• February 5, 2018 at 6:54 pm #7868
    BullBull
    Participant

    I am starting this post so people can leave a tip for our FNG’s.

    Write a tip that has helped you out in regard to Packing, preparing, what to expect or anything else helpful.

    Here is mine:

    pack about 3-4 days of clothes and do laundry along the way. We took all dark clothes so only 1 load every 5 Days. And bring a role of quarters so your not looking for change.

    Danny “Bull”Cox
    USMC
    FNG MIDWAY ROUTE 2017 All The Way
    PLT 4 Tailgunner 2018
    PLT 4 Leader 2019
    Southern Nevada PGR

  • February 5, 2018 at 9:37 pm #7879
    TexTex
    Participant

    I pack 5 pairs of sox (Navy taught me that dry feet are next to heaven), 5 undies, and 5 t-shirts. I fold them flat and put each group in a separate ZipLoc 1 gallon bag. Then I sit on the bag and squash all the air out. THEN I zip the bag shut. The bag ends up a little over 1″ thick. I can pack all my clothes in one saddle bag insert for my Road King. The open ZipLoc bag (the one you just got your fresh clothes out of) can be used for that day’s dirty laundry and the stink doesn’t get on anything else. I pack 2 snack sized ZipLoc bags with clothes soap so I’m not running around looking for laundry soap.

    Pack 2 pairs of earplugs. The person you ride behind with the horrendously loud pipes makes the ride totally uncomfortable.

    A charger for your phone.

    Two long sleeved wicking shirts and light gloves. The sun gets pretty brutal in 110 degree weather (yes, it sometimes gets that hot).

    Maps in case your GPS decides to take a dump.

    Cargo net. Worth more than it’s weight in gold.

    Take a photo of your driver’s license, insurance, vehicle registration, credit card(s), and medical information sheet with your phone in case you and your wallet decide to divorce one another.

    RAIN GEAR ! Oh did I mention RAIN GEAR ? GOOD RAIN GEAR !

    Pair of tennis shoes – your motorcycle boots get real tiresome when you do any walking.

    Small flashlight or chem lights for night time emergencies.

    A roll of duct tape. I don’t know why, but duct tape has saved the world at some point in time.

    A water bottle holder attached to the left side of your vehicle so you can take a drink using your clutch hand while in motion. Requires practice so you automagically know where to reach for it without taking your eyes off the road. A stainless steel container with a pop up drinking spout is best. You can pack it with crushed ice before you leave in the mornings and have cold water along the way in between stops.

    A bluejean jacket for chilly nights when you don’t want to put your leather jacket on.

    GOOD (SPF 50 or above) sunscreen, sunglasses, and chapstick.

    A fanny pack to carry money in so you don’t have to mess with your wallet at gas stations.

    If you are staying in hotels along the route, verify your reservations in late April.

    Review your Will, POA, and other important legal documents to verify they are up to date.

    Check your expiration dates on licenses, credit cards, etc. so they don’t expire before you get back home.

     

    I’ll include Chapter 2 in about a month.

     

    Tex

    USN
    in-country '68-'70
    GM3 then FTG2
    SSN qualified (USS DACE SSN-607)
    Retired Senior Software Manager
    Retired A&P
    ATW '13, '15, '16, '18
    FNG once - TG once - APL once, pain in the butt the other time

  • February 5, 2018 at 9:49 pm #7880
    Rider07Rider07
    Participant

    all  FNGs  for the ( Southern route) think about being on the honor guard. Need 6 people for each wreath laying . we march up to the wreath, then two will position the wreath, we  salute and then march off . This will be each day . Will be rotating all volunteers.

    Chaplain Bill

    • April 10, 2019 at 1:37 pm #11703
      AvatarGus
      Participant

      I will be happy to serve on the honor guard at the wreath laying. Dan (Gus) Stewart, [email protected].

  • February 5, 2018 at 11:28 pm #7883

    Notify your bank/credit union that you’ll be travelling so your cards don’t quit working with no notice.

    Have your cash packet easily accessible for each fuel stop.

    Hydrate, hydrate hydrate!

    Ask questions, seek to understand your new families history, strengths & concerns.   You never know how you may help others or how they’ll help you.

    Listen to the morning briefing.   The plan works much better when everyone knows the plan.  You’ll also learn “why we ride”.

    Stay focused, stay safe!

    FNG MR 2017
    MR 2017 Tailgunner
    CR 2018 Participant

  • February 6, 2018 at 9:47 am #7892
    PelicanPelican
    Participant

    Use the spray on SPF sunscreen.

    If you “install” sunscreen with your hand, then you get warm and wipe the sweat from your eyes with your bare hand, yeah, the one that has sunscreen on it, you will be reminded very quickly that sunscreen is not meant to be in the eyes !!! ( Oh, and when spraying the stuff on, be sure to remember to close your eyes…it doesn’t take much. Like they say”….a little dab will do ya….”)

    Ride Safe

    Pelican

    "I never met a man I didn't like"...will rogers

  • February 7, 2018 at 12:43 pm #7933
    ReconMiltReconMilt
    Participant

    Helmets with face shields. Rain bugs sand. Peanut helmets are not a good idea and offer no protection from the elements.

    Long sleeve shirts keep you from being sunburned and will slow down dehydration and help cool the body

    1SG Army 1966-88, 11B5MQ8, RVN 1967-68, 70-71 Southern Route, FNG 10, Staging TM 14 & Leader 15, TG 5th PLT 16, PL/APL 6th PLT 17, PL 7th PLT 18.

  • February 19, 2018 at 9:27 pm #8133
    Papa SmurfPapa Smurf
    Participant

    Practice, practice, practice… especially in close formation with other bikes under all road and terrain conditions.  Learn to control your speed through all phases of a leg (acceleration from a stand-still, slowing for a turn, maintaining position relative to the bike your tracking on while in highway cruise, and deceleration almost to a stop) without ever touching your brakes…using only throttle control and down-shifting.  Brake lights flashing in close formation causes havoc with the bikes behind, and is the chief cause of the dreaded “rubberbanding.”  Of course, if you HAVE to use your brakes, do so, but if you’ve learned to do it right, the only time you should really need them is for that last 1 MPH.  Also, pay special attention to maneuvering at slow speeds without having to “duck walk” your bike. The only way to describe a fuel stop is “chaotic.”  Lots of bikes in motion in very close quarters.  Make sure you keep your head on a swivel, eyes wide open, and the brain fully engaged.  The best training program I’ve found for sharpening slow maneuvering skills is Ride Like a Pro®… just Google RLAP and your state for a program nearest to you.  You won’t regret it.

