The Holiday Season is over and we are all getting back into our routines or hopefully, moving toward our new goals and endeavors for 2014. As is my process, part 1- I set time aside on the first of the year to look back at last year and evaluate my previous goals and see how I did personally and professionally. And, part 2- I set my goals for the new year, again, both personally and professionally. My grade for part 1, personally was a C+, as I missed a few of my health goals, like losing the weight I wanted :(, but, gave my self a B+ on meeting my professional goals.

For 2014, I have expanded my professional goals in taking on more responsibilities with GWRRA and added some new processes to meet my health goals (like losing the weight I didn't in 2013!). I have joined a gym and have met my goal of going 3 times a week for at least a 40 minute workout. We would love to hear about your Chapters' or Districts' goals, if you would like to send them to us here.

Remember, Friday, February 14th is Valentines Day. So, don't forget to get that special someone something nice to let them know you care. That goes for both for the men and the ladies, right? February is also my 65th birthday and I only mention it because it is a special day in a man's life...MEDICARE!! Just kidding, but it has been interesting to go through this process. It has also been interesting to see how my mind keeps asking "where has all the time gone?" and saying to me "I don't feel this age." I remember my grandfather when he was 65 and I thought how old he looked and acted. But, I don't, what's up with this? So, I take this as a great signal that all is well and my mind is still sharp and my body is still fairly functional, so thank goodness! I am very grateful for all the family and friends in my life, as well as the work with GWRRA and this amazing organization.

Last month, I asked for your feedback about the "Night Wing" concept bike video that someone sent me, as well as what you thought could be on a future version of a new Gold Wing. We were overwhelmed with responses. Thirty-one comments and suggestions so far, with more still coming in as of this writing. Sixteen of which were geared toward the "Night Wing" concept bike and fifteen comments and suggestion on making a new Gold Wing a better bike. As many of you suggested, we hope someone at Honda reads this and is willing to use some of our Members ideas. Please read everyone's ideas in the Member Feedback section below and thank you all for writing and sharing your thoughts. If you have not sent in your comments or suggestions from the January Wingin' It, you can do that here if you wish. 

In reading many of your newsletters, folks are planning their ride calendars and events for this coming year. Well, please add to your calendar, GWRRA's Weekend at the Opry in Nashville, TN. We will hold an awesome, social event with our GWRRA family and friends at the world famous Opryland Hotel and Resort from August 29-31, 2014. There will be tours, seminars, a dinner/dance, social time, and much more. Remember, preregistration for this event is only $15 per Member and includes a t-shirt and a pin. And rooms at the phenomenal property start at only $110, including the resort fee. Rooms are almost 50% sold out, so get registered NOW! Check out all the details and register here or call 800-843-9460 to speak to one of GWRRA's friendly Member Services agents.

GWRRA is also very excited about Wing Ding 36 in Madison, July 2-5, 2014. There are many new events being planned and as always, the city of Madison loves our Members! So, make sure you get registered for Wing Ding early  and save on preregistration. Check out the Wing Ding 36 site here and get registered now or call one of our friendly Member Services agents at 800-843-9460! 2014 is going to be a great year full of activities for all our Members.      


It is with great appreciation that I acknowledge the contributors to the February Wingin' It. Folks get very busy and we are so grateful to the following people for sending in their articles, jokes and stories. And, it is also no secret that I have been known to "borrow" some interesting articles and stories from the great newsletters I have read over the previous month. Much appreciation to Ray and Sandi Garris for their articles. We want to thank Joe & Gracie Mazza for their Rider Education articles, Tom Hendricks for his continued contributions of stories and jokes, Gene Hanselman for his wonderful stories, and Terry Dare for your continued supply of great jokes. We also have a wonderful Gold Book story from Tom Spraque, as well as a Member Ride story from Walter Clement. There is a Chapter Story about IL-Q, submitted by Steve & Diane Gottschalk (IL-Assistant DD), as well as an article we borrowed from NV-E about "The Top 10 Reasons To Love A Biker."  And thanks to Mike Wright, our former President and Executive Director for submitting some very funny PUNS.  Again, don't forget to read all the Member Feedback in that section below.

And, don't forget to check out GWRRA's coupon section at the bottom of Wingin' It. This month you will receive a 33% discount on a GWRRA Black T-Shirt. Check it out!


We really hope you become a contributor to your newsletter, the Wingin' It. It is great to receive your articles, Chapter activities, jokes and stories! Please keep sending us your travelogues, rides, Chapter stories, Gold Book stories and favorite rides or winter adventures. Remember, don't worry if you think you are not a great writer, we have awesome editors here who will make your story sound terrific. Send your contribution to us here or to my email at the bottom of this article. 


Remember to check out GWRRA's website for all the latest news, benefits, updates and information. One more request, please forward this copy of Wingin' It to all your friends who ride! THANKS!!

Thanks for all your continued support! Ride safe and FIND-A-FRIEND!


