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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  https://rftw.us, 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

 

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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

Stonewall

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…

ROMEO TANGO MIKE

Kristine “Eyes” Wood

Southern Route Coordinator

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Southern Route RC Newsletter – July 2022

RFTW Southern Route

Welcome to the first XXXIII Southern Route Coordinator’s Newsletter.  Please allow me to begin this first of many newsletters by introducing myself. My name is Kris “Eyes” Wood. I recently moved to Wilder, Idaho, where we live on a small farm with the dogs, chickens and wildlife. My husband Don “Doc” Wood and I raised eight children together and currently have 16 grandchildren.

Run for the Wall Southern RouteI learned about the run from participating in PGR missions. I felt the travesty of RFTW being mostly an unknown event that involved hundreds upon hundreds of veterans. I decided to write a book, Run for the Wall – A Journey to the Vietnam Memorial.  My goal in writing the book was to raise awareness of the run and the need for Americans to actively support veterans.

As I have traveled across the country speaking about the run and sharing the book, The many veterans that have been given a copy, share how seeing the photos and hearing the testimonials have helped them come to terms with their combat experiences. Even if they are not able to ride with RFTW, the healing power of the run is there for them.

After the first year on the run, we were hooked and have returned year after year. I have held many positions on the Southern Route, including; 50/50 rouser, tail-gunner, assistant platoon leader, platoon leader, quartermaster, sit-rep writer and a three-year stint as the assistant route coordinator. I am honored to have been appointed as your Southern Route Coordinator for 2023.

The Southern Route has many devoted and hardworking volunteers. Michelle “Stonewall” Phelan has been appointed as the SR Assistant Route Coordinator and together we will plan and execute a safe, meaningful, MISSION FOCUSED Run for the Wall.

The mission is why I ride and why every rider that registers and shows up on the run should be riding:

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.

We each have a different and unique reason for riding. I recently contemplated why I ride. When I was 15 years old, my Dad, a World War II veteran drank himself to death, did he suffer from PTSD, or shell shock, I will never know.  The brother-in-law that took my Dad’s place, went off to Vietnam. Upon his return, he was not the same young man that left. Two years ago, he succumbed to Agent Orange related cancer. Freedom is not free and there is never enough that Americans can and should do for our veterans, hence I ride.

As we prepare for RFTW XXXIII, I encourage you to mentally prepare for the run. In your heart and mind, answer the question; Why do I ride?

If you are interested in a leadership position on the XXXIII run, please go to the Run for the Wall website and complete the volunteer form. If you were on the run last year, please complete an After Action Report (AAR), also found on the Run website. If the run is to continue, we need devoted, mission focused volunteers, if you are able, please volunteer.

I am honored to have been mentored and befriended by the Southern Route Family. I wish to thank those that have held this position before me, that have reached out to me with advice and encouragement; Roger “Cowboy” Mead, Billie “Bugs” Dunlap, James “Stoney” Stone, Laurie “Airborne” Clay, Reid “Pops” Choate, Raymond “Ghost Rider” Wyatt, Bob “Captain America” Nelson.

As the SR-RC, I am available to you. If you have an issue, something to share, do not hesitate to contact me; Kristine.wood@rftw.us.

IS IT MAY YET?

Kristine J. Wood “Eyes”
Route Coordinator, Southern Route

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Southern Route Coordinator News – June 2022 Epilog

RFTW XXXII 2022 RC Newsletter

June,  2022 Epilog

 

 RFTW Southern Route Family,

This is my last RC Newsletter for 2022.  (save the applause).

First, I want to Congratulate Kristine “Eyes” Wood on her BoD confirmation to be the Southern Route Coordinator for RFTW Mission XXXIII 2023.   Her work in support of the RFTW Mission, starting even before her FNG year, and especially as ARC these past 3 years, is proof that Kris earned this position.  Her patriotism stems from multiple generations of Military Service dating back to the Revolutionary War.  I have extreme confidence in Kris’ ability to Lead and Manage the Southern Route Mission.

Secondly, I would like to say what an Honor it has been to be the Southern Route Coordinator since 2020.  We, I mean ALL OF US, have been through a lot in the last 3 years to get Mission XXXII complete.

We started the pre-Mission festivities by celebrating the marriage of Santa Ed and Den Mother.

It was our first time in Casa Grande, AZ, and the folks there showed us great hospitality.

Hats off to the FNGs, overall, I would say that the vast majority adapted to platoon riding quickly and comfort levels increased daily.

Did everything go perfectly?  No.  Will it ever?  Doubtful.   We had to make several changes leading up to the start and they continued throughout the Mission.  The fact that most riders never knew about all of the behind-the-scenes juggling and hoop jumping actions, is a testament to the Leadership Team and State Coordinators commitment.  A HUGE THANK YOU, to ALL of you.  You deserve all the credit; I’ll take any of the blame.  I was blessed with the Greatest Bunch of Volunteers that money can buy. LOL.

*** For those of you who ordered the special 20th Anniversary T-shirts and have not picked them up, they will be mailed to you soon.  We are trying to get them mailed before the end of June.  Thank you for your patience ***

If you haven’t submitted your After-Action Report yet, Please do.  That is your opportunity to express your thoughts about this year’s Mission.   If you have ideas on how we can improve the experience, we would like to know.  Use this Link

Don’t forget the Angel Fire, NM Reunion over Labor Day weekend and the

Kerrville, TX Riders Reunion September 21-25, 2022, details on The Facebook page 

Only 333 days before Kick Stands Up May 17, 2023, I hope to see everyone there and many new faces too.

“Captain America, Out”

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Southern Route Coordinator News -May 2022 Part 4

RFTW XXXII 2022 RC Newsletter

May,  2022 Part 4

 

 

ONE MORE THINK or 2

Today Ron discovered another Harley Dealer that wants to assist RFTW with service.

He will give a military discount and will prioritize RFTW Bikes. It is in Loma Linda, CA but just a short drive down the 10.

Quaid Harley

25160 Redlands Blvd

Loma Linda, CA 92364

1-909-796-8399

Speak with Joe Pedersen

Reminder – If you are in a 4-wheel vehicle you must travel at least 2 miles in front of or back of the pack.  On Wednesday leaving Ontario, do not park in the staging area.  I suggest you leave right after the Morning All Hands Meeting.  The only exceptions world be the Chase vehicles and the Nurses. 

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Southern Route Coordinator News – May 2022 Part 3

RFTW XXXII 2022 RC Newsletter

May,  2022 Part 3

 

 

This is it, The last Pre-Run list of good things to know.  Some of these you have already heard or should have.

  • You will get a copy of the Southern Route Itinerary when you “Check In”.  Study it. Where you need to be and when you need to be there is all right there.  A LOT of time and effort when into its publication, it is not intended to be a souvenir program.  The best prepared Riders have the least stress. 
    • Every exit is there in Bold and the arrival and departure times also.  Many Riders will write the exit numbers each day on the back of their windshields with a dry-erase marker to keep track
    • Be aware we will cross several time zones.  We lose an hour each time.  Make sure that your timepiece is correct, otherwise you will be late.  Getting a good night’s rest is crucial.
    • Keep your itinerary handy, pay attention at the Mandatory Riders’ Meeting for last minute changes.
  • Don’t forget to check your tire pressure.  It is often overlooked.  Under or Overinflated tires are unsafe.  Recommended tire pressure can be found in your owner’s manual or a sticker inside of a side cover, NOT on the tire.  While you are there, double check the tread all the way around the tires.
  • There are still open spots for the FNG Flag Relay.  You can be a part of this special mission by carrying the folded flag for one leg of the Southern Route Run.  Contact Rod Runyon by email to sign up.
  • One more time, HYDRATE !, HYDRATE !, HYDRATE!

See Y’all Soon. In the words of my cousin Willie, ” Just can’t wait to get on the road again”.

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Southern Route Coordinator News – May 2022 Part 2

RFTW XXXII 2022 RC Newsletter

May,  2022 Part 2

 

Greetings from Snowy Northern Nevada,

Hard to believe, but there is actually snow in the air.  But like the postman or postwoman,  Nothing will stay us from our appointed Route.      Happy Mother’s Day!! 

Today I bring you: More good things to know.

  • We will have Daily Raffles; they will include 50/50 and prizes. The prizes are collected and donated by the Southern Route Riders.  If you have something(s) you would like to donate that is small enough to be carried by the winner, please bring it to Ontario, or wherever you are joining us. 
  • We also have so many wonderful hand-crafted raffle items, including several beautiful quilts, bamboo cutting board and special wooden boxes. The special tickets for these items and others will be sold beginning in Ontario and along the Route.  The drawing for these will be in Wytheville, VA at the Moose Lodge dinner.   You need not be present to win, and larger items will be shipped home for you. Beside an awesome meal, there will be other special items available, so you don’t want to miss out.
  • There will only 400 tickets available to win a commemorative stained-glass panel, that was made and donated by our Road Guard Captain, Bob “Captain” Mazzone, He made one for each of the 4 Routes
  •  
  • We will be visiting with students from 2 elementary schools, 1 middle school and 1 high school. The younger kids love the “trinkets” we bring to give them.   Things like pencils, pens, lanyards, stickers, wrist bands, beads, and pins are all very popular.   I am bringing 2 grosses of special pencils, between Southern and SandBox Routes, I may only have handful left when I am done.
  • Be sure to explore our RFTW Facebook Page  it’s a great place to have some casual conversation also find and share knowledge.
  • Our Merchandise Trailer will be loaded with all manner of RFTW gear. It’s your one stop shop for RFTW Swag
  • Those who ordered the special 20th Anniversary Southern Route T-shirts they will be available for pickup in Ontario and along the Route.  Watch the message board for times and location
  • We also nave a limited number of The 20 Anniversary patches for sale
  • If you are already on the road, Be Safe, watch for loonies they are everywhere

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Flexible and Stay Positive.

