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Day 3 – 5/20/2022 Southern Route

Day 3 – May 20, 2022 Southern Route

 

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.

Lucky Wins again!

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.”

Boots
USAF ’72 – ’75

Las Cruces New Mexico Veterans Memorial Park

A lady there to remember her MIA father

The man who helped document all NM KIAs and MIAs

Part of our greeting committee

Outreach to Old Glory Memorial

Pic from the day

 

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Day Two – Thursday May 19, 2022. Flagstaff, AZ to Albuquerque, NM. 337 miles.

Wow!  What a day!  WHAT A DAY!!!  SO much has happened, and there is still stuff from yesterday to tell, that I am WAY behind!  And I really can’t get to the “meat” of todays post until I get some of the “clerical stuff” out of the way.  And by that, I mean just what does it take to organize the Midway Route, and how does it all shake out as we roll down the highway?

First, there is no “I” in RFTW.  It takes a team.  A BIG team!  (I won’t even bother to explain what the Board of Directors do, because that is all of the ‘legal’ stuff.)  The Individual Routes have a hierarchy that starts with a Route Coordinator and his Assistant Route Coordinator.  The RC and ARC are responsible for overseeing the daily logistics of the entire Run.  It is an incredibly difficult role, and Midway has been blessed to have Ken “Six-String” Dugas as our RC for THREE years!  (Just because the Run didn’t happen for two years doesn’t mean that there weren’t plans put in place.  It just means that He had to start over three times!)

Six-Strings Team consists of a Missing Man Coordinator, and Honor Guard Coordinator, 4-Wheel Coordinator, Hotel Coordinator, Camping Coordinator, Leadership Team Support, an MIA Outreach Coordinator, an entire Promotions Team, a Merchandising Team,  a Registration Team, an Ambassadors Team, a Chaplain Corps, Chase Vehicle Teams, Medical Teams, Hydration Teams, a Road Guard Captain (and 30+ Road Guards), an INCREDIBLE Fuel Team, a Staging Crew, and Platoon Leaders.  Most of these Teams have between 4-8 people on them, and the “crews” can have 20-30 people involved.  All told, there can be over 100 people doing various jobs just to coordinate and then safely move our Riders across the Country.  It is an unbelievably complex system with hundreds, if not thousands of moving parts.  And they ALL have to work, or none of it does.

But the volunteers for RFTW love what they do.  They are willing to sacrifice their time, energy, effort, and personal finances to make this Mission work.  And it DOES!

What the public sees is simply a bunch of motorcycles riding down the highway.  But even this seemingly random bunch of bikes has a hierarchy of it’s own.  I could try to explain it, but instead I will post a link to a quick 2 ½ minute video that I made back in 2019.  It visually explains what the “pack” looks like, who rides where, and in what order.  You can see the video at https://vimeo.com/341649711

Okay, that is enough of the “logistics” for this evening.  Let’s step back to yesterday so I can tell you about a very solemn and moving experience that we are doing on the Midway Route.  During our “opening ceremony” back in Ontario on Wednesday, each Route Coordinator was presented with a special folded flag that is to be carried all the way from California to Washington DC.  On the Midway Route, the flag is being carried by an FNG (first time Rider), with this flag escort being transferred to a new Rider three to four times a day.

It may sound like a simple thing, to carry a flag in your saddlebag.  But there is more to it than that.  What the Rider is REALLY carrying is every ideal and virtue that our Country stands for.  It is the symbol of the blood that has been shed defending our freedom.  It is the visual reminder of those that we have lost.  It is the flag that we pledge our allegiance to each morning, and that our Military Personnel have sworn to protect.  And if you don’t think that our Riders take this task seriously, just look in their faces.  You will see the respect and honor that is held in their hearts.  You can see the determination in them to keep this flag safe and to deliver it to the next Rider.  It is another position of honor that really makes Run For The Wall special.

