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Southern Route-2017-Day 11-D.C.

Arlington & The Vietnam Memorial

Riders began staging their bikes in the underground parking garage of The Holiday Inn at approximately 6:00 AM. The Riders meeting took place at 7:45 am. I posted videos of the riders’ meeting on the official “Run for the Wall” Facebook page if you are interested in watching it. I also posted videos of the ride into Arlington on my  “Run for the Wall-A Journey to the Vietnam Memorial” if you would like to watch it.

Having Santa Ed participate in the wreath laying made it extra special. The guards were so kind and respectful to the RFTW honor guard, explaining what was expected of them. Can you imagine having such an honor? Wow! I live streamed the wreath laying and posted it to both sites. It is long but worth every second. The video shows the instructions from the guard all the way through to the laying of the wreath. The guard even allowed a few of us to stand in the area reserved for the press. Made for great footage. I was honored just to stand there. Watch the video!

!RFTW honor guard

After the wreath laying the RFTW riders were escorted out of Arlington National Cemetery over to the Lincoln Memorial. The riders are allowed to park their bikes on the lawn. You’ll only ever see bikes parked on the lawn once a year.

RFTW bikes on the lawn at the mall

Riders then walk over to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial for the annual group photo. It was not too hot this year which is a pleasant change from years past.

After the photo is the short walk to The Vietnam Memorial. The “Mission Accomplished” plaque is placed at the apex of the Wall.

Mission Accomplished

The biographies and mementos that have been carried across the country are also left at The Wall. I personally carried two biographies, a treasured memento from a Vietnam Veteran in my American Legion Riders Post back home and my necklace of PGR dog tags. This is a very emotional time of the mission as buddies names are found on the Wall. As a Run for the Wall family, we protect those that need to release pent up emotions, offering comfort and privacy from curious on lookers.

Biographies & mementos are left at The Wall

The other event at The Wall is the turning of the FNG pin. Here Old School is shown turning the pin of riders from his platoon.

Turning the FNG pin.

This has taken forever to write on my iPad. Just a couple more things and I need to call it a night. Going to try and get my computer to the App,e shop tomorrow. Maybe I will be back in business tomorrow.

The Southen Route collected 10 cases of toiletries to donate to the Tuscaloosa VAMC. Thank you Shirley for spearheading the project.

10 Cases of toiletries to the VA

And the final numbers are in Southern Route finished with a total registration of 516 riders!!!

More tomorrow! Good night & God Bless

Kristine “Eyes” Wood

Too tired to proof read, excuse the errors????????

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Southern Route 2017 Day 10

Lynchburg VA – Arlington VA 255 miles

My electronics are not firing on all cylinders. I managed to get my iPad working. Sit-rep will still be abbreviated. More to follow when I get a working laptop.  Possibly dYs of sit-reps. I have so much yet to share.

Day began even earlier than normal when we gathered for the final morning meeting at the Tree of Life ministries.

Final rider’s meeting

Team leaders that attended every conference call were thanked and recognized.

Billie “Bugs” Dunlap was recognized and thanked for The Lockheed donation of $7,500. The platoon challenge raised $5,490.

The Virginia State Troopers that escorted us to Arlington Va were recognized and thanked.

Virginia State Troopers ????

And finally, the coveted Arlington zip ties were handed out to the FNGs. Don’t forget to bring something to rest your kickstand on. If you don’t your bike will fall  over on the wet grass. Please be respectful while at Arlington, no loud music or pipes. If you talk too loud at the tomb, the guards will holler at you, and I mean holler.

Handing out Arlington zip ties

Ghost Rider asked for riders to consider giving back to Run for the Wall by volunteering to be a Road Guard. To qualify you must have been all the way two years. If interested email Ghost Rider. Captain America encouraged riders to consider volunteering for platoon leadership. If interested email him at Run for the Wall doesn’t just happen! We need volunteers! There are more hurting veterans that need the run. Help us give them the healing experience of the run. You can always email me here and I will forward it on. WE NEED YOU????????????????????????????????

