Posted on Leave a comment

Southern Route Coordinator – May 2023 Newsletter

These words have been rolling around in my head every morning for about a week….

Leaving on a Long Ride

Our bags are packed, we’re ready to go
We’re standing here outside the door.
We hate to wake up early, but it’s time to go.
The dawn is breaking, it’s early morn
The road guard’s waiting he’s blowing his horn
Already!  We’re so ready we could die.

So kiss us and smile for us, tell us that you’ll pray for us.
Cause we’re leaving on a long ride
Don’t know when we’ll be back again
Oh babe, we’re ready to go.

Many of the Run for the Wall Family members are already KSU and heading to Ontario. I join my prayers with many other RFTW family members in wishing all riders safe travels. Looking forward to gathering in Ontario as we begin the mission.

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.

When you’re tired, cold and wondering why you signed up to join this ride, Remember the Mission – Romeo-Tango-Mike.

See you in a few days.

Kristine “Eyes” Wood
Southern Route Coordinator 2023

Posted on Leave a comment

Southern Route Coordinator Newsletter – April

Welcome Home to the 330 registered Southern Route riders.

April is going to fly by in a whirlwind as riders across the country prepare for XXXIII. Facebook is full of pictures of riders preparing, tents, duffle bags, ice chests…how will it all fit on the bike?  The Wood house has also begun preparing. We took the bikes into the shop for a little fine tuning. I reviewed last year’s notes to see what we wished we had packed and what we wished we had left at home. Deciding how many shirts to pack and wondering if the rain gear will hold out for one more year.o.


At the forefront of our mind is HYDRATE – HYDRATE – HYDRATE! If you’ve signed up for the Southern Route, you better like riding in warm weather.  The first few days out, it’s hot and dry! We experience looooong hot days as we ride across the desert.

Did you know…humans can live for about three weeks without food, but they can last only three or four days without water? On the Southern Route it’s less than that.
“Even though water is essential for life, an estimated 40% of seniors are chronically underhydrated, and adults ages 65 and older have the highest hospital admission rates for dehydration.”
Please do not be one of the riders that needs medical attention because you failed to drink plenty of water.  Start hydrating now, and get in the habit of drinking 8 – 15 glasses of water a day. Continue the regimen as you travel to Ontario and as you make the ten-day journey to DC.

We will once again have cooling neck ties for riders to wear as we cross the desert. Shirley “Top Sarge” Scott makes cooling neck ties, not only for The Southern Route but for all the routes. Make sure you thank her for her service. It takes a lot of time to make hundreds of neck ties, and it’s also expensive, she donates all of it.

Southern Route planning update:Chaplains

  • Last week, was the final state coordinators meeting before the run. Every state coordinator without exception shared that their communities are excited to welcome riders with parades, programs, celebrations, flag lines, treats and prayers for continued safety as we roll on to DC.
  • Road guards have drafted their assignment plan. All LEO representatives have been contacted and are planning the same outstanding support as in previous years.
  • Fuel team is fully staffed and are ready to guide riders in and out of the fuel stops.
  • Staging team still has a few openings. If you are not an FNG, please consider volunteering for the staging team. Staging is getting new signs this year. Thank you to those that have worked to make us new signs (you know who you are).
  • Remember, if a road guard, staging team member or fuel team member asks to jump in front of you in a food line or bathroom line, it’s because they need to get in and get out and get back to work. Be courteous and let them in.
  • Chaplain team has arranged for staging vehicles, as well as platoon chaplains and chase vehicles. Did you know there are chaplains riding at the very back of the pack that help load bikes onto the trailers? The chaplain team has been a great comfort and strength to me this year.
  • Registration team held a training meeting with the board this week. They are ready to check you in, notice, check you in. You must register on-line. You will only CHECK-IN with the registration team. Be sure to fill out and print the emergency information form and bring it with you.

Missing Man Formation

Interested in riding in the Missing Man Formation? Southern Route Missing Man lead Judy Wormmeester shares how to sign up, expectations and why she rides.

Thank you for your interest in riding as an Escort in the Missing Man Formation.

Riding in The Missing Man Formation, (MMF) is a commitment of a higher level, where during the escort leg, you are reminded of the commitment of the person no longer with us, and you honor the one who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

As an escort, you are expected to take this position with reverence.  We ask that you sit up straighter, no kicking back on the highway pegs, no radio, and no waving to RFTW supporters.   It is a time to remember who you are riding for, remember their family, their friends, their sacrifice.  Riding with Run For The Wall is all about honor and respect during the whole ride, but even more so as an Escort.

During your escort, we look for a tight formation so that The Missing can be “seen”.  The formation consists of 2 riders side by side up front, the Escort right behind the Route Coordinator in the left track of the lane, the right track is for The Missing, and side by side riders in the back.

I will hand out Missing Man Formation placards in Ontario.  These can be clipped to your windshield on the day you are to Escort.  This will help the staging team get you to the Support Platoon for the day.  Please make sure you notify your platoon leadership that you will not be riding with the platoon for that day.  If you are not starting in Ontario, please contact me at the stop where you will be starting.

At the time of you escort leg, you need to move your bike up from the Support Platoon to your Escort position.   We ask that after you have positioned your bike in the Escort position during staging, you use the restroom and visit the hydration truck as quickly as possible.   The MMF Chaplain and I would like some time with you so you can tell us about who you are escorting, we can say a prayer, and you can compose and prepare yourself for this emotional journey.

Please have a bio prepared of who you are riding for.   This should be printed and laminated to protect it from possible weather during The Run.   Riders attach the bio to their bikes at the stops, so others can see who they are riding for.   A copy can be emailed to me.   I would like to print it out and carry them with me in a binder.   I try to read about who is being escorted in the MMF either the night before or the morning of the escort.

Again, thank you for your interest in riding as an Escort, I will keep you posted as to your intended leg. Welcome to the RFTW family,

Judy Wormmeester
Not Airborne (If you ask, I can tell you the story of my road name.  I have actually enjoyed skydiving)
I ride for my brother and the crew of Baron 52
Sgt. Joseph A. Matejov
2/5/73 – USAF – Laos – MIA

The Mission,  “…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…”

Along with healing among all Veterans and their families and supporting our military all over the world, The Mission of Run For The Wall also supports families and friends of those Missing In Action and the ones that gave the ultimate sacrifice of their life.   As part of the Mission, RFTW has a Missing Man Formation at the front of all four routes.   At each leg a different Escort rides for someone who is Missing, or no longer with us.

If you know someone who is MIA or KIA and would like to escort them in the Missing Man Formation during a leg of The Run, please contact Judy, Not Airborne, Wormmeester at   If you do not personally know someone, but feel called to be an Escort, you can go to and can locate a list of those on The Wall.  You can search by the following criteria:

Last Name (this is a common search if you do not know someone personally)
Wall Panels by Date
By State and City (this is a common search if you do not know someone personally)
Height of Valor (medals)
Faces of Freedom (photos)
By Military Unit
POW/MIA Status
Groups and Battles

It is asked that you learn about the person you select and create a bio of their history; including a picture helps to make a deeper connection.   In the past, some riders have contacted family members to learn more, and to let them know that their family is not forgotten.   Some are still connected with that family to the point where they meet up, and stay in contact.  It becomes personal.

Once you contact Judy, she can send you information on what she needs to add you to the list.  If all of the escort legs are full, we can add you to the wait list.   For a number of reasons there can be a need to find someone at the last minute.   Thank you, and welcome to the family.

Why I Ride

Kristine Wood "Eyes"After three years as Assistant Route Coordinator and coming up on a year as Route Coordinator I have wondered why, why am I doing this? At first I worked through why I am not riding, which brought me to why I ride.

I am not riding for a hat, an itinerary book, a pin, a patch, a pat on the back, a corporation, a free meal, or a trademark. Some of these items are nice and some are necessary but they are not why I ride.

  • I ride for the 58,281 whose names are on The Wall.
  • I ride for the 1,584 still unaccounted for.
  • I ride for the nine soldiers out of Fort Campbell that died last month in a helicopter crash.
  • I ride for the KIA from all wars
  • I ride for the 81,500 still missing from all wars
  • I ride for my 9th Great Grandfather, a POW during the American Revolution who never recovered from his injuries
  • I ride for the 22 a day
  • I ride for you, the 330 riders registered on the Southern Route
  • I ride for all Veterans from all wars that sacrificed for freedom
  • I ride for the American people. A country that forgets it’s defenders will soon be forgotten. We cannot allow Americans to forget why we enjoy freedom.
  • I ride for Ricky Smith…

I met Ricky just before he enlisted in the Marines. His brother is married to my daughter. As a young man, Ricky followed in the footsteps of his father and his father’s father before him. My son-in-law, Billy joined the Navy, it didn’t go over well in a family of Marines. Ricky recently wrote this poem, a heartfelt account of boys going to war.

Peter Pan Goes to War

Once upon a time, in Neverland fair,
Lived a boy who never grew up or had a care.
His name was Peter Pan, and he was free,
Flying and playing, as happy as could be.
But time is a thief that steals away youth,
And Peter, too, was not immune to its truth.

He grew up, and with it came a call,
To fight a war, in a land far from all.
In Afghanistan, he fought and bled,
His innocence lost, his heart heavy with dread.
No longer flying high, but crawling in the dirt,
His dreams of Neverland, forever hurt.

The world had changed, and so had he,
No longer the boy he used to be.
His laughter now replaced by tears,
As he faced his darkest fears.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen,
Once a child, now a man, burdened with a calling.

The loss of childhood, a heavy toll to pay,
As Peter Pan grows up, to fight another day.
And so, he battles on, in a war that never ends,
Dreaming of a world, where peace and love transcend.
But alas, it seems a distant dream,
For in this war, nothing is as it seems.

And so, we weep for Peter Pan,
A boy who once flew, but now he can’t.
A hero, but at what cost?
For in growing up, he has lost.
Lost his innocence, lost his youth,
Lost the one thing he held most true.
A sad tale of a boy who grew,
To fight a war, he never knew

Thank you, Ricky for your service.
Remember the Mission – Romeo Tango Mike

Kristine “Eyes” Wood
Southern Route Coordinator 2023

Posted on Leave a comment

March Southern Route Coordinator Newsletter

Call to action!

Wow, can you believe it? Just 75 days to KSU!!!

Currently there are 978 total riders registered on all four routes. The Southern Route has 314 registered riders, 77 of which are FNGs. Imagine, 978 riders will travel across the country experiencing American Patriotism on steroids!

The Southern Route leadership continues to meet monthly and things are coming together. The route has been planned down to the minute and coordinated with the Law Enforcement Officers that will escort us across the country. The folks at the meal stops are preparing their menus and shopping lists.

We are still looking for volunteers! Are you qualified to volunteer?

Let me share a few statistics. Currently there are 314  registered riders on the Southern Route, minus the 77 FNGs that are not eligible to volunteer, minus the 163 riders that have already volunteered. That leaves 72 riders currently registered on the Southern Route that are eligible to volunteer but HAVE NOT. Our numbers are going to increase between now and May and we need PLATOON LEADERSHIP AND STAGING VOLUNTEERS. If you are not an FNG, please consider volunteering, we need YOU to help us  get safely across the country.

