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Central Route Coordinator Newsletter Farewell Message June 2023

Paul Marshall

This my last Central Route (CR) newsletter.

It was an honor and privilege to have been chosen as the Route Coordinator for RFTW XXXIII, 2023, and to have led such a fine group of riders across the country to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial – “The Wall”.

My sincere thanks to all those volunteers who worked – through a year of planning, and the actual execution of the Run – to make RFTW XXXIII a success. Your commitment to RFTW and its mission; your leadership skills; your concern for the welfare of riders – all contributed to that success.

Thank you also to all new and returning riders. The skills with which you joined RFTW XXXIII contributed to your safe and successful ride. Along with your perseverance in adapting to a new and unique ridership style, you endured extreme weather and road conditions, fought fatigue, and maneuvered through challenges presented by other drivers and riders not associated with RFTW. You also forged new friendships and experienced the welcome and support of veterans from communities across this country. When all is said and done, YOU, contributed heartily to the successful completion of the RFTW mission.

To all riders who completed RFTW XXXIII; what was your motivation for joining RFTW? Some of you are veterans and feel a comradery with fellow veterans, and a link to the RFTW mission. Some are family members of veterans and want to show their support for their veteran and RFTW. And, some riders are devoted veteran supporters. Whatever your motivation for participating, what are your plans for next year and RFTW XXXIV?

Over the years, many riders have returned to the Run, either as a pack rider, or in a former (or new) leadership position. As you probably noted this year in many CR newsletters, leadership positions changes hands between Runs. As a non-FNG, you are eligible to apply for a leadership position. This includes platoon leadership, fuel and staging teams, chase vehicle team and other leadership support positions. So, if you think you might be interested, consider submitting a volunteer request form for next year. SIGN UP HERE!

As a rider, you may be interested in seeing a pictorial history of RFTW XXXIII. The CR Photographer (Alan Steiner) shot thousands of photographs throughout the Run, from Ontario to Washington, D.C. if you are interested in seeing RFTW photos, possibly including yourself, please check out the photo gallery on RFTW website. ( Please give our photographer and webmaster time to get the photos posted.

Another important thing to remind you about: AFTER ACTION REPORTS. Please go to the link and fill out the form. This helps us understand what, in the individual’s opinion, worked well and what did not. It also helps us identify potential problems and address them for next year. The RC for next year will receive all of these and make decisions based on input. If you don’t make us aware of issues, we cannot work to correct them. Keep in mind that we do value any and all input, all reports will be read and considered, but not all suggestions will be implemented.


 RFTW XXXIII is complete! In the coming months the Board of Directors will confirm a new Route Coordinator (RC) and Assistant Route Coordinator (ARC). And, the planning for the next RFTW will begin again. Naturally, I wish the new RC and ARC the best. As in the past, they will be challenged by lessons learned during the previous Run. You can help them (and the RFTW mission) by returning to RFTW XXXIV as a volunteer, and leader.

We ride for those who can’t.

Paul “Brush” Marshall

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Central Route Coordinator Newsletter May 2023

Paul Marshall

This is the last Central Route (CR) newsletter before kick stands up (KSU) in Ontario – in about 15 days. If you’re like me, the excitement is peaking, and your motorcycle is already packed, serviced and ready to go. In any case, you’re quickly running out of time.

More than 1181 riders and supporters have registered for RFTW XXXIII – a total of 459 CR riders and supporters alone.

All CR registrants to this point have been assigned to a platoon. All riders who register late in Ontario (or along our route) will also be assigned to a platoon, based on the needs of platoons.


Volunteers:  We’ve been pretty successful in filling our CR leadership teams. A huge thank you to all who stepped up to assume these responsible and essential positions. Like all four routes, CR is always looking for (non-FNG) riders who can fill leadership role, and are dedicated to the RFTW mission. CR still has available positions on the fuel and staging teams. In addition, while we have a couple “chase” vehicles, we still have a need for a volunteer with a truck and trailer capable of hauling up to four (4) motorcycles. So, if you’re interested in volunteering to assist with CR operations, whether it be this year or next, be sure to submit a volunteer request form. Our Medical team could also use some more trained medics. Please contact the Assistant Route Coordinator Nick Hentges if you are interested and qualified. CLICK HERE TO VOLUNTEER


FNG Meeting and Pre-Paid Fuel:  On Saturday, April 15th, CR hosted an online FNG orientation meeting. In this meeting we introduced many members of CR leadership, and presented an overview of the Run. This included the Ontario check-in process, riding styles (staggered vs. side-by-side), and expectations concerning rider conduct during the Run. We also touched on RFTW online resources, and demonstrated how to search for valuable participant information. (CENTRAL ROUTE HUB). Platoon leaders will continue to hold Zoom meetings for riders assigned to their platoon right up to our arrival in Ontario.


During the meeting we also discussed fueling and staging procedures in some detail. This included a reminder about the pre-paid fuel option available to all CR riders. While all CR riders are encouraged to participate in the pre-paid fuel option, it is not required. That said, based on years of experience fueling hundreds of motorcycles, electing this option will significantly speed the process of fueling, allow riders to quickly stage, and give riders more time for rest, hydration and snacks.