We pulled out of Lynchburg right on time. The first couple legs were a little cold but we were dry and thankful for it. We rode through the Shenandoah Valley and it was magnificent. A 3,000 mile motorcycle ride gives you plenty of opportunity to enjoy the beauty of this great nation.

The final gas stop was in Front Royal. After water and a delicious peanut butter & jelly sandwich a brief rider’s meeting was held to discuss the ride into the Holiday Inn and to give instructions for the ride into Arlington on Saturday. Ghost Rider also explained the turning of the FNG pin, the photo at the Lincoln Memorial and the placing of the “mission accomplished” plaque at The Vietnam Memorial. Riders were dismissed to the bikes to complete the journey across The United States.

Ghost Rider pointing the way to Arlington, VA

After the number of platoon leaders that missed off ramps, interchanges and on ramps, I think Ghost Rider felt the need to confirm the direction we were headed????????????????????????

Southern Route pulled into much cheering and many welcome home hugs. The mission is not accomplished until we go to The Wall tomorrow. See you then.

Two quotes tonight, one comes from Ghost Rider at the morning meeting, “surround yourself with knowledgeable people and they will make you look good.” He was referring to the team captains and what an excellent job they did. Amen to that!

“We sleep safely at night because rough me. Stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us” Winston Churchill

Welcome Home

Kristine “Eyes” Wood

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Southern Route, 2017, Day 9 – Addendum

So happy to have functioning electronics again, the extended warranty has sure paid off this year. As promised here is a little more information, videos and photos from Day 9 on the Southern Route.

All of the riders were so happy to have the sun come out Thursday morning. It was nice and warm while we waited for the students to come out for the meet and greet. As you can see from the photos, we were not entirely convinced the rain had stopped, rain gear aplenty! The sun was so welcome and so warm, it was wonderful.

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Old School giving instruction at the morning briefing.

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Finally the children came out and the riders enjoyed shaking hands with the students and exchanging goodies. The students sang to the group and then went back to school. This was their last day of school. Fitting way to end the school year.

General’s Driver & Lt. Dan, enjoyed the student’s performance of “Bring Him Peace”. Everyone was happy to see General’s Driver and thrilled to meet Lt. Dan.

We staged on the street and pulled out of Wytheville with much flag waving and fanfare. Next stop Montvale Elementary School, lunch and student assembly. The assembly got off to a rousing start with the students chanting USA-USA and the riders chanting Montvale-Montvale.

The kindergartners sang “This Little Light of Mine” So stinkin’ cute!

The older students sang “We Honor You – The Heroes of Red-White-Blue.

Captain awarded a grant in the amount of $750 to Kirston Dooley.

From Montvale we rode to the D-Day Memorial. In my opinion, it’s one of the prettiest legs of the 3,000 mile journey to DC. Riding through the Blue Ridge Mountains is breathtaking. We were all so glad that it was NOT raining!

Riders had plenty of time to wander around the D-Day Memorial, to take photos and watch the wreath laying ceremony. After which, we took platoon photos and a group photo.

Southern Route – Group Photo – Taken By photography by Jerry. Thank you Jerry for snapping one with my phone. Jerry has been uploading pictures to Facebook. I think as of today there are 1,000 uploaded. Much better imagery than what my cell phone can do. Thanks Jerry!

From the D-Day Memorial we had a short ride over the the Harley Davidson of Lynchburg where we had a delicious dinner of pulled-pork sandwiches.

I have enjoyed writing the sit-reps this year. It’s been fun to capture the days happenings and share them with you, the readers. Thank you to all of you that have reached out to me and let me know you read the sit-reps. It’s nice to know, they’re actually being read.

Next sit-rep will be from Kerrville, Texas in September. We are looking forward to meeting up with everyone again! In the meantime, have a great summer, stay safe!

