Greetings from Weatherford, Texas!
Last night’s All Hands Virtual Briefing was awesome! To be clear, I’m referring to the way YOU made it! We had 83 folks online, spirits were high, and participation was positive and encouraging. It was a great 90 minutes spent with the family and a beautiful preview of the reunion to come in just a few short weeks. There were a lot of interesting discussions and some excellent questions – perfect engagement for our last Virtual Briefing leading up to the Run. Sorry this is a long newsletter, but I’d like to highlight a few points from last night’s Briefing…
Rider’s Role on this Mission
I’ve written at length about the Mission and how each of us plays a part in accomplishing it along our Run. On this Inaugural Run of our new Route, I am challenging each of you to be true Ambassadors for the Mission, an Advocate for our Veteran Community and to visualize yourself as a positive Patriotic envoy for all the things we hold dear as Freedom loving Americans. Here’s why… This Mission and our efforts are all about Relationships. It’s those personal connections we make with other like-minded folks that tightly binds our family together. Your task on the SandBox Route is to build on the critical introductions established by the SandBox Recon in 2019 and help turn them into lasting relationships. This year, on this Run, YOU are laying the foundation planks on which future Runs will tread. Let’s make sure that foundation is solid and built to last.
SandBox Registration – Several issues to unpack here…
Registration vs No-Show – We mentioned last night that I had sent out instructions to fill the last two spots. It was also emphasized that if anyone already registered knows ahead of time that you will unfortunately not be able to participate, it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that you let me know so your spot may be filled by folks waiting on StandBy. You may be surprised to know that each of the other routes has a significant number of No-Shows each year from folks who are fully registered and just don’t join the routes. We cannot let that happen on SandBox. PLEASE write me at email@example.com to let me know if you plan to release your spot on the Route. There will be someone waiting and grateful to fill it.
StandBy List – All that being said – IT IS NOT TOO LATE! Just since last night, I’ve had 3 spots open up and I sent out registration instruction to fill them already. If you aren’t registered and still want a spot write me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me two things – 1) Your full name, and 2) whether you are registering as a motorcycle rider, motorcycle passenger, or if you will be in a 4-wheeler. That’s all that’s I need to get you on the StandBy Registration list – the rest will come when you actually register.
Unregistered Pop-in at the Stops – Some folks have told me that since they didn’t register, they plan to just follow along and pop-in at the lunch or dinner stops. Please don’t plan on doing that. The registration limitation is not about how many bikes we can lead down the road. That limitation is based on the capacity of our supporters to provide accommodations for meals, seating, staging, etc. Even if you are not registered and not wearing a SandBox Wristband, you are no less a part of the RFTW Family – but your role this year will be to support from a distance. If we ALL do it right this year, there will be many more opportunities to join the Route!
The Itinerary Book is 99.9% complete and in first pass review at our publisher. The draft print will come back to me for final review in a few days. When I send it back as complete, it will be published as a pdf under a link on the SandBox Route tab on rftw.us. In fact, the placeholder link text is already there. We are about a week away from publishing.
COVID Mitigation Measure and Procedures
As we will be visiting Veterans’ Homes and other organizations along the way across multiple states, you might imagine that there are a variety of COVID related considerations for which we must plan. The basics of all these procedures is the standard for social distancing, hand washing, hand sanitizer, temperature taking, building capacities, and possibly masking in some areas. I have had no requirements for vaccines communicated to me. I understand that some folks may have strong feelings about certain restrictions – I understand and may even share them. However, some aspects of our Mission are solely focused on the Veterans and Family members we may visit. My expectation is that we will all set aside our personal predispositions and comply with the guidelines necessary to show support along the way. If those requirements at a planned stop are more restrictive than you like (temperature taking and masking are the strongest so far), you will be welcome to bypass and join us at the next stop.
Not the book – the schedule itself. I’m going to be honest with you… We have a couple of long days planned and I know that I will be asking a lot from each of you to support this Mission. I assure you that each of these activities is thoroughly planned, coordinated and ready for your participation. To ensure the successful completion of the activities planned along this route, you will each play a key role in accomplishing them. The first part of that role is to READ your itinerary book and know the timeline expected for each event. Your Platoon Leaders will be on time (won’t you!?!) and they will be your best source for guidance – just follow their example. Bottom line is – read the book! Use it up, wear it out. It will still be a keepsake if you like, but a dog-eared copy will say that you were there and involved along the way. I’ll be sure to save a nice clean copy for the museum so you won’t have to.
What’s your story? If you’ve ever sat and talked with very many of our RFTW Family, then you’ve surely heard some interesting stories about how people were drawn to the Run and likely even more amazing stories about what they found here that made them keep coming back. Magic of the Run? You bet it’s a real thing! Shirley “Top Sarge” Scott and Carol Olmstead are our California State Coordinators and they have put out a call for Biographical Stories from our Riders – who you are, where you are from, what’s your background and what’s your story of the Run? Anything that you’d like to share. Put it into a page form and e-mail to them and they’ll compile into a binder that will be available in the Ontario host hotel lobby to give a little better insight on the wonderful people and amazing stories that make our family special. As we get back together after a 2 year break, there’s bound to be some good ones. So… What’s your story? Send to: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you ready?
I’m going to close with this call for deliberate readiness once again. There are so many things to prepare for a 6,000(+) mile motorcycle Run but the most important thing is YOU! Mechanical, Physical and Mental Conditions all point back to a safe and healthy body getting back home when it’s over, fully recharged and ready to CONTINUE THE MISSION from there until we get together again. See my NOV 2021 RC Newsletter for a little more detail.
If you are Counting Down the Days like I am, we are 52 days and a wake up to KSU out of DC. Y’all stay safe, stay well, and get ready – May is almost here!
Remember, all roads lead to all roads so wherever you go, TOGETHER WE RIDE!
WALL 2 WALL!