Day 3 Friday May 19, 2017
We had a late meeting start so we could sleep in early. Yay! Over at the Rich Ford Dealership, breakfast was served. What a spread! They had everything. The bacon, sausage, eggs, fruit, biscuits and gravy was all great and there was much more.
Mandatory meeting time again, but it didn’t start until 0800. Nice. After the usual stuff, several items were raffled off and one lucky winner of the fifty-fifty chose to donate the cash he won back to Run For The Wall. What a kind gesture. He was applauded. Then the Platoon Leadership briefs. We had a new rider join our platoon, so we covered everything and then some. We were out of there at 0900 under LEO escort and headed to the little town of Moriarty not for a fly-by, more like a ride-by. When I hear that name, it reminds me of the Sherlock Holmes nemesis in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series. It’s the only other time I’ve ever heard the name. Anyway, we rode slowly through this little town waving at some of the residents obviously there to watch us ride by. It was great to see then and to be welcomed by them. Quickly we were back on I-40 with LEO escort that seemed to not have cruise control. Maybe he had the cheaper model. Platoons were constantly changing speed to match that of the cruiser. No big deal, but it was a little bothersome to the riders.
Next stop Santa Rosa for another donated fuel stop (this is becoming a regular thing, thank you again to our donor), then the long trek to the Blue Hole (all of three miles). I’ll bet Ken posts some pics of the Blue Hole on his website at runforthewallmidway.com. It’s really something else 61 degrees year round. It’s a natural spring of fresh water which is often used for diving. It’s also used for the occasional jumping in of one or more of our Run For The Wall riders. Lunch was great. While in line talking to Top, I told him that before I stated doing Run For The Wall I weighed 120 pounds. He laughed so hard. Others around us cracked up as well. Yeah, we have a tend to put on weight doing Run For The Wall. Cause? All the great food. One place serves steak with homemade ice cream and homemade peach cobbler, it’s all a diet’s nightmare. It’s always great to sit down to a meal next to fellow riders on the Run and talk about everything. Books could be written of topics covered at these venues. Several plaques and certificates were handed out again. Each venue this occurs. There must be about 10 boxes of these things in back of the service vehicle. Everyone and every organization that contributes to the Run are appreciated for good reason. As Bandit says, “we cannot do this without them”. Bandit sees to it that all are appreciated with a huge dose of love and hugs and thanks to all that help. On top of that, he gives credit to Mark “Diesel” Breland who is not on the Run with us for health reasons. At the last minute, Mike Huber took the slot of Route Coordinator and is doing a magnificent job for the limited time he had to prepare.
As we left the Blue Hole, somehow I got mixed up and ended up leading our platoon out before our turn. The staging team told me where to park earlier and I parked there and my platoon was behind me. When the riders in from of me left, I followed, but I guess I was supposed to wait for 5th platoon to depart before me. Oops. What are they going to do, tell me I can’t volunteer anymore? Take away my birthday? Send me on a WestPac? (Navy jargon) Anyway, I apologized to the Platoon Leader who is supposed to be before me, but he was having none of it. He is a great sport and thankfully he felt it was no big deal. Stuff happens right?
On the way to our next fuel stop we ran into a bit of rain. It wasn’t bad and by the time we made it there we were dry again. At the truck stop (which has a great, free of charge, car museum inside) we were treated to another full tank of premium fuel. Thank you. The beverage and snack truck were also there for a while. As we gathered in the parking lot, we noticed that the rain we previously went through was quickly catching up with us. Then the 15 minute warning was given as it started to drizzle, then the 10 minute warning as it started to rain, then the 5 minute warning as we started to get wet again, then we were off again as it really started coming down. No problem however, we dried off in the wind before our destination in Amarillo. As we crossed over into Texas there were two planes overhead to greet us releasing streamers as they flew. We saw many overpasses with lots of patriots on them cheering us and waving flags with a few very large flags hanging from the overpass or from fire engine ladders high in the air, an amazing and very patriotic, very American sight for us to see. Do you know we have a special team celled the Ambassadors whose responsibility it is to visit these patriots and thank them with pins and other items they bring for them? They do a lot of other great stuff as well.
Through downtown Amarillo we were escorted by LEO right to our venue at the Christian Heritage Church again. We where we were greeted by many patriots with flags and a huge flag draped between two fire engine ladder trucks. The food line went fast and we were all seated inside. The ribs were so good and they loaded us up with them. All the food was great and there was homemade peach cobbler! A member of the Christian Heritage Church opened with a blessing for us to be safe on our ride. We will of course always take any divine help we can get. The Star Spangled banner was sung by a sweet girl and we all stood and saluted. There were a few guest speakers including a representative of the mayor’s office who read a proclamation regarding Run For The Wall which was presented to Bandit. Several Purple Heart recipients were recognized and applauded. The servers were all thanked and hugged and hugged again. I think we all love coming here to Amarillo and to the Christian Heritage Church, most especially for the love the community pours out on each of us riders on the Run For The Wall. I know these people truly love us also. They plan far in advance for our arrival and see to it everything is prepared for the event and what an amazing event it is. I can’t wait to be back again next year. We’ll be back again next year and the next.
Tonight I am staying at the Host Hotel tonight. I wonder if this will be a memorable experience. You know what experience is right? Experience is what you get, when you didn’t get what you wanted.
**** Number of names on The Wall for Texas (3415), for Amarillo, TX (52) ****
Day 3 is in the books.
We Ride For Those That Can’t
Tom “Twotone” Lystrup / Platoon 6 Leader / SitRep Writer / firstname.lastname@example.org