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Day 04.  Midway Route, May 17, 2024.  Amarillo TX to Shawnee OK.

Today, we learned about Honor.  The lesson came in many forms.

Some were expected, some were not.  Some were light-hearted, some were somber.

They all had one thing in common: They were heartfelt and genuine.

Let’s get into our day.

It all started with our morning meeting.  First, we were happy that the weather forecast was warm and sunny instead of cold and wet.  It wouldn’t have mattered one way or another, but we were happy all the same.  We heard our usual talks about the route, safety aspects, road hazards, and all of the other important physical aspects for the day.  During the “hand signal” demonstration, “Pipes” swears that he was showing how to act if you need to “tap out” of the pack for any reason.  To me, it looked like he was dancing to “Staying Alive!”  It was a light-hearted moment about a serious issue.

We finished our meeting, as usual, with the reading of a biography of a Missing In Action soldier.  This Man had been heard on the radio, pleading for help after he had been wounded while trying to rescue two of his buddies.  When the radio went silent, all three were presumed dead, so an air strike was called in on their position to annihilate the Vietcong enemy.  The next day, the bodies of two soldiers was found, but NOT that of the one who was on the radio.  He is still listed as Missing in Action.  This was a somber reminder of duty, sacrifice, and loyalty to a fellow soldier.  It is the epitome of Honor.

It was then time to roll, with a full Presidential Escort again, from the Officers of the Amarillo Police Force.  They led us out of the city during morning rush hour traffic, and made it look and feel effortless.  I know that they enjoy doing this, because you get to ride fast and do some fun maneuvering.  Our Road Guards got to do what is called a “bump and go” tactic, which is where the Police Officer stops the traffic on the on-ramp, and then a Road Guard pulls up behind him to take the Officers place.  The Road Guard is thusly “deputized” or at least authorized to legally hold the traffic.  It is an amazing maneuver to watch, and even more fun to do!  As we reached the City limits and the end of their jurisdiction, the Amarillo Police Motor Officers lined up their motorcycles and saluted our Midway Route Riders!  They showed great honor to us as we continued our Mission.

Our first fuel stop was in the little town of Memphis, Texas.  This is a nice little town on the edge of a major Texas highway.  It is always busy, but we certainly made it a lot more busy.  As I was talking to a few of the Memphis Police Officers and a Texas Highway Patrolman, they remarked on how chaotic it looked, but they could definitely see the intricate patterns in our system.  They were suitably impressed!

From here, there was a “breakout” group that needed to get ahead of the pack before they got to our next stop.  On the way, I was told to fall in with the Road Guards for the next 120 miles.  Oh Boy!  I get to play with these Guys again!  Riding side-by-side across the rolling plains of Texas and Oklahoma is fun!  Again, I am amazed at how good our Road Guards are, and honored that they would trust me to ride within their ranks again.  Somewhere along the route, I got to have a little fun with my Friend Ryan Michael Long.  “Pipes” is well known for pulling up next to someone as they roll down the road and innocently reach over to hand them a butterscotch candy.  As more and more Road Guards were dispatched to various exits, I found myself moving forward in the cue until I was riding directly next to Pipes.  I quickly reached into my tank bag, pulled out a butterscotch candy, and handed it over.  Pipes deftly took it from my hand, popped it into his mouth, and smiled!  It’s not very often that anyone gets a chance to do that to Ryan!

Then we reached our major destination for the day.  We arrived at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.  This is an active Military base, with strict access restrictions.  We rolled right in, thanks to the preparations of Col. “Heavy” King.  He had set up all of the access before we got there.  It was kind of cool to watch Him roll up to the Guard Shack, and see the Soldier at the gate first salute him, and then reach out for a rolling high-five!  “Heavy” led us to our meetup location and gave instructions where needed.  He then looked at me and said “Follow Me. Let’s go!”  Okay.  He’s the boss!

We then went on a “rather” quick tour of the base.  I didn’t know where we were going; I was just following our Leader.  Eventually, he stops, looks at me and says “Is this okay?”  Not knowing what he was asking for, I just said “Sure!”  That’s when he said “Have fun!  See you when you get there!”  And with that, he was gone and I was sitting in an active military base, not sure where I was, or what I was supposed to be doing.  So, I got off the bike, grabbed a camera, and just waited!  About 10 minutes later, I heard on the CB radio that the main Pack would be coming down the road in just a few minutes.  I found a decent place for some photos, then followed the Pack back through the base.  It was quite an honor for me, when one of the Military Police Officers walked up to me and asked if I was with “Colonel King.”  As soon as I confirmed this, the Officer started telling me how excited everyone was for us to be visiting today.  They were proud to host us, and he told me to just do whatever I needed to do to get the photos that I wanted.

Once the Pack entered the base, I followed them to our rendezvous location.  I wasn’t there long, because I knew that our Route Coordinator had been invited to a special ceremony at the “Chief’s Knoll” in the middle of Fort Sill.  This is the sacred burial mound for the Kiowa, Comanche, and Apache Tribes.  They wanted to honor Run For The Wall for what we are doing.  The Tribal Leaders offered prayers for our safety and presented a ritual offering of water and tobacco as a blessing to us.  Several songs were sung in our honor, and to pay tribute to all of the Native American soldiers that have served and died for our country.  It was a very moving ceremony. One of the Apache Leaders did throw in a bit of humor when he welcomed us “even though we are on an Army base.”  If you have studied any American History, you can hopefully understand why we all laughed!  After all, the past IS the past, and they are all fiercely proud to be both Native and American Citizens.

We then made our way back to the rest of the Midway Family, for a lunch and more ceremonies.  Every Rider was moved by the songs, both in English and the Native languages.  Songs were sung of Welcome, Patriotism, and a special one to praise our Veterans.  It was quite an honorable afternoon.

Soon, though, it was time for our last one hundred mile ride of the day, to our overnight stop in Shawnee Oklahoma.  Here we had a wonderful dinner, served to us by some of the most gracious and sincere people that I have ever met.  I look forward to visiting with them each year, especially the two sisters that never stop laughing!

We were all welcomed in with open arms and left with full hearts and bellies.  As we were preparing to leave, a sweet little girl named Kylie walked amongst our Riders to offer them a poppy to pin on our lapel.  I don’t know who enjoyed it more, Her or our Riders.

So you see, everything that we did today was centered around a common core of Honor.  From the reading of a biography of a soldier Missing In Action, to the actions of the Police Officers, to the attitude of the Military Police, the “silly” opportunity that I had to pay homage to “Pipes”, and to the warm reception and blessings that we were given by the Kiowa Commanche and Apache Leaders, everything was about Honor.  It was another amazing day!


Jim “Hoofer” McCrain
Midway Route Photographer and SITREP Author





You can see a few of the photos that I took HERE.  Be sure to check back after the 2024 Run has ended, as I will be uploading hundreds more photos once I get back home.

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