Ed Price

GWRRA Events Manager | Wingin' It Editor 


Gold Wing Road Riders Association | 



"Friends for FUN, Safety & Knowledge"

800-843-9460 | 623-581-2500 (in Phoenix) | Fax 877-348-9416

In This Issue
Joke of the Month
Wing Ding 36
Inspirational Quotes
Looking for YOUR Articles
GWRRA & Facebook
Chapter Story
Word Play
Member Humor-PUNS
Chapter Article
Famous Quotes
WING WORLD magazine
Rescue Plus Reminder
Director's Article
Rider Education Article
Free Download
Gold Book Article
Another Member Story
Member Ride
Member Feedback
Featured Member Benefit
GWRRA Discount Coupon
Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List





Wife texts husband on a cold winter's morning...

"Windows frozen, won't open."

Husband texts back...

"Gently pour some lukewarm water over it.

Wife texts back 5 minutes later....

"Computer really screwed up now." 


Sent in by
Tom Hendricks
Thanks, Tom!




 "Dance as though no one is watching you, love as though you have never been hurt before, sing as though no one can hear you, live as though heaven is on earth!" 



"If you don't know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else."

-Lawrence J. Peter

Looking for Articles


Remember, we are looking for articles for YOUR e-Newsletter! 


Travelogues, Member and Officer profiles, Chapter activities, your stories about how joining GWRRA has positively affected your life, etc.


And don't forget those great Gold Book stories.


Please send your stories to me here.

Have questions or privacy concerns about becoming Socially Connected with your GWRRA Facebook friends... 
Click Here: Facebook 101
Chapter Story
Submitted By:
Steve & Diane Gottschalk

IL District, Assistant Directors

Article Written by:
Debra Pittman


More than a Casual Motorcycle Riding Group


IL Chapter Q of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association is more than a casual motorcycle riding group.  Made up of Members from all walks of life and all ages, this group shares the common joy of riding their Honda Gold Wing motorcycles, with a few riders of other touring bikes mixed in.   Members come from several counties in Southern Illinois.  The group meets once a month, currently at Bandana's in Carbondale, to share dinner, stories and plan for upcoming events.   


Events may include a dinner ride to an area restaurant or ice-cream shop or a weekend or week long ride to a rally in another state.   All share the joy of riding and knowing that when you are on a motorcycle, it is not about the destination-it's about the ride.


Chapter Q enjoys the opportunity to give back to the communities in which their Members live.  Working all year long to raise money to give to charities at the end of the year, they combine fun events, 50/50 raffles, and working concessions at athletic events to provide the funds to share. 


At the most recent monthly meeting, Chapter Q was able to donate $400 each to the Williamson County Shop with a Cop and the Jackson County Shop with a Cop programs, helping those programs to provide Christmas for under privileged children in their counties.  Additionally, the Chapter was able to sponsor two foster children through the Lutheran Social Service of Illinois to help them have a better Christmas. 


When the Chapter gathered for their annual Christmas party, instead of exchanging gifts, Members brought gift cards for the various grocery stores in whatever denomination they chose to bring.  Those cards, totaling $270, will be distributed between the area food banks to help them provide for the needs of their patrons.                     



Submitted by:
Tom Hendricks



  • Local Area Network in Australia ...The LAN down under.
  • A boiled egg is...hard to beat.
  • When you've seen one shopping center ... you've seen a mall.
  •  Police were called to a day care where a three-year-old was...resisting a rest.
  • Did you hear about the fellow whose whole left side was cut off? ... He's all right now.
  • If you take a laptop computer for a run you could ... jog your memory.
  • A bicycle can't stand alone; is two tired.
  • In a democracy it's your vote that counts; in feudalism, ... it's your Count that votes.
  • When a clock is hungry ... it goes back four seconds.






How does Moses make his tea?  Hebrews it.
Venison for dinner again?  Oh deer!

A cartoonist was found dead in his home.  Details are sketchy.

I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.

Haunted French pancakes give me the crepes.

England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.

I tried to catch some fog, but I mist.

They told me I had type-A blood, but it was a Type-O.

I changed my iPod's name to Titanic. It's syncing now.

Jokes about German sausages are the wurst.

I know a guy who's addicted to brake fluid, but he says he can stop any time.

I stayed up all night to see where the sun went, and then it dawned on me.

This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I'd never met herbivore.

When chemists die, apparently they barium.

I'm reading a book about anti-gravity.  I just can't put it down.



Sent in by
Mike Wright,
Former President & Executive Director GWRRA,
Fort Wayne, IN
Thanks, Mike!

What new items would you like to see added to the GWRRA Official Products Store the most?

* Hats  11% (29 total)
* Knives  11% (28 total)
* Buckles 11% (30 total)
* Riding Gear  67% (179 total)

Total Votes: 266  


Chapter Article
(borrowed from NV-E newsletter)

The Top 10 Reasons to Love a Biker

1. We have a greater sense of adventure.
You know the old adage about enjoying long walks on the beach? We like long rides to the beach, mountains, canyons, desert... there will always be something to enjoy about almost any travel locale. Give us a good road and a nice destination, and we're set. Forget expensive plane tickets, hotels and five star restaurants... we're just as happy eating at a good diner after a full day of riding. 

2. We're not terrified of the world around us.
Motorcyclist's are constantly reminded of our mortality-my parent/sibling/friends/friend's friend died riding a motorcycle" or "those things are dangerous you know". Yeah, we know. We also know you can die walking down the street, getting on an airplane, or from some random disease or virus. This takes us back to #1- we want to have a good time and try new things. 

