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Central Route 2017 – Day 9 – Nitro, WV to Lewisburg, WV

Another beautiful day in the neighborhood. This is one of those days we live for, is it not. Great places to go like the WV Capital and great people to ride with. I am glad this day is at the end of the RUN because if it was this nice and easy at the beginning people might think it is always this easy, and we know it is not.We left for Nitro at 8:30 AM which means we had at least an hour extra to talk about the RUN, the beautiful people (slightly off) (actually we decided that we are all just a little off) of the RUN. The bikes are fun and the places we see are great but it is the people that come out by the 100’s that make this RUN so special! Thanks for coming out and supporting us. “THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!   Yet when we tell them “thanks for coming out and supporting us”, they look at us and say, “No we thank you for coming to us so that we can show you our appreciation,” and we say “Well thank you very much” and they say, NO, THANK YOU! and they can get pretty adamant about it.  The conversations can take some pretty cool directions.  If they only really knew, speaking only for myself and I am not a Vet, how little I have done to cone and see them and how little the cost has been for me to be able to be a tiny blessing to them, if they really knew, I think they would have the same gracious hearts and attitudes because that is who they are and whom they have become. Gracious, giving, caring and loving people who want to bless us out of the overflow of their hearts, and for whatever reason, we are the beneficiaries of it all.  As I have seen this happen since my start on the RUN in 06, it has always amazed me and or interested me greatly how much we need each other. The  crowds that multiply 2 and 3 deep on the streets, who do the cooking and the fuel stops and do a 100 other things, they need to be able to express that love and respect that God has placed in their hearts and the RUN and its riders are a real connection point or contact point. AND as much as they need us, even more we NEED them, you the people who support us, we desperately need you and the great love that you show. I have seen on several RUNs the complete changing of the men and women who were broken on the inside, find healing for their souls because of the miracle that God works in their lives THROUGH the communities and the “man on the street” so to speak. There is something about that unconditional love that they feel and see first hand, that disarms their life-made walls and opens their hearts for the healing to begin. I love this so much, when we see even one person find his place or get their feet under them, it is a great day for all concerned, and this is why I do this and I don’t think I am alone in all of this plan. So, one more time, THANK YOU and we unashamedly LOVE each of you very much.

I have been to the W V Capital before but every time I go I thoroughly enjoy the place. (see photos) It has a peaceful presence to it. We are able to fit all 550+- bikes into the circle area. We listened to a short speech from the Governor’s assistant, ate about a 100 boxes of Crispy Crème donuts and a few cases of water, took a group picture on the Capital steps and we were off again. Headed to Rainelle, on of the top ten favorite places for sure. Cloudy and cool and I have been spoiled as so many times I have gone to Rainelle it has been warm and sunny. What a beautiful ride, lots of twisties. Put this one on your bucket list  of great places to ride. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful country side. Wow it is amazing the trees and the greenery. I grew up in south east Wyo. and we did not have forests like these.

For those who do not know the story of the RUN and Rainelle, I will try to tell it as best I can and I hope I am somewhat accurate. In 1989 the group of bikers led by Gunny (see previous posts) were on their RUN across America and because they did not want to pay a toll they decided to take a different route that led them through Rainelle. A sheriff officer stopped them and asked where they were going and what they were doing. The sheriff then called the school and a very bold teacher let her class out with many flags and gifts to meet the bikers. Well when the bikers encountered the formidable wall of the little kids, their defenses were shattered and much healing took place that day. It has been a synergistic experience since that day 29 years ago today. There is something about little kids that breaks us down to a place where we receive healing into our lives and God of course knew just how to do it. Since that time the RUN holds a very special place in it’s heart for Rainelle and likewise Rainelle for the RUN. The RUN has a 50/50 raffle each morning before meetings and this year Dallas Hageman and his sweet wife Sami have run the raffle and done a great job with it and because of the hard work and of course the donors, the Run was able to make a sizeable offering to Rainelle.

Last fall a devastating flood wiped out part of Rainelle’s town taking the lives of some 20 people and destroying many homes, business and lives. In response to this many good thing came pout of the tragedy. The RUN raised funds across America and were able to buy 250 coats and gloves for the school children. Steve Tincher, (Principal’s husband) and his brother Jeremy Tincher and his son Marquis Frazier along with the wrestling team, went to the community and for 100 days worked tirelessly cleaning up the devastation. What a great group of people. When we talk about this younger generation, lets remember these great kids and use them as an example instead of running down our youth. Amen? Lets also keep them mentioned in our prayers.

