It seems like yesterday that I was writing about how winter had settled in in south PA. Now with summer upon us, there are so many outdoor activities to choose from; car shows, fly fishing, festivals supporting our volunteer fire departments, and soon it will be time for the apple harvest festivals. Hunters are already lining up for their annual deer and elk tags. Like so much of the country, we are seeing unsettled weather with daily air quality alerts from the wildfires burning in Canada. We remain busy though, getting plans moving along for next year and beyond. I hope summer brings peace and happiness to you and yours. July is the month dedicated to celebrating our nation’s independence and freedom. July 4th, like so many other dates, has a very special meaning for our nation. I hope you were able to spend some time celebrating our nation’s independence. The clock continues to countdown; as I write this, we are 310 days out from KSU for Run 2024.
Congratulations to our 2024 RCs, ARCs and RGCs!! We know you will do your best throughout the year as you plan for RFTW 2024.
All our leaders, including members of the BoD, are non-compensated volunteers. That sounds simple, but reality shows us it is quite complex. I guess I am trying to share with you that RFTW, and accomplishing all that goes into an RFTW mission, is quite complex. That said, the BoD and your volunteer leadership is dedicated to the Mission; we hope you continue to remain so. We are always looking for better ways of doing business; if you have suggestions, please submit them to one of the board members.
Thank you to all who have and are submitting AARs. They make a difference. Each AAR is reviewed by both the BoD and the route leadership. In reading many of the AAR’s, especially those from FNGs, I’m glad we received so many responses. While we received a lot of good feedback from many riders, reading the FNG AARs was enlightening. One thing many FNGs expressed was an appreciation to experience and learn the mission and focus on riding the RFTW way. FNGs need to experience the camaraderie, the healing, the meeting and making of new friends that go along with riding in the pack. They need to develop an understanding of “We Ride For Those Who Can’t”. FNGs, like all riders, need to experience the care and concern our PLs demonstrate, they need to feel the warm embrace of RFTW. They need to learn the RFTW way. And we need to continue to ensure that each FNG experiences the Run as they are supposed to do. That is one of the reasons FNGs are not allowed to participate on special teams. They need time to learn the RFTW mission and truly experience the healing we bring.
As we review RFTW 2023 and prepare for 2024, we are also looking at RFTW 2025. We plan on making 2025 a special year; it’s too early to release any details but suffice it to say part of our 2024 Back to Basics planning is in preparation for RFTW 2025. Stand by for more info.
One aspect we can all assist with is helping our chase trucks. They perform a great job of helping our riders in the event of a breakdown. One thing I learned recently is that different brands, and even models, of motorcycles should be strapped to a trailer differently. If you were to strap a Honda Goldwing in the same way you might strap a Harley, you could cause significant damage to the Goldwing. It is important for each rider to know and understand how to strap down their bike or trike. If your bike requires a special strap, please don’t expect our chase trucks to carry that strap. For example, many models of pre-2018 Goldwing’s require the use of a loop-strap that wraps around the triple-tree. These loop straps are then connected to the rachet straps. If you use rachet straps across the handlebars of a Wing, you could break the handlebars. And it is nearly impossible correctly wrap a rachet strap around the triple tree. Same issue with the using rachet straps on the crash guards on a Wing. The crash guards are attached to the Wing using standard bolts instead of hardened bolts. While this hasn’t been an issue on the Run, there are many reports from Honda owners of the bolts breaking when using rachet straps on the crash guards. Bottom line: it is the bike owner’s responsibility to know how to properly strap their bike to the trailer, and if special straps are required, you should have them with you. Help our chase truck drivers help you!!
Kriss Ross is looking for some assistance. She was part of the 13 flags carried across the US mission and is missing a piece of luggage and a flag. In her emails, she stated that she has been in contact with several RFTW riders that say they know the whereabouts of her missing items but have not offered any specific information. If you happen to have information on the whereabouts of her missing items, please contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The announcements for both the Kerrville reunion and the Angel Fire reunion and work weekend are out. I hope you can participate in one or the other, or perhaps both.
No one left behind is more than a standard we all live up to. It is a way of life. It is part of our Mission. If you or someone you know find themselves struggling with their mental health, please know you can contact the VA Veteran’s Crisis Line by dialing 988 then press 1 or text 838255 and speak or chat with a qualified responder.
Let’s remember to keep our focus on the Mission. It is why we ride!
Is it May yet?
John “Turkey” Staub
President, RFTW, Inc.
2011- CR FNG
2012 – CR Participant
2013 – CR Staging Team
2014 – 2015 – CR Staging Team Ass’t. Lead
2016-2017 – CR Staging Team Lead
2022 – CR Platoon Coordinator
2023 – CR and Sandbox Road Guard
2020 – Present – RFTW BoD member