They're back, and they didn't get in trouble.
Five members of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association left Kenai on June 22 for a ride to the annual bikers' Wing-Ding in Billings, Mont. Jerry Russell, Don Hamilton, Bob Walker, Don Jones and Dennis Bible all made it safely to Montana and returned last week.
"It was a great trip," Walker said. "We had absolutely fantastic weather all the way there, no rain, and nice and warm. We had fun, fun, fun."
Not only fun, but they won an award, too. On June 28, at Crow's Nest Pass, Alberta, the five riders participated in a bikers' rally, where they won the prize for "Farthest traveled male riders" for 2000. The award was given for their having traveled 2,600 miles to Alberta, and that's not counting 492 more miles to get to Billings.
"That's a very coveted award. Everyone fights to get that one," Jerry Russell said. The "farthest traveled female rider" award went to an Alaska woman from Fairbanks.
"Alaska took them all this year," Walker said.
More than 20,000 bikers attended the Wing-Ding in Montana. The guest star was Kenny Rogers, who did a concert there.
"Dennis looks so much like Kenny Rogers, we had a lot of fun with that," Walker said. "People at the show came up and asked him if he was Kenny Rogers, and we'd say, yeah, he's just traveling incognito with us."
The group also attended the national Gold Wing Road Riders Association's "experienced riders course" which evaluates riding ability, road safety and other achievements of the organization's members.
"They call it 'experienced,' but no matter how experienced you are, you can always learn more," Walker said. "I've owned 45 motorcycles in my life, and I still learned a lot from this course."
Riding with the group to Montana was Debbie Dubois, daughter of Hamilton. Dubois rode with her dad all the way, and enjoyed it so much, she ordered a new 750 Honda Shadow for herself when they returned.
Hamilton's wife, Leslie, made the return trip with him.
"I had a wonderful trip. I didn't even get sore," she said. "The scenery was great, so much different than riding in a car. You don't have a roof over you, and you can look up and see the sky all around you."
Russell agreed that it was a fine experience.
"I've probably made that trip half a dozen times, and each time I swear I won't do it again," he said. "But this time, I'm ready to go again."
Next year's Wing-Ding is planned for North Carolina. Walker said the five riders may go to it.
"Then next year we'll definitely win the plaque for 'Farthest Traveled' again," Russell said. "And we'll only have to go one way to do it."
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