    Oh… AND HAVE FUN!

    Dave "Papa Smurf" Klemme
    Chairman, RFTW Board of Directors
    2016 Central Route Coordinator
    "Freedom Isn't Free"

  • February 20, 2018 at 12:28 pm #8142
    PelicanPelican
    Participant

    Good tips , all of them..

    I would like to mention, there should be an advance riders course offered somewhere close by before we depart Ontario. Locate one being offered close to your location online and sign up! It is well worth it. The Ride Like A Pro course,(RLAP), is also fantastic, but not offered as prolifically as the Advanced courses. It is also more expensive, even wit a RFTW discount, if offered.

    But…..( there is always a but…)

    You can order a RLAP video. With it you get a booklet of the course layouts with diagrams and dimensions. You can then set up your own course. ( I use red solo cups with some water poured in them. A gallon of water goes a long way. The cups are easily replaceable plus water & cups are very economical) Invite some riding buddies or even solo, you will have fun and can practice as many times and for as long as you want.

    Practice – Practice _ Practice

    Pelican

    "I never met a man I didn't like"...will rogers

  • February 25, 2018 at 1:34 pm #8208
    AvatarDoc Ock
    Participant

    I wanted to chime in on this. If you use the spray on sunscreen you still need to rub it into the skin. I know of a Plastic Surgeon here in Arizona that was on the news explaining this to folks. By wearing a full face helmet, long sleeves and glove, most of your body will be protected. just my .02

  • February 26, 2018 at 10:17 am #8215
    PenguinPenguin
    Participant

    You will be riding into the sun each morning on the ride.  I have found that a carefully placed strip of tape across the upper half of my helmet faceshield makes a great “sunvisor”. I use easily removeable blue paper tape (home depot 2″ border edge tape).  Remember to leave an inch or so tab so that you can easily peel the tape off as the sun rises.    You can wad the removed tape up and stick it on the bike somewhere for neat disposal at a gas stop.

    Penguin
    USMCR SEA 1970-1972 ret 1987
    ATW 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016
    riding to show that they aren't forgotten

    • March 20, 2018 at 9:01 pm #8518
      TexTex
      Participant

      I tried this the other day and everything worked as planned until I realized I didn’t have a full face helmet with a face shield. When I tore the duct tape off my face my eyebrows went with it. Don’t try this at home without proper supervision. I’ve learned my lesson …

      Tex

      USN
      in-country '68-'70
      GM3 then FTG2
      SSN qualified (USS DACE SSN-607)
      Retired Senior Software Manager
      Retired A&P
      ATW '13, '15, '16, '18
      FNG once - TG once - APL once, pain in the butt the other time

  • February 28, 2018 at 8:53 am #8230
    HotRodHotRod
    Participant

    Couple of things I’ve learned to do. Exercise is important to start a few months prior to the ride, upper arms and mostly legs. Just getting the muscles a little more active. Start drinking lots of water to hydrate. Even when I do drink a lot of water I still get severe leg cramps, so I take along (Hyland’s) leg cramp tablets. They work great and I take some before I go to bed not wait until the cramps wake me up. One of the hand or finger exerciser’s (the spring loaded one ) is good to work the hands as the seem to get numb a lot. Since using it not near a much numbness. And rest that last month get plenty of sleep.

    So What’s The Saying In May.    ALL THE WAY

     

     

  • February 28, 2018 at 8:23 pm #8237
    AvatarZiptie
    Participant

    Arrive early enough in Ontario to be able to go to Riverside National Cemetery. This trip is AMAZING! Participate in Missing Man and any of the “Honor” events along the way. You will see hundreds or thousands of supporters along the way. Keep your eyes on the bike in front of you and NOT on the supporters- just wave. Be prepared to leave when it’s time to depart a stop. Double check your gear and your neighbors gear.

  • March 2, 2018 at 12:50 am #8256
    The MayorThe Mayor
    Participant

    Don’t take ANYTHING that’s new or untested!  Clothing, equipment, earplugs, boots, socks, gloves, helmet, water bottle, throttle rocker, etc, etc.   If it isn’t “quite right,” on your favorite 400-mile ride, it will detract from your safety and enjoyment after multiple days and hundreds of miles.

    RAIN?  Yup, plan on it.  If the gear isn’t on when the five-minute warning sounds, you’re gonna ride in the wet without it, or be left behind while your platoon rolls out without you.  I carry the cheap stuff… ‘takes me five-minutes to put in on in my living room.  (Sat on my gloves on one leg when I wasn’t quite ready when my platoon started to roll.  ‘Think we’ve all done that, but only once.)

    ‘Just a couple of horror stories… ‘have lots of them.  Gloves too snug on one of the Runs; had to cut the end off of the right thumb ’cause of the constant spring pressure from the throttle grip.  Helmet just a tiny bit too small… ‘no problem until five or six days out.  ‘Hacked out some of the foam lining because of constant irritation from a seam in the helmet liner.

    Jim "The Mayor" Frost
    USAF SSgt 66-69
    Bien Hoa AB, RVN 8/67-10/69

  • March 20, 2018 at 10:30 am #8504
    DrZDrZ
    Participant

    All the above are great suggestions to the FNGs of 2018.

    Now let’s look at some that have not been discussed.  Starting now, you might want to start visiting a few local military recruiters and ask them for lanyards, pens, pencils, stickers, or anything else with that branch of military’s logo on it.  There will be many children who visit us and a small gift to them is like gold.  It gives them something special from you to them and it cost you only a bit of storage space.