One final quote: “On the battlefield, the military pledges to leave no soldier behind. As a nation, let it be our pledge that when they return home, we leave no veteran behind.” Don Lipinski

Kristine “Eyes” Wood

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Southern Route 2017, Day 9

Wytheville VA – Lynchburg VA 130 Miles

Finally a dry day!!! We have taken to calling Ghost Rider, Rain Dancer. My electronics still aren’t working. I’ll do the best I can on my phone.  As soon as I get a working computer I will amend and enhance the final few days of sit-reps.

Day 9 began in a very wet Wytheville Memorial Park. Before too long, the sun came out and began drying everything out. It was heavenly!

General’s Driver gave a $2,000 donation for a Spiller Elementary School grant.

The children sang Bring him Peace. I am not able to add links to the sit-rep from my phone. You can view the video on my Instagram account, RFTWthebook or my Facebook page, Run for the Wall – A Journey to the Vietnam Memorial. I will upload them here as soon as possible.

After the visit in Wytheville, we headed to Montvale Elementary School. The ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway was spectacular. After the rain storm everything was Clean and sweet smelling. The sun was shining which made for a perfect ride.

Once we arrived at Montvale,  we enjoyed a box lunch, a musical performance and a slide show. The school principal was presented with a Run for the Wall plaque and a check for $3,000 for a grant. Another grant was awarded to Kirstin Dooley in the amount of $750. Kirsten will be majoring in biology in the fall.

We then rode 13 miles to the D-Day Memorial. We enjoyed viewing the exhibits and the beautiful scenery. A Route photograph was taken as well as platoon photos. Like I said, I’ll post them as soon as I can.

It was then onto Harley Davidson Lynchburg for pulled pork sandwiches, t-shirts and the repair shop.

Every year I make notes on things I want to remember for next year. The 2017 list of things to remember for 2018 goes something like this:

* waterproof rain gear, isn’t waterproof

* HD tour packs are not waterproof

* put all electronics in double dry bags

*bring an extra laptop

Tonight’s quote, which I wholeheartedly agree with, “There are two ways to do something. The right way and again.” The Navy Seals

Ride safe into D.C. Tomorrow. Looking forward to visiting friends on other routes and hearing how their ride went.

Good night, ride safe????????????❤️

Kristine “Eyes” Wood


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Southern Route, 2017 Day 8 -Addendum

Chattanooga TN – Wytheville VA, 285 miles

My laptop is in the shop getting repaired (I hope it’s repairable). Now that I am home and have a working desktop computer I thought I would add what didn’t get in the original sit-rep.

After the morning briefing, the riders walked behind the Harley Davidson dealership to the Silverdale Confederate Cemetery. I have a serious soft spot for cemeteries. Could be because I used to be a funeral director. Anyway, every year the caretaker of the cemetery is on hand to meet, greet and discuss his beloved Silverdale. Jerry Wormesley began caring for the cemetery in the early sixties. He was still working full-time so did not have a lot of time to devote to it’s care. As time went on and he had more free time he became more diligent in caring for the cemetery and it’s inhabitants.

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Riders visit the Silverdale Confederate Cemetery.

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A brief history of the cemetery: A field hospital used to be in the location of the new hotel just behind the cemetery. When a soldier died at the hospital, he was buried in the adjacent cemetery. All the medical records and interment records were burned when Sherman burned Atlanta. To quote Jerry, “Sherman was very careless with matches.” Which according to Jerry had just been invented. The cemetery fell into the hands of a local farmer. When he passed away it went to his wife. In 1904 the property was purchased by a Veteran’s group for $75. In 1946 the stone arch you see in the photo was erected. By 1962 the woods had encroached on the cemetery. About this time the cemetery came to Jerry’s attention and he began clearing the trees and brush from the grounds. In June 1979, the cemetery came to the attention of the Chattanooga Area Relic and Historical Association (Jerry is a member) and the United Daughters of the Confederacy (Lynne Fouraker) is a member. Both groups began to care for the cemetery.

