300 miles and 3 states...
Todays journey will take us through 3 states: Missouri and Illinois before we arrive for the night in Indiana.
Breakfast was provided by our hosts, VFW Post 5327.
Our first stop, two miles down the road, took us to the Wentzville, MO, Veterans Memorial.
While, as an FNG this year, all my experiences have been 'firsts' for me, and each humbling in their own right, this was unique. The residents of Wentzville built one of the first Vietnam Veterans Memorials to be built in the United States.
To add to that uniqueness, the residents present during our visit, after the ceremony, would offer to take pictures for us, and of us, at the memorial with our cameras. All we needed to do was leave our cameras on the lane divider on the street, they would take the picture, and then return the camera to its' spot on the road. Unfortunately, I didn't take advantage of the opportunity. I will do so the next time I make The Run.
To learn more about the history of this memorial, here's one of many links about it and the citizens of Wentzville.
Onward to Corydon, IN...
Our next stop took us to the Jefferson Barracks VA Hospital in St. Louis, MO.
At the VA Hospital, after a brief ceremony, we had the opportunity to visit with some of their current patients. Getting to hear some of their stories, experiences, and appreciation of our mission served to reinforce the importance of the mission. Another very moving experience for this FNG.
After bidding them a fond farewell, we rode on to our next fuel stop, and then lunch, thanks to Waterkotte Harley Davidson.
Thanks to the 3M Tegaderm patches, which can be found in most pharmacies, my scalp is started to settle down and heal a bit. That is a godsend, as I'm not having to fight with the helmet as much while on the road, and I cannot thank my friends in the medical fields enough for telling me about them.
Another thing I learned about, thanks to my fellow Run riders, was a motorcyclist friendly, no-tears, sunscreen. Most sunscreens pose a challenge/risk to motorcyclists because, if applied too liberally (and on the forehead/above your eyes), the rider stands the real risk of the sunscreen running into their eyes via sweat. Needless to say, when that happens, the rider is usually forced off the road to deal with a bit of a chemical burn to the old eyeballs. Not a fun time, nor a delay that can be suffered on The Run.
Banana Boat makes a no tears, no sting sunscreen. It looks like this, and can be found at most retailers. I should have asked my fellow riders about it BEFORE I started losing the top layer of skin off my nose. Ah well, lesson learnt.
Broke off from the pack before Corydon, an unexpected luxury, and a random act of kindness...
I made the decision to break off from the pack as we approached Corydon, as I REALLY needed to do laundry. Previous attempts to do laundry at earlier overnight stops were stymied by the typically single washer/dryer set being overrun by my fellow riders.
I let our tail gunners know of my intent to tap out before we got to Corydon, just so they wouldn't send a chase vehicle to check on me. Wouldn't you know it, but one tail gunner needed a 'bio-break' when I tapped out, and he followed me to the gas station where I stopped lol ...
Anyway, riding my own ride to my hotel in Corydon made for a much needed mental break. No maintaining pack position meant that I could listen to my tunes, relax and look around a bit as the super slab rolled along under The Ladys tires.
I checked into my hotel, with an unexpected surprise. I was chosen randomly, probably influenced by my 'frequent traveler' status with IHG hotels, as this hotels' 'guest of the day'. What that meant was, I got to enjoy some of the comforts provided by their largest suite. A video of the suite can be found here. Getting the largest suite in the hotel was awesome, and, getting ahead of my fellow riders with my laundry was all I really expected. However, karma had something else in store, as well...
After getting my laundry started, I needed to find something to eat. A convenience store, in front of the hotel, was my objective. I wandered over and spent some time evaluating my options for dinner, hydration and snacks. While in line to pay, I struck up conversation with a lovely local woman, whom I learned had previously participated in The Run. She saw, from my lanyard and pin, that I was an FNG. While waiting to check out, we chatted about our similar experiences. Once I got to the counter, she floored me by refusing to let me pay for my purchases. I was so struck, I had no words, other than heartfelt thanks.
I almost skipped my way back to the hotel, laundry check, and noshing, all while reflecting on all my recent experiences.