The cost of the CR pre-paid fuel option is only $90 per rider. Riders interested should ask a Registration Team member during “check-in” in Ontario. Upon purchase, riders will be issued a sticker for their motorcycle windscreen. Seeing this sticker, fuel team members will know not to collect money and will send you on your way quickly. And, riders will not have to remove or adjust their riding gear (e.g., gloves, jackets, weather gear, etc.). So, remember to bring a little extra cash with you to Ontario for the pre-paid fuel option. You’ll be helping yourself, and the CR Fuel Team at the same time.

Dinner and a Movie:  Don’t forget, the “Courage” movie, which will be shown at the Elk’s Lodge on Monday evening. There is no charge for this movie – a dramatic, true story about Prisoners of War in World War II and Vietnam.  I plan to be there, to show my support for this important part of the RFTW mission – “To call for an accounting of all Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action (POW/MIA)”. If you plan to attend, be sure to arrive early at the Elks Lodge so you can have dinner before the movie, which begins at 1900 hours. Word is, the Elks are offering a steak dinner for $20.00….

Ontario Departure:  Finally, KSU in Ontario (for Central and Southern routes) is Wednesday, 17 May 2023, at 0710 hours. The Midway Route (MR), however, will be departing Ontario the day before, at 0800 hours, Tuesday, 16 May 2023. Senior leadership from the other two routes (CR and SR) are required to attend the departure of the MR, but all riders from CR and SR are also welcome to attend their departure. Riders who elect to attend the MR departure should arrive at Lot D early on Tuesday morning so they can be staged separate from MR riders.


See you in Ontario, California.
Paul “Brush” Marshall

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Central Route Coordinator Newsletter March 2023

Paul Marshall

RFTW XXXIII Is On! At the annual Run for the Wall (RFTW) face-to-face meeting, held at the end of February, the Board of Directors (BOD) voted unanimously to authorize the launch of RFTW XXXIII. Check your calendars – May 17, 2023 is coming up fast.

Exclusive Film Preview for RFTW XXXIII
Save the Date and Time
Monday, 15 May 2023, 1900 hours

We have a unique opportunity to see the movie “Courage”, a 1-hour movie about POWs in WWII and Vietnam – a movie which directly ties into an important part of the RFTW mission – “to call for an accounting of all Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action (POW/MIA)”.

I first saw a special showing of “Courage” months ago in San Diego, and found it to be quite moving – I think you will too…

The producer of “Courage”, William Lowe, is a graduate of the University of California Film School, and is retired from the film industry after more than 30 years in the business. Mr. Lowe is truly committed to supporting veterans, and the mission of RFTW. His own father was a WWII veteran who, only months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, had been a crewmember on the USS Arizona – perhaps more on that at the showing.

As a tribute to all veterans, Mr. Lowe is inviting RFTW participants to enjoy the movie free of charge. He will also be present at the showing to answer any questions you may have. For their part, the Elks Lodge is graciously providing their theater (the Teresa Seconne Room) at no cost to RFTW. The Elks are also offering an evening meal at a modest price, which will be served prior to the showing, in the grill area adjacent to the theater. Movie viewers are asked to refrain from bringing food into the theater, but drinks are permissible).

Unfortunately, there will only be 300 seats available in the theater, so you will want to get there early. In fact, all RFTW participants are encouraged to arrive in Ontario, CA early on Monday morning to give yourself plenty of time to check in and find your hotel rooms. That will also give you plenty of time to make your way to the Elks’ theater for dinner (1700-1900 hours), and the viewing of “Courage” at 1900 hours.

Planning update:  I can’t believe it’s March already – about 75 days from kickstands up (KSU). Already, CR has 373 riders and supporters registered for RFTW XXXIII. And, planning keeps rolling along. The Central Route (CR) held planning meetings in mid-February to update route details. In attendance were all state coordinators, and many in CR leadership positions, including the Road Guard Captain and Route Planner. CR changes known at that time were incorporated into the draft itinerary, which were then shared with the Board of Directors (BOD) just before the face-to-face meeting at the end of February.

CR also conducted a survey of riders, asking them to select their riding preference. This information will help us determine the proper number of platoons with either side-by-side or staggered formations. We will also do our best to accommodate those riders who expressed a desire to ride in a specific platoon. By the time you arrive in Ontario for check-in, it is quite likely you will already be assigned to a platoon. Please CLICK HERE to fill out the survey. If you do not fill out the survey, you may be assigned to a platoon based on the needs of the Route.

As mentioned in an earlier newsletter, after you complete the check-in process, a member of the registration team will direct you to a location where you will meet up with the CR “FNG Liaison”, Dave “Papa Smurf” Klemme. A Marine veteran and long-time RFTW participant, Dave has served as a Platoon Leader, Road Guard, Route Coordinator and BOD member. He is eager to assist new riders (FNGs) as they begin to acclimate to the Run. Dave will give you a brief introduction to RFTW, and explain your next steps, including the schedule of mandatory rider meetings, and the time and location of the “Courage” film. After meeting with Dave, FNGs will begin to have a better understanding of what to expect during the Run. 