In addition to the volunteers who facilitate our trip across the country, we also need money to purchase gas for the chase vehicles and for  donations to the VA Hospitals that we support and the schools that we visit.

To help fund the run, we hold raffles; 50/50 raffles, quilt raffles and a stained glass raffle. This year we are raffling Flags of The United States of America!  There are historical flags and flags flown at prominent military or historical locations. One flag will be raffled each morning.

The on-line raffle site allows you to purchase tickets for the specific flag you are interested in. You are also able to purchase 50/50 raffle tickets. When you purchase 50/50 tickets, if not selected on any given day, your name will stay in the pot for a chance to win the following day. Photos of the donated, handmade quilts, will be posted as soon as the photos are available at which time we will begin selling tickets for each quilt.

Purchase raffle tickets here:

Pre-Paid Fuel

Speaking of gas, the prepaid fuel option is gaining traction, every week we see more and more riders prepaying for their fuel. Still not sure how it works? Let me explain…

You have the option of prepaying on-line or when you arrive in Ontario. If you have purchased prepaid fuel, when you arrive in Ontario and check-in, you will be issued a wrist band and a receipt. When you pull into the gas stop, show the fuel team member your wrist band and you will not be charged for fuel. Yes, you read that correctly, fill your tank and ride on through. We will all arrive at the staging area quicker, with a little more time for rest, hydration and snacks.

Now for the questions that are running through your mind:

  1. How can $150.00 be enough money for fuel? Historically, the remaining fuel expenses are donated stops.
  2. How do I know my bike’s fuel usage will be $150? The stops that are not donated fuel stops will all be $10 stops.
  3. What if you’re not going all the way? This would not be a good plan for you, unless you want to donate your unused gas money to the chase vehicles’ fuel expenses, because NO REFUNDS WILL BE GIVEN
  4. What if you lose your wrist band? You will have to show your receipt to be issued a new wrist band.
  5. What if you do not complete the run? There again, you will be making a donation to the chase vehicles’ fuel expense fund. NO REFUNDS WILL BE GIVEN.
  6. Will this impact donated fuel stops? NO, the generous donors on the route will still donate fuel stops.
    We encourage ALL of the all the way riders to prepay for their fuel. All riders will benefit by having faster fueling and longer rest time.

Purchase prepaid fuel here:

Why I Ride

Vietnam War Veterans Day
March 29, 2023

This month marks the sixth year of honoring and recognizing Vietnam Veterans and their families on Vietnam War Veterans Day.

“The Vietnam War Veterans Day Recognition Act of 2017 was signed into law by 45th U.S. President Donald J. Trump, designating every 29 March as National Vietnam Veterans Day.
29 March is a fitting choice for a day honoring Vietnam veterans. It was chosen to be observed in perpetuity as March 29, 1973 (50 years ago this month) was the day United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam was disestablished and also the day the last U.S. combat troops departed Vietnam. In addition, on and around this same day Hanoi released the last of its acknowledged prisoners of war. “

November 1, 1955 was selected to coincide with the official designation of Military Assistance Advisory Group-Vietnam (MAAG-V); May 15, 1975 marks the end of the battle precipitated by the seizure of the SS Mayaguez.

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that today there are more than 7 million U.S. Vietnam veterans living in America and abroad, along with 10 million families of those who served during this timeframe.
Excerpt taken from:

I was a young teenager when my brother-in-law shipped off to Vietnam. He was never the same. Three years ago he died from cancer related to agent orange exposure. I ride for Danny, I ride for the veterans on the run, I ride for the families whose loved ones were never the same or never came home. I ride for the 1,582 still unaccounted for.  I ride, to thank and honor all our veterans and their families, not just on March 29th, but all year.

Why are you riding  this year?

Kristine “Eyes” Wood
Southern Route Coordinator 2023

Posted on Leave a comment

Southern Route Coordinator Newsletter – February 2023

Welcome Home to the 64 FNG’s currently signed up to ride with us on the Southern Route. We look forward to reconnecting with the 245 riders that have ridden in previous years. Southern Route registration currently stands at 302 participants with 932 registered on all routes.

Southern Route Leadership, team-leads and state coordinators are planning welcome home events clear across the country.  One of the mission goals of RFTW is to promote healing among ALL veterans and their families and friends. Vietnam Veterans were not welcomed home as they should have been which added salt to the wounds of the already suffering Veterans. One method of promoting healing for you, the Vietnam Veteran, is through the welcome home ceremonies held in the communities we ride through. From California to Arizona, Mississippi to Virginia, the state coordinators and community volunteers are planning meals, ceremonies and greetings. Please, come ride with us and allow American communities to help rectify the wrong done so many years ago.

Southern Route leadership is meeting monthly as are the state coordinators, to fine tune every aspect of the Southern Route. From platoon leaders, to the gas stops to the law enforcement escorts, every detail of the 3,000 mile journey is being analyzed, picked apart and looked at again, 2023 Southern Route is going to be great! You will not be sorry you signed up and rode with us. This ride will change your life!

We still need a few good volunteers! If you have riden with us before, please consider volunteering for a leadership position. Platoon leadership and stagers are a little short staffed. The run cannot take place without the 125 plus volunteers, Southern Route NEEDS YOU!

The itinerary is being compiled and it too is being scrutinized before it is released to the public. Please be patient with us. We are hoping to have it posted on the RFTW website by March 1.

As Southern Route leadership prepares for the run, what are you doing to prepare? No, I don’t mean packing your bike or changing the oil. I am referring to your personal health.