3. We're good at budgeting.
Sure, we all have different ways of doing so... but we all know how to budget. That fancy bike upgrade might be $400, but we'll give up buying new clothes and going out to dinner for a few weeks in order to afford it. We'll understand when you don't want to go out and blow $100 at a Michelin-Star-having-restaurant, and we'll be stoked when you'd rather BBQ some grub and get down on an oil change in the garage instead.

4. We enjoy the little things.
The sun setting behind snowy mountain tops, little tornado of dust on the distant horizon, a low bank of fog creeping across a field- these are all moments that capture our hearts. The transition from a snow damaged asphalt road to fresh new pavement brings us great happiness. Forget constant complaints- we know how to look on the bright side of life. 

5. We're dedicated.
For most, riding a motorcycle isn't just a way to get to work... it's a way of life. One that just gets better the more time you put into it and generally isn't easy. It's not something that can just be given up at the drop of the hat, and that kind of determination translates well into other areas of life. When the going gets tough, motorcyclists get going. We're always willing to help out other motorcyclists, and generally have an elevated sense of the world around us. What the hell does that even mean, you ask? It means we look out for and help each other. Don't mess with the motorcycle family.

6. We're observant.
Our lives depend on looking all around us and seeing what we look at- so you're going to be safer around us, too. If we ever chauffeur you around in a car, you can rest assured we DO see that jerk trying to merge over into us. We'll always remember to look both ways, do our pre-flight safety checks, and we'll always remember that random item that needs to be picked up on the way home (we might take the long way though). 

7. We're adaptable.
Something came up? No big deal. Have to cancel plans? That's cool, we'll go have a date with our first love... our motorbike. When you're familiar with being on the road you develop an ability to go with the flow. Flat tires and dead batteries happen, so we know all about set backs and making things work. 

8. We're not the clingy type.
Text messages every couple hours? Probably not- we're too busy riding and then working so we can pay for our next service/road trip/bike upgrade. Being a motorcyclist gives you a certain level of independence which allows you to have your own lives within a relationship.

9.We give better massages.
For the most part, a motorcyclist's hands are not going to be overly dainty, soft, and weak. Between long trips grippin' the bars and wrenching, they'll have a good strong paws which means better, longer back rubs. Furthermore, after hours on the road, we'll know just where that knot is in your shoulder. You're welcome. 

10. Our romantic gestures kick ass.
Going with some stereotypical examples here (fair warning). Yeah, a girl baking you cookies is freaking awesome. But her showing up on her motorbike with those in her backpack is that much better. And sure, a guy showing up with roses is adorable. But a guy knocking
on your front door in his helmet with a rose that he carried in his teeth for miles to your front door is even cuter. Point, set, match.
submitted by:

Tom Hendricks   


"Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint."


- Mark Twain


Last week, I stated this woman was the ugliest woman I had ever seen. I have since been visited by her sister, and now wish to withdraw that statement..


- Mark Twain


By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you'll become happy; if you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.


- Socrates



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Director's Article
submitted by:
Ray & Sandi Garris

Warm or Cold - We are Wingers!


Lately our National news headlined all the frigid temperatures we were having all over the Country. Many records on the cold side were shattered. We were constantly concerned about the welfare of our Members all around the U.S. and Canada with the plunging temperatures and the addition of lots of heavy snow.


As these extremes finally returned to just the normal winter conditions, we found ourselves still thinking about our Members in the "Cold Country." Having always lived in either Southern California or Phoenix, we have trouble relating to these Members and how they cope with winter conditions.


As we browse through the many newsletters we receive from many of the Chapters, Districts and Regions, we noticed the many wonderful activities already planned for our Membership during the winter. One more time we are reminded what clever and innovative leaders we are blessed with throughout our Association.

Our Members are invited to "Winter Rendezvous", Winter Warm-Up", Beach Party Wingo, Cabin Fever, Crazy Supper, Sweetheart Week end, Spring Fling and lots more.


These fun-filled events all feature some very innovative ideas like a bike show (no bike in person, just a picture) game nights, themes with costumes, skits, raffles for Couple of the year baskets, Funny Hat Contest, Swap meet, Mascot contest, Pet show, and many more. These are all recipes for FUN. The ingredients are already in your Chapter membership.


The best part of these great ideas for winter events can also be used in areas where the very hot weather can limit our riding. I am looking forward to seeing some of these clever ideas being featured inside the air-conditioned spaces while the temperature outside is 105 degrees or more.


No matter whether your machine has 2, 3 or 4 wheels and is hot or cold, we have a FUN activity planned for you. All we need is your participation and support. Ask your Chapter Director today if you can help make it happen.


Have a lot of FUN


Rider Education Article
by Joe & Gracie Mazza

Road Rage


How many of us, at one time or another, have experienced anger toward a motorist for some dumb maneuver that put us motorcyclists in danger? Wikipedia defines road rage as aggressive or angry behavior by a driver of an automobile or other road vehicle. Such behavior might include rude gestures, verbal insults, deliberately driving in an unsafe or threatening manner, or making threats. Road rage can lead to altercations, assaults and collisions that result in injuries or even deaths. It can be thought of as an extreme case of aggressive driving.


