Day 10! We made it to Arlington – ALL THE WAY! How far we going to go? ALL THE WAY.
Today we started in Lynchburg and going planned on 256 miles to Arlington. We had breakfast at the Tree of Life Ministries. After breakfast, there were some presentations to not only the folks from The Tree of Ministries that took care of us but many of the unsung hero’s that helped pull this whole run off.
Probably the big point of this drive was the rain we ran into. We had some heavy rain for quite a while. We pulled off for a fuel stop at a Sheetz in Fisherville and then it was really coming down but 15 minutes later, things calmed down. The rain gear really helped. We went on to the next stop, Front Royal where we fueled up and had lunch in the parking lot at the Hilton Double Tree. P&J Sandwiches. Then, 66 miles to Arlington. We had Police escort all the way through Virginia into Arlington. I think everyone was thinking about getting to Arlington and that’s all that was on their mind. Once we rolled into the host hotel, it was a great feeling. We made it!
Thanks All Brothers and Sisters for being Run companions! It’s been a great one. See you next year!
Today we travel from Wytheville Virginia to Lynchburg Virginia. It will be an easier day than most with only 130 miles to be traveled for the pack. Breakfast was at Withers Park with again, the people of Wytheville coming out to take care of us. After a bit, the kids came around and started their show for us. The children put on a fantastic show. They obviously practiced long and hard for this. They started with a patriotic entrance using flags for each branch of the service with the appropriate song of that branch. Then they went into a very well done skit from Stripes where the kids were spot on with the acting and speaking parts. It was very well done and brought the house down. They did some readings and the meaning behind them. They also carried the American Flag and the POW flag. It was all very touching and very well done. “Bravo” to the people of Wytheville to have a community like this. We were impressed and very honored to have your support. Thank You!!
I decided to spend some time with the Ambassadors so we went on our own for an outreach to a VA hospital. That was also moving. Many of the patients were outside in chairs waiting for us and I would expect this was an exciting event for them. We roared in with our motorcycles and started mixing with them making conversations. We all have something in common with the military service or having family in the military service but most people like to talk about themselves so it was easy to simply listen. Some of them had motorcycle stories so we had a good time hanging out with them. This facility seemed to be taking good care of these warriors. They were happy campers and enjoyed the visit. The time spent with the Ambassadors was fruitful and interesting. The Ambassadors do a lot of work on the periphery of the run. The Ambassadors plow ahead of the pack to stop and visit most of the bridges that are greeting us as we go by. They thank the bridge participants and give them a pin or another trinket to show our appreciation for their support. They also go on out reach visits to family of KIA’s and MIA’s.
We then went onto the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia. I visited this memorial in 2019 and was super impressed. I had never heard of it before that visit but it is a large and very well put together memorial. I’ll include a few pictures but there’s a lot of stories to learn about here. Bedford was chosen as the location for this memorial because they lost more men per capitia than any other city in the US at D-Day. From the web site:
Bedford, Virginia… Like eleven other Virginia communities, Bedford provided a company of soldiers (Company A) to the 29th Infantry Division when the National Guard’s 116th Infantry Regiment was activated on 3 February 1941. Some thirty Bedford soldiers were still in that company on D-Day; several more from Bedford were in other D-Day companies, including one who, two years earlier, had been reassigned from the 116th Infantry to the First Infantry Division. Thus he had already landed in both Northern Africa and Sicily before coming ashore on D-Day at Omaha Beach with the Big Red One. Company A of the 116th Infantry assaulted Omaha Beach as part of the First Division’s Task Force O.
By day’s end, nineteen of the company’s Bedford soldiers were dead. Two more Bedford soldiers died later in the Normandy campaign, as did yet another two assigned to other 116th Infantry companies. Bedford’s population in 1944 was about 3,200. Proportionally this community suffered the nation’s severest D-Day losses. Recognizing Bedford as emblematic of all communities, large and small, whose citizen-soldiers served on D-Day, Congress warranted the establishment of the National D-Day Memorial here.
The Bedford Boys will be remembered along with all the others. There are plaques for all that died that day on the main circle. And, the invasion was a success and this memorial is a significant place to visit and learn more history about the war.
From Bedford, we went onto Lynchburg and had a nice dinner at the Harley Davidson Dealer of Lynchburg. Another good day.
P.S. – Sorry I don’t know how to format picture locations yet in this web site.
We left Chattanooga Tennessee with the destination of Wytheville Virginia. We were able to avoid rain, or should I say the rain avoided us. We staged and had breakfast at the White Lightening Harley Davidson dealer. We traveled to Bristol where we had lunch and then on to Wytheville, VA. I’ll speak to the Wytheville in a little bit but first wanted to speak to the bigger part of my day. I wanted to ride with the fuel crew to see what their days are like. There are many unsung hero’s on this mission doing work in the background and they range from the folks doing registration, staging crew, fuel crew, nursing, Ambassadors, honor guard coordinator, Photographer, hydration team, leadership support, Road Guards, merchandise team, and of course the State Coordinators. It takes a lot of people to pull this off in such an organized manner and being the first year as a Sit-Rep, I realized I need to see some of this and learn more about how they perform their roles, what they go through. So, I decided to spend most of the day with the fuel crew. The fuel crew is a tight group as they need to be to pull off the job they have. They leave early to be at the next fuel stop way ahead of the pack. After they get to a fuel stop, they start making arrangements to take over the pumps that will be needed to efficiently refuel everyone. Of course, the gas station is aware of the big group of motorcycles coming. Payment for the fuel has been arranged for and then they wait a few minutes for the first group to come in. Usually, the Staging Crew will roll in, then the Ambassadors and then we wait another few minutes until the main pack comes rolling in. So, the pumps are on and the bikes line up two abreast on each side of the pump with a fueler on each side of the pump. The fueler hands the pump handle to each rider and they pump away until the pumps clicks off and that should be enough since most fuel stops average 100 miles. The inside bike is now fueled, the outside bike is handed the pump handle, they start fueling while the inside bike moves forward and another bike moves up to the inside position to wait for their turn. If it’s a pay stop, there’s a person that is collecting the cash to pay for the fuel, usually a $5 or $10 dollar charge. This is going on each side of the pump for 4 to 6 pumps. It’s a very efficient process and 400 bikes can be fueled in 20 minutes this way at a large station with enough pumps. After the bikes are fueled, the pumps are turned off, the account is settled, and the fuel guys take off for the next fuel stop to get it all set up again. What this also means is that they often miss out on many of the lunches that we enjoy or some of the memorials that we go to. They will make some of the stops but they also miss some. They have their own 4 wheeler (cage) that carries hydration and goodies to keep them going since they move fast and early. What I found pretty cool about the time spent with them is that they work hard and have a lot of fun doing it. They give each other a hard time in fun and everyone enjoys the play. This team is an attestation of “no attitude”. One of the rules we all live by on this run is not having an attitude and these guys display this very well. I would probably see a similar way of acting in the other support teams but it was real enjoyable to be part of this team and enjoy the fun of their acceptance. The importance of doing everything correctly like clockwork can make it all go very smoothly or have a mistake add a lot of time to a fuel stop which reduces the amount of time the riders can go hydrate or take a bathroom break. An example is doing a very natural thing to hang up a fuel pump handle after fueling a bike. Well, that means the pump must be restarted and that can add a fair amount of time to that line of bikes waiting. Of course, the offender is teased and as punishment for doing something wrong like that, there is a piece of jewelry the offender must wear for a day or so, depending on the infraction. As a new guy for the day, I was told to wear the jewelry for part of the day and it added to the experience for me as part of my initiation onto the fuel crew. Picture attached.
One of the ongoing traveling memorials we have on this ride is carrying a tri-folded flag from Ontario to Washington DC. This flag is being carried by FNG’s only and handed off at each stop. It’s bringing the concept of honoring the flag and it’s meaning closer to all of us. Below are some pictures of one of the FNG’s going through the hand off procedure. This flag is not commemorative for a particular warrior but in memory for all MIA’s and KIA’s as our American Flag and country that we defend. They are not forgotten. Pictures below.