Jerry and Lynne are the movers and shakers that connect the cemetery to Run for the Wall. Santa Ed was given the task of auctioning off the last cemetery patch but instead he passed a hat and requested donations for the cemetery, $1,300 was donated by riders. I asked Jerry what he would do with the money. The first thing he mentioned was paying for subscriptions to Ancestry and Fold3, both on line genealogy services. He needs them to continue his research in identifying the unidentified 116 soldiers interred in the cemetery. Stay tuned for next year,  I have it on good authority that there will be a new cemetery patch for sale.

Jerry has been very successful in his research. Thus far he has identified 39 of the 155 soldiers at Silverdale. This is painstaking work. Researching the doctor’s records of who was in the hospital and who might be buried in the cemetery. Once he has confirmed that a soldier is in the cemetery he begins the painstaking work of finding a living family member. Only a living family member can request a grave marker from the U.S. Government. Without a family member there is no money for a marker. In lieu of markers, Jerry had these two tablets made with the names of the 39 identified soldiers listed on them.

One success story Jerry is very happy about is that of William Youngblood. After identifying Mr. Youngblood as being interred Jerry began the search for his family. Jerry found a living grandson, yes grandson, in Texas. The grandson requested the grave marker and Jerry had it placed at Silverdale. In January of 2015, Mr. Youngblood’s grandson, great grandson and great-great grandson came to Silverdale to meet Jerry and to pay their respects to their grandfather. How is that for a great story! We ride for those that can’t, for POW’s and MIA’s. The soldiers interred at Silverdale Cemetery have been MIA’s for well over 100 years. A big thank you to Lynne Fouraker and Jerry Wormseley for giving riders this unconventional way of fulfilling the Run for the Wall Mission.


Once again it was time to mount up and ride the leg to Knoxville Truck Stop, a 79 mile seemingly easy leg and then on to Greenville, Davy Crockett truck stop, another easy 89 mile leg. HAHAHA, it proved to be anything but easy.  After we pulled out of the Thunder Creek Harley, it began to rain in earnest. We thought it was raining before, little did we know what lay ahead. It rained cats and dogs, lightening and thunder. It rained so hard it was difficult to see the bike right in front of you. The pack slowed down and moved to the number three lane. About that time, trucks and cars came between the number one and two platoons. This split the pack into two groups. I happened to be leading the 2nd platoon and consequently the entire back half of the pack. Remember my road name “Wrong Way Eyes”. I was laughing hysterically, if they only knew who was at the front. Luckily we were able to catch up to the front of the pack and made the proper turn at the transition. Well, 5th platoon was a little further back and did not see Road Guard, Wicked frantically waving his arms at the transition. Yep, 5th platoon took a wrong turn. Luckily they were able to right it rather quickly. At one point the pack was split into three groups. Riding in the rain certainly offers new challenges. By the time we pulled into Greeneville and the Davy Crockett Truck stop, the entire pack was safely back together.

When we reached the Davy Crockett Truck stop riders were told not to leave their bikes that we would be pulling out as soon as the last bike fueled. At that time a severe weather warning alert came out from the weather service. Riders were then told to get inside the Davy Crockett Truck stop. Yep, 500 soaking wet bikers squeezed into the Davy Crockett truck stop. I felt so bad, their floors were a sopping wet disaster. We sheltered in place in the store until it appeared that the worst had passed. Then we got on our bikes and rode right into the storm. ⛈????????


We stopped for lunch at the Bristol-Black Wolf Harley Davidson shop. We normally eat outside on their back lawn. It’s a beautiful stop and a beautiful shop. This year we were huddled under the tent set up in back, trying to dry out before it was time to saddle up. We rode on into Wytheville, riding into the same storm for the third time. Any  normal, sane person would have taken shelter for the DAY and not rode into the same storm three times. As you know, Run for the Wall doesn’t have that option so we ride on! There were no accidents or mishaps due to the weather. Just goes to show when we are all paying attention and at the top of our game, we can do it!


