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2024 Southern Route Coordinator April Newsletter

Welcome to the April newsletter; Yes, April!! We all know what that means; KSU from Ontario is less than 30 days away and for many of us, KSU from our homes is much less. Please remember to travel safely from wherever you may start your journey and STAY HYDRATED!

Why do you ride or participate in the RFTW Mission?

Our RFTW Mission is:

  “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.” 

 This is why we RIDE; This is why I RIDE!

Until they all come home, until they are all accounted for, we must continue to Live a Life worthy of their Sacrifice! Say Their Names, Tell Their Stories, and Never Forget! 

The preparation for the RFTW 2024 Mission continues even now and I cannot thank our State Coordinators enough for all their hard work and time spent preparing for the Southern Route. I also appreciate all the calls made to inform SR Leadership of construction etc. along our route. We will overcome these construction areas and complete our mission regardless!

If you still have not registered, please do so as soon as possible. As of the writing of this newsletter, we have a total of 371 riders and participants registered for the Southern Route. You can still register HERE. ALL registration is conducted on-line via this website link so please register prior to your arrival to make things go smoothly and quickly! If you are joining the Southern Route anywhere other than Ontario, CA, please meet us the evening we arrive in the city you are joining us and check-in with registration that night. This gives the registration team the opportunity to get everyone checked-in, assigned to a platoon, and any prepaid gas options etc. taken care of. We have a mandatory riders meeting every morning (see our Itinerary here). Mandatory means exactly that; this meeting requires the attendance of ALL riders. If you wait until arriving in the morning, you will be unable to stage until you check-in with registration and are given your registration packet, wristband, mirror ribbon, and emergency medical form. You can find the emergency medical form HERE and come prepared with it already filled out! You will need to provide a valid drivers license, license plate number, and current proof of insurance at check-in. Registration will not accept copies of driver licenses; you must present your actual license with motorcycle endorsement (if applicable based on state licensing requirements). Please make things easier for check-in by having these items ready when you see the Registration Team. All participants must register and sign a liability release online.

I recommend printing a copy of the daily itinerary to bring with you or at the very least save an accessible version on your cell phone. Read it, then read it again! Read it or refer to it every morning, every night, and at every stop.  Please refer to it before you ask questions where the answer is already in the Itinerary (do not ask, for example, when we are leaving? Or how long do we have at this stop?)! If you do have a question, find a member of your Platoon Leadership team, and start by asking them!

Preparation and Safety

Time is running out to get your bikes in tip top shape! Get them serviced, get them inspected, and make sure your state registration and insurance are all up to date and valid through the end of May 2024. If you haven’t already done so, pack up your bike with everything you are taking and get out on the highway or interstate on a test ride. Make sure you’re familiar with how your bike is going to handle with the added gear. Make sure you can safely control your bike, stop, start, and tight turns while loaded! Be sure that everything is safely secured and will not become a hazard to other riders.

As you prepare your bikes or other modes of transportation, you also need to prepare yourselves, mind, and body too! This is NOT a weekend ride. Be sure you have your Emergency Information Form filled out – completely! It will be checked daily by your Team Leaders and/or Platoon Leaders. It is MANDATORY and you cannot ride without it. If you take medication, be sure that you listed it on your EIF and that you have enough of your prescribed medications with you for your entire trip.

It’s time for everyone to start hydrating! It is much easier to hydrate than it is to re-hydrate! Generally, it is recommended to drink a liter of water a day to stay hydrated. However, this can depend on your age, body, underlying medical conditions, and what physical exercise you are doing on that day. Being extremely thirsty, dry mouth, fast breathing, fast heart rate, and low blood pressure are all significant signs of dehydration, however, what many of us will likely feel first is fatigue – both mentally and physically! Be aware and stay HYDRATED!

You will hear this mantra from now until we reach DCHydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate! 

If you have been reading my monthly Newsletters, you may be thinking that the previous paragraphs look familiar. Well, that’s because they are! On RFTW we repeat many phrases and directions. WHY? Because they are important! You will continue to hear many of the same phrases and directions until we are safely in DC or Marseilles. Again, it’s not because we don’t think you aren’t listening. It’s about safety!

Arlington Escort

We are still working out the total number of Motorcycles and people we can send into Arlington and who will get to go. I know everyone is excited about this opportunity, but please be patient and wait until we have it sorted and announce the details.

Pre-Paid Fuel

Pre-Paid fuel has been established to assist our Fuel Team and riders alike. Pre-Paid Fuel allows our fuel stops to flow more quickly and efficiently allowing riders to get through the fuel line, staged, and off their bikes so they can make the most of the limited time we have available at our fuel stops. The pre-paid fuel option will be available at registration in Ontario at a cost of $150 and at each subsequent night stop. Beginning on Day 5, the cost will be prorated as follows:

Day 5 beginning in Grand Prairie – $100;
Day 6 beginning in Monroe – $80;
Day 7 beginning in Meridian – $60;
Day 8 beginning in Chattanooga – $40;
The pre-paid fuel option will not be available for those joining us on days 9 and 10. Those will be cash at the pump the same as any riders choosing not to pre-pay.

We encourage everyone to participate in Pre-Paid fuel. If you choose to take part in the Pre-Paid fuel option you will be given a wristband and sticker for your windshield (if you don’t have a windshield, see your Platoon Leader to determine the best location). The sticker should be placed at the center-bottom of the windshield. This allows our Fuel Team members to easily see the sticker from their usual location between bikes. The wristband acts as a secondary verification.

Riders must fill their motorcycles up each evening/morning on their own before arriving at Staging in the morning. Random spot checks will be occurring and may be done by your Staging Team or anyone on your Platoon Leadership Team.

NON-PRE-PAID Fuel will be required to pay cash at the pump to the fuel team (NO CHANGE GIVEN). Each stop will be a minimum of $10. A determination will be made in Ontario if that cost will increase to $15 at some stops based on current gas prices.

Please remember that any excess fuel funds go to provide the fuel for the Chase Trucks, Hydration Truck, and Medical Team vehicle. I do not know 1 rider who has not taken advantage of at least 1 of these support Teams daily; not to mention just the comfort they provide knowing they are there for you should you need them!