Later in the day of Day 8, we rolled into Wytheville Virginia. Wytheville is a unique town. We see many small or medium towns that really come out in force to welcome us and greet us. Wytheville does this with a force that cannot be beat. The family’s greet us on the streets for a very long way as our procession comes into town. Then we roll into Withers Park and circle the park on what is normally a round foot path wide enough to park two motorcycles. The people of Wytheville converge with us, greet us, give us big hugs and make us feel very welcome and very special. There were some great speeches, awards, patriotic events and a special Thank You to select people that make this event come together in Wytheville along the State Police that escorted us across the state. One of the beautiful parts of the State Police escorting RFTW is that one of Wytheville’s own was part of that force. A young man that grew up with RFTW coming into the park and the school, participating in the run as a young man and now escorting us as a motor police. This town has really adopted us into their hearts. It appears they look at the arrival of RFTW as an event as big as Christmas! If Christmas is bigger, I think I want to be here next Christmas! After the arrival ceremonies, we went off the hotels to check in and then went to the Moose Lodge for dinner. Again, the food, a fabulous steak and/or chicken barbecued to perfection with a great salad and side dishes. I know meat is expensive these days but the steak quality was very high. Then raffles and auctions, some more honors and time to get some rest.
Today we went from Meridian, MS to Chattanooga, TN. We started at the Agriculture Pavilion in Meridian. Of course, we were fed good stuff. Always lots of food but it’s all so good and appreciated. Everyone seems to enjoy taking care of us as we journey across the country. We always have a big Thank You for all these great people and truly appreciate the number of people coming out to support us. The laundry was ready for pickup! An amazing service. The big news of the day was the rain. We were rained on for a couple of hours all together but it was a fairly warm rain. We all had our rain gear on so it wasn’t a big deal. It slowed us a little but we went through and got to where we needed to be. We had some fuel stops, we left Mississippi, went through Alabama and a small part of Georgia to end up in Tennessee. A total of 317 miles. We had LEO escort in Alabama but not in Tennessee. Going through Chattanooga there was quite a bit of traffic but we all made it through without incidence. It’s hard to describe but if you’re a rider, and you’re with a friend or two, you can make it through the traffic areas without too much trouble but when you have a group as large as ours, it becomes a challenge and that’s where our Road Guards do a fabulous job of getting us through these difficult areas without an incident. The reality is you have different skill levels with riders that don’t know each other’s driving habits real well. The size of the group is so large, even broken up into platoons, it’s a challenge because we’re trying to stay together yet some cars are trying to squeeze into our group to make an exit and it can become a challenge. Most of us are experienced enough to know when to let people through and when not to so with the guidance of Road Guards and Tail Gunners, we did well. Thanks Guys and Gals. Dinner was at the White Lightening Harley Davidson Dealer. Great pulled pork sandwiches and goodies. Then onto the hotels. I had some other details I wanted to pass on but my sources haven’t forwarded details yet, hopefully I can update later tonight or tomorrow. Till next time – Boots out.
USAF ’72 – ’75
“Accept the challenges so that you can
feel the exhilaration of victory.”
General George Patton Jr.
Below are some words from a gentleman, Frank L. Vance, that read to us during one of our fuel stops. It was very touching.
People like my Father and all Soldiers make me very proud to be AMERICAN. My wife’s father was in the Navy during WWII. My father graduated Glider Pilot flight school from South Plains Air Field. He served in the European Theater. His name was Frank L. Vance III. They have a Silent Wings Museum in Lubbock , Texas at South Plains Air Field that Honors all Gliders Pilots. There was a picture of his 306th TCS in the museum, the same picture we have at his house.
My father passed on Dec.30th, 2013.He was a WWII Glider Pilot. He was in the Army/Aircorp 9th Corp,442nd TCG,306th TCS. He flew CG-4A Gliders and C-47’s in Holland, France, Belgium and Germany. His main mission was Operation Market Garden. Many British and American men died in that battle. He received the Air Combat Metal for his Service. He was my HERO and my BEST FRIEND. He always said the HERO’S were the ones that gave their lives during the war. He said he was not a HERO. I always thought he and all men like him were HERO’S. I’d like to share a poem I wrote a few weeks after he died. It’s called “Soldiers Pain” Thanks, Frank L. Vance IV, Dedicated to Frank L. Vance III and all soldiers:
He is my eternal flame,
Many have come before and after,
but they are all the same
Young girls and boys protecting the world
and always taking the blame.
They didn’t ask to be in this
situation, but do their job
because they love their nation.
They never have time to cry
or be afraid, something we
take for granted every day.
I owe a great amount of appreciation
because my father was part of
the Greatest Generation.
There’s a place in my heart for all the
families that are mentally and physically
so far apart.