    Cash….  Get yourself some zip lock sandwich bags.  Look at your route and count the number of fuel stops.  In each zip lock put in the cash you MAY need for fuel.  Picking up the SR in Grand Prairie TX, I know there tends to be 12 fuel stops.  In each of my 12 zip lock bags, I put 1 $10, 2 $5, and 5 $1 ($25 total per bag for those who are as bad as math as I am).  You can either make up your proper number of bags for the entire run or enough for a single day.  You will tend to have some amount left over in each bag.  Since there is never change given, I can always pay exactly what is needed at fuel stops and pocket what is left over.  Those who are younger than me and working in some of the high paying jobs can give them a $20 at every fuel stop….the support vehicles LOVE donations!!!

    Packing… Start by packing what you would like to have.  Cut it in half twice and get it down to what you need.  I carry 2 pair of jeans (1 which I am wearing), clean socks and skivvies, enough T shirts (long and short sleeved) to get me though the run or enough of the rinse and wear that I can do some in-sink washing and dry overnight.  Decent rain gear, light, medium, and perhaps heavy wear warm stuff and a few pair of gloves.  If you have room, pack some spray on water proofing for your boots.  God knows we have seen enough rain over the last few years.  Pack 1 quart of your favorite oil if you have issues finding it on the road.  SunScreen.  You will see some unbelievable sunburns on some of the riders.  Be prepared for it and share with those not as prepared.  If you are staying at hotels during the run….I have yet to see one without the basic toiletries to wash your hair and scuzzy body.  Don’t forget your toothbrush!  Most of us quit shaving since we are all bad arsed biker anyway.  Pack a tire pressure gauge and check them every morning before riding out.  Blowing a tire or running on low tires suck!  I carry a tire plug kit but have never used it.  I am sure if I don’t pack it…I WILL need it.  If you have room…pack a compressor or ask your riding buddies who might have one you can borrow while on the run.  I tend to pack some chewing gum or hard candy to help keep the mouth moist between stops.  The important thing is…don’t overpack.  FNGs tend to do that and regret doing so because there is always somethings you will want to buy at Thunder Alley and simply don’t have room for it.

    Hydrate…hydrate…hydrate.  Start doing this immediately.  The wind will pull moisture out of you.  If you are not properly hydrated, you can fall asleep or pass out on the Run.  Neither is a good plan.  If you have a cup holder on your scoot….drink one at the stop and put one in the cup holder for a quick drink when needed.  Coffee!!!! Nope…not a good plan.  It will want out 15 minutes after you drink it so unless you are planning on wearing Depends….you will be pulling out of the pack to find the nearest head (latrine for you Army types and Powder room for you Air Force types….lol).  Plus caffeine withdrawal headaches are not worth it.  Start backing off the coffee now.

    My fingers are tired and there are many things I have missed but these type of threads usually get many inputs so you will hear what I have said as well as many that I have not discussed.

    Just remember….be Safe and always ride Sane.

    See you on the Run.

    Semper Fi,

    Z

     

    2013, 2015,2016, 2017 and as many more as the old body will handle.

  • March 20, 2018 at 12:35 pm #8508
    Avatarsixguns
    Participant

    I was a FNG on the SR 2017.  Nothing worse than riding along side a loud stereo or pipes, please leave them at home.

     

  • March 20, 2018 at 2:19 pm #8512
    JustannJustann
    Participant

    If you carry a small cooler on your bike, consider freezing applesauce squeeze pouches to use instead of regular freezer packs.  They thaw slowly (well, maybe not so slowly on the SR!), can be refrozen fairly fast in a hotel fridge, and if you need a snack…I like things that multi-task!

    Just Ann

  • March 20, 2018 at 7:25 pm #8516
    Wally GatorWally Gator
    Participant

    I would like to bring up the use of CB radios on the run  FNG just listen to it DO NOT talk or ask question over your CB it’s only for the platoon leaders and other that are in charge.  One other thing about the CB do not act when you hear them say something like we are slowing down to get off the Interstate wait for the bike in fount you to do so, you should always watch the bike in font of you.

    Retired city employee
    USN 76 to 80 USS Raleigh LPD 1
    USNR 80 to 89 USS Duncan FFG

    ATW 14,16,17.18 Tail gunner 17,18

  • March 21, 2018 at 10:36 pm #8540
    Avatargrumpy1129
    Participant

    REGISTRATION TIP

    If you registered online that’s great!  You will still need to see the registration folks at the location that you are starting at.  If you are registering on site that’s great too!  Either way know that you will need to bring your license, registration and proof of insurance when you see the registration folks.  Please make sure that you have the proper motorcycle endorsement, that your registration is current and for the vehicle that you will be riding and that your insurance is valid till the end of your time on the Run.  Looking forward to seeing you in May.

  • March 27, 2018 at 2:27 pm #8613
    ozoz
    Participant

    You must always have your medical information around your neck and filled out!!!!  You can fill it out here online :  https://rftw.us/emergency-information-form-2/     or fill it out when they pass them out in registration. These will be checked every morning and it must be there or you may not get to leave that day. You may have your own but this form is the one you must use.

    I copy my medical information from my doctor on the back. You will be given a pouch and cord to carry it with.  Remember we never argue about safety!!!

    See everyone in May!!  (if it ever warms up here)

    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.": Benjamin Franklin

    When in difficult situations I ask myself "WHAT WOULD CURLY DO?"

  • March 27, 2018 at 7:45 pm #8614
    AvatarDragon
    Participant

    Along with OZ – Your lanyard w/medical form filled out will need to be around your neck just like your wrist band around your wrist showing your participation in the mission will be checked by stagers (SR for sure!)  every time you are staged!  They will also check your ride and your luggage and you!  WE DO SAFETY for us all!  Don’t forget what you’ve read about attitude!  We keep an eye on that too!  Safety first!

    US Army OPNS GRP 1969-71
    VVA, HOG, PGR, & AMA (AZ)
    SR ATW 2015 FNG, 2016 Staging Team, 2017 Asst Staging Team LDR/TG, 2018 Staging Team LDR, 2019 Asst Staging Team LDR

  • March 31, 2018 at 9:24 am #8669
    HotRodHotRod
    Participant

    One important information is to inform your bank on all the states your going thru. Notify for both your ATM card and Credit Card. Have all the states written down and the states you may visit on the way home also, that way you won’t have any problem purchasing anything while in route to and fro.  You need to give the dates also to your best guest on when your leaving and returning home.

