Saturday, August 6, 2016

Sturgis - 2016, Crossing the Continental Divide and Jackalopes

On our way to Sturgis and I thought I would share some of our experiences. And hey, if you're here let us know!

Day 1 - We rode 450 miles from Orange County, CA to Cedar City UT
Day 2 - 520 Miles from Cedar City UT to Rawlins, WY
Day 3 - 370 Miles from Rawlins WY to Sturgis SD

Today was full of new adventures. First let's talk about the damn wind! Oh my gosh I nearly got blown off my bike and into the oncoming traffic. There was a 30 knot (at least) cross wind that came in gusts. Just when you thought you were safe to relax on the hand grips you'd be hit with another gust. Made for a very, very taxing, tiring ride. Oh and then it began to rain. Luckily we had stopped and put on our leather gear. Kept us warm and dry as we pulled into Rapid City and our hotel room.

I must say who ever surveyed the state line between Wyoming and South Dakota used the tree line and the wind. As soon as we crossed into South Dakota there were trees and the wind stopped blowing. I think even the cattle grazing on the South Dakota side were happier.


Here are a few pictures and stories from our day.

We stopped at the visitors center at Independence Rock. I love the history and stories associated with Independence Rock so we stopped to pay our respects to the thousands that crossed the prairies headed west. We were surprised to be greeted by the Christian Motorcycle Association CMA volunteers. They set up an aid station at Independence Rock. Gave our coffee, snacks, water and sent us on our way with a prayer and a blessing. It was very nice to have them greet us and bless us on our journey.

As you know the CMA is our very involved with RFTW. They feed, us pray for us and ride with us. Great organization. I have to remember to join when I get home.

One of the riders with the CMA was a young veteran from Iraq. With a purple heart on his vest. Very nice young man. Always a soft spot in my heart for the vets. Anyway, his bike was one of the most unusual bikes I have ever seen. I didn't see it till we were leaving so I didn't get the story behind it.
Skunk Works, interesting!

We stopped for lunch in Casper, Wyoming at the Plains, Historic Hotel & Trading Post. Interesting place. I learned about Jackalopes. I had no idea they were first discovered in Douglas County, Wyoming. I had to buy a small stuffed one to add to my wild animal collection.

The strangest sight of all at the Plains Trading Post was the women's bathroom. I started to post it to social media but so many captions ran through my mind, I gave up. If you think of one, by all means, share it with us.

Two toilets in one room???

And finally, Crossing the Continental Divide

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Day 9 - Wytheville, VA to Lynchburg VA 130 miles

     Day 9 might be short on miles but it is long on precious experiences. The day began in Wytheville, VA.

The Students from Spiller Elementary came out and performed a little patriotic concert for the riders. I have posted a few videos of their performances on Facebook if you want to check them out, very touching.

The best part of the day was watching a few of the veterans meeting their pen pals for the first time. The school set up a pen pal program where a veteran was paired with a student and they wrote to each other all year.

Pictured above is Captain meeting his pen pal and below is Old School.

After leaving Spiller we traveled to Midvale Elementary school where we had a box lunch with the students. The students were so excited to have us visit. The Midvale students also put on a performance for us. I posted a few of the songs they performed on Facebook if you want to check them out.

We went on into Lynchburg where we had yummy pulled pork sandwiches at the Harley Davidson Shop. The Lynchburg shop has the largest collection of t-shirts of any shop I have been to. And I have been to A LOT of Harley shops.

Finally tonight, I'd like to give a shout out to the hydration team. They drive a truck and trailer at the back of the pack hauling, water, gatorade and snacks for the riders. It's a thankless job! I only know the name of one person on the hydration team. I am going to be sure to fix that tomorrow. Here are some photos of the hydration team at at work. Thanks guys, we'd be shriveled up leather without you.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Day 7 - We LOVE our Road Guards - Meridian MS to Chattanooga TN,

Some say Day 7 is one of the hardest days on the run. The ride into Chattanooga is challenging to say the least. There are many interstate changes, hot ramps and loads of traffic to deal with.  The road slopes and if the traffic stops on the slope it's hard to keep your bike upright. Many a bike has been dropped coming into Chattanooga.

Thanks to the ROAD GUARDS,  the group made it into the Thunder Creek - Harley Davidson without incident. So tonight we are doing a tribute to our beloved

Road Guards wear yellow sleeves and red caps. They are responsible for getting us down the road. They block traffic, direct the riders and they probably ride double the mileage the rest of us ride. It is a difficult job and not easy to come by. I'll have to double check on the requirements. Feel free to comment if you know what the requirements are. It's not a job I aspire to.

Don't you just love the gloves?

Road Guards keep everyone safe, riders and spectators.