Many lose their life and some
come home to their husband and wife.
The ones that are sane settle
back in society and sustain,
but the ones that gave and
saw pain will never be the same.
If they make it back sane
I think they wonder why we all complain.
So, if you see a soldier
give them a hand shake and
a hug because freedom is
not free and they sacrifice
everything for you and me.
We will never know a
Soldiers Pain because they
risk and give their lives for our gain.
This morning we started in Monroe Louisiana and ended up in Meridian Mississippi. Another good day for traveling. We had a little bit of rain drizzle for about 15 minutes and that was it. It was refreshing and did not get those of us very wet that have fairings. It was a total of 225 miles. We started with a full tank and made 2 fuel stops. We started at Sam’s Club parking lot with MacDonalds sausage and biscuit sandwiches along with some fruits and other goodies. The first ride was very short as we went to the Monroe City Hall to have a wreath laying ceremony at the Veterans Memorial that is there in front. It’s a nice memorial for locals that had given all for WWII, The Korean War and the Vietnam War. I was pleased to see it etched in stone that it was the Vietnam War and not the Vietnam Conflict like they pushed in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s trying to avoid the idea we were at war and war was never declared! We headed towards Jackson MS. We had LEO escort the remainder of Louisiana and all the way through Mississippi. Before leaving the Sam’s Club parking lot, we had a couple of the Motor Police do a little show for us on their Harley’s. Very talented riders. I’ll put a link to a movie to try and show case the riding. I mentioned having their escort. They basically shut the highway down not allowing vehicles to get on the highway in front of us and keeping them off until the entire pack had passed. They were doing a bump and go where the police would block the entrance with their lights going, a RFTW Road Guard would stop and take his place, then the LEO would continue on to the next entrance with a few of his buddies doing the same thing with other entrances further up. I was lucky enough to be close to the front of the pack and could see the actions which included 16 to 18 Motor Police riding side by side with all of them flashing their blue lights. It looked like a moving island of flashing blue lights, then there was a bunch of Road Guards right behind them with their yellow and white lights flashing, it was a colorful morning and very impressive. And, almost all the over passes had people waving at us with American Flags displayed. There were quite a few of the smaller towns that had their firetrucks out there on the over pass with lights flashing and often big American Flags hanging off the ladder trucks. We all felt pretty special. It was a huge welcome from the State of Mississippi. We crossed the Mississippi River, very large and continued on to the first fuel stop. The escort took us off and back on claiming the highway to be ours again. It was a fun time. In Jackson, MS, we stopped for lunch at the Jackson Harley Dealer. It started with a ceremony where the Quarter Master announced the celebrity military hero’s that graced us with the presence. To mention a few, there was a Baatan Death March Survivor, a Tuskegee Airman, 32nd Fighter Group, an Iwo Jima Survivor, a Prisoner of War survivor and last but not least, Michael Thornton, a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. Lt Thornton has quite a list of achievements as a Navy Seal and if you’d like to read a bit more, a link to an informative web page is: https://achievement.org/achiever/lt-michael-e-thornton-usn/
I was able to get a picture of Lt Thornton, myself and Flat Stanley in front of the dealership, it is below. Most everyone on the ride is familiar with Flat Stanley but he’s a character from a beginning reader book series and the Montvale Elementary School in Virginia asked one of us to carry Stanley on the ride with us. I was honored to do so. Flat Stanley is a character that children will make in school, mail him to friends and family around the world and they will have pictures sent back of Flat Stanley having adventures. Kids seem to really like the stories and anything to encourage reading is a good thing. He’s easily Googled if you want to learn more.
From Jackson, we went to our final stop of the day in Meridian MS. We were escorted to the Ag Center where they had a great meal laid out for us. Smoked meats, veggies and potatoes with a long table of homemade deserts. I have some pictures of the Smoker below. They converted an old fire truck into a drivable smoker with a very large drum to smoke the meats. Pretty impressive if you like smokers. Another wonderful service is also offered here in Meridian. Here we are on day 6 and we all have some dirty laundry. There is a group that comes up from Florida and gives us plastic bags with our names on them to fill with our dirty clothes. Tomorrow morning, the bags will be available for pickup, all nicely folded and clean. Amazing people. I understand they have a large truck that is outfitted with washer / dryer equipment, and they travel to disaster spots to help people that are without these services. An exciting day. Tomorrow, we head towards Chattanooga, TN. PS – sorry I don’t know how to format these pages very well. Being new at this role, I didn’t have much time to learn the nuances of formatting.