    HotRod

     

  • April 1, 2018 at 11:09 pm #8700
    BullBull
    Participant

    So here is another tip, get together with a buddy in the next week or two and have them check your bike for any problems, loose bolts, wear, or anything else. Then you check theres. This will hopefully find any problems that you may have missed.

    Also load your bike with your gear and do a test ride. Load heavy items low as you can to help keep the center of gravity low. Have your buddy check the way you tie down to insure it is secure.

    Danny “Bull”Cox
    USMC
    FNG MIDWAY ROUTE 2017 All The Way
    PLT 4 Tailgunner 2018
    PLT 4 Leader 2019
    Southern Nevada PGR

  • April 4, 2018 at 9:42 pm #8790
    SlokeSloke
    Participant

    This one is for any FNG or old timer who is a Christian.  Don’t forget to pray.  It’s a simple thing to overlook in the chaos.  Pray for your buddies, new and old. Pray for safety, pray for good weather, pray for the healing of hearts, general state of mind and physical needs.  And.. pray for the towns you pass through, the people who came out to line an overpass, pray for the states you pass through, pray for your country, and pray for your leadership both on the run and of our nation.  You’ll have lots of time in the saddle, keep your mind busy, lifting those around you up to heaven.

    Daniel W. Slocum
    CPT US Army RET
    ATW CR FNG 2016, CR Participant 2018

  • April 4, 2018 at 10:50 pm #8792
    Avatartcsannicolas
    Participant

    Amen to that.

  • April 22, 2018 at 4:42 pm #9005
    AvatarSister Mary
    Participant

    i was so dumb my FNG year.  ASK questions and talk to people.  that is one of the biggest gifts of the Run—the other people.

    Pack a couple extra days of your medications.  You can get very small pill ziplocs and carry one for every day.

    old backpacker tip: roll each day’s socks, undies, and shirt into a tight roll and put in quart ziploc. one for each day.  i usually carry four days and pack one more for the rain day you get soaked.  Roll of quarters as someone already suggested for laundry.  Also dryer sheets and those lovely laundry pods in a non crushable container.  A dryer sheet in with the dirty clothes works wonders!

  • January 14, 2019 at 12:03 pm #10587
    imjrnokcimjrnokc
    Participant

    Bull,

    Good to see your post.  I’m looking forward to 2019, May is just around the corner.  I’ve been reading a lot of the posts and it looks like we have a lot of FNG riders!  Here is my outline for my pack this year.

    I’m thinking about camping I’ve done hotels and need to cut down on the budget.  I did review the just released MWR itinerary and it doesn’t have camping locals at every layover.  I’m sure KOA and other places are available.  I did follow a packing scheme last year offered up by someone who rode before but that was way too much gear.  Here is my pack for 2019; tent, sleeping bag, 3 changes of cloths (wash every 3rd day), leathers, rain gear, cold weather gear (down jacket, thermals, etc), boots, hat, & shaving kit (toothbrush etc.).  Fuses for the bike, tire repair kit, portable air pump, and small tool kit.  I also print out segment route maps (in case GPS isn’t available and I get separated from the pack, good to have).  Last year I spent a lot of time calculating fuel costs between stops and stuffing fuel stop money into labeled baggies, not gonna do that this year,  I’ll just keep enough cash in $1 bills in my pocket for each days fueling stops if needed.  I am curious if others on the MWR will be camping and if they have their favorite overnight campsites along the way?  Please let us all know your experiences.  ATW 2019.

    Attachments:
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    Gerald Richerson
    U.S. Navy 69-72
    USS Rathburne DE-1057

  • January 14, 2019 at 5:19 pm #10602
    AvatarMaverick
    Participant

    When fueling your bike,  please do not sit there and try to top it off, after the first click of the nozzle, pull it out and hand it back to the fuel team member. Pay your money (unless donated) and move to the staging area.  You will not run out of gas before the next stop.  This will speed up the refueling of everyone, you will not spill gas on your bike and everyone is happy.

    GSCM USN(Ret) '57 - '89
    L/M VFW 3788
    L/M AL 460
    C/M ALR 460
    Ala PGR
    ATW 2000 (SR Recon), ATW 2003 SR, Participant 2018 SR (Fueling Team)
    Participant 2019 SR (Fueling Team)
    Gulf of Tonkin '64-'65; DaNang '69-'70

  • January 14, 2019 at 8:34 pm #10603
    imjrnokcimjrnokc
    Participant

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>To add to Maverick’s post: the Fuel Team will have flagpersons at each stop.  What at first seems like a free for all, which can be intimidating but then you add to this you’re  riding in close quarters and you’renot sure what’s happening.  Not to worry the fuel team will guide you to the right pump  Have your fuel cap open when you approach the pump and wait for the fueler to hand you the hose.  Have you cash at hand and ready to hand off.  Once finished roll out and follow the flagmen to the staging area where the staging crew will guide you to your space.</p>

    Gerald Richerson
    U.S. Navy 69-72
    USS Rathburne DE-1057

  • January 15, 2019 at 6:18 am #10606
    blallen58blallen58
    Participant

    Before leaving home get at least 1 roll of quarters and put a couple of laundry detergent pods in a zip lock bag.   You will need it to do laundry on the trip.

    And as many have already said HYDRATE, HYDRATE and oh yeah drink lots of water.

    Central Route Staging Team 2019
    Southern Route Fuel Team 2017
    Central Route ATW 2016
    FNG 2016
    HM1 (FMF) Ret. 1979-1999

  • January 15, 2019 at 11:01 am #10609
    HooferHoofer
    Participant

    Here is a tip about Photography.  Don’t worry about it!  Each Route has a dedicated Route Photographer.  They will be getting photos of all of the “main events” as well as shots of the bikes rolling down the roads.  They are also very alert to what is happening within each Platoon, meaning they will NOT take photos of any sensitive, private, or personal moments that you are having.  They are not there to embarrass you, but to document the Mission.  They WILL respect your privacy.  But if you DO want a special photo, please just ask them.  (I have been asked several times to take photos of people at The Wall or other monuments.)