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Southern Route Coordinator News – May 2022

RFTW XXXII 2022 RC Newsletter

May,  2022

 

Greetings RFTW Southern Route Family,

IT’S MAY !!  And less than 2 weeks before KSU.  I am going to get right to it.    Things you need to know

  • There has been some discussion about Parade Size Flags. While every Patriot loves the American Flag.  We cannot permit them to be unfurled while riding in the pack. 
  • Make sure that your Registration, Insurance and Driver’s License (with proper endorsement) are up to date and unexpired when you show up to “Check In”.
  • The GOLDEN TICKET Raffle Tickets will be available for sale in Ontario. They will cost $5 each or 5 for $20.  We will sell Only 2,000 tickets and the number of winners will be based on the number of tickets sold.   If we sell all 2,000, we will have 10 winners.  Each winner will be considered prepaid at all non-donated fuel stops along the 2022 Southern Route.  You are still obligated to show up at morning staging with a full tank.   This excluded 4-wheeled vehicles. Drawing to be held at the Day 1 Morning Riders’ Meeting.  You must be present to win
  • If you haven’t already, fill out and sign your Emergency Information Form  . Click on the link to download the fillable pdf file.  Print 3 copies, one for your person, one to carry on the bike and a spare, just in case.
  • I know no one wants to hear this but, we may enter places where masks are required. So, pack a few.
  • For the FNGs, the Southern Route FNG Orientation will be on Tuesday 5/17 at 1:00 -2:00 PM
  • The MANDATORY ALL HANDS meeting will be held in LOT D at 3:00 PM
  • Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!
  • Semper Gumby, be Always Flexible, Things don’t always go as planned. Be Patient, we’ll get there.

See y’all soon…..

 

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Southern Route Coordinator News – April 2022 Part 4

RFTW XXXII 2022 RC Newsletter

April,  2022 Part 4

 

 

 

Greetings from the Sunny State of Nevada

More rooms in Arlington VA

Some riders asked if there are still rooms available in Arlington VA for RFTW.   The answer is YES.  Although the Holiday Inn is fully booked, The nearby Westin Hotel  still has rooms at the RFTW Rate.  Use the link to book directly online.   

A word to the Wise

Also, save yourself some time and trouble by downloading the Emergency Information Form from this link.  If you wait until you check in, it is likely that some of the information will not be at your fingertips.   It is downloadable and savable to your computer.  Simply download it, fill it out COMPLETELY, and print at least 2 copies.   Personally, I suggest 3, One if folded in thirds both ways will fit neatly in the clear plastic pouch that comes with the lanyard that you will receive at Check-In.  Another can be on your bike; a good place is with your vehicle registration.  And I suggest you carry one in your wallet always.  I could give you dozens of reasons why this is so important, but I will sum it up with this one.  Should you find yourself in an emergency situation and are unable to speak for yourself, this it your voice.

Disclaimer

Just one more thing, the Golden Ticket mentioned in the last newsletter is only good for the Southern Route, and not valid for 4-wheelers.   Void where prohibited, Your actual mileage may vary…..   Side effects include a smile as you fuel and more money to buy more raffle tickets and merchandise.

 

 

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Southern Route Coordinator News – April 2022 Part 3

RFTW XXXII 2022 RC Newsletter

April,  2022 Part 3

 

 

Greetings Southern Route Riders,

The itinerary is set, and final preparations are underway.  Lately the most often asked question I get is “Is it May yet?”  the answer is soon, very soon.

The second most asked question is “How much is it going to cost me for fuel?”  The best answer to date has been, that depends on fuel prices.  We have 21 scheduled fuel stops on the Southern Route.  Some are fully donated; some are partially donated, and some are paid by the Riders.  Our trusty team has been tracking the gas prices all along our Route.  They have gone up and down but appear right now to be stabilizing somewhat.  We have a plan. For the partially donated stops, we will collect $5 from each vehicle and $10 at the Rider paid stops.  The most you will ever have to pay at a stop is $10, if you do your part.  Now what is your part?  That’s easy, show up every morning with a full tank.  It is what you should be doing everyday

GOLDEN TICKET

In my last regular newsletter, I mentioned a Golden Ticket.  What? You say.  Would that get me a tour in the Chocolate Factory?  No, but it would cover all of your fuel expenses, clear across the country. Yes, that’s right, all your fuel would be prepaid at every scheduled stop on the Southern Route 2022.  We have 2000 special raffle tickets which will be sold in Ontario for only $5 each or 5 for $20.  Depending on the number of tickets sold, is how many Golden Tickets (up to 10) will be awarded.  The additional monies collected will be used to pay for our Chase and the Hydration vehicles fuel costs.

High Fuel prices are something we all have to bear in our daily lives.  We are doing our best to stretch our limited fuel budget to keep the Riders’ costs down.  Also, to help speed up our lines through the pumps have your $5s and /or $10s ready.  As always, No Change will be given, any overpayment will be considered a donation to the fuel fund.  Please no $1 bills, Box Tops, IOUs or Crypto.  How much should you budget for fuel from LA to DC?  The best guess at this point is $340 to $370.  This would also cover your overnight fueling, so you have no excuse for not showing up to staging with a full tank every morning.