  • Get that yearly physical you’ve been putting off.
  • Make sure any meds you take are at the proper dosage.
  • Start exercising 30 minutes a day. The run is arduous, are you ready for long hot days?
  • Work on strengthening your clutch hand (it’s for sure to get a work-out).
  • Get mentally ready. The run is ten long and emotional days. You will need mental stamina to get you to DC.

    Why I Ride

Every morning on the run we hold a mandatory “all rider” meeting. One aspect of that meeting is the “Why we ride” message. At a recent leadership meeting I asked Senior Chaplain, Dustin “Leatherneck” Taylor to share with us why he rides. He shared a very moving story that emphasizes what we call, “the magic of the run”. Please read his story here and Remember the Mission, why we ride and why you are riding this year. Romeo Tango Mike.

Why I Ride – Dustin “Leatherneck” Taylor

“Run For The Walls’ mission statement is “We ride for those who can’t”.  This is one of my stories of why I ride. 

My father-in-law is a Vietnam Veteran, and that’s all my wife and her brother really ever knew about that part of his life. Like many others that served in Vietnam they don’t talk much about their experience. My wife and her brother never knew that he was a Purple Heart recipient, until one night he and I were talking and I being a Marine Corps Veteran myself asked him a few questions and he began to open up about his service to our Country.

He shared a story about an individual named Lamb that he had gone to basic with and that they had been stationed together with the same company in Vietnam. He told of a battle he was in on May 4th, 1970, where he was injured pretty bad, and his friend Lamb was killed. He began to talk about his friend Lamb and what he could remember of him, like where he was from and that he was married. You could tell that this causality of war still weighed heavy on his heart. He told a story that he probably hadn’t told ever or at least for several decades. You could feel the emotions in the room as he shared what had happened to him that so many years ago.

My wife and I started doing some research on Lamb (Floyd Wetzel Lamb JR) and we found out that he was from Chuckey Tennessee, which just happens to be a few miles off the path of the Southern Route. In 2018 my wife and I broke away from the pack outside of Chattanooga and set out to find the final resting place of SPC Floyd W. Lamb JR. After a beautiful ride through the hills we came to Chuckey Tennessee.  We quickly found the church where he was buried and after several minutes of searching, we found his grave site.

A long story turned short story is my wife and I happened upon an individual at the church that knew the Lamb family and pointed out that Floyd’s 93-year-old mother still to this day lives in a house across the street from the church. I left my contact information with the gentleman to give to the family.  Three hours down the road I received a call from Floyd’s mother. I explained who we were and that we were headed to Washington DC with Run for The Wall and that my wife and I were honored to ride in memory of Floyd. She could not believe that after so many years someone would take the time to find a family they had never met and ride in honor of their son/brother. More to making a story short we have made the Lamb Memorial and Lamb family a part of the Southern Route Outreach. 

“Why I Ride” …I ride for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our Beloved Country and didn’t make it home to their families, like Floyd (Jason)Wetzel Lamb JR, and for the people like my Father-in-law that still carry the burden of war with them every day, in their scares, their memories, and in their heart.”

In 2022, as assistant route coordinator, I was able to go on the Lamb outreach and was blessed to meet the Lamb family. I took several photos of the family and the cemetery(shared here). This year, we have had patches made honoring Jason Lamb. The riders that are selected to visit with the Lamb family will receive a patch to place on their vest.

For ten days, Southern Route riders, remember and honor the heroes that gave their life in service to America and the 1,581  still missing. We pray for answers.


Romeo Tango Mike

Kristine “Eyes” Wood
Southern Route Coordinator 2023

Posted on Leave a comment

Southern Route Coordinator Newsletter – January 2023

Happy New Year!!!

I hope your new year is off to a healthy, happy beginning.

The new year is a time for reflection, and planning. As I was mentally preparing for the new year, I had been pondering my role as Southern Route Coordinator. It’s easy to get bogged down in the logistics, nuts and bolts of the run and to lose sight of the mission and why I joined Run for the Wall in the first place and why veterans return to the run year after year.

My pondering was brought home to me on New Year’s Eve and brought clarity to my thoughts and mission. Doc and I were attending a party at our neighbor’s home who is also a biker and owns a motorcycle merchandise shop in town. Consequently, the other attendees at the party were predominantly bikers.  Well into the evening, I looked over and saw a man looking through the book Run for the Wall – A Journey to the Vietnam Memorial. I went and sat next to him and we began to talk.

Jerry, a veteran and a biker had heard of the Run but didn’t know much about it. What a golden opportunity for me to share my passion, and commitment to the ten-day motorcycle ride across the country, escorting veterans on the healing ride of a lifetime. Jerry had tears in his eyes as he reviewed the pictures of patriotic Americans greeting veterans all across the country. Needless to say, Jerry signed up to ride with us in 2023.

This experience with Jerry was just what I needed to boldly enter 2023 and the final preparations for this year’s Run. I hope everyone in leadership has similar opportunities to share the Run with others and to pause and remember the 1,581 still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has compiled profiles of many of the MIA, please read and remember, this is why we ride.

Click here for MIA biographies

Promotional Materials

The Board has recently created many tools to use to share the run. You can access flyers, business card templates, brochures and talking points. These are great tools to help all of us 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.  Romeo Tango Mike

Click here for RFTW promotional materials

Interactive Map

Another newly added item to the website is the interactive Southern Route Map and Stops. Wow, it already has 2,857 views! The map provides a day by day list and map of each stop, highway and exit. A big shout out to Kelly “Gonzo” Perry for putting the map together for us. Be sure to say thank you when you see him this year. Did I mention, he works for donuts 🤗🍩.