After the riders dried out a bit they were treated to a delicious steak dinner at the Wytheville Moose Lodge. Ghost Rider thanked the volunteers on the Southern Route, (170 of them) Fueling team, Ambassadors, chaplains, finance team, registration team, out reach team, $5 Marty, 50/50 team, daily raffle team, sit rep writer, Quartermaster, medical team, route photographer, honor guard coordinator that helped make the run possible. I am hoping next year we can get group photos of the various teams. Ghost Rider also announced that Santa Ed was selected to represent RFTW at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Wreath Laying Ceremony. My heart melted ❣️, what an honor.

Rider’s retired early for a hot shower and much needed rest. Everyone trying to figure out how to dry their gear.

I will add to the last two days of the run as life permits. I have videos of Montvale and coming into Arlington. Be patient with me, other responsibilities beckon.

“America without her soldiers would be like God without His Angeles” Claudia Pemberton

Mission > Self

Kristine “Eyes” Wood

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Southern Route 2017 Day 8

Chattanooga TN – Wytheville VA, 285 miles


It rained all day long! Not just a little rain, a lot of rain! We sheltered in place at the Davy Crockett T/A. Then we got on our bikes and rode with the storm into Wytheville☔️☔️☔️☔️☔️☔️☔️☔️☔️.

Apparently my laptop did not like the rain. It is frozen solid, kind of like I was earlier. Consequently, I can’t ride the sit-rep. If I can borrow a laptop tomorrow, I will be back in business.

I’d like to recommend a few new road names:

Ghost Rider – Rain Man

Big Vic – Wrong Way Vic

Bugs – Wrong Way Bugs

Doc – Wrong Way Doc

You can see what kind of day we had. I’ll be back tomorrow.

I’ll be posting picture snapshots of our day to my Facebook page and Instagram. I’ll fill in all the details tomorrow.

Good Night and God Bless????????

Kristine “Eyes” Wood

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Southern Route – 2017, Day 7

Meridian, MS – Chattanooga, TN  – 319 Miles

The mantra for today’s ride was: Adapt – Improvise – Overcome

The day began with an announcement that there would be a detour heading out of Meridian. At mile marker 32 the pack was taken off the highway,  we were taken back on the highway at Mile Marker 62.  It was 30 miles of back roads full of pot holes, sharp turns and gravel. Oh and did I mention it was raining? Essentially, we started the day behind. Hard as we tried we never made up the time but we adapted, we improvised and we overcame!

In addition to opening the morning meeting with the detour information, Ghost Rider shared with the group that when we left Ontario there were 1,611 Missing in Action from Vietnam. This week LCDR Frederick P. Crosby USN, remains were discovered and returned. As of today there are 1,610 still missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. This is why we ride! To Remember!

“Dying for Freedom isn’t the worst that could happen, being forgotten is.” WE WILL NOT FORGET! 

We crossed into Sweet Home Alabama at 8:15 am. Stopped for gas and a quick snack and then continued on to the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center. The staff and patients are so happy to have the riders visit. They line the street and parking lot to welcome us as we ride in. It’s a huge welcome home party in the parking lot! The riders are welcomed and taken to the atrium where we are provided a yummy pulled pork sandwich lunch. This year we took up a donation from the riders for the medical center. Then RFTW – Southern Route matched the funds. Riders donated $1,836.00 and with the matching donation a total of $3,672.00 was given to the VA Medical Center. The money used to purchase toiletries, birthday party supplies and other extras.

Lunch is served in the atrium and then riders are invited to go and visit patients at the medical center. I have met some wonderful American Heroes in the halls of the Tuscaloosa VAMC.

From the VAMC we made a short hop, only 100 miles, over to the Piggly-Wiggly for a little Thunder at the Pig. It just wouldn’t be the Southern Route without it. I eat one hotdog a year and it’s in the Piggly-Wiggly Parking lot. For some reason, they taste so good! We also had chips, watermelon, and crackers. And everyone gets their picture taken with “The Pig” ????. Not sure what the serious conversation Ghost Rider is engaged in. They look happy though ????. It must be the hot dogs.