The Pre-Paid fuel option is $150.00. You can take advantage of the Pre-Paid fuel option early by using the Zelle payment app and sending $150.00 to Southern.Route@rftw.us If you use the Zelle app, please add “SR Pre-Paid Fuel 2024” in the Memo line. We will receive the notification of the payment and will have a list of those who have Pre-Paid at Registration in Ontario, CA.

You can pay Cash in Ontario, CA or

You can send a check to:
Run For The Wall Inc.
50 Fourth Ave #1445
Dayton, NV 89403

If you send a check you need to add a note about what Route you are on and what the check is for i.e. “Southern Route Pre-paid Fuel” and/or “Southern Route Luggage Fundraiser.” Also make sure you mail it with plenty of time to ARRIVE at it’s destination by MAY 1, 2024.

Pre-Run Ontario Schedule

The Pre-Run Ontario Schedule is almost done. We will make sure to let you know when it is done, or you can go to the Southern Route Hub and check to see if it has been posted yet.

We do have a few things that are already set for Ontario listed below (Subject to change based on external Factors/Check the Ontario Schedule in the SR Hub once it is published).

The Merchandise and Hydration Trailers will be available at the Host Hotel, Ontario Holiday Inn located at 2155 E. Convention Center Way, Ontario, CA 91764.

Registration and Check-in will be available at the Elks Lodge, 1150 W. 4th Street, Ontario, CA 91762. The Elks Lodge opened their doors to us and has welcomed RFTW with open arms. The Elks Lodge will have many volunteers assisting inside the building and in the parking lot. Please thank them for their generosity and be respectful. Disrespect of any kind will not be tolerated.

The Elks Lodge will also have Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner available for purchase on Monday and Tuesday (Taco Tuesday?). A Steak Dinner is also planned again with advanced tickets available on site.

Hydration will also be available at the Elks Lodge.

This year we will have a Shuttle Bus running continuous loops between the Ontario Convention Center, the Holiday Inn Ontario Airport Host Hotel, and the Elks Lodge. The shuttle will run from noon-8 pm on Sunday, May 12th; and from 7 am through 9 pm on Monday, May 13th and Tuesday, May 14th.

 

Ride into Riverside National Cemetery in California

(Copied from the President’s Message).  “As you may have seen in a FB post, Carol is working on the possibility of riders going to the March AFB museum following the ride the Riverside National Cemetery. This is a Tuesday event, with KSU tentatively scheduled for 0815 from the Elks Club. The Elks will be serving breakfast so our riders can stage, eat, and leave from the same location. Right now, the cost of entrance to the museum is $10, but Blaze is trying to get that lifted. If you are interested in going to the museum, please email Carol at carollolmstead@ymail.com so she can provide a head count. Rumor has it that the museum is planning to rope off a parking area for us.”

You must be registered and CHECKED IN to go on this ride, so get to Ontario and get Checked in on Monday the 13th.

Fundraising

The Southern Route is offering a fundraising opportunity that may benefit all riders’ safety! Our newest fundraiser is the Luggage Fundraiser. The SR will have a dedicated enclosed trailer to transport luggage.  This will allow riders to remove bags normally strapped onto their bikes and have them securely transported for them from our morning starting location to our nightly dinner stop. This adds to the safety of all riders by removing bags that could obstruct other riders’ view of bikes in front of them; preventing a rider from focusing on a loose item on another bike around them; removes the added weight allowing for better control of your bike while riding in formation. Riders will be required to drop off their bag(s) at the morning staging/breakfast location. Bags will not be available until our final night/dinner stop. Riders will be restricted to 2 bags per bike. A check-in/check-out procedure will be followed ensuring no-one absconds with a bag that is not their own. The cost will be $7 per day or $50.00 for all 10 days. A prorated rate may be available depending on your starting location. Ask at check-in!  If you wish to take advantage of this new fundraiser, you can also prepay by using the Zelle app and Southern.Route@rftw.us  Please add “Luggage Fundraiser” to the memo section when submitting your payment.

If you plan to purchase the Pre-Paid Fuel and the Luggage Fundraiser all in one transaction; please enter both “SR Pre-Paid Fuel 2024” and “Luggage Fundraiser” on the memo line. If you are paying for more than one bike, please note that as well.

Another Southern Route fundraiser this year will be this patch. They will be sold beginning in Ontario and throughout the 10-day mission or until we run out. Each patch will be $5.00, and proceeds will be used to support our Veterans along the way.

After Action Reports

RFTW Leadership encourages ALL riders to complete an After Action Report (AAR) to get a better understanding of your experience on the Run and to make improvements to future Runs based on your suggestions. However, did you know that an After Action Report (AAR) can be done at any time? Thats right; an AAR can be done anytime even during the Run. If you have any kind of feedback or if there is a specific incident you observe or are a part of, you do not have to wait until the Run is completed and you’ve returned home. If you wait, you may forget certain details so please, if you feel the need, please submit an AAR at any time! Also, so you know, you can submit as many AAR’s as you feel are necessary!

  

Leave no one behind does not end on the battlefield!

If you or someone you know find themselves struggling with their mental health, please know you can contact the VA Veteran’s Crisis Line by dialing 988 then press 1 or text 838255 and speak or chat with a qualified responder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Darin “Lurch” Koch

RFTW Southern Route Coordinator 2024

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Merchandise Happenings

Well folks, as of this writing we’re 29 days from the start of the 34th annual Run For the Wall! This will be my final newsletter in preparation for the Run and I wanted to share several things with you.

First off, there is a 50% off closeout sale happening now thru the end of April on the Support Our Troops Red Shirt and USA Map patch. Quantities on both are limited so take advantage of these savings while supplies last.

Some other exciting news I’m happy to share with you is that we have purchased a brand-new trailer for the Central Route and we’re in the process of rolling out new artwork on all our trailers. This new artwork (refer to the image) has been designed with a focus on our mission. There are high contrast colors and backgrounds to enhance the messaging and make Run For the Wall and why we ride stand out. Some new additions include incorporating the Middle East Conflicts Memorial, our mission statement and adding a QR code that will take you directly to our website. This year you’ll see the new artwork on the Midway Route and Central Route trailers so look for them when you’re in Ontario or anywhere on the Run!

As we get closer to KSU the Store is in the midst of an inventory transition to CA to ensure the merchandise ready to be loaded into the trailers. As a result, you may find some products on the website showing no availability. While I’m doing what I can to ensure there is enough stock on hand, there may be an isolated case or two where the Store is out. Please be sure to check out the trailers as it’s likely you’ll find what you’re looking for there.

Regarding orders, I wanted to provide some insight into how your orders are processed. All shirts and head gear (hats, doo rags, bandanas, etc.) are drop shipped directly from our supplier. Everything else comes from our internal warehouse. So, for those of you that order items that include both shirts/head gear and say patches, stickers, pins, etc., they will come in two shipments. Shipments from the supplier happen twice a week, typically on Mondays and Thursdays. I try to send out everything else within 24 hours following your order. There may be times where this is a delay due to me being away and I will do my best to communicate to you if there are changes in processing orders. I have received emails on why only part of an order was received so I hope this helps clarify the process. Please feel free to reach out to me anytime about issues, questions, or comments. I am always reachable by email at merchandise@rftw.us or by phone. My phone number is listed under the Board of Directors on the website.

Finally, a few important things to note when buying merchandise from the trailers.

  1. There is a no smoking policy within 50’ of the trailers. This is to protect the sales team as well as the merchandise in the trailers.
  2. There is a no refund or exchange policy once you leave the trailer. I know that shirts sometimes are hard to tell what size fits so if you’re unsure, try it on at the trailer. You’ll have to put it over what you’re currently wearing but that will at least give you an idea of whether you feel it will fit or not vs. just buying it and walking away to later find out the size is wrong. Of note, women’s shirts tend to be fitted so you may consider sizing up one size for a looser fit. The Lilac 3XL shirt is the one exception because this comes from a different manufacturer so by design it’s a looser fit.
  3. We accept cash or credit card. No personal or travelers’ checks will be accepted.
  4. There is no sales tax on the merchandise we sell.
  5. There will be the ability to make cash or credit card donations. Keep in mind that donations go into the general Run For The Wall fund. There is not currently a way to specify a specific cause or Route for directing the money.

I hope this newsletter finds you well and wish everyone safe travels on their way to Ontario or wherever you may be picking up the Run. Stop by and say hi. I will be around the trailers Friday thru Sunday. Monday, I pick up my photographer role and will be shooting pics as the Central Route photographer.

Best regards,

Alan “Xbox” Steiner
Director of Merchandise
Board of Directors
https://rftw.us

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Run For The Wall SandBox Newsletter – April 2024

Greetings Sandbox Family! We can start the countdown to May by DAYS now!  We are that close!

Motorcycle and Physical Readiness


If you have not already, please attend to the mechanical readiness of both your bike and your body. Your bike needs a good once over, advisable before any long trip – and this is especially important for Sandbox because we are riding over Sunday and Memorial Day and there will be little to no maintenance support during our three days on the road (nothing is open until Tuesday)!  So in the event of a breakdown, our chase vehicle can trailer you to the next overnight stop, but do not have any expectation of getting parts or service along the way.  Nothing is open – it is one of the costs of riding over the holiday – it is what it is. So PLEASE pre-check your tire tread depth, electrical system and battery strength, oil level, lights, kickstands, and controls. Carry an extra key (and battery if using a fob), and be mindful of where you store the spare. Things do get lost on a long trip, including your keys, so having a spare can save the day. Lastly, check your comms, especially if you are in Leadership. 

As for you, get your body and mind “ride-ready”. If you haven’t ridden any distance for awhile, take some long rides on the weekend to get your saddle back. Start hydrating now, fuel your body with good nutrients, and get plenty of rest. Our days start early and go long, and you’ll want your body to go the distance.

 

Pre-Paid Fuel

The pre-paid option for fuel was detailed in my March newsletter, and you can find that on the SandBox Route Hub, but it doesn’t hurt to go over it again.  I strongly suggest you take care of this ASAP for another two more good reasons that I didn’t mention in March:  1) Pick-up your registration packet and GO without having to stand in yet another line to pre-pay for fuel. The check-in process for Sandbox takes place in both Ontario AND Washington DC.  Anyone who is familiar with the check-in process in Ontario is familiar with both the reunion aspect (FUN!) and also the controlled chaos of many excited Riders packed into one room.  You don’t want to be stuck standing in line when there are folks to greet and fam to hug! 2) Get your fuel paid for and out of the way, before all the other costs associated with cross-country riding start hitting your bank account. Sweet!

As previously detailed, you can pay $60 for the pre-paid fuel at the Sandbox Route Hub, at the Sandbox Route Donation link. Or you can open your Zelle app, and send $60 to Sandbox.Route@rftw.usPlease be sure to annotate what the payment is for in the memo line such as Prepaid Fuel.

An important point for emphasis: arrive at morning standing with a FULL TANK!  Please fuel up every evening no matter what.  We do NOT have any donated fuel stops on Sandbox, and the pre-paid fuel amount was kept as low as possible, with the EVENING TOP-OFF RULE in mind: 

Riders must fill their motorcycles up each evening on their own before arriving at staging in the morning (PLs will be performing spot checks so please don’t show up with a half-empty tank!). With gas prices fluctuating as much as they have been, we do not have any wiggle room on this.

Itinerary

The official itinerary was published in the Sandbox Route Hub at the beginning of April, and my sincere thanks go to the ARC, Bill “COB” Brehler for his detailed work on the itinerary changes and updates, and to Billie “Bugs” Dunlap for the editorial oversight and publishing of the booklet.  Please be aware that RFTW is no longer printing copies of the itinerary booklet, and it is only provided in a digital format which you can download to any PDF or book reader on your phone, or print a hard copy. However, I suggest you hold off on downloading or printing the itinerary until May. That’s because as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, there will be tweaks and changes between now and then!  Guaranteed! So don’t frustrate yourself by printing too early and either riding off with an outdated version, or needing to reprint. 

During the Wall2Wall Run itself, please keep your digital or printed copy handy and refer to it often! And here’s a tip for you from the RC of Central Route, Nick “Rich Boy” Hentges:  “DO NOT ask questions of anybody where the answer is in the Itinerary (do not ask, for example, when are we leaving? Or what is our next stop?)!!”

* Please see the instructions for printing the itinerary booklet that were written by Kirk “Pretty Boy” Olson, the ARC of Central Route, as I reproduced them at the bottom of this newsletter.

 

Meeting Schedule at Host Hotel in DC

There is a lot packed into Saturday after the EOM (End of Mission) of the other three Routes, so please be aware of the mandatory meeting schedule for Sandbox Riders on Saturday, May 25, 2024, and plan your day accordingly..

9:00-10:15am & 1:00-4:00pm Check-in

2:00-3:30pm Leadership Equipment Pick-Up

2:30-3:00pm Road Guard Meeting
3:00-3:30pm Team Leads Meeting
3:30-4:30pm All Leadership Meeting
4:30-5:30pm All SandBox Riders Meeting
5:30-6:00pm FNG Recap


Leadership Support Team Members NEEDED!

Y’all, I need your help.  We still do not have a 50/50 Rouser and Assistant.  These roles are crucial for helping to raise funds during the Run itself.  Since we got a late start in December, we have not had a chance to run any fundraisers, and this role cannot go unfilled.  It is too important! This is a Leadership Support position, so you would ride in the 6-pack, and report directly to me. It would be helpful if you had prior experience in such a role, so that I can cut you loose to accomplish the job. If you are interested, please fill out a Volunteer Form, and also contact me directly at heidi.hansing@rftw.us.

Critical Info

Our critical info document includes rules and processes to be upheld during the Run, everything from proper check-in, standard of conduct, order of march, service animals, fueling guidelines and procedures, road conditions, etc.  Please go over this info HERE.

Furthermore, our Safety Briefing is HERE for detailed instructions on how we ride during the Run itself. Familiarize yourself with the terminology, the procedures, and the expectations therein, please.

Questions and Inquiries

I’ve been getting a lot of questions that I can say would be better directed to the appropriate leadership within the Sandbox Route. The very first place you should look for general Route info is the Sandbox Route Hub. If I haven’t covered it in a newsletter, it’s probably already been answered in the RFTW FAQs or About pages.  If you have questions specific to a certain Team, or role/function (like Missing Man, Honor Guard, Outreach, etc.) please go to the Sandbox Route Contacts and find the contact that can directly answer your questions/concerns.  Other important contacts are listed on that page: if you are unsure about your Platoon assignment, please reach out to our Platoon Coordinator, Sam “Polar Bear” Warner.  If you are an FNG, please contact our FNG Liaison, Bernadette “Flat Tire” Staples. If you have a question/concern about your registration, then our expert on the matter is Shirley “Top Sarge” Scott.  

If you ever need to contact me or our ARC, William “COB” Brehler, then email is the best way. Personally, I do not check social media very often (if ever), and will likely NOT see your message if you reach out in an online group, tag me in a comment, or send me a direct message through Messenger or any other messaging app. If there is urgency to your issue, phone calls are OK, but I work two jobs and cannot always answer, so texts are preferable so that I can reply when available. Usually, it is just best to email. Please. 

 

WE RIDE FOR THOSE WHO CAN’T
WALL 2 WALL

In gratitude and joy,

Heidi BLUE Hansing

* Instructions for printing the Itinerary booklet:

Save and View PDFs to the Books app on your iPhone or iPad. Use Apple Books to save and view PDFs.

1. On your device, go to the Sandbox Hub to get the itinerary PDF
2. Tap the Share button
3. S
wipe left over the app icons and tap Books.

If you can’t see Books, tap the More button. Then tap Books.

Your PDF will open and save automatically in the Books app. You can find it later in the Library tab.

If you own an Android, follow these instructions HERE.

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Midway Route Coordinator April News Letter Addendum #1

Hi Riders:
I forgot to mention that there would be a shuttle in Ontario this year running continuous loops between the Host Hotel and the Elks  Lodge.
The Hours  of operation are:
May 12th…………….1200 to 2000Hrs.
May 13th…………….0700 to 2100Hrs.
May 14th…………….0700 to 2100Hrs.

Addresses from and to are:
Holiday Inn Ontario, 2155 E Convention Center Way, Ontario, CA 91764
Ontario Elks Lodge, 1150 W 4th Street, Ontario, CA 91762
Thanks,

I will have to say——IS IT MAY YET!!!!

Don “10-A-SEE” King
Midway Route Coordinator
10th Anniversary Run
RFTW 2024

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Midway Route Coordinator’s April News Letter

Good morning from Wet Stormy Mississippi!  We are less than 40 days till KSU (Kick Stands UP).  I hope you are just as excited as I am!!  It will be here before you blink an eye.

Your leadership team is busy with the last-minute coordination to ensure a great experience for each rider. Outreach and the Ambassadors have finalized their outreach/visitation schedule.  If you would like to experience one of these opportunities? Then please, let your platoon leader or the FNG Coordinator know.   We have planned to allow a limited number of individuals to experience the interaction with families, veterans and the public, that the outreach and the ambassadors enjoy throughout the run. Being selected to be a member of the outreach or ambassador team is probably one of the most prestigious and rewarding positions on the Run

I want to remind everyone of some administrative issues for Ontario:  Be sure your prepaid fuel has been done via check or Zelle (Midway.Route@RFTW.us), so you can breeze through the registration process.  Additionally, only cash for the prepaid fuel in Ontario. We have no way to process personal checks there!  Checks received by Lily after 15 April will not be processed!  Those individuals will be contacted to be sure you are aware of your status.  You need to bring a hard copy of your bike or vehicle registration/insurance/and driver’s license for verification at registration.