    DO bring a personal camera for the “little” moments, the ones that are happening right around you.  Take all of the photos that you want, but don’t worry about “missing” anything.

    Now here is a basic, but important reminder: if you are the Rider, do NOT take pictures while your bike is moving!  (Yes, we have seen this happen, and it isn’t safe!) . Let your Passenger take photos, if you have one.  Otherwise, just concentrate on riding.

    Cheers!

    Jim “Hoofer” McCrain

    Jim "Hoofer" McCrain
    Photographer, Midway Route (2019)
    Road Guard, Midway Route (2017, 2018, 2019)
    Road Guard, Southern Route (2016)
    Tail Gunner, Southern Route (2015)
    FNG, Southern Route (2014)

  • January 22, 2019 at 12:01 am #10658
    AvatarZiptie
    Participant

    As mentioned many times and will be mentioned again many more times- HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE! What this means is- WATER, WATER, GATORADE! Though water is critical, don’t forget about electrolyte replacement. Many riders will travel to CA across there desert and I have seen riders become seriously ill because they failed to consume enough fluids. When on the Run the hydration team will be at every stop (that’s not a gas and go). Park your bike and make your way quickly to the hydration truck. There are plenty of water, Gatorade (or similar), fruit and snacks available- take several.

    Tom Wistrand “Ziptie”

    MWR Rear Road Guard

  • January 22, 2019 at 2:38 pm #10662
    blallen58blallen58
    Participant

    Before leaving for the Run, get in some parking lot practice on braking hard.   Read about different techniques of braking and take a MSF course that can help you with emergency braking.   Because during the ride you will be using your brakes on several occasions.   I know they will tell you not to use them but use your gears, there will be times you have to hit the breaks and hard some times.

     

    Central Route Staging Team 2019
    Southern Route Fuel Team 2017
    Central Route ATW 2016
    FNG 2016
    HM1 (FMF) Ret. 1979-1999

  • January 22, 2019 at 2:47 pm #10663
    Diann McKeeDiann McKee
    Keymaster

    EXCELLENT TIP ABOUT PRACTICING BRAKING HARD.   Please take that tip seriously…you will not regret it, FNG’s.   Just as soon as you get comfortable with the structure and smoothness of our maneuvering on the roads & highways—it will inevitably happen that a car will do what they want & cause an abrupt braking incident.   It WILL happen.   Be ready for it.

    Mojo

     

    Diann "Mojo" McKee
    Director of Risk Management

  • January 24, 2019 at 6:41 am #10671
    AvatarSmokestack
    Participant

    If you carry a Eppi Pen, let someone know where it is at (yes Virginia) 🙂

    Steve Solari
    FNG SR 2013
    ATW SR 2013,14,15,16,17,18
    SR Asst Fuel Crew Leader 2019
    ALR-RC Post 66 Green Valley, Az.
    Az. Patriot Guard Rider
    Proud to be an American

  • January 27, 2019 at 3:14 pm #10690
    TexTex
    Participant

    If you’ve been following this discussion then you’ll already know Chapter 1 was “What to bring”. It was the second entry in this discussion forum. Chapter 2 is “What to do” prior to leaving. I’ll make it easy and just make them item points:

    1) Grease your leathers – they’ll last longer especially if you are riding in the heat of SR, plus it sorta semi-waterproofs them

    2) Check your hotel reservations ONE MONTH PRIOR in case something is messed up (you DID write down your confirmation #’s for each, right ?)

    3) Review your important documents: your will, your power of attorney, and any other legal document you haven’t looked at in over a year (you DO have these, RIGHT ?)

    4) If appropriate, make sure your CHL’s are up to date (if you know what a CHL is then this applies to you)

    5)  Replace the battery in your security FOB or know the security procedures of your ride.

    6) Service (or get serviced) your ride a month before leaving in case something needs to be replaced or ordered from the manufacturer (this includes tires)

    7) Get a haircut

    8) Charge your electric razor prior to departure (night before leaving) or take the charger with you.

    9) Notify your bank that you will be travelling to various states over the next 3-4 weeks and to not be alarmed if they get charges from Shawnee, Oklahoma

    10) Take a photo of your driver’s license, credit card(s), motorcycle insurance card, and vehicle registration – front and back. Store it on your phone and on your computer (I know you have one ’cause you are reading this)

    11) (This space reserved for you to personalize )

    I keep all these notes on my computer and I refer/add to them each year I make the journey. Go ahead and print out Chapters 1 & 2. I’ll work on Chapter 3 along the way. It is entitled “Which farm animals to bring”

     

    Tex

    USN
    in-country '68-'70
    GM3 then FTG2
    SSN qualified (USS DACE SSN-607)
    Retired Senior Software Manager
    Retired A&P
    ATW '13, '15, '16, '18
    FNG once - TG once - APL once, pain in the butt the other time

  • January 28, 2019 at 1:01 pm #10695
    AvatarMac
    Participant

    All the tips that have been posted are excellent for staying safe, organized and as comfortable as possible. My two cents are from ridin for awhile, not just in formation but alone on the road. Fueling is controlled chaos. Everybody involved in getting you in, fueled and staged are there to make sure everyone is safe and to get ehere they need to be so follow their instructions. I have found that using the soft half of velcro, with the adhesive backing, and placing a couple of magnets under it and attached to the top of your gas cap will be convenient for you but a life saver for the fueling team so they don’t have to hold it for you or chase it down when it slips out of yout hand and takes off. It can be easily placed on your tank and retrieved quickly. As for being in formation, knowwhere you are in your lane. Keep off the zipper (dotted white line) and stay off the fog line (solid white line). Learn what part of your bike will line up those and keep constant vigilance. It tales less than an inch of handlebar or highway peg to make contact with something (car, truck, wall) to cause a very bad day to happen. If it starts getting tight(traffic, Jersey wall, etc.) pulled up your highway pegs. You can get comfortable later. Also pull those pegs up as your coming to refuel or a designated stop. As far as going down the road cagers will get mesmerized by the pack and start drifting towards you so watch out. 18 wheelers also drift and push alot of debris at you so stay your line. As you get to the front bumper remember they push alot of air in front of them so hold and expect a little turbulence. Weather is another thing that is dealt with no matter what route your on. In my experience, and others have different opinions on this, encountering high winds and wet roads are a norm. With me high winds mean high rpm’s. It seems to stabilize you more. Wet roads I use the lowest rpm I can to keep the rear tire from reacting to quikly from a small twitch of the throttle.   Well maybe more than two cents but I hope this helps. But remember the brother and sisterhood you form on the Run lasts a lifetime. WECOME HOME.

