When I lived in the metro DC area, after I started riding motorcycles, I started participating in Rolling Thunder. Dad, a Vietnam Army Veteran, had gotten me hooked on riding motorcycles when I was a kid. I wanted to do something to honor his service, as well as support Rolling Thunders' mission. You can read about their mission here: http://www.rollingthunder1.com.
After moving to the Las Vegas area, I was unsure how I'd go about participating in Rolling Thunder, or if it would even be possible while living this far away. A couple of years after moving here, I found an organization called "Run For The Wall", whose mission is to "ride for those who can't". Their website is here: www.rftw.org
Imagine my surprise when I learned that they ride from LA to DC, via 3 separate routes, in order to arrive in DC, pay our respects at Arlington National Cemetery, The Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier, and the Vietnam Veterans Wall before participating in Rolling Thunder. So, I joined their website, and started researching the details of not only being a Participant (someone who makes part of the ride), but an FNG (Freakin' New Guy) who could go All The Way (LA to DC). The ride starts outside of Los Angeles, in Ontario, CA, about 10 days before Memorial Day weekend. I chose to ride the Central Route, which took us east, mainly via I-70. Each route offers different riding challenges, but also very moving, humbling, and unique experiences of visiting memorials and sharing time with communities across this great nation.
Planning for such an undertaking took months, given the many, many logistical parts to consider... Proper coverage for a month long vacation from work, arranging for mom to spend a month with family in the Ohio Valley, a house sitter, and making sure that The Lady and The Tramp were ready for a 6,000+ mile, month-long, road trip, just to name a few.
I'll be breaking the experience up over several additional blog posts, to make following along a bit easier.