A great day where we avoided being rained on. It looked threatening at times and after pulling into the hotel after dinner, it did indeed start raining a bit. So, we were blessed with good weather for our riding today. We started in Grand Prairie Texas and ended the day in Monroe Louisiana. We had breakfast provided by a MacDonalds in the Grand Prairie Super Walmart parking lot where we staged for leaving. There were 3 fuel stops with lunch at the Longview Texas Fairgrounds in Longview. At the Fairgrounds is a large building that we take up a big chunk of as they feed us and entertain us. Good sandwiches, lots of baked goodies with very warm greetings. There’s a gentleman that sings to us with karaoke tracks running and it’s good entertainment. We surely get that “appreciated” feeling along this route and today was another day to get that feeling. Some of the troops went on an outreach this morning to the Texas Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Fair Park. There are some pictures of that below with a wreath laying by members of our ride volunteering to be the honor guard. After lunch we headed towards Monroe, LA. Once we hit the Louisiana border, we had State Motorcycle Police escort us with them blocking the highway entrances to not have traffic coming into our long procession of motorcycles. With the traffic stopped, one of our road guards would take that spot and the State Police Officer would head down to the next area that needed blocking and it continued all the way to our destination. Those officers came to dinner with us at the Monroe Shriners Hall where we were all treated to really good Catfish, Pork or Chicken along with Coleslaw and Hushpuppies that had a bit of a spice byte to them – great stuff. Oh, then the long tables filled with baked goods. We’re not going hungry this trip. We rode 323 miles. One of the fuel stops in the morning needs to be acknowledged is the town of Terrell Texas. It’s a large store parking lot where after filling up with fuel, the local folks gather to greet us, give us drinks and snacks. Along with the RFTW State Coordinator and her connections with the Daughters of the American Revolution, things were put together to make this stop a reality again. With Covid over the last couple of years, it almost slipped the minds of important players but it did come together with the Mayor and City Council also proclaiming May 22, 2022 to become the official Run For The Wall day. At the Longview lunch, they also declared that in the City of Terrell, May 22, 2022 is also going to be Run For The Wall Day. Now we just have to work on the rest of the country!
The picture of a Bio in a sleeve in the parking lot needs a bit of explanation. The Missing Man is an important part of Run For The Wall. As we travel along on our mission, FNG’s have the opportunity to ride up front with the Missing Man platoon and ride for someone with a personal connection to them or choose one of the Missing Men that’s on a list, longer than we like. Each leg of the journey (between fuel stops) is another opportunity for an FNG to participate in this honor to remember the Missing loved ones. The formation is set up where the Route coordinator and the Assistant Route Coordinator are side by side, then the FNG is immediately behind the Route Coordinator with an empty spot next to the FNG representing the Missing Man. After the FNG and the empty spot is the Missing Man Coordinator Judy “Not Airborne” Wormmeester and the Missing Man Chaplin Bo Pearson, also riding side by side. We are riding to remember those that have been lost. Tomorrow we go to Meridian Mississippi as we get closer to Washington DC.
Greetings – Day 4 was another day of long riding with some impressive memorials to visit. We spent the night in Odessa Texas. We were treated to a great breakfast at the American Legion in Odessa. Very nice people that took care of us well. We then went to Midland TX to the Permian Basin Memorial. It’s a slightly smaller memorial but the people that raised the funds to build it are very proud of it for good reasons. It pays tribute to local warriors that have lost their lives from all branches of the Armed Forces. It was locally designed by residents and pays homage very well. They have a statue in the middle of three warriors, one carrying a wounded soldier to a helicopter and a third soldier assisting but also looking back to the wall with names of those lost that they can’t bring back with them. It’s touching when you realize the story and intent. One of our RFTW volunteers father is listed as one of those KIA in Viet Nam which brings home meaning of our mission to not let any of our warriors be forgotten. You will be remembered! We did have a wreath laying here.
We then went to the Big Springs Veterans Memorial. This was also a very nice memorial and there was a wreath laying.