Preprint your completed emergency data form from the website with all information.  The emergency data form is required to be on your person at all times while on the run.  Another thing you will hear over and over is—HYDRATE-HYDRATE. You can help that by starting to drink water now!!  Be sure you have an adequate amount of your required medications packed for the trip.  Almost, impossible to get prescriptions filled out-of-state.

Lastly, your bike and you both need to be inspected and exercised in preparation for the run.  Most Harley Dealer’s offer a free safety check, I recommend that if you are riding a Harley. A few things to do on your bike prior to your arrival for the 3000 plus mile Run:   Make sure you don’t need an oil change.   Brake shoes need to be in good shape to ensure you can stop timely.  Tires have adequate tread for the trip and have no dry rot.  Check your tire pressure to ensure nothing is leaking.  Practice your group riding skills in a group ride if possible (keeping your spacing/ throttle control/etc).  Group riding is a perishable skill which needs practice to maintain a safe level of competence. Pack a bag — load the bike and go for a ride to ensure your stability/load security and you are organized the way you plan to ride. For those who don’t do long distance riding, the last item is very important— all bikes handle differently based on the load distribution of rider/passenger/and luggage. Many of these items will be checked daily by your platoon cadre. Your safety is of utmost importance to us all!!

We still have the $1000.00 drawing scheduled for Monday at the All Hands meeting in Lot D.  You can purchase your tickets through check or Zelle (see March News Letter).  After 1 May tickets will be available at the promotion table until noon on 13 May.  As also many other items will be for sale at the promotion table.  All need to check out the promotion table for items available, not going to give away that info you will just have to check it out!  The table should be located at the Holiday Inn close to the Merchandise Trailer in the parking lot.  Tee shirts and other items will be on sale at the Merchandise Trailer or you can preorder by going to the Store Tab on the RFTW web site.

We are still short on the Staging Team.  If you would like to serve on Staging, please fill out a Volunteer Form.

There are a couple of meetings I can announce today that will not change, they are required attendance:  Monday, May 13th—–FNG Meeting in Lot D, 1946 E. Holt Blvd. (just down the street from the host hotel) at 1 PM (1300) immediately, followed by the All Hands Meeting at 2 PM (1400).  We will stage in Lot D just like we will Tuesday morning so everyone gets an opportunity to see where they will be.  Staging will be by Platoon so look for the flag with your assigned Platoon Number on it.  Go to that flag and someone from staging will direct your parking.  You will get out of the meeting in time to go over to the ELK’s Lodge for the steak dinner they are preparing for us!!!  You may pay at the door or buy a ticket in Ontario.  They have purchase special ribeye steaks to cook on their grills, so they are especially good. Also, they decided to do it on Monday Night for Midway Route’s inclusion. Plan to go!

If you have visited the itinerary, you will see several schools on it.  You are encouraged to bring school supplies for the kids I.E.:  Pencils/Back Packs/etc.  Supplies you can carry easily.  Most people go to the store the night before the scheduled visit to make purchases to conserve space.  As an Example, I go to Dollar Tree and purchase $20.00 of pencils, twelve to the pack for $1.25 each. This activity is completely voluntary!

In DC there are a couple of significant activities:  We are going to visit Arlington Cemetery on Saturday Morning to lay a wreath.  The whole Run (All four routes) are allocated a total of 75 Bikes, for a total of 150 people. Which means only a limited number of FNG’s from each Route will be able to attend.  That number for Midway has yet to be determined.  I plan to start the selection process by levels of participation—-FNG’s who go all the way will have the first opportunity.  Please, plan on offering another rider a seat on your bike if you are riding single.  Don’t want any bikes going single which deprives someone of the opportunity.  Next don’t sign up if you are unsure if you want to participate.  We will probably stage at 630 AM Saturday morning for this event.  The actual schedule has not been announced yet.  Just a sneak peek!!  At the Lincoln Memorial we have been advised that there can be no chanting or loud noises.  The park Department is concerned about the deterioration caused by excessive sound waves.  No bull horns will be allowed.  Please, help us in this effort or we will not be able to obtain a permit from the park service for our annual group photo.  Thank you in advance for your cooperation!

Since this is my last newsletter before KSU, I want to say it is an Honor to be your Midway Route Coordinator for the 10th Anniversary Run.  It has been a pleasure working with the leadership team who has done all the work to ensure a safe and successful Run. Without them and the State Coordinators, I would still be sitting on the start button. Your Servant Leadership Team is ready to deploy!!!  I look forward to seeing each & every one of you in Ontario or along the way.

 

I will have to say——IS IT MAY YET!!!!

Don “10-A-SEE” King
Midway Route Coordinator
10th Anniversary Run
RFTW 2024

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New Social Media Director Announcement

Kelly “Dust Off” Withers

The Board of Directors is pleased to welcome CR rider, retired Army member Kelly “Dust Off” Withers to the Board.

Kelly will be filling our new Social Media Director position. He brings a wealth of experience to the BoD, and we look forward to working with him as we move into the future. I’m sure you will be hearing about and seeing his contributions to Run for the Wall and to improving and expanding our social media presence.

Welcome KC!

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CENTRAL ROUTE COORDINATOR NEWLETTER APRIL 2024

Aloha RFTW O’Hana,
May is rapidly approaching, and I think we are close to having all of our preparations done.
I would like to address a few things in this newsletter.

Itinerary
The Itinerary is posted online. In the last Newsletter (LINK HERE), Kirk “Pretty Boy” Olson explained how to download an online version to your mobile device as well as how to print the itinerary in a “Booklet” form. I recommend holding off on the printing until the 1st of May as there may be a few (Minor) changes to times at stops, etc. READ IT Every Morning and Every Night and at Every Stop.  DO NOT ask questions of anybody where the answer is in the Itinerary (do not ask, for example, when are we leaving? Or what is our next stop?)!!

Thanks to all the State Coordinators and the Route Planner as well as Pretty Boy for getting this done this year. It takes an enormous amount of time and coordination as you might imagine. With that said, please be patient and understanding if there are minor changes once it is posted. Below is a paragraph out of the Itinerary that I would like everyone to read and think about.

