I first became aware of the The Rolling Barrage in 2020 by fluke on Facebook, where someone posted it and I had 2 days to figure things out and arrive in Kingston.

I told my wife about it and she was very supportive and said it will be good for you. So off I went into the unknown and new people.

Upon arrival in Kingston, my anxiety was thru the roof, however, at registration, one of the first persons I met was The Rolling Barrage’s now CEO, “Opie”. Somehow, he put me at ease.

My first year, I kind of observed and enjoyed being back in a pack and amongst fellow veterans. My bike is my therapy of sorts, it’s my thinking machine. I’ve ridden bikes, since my dirt bike days as a teen and had the fortunate luck of having a cousin whom had multiple bikes, that I could use.

We rode, every opportunity, to the point of even siphoning gas out of his mother’s car (that was a bad mistake). So needless to say and dangerously, I can easily go into Auto mode and think and think and think.

That ride , I rediscovered my military ME again, which I buried, like many others. I also started embracing ME again, that this mental illness can rob, you, of.

A short while after I returned home, my wife noticed the change and liked it very much.

So did I.

In 2021, I did most of Ontario and felt more at ease, as I had met many friends/vets and I was back with the The Rolling Barrage family again.

One hiccup that year was the Tornado. Even though, it spun me around 180 degrees, I stopped and fell over. The next day, I could barely walk but I planned on going another day to Thunder Bay, and with the support I felt from others, I was doing it, as any other way, would be a failure on my part. Plus sitting wasn’t an issue but walking was a B*tch.

2022 was just as enjoyable as the previous 2 other times and I grew even more. This year I had my newly adopted fur baby, Teddy and he was an excellent co-rider. When everyone left in Dryden, I looked down at my lone bike in the parking lot and the emotions exploded as I wanted so bad to continue but had appointments and couldn’t change.

Me and Teddy had a blast riding back home, we encountered so many memorable moments and met different people, whom I educated on about The Rolling Barrage with the help of  Teddy, my attention getter.

I decided at that point, I am no longer leaving my Rolling Barrage family and in 2023, I would do the FULL PULL.

FULL PULL year 2023, was nothing short of Magical.
It was also my Come Home year, to Newfoundland as I never went back after I left, which was approximately 42 years ago.

Each and every day, there was always a highlighted moment or two or even three. During my time in Newfoundland, I came to the conclusion that my WW2 Grandfather wasn’t actually mentally crazy as my Uncle shared war stories of him and without a doubt, he had major PTSD.

Don’t get me wrong , I also looked up to my Grandfather as he took me trout fishing and showed me many skills. To top it off, I discovered his full uniform at the Royal Newfoundland Regiment Museum and that was the cream de la creme.

This year I volunteered as a TailGunner and that gave me more purpose and as part of the Safety Team, I take this very seriously, as no one is putting my Rolling Barrage family in harms way.

I encountered bike issues and it drove my anxiety to new levels but I knew, I had lots of support all around me. There came a point in my thinking, that only the Death Angel, could stop me from completing the Full Pull. Once I finally got my bike fixed, I was Golden then.

I grew even more this year, and most of it, was with the help of my Rolling Barrage family and most of all, the bonded fellowship of my new FULL PULL Family.

Will I do it again, Hell ya. I’m already saving and already got my new roommate. LOL

T.G. Collins

Full Pull Alumni / Tailgunner , The Rolling Barrage