What a day this has been. It started with the alarm going off at 0430, commonly known as “0 Dark Thirty”, because it’s still dark. Get it. 0 Dark Thirty”. Ha ha. I know, don’t quit my day job. Oh wait, I don’t have a day job. I’m retired. I digress.
Run For The Wall XXXI is about to commence, but first the Mandatory Meeting. Word. Can you tell how much I love meetings? As we arrived at staging, there were several vendor tents and something else. The smell of food. The Christian Motorcycle Association was there serving food. Hot food. Yummy food. Eggs, sausage, potatoes, tortillas all the fixins for breakfasts burrito and of course there was coffee. Gotta have that. Oh and there were donuts. Lots of donuts. So many varieties I was confused for a while trying to choose one. The lady in front of me actually said “Too many to just choose one? Take two”. I settled for one finally. A cherry cake donut. So good. OJ to wash it down with. Hope you got there early enough to get some. There were tents with chapstick, sunscreen, gum, aspirin and you name it. So many nice people handing out free stuff for us all to enjoy. It was heaven.
Our BOD President Les Williams kicked off the meeting and we gathered around. Colors were provided by the Marine Corps Logistics Base Color Guard from Barstow, Ca. Then 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 seven 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. Hope no one heard me.
Gunny Gregory was asked to come forward. He gave aus a few words of encouragement and started to get emotional so he handed Les back the mic. We love you Gunny. With some final words from Les, and a few from our individual Route Coordinators, Run For The Wall XXX (30) was about to begin. We barely had time to don our gear and start our motors.
We got outta Ontario without a hitch. Piece of cake really. It seemed to me we were on the interstate heading up Cajon Pass in no time. On the overpasses were patriots with flags. More than I’ve seen in California before.
Along the way, our fuel was sponsored at all our fuel stops but one. We have some very generous folks that care about us riders. We were in and out of Ludlow in 20 minutes or less. 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. We crossed over into Arizona and had a few minutes at the Lake Havasu stop. There I saw my high school friend and his misses again for a couple of minutes. They have come by to see me here for 6 years now.
This year something different, we are not going into Kingman. What a blessing. Our Arizona State Coordinator Roy Meek had made some changes. We stopped in Yucca for lunch at the local fire station. The food was great. Sandwiches, chips, cookies, drinks. It was excellent. Several presentations were made one to some folks sitting at my table. An Arizona Patriot Guard Rider. I think we have a lot of PGR members that ride with us. I mentioned I was a rider and that I would be coming back this way to visit my friends and they said to please stop by to see them. I’m looking forward to it.
Near Flagstaff, we were escorted by the Flagstaff Police Department right to the VFW. We passed many citizens lining the streets with 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 then a special guest was introduced by our Outreach representative Tim Hastings. She was introduced last year at the Mandatory meeting. Her name is Patty Hopper. Her husband was a member of the group that helped break ground for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. They bought the shovel for $10.
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. First the New Mexico Pledge. Second the Milan Elementary School Pledge. I’ll have some copies to handout in the morning. Right after we say the Pledge of Allegiance, repeat the following words:
- “I salute the flag of the State of New Mexico and the Zia symbol of perfect friendship among united cultures”
- “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 of good character; be fair and trustworthy. I count. You count”.
The Milan Children will love us saying this with them.
Photos provided by the Midway Route Photographer Jim “Hoofer” McCrain – jimmccrain.smugmug.com/Run-For-The-Wall – [email protected]
“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.