Click here for map



Other News

If you are riding from California to DC, please take advantage of our Pre-Paid fuel program. This has been discussed in previous newsletters. The QR code on the attached flyer will take you directly to the link where you may purchase pre-paid fuel. The pre-paid fuel program will get us through the gas line much quicker and provide for longer KSD rest stops. Beats sitting in a gas line, waiting for your turn to fuel.




Gift Cards Needed

A segment of every morning meeting is fundraising. This is done through the 50/50 raffle and item raffle. This year we’re looking for un-used or donated gift cards to raffle at morning meetings. Please consider bringing gift cards to donate to our morning raffle fundraising. The funds are used in part to purchase fuel for the chase vehicles and medical vehicles. Just knowing the chase vehicles and medical staff are with us provides a level of comfort, safety and  security. Please help us pay for this service.

Volunteers Needed

We are still looking for volunteers for the staging team and platoon leadership. If you have ridden with RFTW before, please consider volunteering.

Click here to volunteer for Southern Route

Public Service Reminder – Registration price increase takes effect on January 31, 2023. REGISTER FOR THE RUN TODAY!!! 


The Southern Route hotel list was posted January 1, 2023. A big shout out to the state coordinators who worked to get the hotel lists to Assistant Route Coordinator, Michelle “Stonewall” Phelan so she could have it posted on the web. It’s not always easy to be working on tasks so far before the run takes place. It takes commitment and fortitude to get the hotel list done way before most riders haven’t even decided if they’re going. A big thank you to Stonewall, for staying on top of all the details. Be sure to say thank her when you see her this year. Did I mention Stonewall works for beads and trinkets 🤗

Southern Route Leadership team is meeting monthly to plan a safe, memorable ride for 2023. The first draft of the itinerary is done, the hotel list is done, many leadership teams are fully staffed. The Southern Route is well planned. During the next few months, we will continue to fine tune the details. The 100 plus Southern Route Volunteers are committed to making the XXXIII Run a great experience.

Is it May yet?

Kristine “Eyes” Wood
Southern Route Coordinator

Posted on Leave a comment

Southern Route Coordinator Newsletter- December

I hope December finds all of the Run for the Wall family and friends healthy and happy. I am sure we are all looking forward to spending time with loved ones. Like most of you, I am frantically purchasing gifts, wrapping presents, baking cookies, attending parties… Every year I swear to scale back, buy less, do less, start earlier…as usual, it didn’t happen this year. Consequently, this will be a short, to the point newsletter.

Pre-Paid Fuel

As mentioned in previous newsletters, we are offering a pre-paid fuel option for the 2023 Run. If you struggle remembering to stop at the bank for wads of cash, digging in your pocket for gas money at the hectic fuel stop, this might be something you’re interested in. Yes, you read it correctly a pre-paid fuel option. What’s the cost to you? The estimate of the cost of non-donated fuel stops will be $150.00 per rider.

How does it work? Scan the QR code on the flyer,  from there you can purchase pre-paid fuel with a credit card. You may also pay for pre-paid fuel when you arrive in Ontario and check-in. Once you pre-pay for your fuel, you will be issued a wrist band and a receipt. When you pull into the gas stop, show the fuel team member your wrist band and you will not be charged for fuel. Yes, you read that correctly, fill your tank and ride on through. We will all arrive at the staging area quicker, with a little more time for rest, hydration and snacks.

All riders will still be required to fuel their bikes after the dinner stop. Every rider WILL HAVE A FULL TANK WHEN THEY ROLL OUT IN THE MORNING!

Now for the questions that are running through your mind:

  1. How can $150.00 be enough money for fuel? Historically, the remaining fuel expenses are donated stops.
  2. How do I know my bike’s fuel usage will be $150? The stops that are not donated fuel stops will all be $10 stops.
  3. What if you’re not going all the way? This would not be a good plan for you, unless you want to donate your unused gas money to the chase vehicles’ fuel expenses, because NO REFUNDS WILL BE GIVEN
  1. What if you lose your wrist band? You will have to show your receipt to be issued a new wrist band.
  1. What if you do not complete the run? There again, you will be making a donation to the chase vehicles’ fuel expense fund. NO REFUNDS WILL BE GIVEN.
  1. Will this impact donated fuel stops? NO, the generous donors on the route will still donate fuel stops.

Hotel List
The 2023 Southern Route hotel list will be posted on the website January 1. The list will include hotel names, date and contact information. Please be kind and considerate when you contact the hotel to make your reservation. Our state coordinators work hard to develop relationships with the hotel staff and we want to ensure good relationships continue.
A big thank you and shout out to our state coordinators. They work behind the scenes all year to coordinate and organize each and every gas stop, meal, hotel, camping site, and law enforcement escort. It is a long, never-ending job and these volunteers deserve our utmost gratitude. During the Run this year, when you see the state coordinators, please thank them for the many hours they put in to get YOU safely and comfortably to DC.

We still need volunteers for the staging team and platoon leadership. If you have been on the run before, we need you to volunteer, the mission will not continue without volunteers. Charlie Mike

Early Bird Registration ends January 31, at which time there will be a price increase of $15.00. Please register early, it helps tremendously with our planning.

  • Your leadership team has been laying low the month of December to allow for time with friends and family, to enjoy the holiday season, to rest and rejuvenate because, come January we are going to hit it hard!
    We need You to:


A very Merry Christmas to you and yours from our little farm in Idaho. May you have a colorful Christmas full of bright lights, hot drinks and warm loved ones.
May no Grinch, foreign or domestic, be able to spoil your holiday. Wishing you a Christmas where everyone is happy and grievances are at a minimal.

