Are you scratching your head wondering what in the world I’ve written in the title line?
Rough Translation – Spanish for regulators
Legal Dictionary – One (as in a governmental agency) who regulates.
When I tell you about this motorcycle group, you’ll understand the name. But, first I want to share an advice blog that I’d just read the other day by Dr. R.V. Shrink, who has his own blog and also writes for RV Travel.com:
Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We were camped last summer in Deadwood, South Dakota in a commercial campground. The second day the manager gave us a hospital band ID to wear on our wrist. He said it was going to get very busy and we would need this ID band to leave and enter the campground. He said it was the Sturgis motorcycle rally. We had no idea what to expect. By nightfall the campground was packed to capacity and the partying went on all night long. One woman came over to our site and asked for ice. I thought she was wearing a skimpy halter top but soon discovered she was topless with a tattooed halter top. We left the next morning but my wife thought we deserved a refund. It still bugs her. Should I have demanded my money back or just moved on?
–Harvey in Hog Heaven
I think it was worth a night’s fee just to have the story to tell about the woman with the tattoo. You are always going to run into the unexpected while traveling. It is part of the adventure. You will often stumble onto festivals you didn’t know existed. Sturgis is the Mother of all motorcycle rallies. The Black Hills are alive with rally goers and most campgrounds are filled to capacity with people “letting their hair down.” There are so many boomer bikers now (with no hair to let down) so the rally gets bigger each season. I would suggest you go with the flow and move on if you can’t fit in. The campground owners had no idea you weren’t there for the festivities. They probably could have rented your space ten times over. It sounds like they are trying to manage the crowds as best they can with the ID bands. You pay your fees and take your chances. Odds are in your favor that most of the time you are going to get exactly what you are looking for. I’m just curious, how long did it take to figure out it wasn’t a halter top?
–Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink
I had laughed when I first read it and had relayed it to several other people because of the humor involved. One commenter said that the woman, in all likelihood, had a painted halter rather than being tattooed.
So, back to the title of today’s blog.
Thursday, we were doing our usual thing of getting acquainted with the RV. We’d made strides in the fact that the Moto-Sat man had come out, wiggled a few wires, climbed on the roof and snapped his fingers thus giving us connection to the world via internet and television…all for a king’s ransom.
I heard a rumbling outside and my hopes soared that it might be thunder just before a storm. After all, we had a 10% chance of rain that day. I walked outside to look at the sky and instead my eyes were drawn to more rumbling…coming up the road. There was a KOA volunteer, in his golf cart, leading the way for three motorcycle riders followed by a couple of cars. I watched at they wound their way up to the bungalows that sit just behind where we’re parked.
Excitement and laughter ran through me as I hurried in to tell the Pilot what I just saw as I remembered the above blog.
Then we saw more…and more. By Friday afternoon, our campground was filling up with motorcycles. And, my excitement grew even more because I was going to be able to see firsthand a motorcycle club.
I need to point out that these people were pretty quiet. I was beginning to wonder what all the fuss had been about in Dr. R.V. Shrink’s letter. The people in our campground were polite, waved hello, kept reasonable hours. In short, I would have never known they were here except for the occasional quiet rumbling of their cycles as they passed by our RV.
Saturday, I decided to talk to some of them to see what they had gathered for. Well, as they talked to me, my respect for them grew. They were here to celebrate their 10th anniversary of being a national club, formally known as The Reguladores Motorcycle Club, a Law Enforcement Motor Club.
We found quite a few of them gathered on a small hill in what turned out to be a fun, but challenging, game. One couple on each motorcycle was given two tennis balls. The idea was for the driver to drive between two orange cones and the rider had to balance a ball on each cone. I’m sure they have to be doing a certain speed in order to qualify. Good clean fun and companionship…and, not easy!
I spotted a golf cart that was running the Texas and Confederate flag from the pole attached to the back. I walked up to the couple and introduced myself.
I talked at some length to Mike and Claudia about the club and its membership. They told me the club had originated in Corpus Christi and had grown across the United States.
Linda, who is the club’s secretary came on over and talked more about the club. It was in its 10th year and going strong. It had originally started in Corpus Christi and grew from there. These are caring responsible people, former and current law officers, who ask nothing in return.
About this time, Mason, Linda’s husband came over and told me about the charities that the clubs gave to and the money raised to help people in catastrophic situations.
For instance, right after Hurricane Ike, the police in Galveston had to provide their own boots. The Reguladores heard about it and raised money for boots for these officers.
They are a non-profit group that regularly raises money for worthy causes. There was “Balls to Walls…Are You Tough Enough” to benefit cancer held in Bandera, Texas. You already know what my heart does at the mention of Bandera!
Then they have “Bikers for Boobs” for breast cancer awareness. Are you still with me? They take catastrophic situations and find a way to make donating fun and, in the end, benefitting the people and causes that deserve it.
A lot of people have preconceived notions about motorcycle clubs but I would suggest that you check out this group and, if you want, make a donation to their very worthy causes.
Oh, bet you’re wondering if we saw a tattooed halter. We saw plenty of interesting and decorative tattoos but no halter. I had to hide the binoculars from the Pilot because he said he wanted to help contribute to this week’s blog. What a guy!
The trip to Corpus Christi last week for the Pilot’s Navy Reunion was a much needed antidote from our long journey towards freedom to travel when and where we want in our RV. Sure, we came home exhausted but I think that was more from being jolted awake by an alarm clock…which is rarely used at home…and the constant talking and listening for four days. But what stories we came away with for our memory banks. These reunions are always an eye opener with the men revealing bits and pieces of their combat days never talked about before. Painful memories sometimes rush to the surface when there is a safe environment to catch them if they fall.
It was gratifying to see these former SAR (Search and Rescue) pilots and crewmen from the same squadron, gathered in one hotel in various rooms, talking about their missions and letting it segue into what they had been doing since the late 60′s. I learned a lot just standing against the wall under the guise of filming them for a later DVD. The looks on their faces spoke volumes. Animated at times and then sad at remembered memories or of members who didn’t make it to the reunion for one reason or another, the worst thought being that they would never attend a reunion again because of passing away. Time doesn’t stand still even for those who fought valiantly for our country. Reality intrudes time and again.
The Pilot had arranged a symposium of two pilots and two crewmen who retold the search and rescue mission that took place over 40 years ago. Before we got into that rescue, former Navy HS-6 Commanding Officer and pilot, Al Fox, gave a brief welcome. Al is the beloved commander that these men still look up to. I’ve heard time and again that he is the favorite of all their CO’s.
Al then introduced Vern Von Sydow, former pilot in the squadron, who literally cracked us up with his funny stories. Vern is a regular MC at our events because of his ease in talking with everyone. He knows the talks are going to get serious and does his part to keep the mood from going too dark.
The symposium was moderated by Tom Phillips, co-author of the book, Leave No Man Behind, which chronicles the many rescues by all military during the Vietnam war. With the maps spotlighted on the screen, Tom led us through Vietnam territory where the rescue missions took place. The map was a great visual and a tremendous help for us to fully understand the courage it took to go into enemy territory and rescue someone.
Bill Waechter was the pilot, who along with his crew, received the radio message that Rick Adams plane had been shot down in enemy territory and needed rescuing…ASAP…if not sooner. Roger Sitko and Russ Sprague were the crewmen aboard the helicopter. Some of the other members of the crew couldn’t make it to the reunion but the story unfolded with intimate details told by both pilots as each gave their own perspective of that rescue. It gave you chills to hear the dangers, told in the first person, that they encountered. Roger and Russ then told their perspective of the rescue and gave details of getting Rick into the helicopter as it slowly turned in circles.
I was struck by the fact that these very same proud servicemen, who had done well in life by anyone’s standards, were the very same young men who returned to our country and were vilified by our citizens. It meant nothing to many people that these men had risked their lives for the very people who were spitting on them and showing them absolutely no respect. These men didn’t ask to go into Vietnam but they were man enough to know that they had given their word to fight for their country and they weren’t going to renege on that agreement. They had pride in what they were committed to and it still showed in their stance.
For those Americans who felt compelled to hate these men and disrespect them, I often wondered why they didn’t do more to end that war. Water over the bridge but you can’t help but remember those times as you watch these men in their later years relay a history that is now being taught to those hateful American’s grandchildren. If you want to learn how to hold your head high with courage and respect, listen to these men as they talk and hear why you still live in a free country. Sorry…just a very sore point with me and a sad period in our history.
Side Note: Bill Waechter later told us at dinner that he had gone back to Vietnam several years ago. He didn’t tell anyone in Vietnam that he was a former soldier. He wanted to see the country where he had put his life in jeopardy to save fellow soldiers. After several days he told some Vietnamese about his history with the Navy. He said the Vietnamese people were very accepting of him and held no animosity…which was a great relief to him. They treated him with great respect…the same as he treated them. Peace was at work.
Another reason I love going to these reunions is the wives. These women are vivacious, loving and oh, so funny. They are a salve to any weary soul as they make you laugh at the stories of their lives. There isn’t a vain woman among them. They are down to earth and live in reality…a lesson learned from being married to a man at war.
Two of the women that I talked with had wonderful stories to share about living in their RVs. Their enthusiasm only reinforced what the Pilot and I had read and researched about RVing fulltime. They had hints and suggestions and recommended many campsites. They always relayed their adventures with big smiles on their faces. Later when I mentioned RVing to their husbands, their faces became one big smile too. We received many invitations to give them a call whenever we were in their area.