The term originated in the U.S. in 1987-1988 from newscasters at KTLA in Los Angeles, when a rash of freeway shootings occurred on 405,110, and 10 freeways in Los Angeles, California. These shooting sprees even spawned a response from the AAA Motor Club to its members on how to respond to drivers with road rage or aggressive maneuvers and gestures.


The following are common manifestations of road rage:


  . Generally aggressive driving, including sudden acceleration, braking, and close



  . Cutting others off in a lane, or deliberately preventing someone from merging.


  . Chasing other motorists.


   . Flashing lights and/or sounding the horn excessively.


  . Yelling or exhibiting disruptive behavior at roadside establishments.


  . Driving at high speeds in the median of a highway to terrify drivers in both lanes.


  . Rude gestures.


  . Shouting verbal abuses or threats.


  . Assaulting other motorists, their passengers, CYCLISTS(author's capitalization) or



  . Exiting a car or dismounting a motorcycle to start confrontations, including striking

    other vehicles with an object.


  . Threatening to use or using a firearm or other deadly weapon.


Estimates of serious injuries or fatalities vary between 300 and 1200 by various agencies during six years of study of police records nationally. A number of studies have found that individuals with road rage were predominantly young (33.0 years of age on average) and male (96.6%).


Fourteen U.S. states have passed laws against aggressive driving. Only one state, California, has turned "road rage" into a legal term of art by giving it a particular meaning. In Virginia, aggressive driving is punished as a lesser crime (Class 2 misdemeanor) than reckless driving (Class 1 misdemeanor). One can only hope that other states will follow suit in efforts to control aggressive driving.


A 2007 study of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas concluded that the cities with the least courteous drivers (most road rage) are Miami, Phoenix, New York, Los Angeles, and Boston. The cities with the most courteous drivers (least road rage) are Minneapolis, Nashville, St. Louis, Seattle and Atlanta.


One serious incident involving road rage was reported by NBC News on 10/02/13. On Sept 29,2013, On New York City's Henry Hudson Parkway, a sport utility vehicle driven by Alexian Lien was involved in a minor incident in which he barely tapped the motorcycle driven by Christopher Cruz. Cruz neither lost control, nor incurred any damage to his motorcycle. Cruz was traveling with a large group ( over 50 ) of bikers. Lien's front rubber bumper had a haze from Cruz's tire and Cruz's tire was unscathed.


After the contact, and while Cruz was continuing his efforts to stop the Lien family vehicle, Lien brought his vehicle to a stop. The motorcyclists began to surround and attack Lien's vehicle and threaten Lien and his family; when Lien accelerated to escape the confrontation, he ran over and critically injured one of the motorcyclists. A fifty block chase by Cruz's companions ensued. The motorcyclists pursued Lien to Manhattan's 178th street, at the foot of the George Washington Bridge, and assaulted him. The bikers included off duty NYC police officers. Since the incident, eleven people have been arrested. Sources have reported a total of five off duty police officers were originally present on the West Side Highway, and at least two saw the attack.


Being able to control ones temper and therefore not falling victim to our own road rage is advisable at all times. Difficult, yes, but advisable just the same. All we can do as motorcyclists is to ride as safely as we can, be alert to the possibility of danger created by motorists and hope to react quick enough to survive and ride another day. Losing control of our temper only places all involved in what can escalate into something none of us want to look back on and regret.


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Gold Book Article
Submitted by--
Tom Sprague, TX-O, #198030
Webmaster Chapter O
Texas District Webmaster
Texas District NL Editor.

Use Your Gold Book (Service Directory)


I want to encourage everyone to take a look in the Gold Book.  Look under the state you live in and then the town you live in.  Find your name and review the phone number listed for you, as well as the letters to the right of your name.  The phone number is obvious, I have put in the number anyone can call and will normally always reach me or at least leave a message I normally quickly retrieve.  The letters to the right are coded to mean a whole host of thinks you are willing to offer fellow GWRRA Travelers.


A= Truck/Trailer

B= Phone Calls Only

C= Tent Space

D= Lodging

E= Tools

F= Tour Guide


You can even update the Gold Book online.  You can also opt out of having your name in the Gold Book, but I am not sure why anyone would want to do this.  


Imagine yourself out on the road, and over 1500 miles from home.  Your bike starts to sputter and roll to a stop along side the road.  You look down and you realize your alternator just gave up the ghost (again).  Fortunately, the battery is less that a year old and you pull the fuses which enable you to go a couple of miles further to the hotel you previously arranged for.  What do you do?  Break out the Gold Book and start calling people closest to the town you are in.  After about 10 calls you connect to someone that says he is sorry but the Region has a rally that weekend and almost everyone is at the rally more than 200 miles away.  It is now getting to be around 5 in the evening.  You are facing being stuck in a town for 2 or 3 days to get a replacement alternator.  The motorcycle shops do not have an alternator and would have to order one.  You know you can do the same via the Internet but you are in the middle of a 8,500 mile trip.  Being stuck in a town for 2 or more days was not part of the plan.  Fortunately the person you are able to contact does give you a number of someone that may be able to help out.  This seems to be your last chance, and you call the number and start talking with a guy name Bill Wagner.  Well, it seems Bill is a semi-retired Honda technician, and he carries some spare parts and he has a replacement alternator.  You hear Bill tell you he has a replacement alternator but you cannot believe what you have just heard.  Bill again states he has an alternator, but only one issue remains.  How to get the alternator from Bill to you.  Bill is over 60 miles away and you do not have any transportation and all the car rental places are closed.  Well, Bill decides it is a nice evening for a ride and will bring the alternator to you.  In a little over an hour, Bill shows up on his GL1500 with an alternator on the back seat.  It takes about 15 minutes to get the new alternator in the bike and Bill is on the road back to Billings, MT.  I am relaxing in the hotel hot tub and all is good.  Yes, that was me (Tom Sprague), in Red Lodge, MT this year.


Of course, many of you have your own stories about being saved, or saving someone.  I am sure you can even talk with our own Texas District Director and ask him about a recent experience of having an alternator going out on him.  I think he went through a similar experience and now a good friend of his had a replacement alternator to save his day.  I have to confess I was only passing on what someone else had done for me.


So in conclusion, UPDATE the Gold Book and save someone from disaster.  You never know when you may need a little help. 


(Ed. note: Here is the link to update your Gold Book settings-- , log in and use the manage my record section to change your settings.)



Another Member Story:
submitted by: Gene A Hanselman
Member #135067, Chapter OH-D3


My favorite sport through life has been baseball. When Eric, my eldest son, was a tiny baby he would crawl upon my lap and watch baseball on TV with me. He could hit a ball at the age of 3 and loved to play the game in Little League at age 8. He started out with the tools of ignorance by becoming a catcher. He was usually the best kid on the teams and had to pitch or catch in every game. He was a natural and really understood the game and how it should be played. At age 11 he was chosen to play on an All Star Team at the end of the season. At a tournament held in Columbus, Ohio his team lost in the championship to Upper Arlington. They won a lot of tournaments in and around Columbus that summer. The Championship game started out with the Star Spangled Banner being played and introduction of the players. After the game Eric was awarded the All Tournament Team Catcher and Tourney MVP. As I waited for him to walk back to the car I noticed he was sweaty and dirty from a hard played game wearing a stained uniform. He was visibly tired and exhausted because he had caught a double header that day. As he approached me and the car, carrying all his equipment and trophies he exclaimed "Boy was that Star Spangled Banner great to hear". I was never so proud or happy in my life as I was at that metric moment in time.

Eric's baseball career was filled with a lot of his friendly team members, new friends he played against and many wins while playing in quality leagues with admirable players. He became a terrific catcher and was recruited by many summer teams and different colleges. He made plays that not only amazed me, but many coaches and people in the know. He made catching a real art and looked effortless while doing it. He had very few passed balls, called great games and threw out most base runners. He struck out very few times, could hit for power and average. He would bunt when called upon for a hit or a sacrifice. He could knock the ball to all fields and was a great clutch hitter. He made an unassisted triple play in a high school game as catcher, which is a difficult task.


Upon graduating high school he worked in a factory but soon learned it was not meant to be. He drove to Florida and back one weekend to try out for different college coaches. He was recruited by an Iowa school and made his college debut as first string catcher and soon became quite an asset. He helped turn a proverbial losing franchise into a winning season while excelling in his studies in Pre Med and writing articles for the school paper under his pen name, Michael Rey. His sophomore year was met with much anticipation, not only a winning season but winning the league. During spring training in the Metrodome, Eric's career and hopes for the big show was trumped by a career ending achilles injury while rounding second base. After much therapy on his ankle and a lot of re-cooperation it was decided to sign another catcher that showed potential from another college and Eric was shelved.


Eric did not return to Iowa the following year, instead he enrolled at a local college and excelled in Nursing School. He graduated with honors and earned his nursing certification. He worked in many hospitals within the Columbus area and has served his tenure as an Orthopedic Surgery Nurse at a Med Surge Clinic. Eric has recently assumed a position at Dublin Methodist Hospital. It was difficult for him, and I, to accept the fact that his baseball strife had ended. Many coaches, fans, friends and family believed he could have made it to the big leagues.


It takes much dedication, perseverance and commitment to make it as a pro athlete. Eric realized he was not a kid any longer. He became a responsible husband, father and employee. He has made a difference in people's lives by assisting doctors in different policies and procedures. He has 2 wonderful sons, one of which is a left-hand pitcher in little league. He makes a good living, attends church and still loves this wonderful country.


I still remember that Sunday when he was 11 and his elation over the playing of the National Anthem.

Member Ride
Submitted by
Walter Clement 
Member #

Riding Alone

It was late November when I set out on my journey.  Temperature, twenty-six degrees.  My trip began in Michigan, my final stop Las Cruces, New Mexico.   


Despite the challenges of the cold, rain and warm weather, my trip was successful, all because of planning, training, friends and my Gold Wing.  This was my first solo trip across America. Traveling long distances requires detailed planning.  On the average, it will take about two riding seasons before you are ready to go out alone.  During your practice/trial rides, you should discover what equipment/clothing you would need for the open road.


During the planning stage, you should ride your bike in all types of weather conditions; driving through the heat of summer, rain, cold weather and into the shadows of the night.  On the road is no place to discover that you lack the skill to negotiate temped situations; road and traffic conditions changes rapidly.  Unless you are a trained motorcycle cop, an ERC class offered by GWRRA is a must.  You will learn how handle your bike; long after class you must continue practicing what you learned.  It was my luck; it rained during my ERC class.  This experience gave me the confidence to manage my bike on wet road conditions.  Another class I recommend to attended is the class on tires; you will learn about tire performance on various road conditions.   No matter how great of a rider you are, I suggest attending a riding class at lease every two years.  To better manage your bike in difficult and or spontaneous road situations, you should attend an advance-riding course.  


