Friday, May 17, 2013

Run for the Wall Day 3

Well, today was a much better day for my motorcycle.  I had no oil leaks, the bike ran like a charm, and the best news is that the weather was not as hot as we have experienced in the past.

We were up early in Las Cruces to visit the American Legion, which was a new stop for us this year.  While some may be averse to change, I enjoyed this change because it allowed us a brief glimpse of the city of Las Cruces.  The people at the Legion were warm and very welcoming, making me put exploring Las Cruces higher up on my "bucket list".  I will look forward to visiting again when we are not on a mission.

The breakfast the Legion provided was excellent and filling.  The perfect start to a long and inspiring day.  After breakfast, we went to the Las Cruces Veterans Memorial Park.  It was here that we had an opportunity to meet a WWII veteran and family of some survivors of the Bataan Death March.  We were also informed that by this time next year, there will be a Vietnam Memorial at this Veterans Memorial Park too.

After visiting this beautiful Memorial, it was off to Clint, TX for a quick fuel stop.  We then wandered to Van Horn (not really a wander, more like a focused drive) and were greeted by the local High School Student Council who served all of us sweaty riders a wonderful lunch.

All too quickly we left Van Horn to Pecos, TX for our afternoon fuel stop.  Here we are eternally grateful to Ray "Too Tall" McDowell and his wife, Kay "Too Small" because they donated fuel for all the riders.  These two people have donated fuel to RFTW every year I participated.  The are awesome patriots.

We then found our way into Odessa, TX and went immediately to Bass Rentals for an amazing dinner of fried catfish, fried chicken, hush puppies and all the extras.  With our bellies past full, we all wobbled off to our respective hotels for some much needed cooling off and rest.

Speaking of rest, I believe it is also time for me to get some shut-eye.  When I am not so muddle-headed, I will start posting pictures of the Run...

Until tomorrow...

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Run for the Wall - Day 2

Well, I know I promised a daily update on Run for the Wall, but hey, you can't anticipate all issues, and boy did my motorcycle have issues yesterday....

It was reasonably cool (or hot, depending on where you live) leaving Rancho Cucamonga, CA yesterday.  We left under clear skies and somewhat comfortable temperatures.  As we got near Palm Springs, the winds really kicked up, which is what they always due in that part of the state.

Even though the winds were gusting, it still wasn't an unpleasant ride.  I love coming into Blythe, CA for our lunch stop.  The people of Blythe will stop what they are doing and come out to the main street to wave the riders through.  There were many people waving flags several signs, and many people clapping, saluting, and taking pictures as we rode through town.

We were greeted at the fairgrounds by Miss Blythe, who was a very well spoken young woman.  She was so patient and kind, especially when several of our sweaty riders thought it would be really good to hug her.  The City of Blythe again put on a wonderful lunch for the many riders that descended upon them.  We had the opportunity to meet a former Prisoner of War (POW) and several other veterans of the City of Blythe.

After Blythe, it was a long drive to Tonopa, AZ.  It was during that ride, I noticed my left floorboard was slippery.  At first I thought I had stepped in something gooey at lunch, but after several attempts to clean off the bottom of my boot, I was unable to stop the floorboard from being slippery.  It was then that I thought my boots were melting (what else could I think).  SInce I had now convinced myself that my boots were melting, I wanted to see what was really happening, were my toes beginning to poke out???

Imagine my surprise to look down and not see a puddle of boot, but rather a very wet and shiny boot.  That is NOT good.  It means my motorcycle decided to start blowing oil out of the engine.   At least I now had an explanation of why my floorboard was slippery.  Now I look at the schedule to determine how far away the next gas stop is.  We are 20 miles away from our destination and my mind is thinking that I have blown every ounce of oil out of my bike and it was a matter of moments before I seized the engine.

I grabbed hold of my over-active imagination, called my Assistant Platoon Leader and asked him to take a look at the left side of my bike.  He does not see oil pouring out of the engine, but does note there is a lot of oil along the side of my bike.  We decide it should be OK to ride the rest of the trip, I didn't want to pull over to the side of the road and wait for rescue (which was coming, but not for some time).  As I pull into the gas station (with my heart in my throat) I turn the engine off and quickly trailer my bike.  When the bike stopped, oil was dripping very quickly onto the ground.  By the time the bike is trailered, no more oil is coming out, which I believe to be a very bad thing.

