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Submitted by: Mark Rovang
Edson, Alberta, Canada, Chapter AB-B

Back in January of this year my wife and I began planning for a late summer ride to the Black Hills of South Dakota with our friends Doug and Kathy Smith.

To allow us more time on the bike exploring new roads we often trailer our bikes and then ride from an area closer to our final destination. This year we decided to trailer to Billings, Montana and then ride from there. We contacted Chuck and Betty Bonnett, Chapter Directors for MT-B via email to ask if they had anyone that could store our truck and trailer while we were out riding.

Within a day we had a reply. Not only would did they have a parking spot for us, they also wanted to host a picnic BBQ in our honor.

The night we arrived, Tony met us at our hotel, helped us unload our bikes and then guided us to our parking spot. From there he gave us a ride to the park where the Chapter was hosting the picnic. We had a great meal and an awesome visit with many of the Members that were able to make it. It was a great way to begin our trip. The next day, we left on our ride. We rode to Gardiner, MT and explored the Mammoth area if Yellowstone NP. The next day we explore more of the park with Old Faithful being the highlight of the day. We ended that day's ride in Cody, Wyoming.

Because the weather offered the opportunity we chose to ride the Beartooth the next day. We stopped in Red Lodge for lunch and then made our way back to Cody via Belfry, MT.

It was on the return trip to Cody that things went very wrong. About 10 miles out of Cody a couple deer leapt onto the highway. Because the ditches were deep we didn't even see them until it was too late. I knew a collision was unavoidable so I tried to impact the deer in a way so as to give us the best possible chance. We hit the deer and for a moment I thought I was going to be able to stay upright, but that was not to be. We went down hard on our right side and the crash was quite severe. Our riding partners, Doug and Kathy Smith were right behind us and immediately went to our aid. We were also very fortunate that one of the first people to stop, happened to be a doctor from nearby Powell, MT. I wish I had her name.

My wife Lori and I were taken via ambulance to Powell and from there I was helicoptered to Billings where I was put in ICU to begin treatment for multiple broken bones, road rash, as well as a punctured and collapsed lung. Lori had surgery on her badly injured thumb as well as treatment for road rash and bumps and bruises.

Chuck and Betty took the time to visit my wife and I in the hospital a few times which was real nice. They, along with Chapter Members Pam and Gary Schlenke, also assisted our riding partners to recover my damaged bike and continued to store our trailer and gear.

These folks, along with all the Members of MT-B, have our heartfelt thanks for all they did for us and our friends to make this unfortunate event manageable and worry free. What a great group of people.

Hopefully someday we will be able to return, thank them in person and then finish the ride that we started.

GWRRA is an awesome Association and Chuck and Betty are great examples of the kind of folks that make up the organization.

Please take a moment to thank them for all that they have done and being great ambassadors for the GWRRA.

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