Wing World

Wing World is the magazine of GWRRA. The Gold Wing Road Riders Association is probably the largest Gold Wing association in the world.

I was introduced to GWRRA and Wing World by Hauke back in 2002. The benefits of membership, having regard to our planned US trip were manifest.

Long after that memorable motorcycle adventure I continued to subscribe to Wing World. There is, for me, a mix of nostalgia on the pages of the mag. Articles about bikes that, in my young days were ‘state of the art’ serve to educate those who arrived long after production ceased,

Stu Oltman – the workshop guy, seemed to know how to solve every problem people chose to write in about.

The development of the ‘web’ as a place to ask questions and find answers has made magazine publishing of any sort increasingly hard. Printing and posting bring costs and lack the immediacy of always on internet.

I rediscover Wing World online in 2018 looking glossier that the old magazine. The images carry more punch and the writing is every bit as good as I remember. 

I’m sounding nostalgic, perhaps I am. I recently sold ‘our’ Gold Wing. I now realise that bike was not mine alone. All the major tours made with her were  made in the company of others, my son Jez in 2002 and in 2010 and 2012 with my wife Niki. So yes she was our bike, fondly remembered despite the issues that beset her time on the island of Cyprus (of which more on another day).

The dusty pile of magazines may have gone from my den, but it sure is good to know that the trove of information and photos that they held has been given new life, right here amongst the trillions of other bits and bytes that drive our daily lives.

Wing World – Stu Oltman article, the trigger for this writing, can be found here.

1st draft – February 2018.

She’s Gone

Just before Christmas 2017 I got a call from a guy who knew I had a Goldwing. He wanted to know if the bike was for sale. He told me that his friend had recently purchased an 1800 and that he wanted an 1800 but that he was happy to buy a 1500 if he could find the right bike.

He wanted to know what I’d sell the bike for and I agreed we would speak after I’d given the matter some thought. A week passed and I got a polite follow up call. I quoted a figure and we arranged a viewing. 

With two other Wing’s to view that day, after a thorough inspection of my Goldwing, the interested party drove off. I though that that would be the end of the matter. I had of course cleaned the Wing and she was looking rather lovely. 

The next day I determined that I would resolve the sub-optimal foot brake issue. With Niki lending a hand, or should I say a foot to press down the brake pedal as required, we bled the brakes. Fresh brake fluid in the lines and  a short road test confirmed that we had indeed improved things. 

More cleaning and polishing followed as I reassembled the plastic. Gaining working access to the rear caliper and to the rear mounted master cylinder, for the split braking system, requires the removal of the side panniers and other ancillary plastic panels. This creates cleaning opportunities. Polishing and repolishing – she really was looking good. 

Niki when providing one of the many mugs of tea that such work calls for remarked how lovely the bike was looking. This cue lead me to the Jethro joke about how ‘a man would have to be a fool to sell a car with such a low mileage’. If you haven’t heard the rest of the joke, I apologise. 

Needless to say, my friend phoned back to arrange a further visit. I was told to expect his ‘expert’ and his wife. The wife bowed out. She agreed the deal, in advance, as long as our man sold one of his three other motorcycles! 

The expert owns a Wing that he has as a long term project. He knew what he was looking for as he inspected the bike and road tested her. I only winced once. Well twice actually. The first wince happened when the expert revved the bike to its maximum rpm and held it there. Something I have never done, with any bike. Why would you? The engine survived. 

Once the road tests had been conducted, papers were produced and signed and exchanged. My friend drove off leaving me with a cheque. His expert drove the Wing away. How did it feel? It felt strange. After such a long association with one bike it was bound to feel odd. I know that she has gone to a good home and that her story will continue for many years to come. 

We had our adventures, we covered a few miles in a few countries and on a couple of continents but I have to admit to lacking confidence in my ability to keep her upright in a slow manoeuvre on a  loose surface. Here on Cyprus there are a huge number of ‘spots’ where a loose surface is or could be present. 

What next? Time will tell. I quite fancy…

Fast forward to today, January 23rd 2018. On the way home from Ygeia Polyclinic, Limassol I decided to visit my barber in Skarinou, a quick phone call confirmed he was available and I drove the additional two junctions up the highway before turning off, parking up and turning off the Demio engine. It was a great drive, one that would have been good on the bike, if I still had her. 

I’m in the barber’s chair updating him and by proxy his wife on news about Niki and I remembered that he would be interested to hear my news about the bike. At an appropriate moment I told him that I had sold the wing. Oh he says, that’s inconvenient, on my phone you are “Andy Goldwing”. I’m now after a brief edit ‘Andy No Goldwing”. Before long I will be a paid up member of the ‘when I used to have a … club’. FFS.   

Transition to New Hosting

It has taken a while to move all of our websites to our new hosts but with MilemakerTour now safely bedded in we can say ‘we’ve done it’.

