Motorcycle riders rumble through Bavaria

Another day of classic German weather — cloudy with a chance of torrential downpour.

But not even the rain could dampen the sense of adventure for military motorcycle riders who braved less than ideal conditions on the fifth annual Ride the Alps Poker Run, sponsored by Exchange New Car Sales.

More than 375 riders from as far away as Budapest, Spain and Lakenheath made the journey to Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, for the annual event.

Ask any of the riders who completed the challenging poker run in the pouring rain, “how was it?” and you get the same response: “Wet.”

“It was the most scenic ride I have been on,” said Heidelberg resident Mike Diubaldi.

You can often look past getting wet. Fortunately, riders had the comfortable grounds of the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort to dry off, get a coffee and shoot the breeze with the other riders about their adventure on the poker run.

A poker run consists of a predetermined route that riders must follow and collect playing cards. After returning with five cards, the players play poker with the hand they’ve collected.

This year’s poker run took riders over three mountain passes, around two Alpine lakes and by a king’s castle on the 205 kilometer course of scenic Bavarian roads where the scenery changes almost as fast as the dialect.

The poker run was the main event for the riders, but other rider games like “slow go” and “engine toss” helped complete an amazing weekend of camaraderie, shiny chrome, live music and unrivaled scenery on the open road.

 For many riders, this was not their first Ride the Alps event. One Ansbach resident said she has been to three Ride the Alps rallies.

“I keep coming back because it is great seeing the same people every year and, with hope, it won’t rain the next year,” said Karen Goforth. “We don’t want to miss that year.”

Mrs. Goforth’s husband, David Goforth, continues to wear his kilt and T-shirt every year on the poker run through rain and sleet, and is the hands down winner of the best dressed award given at the end of the night.

More than 375 riders attended this year’s event, which made for a parking lot full of all types of sport bikes, trikes, Harley’s and custom rides.

On the final day, riders assembled for a police escorted tour through the sleepy downtown of historic Partenkirchen to wake the locals with rumbles only a Harley can make.

Ride the Alps will once again be held in June next year, with the promise of sunshine and good times to be had by military motorcycle riders around Europe.
For information about riding in the Bavarian Alps, visit

(By Brad Hays)