After the Piggily-Wiggly is the 120 mile leg into Chattanooga, TN. This leg has the reputation as the worst leg of the 10 day trip. The traffic, and missionary ridge and all the interchanges… this year we were looking at adding rain to the mix. I am happy to report, the rain held off and we sailed right into the Thunder Creek Harley Davidson in Chattanooga, TN.

Observations from today:

  • The country side is beautiful, so green and lush. Too bad it has to rain all the time to look that way.
  • We dipped into Georgia just before riding into Tennessee
  • The Fallen Heroes Cart the Southern Route was escorting was delivered to Dallas Fort Worth yesterday. I will try to get a picture of it being delivered.
  • As of last night there are approximately 425 riders registered on the Southern Route


“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” Harry S Truman

Mission > Self

Kristine “Eyes” Wood





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Southern Route – 2017, Day 6

Monroe, LA to Meridian, MS, 227 Miles

There so much to share about the day. I hope there isn’t a word or picture limit. The day began in the Monroe, LA, Sam’s Parking lot under a light rain. After the morning meeting we headed over to the Monroe Civic Center for a Wreath Laying Ceremony. The ceremony concluded with the playing of Amazing Grace by James Stuart on the Bag pipes. Great video, the sound echoed in the community center.

After the wreath laying we went out to the parking lot to watch Louisiana State Police Motor Trooper, Michael “Playboy” Satcher show the riders what a Harley is capable of. It was very impressive! Another good video, someday I’ll be able to ride like that, hahahaha!

The Louisiana State Police Motor Troopers escorted us to the Mississippi state line where the Mississippi Motor Police took over and escorted us through Mississippi. I never saw one of the officers. Saw their bikes but I only ever saw them when I was zooming by at 65 MPH.

We stopped for lunch at the Jackson, Mississippi Harley Davidson Dealer. Riders had the honor of meeting some real American heroes. Ron Rosser, Medal of Honor recipient, not once, but twice. He was awarded the MOH by Harry Truman, WOW! He shared some of his life experiences. He is the oldest of 17 children. He holds the record for hand to hand combat (no clue what that means). He worked as a Chief of Police in Florida and he went nine whole days without shooting anyone.

He shared the story of taking part in a battle in Korea. Everyone in the battle was a casualty, wounded or missing. He was pulling the wounded out when a “Chinaman” pointed a gun at him. The “Chinaman” looked at Ron, looked at what he was doing and did not shoot him. Later Ron went to throw a grenade into a bunker when the same “Chinaman” stuck his head out. It was the same man that did not shoot him. Ron returned the favor and let him live.

Some quotes from Ron: “I am not a hero, I am a soldier, this is my country and this is what they sent me to do.”

Ron was taught in basic training, “Don’t be afraid cause it don’t help”

We were introduced to Bill Robinson the longest held enlisted POW from the Vietnam War. I asked how long he was held captive and his response was, “only 7.5”. I said incredulously years? He said yes, but that’s only 2703 days. I couldn’t hold back the tears. Southern Route’s “Gump” was also presented. AKA Joseph Hudson was held 22 days in Iraq.  Gump and I sat down at a table and he shared some funny insights into his views on being a POW and meeting other POWs. Below are pictured Bill Robinson and Joseph Hudson.

I really need to go to bed!

One more story, I met the owner of the Harley shop that provides this amazing experience for so many people! Wow!  So, this is Earl, owner of the Harley shop in Jackson, MS. He was talking to Gump and I. I asked him his name and he laughed and said, “Sum Beach”. I told him I couldn’t write that in the sit-rep and he told me that sure I could and spelled it out for me. Then he called over his son, “Stupid” and then he called his other son over “Dumb”. I was doubled over with laughter. I don’t think Sum Beach could be serious if he had to be. You’d never guess he was the owner of this very large, very successful Harley shop. A woman that was staffing one of the community tables at the event, thanked him for coming. He looked at me and smiled and said, “yeah, I spend a lot of time here”.

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Meet Earl. He prefers to be called "Sum Beach". No lie!

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Okay, one more story! Ghost Rider, the Route Coordinator asked for this one. Probably should have been first but I am tired.