Then we were off to Colorado City, TX. Colorado City is a small town that goes all out to give us a warm welcome and feed us a great steak and/or chicken with green beans and a fantastic potato salad. I expect this is one of the highlights of their year to have the RFTW group come to have dinner (lunch time) with them. The warmth and hospitality cannot be outdone, Thank You Colorado City! We then drove more to get to the Dubiski Career High School where the students participated in preparing a great dinner and taking care of us. Again, wonderful hospitality which included a bag pipe player, an honor guard and having your hand shook 20 to 30 times just to get into the building. Some pictures are attached. The weather has been hot, decent but hot. We have a chance of rain in front of us but we keep moving with rain gear if that happens. A few other things worth mentioning that are a critical part of this Run To The Wall is the support we get from the volunteers that help keep us organized. There are unsung hero’s that race in front of us to be ready to set up the fueling stations, that stage us so we can take off in an organized fashion in the correct platoons that we were assigned to, the people that open up and hand us drinks so we can stay hydrated, the nurses that are ready to take care of us that need help along the way, the people selling merchandise to help raise funds for financing this run, road guards that are guiding us safely through traffic and I’m probably forgetting some but the number of volunteers is amazing. Without each one, we would not have such a successful and well organized mission. A huge Thank You to all of you helpful volunteers! Today, we also had LEO escorts all the way through our travels in Texas for the whole day. Again, much safer and faster. Thanks to the local police and Texas State Police.
Today we started out in Las Cruces, New Mexico. We started with breakfast at the American Legion. A great breakfast was served with biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon, yum. Does it seem like we eat a lot? Yes we do, the folks and the organizations that greet us are feeding us some awesome food and we are very honored to be treated so well and greeted so warmly. There was a raffle from the Legion where they handed out tickets to win $100. This story is unique because the lady that won the Golden ticket to have all her gas paid along the run this year also won this raffle. I don’t know her given name, my apologies for that but we all know her as Lucky now. She wears the smile very well.
We then went on to the Las Cruces Veterans Memorial Park. It’s a very nice park that is well put together. Some pictures are below. There was a very nice wreath laying ceremony and we had LEO (Law Enforcement) escort all the way through town and later on onto Highway 10 and quite a ways out of town. We were traveling on towards Odessa Texas which is our stop tonight. Most of the way through Texas we also had LEO escort. They are clearing the highway, keeping cars and trucks from entering the freeway for our line of bikes which is running about a 2.5 mile footprint on the highway. When we get to highway exits and head for a refuel stop; and afterwards we go to another location like a legion post or church to be fed, we don’t stop at lights or stop signs, it feels like we’re a long parade. We are honored! It’s quite a feeling and everyone is so nice and warm to us. It’s a big change to the ‘70’s when you didn’t wear your uniform state side when not needed because you were worried about the reaction you’d get. I’m sure a lot of you remember those times. And then we get into these places and everyone has big hugs and lots of Thank You(s). There were significant greetings on the highway. Overpasses with people waving, One place had a lady on a hillside riding a horse with a big flag! Fire Trucks with the ladder extension hanging a flag off the side of the freeway all timed out for when we drive by. It’s mind blowing. Some of these smaller towns that coordinate with leadership and state coordinators to host us look at this like a huge opportunity and it’s one of the big events of the year for them. The majority of the town comes out to greet us, wave flags, it’s all very cool. And, I venture to say very little of this would come together without the hard work of the state coordinators that are working in the background all year long to make this happen. Big Kudu’s to all the state coordinators for all the routes. It’s amazing work.
“Reckless” (Rod Runyon) went with some bikes to an outreach to Old Glory Memorial, a memorial for all American citizens to honor all who have served our Country and those that have given their lives in the name of the freedoms we enjoy every day. El Paso Texas Flags Across America has erected a 180 foot flagpole on the Trans-Mountain Campus of El Paso Community College and is flying a United States Flag, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and lighted at night. On special occasions, EPTFAA will be flying a beautiful 50 foot by 100 foot united states flag. Fifty (50) state flags, six (6) Armed Service Flags and six (6) Territorial flags. Some pictures from the outreach are below. Words spoken by Reckless (words worth keeping in your heart) at the outreach: “There are many ways you can keep our fallen, as well as our injured and ill veterans, in your mind and heart throughout the year, Countless ways to give back to those who have endured the physical, psychological and emotional wounds that may arise from military service. Working together with friends, neighbors, veterans groups and entire communities, we can ensure that the sacrifices made by our nations finest and bravest never go unappreciated and that their memories are never forgotten. I thank you all for joining in today’s tribute. I hope you keep our military man and women – and all the sacrifices they made – close to your heart today and throughout the year.”
