Friday, May 20, 2011

IFMR Arrival in New Orleans

   What an exciting day!  We met in the parking lot of the Baton Rouge Harley dealer at 9 AM for coffee and fellowship.  As we waited for the arrival of the Blue Knights (off-duty motorcycle policemen who provided the core of our escort), more local Rotary motorcyclist joined us for the final ride to New Orleans.  By the time the Blue Knights arrived at 9:30 we had a total of 52 motorcycles, plus several passengers; and we had them pose for a photo before we left.

We were escorted by a squadron of 8 Blue Knights, including police from New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and cities along our route, plus numerous state troopers' vehicles and local police in the cities we passed thru.  Once we got on the interstate, the Blue Knights and other police vehicles blocked every intersection as we progressed.  We traveled most of the 85 miles from Baton Rouge at 70-75 mph to minimize the time we were tying up other traffic on the route; and the police were traveling faster past us as they finished blocking one intersection then raced past us to block intersections ahead, or blocked traffic to permit us to change lanes when required enroute.  It was quite an impressive performance!  And we all arrived safely and on time at the convention center.  Here's a photo of a line-up of some of our bikes in the convention center parking lot.

   We were greeted on our arrival by a huge crowd of Rotarians and photographers along the street.  After we parked our motorcycles and went inside, we were welcomed by RI President Ray Klinginsmith and Rotary Foundation Vice-Chair John Germ.  We held a brief ceremony and press conference in which I presented John Germ with a ceremonial check prepared a couple of days in advance and I indicated that we had continued to receive donations since the ceremonial check was prepared, so that we estimate that IFMR riders have collected about $50,000 for POLIO PLUS.  John Germ and I were then interviewed by video crews, as well as posing for this photo of me presenting John with the IFMR check for POLIO PLUS.

As we finished the check presentation and the press conference, there was a big round of applause and congratulations from the crowd that had gathered around us.  It was really exciting to be part of something like this; and we were all proud of having contributed to the success of the campaign (and to POLIO PLUS) while also enjoying our love of motorcycling.  It was a marvelous day!!!   And thanks to all of you who helped us make it happen.

I want to especially thank Mark Shirley, who orchestrated the arrangements in Baton Rouge and our police escort to New Orleans.  The Blue Knights deserve a huge 'thank you' for their outstanding performance of moving us 85 miles in heavy traffic and arriving safely and exactly on time.  I also want to recognize the Ride Captains who led their groups to New Orleans from various parts of the country -- Marc Baker from Seattle, Doug Holck from Sacramento, Dave Phelps from Chicago, and Allan Leggett from Miami.  And my co-Ride Captain from Albany, Charlie Foote, who helped me keep up with 17 motorcycles in our group by the time we arrived here.  POLIO PLUS rider Bob Mutchler in his side-car rig, who was instrumental in helping me initiate the idea for this fund-raising ride in the first place and whose bike is on display in the IFMR exhibit booth at the convention.  Foundation Vice-Chair John Germ and Foundation chief executive John Osterland also provided exceptional assistance and encouragement all along the way, as did numerous other Rotary leaders and staff members.  Without the participation, encouragement, and support of all these key people this project would not have been possible.  It has been a HUGE team effort we can all be very proud of.

           :-)   Bob Shriner, President, IFMR-NA

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The IFMR POLIO PLUS Treks to New Orleans Have Begun

   IFMR members Marc Baker, Otto Rieve, and Elisabeth Saunders reported that they hit the road yesterday morning and ended their first day on the road at Meridian, ID.  They also reported they were bringing over $13,000 in donations for the Rotary POLIO PLUS campaign to END POLIO NOW!

   IFMR members Bob Shriner, Charlie Foote, and Blair Campbell report they are now in Albany, NY, and will depart on their trek to New Orleans tomorrow morning.   Bob says the riders in their "Albany" group, most of whom will be joining the ride as it progresses southward, have also collected about $13,000 for POLIO PLUS so far.

   Stay tuned!  Ride Safe!  And we look forward to seeing everyone in New Orleans on Friday.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mississippi Flooding Update


    As you've doubtless heard, the Mississippi River is setting all-time records for flooding as the crest moves southward toward Baton Rouge and New Orleans from Memphis.  It is expected to reach Baton Rouge and New Orleans about the same time IFMR riders do, or a day or so later.  We've been watching this situation closely because of it's possible impact on IFMR riders and others traveling to New Orleans.  I checked yesterday evening with Mark Shirley, our Baton Rouge IFMR liaison (and pp of RC of Baton Rouge Capital City, plus past area HOG board member) for an update. 

    Mark reports that local officials are fairly confident that their existing levee system and other measures by the Corps of Engineers are sufficient to protect both Baton Rouge and New Orleans from flooding, but outlying areas may be affected.  In order to lower the level in the river itself and reduce the strain on the levees, the Corps is opening the flood gates of tributaries all along the river, which is resulting in flooding in low-lying areas along these tributaries, often as far as 30-40 miles from the Mississippi itself.  Interstate highways are unlikely to be affected; but state and local roads may be.

    If you are traveling to Baton Rouge/New Orleans from the west, to minimize the risk of encountering flooded roads, Mark recommends that you plan to cross the Mississippi BEHIND the crest of the flood, which means at Vicksburg, MS, or further north.  This may mean changes in your current route plans.  He suggests crossing at Vicksburg and continuing east to I-55, then using I-55 or one of the other major US highways to travel south toward New Orleans.

    Mark is coordinating with RI convention staff and local law enforcement on changes in the route from Baton Rouge to New Orleans due to flooding.  He will also serve as a 'control center' for IFMR riders enroute to Baton Rouge who want to check with him about changes and local conditions as they aproach the area.  I encourage you to do that.  You can reach Mark at his office 225-769-5711 or cell 225-931-9744.  If you call him, be sure to thank him for the great volunteer Rotary service he is providing to help make the IFMR POLIO PLUS rides a success.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

IFMR Dinner Meeting in New Orleans, Monday May 23, 7-9 PM

IFMR Dinner Meeting in New Orleans, 
Monday May 23 7-9 PM


   IFMR Master Ride Guide Bill Fee has finalized arrangements for IFMR's annual dinner meeting during the New Orleans RI convention.  The event will be held at 

           Deanie's Seafood Restaurant & Market
           841 Iberville Street in New Orleans' French Quarter
              Right off Bourbon Street on the corner of Dauphine and Iberville     

              7:00 - 9:00 PM, Monday, May 23, 2011

   Deanie’s is recognized as one of New Orleans’ best seafood restaurants since 1961. In a town famous for great seafood, Deanie’s Seafood is in a class by itself. Their giant seafood platter is loaded with succulent fried oysters, shrimp, catfish, soft-shell crabs, and crawfish balls, and their boiled seafood is consistently rated by locals as one of New Orleans’ best.  

   Bill Fee has arranged for IFMR to have a 7-item buffet, with a cash bar, for a price in the range of $40-50 per person.  It will be a wonderful opportunity for IFMR members and friends to have great food, great fellowship, and a brief business meeting.  Whether you're riding, driving, or flying to New Orleans, if you're an IFMR member, past or present, you'll want to attend this event to meet and greet your fellow IFMR members from around the globe (several international members will be participating in the IFMR POLIO PLUS rides to New Orleans, while others will be arriving by air).
   To help Bill and Deanie's prepare properly for the event, please make reservations for the event by sending an email to Bill Fee at with the subject line 'IFMR Dinner Reservations' not later than Monday, May 16.  Give him your name, address, New Orleans hotel, number in your party for dinner, and your cell phone number.  Attendees will be billed separately by the restaurant.  If you want additional information about the event, Bill can also provide that if you ask him in your email. 

    We look forward to seeing you in New Orleans on May 23!

    Please pass this message along to any other Rotary motorcyclists or friends who might be
 interested in joining us on May 23.

   POLIO PLUS Ride Captains, please make sure all your riders receive a copy of this email.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hotels for Westcoast to New Orleans Ride Group

From Ride Captain Doug Holck

    The following Hotels have been contracted and have set aside blocks of rooms titled "International Fellowship of Motorcycling Rotarians"  and/or "Motorcycling Rotarians".
    Each rider needs to call each hotel and make your reservation, specifying type of room desired, floor level etc.  If the block does not contain a suitable room, let me know or feel free to negotiate an upgrade or book an alternate hotel in the area.
    I have tried to keep the room expense affordable, there are always higher priced (sometimes better quality) rooms availabe usually right  next door or across the street from these listed, so use your own judgement as to what's acceptable for you. Some may even prefer to camp and are welcome to do so, meeting us at these hotels for morning departures.
5/14 Starting from Sacramento vicinity
Barstow, Ca 
408 miles
8:30 am meeting location is Hwy 12 / I-5 McDonalds
Lunch meeting location in Bakersfield to be announced.
Quality Inn On Historic Route 66

1520E. Main St
Barstow, Ca 92311
$58 + taxes
Flagstaff, Az 
353 miles

Quality Inn 
2000 S. Milton Rd
Flagstaff Az.
$59 + taxes 2nd floor
$64 + taxes 1st floor
This hotel does not have an elevator.
Albuquerque, NM
323 miles

Western Star Inn
2015 Menaul Blvd
Albuquerque, Nm
$39.99 + taxes
Amarillo, Tx 
288 miles

Comfort Inn and Suites
2300 Soncy Rd
Amarillo, Tx
$65.99 + taxes
Plano, Tx 
344 miles

Southfork Hotel 
1600 N. Central Expressway
Plano, Tx 75074
$79 + taxes
Oppertunity to attend a local Rotary meeting this night.
Baton Rouge. La
447 miles

Comfort Suites 
3045 Valley Creek Rd
Baton Rouge, La
$65.99 + taxes
New Orleans, La 
Each rider is responsible for locating thier own suitable Hotel.
There is no organized return route or Hotels

    There are many sights to see and places to visit along our route.  You are encouraged to deviate from the freeway route, meeting up each evening at the Hotel.
    Please advise Ride Captian Doug Holck of your daily route plans and if everyone decides to stop at a special venue he will adjust the route as needed.
   Ride your own ride at speeds comfortable to you. 

Safety is rule # 1. 
   Make sure your motorcycle is properly serviced and maintained, check your tires for tread and pressure.
   How old is your battery? A fresh battery can save time and money on the road.
   Wear proper motorcycle protective clothing, boots, gloves and helmet.
   It can be HOT! so make provisions to carry water to remain hydrated.
   It can be Cold!, especially mornings, plan accordingly by packing/wearing layered clothing that can be removed as day  warms up. 

Westcoast Riders List (as of 15 Apr 2011): 

1. Doug Holck, Lodi, Ca

2. Jean Dores, Anza, Ca

3. Bob Hirsch, Sebastopol, Ca

4. Gary Wegener + 1, Woodland Ca

5. Roy Mankins, Pahrump, Nv

6. Jose Osorio McCormic +1, Tegucigalpa, Honduras

7. Wade Nomura, Carpinteria, Ca

8. Harald Westendorf, Fremont, Ca

Monday, April 18, 2011

Reasonably priced New Orleans hotel for IFMR riders

IFMR member Bob Hirsch reports that he made New Orleans hotel reservations that are much cheaper than the ones nearest the Convention Center! if any IFMR riders would like to change their reservations, stay at same hotel, and save money too:

Clarion Inn 100 Westbank Expressway , Gretna, LA, US, 70053 Phone: (504) 366-2361 Fax: (504) 362-5814

   AAA rate for standard room with 2 double beds is $112.50 on Fri-Sun, $98.50 Mon-Tues.They still have quite a few rooms available.
   This hotel has all the normal amenities PLUS a full buffet breakfast, free parking PATROLLED BY THE CITY POLICE FORCE, and a free shuttle that takes you to the free Canal Street Ferry which is walking distance from the Convention Center, French Quarter, Etc.
   It appears that parking and motorcycle security may be a problem, so this property solves those problems. And it's only about 5.2 miles (11 minutes) from the Convention Center.
   It would be great to have a large contingent from IFMR staying together!

    --  Bob Hirsch, Sebastopol, CA

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Special processing for POLIO PLUS donations in $Cdn cash

    Several Canadian IFMR members have asked for clarification of the procedure required by the Rotary Foundation for handling cash donations to POLIO PLUS in Canadian dollars in order to assure that donors receive proper credit and acknowledgement from the Foundation.  Here is the clarification provided by Clare Monroe, Supervisor, Rotary's $200 Million Challenge, The Rotary Foundation:
   " In the case of cash donations (by Canadians), we would recommend that the Canadian IFMR member to write a check for the cash made payable to the TRF Canada office. When he sends the check in, please have him include the completed donation forms which will allow each donor to receive a Canadian tax receipt." 
    If you need additional information or further clarification, p;lease contact Clare Monroe directly at

Monday, April 11, 2011

Volunteers needed to staff IFMR booth in New Orleans

Long-time IFMR members and frequent convention attendees Bill Fee and Ken Brandt are working on plans for the IFMR booth in the House of Friendship at the New Orleans convention, as well as arrangements for an IFMR membership meeting and fellowship dinner.

Plans for the IFMR booth include show-casing Bob "POLIO PLUS" Mutchler's side-car motorcycle in the booth, plus the usual displays of photos and hand-outs describing our fellowship and events, membership forms, etc. At last year's convention in Montreal, we signed up some 30 new members at the IFMR booth. We hope to do the same at this year's convention.

In order to do that we need volunteers to help us staff the booth for a few hours every day the House of Friendship is open, beginning Saturday May 21 thru May 25. If you plan to be in New Orleans and can help staff the IFMR booth for a few hours, please contact Bill Fee ( or Ken Brandt ( and let them know about your interest and availability.

Also, if you have photos from one of the IFMR get-togethers/rides in your area that you'd like to have included in the photo display in the booth, send those along to them as well.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Day Rides planned after arrival in New Orleans

For IFMR riders who would like to see more of the local country-side after arrival at the convention center, a pair of Friday afternoon rides have been planned by local riders lead by Mark Shirley in Baton Rouge:

* To Oak Valley Plantation, along winding river roads to an exquisite plantation and a great restaurant

* Along the Gulf Coast to Biloxi where we will visit MS Coast Harley Davidson and eat at the Hard rock Café

Additional rides and self-guided route information is also being prepared; and experienced local Ride Captains will also be available for guided rides in the bayou country and beyond.

Each IFMR Ride Captain will have information on the various rides that are available.  Meanwhile, If you want additional local ride or route information in advance of your arrival, contact Mark Shirley directly at or 225-769-5711.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Harley Davidson of Baton Rouge plans "Bike Night" for arriving IFMR riders

Mark Shirley and his team of Baton Rouge Rotarians have been contacting local motorcycle dealers and clubs to alert them to the expected arrival of the IFMR POLIO PLUS riders and to be prepared to provide service for any who may need it when they arrive.  They have arranged for Harley-Davidson of Baton Rouge to host a ‘bike night’ with food and band for IFMR riders on Thursday night, May 19, and staging for the group’s departure on Friday morning for New Orleans.

Mark and his team are also coodinating with local law enforcement and news media to alert them to the expected Thursday arrival and the group’s ride to the convention site in New Orleans on Friday, as well as working out logisitical details of the arrival in New Orleans with RI’s Shari Pontillo, New Orleans police, and others.

Several RI VIPs plan to join the IFMR riders in New Orleans for the final leg from the Super Dome to the Moreal Convention Center. Arrangements are being made for side-car rigs and trikes to carry the VIPs, whom Rotary does not allow to ride on regular motorcycles.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Baton Rouge Rotarians Prepare for IFMR Arrival

Volunteers from the Baton Rouge Capital City Rotary Club are gearing up to make the arrival of IFMR POLIO PLUS riders on May 19 an exciting but safe event. Mark Shirley, past president of the Capital City Rotary Club and board member of the local HOG chapter, is coordinating details with local motorcycle dealers, state and local police, hotels, tourism agencies, news media, and others.

Phillipa Blair, a Capital City Rotary member and director of visitation services at Visit Baton Rouge, offered the help of her office, including their brochure on interesting motorcycling routes in Louisiana for those who may want to explore the area on day trips during the Rotary convention.

Anticipating perhaps 100 IFMR riders and their passengers arriving in Baton Rouge on May 19, Shirley has talked with local Harley and other motorcycle dealers about hospitality and fellowship events to greet arriving riders. He is also discussing arrangements for police escorts that may be needed for the group in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and in between on May 20, as well as contacting local hotels to make sure there are adequate rooms to accommodate everyone, including the possibility of a larger-than-expected turn-out.

Both Shirley and Blair are working directly with IFMR Ride Captains on details, which the Ride Captains will pass along to their riders. However, if you have specific questions about possible day-trip routes or other local details, you can contact the directly at

   Mark Shirley ( 1-225-769-5711
   Phillipa Blair ( 1-225-382-3586

If you contact them directly, be sure to thank them for their volunteer support of IFMR and POLIO PLUS riders.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lodging enroute and in Baton Rouge and New Orleans

Lodging information for New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and stops enroute is now being posted.  Information for the Albany-New Orleans group is now posted at left; New Orleans information is now posted at right.  The room situation in New Orleans is tight.  Additional rooms are also being arranged in Baton Rouge to accommodate everyone despite the fact that LSU graduation is going on that week and consuming many rooms in that area.  Lodging information for other routes will be posted as it becomes available.  Meanwhile, contact the Ride Captain for your route if you have questions.

The RV Fellowship of Rotary has campground space arranged at the University of New Orleans and has extended an invitation to IFMR members interested in camping there during the convention. If you wish to explore that option, contact RVF president Reba Lovrien at 505-350-3386 ( or president-elect Bob Craig at 315-668-1362 ( for more information.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Overnight Stops for IFMR POLIO PLUS rides to New Orleans announced

  Overnight stops for all POLIO PLUS ride routes have now been tentatively identified and are listed below, along with contact information for their Ride Captains.  Please contact the Ride Captain on the route nearest you to let him know of your interest and to arrange rendezvous points for you and other riders to join the group, or to arrange for a 'meet & greet' event for the group.

                    Bob Shriner (
                    Charlie Foote (
                    Bill Smith (
     Sunday, May 15 -- Hagerstown, MD
     Monday, May 16 -- Roanoke (Troutville), VA
     Tuesday, May 17 -- Cherokee, NC
     Weds, May 18 --  Tuscaloosa, AL
     Thurs, May 19 --  Baton Rouge, LA (groups converge)
      Friday, May 20 -- NEW  ORLEANS

                        Bob Mutchler (
     Tuesday, May 17 – St. Louis, MO
     Weds, May 18 – Memphis, TN
     Thurs, May 19 – Baton Rouge, LA (groups converge)
     Friday, May 20 – NEW ORLEANS
             Doug Holck (
             Helmut Sommer (
       Saturday, May 14 – Barstow, CA
        Sunday, May  15 – Flagstaff, AZ
        Monday, May 16 – Albuquerque, NM
        Tues, May 17 – Amarillo, TX
        Weds, May 18 – Dallas, TX
        Thurs, May 19 – Baton Rouge (groups converge)
        Friday, May 20 – NEW ORLEANS

               Marc Baker (
               Otto Rieve (
        Friday, May 13 – Boise, ID
        Saturday, May 14 – Ely, NV (or Delta, UT)
        Sunday, May 15 – Pueblo, CO
        Monday, May 16 – Amarillo, TX
        Tues/Weds, May 17 & 18 – Dallas, TX
        Thurs, May 19 – Baton Rouge, LA
         Friday, May 20 – NEW ORLEANS

               Allen Leggett (
               Earl Halle (
      Tuesday, May 17 – Tampa, FL
      Weds, May 18 – Panama City Beach, FL
      Thurs, May 19 – Baton Rouge, LA (groups converge)
       Friday, May 20 – NEW ORLEANS

Mark your calendar; spread the word; contact your nearest Ride Captain; and join us for the IFMR POLIO PLUS rides!

Friday, January 7, 2011

IFMR Plans Motorcycle Rides to New Orleans to raise funds for POLIO PLUS

   The International Fellowship of Motorcycling Rotarians (IFMR) recently announced plans for motorcycle rides to the Rotary International convention in New Orleans from several different parts of the country to help raise funds for POLIO PLUS, Rotary’s continuing effort to stamp out polio everywhere in the world. The funds raised will help complete the funds required to match a $200 million grant to POLIO PLUS from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

    Once again IFMR will be encouraging its members and other Rotary motorcyclists to ride to the convention; but this time IFMR is making a special effort to organize rides and raise awareness to promote contributions to Rotary’s POLIO PLUS
campaign. It’s also asking riders to pledge amounts per mile for their ride to New Orleans and also raise additional pledges from their local clubs, club members, and friends, all payable to the Rotary Foundation POLIO PLUS fund.

   Four different ride groups – funneling riders from the west and northwest, from the central region, and from the east and northeast – have been set in motion. From Sacramento, Seattle, Chicago, Miami, and Albany, all coming together in Baton Rouge on May 19 for a grand entrance into New Orleans on May 20.

Imagine the impact of all four groups of IFMR motorcyclists arriving in New Orleans at the same time, ready to deliver their checks and pledges to the Rotary Foundation’s POLIO PLUS effort.

   IFMR’s plans for the POLIO PLUS rides are being closely coordinated with Rotary International leaders, Rotary Foundation trustees, and the 2011 Rotary Convention Promotion Committee, all of whom have offered their strong encouragement and support to help make this IFMR effort for POLIO PLUS a big success.

   As information about the rides has begun to reach other IFMR chapters in  other countries, we’ve begun to receive queries about the routes and about rental bikes for international riders who might want to join one of the rides, both to show their support for POLIO PLUS and for the opportunity to see new parts of the US with other IFMR members. What a great opportunity for fellowship among international Rotary motorcycling friends!

   All riders will be encouraged to pledge or raise as much as possible, aiming for an average $1/mile to New Orleans in pledges for every rider. But no one will be excluded. Clubs along the way will also be encouraged to send riders, to send pledges, and to arrange ‘meet and greet’ events with riders passing thru their area enroute to New Orleans. Whether or not you can make the ride yourself, you can still help by raising funds and pledges in your club, your community, and your Rotary district. You can also help by organizing a group of riders from your area to meet and ride with the group on to New Orleans, or just for a few hours or miles, or just for a brief ‘meet & greet”.

Help spread the word and join in the ride!

You’ll hear and read more about it here as details are worked out. Meanwhile, mark your calendar, spread the word, and plan to ride to New Orleans. Contact the Ride Captains shown below to let them know of your interest and to arrange rendezvous points enroute.

ALBANY, NY -- May 15-20
                Bob Shriner (
                Charlie Foote (
                Bill Smith (

                Bob Mutchler (

SACRAMENTO -- May 14-20
               Doug Holck (
               Helmut Sommer (

SEATTLE -- May 13-20
               Marc Baker (
               Otto Rieve (

MIAMI, FL  -- May 17-20 (Added Route)
               Allen Leggett (
               Earl Halle (