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Southern Route 2020 “VIRTUAL” Sitrep Day 8

RFTW 2020 Sitreps, virtual

Day 8, May 20, 2020 — Chattanooga, TN, to Wytheville, VA, 279 miles

Every morning we have mandatory meetings. While not all are about signals, we are reminded about them now and again. There are rules, also many of which some need constant reminding. Stay off the zipper. Keep your spacing uniform and close the gap.  Pass the signals back.  Put your pegs up for fuel stops.   There are also a few signs when we stop for gas … D means our gas was donated. $5 means you only pay $5. P means you pay for your gas. If it’s an amount over an even dollar, it’s rounded up and the extra goes into a fund to pay for some of the run gas expenses. Works for me.

A few stops ago I bumped into the back of a guy when a fueler pulled me up too close to someone and I couldn’t see that he had what I thought might be a covered trailer hitch. He turned back toward me, looking annoyed. I understood as someone had bumped me at a station several days ago. I noticed he was a platoon leader, so I looked for him and found him a few stops later.  I went to him and apologized. He told me that in that container was his $250 hat. I apologized profusely and finally got him to say it was okay. No damage. I saw him later wearing that hat. It was very nice, and he was pleased when I asked to take his photo.

This morning we went to a wreath-laying ceremony at the Silverdale Confederate Cemetery. Jerry, the gentleman who has made it into something beautiful has been working on it for 56 years. He said he’s worn out a lot of lawn mowers.  I laid a RFTW rock on the Southern Cross Memorial. It’s a beautiful and quiet place … when there aren’t about 600 RFTW bikers there. There were a lot of flag displays that were quite interesting.

Every day your place in the platoon changes so you have different riding companions around you after each stop.  You quickly learn who you want to ride with, and you hope you get near them at the next stop. It’s a great way to have you mingle.  I’ve met some awesome folks. E-Lisa and Peter. Carlo. And I’ve met others whose names I don’t know. There are great people here for a calling to do this mission. I believe the number for the Southern Route is now more than 600.

Every day we have a prayer during our all-hands mandatory meeting and then again at our platoon meeting. The Chaplain with our platoon is Chaps. He’s a nice guy, kind and has been supportive of me riding with the platoon. Actually, pretty much all of our leadership has been, and I appreciate them. They’ve done a great job. Our Platoon Leader, COB, and Asst. Platoon Leader, Hollywood, have been great also. They’re experienced and I’m pleased to be in their platoon.

The memory of the day. The year was 1968. F2s flying. Weather clear. Dipper flight reported 5 miles visibility. Dung Hoi. They couldn’t identify new targets in the POL area, so they investigated another site. They located nothing and returned to the POL area. The plane went down from ground fire and the two-man crew was MIA. This is why we ride.

In Virginia they closed down Interstate 81. There have been so many times on and off ramps have been closed, lanes closed as we’ve crossed the country.  It’s incredible the organization that goes into this and what can be accomplished with some help.

A few of us didn’t get too stop for lunch at Black Wolf HD but needed to go directly to Black Bear HD.   With time on my hands I traded the Police bike for a Barracuda Silver Road King. Think that will be her name. Barracuda.

Tonight is steak night at the Moose Lodge.  Yahoo.

I’ve done a lot of runs … fun, charity.  All are good and have a purpose.  But this run is more than that – it’s fulfilling.  My heart is full.

“The battle is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, and the brave.”  Patrick Henry

Peppermint Patti