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Southern Route Coordinator News – March 2020 Part 4

Yes, the 2020 Run For The Wall is cancelled and we are all disappointed.  But the Run is only a part of the Mission.  Please don’t let disappointment ruin your enthusiasm.  I personally refuse to give any credit to some virus, who’s name I will not mention, for cancelling the Run.  We care about the wellness of our Riders’ and Supporters’ personal safety.

The Mission has no start or end date.  It will end when They are ALL Home.  If you have read the other RC Newsletters, and I hope you do, there is plenty we can do to stay Mission active.  We will begin planning RFTW XXXII 2021 edition very soon.  Also, in the works is Some great ALL Rider Reunions.  Kerrville, TX dates are September 24-27 always an event filled long weekend.  Over Labor Day weekend is the Angel Fire, NM Reunion, at one of the most beautiful parts of America.  I hear the another is in the planning stages for 4th of July weekend.  Check the rftw.us website forum under Regional Gatherings for more details.  I have been to the previous 8 Kerrville and the previous 3 Angel Fire Reunions.  They are a good way to recharge the spirit in between the Run dates.

For those who ordered the 20th Anniversary T-Shirts, they will be there for you in 2021.

Depending on where you live, you might try a little wind therapy.  Here in Nevada the Gov has shut down all non-essential services, which includes Casinos and even the Cat Houses, if you can believe that.

On this day 50 years ago, 23MAR70, I went off to boot camp.  I left cold and windy Chicago for sunny San Diego.  I had no idea what I had gotten myself into.  But I knew I had to learn fast and when faced with difficulty, adapt and overcome.   As I look back now, I think that feeling has been with me my whole life.  Why am I telling you this?  Hopefully soon this crisis will be behind Us, and We as a Nation will be Smarter and Stronger for it.  RFTW STRONG

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Southern Route Coordinator News – March 2020 Part 3

By now I’m sure you have heard the 2020 RFTW has been cancelled.  Who would have thought that after all of the obstacles we have faced and overcome, we would be sidelined by a virus.   The decision was not an easy one, but when it comes down to the Health and Safety of our Riders and Supporters coupled with CDC guidelines, ever increasing State and Local restrictions left us with really no options.  A great many riders are enduring a huge financial burden, due to related business closures, making it impossible to participate in 2020.  I have heard form many of you that you have had to use your savings and vacation time to get through this crisis with little or no income.

For those who made reservations at the host hotel Holiday Inn in Casa Grande, the entire room block is cancelled.  All other hotels are the riders responsibility to cancel.

So, what do we do going forward?  The RFTW Board of Directors has voted to retain all 2020 Route Coordinators for the 2021 Run.  Once the initial shock wears off, we will begin planning next year’s Run.  It will still be the Southern Route’s 20th Anniversary, just a year later.  If you have questions or thoughts on planning for Southern Route, email me at bob.nelson@rftw.us

We WILL get through this.  Until then Stay Safe.  More to Follow…..

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Southern Route Coordinator News – March 2020 Part 2

Greetings form the beautiful Sierra Nevada region where we are expecting 4 feet of snow in the next few days.  With 60 days out from KSU in Ontario, usually the murmur of “Is it May yet?” begins to grow.  Over the years we have dealt with fires, drought, high gas prices, flooding and other of Mother Natures curveballs.  This year is quite different, The Coronavirus Disease or COVID-19 is affecting all of America and the World.  While the magnitude of severity is still uncertain, the issue is serious, not only to the Run but to the health of all of us.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a ton of information on their website www.cdc.gov .  There you will find up to date information on what you can do to protect your Family and prevent the spread of this virus.  Most are very common-sense guidelines. The one thing you shouldn’t do is panic.  Decisions made in haste, are usually not the best ones.

The dynamics of this event are everchanging almost on an hourly basis, and they vary from region to region.  By now you should have seen that our Board of Directors and all RCs have concluded that we would stay the course and continue to plan for a successful 2020 Run For The Wall Mission.  We are continuing to monitor the situation and evaluating the information as it comes in.   Some state governments, in the states where we travel, have currently enacted travel and gathering constraints.  These are not all bad as their intent is to prevent the spread and may hasten the end of restrictions.

