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Southern Route – Day 5 – Grand Prairie, TX to Monroe, LA

Today began with church, not in the Wildwoods but in the Wal-Mart parking lot. I always enjoy the RFTW church service, it’s short and sweet but invites the Lord into the ride. From my earlier post, you already know that I believe he is with us.

After the church services, “Bugs” opened the rider’s meeting with the pledge, National Anthem and Prayer. “Hoops” introduced the “why we ride” speaker for the day, Shannon Spake. Shannon is an MIA daughter. Her Father, LCDR Dennis S. Pike’s plane was shot down on March 23, 1972. Shannon explains more in the short attached video.


We ride for Shannon’s Dad!

Shannon and I first became acquainted, on the run and then through Daughters of the American Revolution, of which we are both members. I am proud to have Shannon as a friend and wish her all the best on her next trip to learn more about her Father. God speed Shannon❤️❤️❤️

Our first stop took us into Terrell, Texas. This is a great little town with very patriotic citizens. The various organizations come out with gifts, and homemade treats with plenty of hugs and welcome home wishes. This is a special stop for me as members of the Kings Fort Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution come out to wave flags and give hugs.

Part of the wonder of the run is the people you meet in the towns we ride through. Year after year riders return to see the same smiling faces and receive hugs. Because of RFTW, I have family all over the country.

A 90 mile leg took us into Longview Texas. Oh did I mention, we had another picture perfect day. No rain, not too hot, beautiful green countryside, yep, just another lovely day for the southern route.

Okay, back to Longview, after a gas and go, we staged at the Longview Fairgrounds for lunch and entertainment. This is one of my favorite stops, but as I was told, I say that at every stop. Doesn’t mean it’s not true! We dined on a good old fashioned American lunch; sandwiches, chips and apples. It was yummy and filling.

There is a man that sings for us and I meant to get his name but I was called away for something else and didn’t get back to get it. He is there every year, and every year, sings some great patriotic songs. I requested he sing, God Bless the U.S.A. I think he gave an excellent rendition and as you can see in the video, the riders thought so too.


In Longview as we were finishing up inside, rider, James Dalton asked to speak to me. He shared with me, that James Yettman was in the parking lot asking for me. Mr. Yettman reads the Sit-reps every night and he wanted to thank me and let me know that he is following along with us in spirit. He would like to go to the wall to pay respect to his friends whose name’s are engraved there on, but his health will not permit him to go. He asked James Dalton to carry his picture with him to the wall. If he couldn’t be there in person, maybe just his picture could go. James Dalton and I both shed a tear as he was relating this experience. As you can imagine, James Dalton is honored to take Mr. Yettman’s picture with him.

Mr. Yettman, if you’re reading this tonight, we’ve got your six. We will say a prayer for you and your buddies when we arrive at the wall.

You Mr. Yettman, are why we ride!

All you Vietnam Veterans, you’re not getting any younger. If you aren’t a biker and don’t want to ride with Run for the Wall, check into Honor Flight. They are taking more and more Vietnam Veterans to the wall. Don’t wait until it’s too late!

From Longview we had an easy 179 miles (two legs) to Monroe, LA. As soon as we crossed into Louisiana, I swear you could see the humidity in the air, it’s thick stuff.

Pulled into the Monroe-Shriner’s Hall for some homemade, delicious Louisiana gumbo. Really, really good stuff, the rider’s look forward to the gumbo every year.

Bugs gave out several thank you plaques. The Louisiana state officers that escort us across the state received a standing ovation. I am hoping tomorrow we’ll get a skill demonstration. I’ll record it and post it tomorrow, it’s impressive.

The JROTC did a very nice POW ceremony. Upon completion of the ceremony riders were dismissed.

In Closing:

“Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today’s world do not have.” President Ronald Reagan

I am sure the grammar and spelling are getting worse with each passing day and the lack of sleep is catching up with me. Sorry 😔

2 thoughts on “Southern Route – Day 5 – Grand Prairie, TX to Monroe, LA

  1. Thanks for ythe daily updates – they are GREAT! Army vet ’61-’64

  2. Thank James and Kristine I realy appriciate the sitrep and all the riders Thanks again