Fall is here and with it come opportunities to step up by participating in various regional toy runs. High Desert Harley-Davidson in Meridian, Idaho, has put a best boot forward once again in co-hosting the United States Marine Corp’s Toys for Tots Idaho kick-off event Sunday, November 5, with registration 9:00–10:30 a.m. at 2310 East Cinema Drive (by Majestic Theaters) in Meridian, west of Boise. An escorted ride will leave the dealership at/by 11:00 a.m. and will find riders amassing at Quinn’s Restaurant (1005 S. Vista, Boise) from noon to 4:00 p.m. There, in addition to a raffle and silent auction, a chili feed will warm the cockles (isn’t that a smallish variety of shellfish?). The Boise area ride was originally the notion of five local area USMC veterans: Andy Wilson, Dino Glascock, Dwight Murphy, Terry Regelin and Tom Myers. Putting their jars together over a pint, they reckoned that a motorcycle ride close to the date of the annual Marine Corps birthday would serve to bolster participation. After a meeting with Lisa and Gary Sullivan of Quinn’s Restaurant (a.k.a. Tun’s Tavern), and coordinating with the USMC, the first ride was held late in 2010. Over the years many have helped further the effort that provides cash and toys to USMC’s Charlie Company 4th Tank Battalion stationed at Gowen Field in Boise. That battalion is then charged with distributing toys and funds. Supporters include Leathernecks Motorcycle Club, Marine Corps League, Green Knights Military Motorcycle Club and Mountain Home Air Force Base, the good folks at High Desert H-D and many others. The cost of registration (9:00–10:30 a.m. at High Desert) is $20 with a toy or $25 without. All proceeds serve the purpose of bringing some happiness and holiday spirit to young people who may not otherwise experience it; such a simple but profound thing. Pre-registration forms are easy to find online at tftride.com/events and questions can be emailed to toysfortotsride@gmail.com or pick up a phone to call 208.867.9105 The Toys for Tots event poster has a rhyming catch-phrase in bold: “Give a Child some Christmas Fun; Help us fill the 7-ton.” While the seven-ton carrier used to haul the loot may not be what’s in my mind’s eye, I can’t help imagining a camo-painted military cargo truck filled to the brim with toys. What a great and meaning-full demonstration of the generosity of riders. Y’all do yourselves proud… A few weeks later, on Saturday, December 2, the 40th annual Olympia Toy Run is the way folks in western Washington can have every bit as much fun. A biscuits and gravy breakfast is available beforehand at Northwest Harley-Davidson at 8000 Freedom Lane NE in Lacey, Washington. Northwest H-D is one of many generous sponsors of the event. Their telephone number is 360.705.8515 and website is nwharley.com. The Olympia Toy Run (olytoyrun.com) finds participants gathering at 10:00 a.m. at the Sears parking lot in the South Sound Center in Lacey, Washington. Admission is a new, unwrapped (not stuffed) toy per person or $10 for a single, $15 if two-up. From 11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. riders will enjoy performances onsite by the Seattle Cossacks and Tenino Drill Team. Then at 1:00 p.m. the procession hits the parade route to Marathon Park. The Olympia Toy Run website is very thorough, has route maps, rules, some historical photos and well explains the spirit and evolution of the ride. Organizers ask that no one toss candy to the crowd from motorcycles. Please (and thanks). Santa and his elves have an enormous responsibility on this important day and share it with Mason County and the Olympia Chapters of ABATE, Christian Motorcyclists Association/Olympia Light Rider Chapter, Descendants of 51 Riding Club, Gold Wing Road Riders Association, Gold Wing Touring Association, Society’s Deviants Motorcycle Club, South Sound H.O.G. Chapter and the Combat Vets Association. The longstanding and ever-broadening sponsorship for this event is truly heartwarming. Questions? Email olytoyrun@yahoo.com or fill out a contact form on their website (no phone). If you aren’t available on the day of the event but would like to support the effort, postal donations are welcome at Oly Toy Run, P.O. Box 7129, Olympia, WA 98507. Drop sites are abundant; near 20 locations in Olympia and Lacey. Check it out online at olytoyrun.com/toy-drop-locations. All proceeds benefit the Salvation Army’s Toy’n Joy Shop and will be distributed to disadvantaged children before Christmas. As it says on the poster, “It’s All About The Kids.”


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