This year marks the 49th Anniversary of the Fall of Saigon.  According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, last updated March 1, 2024: 1,577 of our brothers and sisters are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.  Along with that number, there are 126 Cold War MIAs, mostly in or near China.  Another 7,482 American service members are still missing from the Korean War.  Additionally, 72,115 are unaccounted for from World War II.  Since the Gulf Wars, September 11, 2001, and other conflicts, there are five more MIAs.  Out of the 81,500 missing, 75% of the losses are located in the Asian Pacific, and over 41,000 of the missing are presumed lost at sea (i.e., ship losses, known aircraft water losses, etc.).  Even though efforts of JPAC (Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command) have been responsible for the recovery of hundreds of remains, we must continue to remain vigilant in the pursuit to bring our missing home. American Servicemembers are still on duty throughout the world to protect our Freedom and way of life. It is imperative to obtain a full accounting of our missing from all our Nation’s wars. As a part of the RFTW Mission, Central Route concludes our annual Mission at the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. on Saturday May 25, 2024.

 Questions and inquiries
Please take the following information as helpful and informative. If you have questions about procedure, assignments, positions, etc., You are much more likely to receive a timely response if your question is directed to the right person.  Examples would be questions about Platoon assignments, Missing Man, Fuel, Staging, GMRS Communications, etc. Both Kirk and I have been getting a ton of inquiries that are better directed to other leadership within the Route. Answering these inquiries takes a LOT of time each day that we could better use in planning and Coordinating the overall Run. Look at this in a manner similar to a Military “Chain of Command”. Based on our SOPs the Route Coordinator has over 30 “Direct Reports” meaning these 30+ team leaders and State Coordinators report directly to the RC. Out of those 30 people it should be possible for a rider to find an answer to a question without going to the very top first.

Please go to the online contact list on the website under the “Central Route Hub (CLICK HERE!)” and find the contact that can directly answer your questions. I.E. Platoon assignments=Platoon Coordinator, Missing Man=Missing Man Coordinator, GMRS Communications=Leadership Support Communications, etc.

As an Additional note, Email is the best way to contact me. I do not check FB Messenger, especially for RFTW related Business. Texts are OK as well but generally it is better to email.

Arlington Escort
We are still working out the total number of Motorcycles we can send into Arlington and who will get to go. I know everyone is excited about this opportunity, but please be patient and wait until we have it sorted and announce the details (Again, emails and Messages to myself or the ARC are a distraction that we cannot spare the time for right now as we finalize details for the Run).

Pre-Paid Fuel
To be totally clear on this. PRE-PAID FUEL STICKERS WILL COVER THE ACTUAL ANTICIPATED COST OF THE NON-DONATED FUEL STOPS DURING THE DAY ON THE RUN. THIS TOTAL COST (ONCE DETERMINED) IS ONLY FOR THE NON-DONATED STOPS. WE DO NOT CHARGE FOR STOPS THAT ARE BEING GENEROUSLY DONATED.

Due to the fluctuation in fuel costs, we will not have a final price for the pre-paid fuel option until May (AGAIN THE COST IS BASED ON ACTUL PROJECTED COST FOR EACH FUEL STOP). Stickers will be available from our leadership support team in Ontario, and each morning (During the hour prior to the scheduled Mandatory Meeting).

Riders must fill their motorcycles up each evening on their own before arriving at staging in the morning (Spot checks will be happening). We do have 3 very generous donors that will be donating fuel in the evening. Details will be passed in the Morning meetings about how to take advantage of the generous offers to fill our gas tanks up at night. Some Bullet Points below from the Town Hall Meeting

  • COVERS THE COST OF ALL NON-DONATED FUEL STOPS DURING THE DAY
  • ALL THE WAY COST WILL BE APPROXIMATELY $90.00 (Subject to change)
  • WE WILL HAVE PRORATED AMOUNTS FOR THOSE NOT GOING ALL THE WAY (STILL IN PROGRESS).
  • SPEEDS UP THE PROCESS BY ABOUT 75%
  • NON-PRE-PAID WILL PAY CASH AT THE PUMP (NO CHANGE GIVEN) ROUNDED UP TO $5.00 (EX. PUMP $8.25-PAY $10.00/PUMP $10.05-PAY $15.00.) NO $1.00 BILLS WILL BE ACCEPTED AT THE PUMPS/NO EXCEPTIONS.
  • THIS PROCESS GIVES EVERYONE APPROXIMATELY 10-15 EXTRA MINUTES AT FUEL STOPS
  • ANY EXCESS $ GOES TO FUEL THE CHASE TRUCKS AND HYDRATION TRUCK. ANY $ LEFT AFTER THAT WILL GO TO A VETERAN’S CHARITY
  • ALL RIDERS MUST FUEL COMPLETELY THE NIGHT BEFORE AND SHOW UP WITH A FULL TANK OR YOU WILL BE TURNED AWAY TO GO FUEL AND POSSIBLY MISS BREAKFAST AND THE MORNING MEETING (CAN’T RIDE IN THE PACK IF YOU MISS THE MEETING). LEADERSHIP WILL BE SPOT CHECKING.

Ontario Schedule
The Ontario Schedule is almost done. We will make sure to let you know when it is done, or you can go to the Central Route Hub and check to see if it has been posted yet.
We do have a few things that are already set for Ontario listed below (Subject to change based on external Factors/Check the Ontario Schedule in the CR Hub once it is published).

  1. Communications (GMRS) assistance at the Holiday Inn from 1500 (3PM) until 1700 (5 PM) Monday (Conference Room and Parking Lot) Point of Contact Harlan Olson (Leadership Support Communications on the contact list). We are looking for a few somewhat Radio Savvy Helpers (especially those familiar with the BTech GMRS pro) to Volunteer and help folks set their radio and headset up (Connect Radio to Headset/Load correct frequencies, help conduct “radio checks”, etc.). Please reach out to Harlan if you can assist with this.

