Part of the ride started a little early this year — the emotions. Back in a minute.
Today was another day of meetings although my day started with 2 hours in the shop getting an electrical issue resolved. My bike is getting old — mostly from the way I ride. I have to start thinking about a new one something I honestly don’t want to do. But like anything else, it is getting simply worn out.
Back at the host hotel we had the presentation of 4 KIA suv’s — rent free to the RFTW for the round trip. One to one of the long time riders that is in need of a cage for this years run, one to a “Parent”, one I didn’t hear, and one to a Gold Star Mom — someone named Dianne Layfield! RFTW wanted the Gold Stars remembered and Dianne got the call since she was going by cage anyway. After the presenttion we moved to our last event of the day — a meet and greet including the presentation of the Combat Hero Bike Build’s 1st motorcycle. SSgt Charlie Linville, leg lost to an IED but with an unbelievable attitude. He had been scheduled to climb mt Everest but the avalanch there stopped all climbing. He still has it on his list and will still plant the USMC flag as soon as its reopened.
The emotions — first brought about by the SSgt and then by one of our riders. A school teacher who had his kids write letters to those on The Vietnam Wall. By name. IDing each ones location and everything they could find out about them. I made it thru about half of one — way to much emotion way in advance of when it usually starts. There will be more memories riding with me this year. I assume the older I get, the more I remember. The kids were apparently affected by these hero’s and show it in their writing. From the heart like they’re writing to a loved one, someone they knew and cared about, and someone they NOW do care about.
Launch tomorrow is EARLY. As Road Guards we must be in place along the route from the host hotel to the staging area to insure that no one gets lost (about 5 miles) — hard to imagine that these riders will find their way home (3000 miles) without an RG. So up at about 0430 with departure times at 7, 7:15 and 7:30 — I think — too tired to look them up.
Tomorrow will be day one for most everyone. But tomorrow is only a beginning of a journey that the FNG’s will learn is more than a ride. The first 2 or 3 days are hard — getting used to the formation riding, the hydration requirements, sun screen use and this year, the dust storms and HEAT. Supposed to be a hot one with a projected temps of 99 degrees HERE in Rancho Cucamonga and about 102 in Phoenix. The wind has been EXTREME with gusting that has damn near tipped us over just sitting at stop lights. Although its “gusting”, its the worst most of us have driven in hour after hour for multiple days. More to come but for now, I need to sleep.
The Mission Rules