There is one thing our Riders is very good at.  When faced with circumstances beyond our control, we Adapt and Overcome. Semper Gumby,  Always Flexible

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Southern Route Coordinator News – March 2020

With only 70 days until KSU in Ontario I thought that I would share some new developments with you.

In Ontario, there will be Visitor Guides should anyone like to get in a little sightseeing in Ontario, before we leave.   We will also have newly printed Restaurant Guides for your convenience.  There will also be a “Get Together” Sunday night, after Leadership Registration, and a cake Decorating Contest on Monday afternoon which we will get to Judge (Cakes done by a local Culinary School).  Stay tuned for more details.

Also, for our RFTW Family coming out to CA that come up the I-10 and go thru Coachella stopping for fuel there is the Spotlight Casino there and they have restaurants in case someone would like a warm sit down meal instead of fast food. The Spotlight Casino is our first fuel stop on the Southern Route. Their hours are:  Carol Olmstead Recommended

  • Capitata
  • Breakfast Menu: 7am-11am
  • Dinner Buffet Sun-Thurs: 4pm-10pm
  • Dinner Buffet Fri & Sat: 4pm-12 midnight
  •  Jem Café
  • Mon & Tues: Closed
  • Wed-Thurs: 11am-10pm
  • Fri & Sat: 11am-2am
  • Sunday: 10am-10pm

Yesterday I sent out an announcement looking for volunteers for the Korean War Veterans Memorial.  We had our 10 within hours, and a stand-by list of another 10.  Thank You Southern Route for stepping up to the challenge.   If you are on the Sandbox Route or participating in the AMVETS Rolling to Remember (RTR), you cannot take part in the Washing, do to time constraints.

For those planning to participate in the RTR and go with the RFTW, the staging will be the same as Rolling Thunder in the Pentagon Parking Lot.  As invited guests, we will be staged in one of the first 3 Lanes.  Here is the current plan; 0600 Stage in the Holiday Inn lower parking lot, 0630 depart for the Pentagon Parking Lot (CR Road Guards will lead), NOON Rolling To Remember.

**** There is a poll on our Facebook page to try to gather total numbers to give to AMVETS, The poll is pinned to the top of the page. ****

Reminder Don’t wait until the last minute to get YOU and your bike in good working order.  I just ordered new tires yesterday.   Believe it or not, the Corona Virus has caused shortages and delays for a multitude of products and supplies.

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Special Announcement

Run For The Wall has been chosen for a Great Honor.  On Sunday May 24, 2020 we will assist the National Park Service (NPS) with the washing of the Korean War Memorial.  The group will leave the Holiday Inn Ballston, KSU at 0600 with a 0630 start time.  It will likely take only 2-2.5 Hours to complete. Many hands make light work

As RFTW and its riders support the Fallen from All Wars, we should be eager to support this Special Mission, as an extension of our own Mission.  Many of us have Family or Friends who served in Korea.  If we can get 30 volunteers, that’s 10 for each of the 3 long Routes, we can make short work of it, and know that we were a part of something very special.

Just let your Route Coordinator (RC) know that you are committed to this Special Mission, by sending an email along with your cellular number and email address.  If we get more than 30, we will start a standby list.

Southern Route RC email address is : bob.nelson@rftw.us

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Southern Route Coordinator News Feb 2020 #2

Only 80 days before kickstands up in Ontario.  It seems like a long, long time when you are waiting.  But, when you are working the details, time is flying by.  Speaking of flying, we just got back from the February Face-to-Face meeting of the RFTW Board of Directors, in Dallas.   It was a very productive meeting where topics which affect all Routes were discussed.  Among them were Hydration availability in Ontario, Several common sense cost cutting measures, Behavior of Dogs the Run, Parking at the host hotel in Arlington.

We will have a Hydration Trailer in Ontario, starting on Sunday.  There is usually water available in the lobby, but with this crowd it is almost impossible to keep up with the demand. 

Many of the Leadership Support persons will only wear one brassard, if they do not need to be identifiable while on the road.  Some positions were combined or eliminated.   The change to one Tail Gunner per platoon was based on practicality, not to cut cost.

Behavior of Dogs is pretty straight forward, they must be on a leash or in your physical control at all times, do not let your dog beg, bark or bite.  This is a motorcycle event, and it is hard enough on us.  I ask that you Please think twice before subjecting your dog to this environment.