  • January 30, 2019 at 4:34 pm #10707
    AvatarZiptie
    Participant

    Fuel stop suggestion: when you pull up to the fuel pump, have you gas cap prepared to be removed when in position. Put you side stand DOWN! Even though you will not dismount your ride, the engine must be turned off and your hands will be focused on fueling not holding your bike up. Even if you can hold up your bike, the ground around the pump may be slippery- I’ve seen bikes fall over into a neighbor and it’s not a way to make friends. Practice this procedure to see if it works for you.

     

    Tom Wistrand “Ziptie”

    Midway Route Rear Road Guard

  • February 1, 2019 at 4:33 pm #10722
    The MayorThe Mayor
    Participant

    Typing “newsletters” in the search (upper right corner of the screen you’re looking at), or using rftw.us/newsletters will take you to past RFTW newsletters containing extensive information and suggestions about the Run.

    Above all… ask questions of prior participants… and sort out what you think will work for you.

    About fuel stops; I carry two fives $$$$$ and four ones $ to each stop.  You’ll rarely, (never?), find a stop for over nine dollars.  If you think a stop will be prepaid, or you’ve been on the Run before and a stop has “always” been free; count on having to pay for the fuel the next time you roll in.  And IF you can handle the minimal extra cost, just give the fuel crew $10 every time you’re asked to pay… the surplus pays for chase vehicles that you may need somewhere down the road.

    Jim "The Mayor" Frost
    USAF SSgt 66-69
    Bien Hoa AB, RVN 8/67-10/69

  • February 3, 2019 at 8:31 pm #10738
    Avatarloop_m
    Participant

    Wow! lots of great info and tips and will check out other forums and newsletters. I am a 2019 FNG and I will be on a trike and pulling a trailer. So far I haven’t read a lot of info about that other than we (trikes & trlrs.) will be lined up nearer to the back (btw no problems with that , just proud to be in the run).  Also questions and info on the camping end of it. Are there any dedicated  personnel that are in charge of the camping troops. to facilitate in getting them back to the morning staging area and such or is it YOYO ??

    Murph on the Bonnie Blue AKA Mayday. 11d2f Air recon scout (never lost just misoriented) DV Army, Ret. TX Mstr. Peace Off., VP (2018-19) Blue Knights Chptr 43 TX.

  • February 4, 2019 at 7:02 am #10739
    Wally GatorWally Gator
    Participant

    Hi Loop

    Welcome home and Thank you for your service

    We are on the central route platoon 10  Bikes with trailers I have a popup tent trailer and we camp most of the way across the only place we don’t camp is in Eagles Nest NM most the time when we are there it’s snowing at night and cold.  I know on the central route that the trikes with trailer have a couple of the guys/gals camp so you will not have to worry about finding your way back to the group in the morning.  You should not have any thing to worry about on any of the routes there is all ways someone that will help they did with my wife and I in 2014 FNG year now it are turn to help

    Retired city employee
    USN 76 to 80 USS Raleigh LPD 1
    USNR 80 to 89 USS Duncan FFG

    ATW 14,16,17.18 Tail gunner 17,18

  • February 4, 2019 at 7:50 pm #10747
    Avatarloop_m
    Participant

    Howdy Wally Gator, Your road name transported me back in time sitting in front of the Philco watching Sat. Morning Cartoons…. Made me smile. I really appreciate the info. Just got the Bunkhouse out and dusted of the cover. Going to set up and take down a few times to get the muscle memory back. Looking forward to joining up. Hope I get to meet you and shake hands.

    MAYDAY Murph

  • February 5, 2019 at 1:53 pm #10756
    blallen58blallen58
    Participant

    Riding in the Pack is both mentally and physically demanding.    110% concentration is required while riding everyday.  You will be mentally exhausted at the end of each day.   To help prepare yourself start exercising NOW.   Go for long walks, do some weight training and some flexibility training.   Being in good physical shape will help for those long days riding.

     

    Central Route Staging Team 2019
    Southern Route Fuel Team 2017
    Central Route ATW 2016
    FNG 2016
    HM1 (FMF) Ret. 1979-1999

  • February 6, 2019 at 7:31 am #10760
    AvatarGW
    Participant

    FNG 2019 here joining up on the Midway Route as The Run comes through Albuquerque, N.M.  I am very appreciative of all the information on this site.  Quite a bit to digest.  I see where we have the pleasure of giving pins and other tokens to children and even adults along the way.  Can anyone give me a “general” number of how many one should bring along to participate?  I know we can’t give everyone along the way something, but I would like to bring a number of items to give.  I thought about purchasing quite a few of the 2019 Run For The Wall pins and/or secure a good number of Hot Air Balloon pins. (Albuquerque, N.M. considers itself the “Hot Air Balloon Capital” of the world!).  Oh, and by the way, THANK YOU for not only this site but the FNG tips in particular.  Can’t wait until May.

  • February 6, 2019 at 9:42 am #10761
    imjrnokcimjrnokc
    Participant

    Stick pins, pencils, stickers are all good handouts. I ride the MWR Platoon 4 and love the people and event stops. I’ve collected about 100 Army lanyards, Navy  stickers, pens, and pencils.  I will share with everyone. You can always head over to your local recruiters and they should be very happy to provide you with some promo items.