The great news is that my mechanic was available early Thursday morning.  He was kind enough to put his other work aside and take a look at my poor bike.  The great news is that I had only knocked a hole in my oil line and the best news was that I still had a quart of oil in the bike.  No damage to the engine, and both oil hoses were replaced.

The bike is now running like a dream and I am looking forward to the balance of this trip.  Today was fun with lunch in Willcox, AZ, and an evening stop in Las Cruces.  I always tear up when rolling into Las Cruces, the Air National Guard is always out to greet us, and they are just such wonderful people.

It is now time to hit the sack, it will be an early start tomorrow, and another series of emotional stops.

Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Run for the Wall - pre run jitters

These blogs are going to be very short, since they will be posted the end of each day, after all my chores/tasks/ responsibilities are completed.  This will be my 7th Run for the Wall (RFTW), and I am as nervous about this run as I was when I first did the run in 2005.

The difference between the run this year and my first run, is obviously, RFTW has become my extended family.  There are people I only get to see once a year, and it is wonderful and inspiring to see them each year.  This year, the pre-run events started in Ranch Cucomonga, CA on Sunday, and the days have been extremely hot.  We have had meetings both Monday and Tuesday, and a wonderful dinner was served to all the riders this Tuesday evening.

We had some awesome entertainment, we had the Marines from Pendleton today provide the Colors for our evening celebration.  We had some wonderful singers keep us entertained while eating, and we had a great time catching up with everyone prior to our departure tomorrow.  Today was like a homecoming, we got to see many old friends, and are already beginning to welcome more new friends to our family.

We are now all bunking down, in anticipation of the start of the run tomorrow morning.  It is amazing how much still needs to be done before we head out tomorrow.  I look at my bike and realize that I need to re-pack it once again, because everything is not where I want it to be.  I can assure you that this exercise will happen each evening for the next few nights until I get everything in it's proper place for the run.

I have not participated in the Run (acutally I have always participated, but was unable to ride all the way) for the last 2 years, so this year is really exciting for me.  Even though I have not ridden with everyone for 2 years, it still feels like yesterday.

I can't wait for the run to leave, Central Route heading north(ish) and Southern Route heading towards Phoenix, AZ.  It will be warm, but we are prepared.  We will be working with all the riders to be sure they have been drinking enough water and very little caffeine.  The weather looks like it will be kind to us tomorrow, so if all goes like prior runs, if we leave in good weather, will will have good weather for the whole run.

It is now time to hit the sack.  My clothes for tomorrow are already staged, I have my bike somewhat re-packed, and all that needs to be done is to get some sleep.  Tomorrow will come early and I have to make sure that everything is packed securely on the bike tomorrow morning.

Until tomorrow...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Motivaitonal Monday - February 13th

Welcome to yet another installment of Motivational Mondays.  I apologize for not providing your Wednesday installation of Fun Facts and Trivial Tidbits, last Wednesday was more than a little crazy...actually, when you come to think about it, all of last week was absolutely nuts.  Well, before we get too distracted and I wander off into a discourse of how crazy a week can get, lets work on our Motivational Monday topic.

Last week we talked about reviewing your past successes, learning from those successes but not reliving those same successes.  Today we are going to talk about dreaming.  Dreaming can be good for you and it can be bad.  We are going to cover both aspects of dreaming tonight...

Remember when we were much younger (only a few days ago for me...) and we had all these big dreams about what we wanted to do and what we wanted to be when we grew up?  Well, hopefully you all have not yet grown up.  You should continue to dream and to dream big.  If you dream about relatively simple achievements, you will never get motivated to go out and achieve those dreams.  If you dream big, you stand a much better chance of becoming motivated to start working toward that dream.

There is a practical aspect to dreaming big though.  Dreaming big is one thing, but you can't dream of becoming a runway model if you are 5' 1" and more than a little overweight.  There has to be a bit of a practicality to your dreams.  You know what dreams you have that you can achieve with a lot of work.  Some people may just talk about their dreams, but never put any effort into working toward them.

If your dreams are real enough to you, there is no reason in the world why you wouldn't be motivated to start working towards them.  Start a "dream board" where you begin putting pictures of what you want up on a cork-board or wall.  As you collect these pictures of your dreams, you should start becoming more motivated to obtain those same dreams.  Then, on the days, weeks or sometimes months where you feel you are lacking the motivation to do anything, you can look to that wall and remind yourself of why you are working so hard.

