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Gold Book Story ~Thank You, Bill & Linda~
by John Papson
Chapter "O" Nebraska

For our anniversary this year I decided to surprise my wife with a small 1,513 mile road trip on our GL1800 2005 Gold Wing from Omaha to Dallas-Fort Worth Texas (Metroplex area). In September of this year, we wanted some much needed "alone time" and to round out the trip, believe it or not, we had wanted to go see the "in-laws". We started our trip on a beautiful Friday afternoon heading south and stayed the weekend at Bonner Springs just outside of Kansas City, Kansas.

On Sunday morning, we headed south again to Texas. I wish I could say our whole trip was uneventful... It was in Oklahoma, on I35 south just past Tonkawa, when I noticed the bike was beginning to have a slight vibration in the handlebars. After about a mile or so, I see a rest area just ahead, so I tell my co-rider I'm pulling over to check things out. I kick off the cruise control and my slight vibration turns into a shimmy. My shimmy starts to shake, then our shake begins to rattle, and by the time I'm ready to completely stop, I think we're going to roll.

GREAT! JUST GREAT! Happy Anniversary Honey! We're in the middle of nowhere on a Sunday with a broken wing, and I do mean nowhere. This rest area in Oklahoma had a dumpster. That's it! A dumpster! All you can do is rest, and dump your trash. Ok! First things first, I inspected both tires and could find nothing wrong. I know I didn't hit anything in the road and could find no damage anywhere. I called back to our friends in Chapter "O" and was able to talk to Les and Rick about what it could be. Just hearing a friendly voice made us feel a little bit safer. They said, based on the symptoms, it must be something with the tires. I figured I could maybe make it to the next exit, two miles down the road. Exit 23 Billings, Oklahoma had a truck stop and a Dairy Queen, not sure why I thought ice cream would fix things, but it couldn't hurt.

Wobbling our way back onto the road (and my co-rider with her eyes closed), we got back up to vibrating two more miles down the road to Exit 23 which is about one hour north of Oklahoma City. We got into the parking lot of the truck stop and I found out it's best to eat ice cream while assessing the situation. I disconnected from our trailer and moved the bike about three feet when, after another inspection, the bulge in the back tire was now very noticeable.

I got my first Gold Book after joining GWRRA. Like most people I looked through it and thought how nice, what a great idea, but I put it in the trunk of my bike, knowing I'll probably never use it. Each year I would get a new book, look it over and replace it, knowing I'll probably never use it. GUESS WHAT! It was still there and still worked great!

I was able to talk with John from Stillwater, Oklahoma who agreed, I was in fact out in the middle of nowhere on a Sunday with a bad back tire and most Honda dealers aren't open on Mondays. "However there's a guy in Perry, Oklahoma, about 20 miles away, named Bill. He works on his bike and I doubt he has a back tire, but he may be able to help you out with a tow or something."

This is where my story is unbelievable. I called Bill in Perry. Not only did Bill take time out of his busy day to help us, he also had a back tire. He had recently triked his wing and kept the rim and back tire and by the way, it looks brand new. He was able to find it, air it up, and put it in his truck (with Linda, his wife & co-rider), his tools, and drive 20+miles down the road to us.

Yes! you can change a back tire on an 1800 Gold Wing in a parking lot. It only took Bill and me about 15 minutes to change the tire. Funny thing is, I had watched the tire changing video on the web a few weeks earlier and I now know why. I removed my right highway peg first so it wouldn't get damaged. Then I was able to borrow the floor mats from in front of the store to lay the bike down on its side and get the tire out the bottom.

If that's not enough, he helped me change the tire with his tools, took my old rim and bad tire off my hands, and then to make sure we were safe on down the road, he and Linda were kind enough to follow us back to the Perry exit. So, as it turns out, we only lost about four hours travel time. We arrived safely at North Richland Hills, TX at about 11:30pm that night, all thanks to them.

Cheryl and I would like to thank Bill and Linda from the bottom of our hearts, for all the help they provided us. They were true saviors for traveling that far to unselfishly help us. We look forward to returning the favor someday. I think we'd still be somewhere in Oklahoma if not for them.

"Read More Featured Stories From February 2012 Wingin' It.