3:31– packing up, getting ready to leave soon. Too many delays trying to get out of town. I haven’t chosen a route yet. Guess I’ll just wing it, take 94 to the 31, head north and see if I meet up with some other folks.
4:19. On the road. Goodbye pic
6:30- Sawyer, Michigan, for water at a T/A truckstop
8:30-Holland. Got gas-42mpg. Pretty steady 80 mph cruise. Saw a little faster. Decided to take the “easy” way up through Grand Rapids. Checked the mileage to Interlochen, looks like I was about 100 off of my estimate for distance. Don’t know if I’ll make the rally tonight, the Sun’s down.
9:50-Checked into the Holiday Inn in Big Rapids. Temperature had dropped into the 50’s. Saw a couple of ex-deer on the roadside as well. Time change makes it actually an hour later. Beer and burger. I’ll hit the sack and get an early start for tomorrow morning.
6:30am Saturday- out of the shower. Got my long underwear. Glad I thought to pack it.
Hepco Becker side bag removes perfectly so I can pack in my room. Easy on-easy off an 40L of room. I wonder if that makes my butt look big?
7:10am- Time to go. Air is brisk and sin isn’t quite up. The V7 Classic fires on the third try with the idle control on high. It warms up as I put the bags on and strap on my helmet and gloves. I’m off.
7:46am- Cadillac Michigan. Riding up the 131, the temperature keeps dropping and finally settles at 46F. The bike wants to GO! I look down and see 85 mph sustained for fifteen minutes. I slow down, but the bike says no. I finally settle for 80 @ 5000rpm. Guzzi like…
The sun starts to rise in the distance, looking like a far-off atomic bomb test. Far off, because it’s not really heating things up. My god the scenery is beautiful up here with the morning mists. I take comfort that if I were to fall off the bike right now I wouldn’t feel an thing. Fuel light comes on outside of Cadillac. Coffee first, then gas.
9:00am- Arrival! Nice crowd,nice campground. So far my favorite bike is a sweet T-3 Police. Two more small-blocks are here, a Breva750 and a V65 SP owned by a husband-wife team for Grand Rapids. Looks to be a lot of fun. The V7C is getting a lot of looks. Tour starts after 10.
(The rest of this blog isn’t technically “live”, since the bandwidth up in Michigan was so bad I couldn’t upload. I’m home now and updating from my notes.)
10:10am- Tour starts. First two people take off. The guy in front of me with a nice LM3 waves me by as he puts on his helmet. I proceed off the line and around the grounds, headed out to the street, where nobody’s there! Turns out that there’s a side exit. I circle back to the site, and everyone is already gone. Pulling up to the pavilion, I tell them I’m already lost. Once the laughing stopped they pointed me in the right direction, and I make 4 redline shifts before I can finally see them off in the distance. I pull up at the rear, following a nice bunch and enjoying the view of 17 other Guzzis traveling through some of the prettiest country I’ve seen in the Midwest.
We pull up to a beautiful overlook, get a shot of each bike on a ride-by at a nice corner, and have a wonderful lunch at “The Fishery”. I’m riding with a great group on with just about every era of Moto Guzzi represented from the Loopframes forward. The tour, while not setting any speed records or presenting much challenge, had great topographical changes, nice twisty roads and extremely well-behaved riders. No incidents and all smiles. I would recommend to other rally leaders to have multiple tours with groups no larger than this and “seeded” with the same riders. It was a fun and mellow.
2:00pm- Arrive back. Lot of questions about the V7 Classic. Checked into Interlochen Motel, where another fellow rider staying there said that after 22 months in Viet Nam, he didn’t do tents anymore. Said goodbye to the Breva 750 and had a beer with the Lario owner. Bought some 50/50 tickets and enjoyed conversation with lots of wonderful Guzzisti, one of them insisting that I take a map of Michigan so I don’t get as lost as I was on the way up.
3:30- Someone changes a V11 wheel bearing on a the back of a trailer.
5ish- Dinner. Talk about bikes. I meet someone that came in for the dinner from close by. We talk about how LA drivers are so much better than Chicago drivers, and how much fun it is to ride out in Western Mountains. This rally is nearly as fun as the Arizona (Prescott) rally, which sets the bar that others can only to try to hurdle. We have 78 attendees.
6:30- Awards. I win nothing because I’m neither too old, too young or from Oklahoma (1500 miles!). There’s going to be a Saturday night church service, so I decide to go into town and catch the Ohio State/USC game. Jesus and I have an understanding already.
10:00 – Ohio lost. Everything is right with the world. I lost my Moto Guzzi door-prize hat at the Hoffbrau. Nuts.
9:00am – I roll out of my motel room. Am I the only person to find it funny when I discover a Quota parked out front of the motel instead of camping? Time to check out. Evil kitty at front desk with muffins and coffee. I ride back to camp to say goodbye and route myself down Highway 31 for the 330 mile ride home. Before I leave I thank the intrepid volunteers and pick up Mick Walker’s Gilera book for later. I’m definitely coming back here next year for the scenery, bikes and wonderful people.
I take highway 31 for the most part. Easy cruise, going through the small towns along Lake Michigan, heading south. The weather is absolutely wonderful. I record 50 mpg on my V7 Classic, stopping for gas twice. I finally got on the freeway just south of Holland. I stopped at a Walgreen’s to get new earplugs. Freeway Cruise at 75+ for 90 miles until just outside of Gary. My butt’s just a little sore — I’ve got 750 miles under my belt for the weekend and 60 miles to go. I rehydrate and hit the road. That last 60 miles is wall-to-wall traffic and takes 1.5 hours. Sheila waves from the window as I smile at her from under my helmet. Daughter runs up to the bike as I pull up. I missed her.