Today started out in a most amazing way.  Normally when we wake up in Santa Fe, we have to know frost or even snow and ice off of our bikes.  Not today!  We woke to refreshing temperatures in the high 40s, which soon became the perfect 50s and 60s that bikers LOVE to ride in.  Oh Yeah, we had clear skies, too!  WooHoo!  So we got to truly enjoy the ride through Arizona.  It is a beautiful State!

Okay, I already have to correct myself.  Yes, I DID enjoy my morning ride.  But it wasn’t really a “ride.”  I had a special Mission to perform first thing today.  I have ridden through the town of Winslow Arizona MANY times.  Over the years, I have come to know some of the shop owners in this quaint little town.  One in particular is a former Marine and a true Patriot.  Several times in the past he has asked me it Run For the Wall could PLEASE stop in the town and say Hello.  He WANTS to wave a flag at us!  I was honored to get to lead “Cowboys Desert Renegades” through the town one year on the way out to California.  With only a few hours “warning” this shop owner arranged to have 100 people lining the streets to greet us!  So my Mission for the morning was to go say “Howdy” and deliver a few of our RFTW lapel pins.  It is a small gesture, but it is greatly appreciated.  This is a Mission that I took on by myself, but with the blessing of our Ambassador Lead.  As I was getting off of my bike, who should roll up but James “Gunny” Gregory and his lovely wife Patti.  It seems that Gunny had the same idea!

I had timed my stop so that I would have just enough time to reach an overpass outside of town to get a few photos of our Riders.  I made it with just a few minutes to spare!  And what a site it was!  Yesterday was our first day or riding together.  The Pack looked like it had been riding together for years!  They rode perfectly!  The spacing was impeccable.  The lines were razor straight.  The Riders were all sitting tall in the saddle and waved and honked at this lone photographer standing on a bridge.  They gave me my own personal parade!  Thank You to all of the Midway Route Riders!  You brought tears to my eyes!

I rejoined the pack just in time to enjoy a special treat for a Rider.  I have mentioned an LEO Escort before.  But today e got what is known as a “presidential” escort, which means that the Police SHUT DOWN THE INTERSTATE for us!  And it happened TWICE today!  It is an amazing experience to be heading down Interstate 40 and not have to worry about traffic.  In the morning, it gave me an opportunity to get some really cool pictures of ALL of our Riders and their great formation.  In the afternoon, going through Albuquerque, it gave us smooth sailing through the (normally) congested highways and streets.  It is quite a rare treat, and it was greatly appreciated!

At one of our fuel stops, I saw a couple of elderly Native American Women sitting in chairs out in the parking lot.  They were waving and yelling “We Love You” as the Riders went by.  Something compelled me to go visit with them.  They are Native Navajo.  I am sorry to say that I don’t know enough about their culture to use the proper term for them.   But I was saved from embarrassing myself TOO much when one of our own Riders came up to say Hello, and suddenly we had THREE Navajo Women together, talking in their BEAUTIFUL native tongue!  Turns out, our Rider belongs to the same clan as one of the Ladies, so they are pretty sure that they are related!  This kind of interaction is exactly what we mean when we say “The Magic of the Run!”  Our two guests were such delightful Ladies, and I just wanted to hug them!  I could have spent all day with them, but I had to tear myself away.  I jokingly said that she would just have to tell me to go away our I WOULD stay.  She smiled at me and winked, then told me to leave and do what I needed to do … in her Native language!  We both cried tears of happiness as I walked away, after one more hug!

Our lunch today was at Milan Elementary School in Milan New Mexico.  Let me state right here and now, I am not a big fan of Kids.  (I didn’t like them when *I* was a kid!)  But THESE Young Men and Women are SPECIAL!  It was the highlight of my day!  They line the circular driveway and wait patiently for our arrival.  And then they burst out with screams of delight and chants of “U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A.!”  They wave American flags and Red White and Blue hearts. They will give a high-five to anyone that puts out their hand!  Even your Photographer and SITREP Author ended up running around this (BIG) circle slapping hands and yelling along with these young Patriots!  Once inside, we ALL stood for the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem, young and old alike.  The children sang a few patriotic songs for us, and they sounded GREAT!  I can’t believe it, but they make me kind of like kids!  These people are WONDERFUL!  They also serve a very good lunch!  Thank You Milan Elementary!  I know that I am looking forward to seeing you again next year!

