Excuse our dust. We're remodeling our website. It's sort of a process.
The work continues! (scroll down to see news clips and videos from our Ride!)
We always need and we are always very thankful for your generous donations!
The book (Yours, Very Sincerely and Respectfully) is in the hands of the printer, and we'll have copies in hand soon!
All proceeds from the sale of the book go to help Gold Star Families. (Everything we have for sale to help our cause is listed in the credit card page. Scroll to the bottom to find the book. If you choose to enter the dollar amount, please send us an email instructing us to send the book. The email is located on our contact page. Price includes shipping. )
For bulk orders, autograph signings, interview opportunities for podcasts, radio broadcast, TV, or newspaper, please send email inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org
Let's see what Tom has to say about his son Nathan...
Helping veterans' families is why we get up every day.
For us, every day is Memorial Day.
We're saddling up to honor 100 families, and we'd love it if you could come along.
Next year's Ride is being created now. We'll hit all the lower 48,
and you're welcome to come along!
We're Riding with The Return next year, raising money for Gold Star Families and Camp NORA (No One Rides Alone). Details of this wonderful organization are in Yours, Very Sincerely and Respectfully or by clicking here.
When you give to us, we give to you!!
Thanks to a wonderful donation from a private corporation, you can enjoy a wonderful Caribbean beach vacation**when you make a donation!
Donate $3,000 and choose any* four consecutive days to get away to a wonderful beach property. You'll also get to ride*** a Harley through the mountains with a local English speaking guide, and choose one of many other excursions available on the beach! Call for details.
Donate $5,000 and choose any* seven days to getaway to a wonderful beach property. You'll also get to ride*** a Harley through the mountains with a local English speaking guide, and choose one of many other excursions available on the beach! You'll also get dinner at a fine dining restaurant!** Call for details.
Donate $7,500 and choose any* fourteen days to getaway to a wonderful beach property. You'll also get to ride*** a Harley through the mountains with a local English speaking guide, and choose one of many other excursions available on the beach! We'll throw in a very nice dinner at one of our favorite restaurants!** Call for details.
Donate $10,000 and choose any* THIRTY days to getaway to a wonderful beach property. You'll also get to ride*** a Harley through the mountains with a local English speaking guide, and choose one of many other excursions available on the beach! We'll throw in a very nice dinner at one of our favorite restaurants!**
A little small print for the above offers:
Airfare is not included with any of the above packages/vacations/rewards.. Ground transportation is included via taxi to and from the airport in Punta Cana and the condo. Ground transportation from any other airport is not included.
Days must be consecutive.
*Dates are always subject to availability and are booked on a first come, first served basis. Availability for your favorite dates can be determined by sending us an email or calling the Gold Star Ride Foundation offices, or calling.
**Various restaurants are available within a 10 minute walk of the condo on the beach or in the local community. Our concierge experts will help you choose your favorite dining experience. This restaurant experience is for up to four persons only.
***Harley motorcycle excursion comes with its own responsibilities. Motorcycles are provided (usually Harley Davidson Low Riders or similar). Helmets must be worn in Punta Cana, and are provided.Any or all other motorcycle riding gear is your own responsibility (gloves, boots, etc). You must be an experienced rider, and you must be able to demonstrate this prior to the ride. This excursion is for up to four people on two motorcycles. If your group needs more than that, please reach out to us and we will try to accommodate you.
The Gold Star Ride Foundation is anorganization that takes care of people with invisible wounds. We visit and pay tribute to families who grieve over the loss of a member who lost their life while serving in the United States Military. We give money to other organizations which do the same and similar work with veterans and their families, but mostly we give education benefits to surviving brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters. This website is designed to explain that in detail.
From Chapter Four:
“Been on the road long?” I asked, “You look tired.”
“Yeah, I started in North Dakota,” the old man driving the old truck spoke with a raspy voice. For the record, the closest point in North Dakota to the spot where he and I were sitting is about fifteen hundred miles. “We love this motel,” he continued, “we stay here every time we come down.”
