Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Planning Notes From Steve and Tate's Lunch

Okay, so it was more of a quick phone call than a lunch. I had some things to get to that wouldn't allow for a full lunch. At any rate, here's what we talked about:

Probably stating the obvious, but here goes anyway. This year's route needs to make it easier logistically for any soldiers that want to ride with us. That will include things like hotel availability at each stop between the start and Austin. Also, a good, reliable SAG will be a must this year. I think if we can get those things hammered out, we'll be able to get more interest from both vets and non-vets.

We talked about starting from the VA around Duncanville. If we can swing it, that sounds like a great plan. If we stay mostly East of I-35 like we talked about before, things should be quite a bit flatter. I put down a couple of towns (below) that are along the way to Austin, along with any VFW info I could find. There isn't a VFW in Italy (2nd day stop), but there are a couple that are about 10 miles away. We might be able to talk them into coming out to meet us when we get in. Also, by meeting up with Woody and the guys on Wednesday afternoon, we won't have to leave on Saturday like last year, Sunday should be fine.

David and I had also been talking about mileage. The daily mileage is a bit lower than last year, so we were thinking that if anyone wanted to do an afternoon ride after setting up camp, that might be interesting. Once we get the route finalized, I might be able to put up some options there. There will also be some long day possibilities between Austin and San Antone (80-ish miles), and San Antone to Corpus (140-ish miles !!!) in case anyone wants to stretch their legs a bit.

Below are some notes. Bear in mind, this is just what Tate and I talked about. If anyone has an idea about how to do it better, please speak up. We're certainly not running the show, just trying to pitch in.

Hotels available
Good SAG required
Low traffic roads
Camping a plus

Duncanville VFW (or VA hostpital) to Italy - 55 (Sunday)
- Route info: Magical Mystery Permanent
- Route info: Lancaster Community Ride
- Italy Inn Hotel
- Camping (??)

Italy to Mexia VFW - 55 (Monday)
- Route La Bella Rani Brevet
- Camping @ Fort Parker SP

Mexia to Cameron VFW - 75 (Tuesday)
- Route ??
- Camping ?? (VFW?)

Cameron to Austin - 70 (Wednesday)
- Meet up w/ the Guys
- Route ??
- Camping ?? (VFW?)

Post 7843 Duncanville Memorial Post
702 Hwy. 67 East
Duncanville, TX 75137-3408

Post 4694 Lancaster Post
317 S Martin Luther King Jr Hwy
Mexia, TX 76667


peace said...

Nice work fellows....it's good to start getting this show on the road.
I was scoping your route and ideas..here's what I have to add....Italy has the one hotel, but so far I can't find any campgrounds. As you note, Mexia has more options...the State Park and I've found 3 hotels there. Cameron becomes a weird accomodation thing..can't seem to find a hotel, but there is a "Buddy's RV Park". Based on what I know about RV parks, they can't host campers under certain conditions, so I don't know if that's an option to stay there. The nearest hotel I can find to Cameron is Rockdale which is about 13 miles away. More options would be in Temple...but that swings the route significantly west from what you've put out there...I guess some of it depends on whether majority of folks need hotel/motel or camping style accomodations. Although, as you noted, there is a VFW in Cameron (Hwy 36 W)..they might have some camping options. Doubtful that it would be on grounds, but more likely that someone associated with VFW might offer some spot of land to throw down weary bodies. There's also an American Legion there, thus more people to ask for a plot of land/place to stay.
Austin-no problem for accomodations of all sorts. Route wise..keep in mind that Rockdale, Thorndale and Taylor have VFW Posts and Rockdale, Taylor have Legion posts.

Also, does it matter that we are so far east of Kileen and Fort Hood..was there going to be some attempt to get closer to there? Is there a reason to?

I did a quick search and info quest on the net and with a VA friend of mine. We couldn't find any VA medical centers, clinics or outpatient programs in any of the towns on the planned route. Not worth changing the route, but I thought I'd check.

Also, meeting up with Woody and the guys brings to mind the questions we had while on the road last year. Are we riding with the WWP or for the WWP? We seemed to think about whether to stay with the group when they were on the road vs travelling the road. Depending on what they do and whether or not we ride with them from Austin to Corpus affects the distance on those future dates. This idea might be worth exploring before we hit the road and face that kind of question when we get to Austin. Related to this I remember Dave posting or mentioning in an email the idea of our own jersey's to differentiate wounded warriors from wounded warrior supporters. Last year on the road in WWP jersey's, I remember our conversations about feeling we were getting congrats for something that wasn't ours.

Regarding SAG..."reliable SAG" I realize refers to having the planned SAG support actually showing up, but what do we want them to be available for? Bags, repairs, rides? My dad is willing to SAG any part of the route I am on, but he's no bike mechanic. He's probably willing to start in Duncanville even if I don't start there, but that's merely a follower, pick up, carry the stuff guy. And, one truck doesn't support lots of people.

Other thoughts...Anyone have a contact with the Patriot Guard and if there are some vets on the ride, would it be appropriate to contact them for support?

At some point, I recall someone, (I think Dave) mentioned contacting some schools along the way....they can fundraise in advance and we can stop in, chat, talk, collect donations to deliver to WWP in Austin. For the shorter ride days, this might be a good option to have for the afternoons for those who don't want to clock more miles.

Finally, yes finally...I'm not beyond seeking out some of the car/motorcycle/auto clubs for support/follow along from one destination to the next..they get to get out and drive/ride, some PR and we have some protection, attention grabbers and help.

g'nite folks....and thanks for getting things started.
peace, Lari

barlows said...

Lari, lots of good ideas. David had also mentioned that Mexia might be a little further East than we wanted to go, and that staying close to Temple would be good in case we had some folks that wanted to hook up from Ft Hood. I agree, and as far as that goes, we might do better to try to end up on the outskirts of larger towns along I-35 each day. If we did that, the route could look a little more like this:

Duncanville VA to Italy - 70 miles
Italy to Waco - 60 miles
Waco to Temple - 45 miles (or Waco to Killeen and back to Temple for 80 total)
Temple to Austin - 80 miles

Thanks for mentioning the questions about jerseys and riding with the guys from Austin to Corpus. The jerseys are a great idea, and I think Dave said he already had some concepts in mind. About the Austin to Corpus routes, I think the best bet is for us to have 2 or 3 plans ready. The first plan could be to ride with the guys on their rides and SAG along behind them when they SAG. The second plan could be to have some routes planned between Austin and San Antone, and San Antone to Austin. Ride with the guys, and set off on our route after that. Kind of like we did to Beeville last year. A third plan could be to attend the opening of the ride with the guys and set off from there on the route to the next city. By having each of these plans ready, we can wait until each morning and decide how to go. We might find that if we have something ready, some of the stronger riders from the WWP may want to tag along, especially for the Autin to SA leg. I'm still not convinced that a SA to Corpus leg in a single day is a good idea...not saying it can't be done, just that I probably lack the conviction to actually do it. ;^)

We might want to defer to Woody on the topic of SAG. Here's what I think we need: A vehicle with plenty of room for bikes. It would be great to be able to toss our personal bags in the SAG vehicle, along with a few tools. Obviously, we'll keep enough stuff on the bikes to take care of flats, busted spokes, etc. But the more involved repair tools, etc would be on the SAG truck. I don't think there are any "real" mechanics among us, but I think we can handle most minor repairs. Tate mentioned that he might have something going with a shop that has multiple locations, but I'll let him elaborate on that. Bottom line is as long as we have a trailer of some sort, we should be good. As for the driver: As nice as it was to have a "follower" last year, that had to be a real beating to be the one doing 12 mph behind us for hours at a time. My vote would be to have the SAG truck within about a 30-45 minute drive of wherever we happen to be. But again, Woody might be aware of special SAG requirements for wound care, etc.

Getting with Schools would be great too, especially in Waco and Temple. Since we're planning to have SAG, we might be able to get with the schools early enough to have the kids make up some cards for the guys and we could deliver them. That would also be more people to sign the banner, if we're still planning to do that.