After eating a hurried lunch (I had been a bit busy), I joined an outreach program that rode a few miles to the City of Grants New Mexico, to pay respects at their Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  This is a very simple but meaningful memorial, comprise of five flag poles, a large bronze medallion for each branch of our Military, and two large stone markers that honor our Vietnam Veterans.  To make it just a little MORE special, there was a brief “ceremony” for “Jet”, one of our slightly more unusual Riders.  “Jet” travels around the country, riding with various Riders if and when a seat is available.  He has even ridden with ME once.  Jet’s Mission is to go where his Best Friend can’t, and to pay honor to a special person in both their lives.

Jet is a little stuffed Bear in a Flight Suit.  He belongs to our good Friend Shannon Spake.  When Shannon realized that she couldn’t join us for the Run this year, “Peppermint Patti” offered to take Jet with her.  “Jet” is Shannon’s representative this year.  He is paying tribute to Lt Commander Dennis Pike, Missing In Action for 50 years.  Dennis Pike is Shannon’s Father.

THIS is Why We Ride!

Jim “Hoofer” McCrain

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May 18 2022 Southern Route

May 18, 2022

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!

 

“As you become a part of Run For The Wall,

the Run becomes a part of you.”

– Bob “Captain America” Nelson

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Southern Route Coordinator News -May 2022 Part 4

RFTW XXXII 2022 RC Newsletter

May,  2022 Part 4

 

 

ONE MORE THINK or 2

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

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

Quaid Harley

25160 Redlands Blvd

Loma Linda, CA 92364

1-909-796-8399

Speak with Joe Pedersen

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

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Southern Route Coordinator News – May 2022 Part 3

RFTW XXXII 2022 RC Newsletter

May,  2022 Part 3

 

 

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

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

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

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Southern Route Coordinator News – May 2022 Part 2

RFTW XXXII 2022 RC Newsletter

May,  2022 Part 2

 

Greetings from Snowy Northern Nevada,

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

Today I bring you: More good things to know.

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

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

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Southern Route Coordinator News – May 2022

RFTW XXXII 2022 RC Newsletter

May,  2022

 

Greetings RFTW Southern Route Family,

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

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

See y’all soon…..

 

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Midway Route Coordinator – Newsletter- April #3

Greetings Midway Family!

I am sending this newsletter to reschedule the Midway open forum Zoom meeting that I had scheduled for next Tuesday May 3rd. I apologize because I accidently scheduled this meeting over the Sandbox route’s meeting.

I have rescheduled the meeting for the next day, Wednesday May 4th at 19:00 central time. I hope this time works for you. I am looking forward to seeing all of you. The link for the meeting is:

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81907143838?pwd=bGZTRVFYcGNoQ216NnJnN0VWZ2s4dz09

Meeting ID: 819 0714 3838
Passcode: 176119


Is it May yet? …….. Almost!!!

Honor, Hope & Healing

Ken “Six String” Dugas
Midway Route Coordinator


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Southern Route Coordinator News – April 2022 Part 4

RFTW XXXII 2022 RC Newsletter

April,  2022 Part 4

 

 

 

Greetings from the Sunny State of Nevada

More rooms in Arlington VA

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

A word to the Wise

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

Disclaimer

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

 

 

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Southern Route Coordinator News – April 2022 Part 3

RFTW XXXII 2022 RC Newsletter

April,  2022 Part 3

 

 

Greetings Southern Route Riders,

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

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

GOLDEN TICKET

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

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