“No rooms,” the woman said, returning to the truck and jumping back in on the other side.
“They have at least one,” I offered, “I’m leaving.” The old man chuckled. We began talking about the Gold Star Ride Foundation, and he shared that he had spent time in Vietnam. I told him about the bottle of Cuban rum I keep in a saddle bag, but he wasn’t interested in it. He did thank me for the offer, but, as he said, “haven’t had a drink in nearly two decades.” That earned a little more respect from me. I know how hard it can be, and I immediately imagined the challenges that this man has had to endure to stay alive this long.
While we spoke, the young person in the back seat jumped out with enormous amounts of energy, investigating this and that. The dog came out with him.
“That’s Schnook,” he said, introducing me to the dog. “He’s a full bred wolf.”
“A wolf?” I asked with a little shock.
“Yes, I’ve had him since he was a pup. He’s thirteen now.” This incredibly beautiful animal which, I’m guessing, weighed about one hundred pounds, and when he put his paws on the shoulder of the boy, the wolf wasn’t even trying to stretch to his available height. He could have put his paws on the shoulders of someone seven feet tall. He was a very impressive creature.
We talked a little about the wolf, and the boy told me the story of winning his black belt in Karate and Judo. He said he owed it all to his grandparents, who have been raising him.
I felt honored to have met them. They went to the next motel on the street, and I rolled west all day.
There was a time on this road, and I’ll use no exaggeration in the telling of this, when I was rolling toward New Mexico, when the only things you could see were cacti. Not the big beautiful ones you see in books, these were short; most only a foot tall. There was no ditch along the sides of the road, only flat land that rolled out into the fields of cacti. Every now and then, there was a mountain in the distance, but mostly it was flat, dry, and very hot. During one sixty minute period, I did not even pass or even see a car on the road.
I had plenty of time to not be distracted by anything. I was able to speak to God in complete sentences. Not all of those were filled with flattery, but they weren’t filled completely with complaints either. I think I’ve already mentioned that God and I have had differences in opinion along the way.
There’s something indescribable about being alone for that long. About being that alone. I mean, we’ve all had moments when we were alone. Hopefully, it happens every time you go into the bathroom; but this is different. This is so alone, that there is not a living person within fifty miles, and you can feel it. You can feel the fact that even if you wanted to come in contact with another human being, you’d have to travel a long time to get there. Distance adds something to the alone factor and it’s palpable.
This road, in the end, looking back, now that I’ve been all over the country, was the single most lonely place I Rode the motorcycle. A full hour, rolling along at eighty miles an hour or faster the entire way, without any sign of human life at all. Oh, sure, there were long stretches like this in Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming, but those places all had, at the very least, other cars on the road.
For those who think the world is overcrowded, go take a trip down this road, and you’ll see plenty of space for all the people on the planet and then some.
The temperature on this road was over one hundred degrees all the way. I stopped to cool off in a little town called Marfa, Texas. At first, I thought it was misspelled. As I explored this little town, I encountered the very first person who flatly refused to accept anything in the way of information from me. Let me explain.
When I stop for gas, I usually invite the employees and management of the gas station to donate the gas. Well, in addition to that, it was not uncommon for me to strike up a conversation with whoever is filling their vehicle on the other side of the pump. In this case, a woman of about thirty years was filling her car at the same time I was filling the bike. I finished and returned the hose to the gas pump, reached into my pocket and produced a brochure, which I handed toward the woman saying, “Here. It’s a shameless plug which discusses my favorite charity.”
She shook her head.
“It’s just some information,” I added, in the most polite voice I could find.
“No, thank you,” she said, and returned the hose to her side of the gas pump. She quickly and quietly got in her car and drove away. I walked around the pump and looked at her purchase. She had stopped the pump at four dollars and eighty-eight cents. Not even two gallons of gas.
That was not the only time that my gesture to expand the knowledge base of people who understand, or at least know about, Gold Star Families was rejected, but it is the first one I remember. I found a taco stand in Marfa and enjoyed a locally made taco before rolling down the road some more.