That's all I've got. Better get to work....


David Hill said...

Just a randome thought here, but what if we met the guys in Austin, rode there, then whoever wanted to go could and roll South, skip San Antonio, overnight in Beeville and then linked back up with the big thundering herd in Corpus for the community ride?

I haven't looked at mileage, but it seems in the ballpark.

Just thinking some vets might want to say they rode from Austin to Corpus and we could facilitate that.

barlows said...

Interesting thought. I'll have a look at some routing for that tonight.

c_m_shooter said...

I can probably get us reliable SAG. My Dad just retired and moved down here, so he has plenty of free time, I'll talk to him about it the next time I stop and see him. He said last year he would have drove SAG for us and been reliable, but he wasn't here yet. He has a one ton Ford van (work van, no seats), that should have plenty of room for bikes and bodies in the back. I can throw my toolbox in there with enough tools to do a complete rebuild of just about any bike on the side of the road. Plus any camping gear should fit. If we are going to have a bigger group than last year, we can hook a horse trailer behind it to stow bikes and camping gear in.

peace said...

I love the flinging around of ideas. I'm all about options so the sound of plan a, b, c sound good, and the possibility of getting the other guys options of a longer ride than what WWP plans is great....my only concern is being able to have the equipment and SAG in the right place at the right time for a splitting off of the group. Regarding SAG Larry...he spends every Tues/Thurs and a weekend day at 12-16 mph for hours. He's used to it. He's talked this thing up to more people than I have and he doesn't have internet. He's raring to go, waiting for an assignment to make presentations, ask for supplies, beg for dollars and drive, drive drive. We've finally convinced him that he can leapfrog us, that's why we all have cells, so his being within 30 minutes of a group is reasonable. However, if we start to splinter groups after Austin, we have to keep additional SAG options in mind too. As far as his vehicle, he's telling me, he'd be willing to tack on a trailer, which gives room for bikes, stuff and bags. But, we do have to still keep in mind how many of us will be on the road, and if needed, upgrade to a rental truck that might manage better than his Blazer and a trailer.

Perhaps contact with Woody about what options they would have/want for a faster/longer distance group vs slower/shorter distance group and associated SAG assistance would help with this tangent of planning.

I think as we get toward narrowing down some details of planning we could take assignment of some various duties for the ride. I'd be most agreeable to letting you guys narrow down ride route, jersey's and other things and I'd be happy to tackle school contacts, VFW/Legion contacts, accomodations options. I know Woody checks the website from time to time, but one of you was point person for him last time, I'm comfortable you continuing that task again (Dave, right?)

Do you guys have the planning lists from last year and the categories that needed attention?
Can you add a side bar to the blog that might list the kinds of things we need to be thinking about?

I've got to get going...we are having one of the most beautiful days ever and I'm ready to get out in it....river swim anyone?

peace said...

Hi Shooter,
We were posting at the same time...
Perhaps we need to make SAG DAD jersey's! Or how about Fathers on the Road?

So, can I simply plan on bring extra bike parts and as we go from one city to the next you could morph my bike?

barlows said...

So if Cliff's dad drives one SAG truck (starting from DFW), and SAG Larry drives the other (starting from Austin-ish), we would be completely covered. We'll want to remain as a single group from DFW to Austin anyway. The van w/ trailer could do transportation duties for those that don't want to ride the longer days.

It sounds pretty promising to me. Let's remember to talk about covering fuel costs and all that when we get everyone together.

barlows said...

I had a look at the Austin to Corpus leg, and it turns out to be 200 miles even if San Antone is bypassed. And even a straight through to Beeville is 140 miles.

Another thought would be to ride the WWP ride in San Antone, SAG to Beeville, stop by to see Prescilla (we could buy her lunch this time instead of the other way around), and have the option of riding from Beville to Portland for a few extra miles. Lots of options, we really need to get a lunch together.

David Hill said...