This photo is of Mike “TOP” Poiriero. He works with Warrior Pointe which is a new organization for our young veterans. There are chapters or branches in most states. It is similar to the American Legion or VFW but only for the young guys. Their “motto” is IGY6, ” I got your six”. With the alarming rate of our young soldiers committing suicide, they are working tirelessly to let these young soldiers know they are not alone.

This was the first time I have heard of the organization. I will definitely look into it further and see what they need and what we can do to help.

Last Year Mike rode with Run for the Wall and this year he presented Ghost Rider with these two plaques.

Random Thoughts from the road:

  • I learned today that Mississippi is known as the hospitality state.
  • The beautiful green countryside comes with a price, lots of rain
  • We crossed the Mississippi River today late in the morning
  • Laurie “Airborne” Clay, MC or Stupid says “Hi” and he misses you

Tonight’s quote comes from our route coordinator, Ray “Ghost Rider” Wyatt

“There will be at least once between California and DC when each of us will question why we are doing this. The answer is in our Mission Statement: Mission > Self

In for another wet ride tomorrow, ride safe, ride smart! Good Night, God Speed

Kristine “Eyes” Wood

p.s. I am too tired to proofread, deal with it????



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Southern Route – 2017 – Day 5

Grand Prairie, Texas – Monroe, Louisiana 324 Miles

The day began in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Grand Prairie. Yes, once a year we attend church in a (typically wet) parking lot. There was quite a bit of thunder and lightening emphasizing each point the Chaplain made.

A few of us headed out for an “Out Reach”, that’s when a few platoons or riders go on a special mission, to visit an MIA family a veteran’s home or to lay a wreath at a memorial. Our out reach was to the Texas State Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial. The Memorial contains the names of 3,417 Vietnam, Killed in Action from the State of Texas. When the names are written out there is a visual impact which is much more powerful than just hearing the number, 3,417.

One of the riders on the mission with us is a serious, “bad ass” dude. He was very moved while at the monument because one of his buddy’s name is on the memorial. A poignant reminder,


The beautiful Texas State Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial

Our first stop was in Terrell, Texas, what a great, patriot town. The American Legion Auxiliary is out in force every year with home made sandwiches, cookies brownies and other gifts. They alway have a Remembrance Poppy for every rider. I promised to bring them a Remembrance Poppy from the California American Legion. The friendships we make along the way are part of what makes Run for the Wall so special.

The Mayor of Terrell awarded Run for the Wall a beautiful Proclamation, which in part reads: “Whereas Since 2004, Terrell, TX has been one of the destinations for Run for the Wall, May 21, 2017 marks the day that riders will arrive in Terrill, TX

Now Therefore, I D.J.Try, by virtue of the authority voted in me as Mayor and on behalf of the Terrell City Council do hereby proclaim May 21, 2017 as:

in the city of Terrell and urge all citizens to recognize and participate in this important event being held in our community and communities across the nation realizing it is the responsibility of each of us to support programs and events aimed at honoring those who have volunteered to serve our country and protect our freedoms.”

ISN’T THAT GREAT??? We need to get the White House to name a National Run for the Wall Day!

From Terrell we headed out for Monroe, LA. It finally stopped raining at the Louisiana State Line but it wasn’t to last. We rode through some nasty storm cells. It all cleared up though and we were fairly dried out when we pulled into the Shriner’s Hall for dinner.

Let’s back up though and talk about the escorts we had today. Texas State Troopers escorted us out of Texas. When we hit the Louisiana state line the Louisiana Police Motors (I asked them their official name, that’s it) jumped in and escorted us into dinner. They did an outstanding job! They took us through the backroads of Louisiana to get onto the highway. It was a beautiful winding road, green on both sides and lined with people waving and cheering us on. We got on the Interstate 20 for a short distance but were taken off because of a Tractor Trailer accident further up the road. Once again we were riding through the backroads of Louisiana. It was a beautiful detour. Imagine if we did not have these professional escorts. We’d probably still be sitting out on the interstate.

