President Williams (Les) comes up to me at our fuel stop in Williams, AZ of all places and says’ “look Tom, Morse Code” as he flips the sun visor in his helmet up and down in a familiar pattern. So I said, “Looks like SOS” and he said, “That’s what it is”. I laughed. Maybe I should have asked him if he needed help or if I could get one of our Chaplain Corp for him. Just trying to be funny here.
What a day this has been. It started as most of our missions have. A very thoughtful, sincere prayer by our Chaplain asking for blessings for our safety and giving thanks for all we receive, then The Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem signed again by Alisa and Ashley. They have been doing this for six years I think. During the anthem I could hear members of the crowd singing softly. I had a sort of warm feeling in my heart and I started to sing. I hope no one was listening to me. Then a Missing Man flyover and a second pass. So cool. Thanks to whoever arranged that (I think I know). Gunny Gregory was asked to come forward. He was awarded something he had never before received, an FNG pin. We all laughed. With some final words from Les, Run For The Wall XXX (30) was about to begin.
We got outta Ontario without a hitch. Piece of cake really. Can’t say that for previous years. Great idea whoever thought of having the mandatory meeting the previous night. Let’s do that again next year.
We all arrived in Flagstaff safely. Our fuel was sponsored at all our fuel stops. No out of pocket expense. We have some very generous folks that care about us riders. We were in and out of Ludlow in 20 minutes or less. We crossed over into Arizona and had a few extra minutes at the Lake Havasu stop. There I saw my high school friend and his misses. They have come by to see me there for 5 years now. The hydration truck was available here. I think the M25 organization donates all the products from this truck. An awesome blessing they are to each of us. We are so appreciative of their offering, their support, and their time. Heading into Kingman, the Kingman Police Department got involved for the first time. They escorted us and blocked traffic to our next fuel stop (also donated). Who are these people that have so much money? I know it must cost about three grand (rough guess) per fuel stop. Then to our lunch stop outside the Mother Road Harley Davidson shop. A large circus tent was set up and burgers were being served to a long line of hungry riders; homemade cookies also. Bandit presented many organizations and people with the usual plaques. There was Rachel “Queen Bee” our Arizona State Coordinator, Elks Lodge 468, Kingman PD, Mother Road Harley Davidson, the City of Kingman, Eagle Riders, American Legion Riders, (I’m forgetting someone I’m sure) and there were several certificates handed out to many folks that donated or volunteered their support. Then the “Music Man” gave his rendition of Good morning Vietnam”. So funny.
We departed our lunch stop and found we had no police escort. It wasn’t quite the easy transition back onto the “slab” as we call it. Someone said over the CB “maybe we should have only given them half a plaque”. I thought that was funny.
Near Flagstaff, we were escorted by the Flagstaff Police Department right to the VFW. We passed many citizens lining the streets with waving flags welcoming us to Flagstaff. Inside the VFW, the Boy Scouts served us Sloppy Joes. Glenn Waggoner handed out awards to organizations that helped us out and most everyone soon departed. One of our Road Guards Mark Masman, came to our table with a shovel. He explained that this shovel had been used to break ground on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Our eyes bulged. He said the lady that owned it was out back. Her name is Patty Hopper. Her husband was a member of the group that helped break ground for the memorial and they bought the shovel for $10. We had to get some pics. Me with Patty and my APL Buck Guest
Tomorrow comes early and it will be cold. Hope everyone has some warm gear. I’ve got my electric jacket and glove liners, but not much more than that. I’m thinking it will be warm soon after we get out of Flagstaff.
Remember tomorrow we will be going to Milan Elementary School. Here’s the pledge again. I’ll have some copies to handout in the morning.
New Mexico Pledge –
“I salute the flag of the State of New Mexico and the Zia symbol of perfect friendship among united cultures”
Milan Elementary School Pledge –
“I pledge to be a person of character;
to help others when they need it;
to treat others the way I want to be treated;
to be caring, respectful, responsible;
be a good citizen;
be fair and trustworthy.
I count! You count!”
“We Ride For Those That Can’t”
Tom “Twotone” Lystrup – Platoon 5 Leader / Midway Route SitRep Writer
I’d appreciate your comments. For those that have emailed me their comments, my thanks and my love to you all.