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Central Route Coordinator Newsletter February 2023

Paul Marshall

As of February 1, 2023, a total of 932 patriots have registered for RFTW XXXIII, this includes 357 Central Route registrants. Online registration is still available  Register Here! , but at a slightly higher price ($60).  And, if you’ve not already done so, check out the hotel/camping list on the RFTW website CR Hotels and Camping and make your reservations as soon as possible. Also, go to the forums and see if you can assist anyone with a room Share. Forum/Roommates Wanted

In mid-January, we met with all platoon leaders to review their experiences during the last RFTW mission. These – your platoon leaders – are the people who you will rely upon for guidance during RFTW XXXIII – your year. These are also the people who have committed themselves to your safety, and to their responsibilities for mentoring and caring for you as new RFTW riders.

Because of their crucial role in guiding a large group of motorcycle riders across this country, it was important to hear their observations of the last Run, and recommendations for the next mission – your mission. And, while it is impossible to overstate the importance of these discussions, some points of special concern to new riders include:

  • Riding preference: Riders will be receiving an email from CR leadership asking for your riding preference – side-by-side or staggered. This will help us accommodate rider preferences, and determine platoon compositions, before you even arrive in Ontario, CA. In addition, based on your contact information, platoon leaders may be contacting you soon and inviting you to a (Zoom) meeting, to introduce you to RFTW, and what you can expect on the ride across the country.
  • Rider support:  CR has an especially competent and professional chaplaincy team, led by Duane Gryder. The team will accompany riders across the country. The chaplaincy team will deliver words of encouragement at rider meetings every morning, speak at all platoon briefings, and will make themselves available to all riders, individually, at any time, night, or day.
Duane Gryder
Duane Gryder
  • Future leadership candidates: RFTW and CR are always looking for new riders who would like to be considered for a leadership position. Platoon leaders will ask riders to complete a platoon roster, which asks for rider contact information, and a rider’s desire to seek a leadership position for the next Run. It is from platoon rosters, along with platoon leadership observations, that selections for leadership positions for the next year will come.

As planning continues, CR leadership will hold its formal route planning meetings on February 14, 15 and 16. These meetings, involving virtually all CR leadership, will lead to the development of the official route itinerary for RFTW XXXIII. During these meetings, working our way from Ontario, CA to Washington, D.C., we’ll discuss in detail our route through several states. To make these meetings work, state coordinators have actually been planning since the end of RFTW XXXII. They have met with station managers for fuel, community leaders for lunches and dinners, memorial directors and law enforcement organizations for escorts, among other things.

It is truly amazing how much work our state coordinators can get done between Runs. You might think that a year is a lot of time, but consider the complications they are likely to encounter working with local government/law enforcement organizations, state government/law enforcement organizations, and even federal government organizations (e.g., Veterans Hospitals). So, as I suggested in the October 2022 newsletter, in Ontario, and while on the Run, please seek out these state coordinators – the folks with brown hats – and thank them for their hard work.

Finally with respect to route planning, all route coordinators (RCs) will meet with the BOD at the end of February. In addition to RCs briefing the BOD on the status of their respective routes, this is typically the meeting at which the BOD gives the official go-ahead for the RFTW mission and all routes. We will report back to CR riders in March 2023 regarding any changes to the route, as well as the BOD’s final decision.

It’s hard to believe we are only a little over 100 days before we launch RFTW XXXIII from Ontario, CA on 17 May 2023. So, get ready – prepare your motorcycle and ride it, prepare yourself physically and mentally, and stay healthy.

Paul “Brush” Marshall

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