One of the Pilot’s flight mates and his wife, Ken and Helen Burns, have a keen interest in all things Civil War. You can imagine the conversations that took place at that mention. One of the many things on our bucket list is to travel the path of the Civil War…which wasn’t too civil when you read about it.
Ken and Helen recently discovered an old home named the Graffiti House at Brandy Station, VA. The Battle of Brandy Station, June 9, 1863, was one of history’s greatest cavalry engagements with over 20,000 troops, including 17,000 cavalry, engaged in battle.
The Graffiti House was a field hospital for the South during local battles throughout the war and where soldiers from both sides took refuge until they were well and it was safe to travel again. While passing the time during their stay at this home, the soldiers would write their names and units on the walls and many times include drawings. The house was rediscovered in 1993, and volunteers have painstakingly removed layers of paint to reveal this graffiti. They have been able to preserve the original walls for the rest of us to see.
As I proof read the above I’m struck by how our lives are shaped by wars…past and present. While I would fervently wish no more wars, I live in reality and know that there are those who only know how to fight to accomplish what they want. I think I’ll make it my cause to get people to talk more to understand and fight less and kill to get the message across. I may only be one person but I’ll try to use my voice in ways of peace. I’m getting too old to fight and too tired to read about more killing.
Until next week, at the risk of sounding like a hippy, here’s to peace, love and understanding.
“Raunchy Redskins” meet again!
April 7 – April 9, 2011
Corpus Christi, TX (March 30, 2011) – The 3rd reunion of the some of the world’s best Sikorsky H-3 helicopter (aka “Big Mother”) pilots, air crewmen, along with friends and family, will take place in Corpus Christi, TX, April 7 – 9, 2011.
Officers and crewmembers of Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron Six (HS-6), also once known as the “Raunchy Redskins” from their call sign “Indian Gal”, will celebrate, remember and share stories about their Vietnam wartime experiences. The highly decorated squadron meets every two years to renew old friendships and enjoy the camaraderie of being together.
This year the squadron elected to meet in Corpus Christi to visit the aircraft carrier USS Lexington where most of their pilots did their original fixed wing carrier qualification landings in the 1960′s. In addition, this year is the centennial celebration of the birth of Naval Aviation and the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi is hosting an airshow featuring the Blue Angels on April 9th and 10th, that should make this particular reunion very significant.
HS-6 participated in the recovery of the Mercury Program Astronauts in 1962 & 1963. In 1966, in support of American strikes in Vietnam, the “Indian Gals” flying specially configured SH-3s rescued 16 downed U.S. military aviators and in 1967, when they returned to the coast of North Vietnam, the squadron rescued another 13 airmen before turning over SAR responsibilities to the newly-formed HC-7 squadron. The squadron was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation and the Meritorious Unit Citation during the Vietnam conflict.
On Friday, April 8, 2011, from 9am until noon, there will be an HS-6 Combat SAR Rescue Symposium at the Radisson Hotel Corpus Christi Beach in the Barbados Room. This symposium will feature a panel of pilots and aircrewmen who participated in several of many valiant and dangerous rescue missions conducted by HS-6. At least one rescued pilot, Rick Adams, will be present to give his perspective of the rescue story. He later went on to become a pilot with the Blue Angels. The symposium discussion should give history buffs a unique and seldom seen glimpse into the workings of such extremely dangerous rescue missions.
Tom Phillips, co-author of Leave No Man Behind and former H-3 pilot, will also be speaking at the symposium. His book is regarded by many knowledgeable historians as the reference book for U.S. Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) events. Mr. Phillips will have a signing session of his book after the symposium for those that bring a copy.
The other day I was reading the RealTexasBlog.com, a wonderful blog that I follow, and the topic was a Texas Bucket List for places to visit in 2011. This blog is written by David Werst, with contributions of Real Texas Recipes and videos by his wife Ramona. In this particular blog, David invited all readers to contribute to the Texas Bucket List so that we could all share in Texas’ great history and the land. David is a newspaper editor/publisher and shares his love for all things Texas on his website, including Texas Tidbits.
That got me to thinking about the bucket list that the Pilot and I already had going for when we were finally on the road in our RV. We love Texas and will always be loyal to it so David’s article was very timely. I’ll be checking regularly at the Real Texas Blog to see what readers recommend for places to visit in Texas.
We already had Fredericksburg and the surrounding Hill Country on our bucket list. Fredericksburg is a beautiful German settlement that still has the Sunday Houses that were built over 100 years ago. Most of them are now quaint bed and breakfasts. The German food is superior, along with the wide variety of shops for every shopping pleasure imaginable. I have already been to Fredericksburg a couple of times but the Pilot has never been.