Volunteers:  While most support teams are close to completing their rosters, there are still openings in teams such as medical, fueling, staging, chase drivers and hydration. Chase vehicle and hydration team volunteers must have a truck capable of towing a trailer. Those interested in volunteering for one of these positions are encouraged to complete the volunteer form Click Here as soon as possible. Volunteer forms will immediately be forwarded to the responsible team leaders. The BOD itself has also recently announced the recruitment of RFTW Merchandise Teams. These teams require a driver with a truck capable of towing the RFTW merchandise trailer. Riders interested in a merchandise volunteer position should contact BOD member Alan Steiner directly at 425-246-0437.

The Raffle-Rouser Team is also in need of a volunteer with a truck or van capable of hauling a large quantity of donated items. The raffle-rouser team, led by Lance Jones, plays a crucial role in supporting communities across the country that support CR. As we ride across the country, the team helps raise funds for the benefit of several schools we (CR) support. One of the main benefactors is the Rainelle Elementary School in West Virginia. When we visit Rainelle, which has supported CR and RFTW since its beginning in 1989, riders will understand why it is such a special stop.

The raffle-rouser team is requesting the assistance of riders and RFTW supporters, in gathering items for auction. Already this year, Lance has succeeded in getting some community artisans to make hundreds of blankets for schools CR supports. Other items being sought include those hand made by talented community artisans, such as knives, pens, plaques, quilts, afghans and others items suitable as RFTW memorabilia. Lance also encourages riders to solicit local businesses for items such as hats, t-shirts, swag or anything else they are willing to donate. And, because raffled items often must be shipped to winners, riders are asked to be mindful of the size and weight of donated items. If you can help the raffle-rouser team, with donations or as a driver, please call Lance Jones directly at 805-284-1750.

RFTW merchandise:  After a brief pause of RFTW merchandise operations, the online store is once again open for business. This is the place where you can purchase RFTW merchandise such as T-shirts, hats, patches and pins. It’s the same place that I and other CR leadership go to order what we want and need for the Run. It is important for everyone to remember that to receive your orders before you leave home for Ontario in May, you’ll want to place your orders soon – I have already done so. CLICK HERE TO SHOP NOW!

Finally, what have you been doing to prepare your motorcycle and yourselves for RFTW XXXIII? We suggest riders take their motorcycles in to check performance and safety items. Riders are encouraged to hit the gym, go walking or anything else you can do to prepare yourself physically. Having done these things, riders can raise their confidence in their preparation, and ability to successfully complete their RFTW mission.

The entire CR leadership team looks forward to meeting you all in Ontario. Keep up the good work, and stay healthy.

Paul “Brush” Marshall

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Central Route Coordinator Newsletter February 2023

Paul Marshall

As of February 1, 2023, a total of 932 patriots have registered for RFTW XXXIII, this includes 357 Central Route registrants. Online registration is still available  Register Here! , but at a slightly higher price ($60).  And, if you’ve not already done so, check out the hotel/camping list on the RFTW website CR Hotels and Camping and make your reservations as soon as possible. Also, go to the forums and see if you can assist anyone with a room Share. Forum/Roommates Wanted

In mid-January, we met with all platoon leaders to review their experiences during the last RFTW mission. These – your platoon leaders – are the people who you will rely upon for guidance during RFTW XXXIII – your year. These are also the people who have committed themselves to your safety, and to their responsibilities for mentoring and caring for you as new RFTW riders.

Because of their crucial role in guiding a large group of motorcycle riders across this country, it was important to hear their observations of the last Run, and recommendations for the next mission – your mission. And, while it is impossible to overstate the importance of these discussions, some points of special concern to new riders include:

  • Riding preference: Riders will be receiving an email from CR leadership asking for your riding preference – side-by-side or staggered. This will help us accommodate rider preferences, and determine platoon compositions, before you even arrive in Ontario, CA. In addition, based on your contact information, platoon leaders may be contacting you soon and inviting you to a (Zoom) meeting, to introduce you to RFTW, and what you can expect on the ride across the country.
  • Rider support:  CR has an especially competent and professional chaplaincy team, led by Duane Gryder. The team will accompany riders across the country. The chaplaincy team will deliver words of encouragement at rider meetings every morning, speak at all platoon briefings, and will make themselves available to all riders, individually, at any time, night, or day.
Duane Gryder
Duane Gryder
  • Future leadership candidates: RFTW and CR are always looking for new riders who would like to be considered for a leadership position. Platoon leaders will ask riders to complete a platoon roster, which asks for rider contact information, and a rider’s desire to seek a leadership position for the next Run. It is from platoon rosters, along with platoon leadership observations, that selections for leadership positions for the next year will come.

As planning continues, CR leadership will hold its formal route planning meetings on February 14, 15 and 16. These meetings, involving virtually all CR leadership, will lead to the development of the official route itinerary for RFTW XXXIII. During these meetings, working our way from Ontario, CA to Washington, D.C., we’ll discuss in detail our route through several states. To make these meetings work, state coordinators have actually been planning since the end of RFTW XXXII. They have met with station managers for fuel, community leaders for lunches and dinners, memorial directors and law enforcement organizations for escorts, among other things.

It is truly amazing how much work our state coordinators can get done between Runs. You might think that a year is a lot of time, but consider the complications they are likely to encounter working with local government/law enforcement organizations, state government/law enforcement organizations, and even federal government organizations (e.g., Veterans Hospitals). So, as I suggested in the October 2022 newsletter, in Ontario, and while on the Run, please seek out these state coordinators – the folks with brown hats – and thank them for their hard work.

