Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Last leg of Run for the Wall 27 done. Another year in the books

This year I rode for my Dad.  He was my Step Father,  but he was my Dad.  Donald E. Smith passed away peacefully on September 19th of 2014.  He made three Runs with my Brother, my Wife and I.  He did some of all three on a motorcycle, and he participated in two Rolling Thunder Parades.
My Dad and my Brother encouraged me to participate in my first Run for the Wall in 2005.  That was also his first Run.  He loved his Run Family, and used to have my wife print out the news letters and send them to him.   He was not into computers, but he enjoyed reading about the Run.
We talked about those days several times over the years.  Sometimes I would bring it up on a phone call, sometimes he would.  He would ask how Bones, or Cheetos or Krazy was doing.  He made me call him every day when I was on the Run. 
This year I rode in his memory.  I had his Run hat with me on every leg.  I took his hat with me on my truck from September until April when I left for the Run.   I carried his picture from his first Run with me all the way across the country.  I left his Korean Veteran hat at the wall. 
He was a great Dad, and a proud patriot and veteran. 
I am in Dallas now, and I wish I had my Dad to call because I am not on the road yet. 
He would have liked Leroy Petry, and I wish that I had taken him by OOIDA when he was alive, he would have liked that place.  In truth I rode for him 5 or 6 times, because he couldn't make the trip after 2008, he said he was too old, but he always asked me to call him everyday.  He liked the food at all the stops, but he always had me eat an extra sausage at breakfast at Wentzville, MO.  He used to say those pigs were still squealing when we left L.A., and they probably were.   All the food ona the Run is great, as are the snacks, and the unexpected free gas.  

We are a big family that is the Run is a big family.  There are probably 3 to 4 thousand folks that have done the Run, and follow it every year.  We do not all get to go every year, but when we can't make it we still follow the riders, their blogs, the news reports, the face book and you tube postings.   I am glad I could make this year for my Dad , and my Brother, Shoreparty made it all the way again this year too.   He had to swich to his car after Colorado, but he still participated and fullfilled a vital part of the mission.

Everyone that participates in Run for the wall, from the Veterans that show up just to salute us out of parking lots in the morning, to the thousands of folks who stand out in rain, sleet, hail, high winds, or just down right  beuatiful weather to wave, or salute us, to the people that collect funds all year to pay for gas, or buy the food that is prepared for us, and  freely given to riders are vital to the Mission of Run for the wall.

It doesn't matter if you go one leg, or all ten days.  It doesn't matter if you only stand on an overpass, or simply post a comment on the RFTW forum.  Everyone is part of the family.  There are some riders that have done a volunteer position every year, there are other that just come out to L.A. to support us there.  There are some like my friend Krazy Karl, who emails me and calls me to remind me how important what we do is.

There is he Shadow, who is intragal to the Run.  All of these people are important because they believe like I do in the mission.  That mission has been added to but it is still the same.  We ride for those who can't.

This year I rode for my Dad, and my Brother, but I also rode for myself.  I was the lead of the communications team, and I trained two wonderful folks to keep this vital service going.

I am not saying I can't do the Run in 2016.  I want to.  My friend Curtis Hubbel once told me "Don't you quit this run, you need it as much as we need you."   I won't quit it.  But this year I have been off work almost 3 full months, and I see no way I can go all the way in 2016.   I will try to participate in some way, but I do not think it will be all the way.  Even if I just make phone calls to Reed Black at Land Line now, I will be supporting the mission.

We the riders of Run for the Wall have to keep going, until everyone comes home.  I told a truck driver on the CB radio a few years ago (I have restated this probably 200 times in the last 5 years) If having these bikes out here on the highway bothers you, if you want us to stop what we are doing you can get that done.  Simply inform you Senators or Congressmen that they have got to do their job and bring the missing and those that have not come home from all wars (Some think this run is about Vietnam, it is, but it isn't)  17,000 or more missing since WWI.   We are getting the remains back from Vietnam, and Korea, and Japan and Germany every day.  If you know some one who has a loved one who went to war, and was never returned tell them to get online.  JPAC has hundreds of remains that they want to identify, but DNA testing is relatively new.  

OK sorry this one went long.