Las Cruces, New Mexico, has a Harley Davidson dealership, and its name and address was highlighted on the two page list of dealerships which had my temperature sensor in stock. It was necessary for me to stop there, and in order to get there, I had to go through El Paso, Texas. Barnett Harley Davidson was located on the freeway when I entered the town, so I stopped to say hi. While I was there, which was after they had closed for the day, I noticed their very large billboard depicting that location as the world’s largest Harley Davidson dealership. This was the third one.
No one was there when I took the picture of me standing in front of that billboard, so I couldn’t confront anyone about it, nor could I walk around inside to see just how large it was. I’d already been in the Scottsdale, Arizona location and the Daytona Beach, Florida location, so I had a little knowledge of those two “World’s Largest” dealerships, but I just couldn’t see it with this one.
FROM CHAPTER NINE:
After forty-eight days of grueling Riding; heat, rain, wind, and extremely long hours every single day, I found myself rolling down the east side of a mountain in Colorado. A song kept running through my head:
Somewhere along a high road
The air began to turn cold
She said she missed her home
I headed on alone
Stood alone on a mountain top,
Starin' out at the great divide
I could go east, I could go west,
It was all up to me to decide
Just then I saw a young hawk flyin'
And my soul began to rise
And pretty soon
My heart was singin'
If you’ve ever been there, it’s one of the most remarkable scenes around the Rocky Mountains. You come down the hill, and the mountains just disappear. Nothing but flat fields of grain as you roll east from that line.
I knew the song was pretty cool running through my head – music has that sort of power. I also knew it was wrong. I didn’t have a choice, really, about going east or west. I was going east. Well, northeast. It may have been up to me to decide, but that decision was made a long time ago.
As I got close to sea level for the first time in two weeks, I turned north and enjoyed the summer Ride. It was wonderful here, but very lonely. I managed to Ride north into Montana and South Dakota. Part of me was thinking how close I was to home, and how I was excited to get there. Part of me was thinking it was a wonderful day to Ride in some remote locations. After Riding north into Montana, I turned east and rolled passed a sign that said;
NEXT GAS 72 MILES
and I knew I was in desolate places. I double checked the gas gage, which said I had plenty, and rolled that throttle on.
It’s difficult for widows and orphans (as Lincoln so elegantly put it), just like it’s difficult for sisters, brothers, mothers and fathers, and "step" siblings.
We’re all in this together. We know you are too busy, so we’re going for you. We’re going to see families all over the country.
The Gold Star Ride 2018 embarked on a national journey to visit these families, and help them understand that the rest of us are grateful. We are grateful beyond words, just like they are filled with sorrow beyond words.
Do something. Give a little. Sign up to Ride with us (next year). Send a card to be passed on to a family. Just Do Something.
In the United States, only 6.454% of the population has ever put their lives in harm's way to protect the other 93.556%. Sometimes, harm wins, and they come home in a box.
The Gold Star Ride Foundation is a motorcycle-riding organization that has been set up to pay tribute to these families, helping with tuition costs, and providing some emotional support.
The Gold Star Ride Foundation first major ride was The Gold Star Ride 2018. One rider traveled to 60+ families, thanking them for the sacrifice they have had to endure, supporting them emotionally, reminding them that their sacrifice is not forgotten, and providing a little financial help with education benefits.
One rider covered more than 17,000 miles, traveled through 44 states, and spent 58 days riding in wind, rain, cold, heat, high altitudes, smoke, and anything else mother nature has to offer, to remind these and all military families, that their sacrifice is not forgotten by the rest of America.
And to remind the rest of us that Gold Star Families exist. So many people don't know.
If you wish to join the ride:
In 2018, The Gold Star Ride:
If you know a family that would like a visit when we come to your state, please ask them to send us a confidential email. We will never use anyone's email for anything except to respond.
Paying tribute to families that paid a lot more
than we did, one doorbell at a time.