On long trips, I have had to perform evasive maneuvers; rapid stops; turning around in small or narrow streets, had it not been for the GWRRA training, I may not have successfully reached my destinations.  You may encounter objects on the road, or an object that has just fallen from a car/truck.  My evasive maneuvering came into play when a mattress blew off a car.  It is when conditions rapidly change that your training kicks in.  Another important skill to learn and practice is turning around in small spaces.  On the open road, you may encounter situations that may require you to turn your bike on narrow roadways.  I found myself navigating tight turn at gas stations; a truck parked parallel in front of the gas pump and a car was parked behind me.  It was a small station.  Leaving the station required tight maneuvers.  Having the skills to make tight turns not only looks good it may prevent damage to your bike when negotiating in tight spaces and through road debris.   Only you will know how terrified you feel, onlookers will see how well you ride.   


Conduct several shake down rides with all of your gear.  Riding on the road is no place to discover that your gear does not fit.  The most common conditions you will encounter are rain and the cold weather or both at the same time.  Make sure that you wear the clothing in the configuration that you plan to use during your ride; you must anticipate changing conditions before riding into bad weather.  On many roads, you may encounter rain, whereby the next stop is fifty miles away.  A raincoat may not be enough; I wear under my raincoat a heated jacket liner.  I have found that your raincoat should be the brightest object on your body.  With all of the pretty lights, people take notice of your high visibility clothing before they see your bike or your pretty lights.  I wear a 'safety green' rain jacket.  Before riding on the open road, know your limitations and be mindful that safety is first.  If you are uncomfortable riding in the rain, stop at a safe location. However, always be prepared yourself for rain.    


On rain jackets, made for bikers, the rain hood fits underneath you helmet.  Before hitting the road, wear your rain jacket and hood, you should know how your helmet feels with the hood underneath.  Long distance riding will require you to wear your helmet for long periods; the helmet that fits for short trips may become painful over a long distances.  During preparation, wear your helmet for at least three hours.  You will discover if that helmet is your long distance head bucket.  Remember; wear your helmet for two main reasons; for safety and for bugs.  My helmet has been struck by rocks from trucks and impacted by a large bugs; the rock chipped my helmet; the impact was enough to cause me to twitch my head.  Had I not worn a helmet, I would have received severe injuries.  No matter how big your windshield, objects seem to find its way to make contact with your helmet.  


I ride a 2010 Gold Wing, I found it is best to pack your rain gear on the left side, because on the right, a hot exhaust pipe runs behind the saddlebag.  Over the years, I believe the heat degraded my frog togs lining causing it to leak during the rain.  I switch sides and I have had no problems.   


Also, know your bike.  You may encounter a flat tire.  I found that many Honda shops did not know what size tire a Gold Wing takes.  You should have the knowledge of your bike tire.  If you ever have to have a tire changed, inspect your bike and tires to be sure the tire fits properly and the valve cap is on.  I have had severe nail bite episodes after repairs, one dealership place forgot to put the valve cap on, another put on the wrong size tire, yet another did not tighten the oil filter.  Inspect your bike before you take it off the lot.          

Before leaving on your long distance ride, establish a go or no go point.  My go or no go point was two hours out; for any reason if I feel uncomfortable or if somethings wrong and the conditions cannot be corrected, turn around and head back.  There is no shame in having a safe ride.  I was on a 1900-mile ride, and five hours out, I felt sick; I had symptoms of a mild food poisoning.  I stopped at a hotel for the night.  In the morning, I felt better and without hesitation, I turned around.  I was sick for the next three days.  Failing to exercise caution could result in catastrophic results.    


If you ride long distance, and stay at hotels, sign up for their award programs.  You will be shocked how fast you will receive free nights. My ride began late November; when I began my journey, temperature was twenty-six degrees.  I was riding from cold to warm weather. 


Cold weather riding can be challenging.  However, with proper clothing, riding in cold conditions is no different from riding in warm weather.  Over my heated clothing, I wore a Tour master Transition Jacket and over my heated pants liner, I wore Sliders Quest 3 Kevlar Riding Pants; heated foot footpads and heated gloves.  Even though your bike may have heated grips, you should wear heated gloves.  I wear tall boots to block out wind from coming under my pant legs.  I must warn you, before you leave, clean your heated clothing connections with denatured alcohol.  You will find that your connections may build up a film and during cold weather, your riding clothing may not heat as well. 


On the road is no place to discover how to put on your gear or discover it does not fit.  You should have developed the knowledge of what and/or when to wear a particular set of clothing.  Carry two pairs of glasses, sunglasses and clear lens glasses.  Traditional transitions lenses do not get dark enough for long distance daylight riding.  I discovered the active transition lenses get dark behind your helmet shield and dark enough for the road.  For road comfort, I suggest an MP3 player and an XM Radio.  There are many moments music is wonderful.  My MP3 has over thirty hours of music.  Between my XM Radio and MP3, I have music to fill the air during my rides.    


