2020 Tour of Honor – Ready, Set, WAIT!

April 2, 2020

It seems like people are going crazy and the world is coming to an end. Or is it a massive conspiracy to keep all the Tour of Honor riders at home.

For historical purposes since I am sure that someone 25 or 50 years from now will read this, a brief explanation:

COVID19 has brought the world to its knees. As of the news this morning, almost 1 million people have been listed as having contracted COVID19. I am not sure of the counts for deaths, but I think it is just under 10,000. This was first reported in China, though they (and the World Health Organization-WHO) claimed it was a localized disease and not transmitted from human to human. A few weeks later, they reported is was “possible” to be spread by human contact. Within a month, China was on a lock down and no one was allowed to report the statistics (reporter who were giving information just vanished and disappeared). It hit the US and Europe, spreading faster than expected. Until the last few weeks, it has been difficult to get a valid test to see if a person has the disease. Between lack of testing, people getting “over it” before being tested, and people dying before being tested, we may never know the full extent of this disease.What we do know is that it attacks the upper respiratory system of the person. It hits hard and fast. Reports of people talking and being fine one minute, then dead within 30 minutes.

So, the Tour of Honor organizers about two weeks ago listed that there would be no trophies this year for the first three people to visit all sites in a particular state. They followed a few days later saying that if your particular home state has a “stay at home” order state-wide, you could not visit sites in your state, or in any other sates. Any state with a state-wide “stay at home” order could not be scored by ANYONE. States with localized “stay at home” orders could be scored and the riders in that particular state could travel to other states for scoring unless the state has a state-wide “stay at home” order.

This week, the organizers updated the rules to add that any state that had even a localized “stay at home” order could not be scored and riders from that state could not score ANY states. I think that left 5 states with about 25 riders. Alabama does not have a state-wide order, but Birmingham does have one, that shuts down the entire state for Tour of Honor for me right now. Yesterday, Georgia issued a State-side order, so Jeff is now parked.

Jeff and I had planned for me to ride down tomorrow (Friday, April 3). Venita and Lee were going to visit family in Tennessee, so he and I would ride through Georgia. Whether we visited Tour of Honor sites or not, we would be able to ride together. He got his motorcycle endorsement last month and got a motorcycle the following week. He has been posting his experiences on another area on this website.

To honor the start of the Tour of Honor year, many of us took pictures of ourselves with our bikes, flags, and wearing the 2020 Tour of Honor t-shirt, then posting that on Facebook. I posted mine and the rider who had 46 in previous years commented that he wondered what had happened to “his” number. I got it by random entry last year and was able to reserve it this year. I told him I will try to do “his” number proud.

So, what am I doing today? I have gone through the certificates and pictures from my previous years to put them in a binder. I have another binder that I will use for the current year to keep picture of the site memorials. This will allow me to see what the memorial looks like when I get on location. Some sites may have multiple memorials and I have to make sure I get the right one.

I have also downloaded the files of the Tour of Honor sites and the bonus sites. I loaded them into Basecamp (mapping software from Garmin) to allow me to plot out my routes. I sent the link the Jeff so he can use it too.

What does April hold for me and other Tour of Honor riders? The states that have “Stay at home” orders have the orders in place until usually the end of April. Virginia has their order until the 10th of June. Not only does this hurt me traveling there for Tour of Honor, but more importantly, I can’t see my grand-kids! One of which I haven’t even met yet! Once the orders are lifted, people will start riding, but I expect it will be much more dangerous for bike riders since people haven’t been riding their motorcycles for a long time, as well as car drivers haven’t been driving for a while. Both will have skills that are a bit rusty and they may not be paying attention.

As for me, I will be taking short rides, staying within Alabama. I will do some reconnaissance of local sites to try to make sure that I have the best picture when I do get out. Jeff will be doing the same in Georgia, though his area is under a state-wide order right now. He and I will both be working on routes that we can enjoy once we are free to ride.

Hopefully, my next post will be a happier one.