Closest Gold Wing Mechanic?
You said your nearest Honda dealer is 37 miles away but do they have a Gold Wing mechanic? I had a GL1500 from 1989 to this year and had a terrible time finding a dealer who would work on my bike. They love to sell Wings but hate fixing them. In the last ten years, they refused to fix my bike because it was too old. I could do most of the things myself but the carbs finally stumped me.
If your closest Honda dealer is Neihaus or one of the few that support Gold Wings, then buy the GL1800. But if you would have to travel hours to find a mechanic that got certified on the GL series, then you are in the same boat as the BMW riders.
Ask your Honda dealer if they have a GL certified mechanic. If they don't, they will claim there is no GL certification.
Disillusioned Gold Whiner in Northern Virginia with a broken GL1500 for sale.