Finally with respect to route planning, all route coordinators (RCs) will meet with the BOD at the end of February. In addition to RCs briefing the BOD on the status of their respective routes, this is typically the meeting at which the BOD gives the official go-ahead for the RFTW mission and all routes. We will report back to CR riders in March 2023 regarding any changes to the route, as well as the BOD’s final decision.

It’s hard to believe we are only a little over 100 days before we launch RFTW XXXIII from Ontario, CA on 17 May 2023. So, get ready – prepare your motorcycle and ride it, prepare yourself physically and mentally, and stay healthy.

Paul “Brush” Marshall

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Central Route Coordinator Newsletter January 2023

Paul Marshall

Well, it’s a new year, and we’re on the downhill slope leading to RFTW XXXIII. I hope you had a great Christmas and New Year celebration. Now, it’s time to recuperate from the family get-togethers, huge meals, parties, and maybe a drink or two. Seems like we go through this cycle every year. Anyway, it is time to get moving again – to plan what comes next.

As of January 1, 2023, 657 patriots have registered for RFTW XXXIII (244 on Central Route). Congratulations to all you early registrants – you saved yourselves some money. Remember, the cost of registration goes up on 1 February, so there is still time to save.     Register online for the Run now.

Central Route (CR) leadership has continued to plan for the Run, even through the holidays. In early December, the assistant route coordinator and I met with several members of the leadership team, including all state coordinators, the road guard captain, route planner, and the fuel and staging team leaders. We discussed possible changes to the next Run – changes that may affect such things as community events, fuel stops, meals and memorial visits. And, in all cases, the number of riders we are planning for factored into these discussions.

State coordinators have wrapped up work securing hotel rooms for RFTW riders, and they have negotiated the best room rates possible. So now it’s time for hotel and camping reservations!  Check out the hotel list on the RFTW website (Hotel List Link), and make your reservations as soon as possible. Hotel rooms and camping spaces will fill up quickly. If you are interested in finding a roommate for hotels across the country, consider checking out the RFTW Forum for roommate postings (link to RFTW Forum).

After making hotel or camping reservations, it’ll be time for you to think about your ride to Ontario, CA, where you will join RFTW XXXIII. This is a good opportunity to practice your long-range riding skills, and confirm you’ve packed appropriately for a long ride. And, while many participants will ride to Ontario by themselves, others will ride with a friend or two, and some will join groups of several riders in rides called a “Run-to-the-Run”. If you are interested in riding to Ontario with a group of riders, check out the RFTW Forum (RFTW Forum and Runs to the Run) for Runs-to-the-Run postings. You can respond to a posting, ask about the route, and ask the organizer if you can join the group.

Consider also that a group of CR leadership (including me, two platoon leaders, a tail gunner and others) is planning a Run-to-the-Run, from Seattle, WA to Ontario, CA. We have not yet settled on the route, but it is likely to be down the middle of Oregon and California via Hwy 395, or, along the coast via Hwy 101. Our ride is typically four days long,  we leave WA on the Wednesday before the ride, and we arrive in Ontario, CA on Sunday. You can join us in Washington, or join us along our route to California. If you are interested in joining this group, please email me personally @

It is upon arrival in Ontario, CA, that your participation in RFTW XXXIII really beings. Here, on Sunday and Monday, before we begin the Run, riders will “check-in” with the Registration Team, lead by Kathryn Ewing.

Unlike previous years, where riders checked in at the host hotel, this year check-in will take place at the Elks Lodge, located at 1150 W. 4th Street in Ontario, which is a couple miles from the host hotel. Check-in for all routes leaving Ontario will take place in the same room and the Lodge .

During the check-in process, riders will be asked to produce several documents, to include proof of (1) on-line registration for RFTW XXXIII, (2) current driver license, with the proper endorsement if riding a motorcycle, (3) current registration for your motorcycle or other vehicle to be used on the Run, and (4) current motorcycle insurance for your motorcycle or other vehicle to be used on the Run. In addition to these documents, it is highly recommended that riders carry at all times during the Run, their medical insurance and roadside assistance (e.g., HOG Club, AAA RV and Motorcycle Insurance, etc.) documents. And finally, before you leave the check-in room, you will meet with the Platoon Coordinator, Correen “Squirrel” Wood who will ensure you are assigned to the proper platoon.

When you leave the check-in room, you will have a handful of paperwork and other materials associated with the Run, and ultimately. We expect you will also have many questions, such as, “What do I do next”, or “Where can I find my Platoon Leader? To help riders with these and other questions, CR has created a new leadership position – the “FNG Liaison”. Because of his many years of RFTW experience (e.g., as platoon leader and member of the Board of Directors) Mike “Tanker” McDole has been appointed to this position.

Prior to leaving the check-in room, new riders will be directed to meet with Tanker, who will be located just outside the check-in room. Tanker will introduce you to the RFTW Mission Statement, and brief you on next steps. This includes explaining the schedule for mandatory meetings for new riders and platoon orientation. The meeting with Tanker is crucial; it is the time for initial questions and answers. We know you will find the meeting with Tanker both helpful and informative.