Kristine “Eyes” Wood
Southern Route Coordinator

Posted on Leave a comment

Southern Route Coordinator News – November

Southern Route 2023 "Eyes" Masthead

Welcome to the November Southern Route, RC Newsletter. Let’s see if we can bring you up to date on what’s new and what’s not so new.

What’s Not so New

 Southern Route leadership continues to meet and to plan. The focus this month has been on building the various volunteer teams, these teams are necessary for our safe ride across the country.

State Coordinators have been working with the various hotels to have enough hotel rooms and host hotels for all the riders. The hotel list will be posted on January 1, 2023. Please do not contact the hotels prior to January 1, as the state coordinators have not finalized the hotel contracts.

Our Quartermaster, Ken Ley has been trying to gather the information necessary to order all the needed supplies; hats, brassards, rockers, windshield banners, flashlights and safety vests. It’s a big job and we appreciate the work and time he has sacrificed for the Run.

Yes, we have all been busy and that is not new.

What’s New

Volunteers Needed

 Southern Route Leadership teams still need volunteers, particularly in the staging team and platoon leadership. To perform their duties efficiently, the staging team needs TWENTY volunteers. We currently have 6. If you are a seasoned rider (more than one year) please consider volunteering for the staging team.

Another team with a few vacancies is platoon leadership. I came up through the ranks in platoon leadership. I can’t think of a more rewarding place to volunteer. You meet and get to know the riders in your platoon. You are the face of the run for FNGs. You are in the trenches and can really help the riders. Southern Route operates with approximately FORTY-THREE volunteers in platoon leadership. We are about half-way there. If you are a seasoned rider (more than one year) please consider volunteering for platoon leadership.

Click this link to volunteer

Pre-Paid Fuel

In September we introduced the new PRE-PAID fuel opportunity at a cost of $150.00.  Why are we offering a pre-paid fuel option?

  • No need to dig in your pockets at the pump
  • Gas stops will be quicker, thus allowing riders more time to rest and hydrate
  • Because we can. We have calculated how many stops are donated and how many will be rider funded. All non-donated stops will be $10 stops, totaling $150.00.

If you have any further questions, please see the September newsletter where the pre-paid fuel option is explained in greater detail.

What is new this month, is that we have an on-line pre-paid fuel option.

Following Midway Route’s lead in accepting on-line donations, you may pre-pay for your fuel NOW.

Click here to buy your loved one or yourself, all the out of pocket fuel needs to ride to Washington DC.

Click here for pre-paid fuel

This is a great gift for a Veteran and or a rider. Let’s face it Dad’s and Grandfather’s/Mom’s and Grandmother’s are the hardest people to buy Christmas gifts for. They tend to buy what they want, or they already have everything they want. Southern Route just made it super easy for you to buy your motorcycle enthusiast a Christmas gift. Pass on the message.

SAVE YOUR RECEIPT. When you arrive in Ontario, you will be given a wrist band to wear to show you have pre-paid for your fuel. For the convenience of paying on-line, there is a fee of 4%.

Registration Price Increase – Be sure to register before January 31. After January 31 there is a price increase of $15.00.

Veterans Day – November 11, 2022

 November 11, 2022 marks the day we honor and remember our veterans.

World War I officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.” In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day.

In 1954, after World War II, at the urging of veteran service organizations, Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day and on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a national holiday, a day to honor American veterans

As Veterans Day got its start from World War I, so did the wearing of the Remembrance Poppy. Lt. Col John McCrae penned the famous poem “In Flanders Field” in the spring of 1915. The poppy spoken of in the poem became a national symbol of hope and remembrance. Today the United States tends to wear a remembrance poppy on Memorial Day while in the United Kingdom the remembrance poppy is worn in November. Why not wear a poppy both, in May and in November?

The simple wearing of a Remembrance Poppy during November shows that you remember the sacrifices made by veterans as well as our active-duty military. It shows that you REMEMBER the 1,582 still missing from the Vietnam War. You also honor the families who still wait for answers.

 We Ride – To REMEMBER – Romeo Tango Mike

Kris “Eyes” Wood

Southern Route Coordinator

Posted on Leave a comment

Southern Route Coordinator Newsletter – October

Southern Route 2023 "Eyes" Masthead

Over one-hundred RFTW participants gathered in Kerrville, Texas September 23 – 26, for the annual Texas Riders Reunion. Attendees enjoyed gorgeous rides to Luckenbach, and riding the Three Sisters. The Three Sisters is a ride roughly a hundred miles long, encompasses Farm Roads 335/336/337. The ride is known for its sharp turns, steep climbs, deep valleys and scenic views. The route passes through the “hilliest” of the Texas Hill Country. Many riders have the t-shirt to prove they rode the Three Sisters.

The Texas Riders Reunion provides riders’ opportunities to visit with fellow riders, without the hectic pace of the run. It also provides time for face-to-face planning meetings for the 2023 run. Thank you to those riders that have accepted new positions or that have agreed to stay on in previous positions.

A group of unsung heroes on the run are the advance team which encompass the staging team and fuel team. These two groups are up early, getting bikes staged in platoon order and facilitating the fueling of 300 motorcycles in record time. This year we have a new Advance Team Lead, Ken “Tumbler” Gigliotti. We also have a new Fuel Team Lead, Rick “Speedbump” Shoaf and returning this year, Staging Team Lead, Steve “Dragon” Edmonds. Thank you for stepping up to serve in these important roles.

