The Utah chapter of the Vietnam Vets Motorcycle Club is looking for sleek choppers, smooth roads, favorable winds, recognition for their military service and an accounting of their POW-MIA brothers.
This is biker band with a difference - family and jobs first and the club second. But that's not to say they don't flaunt their colors on a highway run. Indeed, their motto is, "We fought together, let's ride together."The club was formed in Aurora, Colo., in 1980, and now has members as far away as Canada and Germany.
"Rebel Dave" Groves, 44, is president of the Utah chapter. A Green Beret and recipient of the Silver Star, Groves first served in 1963 as an advisor to the 5th Special Forces in Dong Tam between Saigon and the Cambodian border.
During one battle, Grove lost a friend to a Vietnamese arrow.
"We had guys get killed by the two-step snake, even guys killed by tigers. A bullet is bad enough - but an arrow?" he said Thursday. "Wherever you are, John, I still love you."
Like many veterans, Groves and his cohorts were tormented by the grotesqueness of the conflict, and their memories motivate them to share their experiences and hash out the havoc the war created for them.
"You can go to all the psychiatrists in the world, and they'll all have different opinions about you," Groves said. "But when you get together with a brother, someone who's been there, whether he is a ditch-digger or a lawyer or whatever - that's 100 percent therapy."
The camaraderie also is important to Garr "Garfield" Simmons, 36, a maintenance manager for Rocky Mountain Refractory.
Simmons, who rides a big Harley Davidson, served two tours with the Navy in 1970 and 1973 aboard a supply ship.
"It's the sharing of thoughts," he said. "It's real easy to get close to them."
Simmons and his wife, Stephanie, have two children, and they've found an extended family among club members, who call each other "brother" and "sister."
"I never have to worry when I'm alone with one of the brothers," said Fran Groves. "Not just because I'm the wife of the president, but because that's just the way it is.
"Most of my life I've been a loner, as far as having friends who are women," she said. "But with the women in the club, you automatically feel you've known them all along. There's a real special bond between the sisters."
Fran Groves especially enjoys riding with her husband.
"I feel great, I'm with the man I love and I feel safe," she said. "I trust him totally."
"The whole organization is like a hotline," Groves said. "A phone call and we are right there.
"We look after each other because that's all we've got," he said. "We have our arguments, but we work it out in the family. We settle it here."