We are looking ahead to a long successful partnership with our new hosts and plan to work to shape our web presence to accurately reflect how we feel and how we wish to share our memories and dreams.


Wing Ding 38

Hauke and Petra returned to the US to attend Wing Ding 38 in August of 2016. Of the people that they spoke with, none had heard of ‘MilemakerTour’. Unsurprising since this was the name that the six of us who completed the 2002 tour chose to use.

I, with the intention of building our archive, kept the name alive and have since used it as my general purpose travel blog. But we should take a look at some of what happened in Billings, Montana, when our leader returned.

Thursday 13 June

Photo showing a smiling woman with red coloured hair, Niki, sat in a lounge onboard a cross channel ferry

Thursday 13 June 2013.

When we are travelling on a deadline I always wake early. Today I woke at six thirty. So I’m up and at it, getting the tea on, the flasks filled with hot water and a saucepan of porridge coming up to heat on the stove. We breakfast and then tackle the washing up. The wind has stiffened overnight and there are occasional rain showers.

Having a ferry crossing to make in indifferent weather adds spice to the mix.

Niki ponders the sea state as we think about the ferry crossing we booked last night.

Our campsite is close to Calais and is also home to quite a flock of birds. The bird mess is an inconvenience which gets onto our shoe soles when we walk about outside the van on the grass. Despite needing to clean the soles of our shoes we are away by nine.

Almost immediately we take a wrong turn on the roundabout outside the camp-site gate! Then to compound matters we drive through narrow streets of Guines. Things get easier as we escape into the countryside and head for Calais.

We have a laugh as we pass a sign post to Ham. Ham is undergoing roadworks. The road surface is half torn up. Last night we encountered a huge truck that insisted on careening through. We stayed on the good road surface as the driver gesticulated at us for being on the wrong side of the road. We laughed as he fumed. Today we had no roadworks to deal with. At the first roundabout we pick up the motorway which Niki has correctly identified as “the way” to access the port and ferry terminal. We drove straight to the P&O kiosk, paid the balance for our crossing and joined our allotted line.

We were lucky to be offered the chance to leave earlier than we had initialled booked, time saved and at no extra cost! The ninety minute crossing was straightforward despite winds that the Captain described as “fresh”. Onboard parties of excited French school children are off for their first experiences of England. I recalled the English children we had seen at Thiepval two days ago. The opportunity to travel and experience life as it is lived across the Channel is now very widely shared it seems.

We docked on time and lorries, coaches, cars, cars and caravans, motorcycles and camping cars poured off of the ferry. Somewhere overhead foot passengers were also disembarking. The speed of turnaround mimics that of airlines. I suppose this is part of how they compete on cost and service. As we pass through the customs shed a huddle of police and customs officers are wrapped against the inclement weather. They wave us through.

Out of the docks I notice the pot holes in the roadway just before we reach a section of road where a crew is at work carrying out repairs. These must be some of the hardest worked roads in the country. Potholes can be repaired. The additional challenge today is the wind. The van rocks as she gets buffeted from the side. On hills with a head-on wind we are slowed despite having an efficient vehicle profile (when compared with overcab campers).

We pressed on in the knowledge that as we cleared the coast and moved inland we should be less wind affected. The speed of traffic in UK I found a challenge. It all moves faster here than on Cyprus. I saw drivers weaving across lanes in front of me. There were no accidents but the risks people are taking whilst driving are frightening.

The Dartford tunnel was the only delay we experienced. A £2 toll allowed us to cross beneath the Thames and traffic funnels down and into the tunnel. A brief encounter with a section of the M25 and then we head up the M11 towards Cambridge before turning off towards Newmarket for Mildenhall.

We arrive mid-afternoon and are welcomed by, excited to see us, Baxter and Eric. We pet the dogs, have a cup of tea and an hour dozing, all good restoratives.

Paulie arrives and we take the boys for a walk in the woods. It starts to rain and we gain some shelter by walking under the trees. As we walk around the woods, we catch up on Paulie and Herve’s news. It has been five years since P&H moved to Mildenhall and I’ve noticed during our occasional visits that the forest trees have grown significantly high.

When we arrive back at the house Herve has returned from work. Herve has bought some pork mince, sweet potatoes and is making what we dub “Farmer’s Pie”. A take on shepherds or cottage pie, this is yummy! We get to work sorting through our post. There is quite a lot to deal with after six months.

Supper becomes a special meal with family and a bottle of Rod Easthope NZ Sauvignon, a delicious crisp white wine from the case I bought from Naked Wines some months ago.

Before it got too dark, I pulled Brigitte onto the grass alongside P&H fence. This will be our overnight pitch. Recording the events of the day, an early start, a ferry crossing, driving in gusty cross winds, no wonder my bed beckons!

Full Moon

Photograph of a full moon taken using a telephoto lens. Some craters and features of the lunar surface are clearly visible.

