Alaska to Cordillera on two wheels |

Alaska to Cordillera on two wheels

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado
NWS Cordillerra Bikers 2 DT 6-30-10

CORDILLERA, Colorado – As Roberta Schmidt got off the back of her husband’s Harley Davidson motorcycle after a 4,000-mile ride back from Alaska, she joked with those waiting to greet her by walking as if her legs were ready to fall off.

Spending two and a half weeks on the back of a motorcycle wasn’t so bad, though, as it turns out.

“It was fabulous,” Schmidt said. “You can see everything and smell everything.”

Roberta and her husband, Bob Schmidt, returned to Cordillera Wednesday with about 15 other members of the Cordillera Motorcycle Association – a group made up of mostly Cordillera residents and retirees who ride around the world on their motorcycles, taking one big trip every year.

This trip was by far the biggest in terms of mileage. They rode 4,110 miles from Alaska back to Cordillera, and while the trip was a blast, everyone was thrilled to return home Wednesday.

The Cordillera Motorcycle Club is a group that appreciates the finer things in life like fine wines, cigars, upscale dinners and world-class golfing. When they go on an adventure together, everything is nothing but the best.

This year’s big trip began June 4, when the crew headed to Vancouver for a cruise that would take them up to Alaska. Their motorcycles were en route on an 18-wheeler to Anchorage as they dined in one of Vancouver’s finest restaurants. They then chartered a twin engine Otter sea plane for a 35-minute flight to Victoria, British Columbia, for more fine meals and cigars before heading back to Vancouver to board the cruise ship that would bring them to Alaska.

Bob Schmidt, who helps organize the annual motorcycle trips, said he loves to do it because of the camaraderie that comes out of it. The group does everything together, and it’s a bonding experience like no other.

Tom Leonhardt, who almost didn’t go on the trip because his wife had recently shattered her pelvis, said the trip was the “chance of a lifetime.” His wife, Ginny, said she wouldn’t have let her husband miss it.

“All I kept thinking was I’ve got to get well enough so he could go,” she said.

In the 15 days it took the group to ride from Anchorage to Cordillera, there was just one 15-minute stretch in Alberta, Canada, where it rained. The weather for the rest of the trip was absolutely perfect, Bob Schmidt said.

Everyone was proud to report that there wasn’t a single mechanical failure on any one of the 19 motorcycles on the trip. The group couldn’t have gotten by, however, without the help of club member Linda Truitt. She followed behind the bikes in her GMC Denali, carrying with her sodas, snacks, liquor, and most importantly, the cigars.

“They never let me out of their sights,” Truitt said.

The Cordillera Motorcycle Club might be all about indulgence on its annual bike trip, but the group gives back to the community through its Cordillera Motorcycle Foundation, the group’s charitable giving arm. One of the group’s biggest donations each year is backpacks filled with school supplies to local first-graders.

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or

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