Steve, if we rode San Antonio, we'd finish that ride about 2 pm. Then to load up and shuttle 100 miles to Beeville - we wouldn't get there till somewhere between 4 and 6 pm, depending.

Jerseys I am on. The Rollaid 2009 skins will be bright, bright, bright.

Anyone got some webspace? I think planning will be a lot easier with a bulletin board forum set up.
I'll check with Charter - I'm supposed to have x amount of space available that I've never leveraged - then I'll see about putting up a board with discussion topics we can all see and add to.

Tate said...

I'm think we coudl skip the Austin and San Antoin ride, but I think we would still have to sag some to make to corpus for the Sat ride?

I've also got my fully enclosed trailer if we need more storage room. It pulls easly behind my 4cyl truck even loaded with stuff.

peace said...

I guess this is where we need to get some input from Woody about what their plans are. And it reprises the question of why individually we are doing this. I might misunderstand the thoughts behind comments, but if we skip rides in Austin, SA, then we aren't we missing riding with the soldiers? As far as I could tell, they really enjoyed your being there and it made a statement of support. I might be prone to something like we did last year, which is ride part of the ride then hit the road (and have SAG for backup when we really need to arrive somewhere). And, it's probably back to Barlows idea...option a, b, c...Anyone hear yet from Woody about their distances, plans yet?

David Hill said...

Lari - What I was trying to speak to is that there are two groups of guys in SR: The ones who can manage the WWP community rides, and ones who can do more.

I was suggesting that we might could take a group of the ‘do more’ guys who think they could ride from Austin to Corpus and make that trip with them.

In my mind, I was thinking that they could influence the other group and maybe inspire them to keep plugging away at their recovery.

The idea of Rollaid is to do something that normal folks would think is kind of extreme, and use it to create visibility for Soldier Ride and the guys. Part of me thinks that we might lose some of that 'extreme' cachet if we truck a significant part of the distance.

From the clippings last year, it looked like WWP/SR got a lot of visibility in the towns it hit, all by itself. Shooting the gap with another group and hitting some different towns is intended to bring MORE visibility by hitting more venues & extending the mission, not diluting it.

That said, I'm not the Rollaid commandant. Majority Rules.

David Hill said...

Besides, I think Steve checked and found the distances a little too long to work...

peace said...

Okay, I gotcha. I can see the points. I thought I had it, but didn't want us to splinter too much, because I also think there is some strength/visibility in the numbers. Also, I remember being on the road and us struggling with wanting to make a destination distance vs wanting to ride with a soldier and encourage.

I'm with you about the trucking/SAG from place to place, my heart sort of falls a little when we throw that out there as an option. But, I can see that meeting the timing of some of the communities also doesn't allow time to get there on the bike. I can certainly see why you/we ought to meet face to face to hammer some of this out, as much gets lost in cyberspace translation. I'd be happy to conference call or simply wait for my assisngment. All in all, I'm glad the planning is started...we've got some interest in the Hill Country this year, so I am hoping to maximize it in riders, dollars, donations...whatever. Keep talking.

barlows said...

Anyone open for lunch this Friday?

c_m_shooter said...


barlows said...

Hey, we could always stop in the New Braunfels / San Marcos area on the way between Austin and San Antone. There's a 43-ish mile loop there called Devil's Backbone that we could ride with anyone that wanted to go. From what I understand, there's some chipseal, and a few pretty good hills.

peace said...

Can't make lunch this Friday...can't even conference call...I'll be on vacation! weeheeeee! But, if you meet, keep me in mind for assignments!

Devil's backbone ride is part of the Texas State Triathlon and it's a lovely ride! Pretty area, downhills, trees, downhills, lake view, downhills, pretty valleys, downhills...yes, there are some uphills thrown in to balance things out.

Tate said...

I can do lunch Friday When where?

c_m_shooter said...

I can do lunch Friday. Make it somewhere near a trail, so I can get a ride on the mountain bike before work.

That devils backbone sounds like a good ride except for the downhills. I hate downhills.

David Hill said...

Cliff. Weinberg's at noon. See the newest post.

CR Dean, Scubaluke, can you get out there?