As of right now, the number one plan for Arlington arrival parking is, we will all (except 4-wheelers) pull into the Holiday Inn upper lot, where we will stack in 4-wide and stay on our bikes.  Once everyone is in, we will exit 2-wide, those staying at the Holiday Inn will go left to the underground parking and those staying elsewhere will go to the right.  Southern Route will be the second route to arrive.

The 2020 Southern Route Itinerary should be posted on the rftw.us website by March 1st.   We will take orders for the 20th Anniversary Southern Route T-Shirts until April 10th.  They are $25 for Short Sleeve and $35 for the long sleeve.  We also have some of the 20th Anniversary patches available.  Please refer to earlier newsletters for ordering information.

More to Follow……

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Southern Route Coordinator News – February 2020

Greetings form the Battle Born state

Just 100 days before Kick Stands Up for Run For The Wall XXXII.  That mat sound like a lot of time. But believe me it will go by fast for Leadership, and for others, seem like forever.

By now I would expect you have your hotel reservations made, your plan to get to Ontario (or wherever your starting point is), scheduled your bike check-up and started your personal wellness plan.  If you haven’t, it’s not too late to start.

I would like to thank Bob “Captain” Mazzone, our Road Guard Captain for making four Great Looking Stained-Glass Panels with wood frames.  They measure 14” wide x 16” tall.  He made a unique one for each Route.  The Southern Route panel pictured here will be raffled off with the proceeds going to the Southern Route Educational Grant & Schools Fund.   It will be on display at our Merchandise Trailer.  Tickets will be on sale starting in Ontario.  The cost for tickets will be $5 each or 5 tickets for $20.  The drawing will be help in Wytheville, VA at the Moose Lodge as part of our evening program. 

Southern Route

The Ontario pre-Run itinerary has been posted.  Meetings for Route Leadership will begin Monday morning.  Please note the Mandatory events on Tuesday and be sure to be there for them.  Speaking of Ontario, at the Gateway Hotel the parking area to the right of the entrance will be limited to motorcycles and trikes only.  Starting Sunday night until KSU on Wednesday it will be patrolled by security.

The pre-sale orders for the Southern Route 20th Anniversary T-Shirts are underway and doing well.  I would like all who get one, to wear them on Saturday May 23rd for our massive group photo on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.  It would be awesome to see a sea of maroon shirts there.  For the FNG’s this photo is taken just prior to the placing of our Mission Complete Plaque at the apex of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.  The order form and instructions can be found on our Facebook page.  Again, the profits benefit the Southern Route Education Fund.

Our first day’s itinerary is really taking shape, this year we will bypass Phoenix altogether and travel through Buckeye and Gila Bend on our way to our overnight destination Casa Grande, AZ   The local communities have shown great support for our  Mission and are looking forward to our arrival.  We owe a lot of Thanks to our Great Arizona State Coordinator Team for turning an idea into a reality.    The complete Route itinerary is coming together, and I hope to have a draft posted before the end of the month.

We still have some of the 20th Anniversary Commemorative Patches available.

Keep checking the website and RC Newsletters for the latest news……….

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Southern Route Coordinator News – January 2020

Greetings All from a frosty Northern Nevada.  Hopefully it is better riding weather where you are.

We are less than 4 months away from KSU in Ontario.  Now is the time to start scheduling “check-ups” for your ride and yourself.   Check the www.rftw.us webpage and our social media sites often, for late breaking news.  The Forum is a great place to ask questions and find answers.  Seek out the Local Gatherings in your area.

Route planning is going full speed, the Leadership and State Coordinators are working very hard to complete every detail.  Finishing the Itinerary is our next big item.  Until then, except for the change from Chandler, AZ to Casa Grande, AZ the Route remains the same.

The BIG news this month is we are now taking pre-orders for the 20th Anniversary Southern Route T-Shirts.  There are available in Long ($35) and Short ($25) Sleeves and sized from Small to XX Large.  The deadline to order is April 10, 2020.  They will be available for pickup in Ontario and at our stops along the Route.  For more information and the downloadable Order Form, see our post on the RFTW Facebook page or send an email to me or Kris Wood and we will send you the form.  All profits from the sales will go to the Southern Route Education Fund.  Do it for yourself and help the kids, a Win-Win.

