Well, it’s a new year, and we’re on the downhill slope leading to RFTW XXXIII. I hope you had a great Christmas and New Year celebration. Now, it’s time to recuperate from the family get-togethers, huge meals, parties, and maybe a drink or two. Seems like we go through this cycle every year. Anyway, it is time to get moving again – to plan what comes next.
As of January 1, 2023, 657 patriots have registered for RFTW XXXIII (244 on Central Route). Congratulations to all you early registrants – you saved yourselves some money. Remember, the cost of registration goes up on 1 February, so there is still time to save. Register online for the Run now.
Central Route (CR) leadership has continued to plan for the Run, even through the holidays. In early December, the assistant route coordinator and I met with several members of the leadership team, including all state coordinators, the road guard captain, route planner, and the fuel and staging team leaders. We discussed possible changes to the next Run – changes that may affect such things as community events, fuel stops, meals and memorial visits. And, in all cases, the number of riders we are planning for factored into these discussions.
State coordinators have wrapped up work securing hotel rooms for RFTW riders, and they have negotiated the best room rates possible. So now it’s time for hotel and camping reservations! Check out the hotel list on the RFTW website (Hotel List Link), and make your reservations as soon as possible. Hotel rooms and camping spaces will fill up quickly. If you are interested in finding a roommate for hotels across the country, consider checking out the RFTW Forum for roommate postings (link to RFTW Forum).
After making hotel or camping reservations, it’ll be time for you to think about your ride to Ontario, CA, where you will join RFTW XXXIII. This is a good opportunity to practice your long-range riding skills, and confirm you’ve packed appropriately for a long ride. And, while many participants will ride to Ontario by themselves, others will ride with a friend or two, and some will join groups of several riders in rides called a “Run-to-the-Run”. If you are interested in riding to Ontario with a group of riders, check out the RFTW Forum (RFTW Forum and Runs to the Run) for Runs-to-the-Run postings. You can respond to a posting, ask about the route, and ask the organizer if you can join the group.
Consider also that a group of CR leadership (including me, two platoon leaders, a tail gunner and others) is planning a Run-to-the-Run, from Seattle, WA to Ontario, CA. We have not yet settled on the route, but it is likely to be down the middle of Oregon and California via Hwy 395, or, along the coast via Hwy 101. Our ride is typically four days long, we leave WA on the Wednesday before the ride, and we arrive in Ontario, CA on Sunday. You can join us in Washington, or join us along our route to California. If you are interested in joining this group, please email me personally @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is upon arrival in Ontario, CA, that your participation in RFTW XXXIII really beings. Here, on Sunday and Monday, before we begin the Run, riders will “check-in” with the Registration Team, lead by Kathryn Ewing.
Unlike previous years, where riders checked in at the host hotel, this year check-in will take place at the Elks Lodge, located at 1150 W. 4th Street in Ontario, which is a couple miles from the host hotel. Check-in for all routes leaving Ontario will take place in the same room and the Lodge .
During the check-in process, riders will be asked to produce several documents, to include proof of (1) on-line registration for RFTW XXXIII, (2) current driver license, with the proper endorsement if riding a motorcycle, (3) current registration for your motorcycle or other vehicle to be used on the Run, and (4) current motorcycle insurance for your motorcycle or other vehicle to be used on the Run. In addition to these documents, it is highly recommended that riders carry at all times during the Run, their medical insurance and roadside assistance (e.g., HOG Club, AAA RV and Motorcycle Insurance, etc.) documents. And finally, before you leave the check-in room, you will meet with the Platoon Coordinator, Correen “Squirrel” Wood who will ensure you are assigned to the proper platoon.
When you leave the check-in room, you will have a handful of paperwork and other materials associated with the Run, and ultimately. We expect you will also have many questions, such as, “What do I do next”, or “Where can I find my Platoon Leader? To help riders with these and other questions, CR has created a new leadership position – the “FNG Liaison”. Because of his many years of RFTW experience (e.g., as platoon leader and member of the Board of Directors) Mike “Tanker” McDole has been appointed to this position.
Prior to leaving the check-in room, new riders will be directed to meet with Tanker, who will be located just outside the check-in room. Tanker will introduce you to the RFTW Mission Statement, and brief you on next steps. This includes explaining the schedule for mandatory meetings for new riders and platoon orientation. The meeting with Tanker is crucial; it is the time for initial questions and answers. We know you will find the meeting with Tanker both helpful and informative.
Finally, we continue to encourage riders with at least one year of RFTW experience to consider volunteering for a leadership position. The CR maintains a list of riders who have expressed an interest in a leadership position, and it is from this list that most appointments are made. changes in leadership positions are very common, both before and during the Run.
As I said, it’s a new year. And, already I can feel the energy and anticipation building for RFTW XXXIII. We look forward to meeting you all in Ontario. Keep up the good work, and stay healthy.
Paul “Brush” Marshall
CR RC RFTW XXXIII