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2006 Wing Ding Motorcycle Rally Blog - Day 6

This year I'm publishing highlights of the 2006 Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA) Wing Ding rally, day by day in a blog. Wing Ding was scheduled for July 3-6 this year. The blog will also include my preparation in getting ready to take the ride to Nashville, TN and my observations while there.

Today we decided to get on a trike and ride out for breakfast. Since Jane continues to have trouble with her knee, I'm trying to limit the duration of her walking. The Gaylord is a big place with numerous gardens, streams, water features, walkways, and bridges, one does a lot of walking. The trike is parked a good 10 minutes from our room by foot. So I took the walk and brought Jane's trike back to the hotel entrance just under our room. Being unfamiliar with the access to that entrance, I turned in and saw a covered portico. I pulled into it and then noticed that it was not intended for vehicles. Anyway, the folks sitting around there got a good show as Jane put on her helmet, got on the trike as a passenger, and I backed the trike out and onto the circular drive where I should have parked the trike in the first place. We headed around the building road system and across the highway to the Cracker Barrel restaurant. It was a walkable distance and many rally-goers were walking it but it was way too long for Jane to put pressure on her knee. When we got there we found that there was a 45 minute wait for a table. Fortunately, we found an F-Troop couple already waiting who offered to share their table with us. After breakfast, it was a quick ride back to the hotel to drop off Jane and then re-park the trike and walk the 10 minutes back.

At 5:45 p.m. we boarded a shuttle bus to head over to see a show at the Grand Ole Opry. Here's a shot of part of our group after we arrived. I had never been to the Grand Ole Opry before and the announcer spent some time before the show explaining it. Actually the Grand Ole Opry is the radio show that has been broadcast for about 80 years on WSM. The Grand Ole Opry House is the place where the radio show originates before a live audience. Tonight we were part of that live radio audience. The announcer welcomed the groups that were in the audience. When he got to the GWRRA Wing Ding, the cheers in the house nearly brought the rafters down. The announcer was taken aback by the response. He said he was 45 minutes late getting there tonight because the motorcycle parade had halted all the traffic. They were trying to set a Guinness record for largest Gold Wing parade.

The show was done in four sections with two performers or groups per section. Here are pictures of the Grascals, an outstanding bluegrass group.

Jean Shephard, a durable country star with a good mix of jokes, self-deprecating humor, and great rapport with the audience is a veteran performer, not to be missed. She was outstanding.

Mandy Barnett had great stage presence and knew how to belt out a song. She was my favorite.

Wing Ding 28 was billed as Music and Motorcycles in the Music City. For that reason, I just had to attend the Grand Ole Opry and take in 120 minutes of great live songs in front of an audience of appreciative fans. They also had quite a few television screens set up so all members of the audience could see the performers. I have to admit that my eyes started drifting to the TV screens instead of the real people performing. I guess that's one of the curses of the electronic age. We'd rather watch TV than a live performance. After I realized what I was doing, I tried to keep my gaze away from the electronic version of reality.

Tomorrow we will be going on the General Jackson Showboat and taking a cruise down the Cumberland River.

Photos © 2006 Walter Kern

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