Just a little more than 45 days to kick stands up (KSU) in Ontario, CA.
A total of 1045 riders and supporters are currently registered for RFTW XXXIII. As you can see from the chart developed by the Board of Directors (BOD), 400 are registered for the Central Route (CR). We expect CR numbers to increase before we launch at 0710 hours, Wednesday, 17 May 2023.
CR planning is nearly complete. We’ve filled most leadership positions, including platoon leadership, but we are still accepting (non-FNG) volunteer requests (CLICK HERE TO VOLUNTEER). We’ve sent surveys out to all riders, asking for their riding preference (side-by-side, or staggered), and, if they would prefer to ride in a specific platoon (LINK HERE). The response to this survey has been extraordinary. We are working diligently to accommodate rider preferences, and at the same time, ensuring that platoons are not overloaded and the number of riders in each platoon is balanced to the extent possible. We anticipate that most platoon assignments will be made before participants arrive in Ontario.
Individual Rider Planning and Budgeting: How is your personal planning going? Have you been preparing yourself physically. Are you walking, running, hitting the gym or spending more and more time in the saddle of your motorcycle? Have you taken, or plan to take your motorcycle in to the shop for performance and safety checks? Have you been educating yourself regarding RFTW in general, and the CR in particular? For example, have you searched the RFTW website for information regarding the RFTW mission, how to pack for the ride, past CR rider experiences, etc. Remember, RFTW is not a ten (10) day friendship or club ride. Understanding the mission of RFTW (READ THE MISSION STATEMENT), and keeping in mind who and what you’re riding for, will help you fulfill your personal mission, and bring honor to yourself, those for whom you ride, and, RFTW.
What about your budget planning? What sort of things should you consider in your budget anyway – meals, lodging, fuel? Fortunately, most meals are donated by our supporters as we make our way across this country. Most hotels, too, help riders by offering reduced rates. CR even has supporters who donate fuel for motorcycles at several stops along the route. There are, however, several fuel stops that are still the responsibility of riders, and budgeting for these remaining fuel stops may be challenging given the fluctuating (often rising) cost of fuel.
CR is also offering a pre-paid fuel option for RFTW XXXIII. All riders are encouraged, but not required, to participate in the pre-paid fuel option. Participating in the pre-paid fuel option, however, will not only help riders with their budgeting, but will significantly speed the process of fueling – at every stop. Simply put, riders can fill their tanks, stage more quickly, and take more time for rest, hydration and snacks. Experienced RFTW riders familiar with fueling procedures know what a pain it can be waiting in the rain or blazing heat for their turn to fuel.
The cost of the CR pre-paid fuel option is only $90 per rider. Riders interested in purchasing the pre-paid fuel option may do so in Ontario (at check-in) – ask a Registration Team member about the option. Upon purchase, riders will be issued a sticker for their motorcycle windscreen. Seeing this sticker, fuel team members will know not to collect money and will send you on your way quickly. And, riders will not have to remove or adjust their riding gear (e.g., gloves, jackets, weather gear, etc.). Remember to bring a little extra cash with you to Ontario for the pre-paid fuel option. You’ll be helping yourself, and the CR Fuel Team as well.
Online FNG Orientation Meeting: All those in RFTW volunteer leadership positions were at one time FNGs, and we’re pretty sure we understand how you’re feeling at this point. Not to worry. The CR will be holding an online FNG orientation meeting on Saturday, April 15th, at 1300 hours (PST). All FNGs should have received an invitation to this “Zoom” meeting. If you have not already done so, put this date in your calendar. At this meeting we will provide an overview of RFTW XXXIII. You will meet (and physically see) me, the Assistance Route Coordinator (ARC), all platoon leaders, the FNG Liaison, and the Road Guard Captain (among others). There will be an opportunity to ask questions, but we anticipate this FNG meeting will take no longer than two hours.
Central Route Itinerary: The CR 2023 itinerary has been be posted on the RFTW website (ITINERARY CAN BE FOUND HERE). Please download and review the itinerary before the FNG orientation meeting on 15 April. All FNGs will of course receive a printed copy of the itinerary in Ontario, during check-in. I recommend that all participants also upload a copy of the itinerary to the “Books” application on their smart phone. Because the itinerary specifies arrival and departures times for each stop, having a copy of the itinerary (physically or in “Books”) will help participants manage their time at stops. The last thing anyone wants is to be left behind when it’s time for the pack to depart.
“Courage” movie: In the March 2023 newsletter, you will recall the announcement of a showing of “Courage”, a one-hour movie about Prisoners of War (POW) in World War II and Vietnam. I believe this movie will help focus our attention on an important part of the RFTW mission – “to call for an accounting of all Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action (POW/MIA”). And, I believe that watching this movie will help participants to “gear up” for the challenge ahead of them, and help us to remember why we ride – “for those who can’t”. It is a one-time, and exclusive opportunity for RFTW participants to view this film, which is being offered by Mr. Bill Lowe, a patriot, RFTW supporter and family member of the CR RC.
If you haven’t done so already, check out the three-minute trailer about the movie – we think you’ll enjoy, and be moved by it. With only 300-350 seats available in the “Lodge Room”, be sure to come to the Elks Lodge early enough to have dinner before the movie, which begins at 1900 hours. In fact, all riders are encouraged to arrive in Ontario a little early – as early Monday as possible – to complete the check-in process, attend mandatory meetings and enjoy the movie.
With KSU at 0710 hours, Wednesday, 17 May 2023, you should be well into planning for your own ride to Ontario. If you’d like to ride to Ontario in a group, consider joining a few CR riders coming down from Seattle, WA. Our route will take us down the middle of Oregon and California via Hwy 395. We plan to arrive in Ontario on Sunday, 14 May 2023, a day before general check-in begins. For details, and a list of hotels, email Mike Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Make your hotel reservations for this ride now. Note that our ride down to Ontario, is a “personal ride”, and not sanctioned by, or affiliated in anyway with RFTW.
If you’re riding to Ontario on your own, remember, check-in for all riders begins Monday morning, 15 May 2023. So, plan to arrive early on Monday, because the check-in process can take some time. Riders who have completed the rider preference survey (CLICK HERE FOR YOUR LAST CHANCE TO FILL OUT THE SURVEY!!!!!!), will be assigned to a platoon before arriving in Ontario, and can anticipate a shorter wait time for check-in.
In the meantime, pack your bike, unpack it, and do it again a couple more times. Ride safe, ride light, and stay healthy. Is it May yet?
Paul “Brush” Marshall
CR RC RFTW XXXIII
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