We need volunteers! Both the fuel team and staging team are looking for a few good riders to join their teams!
If you have not filled out a volunteer form, please do so today. Volunteer Here

The prepaid fuel option outlined in last month’s newsletter was presented at the Kerrville Reunion and was well received. Many riders are planning on taking advantage of this option to simplify and expedite fuel stops. I am sorry to report, the paying online option is not possible at this time, maybe next year. Pre-paid fuel payments will be accepted in Ontario when you check-in at the host hotel.


Did you know we have a Southern Route 2023 Run t-shirt?
The sale of the shirts will aid in paying for run expenses and will help build our Run community, Route loyalty and pride in each other for spending ten days doing something hard to support what we believe in.

When a team of proud, dedicated
individuals make a commitment
to act as one, the sky is the limit.

The sky is the limit for the 2023 Southern Route – Run for the Wall. We are hoping to touch more veterans with the healing message of the run, to touch more community members, to make them aware of the needs of our veterans and active-duty military. To spread the message of the run and to more fully, REMEMBER THE MISSION.
We are asking all registered riders to wear one of the six, 2023 Southern Route t-shirt on day 1, May 17, when we depart Ontario.
There are six shirt options, 3 men and 3 women, red, gray and navy blue.
Shirts can be ordered through the following link. Don’t wait sales end October 27. Shirts will be mailed to your home address the first week of November.

Order RTM Shirt here

A Little History…

Do you ever look up the history on something you lived through? I did that today, just to see what the internet had to say about POW/MIAs. I felt The History website would be the most factual.  I found it interesting to read the beginning of the POW/MIA flag and National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing Organization.
I hope you find this interesting and that it reaffirms Why You ride with Run for the Wall.

The Paris Peace Accords marking the end of the Vietnam War were signed on January 27, 1973. The U.S. agreed to withdraw all of its troops and dismantle American bases in exchange for the release all U.S. prisoners of war held by the North Vietnamese. That February, Operation Homecomingaired on American television showing the release of American POWs from North Vietnamese prison camps. By March 29, 1973, 591 soldiers would be returned and President Richard Nixon announced, “For the first time in 12 years, no American military forces are in Vietnam. All of our American POWs are on their way home.” At the time, 1,303 Americans were still unaccounted for.

Over the years, rumors about men left behind and discrepancies in the number of missing vs. the number of returned outraged MIA families—as did reports of the mishandling and misidentification of American remains. Action films like 1983’s Uncommon Valor and Rambo: First Blood Part II(1985) fictionalized attempts at rescuing living soldiers from captivity in Vietnam.

Sybil Stockdale was determined to bring her husband, Vice Adm. James Stockdale, home from the infamous Hoa Lo Prison—also known as the “Hanoi Hilton” where Senator John McCain was held. She joined with other families of MIAs to form The National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia, a non-profit incorporated in May of 1970 with the mission “to obtain the release of all prisoners, the fullest possible accounting for the missing and repatriation of all recoverable remains of those who died serving our nation during the Vietnam War.”

“The greatest motivation for all of these families is uncertainty,” says Ann Mills-Griffiths, chairman of the board & CEO of the National League of POW/MIA Families. “Uncertainty is a killer. It is a great motivator to get you engaged…It’s better to find out what happened to the missing than to endlessly stay in a state of uncertainty and frustration that you can’t do anything about it,” she said. “The families were desperate, there was so much misinformation going around. Nobody wanted to talk about the veterans who had been ignored.”
Read more about POW/MIA Flag & Movement

This is why I ride, for those who can’t and for the families that still seek answers.

Kristine “Eyes” Wood
Route Coordinator
Southern Route

Posted on Leave a comment

Southern Route RC Newsletter

Southern Route 2023 "Eyes" Masthead

Welcome September, the first  of the “ber” months. With September comes, cooler temps and the best riding weather of the year. I hope you’re enjoying the weather with many road trips and wind therapy.

Southern Route leadership continues to meet and implement a few changes that will simplify and enhance the 2023 run.  For the 2023 run, we are offering a pre-paid fuel option. If you struggle remembering to stop at the bank for wads of cash or digging in your pocket for gas money at the hectic fuel stops, this might be just the thing  for you. Yes, you read it correctly, a pre-paid fuel option!  What’s the cost to you? The cost of the pre-paid fuel option is $150.00 per bike.

How does it work? When you arrive in Ontario and check-in, you will have the option of pre-paying $150.00 for your ten-day fuel expense. Once you pre-pay for your fuel, you will be issued a wrist band and a receipt. When you pull into the gas stop, show the fuel team member your wrist band and you will not be charged for fuel. Yes, you read that correctly, fill your tank and ride on through. We will all arrive at the staging area quicker, with a little more time for rest, hydration and snacks.

Now for the questions that are surely running through your mind:

  1. How can $150.00 be enough money for fuel? Historically, the remaining fuel expenses are donated stops.
  2. How do I know my bike’s fuel usage will be $150? The stops that are not donated fuel stops will all be $10 stops.
  3. What if you’re not going all the way? This might not be a good plan for you, unless you want to donate your unused gas dollars to the chase vehicles’ fuel expenses, because NO REFUNDS WILL BE GIVEN
  4. What if you lose your wrist band? You will have to show your receipt to be issued a new wrist band.
  5. What if you do not complete the run? There again, you will be making a donation to the chase vehicles’ fuel expense fund. NO REFUNDS WILL BE GIVEN.
  6. Will this impact donated fuel stops? NO, the generous donors on the route will still donate fuel stops.

***We are looking into having an on-line option to pre-pay for fuel. We will keep you posted on this option, as we work through the process.

Mark your calendar!

Registration for Southern Route, 2023 opens on September 11, 2022 at, please register early, it helps with the planning of the run.