In a cycle that lasts twenty eight Earth days our moon appears to wax and to wane. It is of course revolving around our planet as we both, Earth and our moon, revolve around our sun. It is the position that the Earth occupies relative to the sun and to our satellite that gives rise the visible moon. On this day, Tuesday 19th July 2016 I took some photos from Graham & Mary’s balcony using the EOS7D and the Tamron 150-600 lens mounted on a Giottos tripod. When I reviewed those images in Lightroom I was dissatisfied.

I read up a bit about photographing the moon and learned that this is not the easiest day to make images of Earth’s satellite. Not this particular day, but those days when a full moon is visible. So it seems I must practice more, incorporate some of these tips and keep making images of the lunar body, taking notes as I go.

As tips go, this is probably the best short piece of advice you can have!

Start with the following settings:

Aperture at f/11
ISO 100 (you don’t want any noise on your photo and it’s so bright there is really no need to go above 100)
1/125 – 1/250

Now set your autofocus to point, aim at the moon, focus and turn the autofocus off. Don’t touch that ring any more.

For good measure bracket your EV 1 or 2 units (if your camera allows you can get a few sequential shots with different EV values).

And that is it. Moon photos galore.

I’m reading this blog post back to myself on 15th August 2016 as our near neighbour is again approaching full visibility. Unknowingly, unwittingly we have travelled a huge distance in the days since I wrote my original piece, despite a sense that we have made no progress on this specific challenge. I look forward to making an image of our nearest celestial neighbour of sufficient quality to justify publication here (since writing this I have processed the two remaining images of those I took in July and they don’t look bad!).

In the meantime observation using binoculars is proving less satisfying. A decent telescope is called for. That instrument will surely deliver what I am seeking. Talking about telescopes reminds me about our attempt to join a local astronomy club. This ended with us feeling left out in the cold. We attended one meeting at which people seemed friendly and welcoming. Thereafter communication seemed to falter and lapse.

Tonight using my 8×42 Nikon binoculars the view of the moon is bright and clear, almost full. I’m resolved to check on a night by night basis and add my thoughts as I go.

My on-line research has lead me to this page of so called killer tips. I’ll be testing out the four basic skills that underpin this writing as I apply myself to improving my lunar photography skills. It’s good to have a challenge!

For further advice on this fascinating subject why not look here and here.

Volunteers need work

This is the third year during which we have accepted volunteers into our home to help us improve and ready the place for our summer visitors.

Our first volunteer of 2016, Trent, arrived the day before yesterday. As ever, the arrival of a volunteer has its moments. I was expecting Trent to arrive at the bus stop adjacent to Koulla’s fruitaria on the beach road and so at the appropriate time I drove down there and parked. It wasn’t long after that my phone started to ring, a number that I didn’t recognise, a voice that I did recognise. Trent had been dropped off in our village, he was standing outside the main church in Maroni with his backpack and bags.

The bus driver, in an act of kindness, had dropped our man off in the village where a local person had loaned him their mobile phone so that he could call me to tell me where he was.  Such is the way of things in our rural community. Small acts of friendship that help make the world go around.


Polygala is a large genus of flowering plants belonging to the family Polygalaceae.

If, like me, you are a fan of the film ‘My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding‘ you will doubtless be aware of the oft repeated phrase used by Gus Portokalos, the father figure…

“Give me a word, any word, and I show you that the root of that word is Greek”.

In the case of this shrub Gus would have had no difficulty in explaining that poly means much and gala stands for milk. Commonly known as milkworts or snakeroots, the genus is distributed widely throughout much of the world in temperate zones and the tropics.

The genus name Polygala comes from the ancient Greek “much milk”, as the plant was thought to increase milk yields in cattle. Source:

We have a few growing in our garden at the villa. Since they have been growing for a few years, they have reached a good height and I am considering trimming them. Before I do I have a couple of questions in need of answers.

1. Can they be pruned and if they can, when is the best time to prune them?

2. Is it possible to propagate further plant by taking cuttings? If so, when is the best time to take cuttings and what is the best method of propagation?


Summer Antics – recapping 2015

Hi Joe,
I’m almost amazed that we managed to catch up with you, compliments of the season! The Colombian mountains sounds intriguing. Guess your notebook is getting filled up with quotable quotes, memory joggers and fun stuff, how I, small e, envy you!! We’d look forward to catching up with you if and when you return to this part of the globe. We had a busy year with volunteers helping us to press ahead in the early months of ’15 then we were off on our travels in our campervan – we made it to a bunch of sites we wanted to see, experience and photograph in France before going to UK to visit family and friends then we headed down to Vesuvius, Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy before zipping across the Languedoc Rousillon and back into Spain where we left our camper for the autumn winter and life back here on Cyprus. That was it!

The New Year will see us with the motorcycle repaired and plans to travel to places we have yet to visit. We expect to visit the States but our planning is still in its infancy on that one.

Happy New Year to you and your girlfriend,

Andy & Niki