    Gerald Richerson
    U.S. Navy 69-72
    USS Rathburne DE-1057

  • February 12, 2019 at 7:51 pm #10908
    AvatarGW
    Participant

    Mr. Richerson, Thank You for your suggestion about dropping by the recruiter offices.  I now have numerous items to give away.  I will gladly share with anyone who needs some as well.  Can’t wait until May.

     

    GW

    FNG 2019

    Non-veteran but avid Supporter.

  • February 12, 2019 at 10:32 pm #10914
    BullBull
    Participant

    So here is another good topic to talk about. Formation Riding

    RFTW is not the easiest ride you will ever do (but will be the most memorable) and we ride in a tight formation for 10 days. Don’t let that scare you, we know the first day can tend to feel like total chaos but hang in there. Best thing to do is follow the advice of your platoon leadership and stay focused on riding in your track, keeping your distance from the rider in front of you and on the side of you, maintain good throttle control by running in a lower gear than normal this helps to slow you down slightly instead of using your brakes, slowly close gaps instead of speeding up and then hitting your brakes. All these things have been proven successful in the past 30 years of the run and your platoon leadership will answer any questions on how to do this

    Each platoon is made up of about 15-20 riders and the platoons keep spaced out from the platoon in front of them. So get to know others in your platoon just as you would with people you may ride with at home. We all know it is easier to ride with friends then not.

    Dan

    Danny “Bull”Cox
    USMC
    FNG MIDWAY ROUTE 2017 All The Way
    PLT 4 Tailgunner 2018
    PLT 4 Leader 2019
    Southern Nevada PGR

  • February 13, 2019 at 7:02 am #10916
    Wally GatorWally Gator
    Participant

    Good morning to all the FNG’S for the 2019 RFTW  I am one of the trail gunners for platoon 10 bikes with trailers every morning there will be a mandatory meeting with your platoon leaders and trail gunners to critique the pervious days ride this will help you know that someone or the hole platoon needs to do something better we are here to help and make you have the best experience of your life on the Run For The Wall.  First thing that I would say is to look on the web site about the hand signals make sure you know them and if you have a passenger he or she should know them as well also fuel stops that seem to be the one thing that make everybody mad at one point take a deep berth it will get better trust me.  One other thing that you need to do is start drinking a lot of  WATER at least a month before the run and while on the run drink, drink, drink that is water not coke/pop or other things  there will be a trailer with everything from water to gator aid and things to eat also.  I am looking forward to see old friends and making new ones both will get the hugs and welcome home (no kisses guys)  IS IT MAY YET 90 Day to go

    Retired city employee
    USN 76 to 80 USS Raleigh LPD 1
    USNR 80 to 89 USS Duncan FFG

    ATW 14,16,17.18 Tail gunner 17,18

  • March 18, 2019 at 10:17 am #11411
    BullBull
    Participant

    So as we get closer to May, pick a destination about a 100 miles from you and ride there without stopping to rest and do the speed limit. Then turn around and do the same thing back. This will give you a good idea on a half day for Run For The Wall. This will help with conditioning your body the ride. I personally do this about 10 times in the last 2 months leading into the run.

    And also remember (to those of us that don’t like to drink water) hydrate hydrate hydrate. Last year I had a small episode with the heat that I don’t want to have again.

    Danny “Bull”Cox
    USMC
    FNG MIDWAY ROUTE 2017 All The Way
    PLT 4 Tailgunner 2018
    PLT 4 Leader 2019
    Southern Nevada PGR

  • March 18, 2019 at 10:42 am #11412
    YukonYukon
    Participant

    Great tips! Headed out for a 920 mile “warm up” ride Thursday.

    Getting new tires on and shaking out my camping gear! Look forward to seeing y’all!

    2019 FNG - Central Route
    Operations Manager - Motorcycle Relief Project
    www.motorelief.org
    Sergeant at Arms - ALR Post 2008, Falcon CO

  • March 26, 2019 at 3:32 pm #11522
    ronoster7ronoster7
    Participant

    FNG joining up in Junction City. Will there be good FNG instruction before the day? I will miss the briefing in California.

  • March 27, 2019 at 12:00 am #11524
    BullBull
    Participant

    There is a mandatory riders meeting every morning.

    Danny “Bull”Cox
    USMC
    FNG MIDWAY ROUTE 2017 All The Way
    PLT 4 Tailgunner 2018
    PLT 4 Leader 2019
    Southern Nevada PGR

  • March 27, 2019 at 4:46 pm #11527
    TattooTattoo
    Participant

    Just would like to add my 2cents. FNG2019 and 29th Rolling Thunder.  A trick I have learned. Because we all buy stuff along the way. I save all my old bloomers, socks, jeans and t-shirts that I will no longer be using. For one last ride. Then when I get to next stop. I throw them away. One days stuff left to carry. Allowing room for new items to be carried home. I also use zip lock bags as was mentioned earlier helps keep stuff dry coming and going.

    Pete "Tattoo"
    FNG-2019
    USCG 73-76 Semper Paratus
    Fair Skies and Following seas always!!

  • March 28, 2019 at 9:59 am #11535
    Avatargsasse
    Participant

    Help your platoon leadership team by reading and becoming familiar with the online handbook for your Route before you join the RFTW.  Especially if you are joining along the way.

    Understanding hand signals, fueling procedures, and other general Route info will make the daily safety briefing go smoothly. Most questions about the RFTW can be answered by reading the handbook.

    There is  a 15 to 20 minute daily safety briefing but your platoon leaders will be sharing information about the day’s ride as well as answerIng questions.

  • April 10, 2019 at 7:09 pm #11708
    The MayorThe Mayor
    Participant

    Practice fuel stops in your head!

    It’s gonna be busy out there, so have an advance plan (and be ready to change it).  You’ve already seen a few tips in this thread.  Fuel stops may look chaotic, but they’re really not.  First; be patient and follow the directions of the fuel crew.  They’ll flag you in the general direction, and then you’ll settle into one of the lines of bikes as directed by another crew member.  The two lines of bikes leaving the highway will be split into at least two bikes at each gas hose that’s running.  You’ll already have your highway pegs up… it gets crowded at the pump… and Bubba will remember what your bike looks like.