Announcing 2023 Road Guard Captain

Southern Route is fortunate to have Bob “Captain” Mazzone back again this year as our Road Guard Captain. 2023 marks the fourth year Captain will be serving as the RGC. I am honored to work with Captain this year. Bob is a retired Navy Captain, 1983 – 2014. Bob has a PHD in Physiology. Bob has served his country as a: Qualified Deep Sea Navy Diver, Qualified Submarine Engineering Duty Officer. Significant Navy Tours:  Diving Officer, Naval Medical Research Institute, Mar 83 – May 85, Senior Ship Superintendent and Docking Officer, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Sept 85 – May 89, Diving and Salvage Officer, Commander Submarine Development Group One Jan 92 – Feb 95, Operations Officer, Navy Experimental Diving Unit, Mar 95 – Feb 98, Off-Yard Operations Officer, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Mar 98 – Jun 2001, Chief Engineer, USS DWIGHT D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) July 2001 – Nov 2004, Production Resources Officer, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Dec 04 – April 06, Operations Officer, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Apr 06 – Jun 07, Commanding Officer, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Jul 07 – Jan 2010

I think we can all agree, Bob is well qualified to serve as the 2023 Road Guard Captain. Thank you for stepping up Bob, we look forward to riding with you and thank you for your service.

National POW/MIA Recognition Day is September 16, 2022

How will you recognize our POW/MIAs on September 16th?

“National POW/MIA Recognition Day was established in 1979 through a proclamation signed by President Jimmy Carter. Since then, each subsequent president has issued an annual proclamation commemorating the third Friday in September as National POW/MIA Recognition Day. A national-level ceremony is held on every National POW/MIA Recognition Day. Traditionally held at the Pentagon, it features members from each branch of military service and participation from high-ranking officials.In addition to the national-level ceremony, observances of National POW/MIA Recognition Day are held across the country on military installations, ships at sea, state capitols, schools and veterans’ facilities.No matter where they are held, these National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremonies share the common purpose of honoring those who were held captive and returned, as well as those who remain missing.

Since 1999, the POW/MIA Accounting community has created a poster commemorating National POW/MIA Recognition Day. The 2022 edition of the poster continues to honor this tradition.”

 Please share the poster on your social media sites.

This is why we ride! Romeo Tango Mike – Remember the Mission

Until next month…

Kristine”Eyes” Wood
Route Coordinator
Southern Route 2023


Posted on Leave a comment

Southern Route Coordinator – August Newsletter

In the heat of the night, many thoughts come to mind. Last night, for me it was what to share with Southern Route riders in this newsletter, and so let us begin.

The Southern Route spends ten days riding from California to Washington DC. We pass through; Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia and let’s not forget the dip into Georgia. The Southern Route is known for its warm weather. If you like warm weather riding, this is the route for you.  As we travel through these ten states, it is a time for personal reflection and a time to REMEMBER THE MISSION (Romeo Tango Mike) and why we ride.

One of many Welcome Home Events

The first Run for the Wall left San Diego in 1989, to raise awareness for those left behind in Vietnam. The mission has not changed!

“Currently, there are nearly 1,600 Americans still unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War, hundreds are believed to be in a “non-recoverable” category, meaning after rigorous investigation DPAA has determined that the individual perished but does not believe it is possible to recover the remains. On rare occasions, new leads can bring a case back to active status. We ride for these 1,600 Americans.”

“At present, more than 81,500 Americans remain missing from WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and the Gulf Wars/other conflicts. Out of the more than 81,500 missing, 75% of the losses are located in the Indo-Pacific, and over 41,000 of the missing are presumed lost at sea, many presumed to be “non-recoverable”.

Current POW/MIA Information 

We ride for these 81,500 Americans

The logistical planning for 2023 is in full swing and WE NEED YOU!!! If you have not filled out a volunteer form, letting us know you will be riding in 2023, we need you to do that. If you do not fill out the volunteer form, we might think you’re sitting this year out and not riding. Click on the link below to access the volunteer form. Please volunteer today.

Southern Route – Volunteer Form


It is my distinct pleasure to introduce the Southern Route Assistant Route Coordinator, Michelle “Stonewall” Phelan. I am so grateful she has agreed to serve as the 2023 ARC. Stonewall first joined the run with her husband Roger E. Phelan in 2009 as a participant. Michelle has this to say about her and Roger’s first year on the run.

“My husband, Major Roger E. Phelan, Jr. served in the USAF from 1970 – 1997. He flew C-130-H in Vietnam, Gulf War, Grenada, Panama and other theaters. His Welcome Home experience left him feeling that his military service did not matter. On May 13, 2009, Roger left Rancho Cucamonga on the Southern Route, Day 1 of All The Way. Meeting him on Day 5, I received back to me a career pilot who understood that his service to his country did matter to thousands of people he just hadn’t met prior to the run.

And this was important. In 2001, 2004, 2005 and 2007 Roger was diagnosed with 4 different cancers due to his extensive Agent Orange exposure. He received treatment from 2001 until his death on February 7, 2010. His exposure to a grateful nation, while on the Run provided a foundation that allowed him to conclude his career mattered.”

 Stonewall has worn many hats on the run. Her favorite being the red hat of a Road Guard, where she has been riding every year since 2013. She has also worn the hat of the medical team and merchandise team 2010 – 2012.

It’s going to be a great Run, but not without you!

 Believe it or not, it’s almost time to register for 2023. Registration will go live on September 11, 2022 at 8:45 am EST. Please register early, it helps tremendously with our ability to plan, and to make leadership assignments. We are looking forward to the Texas Rider’s Reunion and visiting with many RFTW family members in September.

Until then…


Kristine “Eyes” Wood

Southern Route Coordinator