One of the things I wanted to show the Pilot was the Nimitz Museum, now known as The National Museum of the Pacific War, and is exclusively dedicated to the Pacific and Asiatic Theaters in World War II. It’s an impressive museum and a emotional walk back in history. Another reason the Pilot will enjoy this museum is because when he was based in Guam with Continental Airlines, Admiral Nimitz was looked upon with absolute awe and respect from all who live in the wartime Pacific areas. The Pilot visited the counterpart museum of the Pacific in Guam.
Admiral Chester W. Nimitz was a much decorated and devoted Navy man. The Pilot will want to spend a lot of time looking at the different exhibits. He was in the Navy too doing helicopter search and rescue missions during two tours of Viet Nam. We’ll linger as long as he wants. For more information on this unique museum, go to http://pacificwarmuseum.org
After leaving Fredericksburg, we’ll go down the road just a bit and stop at The Johnson Settlement. This is where Lyndon B. Johnson’s family had settled in the 1860′s and was restored by the former president after he left office. This living history farm is like walking straight into the late 1800′s, complete with guides who are dressed in period clothing. You are shown through the house and the barn that includes canned foods and a look at how life was during that time. I was fascinated by the fly paper hanging from the ceiling and the crushed egg shells drying in the oven.
NOTE: They dried the egg shells out, crushed them up and fed them back to the chickens to give them more calcium. Recycling even before it was “in”.
If our timing is just right, say we arrived in Johnson City in late November, we would be able to see the Lights Spectacular, Hill Country Style and watch the courthouse lighting ceremony. This is billed as “the Centerpiece of one of the biggest shows on the Texas Hill Country Regional Christmas Lighting Trail.” Shoot, count me in!
All around this area are wineries and more scenic spots that are too numerous to mention. We would wind up our tour of the Hill Country in San Antonio and eat at the Tip Top Restaurant. Of course, if you’ve followed this blog you know that I will be finding some out of the way places to eat great Tex-Mex food. After all, it’s purported to have started here with the Chili Queens. Oh, we would also see the Alamo because you can’t come to San Antonio and not see it.
Next on our bucket list is visiting Quartzite, Arizona. We’ve read so much about this town and how popular it is with RVers. We want to see it too! While in Arizona, after visiting with family, we want to see some of the ghost towns…and you can’t leave Arizona without visiting the Grand Canyon.
We are already scheduled to be in Corpus Christi in April of this year for the Pilot’s Viet Nam Navy Helicopter Squadron (HS-6) Reunion. We’ll be touring the USS Lexington where the Pilot did his first carrier landing qualifications. He will also present a symposium concerning rescues by his squadron during the Viet Nam War. It’s a moving time and makes you realize how much these men sacrificed for our country.
We then plan on being at the Oshkosh Air Show this year whether we’re in the RV by then or not. The air show is being held July 25-31, 2011. Several of the Pilot’s Navy buddies are planning on being there too, so it will be another mini-reunion with a spectacular air show to cap things off. Oshkosh is said to be the biggest airshow in the world believe it or not!
Also on our bucket list is Chincoteague Island, Virginia. The island sits on Virginia’s eastern shore, close to Maryland. This will enable us to see the island and then see the Pilot’s brother and a close family friend.
Chincoteague made our list after we saw a program on CBS News Sunday Morning. We watched in awe as we saw wild horses making their annual trek and knew we had to see it in person. Here is a short explanation of the event taken from their website:
Two herds of wild horses make their home on Assateague Island, separated by a fence at the Maryland-Virginia line, and they are often seen wandering the beaches, roadways, trails and campgrounds on the island. These small but sturdy, shaggy horses have adapted to their environment over the years by eating dune and marsh grasses and drinking fresh water from ponds. While they appear tame, they are wild, and Park Rangers urge visitors not to feed or pet them. The Maryland herd is managed by the National Park Service. The Virginia herd is owned by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company and allowed by permit to graze on the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Each year the Virginia herd is rounded up for the internationally recognized Pony Penning and Auction.
For more information on this wondrous event, go to www.chincoteague.com/pony/ponies.
We want to stop in Georgia and eat at the Whistle Stop Cafe in Juliette, home of Fried Green Tomatoes…the food and the movie. I had to laugh as I read their menu. There was a request at the bottom of the page saying, “Please, do not steal the menu.”
And, of course, roam on over to Savannah to experience southern charm and perhaps Paula Deen’s restaurant.
These are just a few of the spots that have made our bucket list. So, we tip our hat off to David Werst for bringing the subject up and reminding us to update our list.
As I read back over this it looks like we’re doing an eating tour but that’s not really the case, even though I adore cooking. We plan to soak up the atmosphere everywhere we go. What better way to learn more about our country than to visit places that catch you eye…and heart?