Everyone ride safe, and remember even if you can't participate, you can support the Run in several ways.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Home safe and dry....hoping everyone else makes it home safe too

I left Washington D.C. Sunday, and arrived home Monday night late.  I traveled with Cheetos and his wife to Effingham, Illinois, then went north to Wisconsin.

We had a good trip, and I enjoy talking with Kenneth Neufeld.  He is one of those great folks that I just cannot get enough of.  We are friends because of the run, but would be friends if we had met anywhere, because he is just good to get along with.
He is always smiling, and he rides great.  I enjoyed his company and that of his wife Carol.  
It was a long trip, but too short too.

Well there is always next year.    Anyone can ride with us go to the rftw.org web page, look around get on  the forum and ask questions, make a plan save a little cash and come along next year.  You don't have to go all the way, you can do one day, or one leg, it all costs the same $30.00.  The riding is tough, but the stops and the people at them are great.  The support is awesome.  I did not have to pay for a meal till I got to Lewisburg, WV, and I ate 3 days free in D.C. because the Arlington Assembly of God Church feeds all who camp there.  I did donate some cash to that cause, but it was way less than I would have spent in restaurants  for 3 days.

We raised over $12000.00 dollars in 8 days for the school kids at Rainele WV.  So it was a good trip.
Next year,, well I am already planning on it, so is everyone else in the core of 300 or so who keep coming back every year.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Planning to roll home today

Spent two wonderful nights campung at Arlington Assembly of God church.  These people feed us, provide showers and ask nothing in return.  Except for Rainelle and the wonderful kids there this is one of my favorite stops on the run.

This year my $30 registration fee got me 12 days of hard work, free food, water, snacks and so many hugs and thank yous I can't count them.
Several free gas stops, greetings from friends I only see once a year.  I sincerely wish I had known of this run long before 2004.  I do not know what will come, but I just put my first 5 dollar bill aside for 2016.

Thank you to all who participated this year. Write your after action reports if you want change.  Mine will be positive and will include the things we did to make entering the highway safer.

Final note our most expierenced riders were not used this year except for 2 legs.  Those were the smoothest and tightest 2 legs we had.

Mission accomplished

Run for the wall 27, 2015 is complete for me.  We start every day with a Prayer, the Pledge and a rememberance of why we ride. The last few years we do one remembrance from Vietnam (the one I had this year was of an Air Fofce Major whose remains have been found and returned. His name is on panel 16W line 63) we then do a rememberance of men and women lost in the Global war on terror.
This year as I stated in a previous post I rode in honor of my Dad, the Old Marine.  He loved this Run, this Route and this Mission.  He once said that the Vietnam Veterans got a raw deal.  My friend Eamon said that the Australian Vietnam Vets were treated badly becauseit was not considered a war.

This year I adressed a lot, and I do not know if I will do this run again. If I do my Dad will be with me.  I will have his memory forever, and I will keep missing him. We didn't always have good times and the bad times were sometimes horrible, but I think I will try to remember all the good times.

Thank you Dad for the life I do have.  I  love you and I miss you.

Made DC safely. Headed to wall to complete mission

I have a rememberance for Maj. James Eugene Dennany, USAF
MIA 11/12/69 and a picture of my dad The Old Marine with his unit flag and his friend Top from 2005 that The Old Marine had in his special display.
Donald Eugene Smith Jan 5 1935- Sep 19 2014. Rest in peace Marine you earned it. There are so many stories I could tell you  about this man and I will someday but I miss him too much now


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

We Have a Recipient of the MOH riding with us, and yes Shadow he was my friend first

On Monday I rode to OOIDA with 5 bikes, Me, Msgt Ret Leroy Petry, Pokey, Piccolo, Katmandu and Boomer.

MSgt Petry is a really nice and easy going guy.  He has been asked to speak before some of the venues we stop at.  That is expected of a holder of the MOH.

Leroy could ride anywhere he wants to in the  pack, including in front with the Route Coordinator.  He insists on riding as a regular rider, and he is a good rider.  He has become a friend, and he is the second MOH that I have met and Befriended, the first being John Bacca.

Leroy did an interview with Reed Black of Land line now magazine and radio show.  That is airing on Sirius XM radio tonight with repeats until Memorial day.  I also answered a few questions.  Then Eamon Tensey, aka Boomer (which I have told is Aussie slang for a really big Kangaroo)  answered a few questions.  I never knew that the Australian Vietnam Vets were treated badly.  Eamon says they were just ignored because no one there considered Vietnam a real war there.

OOIDA treated us well and we made it to lunch on time.  After 7 days of riding this year I am sore and tired and yet I am determined.  I am taking a picture of the Old Marine to the wall.  My brother is carrying two of our Dad's hats to the wall.  The plan is to leave one hat at the Korean Memorial, and the Other at the Wall.  We will leave his RFTW hat at the Korean Memorial, and his Korean Vet Marine hat at the Vietnam Memorial.
This way the crossover between the two generations of warriors will be represented.

Clyde is running great.  Amazing what a new transmission will do for a motorcycle.

Bounce out

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Goodland KS day 4 complete

We rode out of Angel Fire on time.  There was gard Ice on Clyde, but the ground was dry and there was no snow.  Several big trucks helped us out on Interstate 25.  We had a few problems in a construction v zone on Interstate 70, but no paint was traded. There was o b e Atlas Van Libes driver that won't be send Rub F I r The Wall any flowers any time soon.

Eagle  Nest treated us good, breakfast was so good people did not want to come to the riders meeting.  I think Platoon leaders should count heads, and anyone who isn't there should be made to ride ahead to the night stop.   But I am not in charge.

So far there gave been 3 accidents, all minor and all caused because the riders involved forgot what they were doing.  Yes we are o n a mission, yes we follow the bike in front of us, but no we are not in a bybble, we have to ride defensivelg and with common sense. 

Ling day, tired. More tomorrow.

Boynce standing by on the side.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Safely arrived in Angel Fire, then Eagle Nest

Not much to write about on this one.  The day is over, tomorrow is last really easy day, then we go into Indian Country.  So far we have been in friendly territory, because the real Indian Nation loves us.  The people east of Colorado are too busy reading texts on cell phones, and trying to be first in line at the funeral parlor to even start to understand our mission.   The support we get at our stops and on the over passes is great.  The people driving around us would rather run us down than respect the fact that we are on a mission to recognize the fact that there are still men and women missing in action, and that people have died, or given up limbs to protect their right to complain about us clogging their precious freeway.

My answer to those who do not want us out there in large groups on the freeway is simple.  Sit down and call you Congressman, or Senator and complain.  Tell them that we want all 72,000 missing in action and prisoners of war since WWI returned and accounted for.  Then we do not have to do this anymore.

Williams AZ, Holbrook AZ, Winslow, AZ, Gallup NM, Acoma, NM, Casa Blanca, NM, Camel Rock Casion, ^RT 66 Casino, Thunderbird Harley, Gallup, NM, the Cities of Angel Fire, and Eagle Nest NM, and tomorrow Cimmaron NM and Raton NM....are all great places, and wonderful supporters of Veterans and the reason we ride.  Go there, enjoy the businesses and the tourist attractions, and go ahead tell them I sent you.  That will not get you any thing, but if you tell the Mayor of Gallup he might give you a hug to give me. 

Nite all

Sunday, May 10, 2015

This year my Run is dedicated to my Dad (Step Father)

In about 1962 when I was not yet 7 years old I met a man, I started calling him Uncle Donald.  He was nice to my Brother Bob and I.  He bought us things, and took care of us.  He introduced us to motorcycles when he bought an old Police Bike to ride to and from work with.  

He later married my Mother and moved us to Wisconsin.  There are a lot of side stories there, but in the end we moved to Wisconsin.

I did not know until almost 40 years later that he was a Marine.  My Brother knew when he was 16, and he became a Marine too.

I am not sure when I started calling this man Dad, and I do not know if it was something he asked of me, or something my Mother asked of me.  It doesn't matter.  Men can very easily become Fathers, but it takes a lot of work to be a Dad.

My Dad was proud of me.  He never actually told me this, I just know it.  More so now that I have received back letters that I wrote him while I was in the military, that he kept.   Photos that he had of me, and my Brother that he kept.

