Midway Route 2020 “VIRTUAL Sitrep Day 10
Jim “Hoofer” McCrain
DAY 10 – Friday, May 22, 2020
Ashland VA – Arlington VA
For 10 days now, we have been crossing the United States of America on motorcycles. We have traveled the “heartland” directly through the middle of our Country. (Maybe that’s why we are the MIDWAY Route?) We have met Citizens, Patriots of all ages, Veterans, non-Veterans, First Responders, and Active Duty Personnel. We have visited schools and heard the children sing and laugh. We have visited VA Hospitals and shook the hands of Heroes. We have stopped on the side of the road and on overpasses, to hug the people that want to show their appreciation for what we are doing. We have cried with the Families that are waiting to find out exactly what happened to their Son, Father, or Brother, and want so desperately to bring them back home. We have offered our support to those great Men and Women that are currently paying the price for our Freedom. And we have shown our respect and gratitude for those that have already done so.
For 10 days, this is what we have done. Through heat, cold, wind, rain, sunny skies, and for many long hours each day. We have had mechanical issues, we have suffered exhaustion. We have sacrificed our bodies, minds, and souls. All this, because we KNOW that what we are doing is important. It is important to the People that have served our Country. It is important to the Families that support our Troops. It is important to the Children of our Nation, to teach them the value of Loyalty and Honor. It is important to our fellow Countrymen, whether they saw us ride by in person or not, to know that there are STILL Americans that value ALL that our Country stands for. And it is important to each of the Riders, to know that we do not stand alone in our resolute duty.
This is Why We Ride!
With all of this on our minds, we embark on our final day of riding together as the Midway Route. Before arriving in Arlington to join with the rest of the RFTW Family, we get the privilege of visiting the National Museum of the Marine Corps. And I can think of no more fitting “end” to our ride than this visit.
The Marines are a fiercely loyal group! (As are all of the other military Service!) But there is just something about visiting the Marine Corps Museum that instills a sense of honor and dignity to everyone that experiences it. From the moment we first arrive, we are inundated with the achievements of the Corps, dating back to the American Revolution and continuing up to the very present day. Wandering the gardens here is like walking through a living memorial.
But it isn’t just pride in what THEY have accomplished that is presented: The Museum showcases what it really means to be an American! Everywhere you turn there are reminders about loyalty, honesty, integrity, duty, and honor. They sum up quite succinctly exactly what Run For The Wall stands for. This is a visit that is all too short for the Midway Riders!
But leave we must, so we depart Quantico Virginia for our final ride of the Mission. The next 32 miles will be a somber journey, filled with tears. Tears of sorrow as we know our Mission is coming to an end, but also tears of joy for a journey well-made.
It amazes me how this “last ride” always plays out the same, on each route, no matter what we have experienced before. The Riders will sit a little taller in the saddle. The formations will be extremely tight. Each Rider will have perfected the “overpass wave” so that they can acknowledge our spectators while maintaining full-control over their machine. Traffic will not even make us blink anymore! The smiles on each face will be broad and bright, beaming to all that will see them.
And then suddenly we round a corner, and we have arrived!
There are not the throngs of people that will await the other two Routes. You see, WE were the first to leave California, and so WE are the FIRST to arrive at our destination. The only people waiting for us are a few spectators, and the Advance Teams for our own Route. And this is a GOOD welcome for us, because once we get off our bikes, we get to celebrate together as a Family, and like a Family should. We have the rare chance to congratulate each other for our shared experiences. We have one last chance to say “Hey, do you remember …” or “I can’t BELIEVE how great the food was at …” or “I really enjoyed riding with you!” Because in about an hour, the other Routes will start arriving.
So we hug each other, shake hands, laugh a little, cry a little, and raise a toast to our accomplishments. Then as a Family, we go outside to await the arrival of our “Cousins on the other Routes.” At that time, we will hug each other again, shake hands again, laugh a little more, cry a little more, and raise (another) toast to our accomplishments.
But we are not finished with our Mission. Only the riding is over. Tomorrow, it all gets real and it all gets personal!
Jim “Hoofer” McCrain
If you would like to follow along with our ride from last year, just follow this link: