Jim “Hoofer” McCrain
DAY 04 – Saturday, May 16, 2020
Amarillo TX – Shawnee OK
This is how MY mornings start.
“Good Morning, Hoofer!”
“Rise and Shine, Hoofer!”
“Bite Me! It’s 04:30!”
“I have coffee for you!”
“You are my FAVORITE person, Tail Dragger!”
My roommate for the past several years has been “Tail Dragger”, our Road Guard Captain. He gets up REALLY early, just like the other Road Guards, and is one of the first people out on the road making sure our route is still as planned, making changes, updating the other leaders about weather conditions, and just generally making my mornings a bit tougher. J But he is ALSO a great Friend and Mentor. He takes his job very seriously, but he also takes care of his people. During my own days as a Road Guard, he worked with me to understand the role of the Road Guards, how to help safely maneuver the Pack, how to keep an eye on the Riders, and how and when to offer support. He is a really great Guy, and I hope you all get the chance to meet him.
But I don’t want to single him out from the rest of the Leadership Team. I am privileged to get to know each and every one of our Leaders on both a personal and professional basis. What I have learned is that they are ALL extremely nice, likable, and approachable people. They are all extremely good at their jobs and take their positions very seriously. They spend countless hours making arrangements, checking details, supporting the Mission, and Mentoring the FNGs. And they all do this as Volunteers. Not a single person gets paid for this, no matter what their role is. They do this because it is the right thing to do and they are all true Patriots. I am honored to call them my Friends and my Family. You will, too.
Today we are going to enjoy our ride through the Texas panhandle. There are rolling hills (Yes, in Texas!), wide open plains, tall waving prairie grasses, and clear blue skies. Why, it is almost as if God in Heaven said “I need a vacation home. I will call it Texas!” And so, we arrive in Shamrock, to rest a bit and enjoy this small community that looks exactly like it did during the heydays of Route 66. There is a museum to see and shops to visit. We won’t have long to stay here, but it is a welcome stop.
Our “big” activity for the day comes right after lunch, in Weatherford Oklahoma. We will visit the Stafford Air and Space Museum. We never know exactly WHAT we will encounter at this world-famous museum. One year, there was a brief airshow of vintage WWII aircraft, complete with fly-over! Last year when we arrived, NASA was holding a re-union here!
It was absolutely amazing to me to see and “older Gentleman” walk up to some of our Chaplains and ask what we were doing. When they explained about RFTW and our Mission, this Gentleman got excited and started calling them all Heroes. He even asked if he could take a photo with our Chaplains. (Of course, they said Yes.). But then one of the Chaplains took a good hard look at the Gentleman and sort of recognized him, but he still asked “Aren’t you an Astronaut? Didn’t you walk on the moon?” Turns out, one of OUR American Heroes had been calling US Heroes! (The Chaplains took some more ‘selfies’ with him!)
And right before we left the Museum, one of the “NASA Guys” walked up to me and asked if I would like to take a picture of some of their dignitaries. Of course, I said “Yes! But can I go get our Route Coordinators first?” Before we know it, our Route Coordinator (“Wombat”) and our Assistant Route Coordinator (“Six String”) are standing side by side with General Thomas P. Stafford himself, in front of the General’s own statue! This was truly a little more “magic of the Run!”
By the end of the day, we will have left my beloved Texas and entered into an area that is “OK.” (Sorry! It’s a Texas Thang!) But the good people of Shawnee Oklahoma will welcome us to their town. They will have placed Emergency Vehicles on every over-pass, complete with flags flying and people cheering, they will have lined the streets to see us arrive, and they will feed our bodies and souls in the evening before we go to bed. They will make us all wish we could spend more time in Oklahoma. (They even make this Texas Boy feel at home!)
I really like our travels through Oklahoma. They are good people up there!
Jim “Hoofer” McCrain
If you would like to follow along with our ride from last year, just follow this link: