Jim “Hoofer” McCrain
DAY 08 – Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Asheville NC – Falcon NC
Today starts, as usual, with our mandatory Riders meeting and safety briefing. We again Welcome our newest FNGs into our Family. It is interesting to me how “young and fresh” these new Riders look compared to those that I have been sweating and riding with for the past week. As a non-Veteran, I can only imagine that this is the same thought that our soldiers in combat had when THEIR FNGs showed up. But just as then, we will welcome them into our group, and rely on their energy to help get us all through the next few days. We are all in this together, no matter when we arrived or where we came from.
I want to take a few moments to let you know a little bit more about how the Run works. Every Rider registers and pays a small fee. That Rider is responsible for all of his/her own hotel or lodging, fuel, insurance, and mechanical costs. The fee that the Rider paid is just to cover the expenses incurred with administration costs. Notice that I didn’t say anything about food? That is because we have some AMAZING State and Local Coordinators for each area that we travel through. These coordinators work all-year arranging for donated meals, snacks, drinks, cooling neck-ties, and other items. Our Riders do not have to worry about anything to eat, for any of our three meals!
Do not get me wrong or misinterpret my words: these are NOT “free” meals. SOMEONE has paid for them! It may not be the Rider that paid for the meal, but someone else did, and for that we are extremely grateful. Some of the communities that we travel through have been hit with natural disasters over the past few years. Yet they still rally together to support our Mission, even while they try to recover their own community. It stands as quite a testimony to the American Spirit that people struggling to literally put a roof over their heads will donate time, money, food, and effort into supporting us as we spend just a few precious minutes with them. As Riders, it is OUR responsibility to Thank every one of our local hosts for their sacrifice towards us. I am always amazed, not just by their generosity, but by their humble nature. I hear this every day “We love doing this for you! It is no trouble at all!” Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!
I also need to mention something about fuel. Each Rider is responsible for ALL of his/her own fuel costs. And this can be a daunting amount of money. After all, if someone is riding “All The Way” from California to Washington DC, they will ride about 6500 miles during the trip. That is a lot of fuel! (Figure $500-$600 per Rider.) Multiply that by about 350 bikes and you get a number too big for my head to add up! But here is another amazing thing that happens on the Run. Our State Coordinators have been able to get some of our fuel costs donated! Not all of it, and some days not even any of it. But SOME of those costs are absorbed by other, generally anonymous Donors that simply want to help us get across the country, to spread our word of Patriotism, and to help us achieve our goal of demanding a full and total accounting for all of our POW and MIA. Without these donors, whether it be food, fuel, lodging, or anything else, our road would be much harder to travel.
Remember, the Price of Freedom isn’t Free!
A classic example of a donation to the cause comes at our lunch stop today. The Siler City Pentecostal Holiness Church has a STEAK dinner waiting for us, with home-made peach cobbler and ice cream! I need to mention that this is the home of our Senior Chaplin Mark “Good Wrench” Richardson. Remember how he got us all fired up on Sunday morning? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet! What a Welcome! What a lunch! What an amazing program the present! What an unbelievable show of support from the entire church Family! I am starting to run out of ways to say Amazing, and Exceptional, and Fantastic. This place just uses up too many of my words! We LOVE Siler City!
After lunch, we head to another of our favorite stops along our Route. We arrive at the Falcon Children’s Home, in Falcon NC, just in time for … you guessed it … more food. But that is of little consequence to us, because what is REALLY going to feed our souls is participating in the Graduation of this small group of under-privileged children. You see, the Falcon Children’s Home “provides a safe, healing journey for hurting children and families.” When you see the smile on their faces, feel the love in their hearts, and hear the pride in the voices for the wonderful achievements that have made, you cannot tell that they are under-privileged at all. In fact, these young Men and Women go on to become extremely capable leaders of the community as well as successful in their life and careers. It is the honor of all Midway Route Riders to play a small role in guiding these kids towards a better future. We may inspire them, but they inspire us more!
Eventually this day will end. We will go to our rooms or camp sites and get a little rest. Something tells me that we are going to need it. We aren’t sad or depressed, but there is a new “feel” developing in the group. It isn’t doom or despair, just a realization that today was day number 8, and we only have a few days left for this years Mission.
Jim “Hoofer” McCrain
If you would like to follow along with our ride from last year, just follow this link: