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News Story
Updated: 07/17/2014 08:00:02AM

500-mile ride raises funds for Traveling Wall

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ARCADIAN PHOTO BY THOMAS SIMMONS

Doug Kalor checks out his Harley before beginning the long, hard 50- mile ride which will take him to Ocala, the Ocala National Forest, and Leesburg, before heading back home. The ride for each rider was expected to take about 12 hours.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY THOMAS SIMMONS

"Top Hat" with his rider "Lil’ Bit" set their trip odometer to zero before beginning the measured Run For the Wall ride. After just completing a 10,760-mile, 31-day ride to Alaska, they are ready for the 500-mile ride on Saturday.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY THOMAS SIMMONS

Before the ride begins, the group joins in prayer with the chaplain from the Christian Cyclist Association. He prays for safety for the riders and that they all may show God’s love to each other, ending his prayeer with an expression of gratitude to God for the freedom that allows such an event.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY THOMAS SIMMONS

Dave and Karen Goebel check out the maps they will follow as they ride their blue Honda on the Run For the Wall. They know that the ride will raise money toward expenses to bring the Traveling Vietnam War Memorial Wall to Arcadia this fall. The Goebels live and work on Babcock Ranch, south of Arcadia.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY THOMAS SIMMONS

At 7:15 a.m. Saturday, riders take off through the fog toward the rising sun. Their 500-mile, 12-hour “Open Road Run For the Wall” ride was to raise money to bring the Traveling Vietnam War Memorial Wall to Arcadia. More than 20 bikers rode the route from the Open Road Bar & Grill up to Ocala, through the Ocala National Forest and back to Arcadia. When the tally was complete, the group of motorcycle riders had raised over $5,000, making a substantial dent in the $12,000 needed for the project.

By THOMAS SIMMONS

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It is a foggy Saturday morning and the sun has not yet shown itself over the large oak tree across the road. However, at the Open Road Bar and Grill west of Arcadia on Highway 70, a group of bikers assemble for breakfast. They begin to call names: Chief, Top Hat, Lil’ Bit, Doug and Karen, David, Norm and Deborah, Dave. It is near 7 a.m., and they have been at the Open Road since 6 a.m. Each biker has studied the maps, routes have been decided, and excitement for the ride builds. This show is about to begin.

Soon the riders will set out on a 500-mile journey, taking an estimated 12 hours along highways from Arcadia to Ocala and back. Each has collected pledges for the miles they will cover, and the donations will go toward bringing the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall replica to DeSoto County in December.

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