
Run for the Wall®
2020 Central Route Coordinator

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Central Route Coordinator News – September 2019

Greetings from sunny Southern California! My name is Tom Miller, and it is my honor and privilege to have been selected as the 2020 RFTW Central Route Coordinator. For those of you who don’t know me, my first run in 2008 was “A Once in a Lifetime Experience” that I have repeated every year since. I spent two years on the Staging Crew, followed by eight years as a Road Guard, the last three as Road Guard Captain. I served under Eamon Tansey in 2019 as Assistant Route Coordinator.

As an 18-year-old, I enlisted in the United States Army in 1967. From March 1968 to March 1969, I served with the First Cav Division as an Infantry Squad Leader. After returning from Vietnam, I spent the last 14 months of my enlistment as a Drill Sergeant in Fort Jackson, South Carolina. I have always been proud of my service, and proud of all my brothers and sisters who have served our country, and all those family and friends who have supported our military. This is why Run for the Wall has been so important in my life for the last 13 years.

Joining me as part of your Leadership Team are Bruce Bartolomeo, as Assistant Route Coordinator, Kirk Olson as Road Guard Captain, and Jenny Ward, as Leadership Support Lead. All three of these talented individuals bring a lot of experience, enthusiasm, and dedication to the job, and I feel fortunate to have them with us.

The finalized itinerary for all RFTW Routes, including Central Route, will  be complete and published in the early spring.  Take a look at the posted 2019 itinerary.  2020 will most likely be the same with some possible adjustments.  Just date adjust for 2020.  We leave Ontario, CA on Wednesday morning, May 13, 2020 and arrive Washington, DC the Friday afternoon of May 22, 2020.  If you are new to RFTW and want to get a feel for what riding with us and RFTW is like, please also check out, the New Participant tab and the 10-Days in May section of the RFTW website.  There you will also find an FAQ section.

As of this writing, our teams and crews are being put together, so if you are thinking of volunteering to serve the Run, now is the time. The 2020 RFTW Central Route Volunteer Form is on the Central Route Hub of the RFTW website. The form explains minimum requirements for each job. If you meet the requirements, I encourage you to complete the form and hit the submit button.

On the subject of volunteering, we had a great reunion at Angel Fire and Eagle Nest, New Mexico over Labor Day Weekend. The Central Route has a long-standing tradition of coming together during that weekend to volunteer our service at the New Mexico Vietnam Veterans Memorial. During our time there, we lined the sidewalks with over 500 personalized bricks dedicated to former and current military personnel. This brings the total number of bricks respectfully placed by RFTW participants to over 5,000. VietnamVeteransMemorial.org

I know we’re 236 days out, but it is never too early to start getting in shape for the Run. Those of you, who are coming back from past runs, know well how grueling those ten days on the road can be, especially in adverse weather conditions. I encourage you to start an exercise program and stick with it for the long haul! I know two long time RFTW vets who have a good-natured bet going to see which one of them can lose the most weight before May! Whatever it takes to stay healthy enough to ride!

Regards,
Tom “Boomps” Miller
Run for the Wall®
2020 Central Route Coordinator