RFTW XXIX is over. I passed out a lot of cards with the blog on them. I told everyone that if they came here not to mind the dust and cobwebs. I am cleaning those out now.
What a journey. This year I did not go to Colorado, but instead went to Kansas to visit with Ken Cheetos Nuefeld and his wife Carol. Of course I also visited Buster the dog. I really enjoyed that short visit. Ken showed me the9 hole golf course he has in his back yard. This is no putt putt course it is a true 9 hole golf course with traps and everything. I do not golf, but may have to take it up. When I first got to Arlington Kansas we got lucky. Just as soon as I pulled Clyde into Ken's garage the sky let loose with a real downpoor. But I was dry and so was Clyde.
After a nice afternoon and evening visit and a great night on a self inflating air mattress I headed to Albuquerque to meet my Brother Bob Shoreparty Talley and his friend Homer. We spent the night in Albuquerque and then went on to Kingman AZ. We met about 5 other riders at the Route 66 casino and they went on to Kingman and then Ontario CA. There were to new guys on Trikes, and it was kind of fun answering their questions.
I was the communications team lead for this years run. I was also the only one on the radio with the trucks. I did have a team member, a wonderful person and awesome rider named Gary Wells. His pipes were a little loud but he kept me in line and riding tighter than normal. It took a few legs to get him to see what I needed, but we worked it out. The road guard behind us did request that next year I get some one with mufflers on his bike instead of open pipes. So since Gary will be going back to the Southern Route I will put that in the requirement when I request help.
We had great weather our first day. That is until we were heading to the middle school in Williams after dinner. We got hail and sleet. Then in the morning Clyde was frozen over. Nothing except the chokes and starter worked. We all had to thaw bikes out that morning. Once good old Clyde was parked in the sun for a while he thawed out and everything including the CB was working properly.
In Oakley KS there was a small fender bender while we were getting off the highway. I had been talking to a tuck driver who was passing the pack. He saw the whole thing. Apparently a pick up truck decided to exit with us and hit a couple of bikes. No real damage and no one was hurt, and because the truck driver was already slowing down he was able to get stop before he ran over any one or any thing.
For the most part we had a pretty safe year. As always there were errors by riders, and those resulted in some minor injuries, and minor damage to bikes, but we got better as we always do. This ride is pretty intense, and one MUST stay alert and aware of everything in order to do it.
I camped all the way accross.In Williams because of hail, sleet and freezing conditions we all spent the nigt in the middle school gym, but this is normal this time of year in Williams. In Gallup we all slept inside because of wind and rain. In Eagles Nest NM a couple offered some of us the chance to stay at their house because it was going to snow that night. We quickly took them up on that offer.
It was great. Clyde and Tatanka (that is what my Brother calls his bike) and Homer's Trike spent the night in a heated garage. Everyone else set up in the room we ate dinner in. We left Eagles Nest with cold air, and wet roads, but no snow anywhere but on parked bikes.
We campers again lucked out in Goodland KS. We had moved from the National Guard Armory to the Technical College, and it was again going to rain. So Far we slept inside in Williams, way to cold not to, and at Angel Fire, Eagles Nest, again inside way too cold to camp. Then In Goodland we slept inside, way to windy and rainey to set up tents. The Technical College was great and let us use both a garage and their gym. I hope we can use that again.
Then in Junction City it was supposed to rain again that night, and the Eagles Club where dinner was hosted offered to let campers set up air mattresses in the same room we ate. Once again it was going to rain and storm so we of course jumped at the chance.
Then came Wentzville, MO. The weather was great, but again the weather man had predicted heavy rain and high winds. So far we had been lucky, but were looking at setting up tents, and having to tear them down wet and in high winds in the morning. Then my brother met Phoebe and Susan. They were there working as volunteers to help out the VFW in serving all the riders. There were about 400 of us at that point. I am not sure how the conversation came to it, but they offered to let about 6 of us sleep at their houses. Once again we jumped at the chance.
I had a nice chat about the Run, and some politics with Phoebe and her Husband Justin. Neither of them look old enough to be married, but they were very nice. Phoebe may be hooked on the Run too.
While I was waiting for my brother to let me know where the houses were I participated in a special 50/50 raffle to raise money for Rainelle. (more on Rainelle in a moment). I bought $5.00 or 6 tickets. My friend Cam Larson bought$20 worth of tickets. Because of many things, Cam handed me his tickets, and headed for his hotel. Right after that I won the clock that was being raffled. Mine was the fourth or fifth ticket pulled for this. It had gotten so late that many folks had already left the VFW.
So I won the Clock, and they were going to ship it to me. Then Gary called Phoebe to get the address, and my brother answered her phone. He told us to meet him at the gas station down the road from the VFW and he would show us how to get to Phoebe and Justin's house.
When we got there Phoebe let us park our bikes in her garage, Then she showed us where we were to sleep. It was great, I had expected to set up my air mattress in the basement, but she had two guest rooms for us. Gary and I were very very happy with the arrangements. Plus she had a shower set up in her basement, and had room for maybe 4 or 5 more folks down there. I will keep this in mind for next year.