All the riders appreciate the job they do and many were shaking their hands and thanking them at the the Shriner’s Hall. Ghost Rider, the Route Coordinator at dinner said, “he loves to see their blue lights coming up behind him in his mirror”. They seemed to be everywhere at once. As for me, I enjoyed seeing them as I rode by as they were blocking the on ramp to the interstate. They are very easy on the ????. Tomorrow they are giving us a riding exhibition. They are amazing riders. I will try to post a video in tomorrow’s sit-rep.

Louisiana Police State Motors – Easy on the ????

The Shriner’s out did themselves with the fish fry, gumbo dinner. They gave an excellent program on the Fallen Comrade Table. Our quote tonight comes from the symbolism of the lit candle: “Reminiscent of the light of home which lives in our hearts to illuminate their way home, away from their captors to the open arms of a grateful nation.”

Run for the Wall riders, keep that candle burning bright to light the way home!

Forecast is for rain, rain and more rain tomorrow. Be safe out there! God Speed and God Bless.

Kristine “Eyes” Wood

p.s. A big thank you to those that have mentioned reading the sit-reps. It’s nice to know I don’t stay up late writing for nothing ????.

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Southern Route, 2017 – Day 4

Odessa, Texas – Grand Prairie, Texas 349 Miles

Yes, folks a full day of riding and we are STILL in Texas! But, Texas has been good to us. The weather has been perfect, blue skies and sunshine, but not hot.

The day began with a delicious home cooked breakfast at the American Legion Post 430. Followed by the rider’s meeting which included the perfunctory hand signal review and welcoming the new FNGs. We had quite a few this morning. That’s because Texas is such an amazing, patriotic state!

We visited two memorials in the morning, (I told you Texans are amazing)! The Permian Basin and the Big Spring Memorial. The Permian Basin Memorial is a very emotional place for Vietnam Veterans to visit. I have been told the way the grass blows in the wind with the helicopter coming in for a landing and the pose of the soldiers in the statue, takes the Veterans right back to what Vietnam was like. It is always a favorite stop for the riders.

Permian Basin Vietnam Memorial

We also visited the Big Spring Memorial where riders participated in a wreath laying ceremony. A bag piper player concluded the wreath laying with the playing of taps and Amazing Grace.

Amazing Grace on the bag pipes at Big Spring memorial

We stopped in for lunch at the Railhead Building in Colorado City. What an amazing little town! I think time has passed it by, it is a very quaint and hospitable town. The lunchtime entertainment included music by the Sweetwater Municipal Band and two solo performances one by Clancy White who sang “God Bless the USA”, always a favorite! Meghan Owen sang “Orange Colored Sky” which is a Nat King Cole Song (one of my favorites) but she put a very clever spin on it. The words go, “out of an orange colored sky”. While she was singing the song a slide show was showing behind her, depicting various military aircraft with an “orange colored sky” as the backdrop. Both girls did a great job!

Riders departed Colorado City for Grand Prairie, Texas with a brief stop in Cisco. Riding through the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex area was exhilirating. I think all the riders were wide awake for that leg of the journey. We arrived at the Grand Prairie, Dubiski Career High School right on time. We enjoyed a short program, awarded a scholarship, handed out thank you plaques and called it a night.

Riding across Texas is such a pleasant experience. This year with the great weather it has been really a treat. As I was riding along the flat Texas country side, I noticed how West Texas is dotted with oil wells and cattle chutes, made me smile. I really enjoyed it when a ???????? train passed our ???????? train and both parties honked and waved. Only in Texas!

Tonight’s quote is from General Norman Schwarzkopf “As young West Point cadets, our motto was ‘duty, honor, country.’ But it was in the field from the rice paddies of Southeast Asia to the sands of the Middle East, that I learned the motto’s fullest meaning. There I saw valiant young Americans of every race, creed and background fight, and sometimes die for ‘duty, honor and their country’.”

God Bless America and God Bless our Veterans!????????

Kristine “Eyes” Wood