There are many times you may not find adequate placed to clean your hands.  These are the personal care items I carry on every ride.

1.           Baby wipes; they are bigger than handy wipes.

2.           Liquid hand sanitizer

3.          Two pairs of riding gloves

4.           Eye glasses cleaner.  (Clean your glasses, face shield and wind shield often)

5.           If you ride in the rain put RainDex on your face shield.    


If you live in Michigan, parking a bike is no problem, there are no hills.  In other parts of the country, parking your bike may become a challenge.  If you park your bike facing downhill your bike may roll forward and tip over, if you are pulling a trailer, your bike may roll backwards.  Finding a suitable place to park may become a challenge. 


Just as important as training and practicing, is communicating with your GWRRA Chapter Members.  During planning, you should interview Chapter Members who enjoyed riding long distances; you will receive a wealth of information.  In my Chapter, Motor City Wings S2, are two of the most incredible long distance riders in the world, Willie Wooten and Ernest Cornelius. These men are an encyclopedia of information for long distance travel; the information I gained just listening and asking questions benefited me on the road.

You should have cash, a credit card, debit card and gas card.  For gas, I use my gas card, and at the end of the month, I use my phone to pay the bills.  Traveling alone, I found it best to reduce the amount of cash I carry.


I usually carry two hundred dollars and if I need cash, I can always find a WalMart. I have a virtual road coordinator/navigator.  While on the road, I would call my coordinator to give me locations of the next hotel.  This way I found the best price and best rated hotels.  One app I suggest to put on your phone is, it is all you need to find rated hotels at nice prices - you can book it and pay for it right from your phone.     


Make sure you have your insurance card and a telephone number of your insurance agent and Rescue Plus, a service offered through GWRRA.  In Fenton, Missouri, a truck struck my bike.  Make sure that you call the police anytime your bike is involved on an accident.  I called the police and Rescue Plus and a tow truck was dispatched.  I received a text with the estimate time of arrival and a follow up text to verify of the truck arrived.  The driver towed my bike to a local Honda shop.  There, was damage to the front fender, my bike was tested for structural damage.  The mechanic made temporary repairs  and I scurry back to the open road.  If your bike is ever involved in an accident, and it is ride-able, take your bike through all the gear, check the reverse gear and breaking functions.  I discovered that my reverse gear was damaged because of the accident.


A successful trip requires planning and training. There are always debates or how far do you ride each day?  If you ask any seasoned traveler, your answer will very.  The distance will depend on your comfort and your bike.  Remember, it is difficult to know when you are getting fatigued.  When fatigue sets in, often it is too late and tragedy becomes the outcome.  I suggest instead of miles to travel, use time of travel.  I found it best for me to do six - nine hours of travel time per day.  However, on many days I left the hotel at eight in the morning and stopped at one in the afternoon.  I just decided to stop for no other reason, just to stop.  The time methods allow more comfort in planning.  You can do more hours, be mindful of your physical health and fatigue factors.  If you are riding four hours and you find that your next three hours will be winding roads and or heavy wind, stop and rest for the night.  Safety always comes first.  In hot weather, drink plenty of water and monitor yourself for dehydration.        


It is important to have the knowledge of your equipment and your bike.  You should have a small cache of tools to perform small repairs, like changing light bulbs, fuses and tightening screws or bolts.  "Failing to plan is a plan to fail."  Ride safely and sensibly.


Here are some Members' comments we received from last months Wingin' It
on the subject of the "Night Wing" concept bike and your suggestions for improvements to the Gold Wing.

Please respond to me here with your thoughts on this idea.

>Too much plastic in the fairing. Looks like it gets in the way of the rider. However I wonder if it has any handling improvements or a smoother clutch or sixth gear.  And what's a YouTube video of a bike with no riding motion or sound?  Leaves me skeptical if Japanese designers have ever been to North America or elsewhere to ride a Wing on the highway or back roads.
West Kelowna, BC

>Hi Ed,
Love the sleek design of this bike. Very futuristic, however as a rider with back problems I still need to sit upright on the bike, not hunched over, and I want a windshield to give me full coverage. That design appears if I sit upright that I might have to be picking bugs out of my teeth!! Tom

Love the new concept Gold Wing! Can't wait to see it come to reality. I think the next improvements on the Gold Wing will  be more LED lights, headlights, tail lights, turn signals and more with more LED digital displays behind blacked out plastic at the dashboard for a more streamlined appearance. Donald, PA-B

Interesting concept, A bit wide, it will need lots of lights on the back, and please put some lights on the side so it can be seen from either side, and it will need to be minimum 2000cc, reverse is a must!!! More windshield, or make a couple of different options, and look at how BMW has a moving windshield. That is the best idea in 50 years to help control air and shield angle/height. Come on Honda, get it together. If it can't pull a trailer, you will automatically cut out 50% of the purchasing public.

Note: We are always looking for new folks to join, but I find in our economy, with a new Wing going for 23k, most people would rather buy a used car and some furniture, and help friends and family with that money.

How can we get back to basics, how do we get our younger generations involved, how do we get their families involved? I think this is much more important that the next generation Wing or "Night Wing" or whatever we want to call it and charge 30K for it that even I won't buy, and I can afford it. Rex



The look says that someone is trying to appeal to a younger crowd than the Wing currently attracts.  I for one like the look but wouldn't ride the bike across the country.   The fairing looks too low to sit up behind and I don't crouch for very long periods of time.  Also, the seat doesn't look comfortable enough for an all day ride.  If I could afford both a touring bike and a sport bile (fat chance!), I'd own one.