No doubt you have also dealt with those who are "dreamers".  These people may talk about all the great dreams they have, but they never, ever, seem to get anything done.  They only dream about what they could do or have, but they never make the effort to work towards that dream.  That type of behavior can be very de-motivational (is that really a word?).  Those are the types of people that you want to avoid because they could suck you into their dream, and keep you from doing what needs to get done to achieve your dreams. 

Your dreams should be your source of inspiration, something that drives you to get up every morning, and the same something that keeps you up late into the night.  They should get you excited about the future, they should drive you to plan and work to achieve those goals.  Powerful dreams can move you to heights you may never even believed you could achieve.  These dreams are what create greatness in man.

So, focus on your big dreams, develop your own "dream board" and start working on moving closer to achieving that huge dream you have always had.  Even creating a dream board is a lot of fun.  You may find that the more you build your dream board or wall, the more you want to continue to build it.  That board can become an awesome inspiration to you and your family to keep working towards your dreams.

Until Wednesday (really...I mean it...THIS Wednesday...)...

Monday, February 6, 2012

Motivational Monday - February 6

Happy Monday one and all!!!  Welcome to our second February installment of Motivational Monday.  Hopefully your Monday wasn't as bad as you may have imagined it would be over the weekend.  For those of you who watched the Superbowl yesterday, it was a fun game...  No matter who you may have rooted for, both teams played hard and well.  I don't have any fingernails left after the game yesterday, but I am happy I got to watch it. 

Watching these two awesome football teams battle it out for that ultimate prize, you have to wonder how they stayed motivated.   Both teams had huge motivation to win, yet we all know there was to be only one winner. (In my book, both teams were winners, they both played to the absolute best of their abilities).   I read in the news today that Tom Brady was utterly dejected after the loss to the Giants.  It has to hurt, to be so close to winning the Superbowl for the fourth time in his career.  Heck, the Patriots were leading until the last 4 minutes.

From this loss, you have to wonder, how does the team get motivated to play again?  The most obvious is that you know they have to look at their past successes.  They know they can win, they know they have the talent to win.  Now, to stay motivated, they will have to remember the successes, but they must also look at what they did wrong and learn from those mistakes or missed opportunities. 

What the New England Patriots are going through after yesterday's Superbowl is nothing different than what we all go through on a daily basis.  The only real difference is that a lot more people saw them fail, whereas we may only have a handful of people watching us fail.  In this economy, many people are looking for work and having one heck of a time landing a job.  They may be interviewing like mad, but never getting that job offer they hoped for.  It is difficult to continue day after day to remain motivated, when you feel like you are continuously failing and not landing that job.

You need to stay motivated, remember that you did land jobs in the past.  Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses, remember why you were so good at your job.   Focus on your successes to help keep you motivated.  As we discussed last Monday, you do not want to dwell on those successes, but if you feel that your resolve may be slipping, remember your prior success and strive to remember how good you felt when you did get that job, or win that big contract. 

Use your successes to motivate you to move forward.  Even though Tom Brady was very depressed and despondent yesterday, you know that in a day or so, he will start focusing on what they need to do to win the next Superbowl...  He brought his team 3 prior wins, he will build on that and motivate not only himself, but his team to focus on winning so they can take the Superbowl podium next year.

Until Wednesday....

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Fun Facts and Trivial Tidbits for February 2012

Welcome one and all to Fun Facts and Trivial Tidbits for February 2012.  Since today is the first day of the second month of the year 2012, I thought it would be fun to review trivial facts about the month of February.  February 2012 is special, not only is it the shortest month of the year, but for this year in particular, it is a leap year.  So, I feel sorry for anyone born on February 29th, they only celebrate their birthdays once every four years.

Did you know that February starts on the same day of the week as March and November (in non-leap years) and starts on the same day of the week as August this year (leap year).  In leap years, it is the only month that ends on the same weekday that it begins.

February was named after the Latin term februurm, which means purification (based on the purification ritual [Februa] held on February 15th in the old lunar Roman calendar).

The Anglo-Saxon's called February Solmonath, meaning mud month.

The Finnish people called February helmikuu, meaning month of the pearl (from the snow dripping off the trees).

