Here it is April already and getting closer to the 2018 RFTW. We have talked a lot during this lead up to The Run about having your motorcycle and its rider in the best condition possible. Both of these items are very important to a successful and safe mission. It is not too late to get that much needed “update training” to sharpen all your skills for this awesome mission to Washington, DC. We have touched on slow riding being a skill that always needs sharpening. This mission requires a complete focus on slow riding, as we slow down to exit interstate highways to fuel our riders. The slow riding, and attention needed increases as we approach the fueling areas, and then exit to restage our platoons. Although slow riding is easier on trikes, focusing on the people all around you is just as important. Being wider adds another level of necessary awareness. Safety is everyone’s business, so if you are new to RFTW don’t be bashful—ask your platoon leaders questions at the mandatory all routes riders meeting Tuesday afternoon, May 15 at 1600 in Ontario. If you join us on any overnight stop, your platoon leadership will also be available to you at those times to answer questions.
Your Route Coordinators are taking care of last minute issues, and leadership staff of all routes are in place. State Coordinators from California to Arlington, VA, have their hotel arrangements and other duties completed, making this magic work across the country. Each year we meet-and-greet American citizens in all the cities and towns that we stop in. They work hard all year long to raise money to feed our riders and, in some cases, fuel them. None of this is “Free.” Someone has worked hard on your behalf, so please thank them for what they do for us. At each stop our Route Coordinators honor these American patriots with plaques and recognition. This is often done while we are eating, so we ask that you do not get up and leave during these ceremonies. Courtesy goes a long way.
Our hotels are very important to RFTW. Their friendship and locations are hand picked to keep our operations on-time and running smoothly. Often there will be a waiting line to check into the hotel. Please be patient with the clerks. Last year RFTW nearly lost one of our premier hotels in Arlington, VA, because one rider became abusive to a clerk who was trying to help. Folks, we need these hotels! So, behavior is important! Moreover, RFTW discourages pets on the mission, and hotels will need to know about any service animals that you may have, and will ask for VA registration for Service Dogs.
Carol Olmstead, California State Coordinator, has told us the USMC Band will return on Tuesday in Ontario before the mandatory rider meeting. For those who have listened to these Marines perform, you know it is an outstanding afternoon of great music. Carol also told me that she will have the Ontario itinerary ready to publish on the website early this month. She also will have a picture board honoring all those who have ridden with RFTW and have passed away. Please bring pictures and a bio of that person for Carol’s Honor Board. She also told me the vendor booths are all filled. She will also have the RFTW merchandise trailers open in the parking lot to handle your shopping needs.
Amazing moment at Lincoln Memorial with RFTW Riders Saturday, May 27, 2017!
Once RFTW arrives in Arlington, VA, our Mission is not over. There are several activities you will want to attend on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (Rolling Thunder). On Friday Evening, May 25, 2018, you have the opportunity to attend the Marine Corps Evening Parade, featuring: “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, “The Commandant’s Own” The United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps, the Marine Corps Color Guard, the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon, Ceremonial Marchers, and Cpl. Chesty XIV, the official mascot of Marine Barracks Washington.
If you are an FNG this year, you will be escorted over to Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday morning to visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to watch the changing of the guard and the wreath laying by RFTW riders picked by the Route Coordinators. After that ceremony, you will hop on your bikes to prepare to ride over to the Lincoln Memorial for a group picture. Once this is done, we will visit the Vietnam Memorial Wall where RFTW Route Coordinators will place our annual “Mission Accomplished” plaque at the apex of The Wall.
We are pleased to announce that on Saturday morning, RFTW has been selected to wash the Vietnam Memorial Wall—Early (likely 0600 staging). The RCs have selected the 30-person platoon (10 from each route) that will form up at the Holiday Inn in Arlington early Saturday morning. Gunny Gregory and Chuck Wright will lead the Wall Washing Mission. Fifteen riders will begin washing the Wall until they reach the apex. They then will hand over their washing tools to the next 15 riders who will complete the mission. The Park Service estimates the mission will take 25-30 minutes.
For those who will be traveling to Ontario or other locations to join RFTW 2018, please drive safely. You are all important to us. And for those of you who have not yet registered, please know you are still welcome, including: Non-Veterans, Veterans, Active Duty, Reserves, and National Guard are encouraged to join us for 1-day or 10. Do as many miles and days as you’d like or can with us. Going ALL THE WAY, is not required to ride and participate.
We understand every situation is different and invite all to join us on this moving, memorable ride across America to pay tribute to our veterans and active duty military, to keep alive the mission to return our POW/MIA/KIAs from all wars.
To each and every one of you, Welcome Home and God Bless America.
IS IT MAY YET?
Les “Easy” Williams
Run For The Wall®
We Ride For Those Who Can’t™
…And if you Can’t Hardly Wait… Here is a very small taste of what’s to come in May 2018.
We request that you learn how to use Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter. When Uploading your photos to these sites, PLEASE use the above #hashtags in your posts/comments. If you don’t know what a #hashtag is, please ask your kids or grandkids, or Click Here.
Example: You are about to post a photo to Instagram or Facebook that you just took with your phone. Your description/comment might look something like: Here’s me in Washington, DC! #RunForTheWall #RunForTheWall2018 (#hashtags are not case-sensitive)
Also, if you don’t have Instagram, you should. It’s a true photo sharing site, and you can link it to your facebook, too, so any pictures you post, go in both places automatically.
*Lincoln Memorial video footage by Joffrey Mason and used with permission.
*Aerial Video footage by Joffrey Mason and used with permission.
*Song Title: America’s Song
Featuring: Will.I.am, David Foster, Faith Hill, Mary J. Blige, Seal, and Bono
by Songwriters: William Adams / David Foster / George Jr Pajon