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Southern Route 2017 – Day 1

Ontario, CA – Phoenix, AZ  – 335 Miles

The day began before the sun was up with all three routes staging in the convention center parking lot. I don’t care how many runs you’ve been on, that first day when over 1,000 bikes converge in one location is exhilirating!

Pulling out of Ontario we had approximately 325 registered participants on the Southern Route. Of those 325, approximately 170 hold some time of leadership position. It takes a lot of man power and lady???? power to make the run happen. Please consider volunteering for a position next year. With it being the 30th year, we anticipate even more riders than this year. To continue with the numbers, of those 325 registered riders, 40% are FNGs. A big WELCOME to our 2017 FNGs. They have done a great job so far. Not a single mishap today. CONGRATULATIONS, let’s keep it up.

After a brief Board of Directors welcome and introductions the routes split into their respective platoons for a brief platoon meeting. And then before we knew it, the signal was given to start your engines. The southern route pulled out at 7:35 am under gray skies. As we got down the road, we experienced a light drizzle and it was COLD. (I am from Southern California and 55 degrees is cold)! The sun finally came out about the time we reached Palm Springs. We pulled into the Stoplight 29 Casino in Coachella to a beautiful 70 degrees with a light breeze. Not like the heat we usually experience.

We had a brief riders meeting where Ghost Rider filled us in on a few more rules and expectations. We heard a few MIA stories. Tin Man shared the story of Captain Scott Spicer. Hoops shared a little bit about her MIA Father. After that it was back to the bikes for the leg into Blythe.

We could not ask for better weather. The temperature in Blythe was a wonderful 80 degrees. We were treated to a delicious lunch, donated by Subway Sandwiches, drinks donated by the Coca-Cola Company and program provided by the Blythe JROTC.

I just have to give a shout out to the citizens of Southern California. There were flag waving Americans on five over-pass bridges.  The CHP escorted us from ten miles out, into Blythe. The officers greeted the riders as they came into lunch.  Made this Californian proud to see that kind of support for the 2017 run.

Once again, it was back to the bikes for the two legs that would take us into Arizona and to our stop for the night. Once again the weather was wonderful! When we pulled into Phoenix it was a pleasant 80 degrees. We were greeted by lots of curbside clapping as we pulled into the Holiday Inn Parking Lot. A wonderful steak and chicken dinner was waiting for us.

That covers the facts of the day. I had a moment at lunch that I would like to share.   I sat down next to a couple and began exchanging pleasantries. I asked the usual…are you a Vietnam Veteran, yes…. Then we stood up for the flag ceremony and I saw a gold star patch on the Veterans vest. Yes, they are a gold star family. I looked at the woman and my heart swelled with gratitude and sorrow for the sacrifice she has made for this country. Before it was time to leave, I was able to give them a hug, with the promise of hearing about their son tomorrow. That is why I ride, for the sacrifices others have made for our freedom!

“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave” Elmer Davis.

May we thank God everyday for the brave young men that protect us.

young soldier.png

Until tomorrow, God Speed and God Bless

Kristine  “Eyes” Wood

Kristine.Wood@rftw.us