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

Day 2, Williams to Gallup

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

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

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

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

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

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An energetic teacher with her delightful kiddos.

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Navajo Dancers performing during lunch at Holbrook.

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

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Video Riding into red rock park Gallup New Mexico

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Passing by Holbrook school

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

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

 

 

 

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RFTW Central Route, Day 1, Ontario to Williams

Day One. Ontario to Williams:

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

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Some of the riders ready to leave Ontario.

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A short video of Central leaving Ontario

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

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Bill (no chute) Hamlin

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roger (Pops) Hageman

rftwsitrep2018@gmail.com

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2018 Central Route SitRep – Day 0 – Ontario, CA

Hi Everyone, we are back for another great, fun filled year on Run For The Wall trip. Similar to last year, I will be posting daily at this location and I hope you will find it interesting. I will not be reporting on the daily schedule as much as I will be writing about some of the events and people that help make this RUN, the “Greatest Run In America”. That may sound boastful but if you stop to think of all that takes place on this RUN, you may change your mind. When you consider the tens of thousands of people across America who buy and prepare the daily food, who do rallies to purchase and pump the gas, the many who line the streets to cheer their support, the national and local leadership who do all their service for free, all the work to set up and tear down each event, the many hours of the traffic and road guard people. Then consider all the healing that takes place in the lives of the participants. We have countless stories of men and women who have found healing for emotions, help and encouragement in their lives because of what this RUN does. Needless to say, I am a fan and I have been on this RUN for 11 years being a platoon leader, ambassador and Sit report writer. So if you are home and reading this, make plans to be with us this or next year and come be a part of something bigger than yourself and be a blessing to many!

If you want to keep track of the RUN and its progress go to the RFTW.us web page, scroll down and click on where it says to keep track of the RUN. C1 will be Harlan in the lead and C2 will be the tail end of the RUN. it is always on when they are moving so have fun and keep up with us.

The first day there are many meetings,  as all of the RUN information needs to be communicated in a short time and that is done through bulletins, emails and meetings. Through leadership, FNG (Funny New Guy) meetings, and then each platoon leader will meet with their riders and sort out the many questions that riders will have. There are also the fuel guys, the road guards, the ambassadors, Chaplains, chase vehicles, missing man, and etc.

One of the special leaders for the RUN is a guy better known by his road name, “Bullet” (Don Pierce)  He is one of a kind that is always there in the middle of the action and always there when needed. He is one of a few “89ers” group that help start the RUN in 1989. He now serves as “Law Enforcement Liaison” for the RUN and has served in several other capacities over the years, such as platoon leader (although there were no platoons then). Some of his early memories of the RUN were when a Kansas trooper headed all the riders off onto an off ramp and had them circle around to and open field by Colby Kansas where they had a meal prepared and people waiting to serve them. They were unaware of this event until it happened and were really touched by the caring people. Bullet says that was the first time anyone was told “Welcome Home” and it is now an often heard sentiment on the RUN. Another memory he has was a semi tanker fuel ruck had pulled into a field and was ready to fuel the RUN’s many bikes but the fuel man was disappointed when they only had about 30 bikes. Oh for the good ole days huh, actually we have many, many people who step up and help us with our fuel costs, may God richly bless them! Although Bullet helps many to get to the Wall, he still finds it difficult himself to make it to the Wall. He has over 70 buddies whose names  are on that wall and it is an emotional event when he does go. Bullet has the best attitude about all of it as he says, “he tries to look forward as he can’t change the past but he can build a better future”. Bullet you are a great example to us all and thank you for being there for all of us!!! We are very thankful for you and for what you do for all of us.

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Don (Bullet) Pierce

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When I hang around the entrances to the hotel I run into many special long time RFTW riders. One of those was Jim (Scout) Hoffman. He road on the RUN for 15 years starting in 1999. He road a FJR Yamaha. I remember Scout, he was always where he was needed and he moved pretty fast on that bike. He was and is a treasure that the RUN has had for many years. Jim told me that he kept coming back because he wanted to give back and he liked the camaraderie and the friendships that he developed over the years and I would add to that, I know the RUN really appreciated his expertise on the road guard team.

 

Part of my work or duties on the RUN are being part of the Outreach Team. Our job on that team is to stop and honor any Gold Star parents that are located along our route. So, one of those parents we talked with today is Deana Howard age 50, and she lost her son 20 year old  Mark Howard on 4/28/12. He was Army  Airborne. PFC. Mark was the kind of guy that liked to make people laugh and he loved learning new things and he had wisdom beyond his years. Deana now works 120 to 140 hours to make ends meet and she takes care of other children. When talking to Deana, we all could see that she is a hard working lady who is determined to better herself and family and she has put the RFTW on her bucket list for maybe next year. Deana, we would very much like to have you on the RUN next year.

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Deana Howard

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Ok, that is it for today and I am already behind but figured you would like the early bonus.

Roger (Pops) Hageman, make it a good day tomorrow!