2.  Riverside National Cemetery Ride (Tuesday). Stage at 0700 Tuesday and depart at 0800. Need to be checked in with the registration team prior to the RNC Run. (MONDAY)

3.  Communications testing at Lot “D” (East end) Tuesday at 1400 (2PM) to test GMRS Radio set ups

4.  Central Route Leadership Meeting in Lot “D” (East end) Tuesday at 1500 (3PM) (MANDATORY FOR ALL CR LEADERSHIP/TEAMS

5.  Central Route ALL HANDS MANDATORY Meeting in Lot “D” (East end) Tuesday at 1600 (4:00 PM) followed by team and Platoon Meetings

Breakouts and Outreach Missions

There will be opportunities to ride with the Outreach and Ambassador teams on Breakouts and other missions. Please ask your platoon or team leadership about opportunities and volunteer to go on these missions. They are very rewarding and give a great picture of the overall mission outside of the day-to-day riding.

 

In closing I ask that you all be safe and start preparing yourself and your Motorcycle for the Mission.

MUCH ALOHA TO MY ‘OHANA
Nick “Richboy” Hentges
RFTW Central Route Coordinator 2024

Check out the Central Route Facebook Group.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1422773938330162

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2024 Central Route Itinerary Posted @ www.RFTW.us

Central Route Itinerary Cover 2024

Aloha RFTW O’hana –
May is 30-days away, and KSU is in 44-days!

We are pleased to announce that the Official 2024 Central Route Itinerary is complete.

It can be viewed and downloaded here:
https://rftw.us/central-route-hub

Additionally, if you want to PRINT a hard copy BOOKLET for yourself, the best thing to do is use this PRINT version, and print using the PRINT BOOKLET Option with Adobe Acrobat or Acrobat Reader.

  1. Put on your phone version – Click here
  2. Print booklet version, using Print Booklet function of Adobe Acrobat – Click Here (Save file to your computer first.) — Instructions on how to PRINT BOOKLET Here. Must be able to print on two sides of paper. Click here for instructions.** The MAP pages are on the LONG EDGE in the PRINT Version, and they are rotated for easier viewing in the Phone version.

To download and put the itinerary on your Apple iPhone click on the itinerary link at the Central Hub, then follow these instructions below.

Save and View PDFs to the Books app on your iPhone or iPad

Use Apple Books to save and view PDFs.

Tap the link above and get the itinerary PDF to open it.

  1. Tap the Share button .
  2. Swipe left over the app icons and tap Books.
    The Apple Books icon
    If you can’t see Books, tap the More button. Then tap Books.
    The Apple Books icon appears when you tap the More button.

Your PDF will open and save automatically in the Books app. You can find it later in the Library tab.

If you own an Android, follow these instructions:
https://www.adobe.com/acrobat/hub/how-to-read-pdfs-on-android.html

See you in May!

Kirk “Pretty Boy” Olson 
Asst Route Coordinator 2024 | Central Route
Run for the Wall®

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President’s Message – April 2024

Run for the Wall

Happy Easter!! As I sit down to write this, we are 45 days from KSU.

We are getting close. Can you feel it? Is it May yet? Have you completed your packing list? Have you gone through your meds list and made sure you have what you will need? Have you gone over your motorcycle and checked every nut and bolt? Have you checked your tires? Have you taken a few long rides to tune up your body? Are you prepared?

Since before we finished the Run last year, our volunteer State Coordinators (SC) and others have been diligently working on the details for each route. It takes the coordinated effort of thousands to ensure the success of each route. I tip my hat to each and every one that has worked so hard to prepare for Run 2024!

Along that same line, as you pass through the food line at your stops, keep in mind that an entire group of people took time out of their lives to ensure you receive sustenance. Look for a donation jar somewhere along that line and drop a few dollars in to help pay for whatever service it is they are providing. Each route passes through towns where oftentimes the locals are barely scratching out a living, yet here they are donating to our mission. Even if we find ourselves in the most economically prosperous town in America, be thankful, remember to say thank you, pick up your trash, and if you can, offer a donation. Your kindness goes a long way. And remember, nothing is free. We often receive the benefit of donated gas and food, but none of it is free. Each of us is an ambassador for RFTW.

If you have not registered, doing so now will assist our SCs. The more details they can pass on to those supporting us in the towns we visit, the easier the visit will go. Even if you are only going to ride for a day, register as a day rider so we can ensure we accommodate as many people as possible. Early registration also assists the platoon coordinator on each route to better plan the platoon configurations. Take a moment to click here and register.

There are still several volunteer positions available on both Midway and Southern routes. Midway route needs staging team members (mailto:gina.cutrer@rftw.us for more information) and Southern route needs Platoon Leaders, Asst. Platoon Leaders, and Tail Gunners (mailto: kevin.short@rftw.us). You can also submit a volunteer form by clicking here.

RFTW leadership is focused on safety. When leading such a large, diverse group of riders with various experience levels, safety needs to be a priority. To that end, we have 348 FNGs registered already. Bernadette “Flat Tire” Staples and Lance “Batman” Wheeler, both certified instructors, are hosting a slow-riding practice session in Ontario on Monday afternoon, 1300-1800 at Lot D. Now there simply isn’t a way we can accommodate everyone, but if you are an FNG or need to practice your slow riding skills, like those skills you will need when you pull into or leave gas pumps, maneuvering around the staging area, hotel, etc., please sign up by sending an email to mailto:risk.management@rftw.us. There is limited availability, so I encourage you to sign up early.

As we transition from planning and preparation to execution of our Mission, our Platoon Leaders and Road Guards step it up to address their responsibilities on the Run; primarily working with a group of riders who have likely never ridden together, let alone in a formation, and molding the group into a team. While every volunteer leader has a vital role, when the rubber meets the road, you will notice the Platoon Leaders working closely with the Road Guards to safely guide you across this great nation of ours. Just like the morning meetings held by the RCs, the Platoon Leaders too will hold morning meetings, most often with a Road Guard in attendance. If you are not up to riding in a particular formation, if you do not feel comfortable doing so, speak with your Platoon Leader or Assistant Platoon Leader. Your PL and APL are there to help and guide you. The same thing holds true if a PL or RG provides guidance or asks you questions. They do so out of concern for your safety. The PLs and RGs are experienced riders and have your best interests at heart. Your safety and the safety of those around you may depend on your listening to their guidance.