In 2004 when my Brother first told me about Run For The Wall, my Dad encouraged me to do it.  He even helped me shop for a motorcycle several times.  Then in 2005 when I rode out to Colorado to join my first Run with my Brother, my Dad and my Wife showed up in Illinois, and joined the Run too.  He did the entire route, but it took him three trips to do it.  He made it to Washington DC twice, and rode into Arlington on my Brothers bike with him, and did two Rolling Thunder parades.  All of this at the age of 70.  He died just before his 80th Birthday. 
I cannot say that I enjoyed all my time with this man.  In fact when I was a teenager I am not even sure I liked him.  But as I got older he got wiser.   When on the Run he was known as "The Old Marine", and although he was not the oldest to have participated in the Run, he did participate.  He loved his Run Family, and really enjoyed reading the news letters.
My Brother and I are carrying two of his hats to D.C., and a picture of him with another Marine in Corydin, Indiana holding his old unit flag.   The smile on both their faces says more about what they thought of the run than anything I can say here.   I will be putting a copy of this picture in this post.

Rest in Peace Dad, you served your time in hell, while in Korea, I do believe that you are with God.

I miss you a lot, this Run is for you.  I never said this enough when you were alive, Thanks, and I love you.

I did get to say it a few times.  We used to talk on the phone on Sundays, and Sundays are sometimes hard for me.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Second leg done, third leg starts in the morning.

Tomorrow morning my Brother and I and a friend leave Colorado Springs, and head to Ontario, CA.  We had a Mothers Day dinner at On the Border in The Springs tonight. Most of the folks in the Springs showed up, so we had a short wait for dinner.  Our Waitress , Breeze was great.

The bikes are all packed, with the exception of a few items.  It will take us about 5 minutes to tie everything down in the morning and hit the road.   Weather has been a little strange.  We got hit with over 9 inches of hail Thursday evening.  Made me real glad that I got here Wednesday.night.

The video was taken while we were driving home form errands Thursday.   lots of pea sized and quarter sized hail stones   We had almost taken the bikes on that trip, but the skies looked threatening so we didn't take them.  Turns out that was a good thing. 

Kickstands up at 0740 for a meeting with fourth rider at 0800 at gas station up the road.

Clyde is excited and ready.  He likes his new tank cover, and so do I.  Pocket in it is perfect for Cell and scanner to fit.  Scanner will be used to monitor Run Business channel, while I use CB to communicate with trucks.

Well that is it for tonight.

Bedtime for Bounce, long day tomorrow.

Friday, May 1, 2015

This years adventure starts Tuesday, or IT IS MAY!!!!!

Well it has been a while since I posted here.  Not for any other reason than I have been really busy lately.  Turned in over 4700 miles for last week, so I've been driving a lot.  I had a student for all those miles, but when he was driving I was sleeping.

Troy the wonder mechanic at Donahue Super Sports has finished redoing Clyde's transmission.  I know he got the tires on, and I hope he double checked all the radio connections.  I will find out Monday when I go to pick the old boy up.

Completed my lease, packed all my truck junk into 90 day storage, and I have a round trip airline ticket to Wausau for Sunday.  I am going to go to the yard in the morning and sit in on the driver review board, and visit with a friend.  Then back to the motel triple check that everything is packed, and then Sunday early J&R picks me up and takes me to the airport.

I will be official again this year and have a great team lined up, so it will be a lot easier than ever before except for the years that Krazy Karl and I were the communications team that is.   Really looking forward to this years run. 

Thanks to a lot of support from Stevens Transport I am again able to do this wonderful mission.  Not many companies would give you a month off, fly you round trip to home and back, and send a donation to the run to boot.  Thanks Angela you are great, as are Don V, Catherine A, Rick R, John N, Archie R and many many others.

Will miss my truck, but will like the new one just as much.

Well that is it for tonight.  I will be chronicling  my trip here and in daily emails to Angela and the folks at Stevens Transport. Many more pictures and videos this year.  Cause I have figured out the use of the camera.

That is it for tonight,it has been two really long days getting the truck cleared out and me processed through the system.