February is the only month of the year that can occur without having a full moon (not this year, the full moon is scheduled for February 7th, 2012.

The second day of February is often referred to as Ground Hog's Day.  The superstition that surrounds Ground Hog's Day is that the ground hog comes out of it's burrow on February 2nd to look around.  If there is sunshine and he sees his shadow, then he goes back to sleep and there will be an additional 6 weeks of winter.  If there is cloud cover and the ground hog does not see his shadow, spring is right around the bend.

 The largest Groundhog Day celebration is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania where there is a celebration to see if Punxsutawney Phil (the ground hog) will see his shadow.

The Roman Catholic Church does not celebrate Ground Hog's day, but celebrates February 2nd as Candlemas Day (the festival of lights).  The candles used in the church during the rest of the year are blessed on this day.

The whole month of February is a celebration of Black History month in the USA and Canada.

Did you know that February is also National Condom Month???

Shrove (also known as Fat Tuesday) Tuesday is in February and it begins the 40 days before Easter (for this year, that would be February 21st).

Some not so well known dates in February:
February 4th is Independence Day in Sri Lanka,
February 6th is Waitangi Day in New Zealand,
February 12th is Paul Bunyan Day,
February 15th is Flag Day in Canada,
February 24th is Flag Day in Mexico, and
February 28th is National Tooth Fairy Day in the USA...

Now that you know too much about the month of February, have a wonderful rest of your week.

We will chat with you later this week, (I have some thoughts that I will post in a few days...)

Until then....



Monday, January 30, 2012

Motivational Monday - January 30

Happy Monday one and all!  Welcome to another edition of Motivational Monday.  I am willing to bet that not all of you are feeling too "chipper" today.  No surprise, today is Monday, and traditionally, Mondays are not all that much fun.  Granted, some of you do enjoy Mondays, but for the person who has a great weekend, going back to work on Monday is not always enjoyable.  Today we are going to review some more points on how to get through Mondays and how to not just survive the work-week.

One tip to remaining motivated is to let go of your past.  Before you all get angry, please let me explain.  There are a few ways you can let go of the past, but I am not suggesting that you let go and FORGET the past.  The key here is to not DWELL on the past.

History (the "past") provides many great lessons for us, but if continued to dwell on what happened in the past, you will never be able to more forward.  It is very important that we learn from both our past mistakes and our past failures.  How many people have you encountered that seem to live in the past?  They tell you how great things USED to be, and how much better their life was.  Or they may tell you about the time they made that mistake and nothing has ever gone right for them since?  It is that kind of thought processes that you need to get rid of.

If you continue to re-live the past, you will never find the motivation to make changes and improve your present.  I learned one very important piece of advice many, many years ago that has stuck with me...you cannot change the past, you can only change YOUR ATTITUDE towards the past.  This is extremely important if you want to keep your motivation for the future.

You need to acknowledge that the past occurred.  If you made mistakes, you need to accept that you made those mistakes and learn from what you did wrong.  By making mistakes, you are forcing yourself to learn.  If you didn't make any mistakes, you probably would not be where you are now.  Heck, the sticky note (that little yellow post-it note that 3M makes?) was actually a mistake by one of 3M's developers. They were trying to make a type of glue, only to make a glue that didn't stick very well.  You all now probably know how successful the 'sticky note' is for many of us, especially those of us in an office.

Making mistakes opens up new avenues for us to try new things.  Now that you know this doesn't work, you can try a different path.  But, if you constantly lived that same mistake, you will never have the desire or motivation to try anything new.

How many people have you talked to that constantly relived their greatest successes?  This is almost as bad, if not worse than reliving your mistakes.  Constantly reliving your success could prevent you from going out and becoming even more successful.  Like the mistakes of the past, if you learn from your successes, then you can become even more successful in the future.  Also, realistically, how many of you want to hear for the 100th time how Joe made that one awesome sale and brought home a six-digit paycheck the next month?   Wouldn't you rather hear about how Joe made that sale, and then has continued to make better sales up through today?  Then, you can learn from Joe's successes and possibly apply his techniques to your business.

So, in a nutshell, if you want to build a successful future and maintain your motivation, let go of the past, both the pain and the successes.  Use the past as a building block and a tool to motivate you to do even better in the future.

Have a wonderful Motivational Monday.  Until this Wednesday...