More great stuff to come tomorrow.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Day 6 - Crossing the Mississippi, bridges and friends

I consider the 6th day of the run the overpass or BRIDGE DAY. Driving through Louisiana and Mississippi there are a number of overpasses and just about every single one is lined with patriotic, flag waving Americans. Will Rogers said, "We can't all be heroes, some of us have to stand on the curb and clap as they go by".   The good people of Louisiana and Mississippi have got the standing on the curb down(or in this case overpass). We saw hundreds and hundreds of people on bridges, waving flags, and cheering as the veterans ride by. It sure gives one hope in America.

Some bridges only had one person. Sometimes they were saluting, holding a vest or waving.

There were firetrucks on a few bridges with a flag suspended from the the ladder. It is truly amazing the love and support shown to the veterans by the patriots of Louisiana and Mississippi.

Another highlight of the day: Because Don is the Assistant Platoon Leader for 1st Platoon he had 6 dignitaries riding into Jackson, Mississippi with him today. Pictures here is the Governor of Mississippi thanking him for a smooth ride into Jackson. (Never see that happen with Jerry Brown from CaliforniašŸ˜œ)

One of the best things about Run for the Wall is the opportunity to make new friends. This is one of the new friends I met this year. Very nice guy! He has one of the best road names I've ever heard. "On the Five"

First, he is from  California, near the 5 freeway. He and some buddies were going to ride down to Mexico. He was supposed to meet them on the five. Well, he was there waiting for them and they just rode on by and left him "on the five".

I was honored to give him a "Vietnam War, I served sticker". As a Department of Defense Vietnam Commemoration Partner and a Daughter of the American Revolution. I was shocked he put it on the windshield of his brand new, beautiful, shamrock green Harley.

Tomorrow is day 7 when we ride into Chattanooga, reminds me of riding in LA.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Day 2 - Phoenix, AZ to Las Cruces, NM

When you spend 6 hours alone on your bike you have a lot of time to think. I planned out all the things I was going to share with you about today. Then Santa Ed invited me to sit in while he was being interviewed for a documentary on Vietnam Veterans and Run for the Wall.  Totally changed what I was going to share.

I was invited because Santa Ed considers me the "Charlie Mike" of the mission. Charlie Mike stands for "Continue the Mission". I am not a veteran but because of my passion to care for and serve veterans and active service members the mission will continue. Santa Ed does not want, the Vietnam Memorial to turn into just another tourist attraction. He wants everyone to remember that every name on the wall was a person that could have had a life. But because they went to the war in Vietnam their life was cut short.  And the thousands that did come home from Vietnam were never the same.

We as a country, as a society, must never forget the sacrifices our service men and women make so we can live in peace!
That is why I ride. I ride for those that can't.

"The nation which forgets it's defenders will be itself forgotten"
Calvin Coolidge

I heard a very funny announcement over the radio today. "Watch out for cattle, New Mexico is free range country, cattle may be on the road". What the heck??? Did you know New Mexico has a free range policy? Yeah, me either.  From Deming to Las Cruces, free range. Your cattle can just wonder wherever they want.

Sleep well and remember when you say your prays tonight to pray for our service men and women and our veterans.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

DAY 1 - Ontario to Phoenix

Day 1 is in the history books.

 Every year when Run for The Wall comes around I think I am too old, it's too hard, It's too tiring and then after the first run of the first day I remember why I ride! What a great day!!! Beautiful weather, cruising along at 65 MPH on the open road with 300 Vietnam Veterans, Patriots and True Blue Americans. I can't think of anything better.

Today was an easy day as far as days on the Run go. I am riding with the 2nd Platoon in the Tail Gunner position. The best job of all the riders. 2nd Platoon is up at the front so we are one of the first into the gas stops and into the staging (parking) area. We traveled 335 miles and are now settled into the Holiday Inn in Phoenix. Looking forward to another great day tomorrow.

We stopped in Blythe for lunch. The city put on a very nice program for us along with good eats.  I was given a new Remembrance Poppy to add to my collection. I love Remembrance Poppies!!

Miss Blythe was there to greet the riders. She baked hundreds of cookies for the riders. They were delicious!!!!

Once we crossed the Arizona State Line, we were escorted by DPS Officers. WOW!!!1 Did they do a good job. At one point they shut down the freeway so we could change lanes and exit the highway. It is so nice to have the local support as we travel across the country.

Check out this tribute bike. The  black and white, shading is very dramatic.

As usual, the people of Arizona did not let us down. Many of the freeway overpasses were lined with flag waving Americans as well as the road sides.

I think I will say good night with this quote from Winston S. Churchill

"We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us."

Good night and sleep well.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Preparing for Run For The Wall - 2016

Bags are packed, bikes have been checked and rechecked. Tomorrow morning we leave for Ontario. Monday and Tuesday there will be leadership meetings. Wednesday morning the riders briefing and send off begin at 7:00 am. Looking forward to seeing all our friends and RFTW family.

As in past years, I will blog every night to bring those of you at home along with us on the run. Through out the day I will post on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You won't miss any of the happenings if you follow us on our social media sites.