But it is May, and I am ready for the mission once again.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Run for the Wall Central Route 2014 BOUNCE Video

I recorded this video last year and Gallupe posted it for me on You Tube  unedited, I was not really aware that my comments were being picked up by the camera, and things that I know, but could not think of at the time were LEO Liaison stands for Law Enforcement Officer Liaison ( I said LEO thingy) but most know what I meant.  Then the statement that this was the best the pack had been in 20 years came from a veteran road guard who had been on the Run about 21 times, and 20 of those were as a road guard, so I repeated that.  I was actually talking to folks next to me explaining what they were seeing.  My recommendation is turn the volume down and just watch the bikes.  We had a little over 350 bikes that day, which seems to be the normal number on our route.  We are a little larger in New Mexico, and from Wentzville  MO on we are definitely a larger group.pretty much all the way into D.C.

So enjoy and comments are welcome, moderated here, but you can comment on you tube all you want.



Well time to get back in here and clean the dust off the keyboard.  Thanks to any and all that have looked at this Blog.   I do not write here as much as I used too, but then I have been busy working.

First and foremost today I want to thank everyone who sent Condolences about my Dad passing in Sept.  He was a good man, a good Dad, and a good friend to me in his later years.  I still miss him a lot.

This blog is not dedicated to the Run For The Wall, but the writer is.  I have said that before, and it seems that I cannot say it enough.  What a great mission we have.  When in 2004 my younger Brother, Bob Shoreparty Talley, told me about it I did not even have a motorcycle.  My Dad encouraged me to get one, and my Brother may have pushed a little too.  In fact The Old Marine actually went shopping for Bikes with me on several occasions, and in several states.   In 2004 we looked at and rode bikes in Seattle, and in Milwaukee, and of course I could not decide what I wanted.

Well then in February of 2005 after talking to the Old Marine on the phone (he did not have that nickname then, he got it later that a year in Corydon, IN)  I decided that I should look for a used Yamaha Royal Star Venture, cause it was what my Brother had and because my Dad liked that bike, both for its looks and cause my Brother liked his.

I and my Wife Judy stopped in at Donahue Super Sports in Wisconsin Rapids, WI to see what they had.  That is where I found Clyde, the motorcyle (yeah I know that is spelled wrong, but hey motorcycles can't read anyway), He was new but almost a year old, and the price and warranty were right.  When I asked about the bike, the salesman told me that it had just sold, but he had others.  I looked around the shop, there were a couple of teenagers looking at helmets, and my Wife in there.  So I asked "Sold? what did some one call in on the phone and close the deal? Because I doubt those kids bought it."  The salesman laughed and pointed at Judy and said that lady just wrote out a check, and said she did not care if her husband liked it or not the rear seat was comfy.  I looked at him and smiled then looked at the price and told him thanks.   A few weeks later I picked up Clyde and the rest is history.

I have been involved with Run For The Wall for 11 years now, and have done 7 all the way trips, and participated 2 times, once in 05 from Colorado to DC, and in 2009, or 2010 (cant remember which) from Angel Fire NM to D.C.   The Old Marine participated 3 times, and had he not gotten ill on the 3rd trip he had intended to go all the way.  He started in CA that trip, but had to leave after Wentzville because he had caught a cold and could not shake it.

This yeat I will have his RFTW Hat with me, and will be taking it all the way across for him, and in memory of him.  I will take that hat to the Wall for him, and then I will leave it at the Korean War Memorial in Memory of him.   Having that hat in my truck since he passed has been a little emotional, but I think he will be pleased.  I am not dedicating my Run to him, because in a sense all my Runs have been because of him.  He and I were not close when I was younger, but as I got older, he got wiser.

In the coming weeks I will be chronicling my preparations for this years 27th annual RFTW.  There will be pictures, and if I can figure out how to do it maybe even some video blogs.   I am not very computer literate so those will be a challenge.
I am going to add a you tube video here from last year.  Turn down the volume (I happen to believe the speaker has no idea what he is talking about {of course that speaker is me}, but the video is pretty cool).
It will be in the next post.

Clyde is still in the shop, getting a new Transmission, because I down shifted to 1st gear at too fast a speed one too many times for him, but he will be good asa new in May.

Comments are welcome.  If you would like to see something here tell me, I moderate the comments cause in May the kids at Rainelle WV read this so I redact some words and will edit adult content.  But otherwise they are posted positive or negative in their entirety.