This morning we left Casa Grande, Arizona towards our destination, Las Cruces, New Mexico. We had a light breakfast, had our usual morning meeting and one of the normal subjects is to stay hydrated. This is always a big concern since it’s so common for people to be riding through the desert and not realize they getting dehydrated. On the motorcycle, you are traveling at a good speed and the hot desert air is drying you off immediately so you don’t realize how much you are sweating and losing fluid. By the end of the day, in Las Cruces, we heard NO ONE had become dehydrated to the point of being pulled from the ride! Woo Hoo!! That’s a big deal since the temps were over 100 and we did a lot of riding with a lot of people. It’s amazing to be riding along and feel the heat emanating from the highway at 60 MPH. We drove 352 miles today with gas stops and lunch at the Elks Lodge in Wilcox AZ, dinner at the Las Cruces VFW post #10124. At one of the gas stops, we were taken care of by the folks of Marana Arizona. Very nice people that greeted us with snacks and water, a goodies bag along with their time. There was a color guard and a wonderful singer. One of the long time supporters was honored as he was an active supporter in the very beginning of stopping in Marana for gas. A movie is attached. The movie and pictures are compliments of Leggs (Lori Ann Schaeffler). We went on to Wilcox to fuel up and have a great lunch at the Elks Lodge with again, a very warm welcome. It seemed like most of the town was out greeting us as we came in through the streets. That is a welcome that wasn’t there for too many warriors coming home. The food was great – Thank You Wilcox! Then we departed for Las Cruces, NM. Dinner at the Las Cruces VFW was very good chicken enchiladas with rice and beans. It’s a good thing we’re not counting calories out here.
Click Here to watch. It will download and you will need to “open” the file —–> Video
USAF ’72 – ’75
“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that
we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship,
support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival
Today was the day we started! We left Ontario California on time and started riding our bikes towards today’s destination, Casa Grande, AZ. Before we left, there were some ceremonies, thanks and plaques given to many groups that assisted us with getting our start this year. Organizations like the Ontario Police and Fire Department and some companies that donated and helped in various ways. We also had opportunities to thank the leadership of our great organization like the BOD and RC’s.
It was a long day, I think it’s the longest we’ll have on this run, 402 miles. We had an awesome lunch in Blythe, CA which is very close to the AZ border. The Blythe towns people hosted us at the local fair grounds with hamburgers, hot dogs and lots of goodies along with a very warm reception welcoming us to their town. It was a very nice experience and we felt honored. We toured through many other towns and made it to Casa Grande where it seemed the whole town was there greeting us with flags waving, people gathered on the sides of the road for a couple of miles. We went to the Elks Lodge and were fed a great dinner of chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and corn. It was again, a very warm welcome with friendly people with some hard working cadets that were serving the dinners and cleaning up. Awesome town.
I had a chance to speak with the gentleman from Israel that is riding with us. He has some great stories but one I thought was worth passing on was that last week, he helped deliver an ambulance to Ukraine. So one week he’s delivering an ambulance to Ukraine and the next week he’s here doing the Run with us. What a life? They drove the ambulance up to Ukraine and provided it to the folks providing medical care so they can transport patients as needed. We see on the news there are a lot of needs there. We hope they can come up with enough gasoline to drive it as much as it seems they need to.
I also ran into Arnie. Arnie is an FNG and he has his grandson with him who is active military. They are on a CanAm Spyder. Arnie has 8 fellow patriots that were either MIA or KIA. The two MIA’s are Major Walsh and Major Perchello. He started putting the info together for 602nd Air Commando Squadron remaining pilots from 1967 through 1968 and had a strong positive reaction where these remaining pilots appreciated the “keeping the names alive”. Arnie then learned about Run for the Wall and realized this was the perfect opportunity to continue the mission. Arnie has 8 patriots he is honoring during the run and obviously at the Wall when we get there. There are more details so if you run into Arnie, ask him to tell you about the guys which have family still waiting for them and kids that are now grown and didn’t get to know their dads as well as they should have.
Tomorrow we do about 50 less miles and end up in Las Cruces, NM. Good Night!