I have been documenting the history of the Board and am in a months-long effort to track down all that served on the Board. I have been able to identify 73 people who have served at various times, along with every RC on every route since the beginning of the Run. Many of you jumped in when contacted and assisted, and your contributions aided immensely. Despite our best efforts, I am still missing dates served for: Ronald “Frenchie” Breaux, Mark “Diesel” Breland, Colin “Dr. Doolittle” Campbell, Ron “Rambler” Eschinger, Don “Duckie” Fleischman, Rich “Boomer” Ford, J.R. “Cleaner” Franklin, John “Iron Fish” Handley, Doug “Gator” James, Don “9-Ball” Morris, Tom “T-bone” Ritter, and Dwight “Dutch” Stevens. I called numbers that looked promising, looked through what seems like a gazillion Facebook friends lists, sent messages, etc., and am still missing dates served for these folks. If you have any relevant information on these folks, please email me with that information at president@rftw.us. Your continued assistance is appreciated!

During this process, I was able to go through some of the archived files to include past newsletters. In doing so I was struck by a number of things. Going back to the first newsletter I could find (1999), there were discussions on the need to focus on the Mission, the reminders of “why we ride” and who we represent. As much as things change, they remain the same. I read that in 2004, there was mention of a post-RFTW run called Wall to Wall. It was a run from D.C. to the Canadian Vietnam Veterans Wall. Today, our Wall to Wall is from D.C. to Marseilles, IL. RFTW newsletters contained stories and testimonials written by riders and submitted for publication. Today, you will find some of the same type of stories posted on various social media sites. Discussions of merchandise available were in every newsletter. Today we rely on social media to get the merchandise word out. That said, one of the things that struck me were the many who volunteered to tell their stories; stories of their Run experiences, their concern for fellow veterans, one even described how his granddaughter received her road name while on the Run. But the one thing that really stood out was that it was Mission first. Reminders to check your attitude were prevalent. As we get ready for Run 2024, please take some time to remind yourself why we ride, and remember, We Ride For Those Who Can’t.

As I announced in last month’s newsletter, we currently have an active Sustainment Committee looking at all things RFTW. The committee is composed of riders from all routes with an eye towards ensuring we are prepared for whatever the future holds. A member of the committee may approach you while in Ontario or on the Run as we are seeking feedback on your thoughts. If you would please, take the time to discuss your ideas or concerns if approached. Your contributions will help us ensure the sustainability of RFTW. And please remember, if you have a suggestion on how we can do things better, fill out a contact form and provide us your input. In the start of your message, please indicate that this contact form is for the Sustainment Committee.

A couple of final things. RFTW does not support any political candidate, position, or opinion. We are a veterans support charitable organization, and we ask that each and every one of you respect that. There is no room for politics on the Run; there will be enough time for that later. And finally, our world is ever changing. Events are sometimes magnets for those whose ideas and ideals do not align with ours. Keep your eyes open, and if you see something, say something. Do not just shrug it off; let a leader know.

No one left behind is more than a standard we all live up to. It is a way of life. It is part of our Mission. If you or someone you know find themselves struggling with their mental health, please know you can contact the VA Veteran’s Crisis Line by dialing 988 then press 1 or text 838255 and speak or chat with a qualified responder.

Let us remember to keep our focus on the Mission. It is why we ride!

Say Their Names – Tell Their Stories – Never Forget.

Back to Basics. Back to the RFTW Mission.

Is it May yet?

TurkeyJohn “Turkey” Staub
President, RFTW, Inc.
2011- CR FNG
2012 – CR Participant
2013 – CR Staging Team
2014 – 2015 – CR Staging Team Ass’t. Lead
2016-2017 – CR Staging Team Lead
2022 – CR Platoon Coordinator
2023 – CR and Sandbox Road Guard
2020 – Present – RFTW BoD member

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Central Route Coordinator Newsletter Town Hall and Communications Zoom

Aloha Run for the Wall O’Hana

I cannot believe we are almost in April already! Time is starting to move faster for the team putting together the Run!

 

An email was just sent to all Central Route REGISTERED Participants with a zoom invitation to the Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday the 26th of March at 1300 Hawaii time (1600 CA, 1700 Mountain, 1800 Central & 1900 Eastern).

If you did not get the email (Sent to the email address you put on registration) check your spam or other folders.

Additionally we will be holding a zoom on Thursday to discuss the GMRS communication system we will be testing this year on Central Route. Link for that meeting is below:

Communication Zoom Invite

Nick is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Central Route Communication Meeting
Time: Mar 28, 2024 01:00 PM Hawaii

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89099549846?pwd=a3BjRnFhTXNPc0JscDFxbUpMZExjQT09

Meeting ID: 890 9954 9846
Passcode: 273260

 

Kirk Olson and Harlan Olson will be spearheading this discussion and will be covering several things to help you get your radios ready for Ontario. We will have a meeting in Ontario on Tuesday the 14th of May to do a “Check Run” with the system and assist with any issues or questions, however time will be limited, so we are encouraging everyone to get their system set up and working prior to Ontario. Please reach out to Harlan Olson at harlan.olson@rftw.us if you have questions about the communications system.

In other news things are progressing well. I will put out a newsletter in April detailing a few things that are changing this year (Route changes, different lunch locations etc./nothing major)

Important Links
For any questions you may have, check out our FAQs first.  Then your next level of inquiry can be
directed to your platoon leadership or team leaders of the team you have a question about. We’ve got a strong cadre of leadership in the Pack Platoons and they are a great source of information, as is our FNG Liaison, Bernadette “Flat Tire” Staples, for our first-timers. All contact information is available in the Central Route Hub on the RFTW website.  Additionally, familiarize yourself with our Rider Code of Conduct.

Be safe and start getting your bike and Body ready for the MISSION and see you soon.

MUCH ALOHA TO MY ‘OHANA
Nick “Richboy” Hentges
RFTW Central Route Coordinator 2024

Check out the Central Route Facebook Group.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1422773938330162