Finally, we continue to encourage riders with at least one year of RFTW experience to consider volunteering for a leadership position. The CR maintains a list of riders who have expressed an interest in a leadership position, and it is from this list that most appointments are made. changes in leadership positions are very common, both before and during the Run.

As I said, it’s a new year. And, already I can feel the energy and anticipation building for RFTW XXXIII. We look forward to meeting you all in Ontario. Keep up the good work, and stay healthy.

Paul “Brush” Marshall

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Central Route Coordinator Newsletter December 2022

Paul Marshall

Happy Holidays! Like our Thanksgiving celebrations last month, December is the time to gather with family and friends, to reflect on our lives and blessings, and to prepare for a new year of opportunities and hope.

Registration:  As of 1 December, 528 patriots have registered for RFTW XXXIII. The cost of registration will increase on 1 February 2023. So be sure to register for the Run as soon as possible and save yourself some money.RFTW Route Fees 2023

When you do register, you’ll be asked to select the route you want to join. As you make your route selection, keep in mind RFTW recently added a fourth route, the Sandbox Route. This route is dedicated to veterans of gulf conflicts, and is in keeping with the RFTW mission. Sandbox riders will depart Washington D.C. on the Sunday following the arrival of all three routes from California, and will ride to the Middle East Conflicts Wall Memorial in Marseilles, Illinois. If you are a veteran of gulf conflicts, a friend or family member of these veterans, or a supporter of these veterans, you need to experience this ride. It is important to note, however, the number Sandbox participants is extremely limited. You can register for the Sandbox Route alone, or add it onto the end of one of the CA to DC routes, but you must register soon.


In January 2023, you will be able to make hotel reservations across the country. State coordinators are working hard to finalize the list of hotels and camping locations available to riders. Their work will be completed by 15 December, and the final list of hotels and camping locations will be published on the RFTW website at midnight, 1 January 2023.

Prepare:  With the December holidays upon us, we all know that time will be limited, and mostly devoted to family. Still, it’s important that we find some time to begin preparing ourselves, and our motorcycles. That may seem an obvious next step, but it’s worth repeating. And, given the no-show rate for RFTW XXXII (about 40%), we thought it wise to discuss the probable reason for some of the no-shows, and review many important preparations that have proven effective in past Runs.
We know that COVID had a dramatic effect on RFTW. Cities, counties and states shut everything down, blocked community gatherings, and essentially made it impossible for RFTW to execute its mission. The RFTW Board of Directors (BOD) was forced to cancel the Run for 2020 and 2021. We believe these cancellations, and the possibility of a third year, may have caused some would-be participants to withdraw from the Run.
All that said, if you have been waiting for the right time to go on this Run, that time is now, and now is the time to begin your preparations. COVID is gone, and the restrictions on travel and gatherings were actually lifted before RFTW XXXII. Prospective riders can once again feel confident that RFTW XXXIII will continue the mission, and can now focus on preparations. How?

Your motorcycle – Ride it! Go on 100+ mile rides; gradually increase your distances. Plan overnight rides of two or more days, keeping up the miles each day. Pay attention to your bike’s performance. And, take your bike in for service and a safety check before you begin your journey to Ontario, CA, and then on to Washington D.C.

Equipment and clothing – bring the right kind, and the right amount. Check out the RFTW website for the recommended equipment list. If you know someone that has participated in RFTW, ask them about the clothing and equipment they brought. My recommendation – pack light. In selecting clothing for the Run, consider commemorating your ride, and supporting RFTW at the same time, by taking a look at the RFTW Store for T-shirts, hats, patches and many other items.

Click Here to go to the Store!

Personal – begin at least a moderate physical fitness regime. Riding your bike will help. Bring your prescribed and allergy medicines, vitamins and a first aid kit.  Having done your best to plan and prepare for the Run, rest assured that your CR leadership team will do what it can to support all riders on their journey across this country. Typical rider support includes:

Chase vehicles (Team Leader – Tommy “Two Chains” Cranford):  This a group of volunteers with their own vehicles and trailers. These team members pick up disabled motorcycles and/or riders who are unable to continue riding due to illness or some other condition. Keep in mind team drivers sometimes are unavailable because they are picking up motorcycles and delivering them to a repair shop. To avoid the possibility of long waits along the road, ensure you have a provision for roadside assistance in your motorcycle insurance.

Hydration team (Team Lead – Nathan “Big Foot” Masten):  This team consists of several volunteers who, with their own vehicles and trailers, travel with the pack across country, picking up supplies and providing refreshments (drinks and snacks) to all riders at stops along the route.

Medical team (Team Lead – Wade “Big Country” Wills): This team consists of several trained medics, even a doctor, offer health guidance and/or first aid to riders.

Volunteer Positions:  Thanks to all those who have volunteered to help the Central Route. We’re still inviting volunteers to help with the Staging and Fuel Teams. Keep the request forms coming.

Volunteer HERE!

Just like your Central Route (CR) leadership team, we realize you all have a lot of planning to do in preparation for the Run. Despite moving into the Christmas season, CR planning is actually accelerating. We are reviewing plans in some detail, and soon, we will finalize our hotel and camping list, and riders can begin making reservations. We are eager for RFTW XXXIII to begin, and we look forward to meeting you all in Ontario. Keep up the good work, and stay healthy.


Paul “Brush” Marshall

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Central Route Coordinator Newsletter November 2022

Paul Marshall

Registration update
:  Nearly 400 patriots have registered for RFTW XXXIII since 11 September 2022. As I mentioned in the October newsletter, the sooner you register (CLICK HERE TO REGISTER TODAY), the sooner RFTW (and Central Route) planners will be able to accurately assess (and arrange for) the needs of the Run across the country. But there’s another reason you should consider registering early – saving money. To encourage early registration, the RFTW Board of Directors (BOD) has decided to establish a sliding scale for registration costs:

RFTW Route Fees 2023

We understand that many riders participating in RFTW are operating on a budget – most of us are. So, register early and save yourself some money. And, don’t forget to complete the Emergency Information Form while you’re registering online (more on that form later). Be sure to make copies of your registration and emergency information documents, and bring them with you (along with your driver/motorcycle license, motorcycle registration and proof of insurance) to Ontario, CA in May 2023.

In Ontario, all your documentation will be verified during the check-in process, and you be assigned to a platoon. Later, probably on Tuesday 16 May, you will attend a platoon meeting where you will meet your platoon leadership team, and receive a comprehensive briefing about the mission upon which you are about to begin. It is in this meeting, I’m convinced, that you will begin to establish an important relationship, one which will last far beyond your arrival in Washington D.C. Let’s talk briefly about these platoon leadership teams;


Platoon leadership:  Platoon leadership teams consist of a platoon leader, an assistant platoon leader, and two tail gunners. These teams are made up of women and men, veterans, and non-veterans – patriots all. All are dedicated to the RFTW mission and committed to the safety of the riders in their platoons. All have completed a RFTW mission at least once by riding all the way on one of the routes. Many have been in a leadership role for several years. These volunteers have decided to come back to RFTW, to help others complete their (your) own mission. You will recognize members of platoon leadership teams by, and hear them referred to as, orange hats.

After departing Ontario, CA, your platoon leadership team will continue to guide you on your mission across this country. They will be your direct and daily source of the information and guidance you will need to be safe and successful on this ride. You will be required to attend platoon meetings every morning, during which your platoon leadership will reinforce important safety tips, recap the previous day’s events, and brief you on the destination and expectation for that day’s ride. At these morning meetings you will also have the opportunity to hear from road guards and chaplains, who will offer their observations and encouragement.

This process is repeated every day. As I said before, by the time you reach D.C., you will get to know your platoon leadership team intimately, and likely develop a close relationship (and friendship) with each one of them. This special relationship, moreover, often leads to an invitation to come back the next year to participate in some RFTW leadership role – in the platoons or in some specialty team like fueling or staging. Having said that, if along your way to Washington, D.C. you begin to entertain the idea of coming back and volunteering to help RFTW the next year, just let your platoon leadership know – they’ll be compiling a list of potential leaders as we cross the country.

Planning continues:  We recently met with all state coordinators to discuss where they were in their respective state planning efforts. These are the “planners” we introduced in the October Newsletter. At this point, all state coordinators are reporting that there will be little or no changes in the Central Route itinerary for RFTW XXXIII in 2023. So, if you can find an itinerary from a previous Run (e.g., 2022), it may help you get a sense for what to expect in 2023.

As some of you may know, or have heard, during the last Run (RFTW XXXII, 2022), Central Route experienced some significant route planning challenges. Confronted with massive fires in New Mexico, heavy snows in Colorado, and major construction at the West Virginia state capitol, Central Route leadership, supported (or “rescued”) by state coordinators, managed to re-route, re-fuel, re-stage and re-house about 350 riders, plus support vehicle operators. These changes were successful, and may have appeared seamless to most riders. However, I can assure you that in a very short span of time there were a great many urgent phone calls and map reviews, forward scouting missions and radio transmissions (and hair-pulling), before things finally fell into place. So, as I mentioned in the October newsletter, during the next Run, find a state coordinator and thank them for their planning efforts, and their dedication to RFTW and its mission.

Volunteer Positions:  Finally, we have received a very good response in our call for volunteers. And as mentioned in that newsletter platoon leaderships positions are filled. However, the fuel team and staging team are still in need of volunteers. So, if you have completed the RFTW mission by riding all the way on one of the routes, please consider submitting a volunteer form. We will forward your request to the appropriate team leader, and someone will reach out to you and discuss the opportunities. And keep in mind that some volunteer positions do not require that you ride a motorcycle (e.g., the registration team, hydration, etc.). Keep the volunteer request forms coming. (CLICK HERE TO VOLUNTEER)

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Central Route Coordinator Newsletter October 2022

Paul Marshall

As you know registration began for all routes on September 11, 2022. The response has been incredible. As of the first of October, nearly 250 patriots have registered for the RFTW XXXIII, and it’s more than eight months before kick-stands-up in Ontario. If you have not already done so, please register as soon as you can, and invite your friends and fellow patriots to register as well. The sooner you register, the sooner RFTW (and Central Route) planners will be able to accurately assess (and arrange for) the needs of the Run all across the country.


                   CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW                      


As you plan to participate in RFTW XXXIII, keep in mind that we ride in formation. Central Route (CR) platoons are made up of side-by-side and staggered riders. Experience has shown us that many first-time riders initially request to ride in a staggered platoon, but that after day three or four, after building confidence in themselves, many riders ask to ride side-by-side. Unfortunately, you are not currently able to make your preference known during online registration. Based on previous Runs, CR leadership will do its best to make initial platoon decisions – how many of each are available. And, at check-in in Ontario, CA, the folks on the Registration Team will do their best to accommodate your riding preference.

Now, back to our RFTW planners – who exactly are they? Well, just about everyone holding a leadership position is involved in the planning process, and that is a whole lot of people. There is so much to say about these “volunteer planners” that it’s just not possible to describe all their efforts in a single (or probably several) monthly newsletter. It is important for all RFTW participants to understand the tremendous efforts that go into making the Run a huge success year after year.


State Coordinators:  This month, I want to introduce you to a group of planners – the State Coordinators – who work literally all year round to make this Run happen. State Coordinators have cultivated supporters and donors in each of the states through which we ride on our way to Washington, D.C. And, with the help of these supporters and donors, State Coordinators arrange for virtually all the needs of RFTW participants, including hotel lodging, community-provided meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner), donations to assist with many fuel stops, community events, and visitations to VA hospitals and veteran memorials.


So, take a look at the CR website – you’ll find a listing of State Coordinators there. You will also find our State Coordinators listed daily in the CR itinerary. And, as we make our way across this great country, remember to seek out and thank our State Coordinators. In many cases, you can recognize the State Coordinator by their brown hats. But that’s not always the case as many State Coordinators also serve in other (sometimes multiple) leadership positions such as platoon leadership, road guards, and even the RFTW Board of Directors (BOD). When we make stops in each state, if you cannot quickly identify your State Coordinator, ask a member of your platoon leadership, the Assistant Route Coordinator, or me – one of us will point out that state’s coordinator. You may also find the state’s coordinator riding at the front of the pack with me.

Volunteer Positions:  Following the announcement of open volunteer positions in last month’s newsletter, we have received several volunteer request forms. As mentioned in that newsletter, while platoon leaderships positions were filled, other team positions remained open. We have received several requests for positions on the fuel and staging teams, which have been forwarded to the team leaders. Also, keep in mind that some volunteer positions do not require that you ride a motorcycle (e.g., the registration team). Keep the volunteer request forms coming.


Click Here to Volunteer!!

Itinerary Change:  Development of the CR itinerary for RFTW XXXIII is ongoing in October, with preliminary planning meetings to review, confirm and modify current route plans as necessary. At this point, CR does not anticipate many changes from the previous itinerary (for RFTW XXXII) – CR will still depart Ontario, CA on Wednesday, 17 May 2023. That said, a major change has occurred with one of the other routes leaving Ontario, CA in 2023. The BOD has decided to permit the Midway Route (MR) to add an additional day to its Run, making the MR an 11-day journey across the US to Washington, D.C. To accommodate this additional day, all RFTW participants in Ontario on Tuesday morning, 16 May 2023 will be required to attend the MR send-off that morning. For those who have not witnessed a RFTW departure from Ontario, CA, you will find the event quite moving, as well as an exciting preview of what you can expect the next day when the central and southern routes depart Ontario.

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Central Route Coordinator Newsletter September 2022

Paul Marshall

Registration Begins September 11, 2022 at 8:45 am EST. Changes have been made to the registration process. Registrants will be able to complete the entire registration process online. This includes completing the liability waiver and emergency contact forms, and choosing the preferred method of formation riding – side-by-side or staggered. The actual “check-in” for Run for the Wall XXXIII will take place in Ontario, California or one of our Evening stops. Be sure to bring your current driver license (endorsed for motorcycle), Proof of Insurance and registration.

With another month of planning under our belts, we are yet another month closer to kick-stands-up on 17 May 2023. In August, meetings were held with the Board of Directors and Route Coordinators from all four routes). A separate meeting with Central Route (CR) leadership included volunteers from the Registration Team, Medical Team, the Quartermaster, and other key members of CR leadership, such as our chaplains. And this month, we’ll begin developing  the CR itinerary for RFTW XXXIII.

If you’ve been following the CR Newsletter, you’ll know we just completed another mission at the Angel Fire Vietnam Memorial in Angel Fire, New Mexico, on 3 September 2022. This CR Service Mission and Bricklaying Ceremony, while not a sanctioned RFTW event, is important in the lives of many veterans and their families. This year alone, Riders from Central Route Riders (with welcome assistance from Midway and Southern Route Riders) installed another 500+ named bricks, 12 Medal of Honor Bricks and over 500 blank spacer bricks at the memorial. From all accounts, the bricklaying ceremony was a tremendous success. The riders also had the chance to catch up and “talk story” about past experiences on the Run as well as attend a “rider’s Forum” on Saturday Night. A hearty thank-you to all volunteers.

Why do we ride with RFTW? We realize all participants have their own reasons for joining the Run. Some of us served in Vietnam. Some served in subsequent conflicts, including Iraq and Afghanistan. We also realize that families and friends, in large measure, served right along with us. Which makes it all the more important that participants remember how the RFTW mission statement begins; “to promote healing among ALL veterans and their families and friends”.

