This year has been a unique year for the Tour of Honor. Only my third year, but it was different than the previous year.
After getting registered with my 2019 number, I was ready to go when April 1 came around. I had spent the off season recovering from surgery and got my release in March. That gave me some time to get on the bike before the sites are released. I was going to try for a trophy in Alabama this year.
Then COVID hit. States started closing in mid-March. The Tour of Honor organizers cancelled trophies, as well as restricted visiting sites in state which were under a lock down status. Then, just before the April 1 start date, the Tour of Honor was delayed. The sites were released, which was nice so people could plan while they were not able to ride, but when could we ride? Alabama never fully shut down, and even though I had the site list, I couldn’t get credit for visiting. At least I could do a recon run to some of the sites fairly close.
May 1 came and we were allowed to visit sites in states which were not closed, but you could not cross a closed state to get to another state that was open. Not a problem, I would ride in Alabama.
Jeff got his bike and we got him signed up for the Tour of Honor. He came to visit over Memorial Day and we did some riding. A friend allowed him to ride their bike. We had a great few days. Then started planning for July and September.
The plan for July had been to ride from Jeff’s house to Key West, visiting the Florida sites along the way, then heading across to Louisiana. We would then visit the sites in Mississippi and Alabama, before heading back to Georgia. That got cancelled when I had to be at the Lodge Installation. I rode to meet Jeff, and we rode back to Florence. Rains came, but we still managed to visit some sites in Mississippi and had a great time. We both learned a lot on those rides.
Our Ride to Meet for September in Gettysburg was cancelled. We got refunds and the hotels automatically cancelled our reservations. Jeff and I had planned to attend. We decided to try to set up a regional Ride to Meet. A few people sent nasty messages, but we ended up meeting some new friends at our mini Ride to Meet.
As a recap, I managed to visit all 7 Tour of Honor sites in: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. I also visited sites in Kentucky, Missouri, and North Carolina. A total of 46 Tour of Honor sites (I struggled to get number 46, but it was apropos since I am rider number 46). I visited 5 Gold Star Memorials, 12 K-9 Memorials, 30 Doughboys, and 42 Hueys/Cobras. Well short of my goal that I had set for the year, but I think everyone was short of their goals.
What will I do next year? Don’t know and right now I am not even going to try to guess what I will accomplish. I will spend some time this month (December 2020) getting goals for 2021 for a lot of things, The Tour of Honor being one.
I did get registered this morning, and have #46 again. I had reserved it earlier in the year, so I wasn’t rushing to get registered at 11pm last night (midnight EDT when registration opened). I ordered more poker chips and also signed up for the Ride to Meet in September 2021. We will see what happens.