    The approach might not be level, and I have trouble finding neutral on my Harley in the best of times.  For me, that usually means one hand on the clutch, and the other on the brake… so no hands to do anything else.  Do things smoothly.  Your rear tire might be sitting on the only patch of tranny fluid at the station.  (Saw a Bagger go down at Ludlow.. ‘tire slid right out from under the bike!)  Think about each step that it takes to fuel your ride, and exactly when each of those steps will take place.  When the hose shuts off for the bike next to you, it’s your turn, so be ready.  It takes less than three gallons for the next leg, so no need to top off!

    Be ready to pay at the next fuel stop!  Many will be “free,” but that will never be guaranteed.  I haven’t figured out how to handle cash without removing my gloves yet

    And, for me at least, ALWAYS fill up the tank at the end of the day!

     

    Jim "The Mayor" Frost
    USAF SSgt 66-69
    Bien Hoa AB, RVN 8/67-10/69

  • April 11, 2019 at 6:59 am #11718
    CH54CH54
    Participant

    Simple tip….wrinkled up newspaper does a good job of drying out wet boots over night after riding in the rain. I carry some in the bottom of my Tourpac.

    CR ATW 13,14,15. Participant 16, ATW 17, Participant18.

  • April 14, 2019 at 10:38 pm #11754
    BullBull
    Participant

    Whenever we are staged you will hear a 3-5 second horn go off, this is to let you know we have 5 minutes before we leave. As soon as you hear it you need to get to your bike and get your gear on and get ready to leave. As soon as the route coordinator leaves we all follow. They will not wait for anyone not ready. We have a strict timeline to keep and lots of people waiting on us to get there.

    Danny “Bull”Cox
    USMC
    FNG MIDWAY ROUTE 2017 All The Way
    PLT 4 Tailgunner 2018
    PLT 4 Leader 2019
    Southern Nevada PGR

  • April 14, 2019 at 10:53 pm #11755
    SlokeSloke
    Participant

    Whenever we are staged you will hear a 3-5 second horn go off, this is to let you know we have 5 minutes before we leave. As soon as you hear it you need to get to your bike and get your gear on and get ready to leave. As soon as the route coordinator leaves we all follow. They will not wait for anyone not ready. We have a strict timeline to keep and lots of people waiting on us to get there.

    Bingo!  I’ve never been left behind, but more than once, I was in a big hurry to meet the departure and wound up not switching out of my everyday glasses to my prescription goggles.  It really sucked when we hit rain with just my regular glasses on.  My tip along these lines is get everything ready you’ll want to put on and leave it on your bike when you head off to the restroom or water truck.  Then come back quickly and visit with your brothers and sisters while you gear up.  When the horn goes off all you have to do is sit on the bike and cinch up the chin strap.

    Daniel W. Slocum
    CPT US Army RET
    ATW CR FNG 2016, CR Participant 2018

  • April 19, 2019 at 2:58 pm #11930
    Avatarlbudzowski
    Participant

    I would like to be on the honor guard

  • April 20, 2019 at 12:17 pm #11938
    The MayorThe Mayor
    Participant

    lbudzowski, Go into the Run Info section and your route.  Under contacts, you’ll find the name of the person that coordinates all of the Honor Guard missions.

    Welcome Home!  And welcome to your new extended family.

    Jim "The Mayor" Frost
    USAF SSgt 66-69
    Bien Hoa AB, RVN 8/67-10/69

  • April 20, 2019 at 12:34 pm #11940
    The MayorThe Mayor
    Participant

    Whenever we are staged you will hear a 3-5 second horn go off, this is to let you know we have 5 minutes before we leave. As soon as you hear it you need to get to your bike and get your gear on and get ready to leave. As soon as the route coordinator leaves we all follow. They will not wait for anyone not ready. We have a strict timeline to keep and lots of people waiting on us to get there.

    Bingo! I’ve never been left behind, but more than once, I was in a big hurry to meet the departure and wound up not switching out of my everyday glasses to my prescription goggles. It really sucked when we hit rain with just my regular glasses on. My tip along these lines is get everything ready you’ll want to put on and leave it on your bike when you head off to the restroom or water truck. Then come back quickly and visit with your brothers and sisters while you gear up. When the horn goes off all you have to do is sit on the bike and cinch up the chin strap.

    Collectively, we continue to find new ways to screw up.  Plan on the “Five Minute” horn being three minutes.  Your platoon will roll, whether you’re ready or not.  I haven’t missed it yet… but I did start a leg sitting on my gloves because I didn’t put them on soon enough.  The worst though, was when I was two miles down the road when I realized that my helmet wasn’t strapped down.

    Also, it bears repeating… leadership knows what’s down the road.  If they’re putting on rain gear, that’s obvious.  But, if they’re leathering up in Kingman, it’s because the 90 degree weather can turn cold 80 miles down (5000 feet up) the road.

    Jim "The Mayor" Frost
    USAF SSgt 66-69
    Bien Hoa AB, RVN 8/67-10/69

  • April 30, 2019 at 2:44 pm #12134
    PostPost
    Participant

    Hello,

    Since weather can be a concern on the run, something I like to do is keep track of it on my phone.  For instance, I enter all my main stops (and can add more if needed, but normally an overkill) to show what the weather will be like in that area, as seen in print screen.  Once I have passed that stop I will erase it as no longer needed until next year.

    In addition to checking each stop for weather, I will bring up MyRadar app for any storm patterns forming in area we are riding.  Which will allow me to anticipate rain gear or not.  However, normally as mentioned previously you can look at leadership and get an idea of this also.    See you all soon.

    Midway Route - weather

    Steven "Post" Boyd
    USMC Veteran 1994-2002
    RFTW Midway Route (FNG 2017, Top Platoon 2017, Road Guard 2018/2019)
    S. NV PGR (2016-present, RoadGuard 2017-present)

  • May 1, 2019 at 6:56 am #12142
    AvatarBounce
    Participant

    A good app for this is WeatherBug.  I use it at work. It can be set to alert you of changes in cities you’re planning on being in.

     

     

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