That headline is the motto of one senior who is a resident of the Chugiak-Eagle River Senior Center.
Dick Lochner is an active pilot and member of the United Flying Octogenarians affectionately known as the UFOs. He is an active motorcycle enthusiast and member of the Harley Owners Group known as the HOGs.
Each year for the past five years he has taken what he calls his annual motorcycle adventure throughout the “Lower 48” states. In that five year period, he has covered nearly 60,000 miles in the saddle of two of his Harley Davidson motorcycles. Last year Dick traveled more than 10,800 miles through all of the Provinces of Canada, the Yukon Territory and twelve of the northern United States. That was in addition to the 5,200 miles trucking the Harley back and forth to Billings, MT.
This year after participating in the Bear Paw parade on his Harley and with other members of his family driving the family’s classic vehicle and a very unique “Scooby-Doo Mystery Machine,” Dick departed once again for the 5,200 mile trip up and down the Alaska-Canada Highway transporting the Harley to Billings and back home to Chugiak.
During these years of motorcycle adventures, he has managed to set foot in all of the 48 contiguous States as well as Alaska. This year, after arriving in Billings and leaving the truck with relatives he departed on the Harley for the East Coast to spend time with his sister. He visited relatives, friends and old classmates in Maryland. After that, it was off to Savannah, Ga for a reunion with old Army buddies from Vietnam and then back to Montana visiting friends and relatives along the way. This year’s adventure was only 5,600 miles in the saddle but Dick still managed to pass thru 18 states.
Once back in Alaska, Dick and his family and some friends gather every Friday evening for a group motorcycle trek to various destinations for dinner. The group fondly calls their gatherings “Chowder Runs” because it all began years ago at the Palmer Hotel when Dick and one of his sons went there for chowder. The group has grown to 23 members and 19 bikes.
Dick says that the only way to truly enjoy the wonders of the United States of America is from the seat of a motorcycle. Although he has ridden in 120-degree temperatures, rainstorms, and hail storms, it is still the best way to see the sights, he maintains. Next year will be another adventure – most likely in the western United States.
Editor’s Note: Carol Warren is a resident of the Chugiak-Eagle River Senior Center. She studied journalism in her younger years and is a correspondent for The ECHO News.