So, I thought you would like some of the following excitement of the interaction between the kids and the bikers:


Here is a little side note from a friend I have made on this RUN and he sent me this. Enjoy:

Dee Rice <> Good evening Roger My words with pen (keyboard) won’t come close to the elegance of yours. I’ll throw together this little summary about the visit I had with two patients at the VA hospital. The Chaplin of the hospital was kind enough to take us (myself and “Roadside”)to visit two gentleman. One was being treated for a serous illness and one was there for annual checkup. Heart warming points: The gentlemen with the illness used to ride bikes (a biker) years ago. When asked by the nurse when the pack was arriving if he wanted to watch them arrive, he declined saying it was too depressing to watch. After our visit he was pretty jazzed and wanted to watch the bikes as they left through his hospital room window. The nurse was going to roll his bed in front of his window. Wow! It was a fulfilling time. The other gentleman was wheel chair bound. He was in a car accident in his 20’s and had a neck injury. Being wheel chair bound didn’t stop him! He went to college and received numerous degrees and is a very successful professional businessman. His desire to succeed and overcome his disability was astonishing. Of note: Good on “Roadside”. He did a great job on uplifting these two heroes. I’ll send some pics but likely you won’t be able to post them due to privacy issues.  Thank you sir! Have a good evening. Dee

Dee making a difference for sure!


One of the people and groups of people that I must highlight is the Chase Team. They do an incredible job. They pick up the “pieces” when our bikes break down. Personally I don’t ever want to need them but if I co, thee guys are the greatest. I was able to meet some of them but do not remember all the names. The leader is called “sweeper”. I trust you get the irony in that name. Here is his BIO.

How long have you been doing this
I first heard of RFTW in 2005.  I was retired, divorced and the kids were grown and gone.  I hadn’t ridden a motorcycle in 25 years and wanted be a part of this and found a used Gold Wing.  I started out on the Central Route but soon found that 2 months wasn’t enough to get  myself ready after 25 years without riding.  I dropped out in Needles.
The next year I was in Texas with a new pickup and a fifth wheel trailer when the Southern Route came through.  I tagged along and found that I wanted to do more with these people.
In 2008 I was offered the spot as a Chase Driver and went “All the way”.  I have been there every year since as a Chase Driver and then as the Last Man Vehicle.
Why do you do this
I was in the Navy aboard the USS Coral Sea in 1961 to 1963.  While there we provided air cover for the first “Combat” Marines going into Vietnam.  I never felt part of that war as it was just building up when I was there.  I could see the effect that RFTW had on both the Riders and also the people that come out to urge us on and want to help these people achieve some peace in their lives for the sacrifices that they have made.   
What is your favorite part? My favorite part is the beginning of The Run.  It is being with these friends that I only get to see for a few days each year.  It is the anticipation of overcoming the obstacles that will be put in our way but knowing that we will complete our mission together.

What is your responsibility on the RUN?

I have become more involved over the years.  It starts with assisting with the preparations for our start in Ontario.  Coordinating with the City, Law Enforcement and the Host Hotel. As the High Dessert Coordinator I and my assistant talk to Law Enforcement, Fuel Stations, and the people that make our lunch in Barstow, Ludlow and Needles.  We scout the Route within one week of the departure to make sure all is ready.
When the Run starts I become the Last Man Vehicle and Chase Coordinator.  I follow right behind the bikes while trying to keep track of the Chase Trucks.  I watch for bikes that may drop out and need help and make sure a Chase Truck is sent to them.  I watch for hazards that may approach the pack from behind and advise with the CB. The Advance Team may call if they encounter anything that might affect the “pack” and I relay that to the RC.
My Vehicle marks the back end of the Pack for our Road Guards and Law Enforcement.  Traffic control ends when I pass by.   What is your best memory of the RUN?
There are so many.  As a Chase Driver I picked up and trailered many bikes over the years. It was very rewarding to help them and then see them back in the pack after getting repaired, continuing the mission.  It is meeting the lady that designed the first Vietnam Memorial in the country, or the WWI Veteran or the man that walked to the end of his driveway to watch us go past, while holding the Flag in one hand and his oxygen bottle in the other!  I guess my best memory is the people, those that participate and those that are there to urge us on.  
What would you say to those watching the RUN and reading this article?
That’s easy, “Thank You”.
Do you see why he is a special leader even though he really does lead from the back!

Here is another leader who does lead from the front and you know what he looks like only you may not know his name. He leads the Staging Crew. A very important job on the RUN as you all know very well. He has about 22 riders who help him do this incredible job and they do it so very well. His name is John Staub and he leads the Staging Crew.

Hi Roger – 2017 will be our 7th year, 5th year ATW.

To give back.  It is something we can still do that adds meaning.

I think the arrival in the towns across America is our favorite part.  To know that we represent those folks who work so hard to support us.

I am the D.C./Arlington Coordinator, and for 2017,the Central Route Staging Team lead.

The first time we attended the ceremony at Gallup, NM.  An incredibly moving experience.

What would you say to those watching the RUN and reading this article?
Remember, we ride for those who can’t.  Remember why we do this and the many sacrifices that go into the Run.  It is so much bigger than just one person.
The end comes tomorrow and it is my best day and something to look forward to, to be able to completed this thing. It is no small task as I am sure you know and whether you come along and ride with us or if you help somewhere or if you wave to us from the streets, YOU ALL are so important to the success of the RUN and may I say a big THANK YOU to all of you.
See you tomorrow.
We will make it fun for sure.
Roger “Pops” Hageman