Chaplains are here to help:  Keeping the RFTW mission in mind, as well as the individual needs of participants, our CR Chaplains dedicate themselves to fulfilling this part of the mission by providing crucial services to those in need. You might not yet realize it, but your (and our families’) decision to join RFTW is likely the first step in accepting the need to begin the healing process.

You will find our CR Chaplains, walking through the platoons at each stop, making themselves available if someone needs to talk. Should a participant become upset or uneasy, Chaplains are there to listen, to comfort and to console – to get us back on track to complete our personal mission. And, should a participant experience an illness or injury, a Chaplain will be there to assist in any way they can. Everyone wearing a Chaplains brassard is actual clergy, trained to listen, and everything you say to them is confidential. You may find that once you get things off your chest, you won’t have to go any further and the healing has already begun.

Calling all volunteers! We’ve had a great response to requests for volunteers. While most CR leadership positions are currently filled, experience has told us that changes can occur several times before we begin the Run, and even after the Run begins. If you don’t get picked up for your desired position, consider helping out on one of the other teams such as the fueling team, staging team, road guards, registration, medics, or chase vehicles. If such an assignment appeals to you, contact me or Nick Hentges as soon as possible, and we will forward your request on to the appropriate team leader.

Finally, have you checked out the information posted on the RFTW website regarding new riders. For example, how do you pack efficiently for a 10 day cross country ride? Take a look at the RFTW website. There are many Frequently asked Questions on the website (with answers) such as suggestions on what to pack.

I make it a point to pack small, light and portable. If you have questions, try blasting it out on the RFTW Forum.

And, while you’re thinking about what to pack, get out and ride your bike – now!

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Central Route Coordinator Newsletter August 2022

Paul Marshall

As I’ve said before, it’s not too early to begin planning for RFTW XXXIII, both for riders and leadership. For leadership, planning actually began as soon as we returned from DC in June. One of the first things to change was the central route coordinator (RC) positions. In June, I succeeded the central route coordinator for 2022 (Tom “Boomps” Miller). Shortly thereafter, I nominated a new assistant route coordinator (ARC), Nick Hentges, who was then confirmed by the Board of Directors (BOD).

Other leadership changes have also occurred, mostly in the state coordinator positions, due to pending retirements from RFTW. California (outside Ontario, CA) has been masterfully led by Bud “Rebar” Phillips for years. Bud’s role will be filled by his former assistant, Larry Medcraft. Curt Gilman will assume the role as state coordinator for Indiana, succeeding Bill “Oz” Chaney. And, in Illinois, where we’ve always been treated to great lunch at the Mount Vernon airport, Angela Schrum is stepping down as state coordinator, and David Parkhill will assume that role. Leadership roles in other teams continue to evolve, and will likely do so until just before our departure from Ontario, CA, in May 2023.

Several preliminary (but vital) planning meetings for RFTW XXXIII have already occurred. We met with state coordinators in June to get their thoughts on RFTW XXXII. Next, we met with platoon leaders in July to hear their observations and suggestions. And, we met with another group which included the fuel team leader, the staging crew leader and the road guard captain. Finally, the entire BOD (including all RCs and ARCs) met at the end of July.

Central Route (CR) leadership has also been working on a number of other matters we believe will assist platoon leadership, and make the ride better for all. First, we are reviewing several after action reports (AARs) to review rider comments, and to assess what observations may have a bearing on route execution. Where feasible, and relevant, we may consider implementing some AAR recommendations. Second, we are in the process of developing standardized platoon briefing notes, containing “minimum” instructions that address route safety matters. This should help platoon leadership provide guidance to new RFTW riders in a consistent manner.

We are continuing to build a list of potential leadership personnel, developed from information derived from volunteer request forms submitted by many riders in 2022. As vacancies occur in platoons, fueling and staging crews, and other leadership positions, we will consider volunteer requests in filling these positions. If you are planning to return to RFTW in 2023, and you have ridden “All the Way” on any route at least once (in 2022 or a previous year), consider submitting a volunteer request form. You can find the volunteer request form on the RFTW website.

On another subject, riders who participated in RFTW XXXII, 2022, may recall from their CR itinerary that we were scheduled to stop at the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Angel Fire, New Mexico on day three of the run. We all remember, however, that that scheduled stop had to be scrubbed due to the gigantic fires burning in the area. CR riders had to divert around Angel Fire (and surrounding mountains), and overnight in Raton, New Mexico instead. It was an unfortunate set of circumstances that forced us to bypass the memorial in Angel Fire – easily one of the most beautiful and moving memorials RFTW riders will to see on the run. Fortunately, we will be returning to the Angel Fire memorial as part of RFTW XXXIII, in 2023. In the interim, consider attending the CR Angel Fire Service Mission and Bricklaying Ceremony in September, which was recently announced in a “special” CR newsletter.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park

Finally, have you checked out the information posted on the RFTW website regarding new riders (e.g., what to pack)?

Click here for FAQ

And, have you been riding, and keeping up your skills? It is important that you continue riding your motorcycles regularly between runs. Riding not only helps maintain skills, but enhances physical fitness. Ride distances. Practice your shifting and throttle control. If you ride with friends, practice riding side-by-side; first at low speeds, then riding side-by-side at increasingly higher speeds.

So, get out and enjoy the ride. Get ready for your RFTW experience.