We still have some of the 20th Anniversary Southern Route Commemorative Patches left. Orders are still coming in.  I was hoping to have a few to sell in Ontario, but I can’t guarantee any of the 300 will be left.

I want to thank ALL of you who have volunteered to be part of the team, we could go nowhere without YOU.  Nearly all team rosters are full and have a few in reserve.  The Contact List should be up-to-date, if your name is missing or in the wrong spot, contact the team leader so we can make the correction.  Until next time, Be Well, Stay Safe.  Hope Fuels The Families, The Mission US

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Southern Route Coordinator News – December 2019 2nd Edition

Just a Quick Note

Season’s Greetings from snowy Northern Nevada.  As we approach year’s end, there are a few things that I would like you to know.  First, our Southern Route leadership team has pledged itself to give every task their best effort.  But it takes everyone’s cooperation to make it all work.  Our State Coordinators work hard to cultivate relationships with the hotels and motels at our overnight stays to get us the best deals they can.  But sometimes all it takes is one phone call from a rider being rude to ruin that.   The hotels cannot make you reservation until January 1st.  There is absolutely no excuse for this kind of bad behavior.  FYI, I have been told that the reservation desk for the Ontario hotels will not be manned until January 2nd.     I am asking you to Please be patient and show consideration.  Many of these places have small staffs and can be overwhelmed by the volume of calls.

The 20th Anniversary Commemorative patches are flying off the shelf.  We have only a shade over 100 patches left.   Due to the success of the patches, we are planning a 20th Anniversary T-Shirt.  The special design has just been approved.   They will be sold by pre-order only.  Watch for details coming soon.

Speaking of T-shirts, the RFTW Online Merchandise Store has several NEW & STYLISH 2020 Run For The Wall, T-shirts, pins, patches and more.  Please check it out.

From my Family to Yours, We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Safe and Happy New Year.

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Southern Route Coordinator News – December 2019

Greetings from the frozen tundra of Northern Nevada.  I hope that everyone had a Great Thanksgiving.   Well we are a little over 160 days from kickstands up and just over 250 Southern Route registrants.  Plans are moving right along.  The Welcome Video has just been released.  I hope you all have had a chance to see it and shared it with your friends.  This is one way others can learn more about Run For The Wall and maybe peak their interest.

A few Missions ago while on an outreach I had a chance to talk with Karoni Forrester an MIA daughter and our Outreach Coordinator.  One thing I was curious about was, why their hats and brassards were green.  She told me “Green is the color of HOPE”.  I knew that the Love in their hearts kept the home fires burning while they waited for their loved ones to return.   But, what fuels those fires is the HOPE that someday they will know the fate those whom they long to see home again.    We have several MIA Family members with us every Mission, we Love and Support them, and maybe for a time, ease their pain.

The color Green has a whole new significance to me.  When I see green now, I think of the HOPE that Fuels, the Families, The Mission & US.  When I stop at a traffic signal, as the light turns Green I say a little prayer of HOPE for those who have not yet returned.  If we all did that, we can make a difference.

The dedicated folks at the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency use all of their resources to find the answers we all want to know.  Sometimes miracles do happen. To borrow a phrase from the President of our Board of Directors Les Williams, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is why we ride”.

For the last several Missions the Route Coordinators have chosen a mantra to be a part of their Mission.   Recently: for Stoney it was “Charlie Mike – Continue The Mission; for Chicken Joe “Keep The Faith”; for Ghost Rider “Mission>Self”; for Slacker “Ride With Heart” and for Bugs it was “Together We Ride – Every Mile Counts”.  For 2020 on the Southern Route it will be HOPE FUELS – The Families-The Mission-US

You may have noticed the Green Ribbon of HOPE on our Southern Route logo and 20th Anniversary commemorative patch.  It is there as a reminder that HOPE FUELS

Our State Coordinators have been working hard to get secure lodging commitments so the Southern Route Hotel List can be posted on January 1, 2020.

There are still some 20th Anniversary Patches left, they make great gifts

As 2019 winds down and we look forward to 2020, Diane and I wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.