Hope to see you in Madison,

The Mad Russian


>I like it overall based on the video tour.  The back end could have better lines but otherwise it's good. Loran 




Members also sent in their comments on what they would like to see on a new Gold Wing.  

Here are their suggestions: Write me here if you would like to add your comments. 


>Honda is just releasing a new Valkerie.  This bike has 19-inch wheels front and back giving the bike more ground clearance.  I would like to see 19-inch wheels on the standard Gold Wing, as ground clearance has been a problem for me, even with Traxxion suspension upgrades on my 2006 GL1800.  For those of us who live for the twisty roads, this would be a huge improvement in performance. Thank you for asking. Dave


>Haven't yet understood why the top of the line  Honda Tour Bike doesn't come with an electric, adjustable windshield?   Shouldn't a top of the line bike for Honda have that feature?  I love that feature on Sport Tour bikes, but wanted the Wing because it is a better "two up" bike.

Also, there appears to be an entire industry built around making the seats comfortable.  Why on earth can't a stock seat be the bomb, vs. being a bomb?    Again, we are talking about the TOP of the line Honda bike.

Just a couple of thoughts. Glenn


>My list is short.

LED headlights with more light forward. I added HID and really like this effect, but LED more reliable and efficient
More ground clearance
Bluetooth connectivity to bike from all devices (cb/radio/gps/phone/helmet).  Easy access power cord to charge helmet while riding. 
Easy stuff. Bill

>While the Gold Wing is the standard of motorcycle luxury in the United States, being stable, dependable, and predictable the engine is stuck back in the early 1970's.  The same valve train found on early 350/400/550/750 engines is still in use. Even the automotive industry for the most part is using valve trains that make the GL valve train look antiquated.

The following updates would bring the GL into the 1990's of the automotive world. We wouldn't want to make to many improvements.


Smaller displacement engine with an improved valve train and multiport injection to improve the power and fuel economy (to meet near future EPA standards).

With the smaller and lighter engine to further decrease weight the use of a higher strength frame (ex: from T3 aluminum to T6).

Use of Graphite fiber on/in the engine and transmission components to further reduce weight.

Using a tablet computer to manage the display/communications/entertainment/navigation package.

Cutting the cost and overall weight to bring the Gold Wing more inline with the ST 1300 and dramatically increasing sales volume.  Reed


>Hi Ed,

I'm a relatively new Gold Wing rider and GWRRA Member (about 18 months).  I'm in my mid 40's, six feet tall.  I have already installed handlebar risers on my 2008 Airbag model, and am interested in replacing the seat now.  I may also look at Roadsmith's Comfort Controls.

What would I like to see on a new Wing?

-          Adjustable handlebars

-          Adjustable footrests/controls

-          6 speed transmission, or at least a higher gear ratio for 4th and 5th

-          Standard driving lights (safety / visibility) that are bright!

-          Standard headlight and taillight modulators (switched, perhaps, so they can be turned off)

-          A single solution that includes WiFi, Bluetooth, and USB that integrates CB, Radio, Mobile phone, phone Navigation, maybe even a GoPro camera that works through the Navigation Monitor (turn GoPro on/off with map Zoom switch)

-          White interior for the trunk (way easier to see 'stuff')

-          Integrated LED light for trunk and saddlebags

-          A bigger vent window on the windshield

-          Train horn

-          Here's a weird one:  Run flat tires or self-sealing tires

 Happy New Year, Chris, Aurora, CO


>The single feature on my 2012 1800 that I miss most is the air compressor that was available on my 1200 and 1500. I now have to carry a compressor to be able to properly set the pressures when the tires are cold. The removal of the tool kit is more annoyance than inconvenience, since the last time I used the tool kit (on the bike) was with my 1200. It was pretty handy for a lot of other things, though! I once got a Harley stranded in Death Valley running with my 1500 tool kit!


I also think the manuals should come in some sort of protective slip case, and the manual securing strap in the saddlebag should accommodate the slip case. The 1800 manuals came without a case, and when you buy an aftermarket case, it will no longer fit under the securing strap. A slip case with room for a Gold Book would be perfect, especially if new Wings came with a brochure for GWRRA in the case's Gold Book pocket!


I miss the locking storage compartment on the right faring that I had on my 1500. I also miss being able to put two flip up or full face helmets in the trunk, like I could with the 1500. The 1800 trunk surrendered space for styling, and the compromise wasn't worth it for the rider. The slant-back saddlebags aren't as roomy as the 1500's more squared off design, and the last couple of inches of the 1800 saddlebags are very difficult to use for much of anything except a wadded up cleaning rag.


Enough whining. The 1800 is a significantly superior bike to the 1500 that the inconveniences given to style over function are a minor sacrifice to gain the vastly improved low speed stability, the power, and the cornering of the 1800. I'll never go back!

George, NV-E 


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Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA) is pleased to remind you of some of your Member Benefits.



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GWRRA Black Pocket T-Shirt

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Offer Expires: 2/28/14--mention Wingin' It



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