Then next morning Phoebe and her Mom were there to watch the riders leave. I asked if the clock had been shipped yet, and it had not. I asked for it. D.C, Hagerman, our raffle rouser said there was no way I could pack it on a bike. I told him that I felt that the Run should not have to spend the money to ship it to me. It weighed almost 40 pounds and would have cost a lot of money to ship. I gave it to Phoebe and Justin, because they needed a clock for their living room. It is a beuatiful piece with RFTW 2017 engraved in it. It is made of Oak and was made in Missouri for the Run. I just felt that it needed to stay in Missouri, and Phoebe would love it.
When I gave it to her she was shocked, and I think honored to recieve it. I hope she enjoys it and gets years of use out of it. She is a great person as is her Husband and Mother and Father.
We visited the Jefferson Barracks VA hospital next. I and about six other riders went up to the mental ward. This ward has folks that have admitted themselves because they have either tried to kill themselves, or thought they wanted to. Entering this ward was through a sally port, or man trap. We met with and talked to 4 patients. the nurse told them that we were going to Washington D.C. and that we were going to talk to Congress. We did not correct her, but maybe we should have. Congress leaves town when we come. But the conversation was interesting, and maybe, just maybe we gave these guys some hope. One of them was very interested in the Run, and when he gets better he may become one of our riders. I got their names, but did not write them down, and I am terrible at names.
But it was a good visit. We gave them all hugs, and my card, and left other things for them. The nurses said they would give them to them when they were released from the ward. Except for my cards, she said that she would share those in a session that afternoon. For the most part except that they felt they were treated a lot like criminals, they said that the care they were getting is very good. This important to our riders, because all of us that are veterans know that someday we could be in a VA hospital.
Then we went on to Corydon Indiana, great fish, and another awesome greeting. We did set up tents here, warm air, and no rain.
Then we went to Nitro, we stopped in Mt Sterling KY for lunch and fuel, and as always it was great. This did not used to happen. Mt. Sterling was always a fuel stop, then we staged and went to lunch where we could. But several years ago Cruizer and some road guards stopped a dine and dash, and an armed robbery of a gas station. Two years later we had free gas, and a great lunch. When I asked about this I was told by a woman in the town that they were not real happy that they had ignored us for so long. We love Mt. Sterling, and they should not be ashamed, We could have asked for their support a lot sooner, but never really thought about it.
After Mt. Sterling we headed for Nitro WV. This was a new stop for us. We rolled in and the travelling Wall was waiting for us. As was my friend Chuck Shadow Guryek and his wife Lynn. What great folks, This year was Shadow's 19th RFTW. He is a great guy and he gave my Brother and I each a coup feather. My Brother's was died with the colors of theVietnam Service Ribbon, and mine was just a warrior feather. But Shadow who is a Medicine Man had blessed both of them. My Brother really liked his. I was just honored beyond belief.
The next morning Clyde was straffed by geese. The crapped all over him, and yes the blessed coup feather was in the trunk. Guessing it was a goose feather before dyeing and painting was done. He was in a line of about 12 bikes, and he was the only one hit. Nitro is a great town, and was a pleasant stop...Campers slept in the Church, rain and high winds again.
From Nitro we headed to the State Capital for a group picture on the Capital steps. Then we went to the payoff. That is right we visited the kids at Rainelle WV. This little town was the first place to welcome the original Run, and we have been paying it back forever. The Principle of the School rode with us into Rainelle. She has her own Harley. Then we gave the school $22,000.00 in cash. That is right 500 riders donated $22,000.00 in cash to this little town. Not the most we have ever collected but added to $18,000.00 in coats, hats and gloves given to them this winter it is an impressive number.
We camped at Lewisburg W.V. at the state fair park. A few hours after we set up it started storming, but I was already asleep, so I did not care. I slept for almost 12 hours.
Then we went on to Shenendoah Harley for lunch, then Toms Brook VA for fuel. Then our last leg, into Washington D.C.
The Virginia State Police did an awesome job escorting us in. We made it easy for them as even with 500+ bikes we were only about a mile and a half along. (I saw about 100 bikes rolling into Washington D.C. Sunday on my way home, and they were stretched out to almost 3 miles. They had an escort, but they were not riding very tight at all.)
I camped at the Arlington Assembly of God Church again, and completed my mission on Saturday. I delivered Mark Tilkens tribute that his Wife Jackie had made up, and I awarded the winner of the knife that I had carried all the way across to the winner. I raised about $200.00 for Neptune Warrior, and more importantly I got them a used Dive Compressor. Something they desperately needed.
Final thoughts for this years Run. In Zanesville OH I stayed at a Super 8 Motel. They had special parking for veterans, and they gave me a 15% discount because I was on a bike. I will stay there again. The manager also sent me an email thanking me for taking the time to tell her about Run For The Wall.
I am home and ready to head back to work. But I already have a plan for next year, and yes I am doing it again. This was my 13th Run for the Wall, and I can't stop there.
Run For The Wall XXIX Mission Accomplished
Bounce Signing Out