Sunday, July 14, 2013

Moto Guzzi Weekend In Iowa

Perfect warm summer weather, 25 raindrops, give or take and now another great Iowa Moto Guzzi Rally is in the books.

Friday morning, right on schedule, Mary, Dave and Justin met me in Dover, MN so that we could head south together.  Using mostly County roads, a few State roads and a 1/4 mile of gravel, we arrived in Elkader, Iowa about 1PM.  The city's name has a strong connection with a place far, far away, something I knew only after last year's visit to the local Carter House Museum.

Our tents were setup just to the left of this sign in the City Park, Hwy 13 in the distance.

Dave and Mary's (Justin too!) tent, their sidecar rig, my tent and the Hyosung draped with my riding jacket.

This year we set up our tents before registering, getting our choice of supreme spots.  Justin joined us up at the building but was a lot more interested in another Schnauzer across the way than he was of going inside to get signed in.

Other shady spots being picked first, though there's no shortage of places out of the sun.

Showers/restrooms/storm shelter facilities and a parking area for 'staging'......

Not everyone needs or seeks out the shade, often an asset for Sunday morning packing up.

The city pool, right on the grounds, was a very busy place all weekend.

The three of us decided to walk downtown, using the nicely paved River Walk along the Turkey River.  What would an Iowa town be without a very tall grain elevator?

The elevated walkway far above the river, downtown across the unique and historic Keystone river bridge to the left.

....."Largest west of the Mississippi....."

Across, into downtown

Upriver, from the bridge......

We walked around a few blocks and since we're all on a health kick, picked up some fresh cheese curds and some doughnuts.  We saw many things to buy, but we didn't.  From there we walked back to the city park and I was just in time to catch John getting his tent setup, a rare sight indeed since John normally pulls a small camper behind his bike(s).  Dave, seen here on the right, was just finishing his tent erection.

While we're focused on Dave, you should know that he was full of very helpful advice this weekend.  He very wisely pointed out that around any given table, or group of ralliers, great, bountiful amounts of knowledge were present, the result of many years of experiences, backgrounds, trips taken, accomplishments, etc. and he shared a couple of very valuable hints with me.  One of which was a simple to accomplish but very difficult to explain hint for keeping shoelaces tied.

Dave looked down and was distraught, a great deal more concerned than I seemed to be, that my shoe had come untied.  Some fast seconds later, with an eloquent description, I was back on the path to safe walking.  There were many of us present around that table, I think it fair to say over 400 years of combined experience and we all benefited from Dave's substantial contribution to that bundled knowledge.

The other contribution that Dave made was in how to knock Bob out 'like a light'......

Here Dave, even while seated, had Bob flat on his back in no time.  As it turned out, it wasn't all that difficult.  After the High Tech Cot was setup, it almost magnetically drew Bob over and before we knew what had happened, Bob was down.

Recovery seemed to come quickly damage done.

A kindred spirit.....someone else unafraid to ride another brand to the Moto Guzzi gathering.

By evening, Mike and Rod arrived, just in time for the roast beef dinner.  The tough choice of Dinner first, Unload after wasn't all that tough.

Mike's 1975 Condor Military bike and Rod's 1934 GT-17 Moto Guzzi.....five of us in the group and Rod's the only one with the right brand of motorcycle for the rally.  Don't be left out....most of the world has witnessed this YouTube video of Rod starting his bike at the 2011 AHRMA races at Road America.  There's even commentary.

It ran great all weekend.

My GT250R resting in the evening sun.....

Persistence......I just had to include this stump that we walked past with every trip up to the Pavilion.

Saturday morning dawned cooler and cloudy.  Though there were storms and some huge rainfall amounts back north in Minnesota, we escaped in sunny Iowa with only a few drops.  While taking care of Saturday morning breakfast in the pavilion, I noticed some very old posters and ads pinned to the walls and had to get a shot of this old British ad for the first and last Moto Guzzi that I personally owned.  My 1980 SP1000 WAS in fact long-legged and very easy to live with.  My hair was longer back then but I looked nothing like this.

After a very extended time to allow our breakfasts to settle, we headed east to Balltown and Breitbach's, a very storied eating establishment in Balltown, Iowa.

Famous not only for the restaurant, Balltown has a view that is claimed to be Iowa's finest.....Mike and Rod walked the short distance over to the Overlook.  That isn't the Atlantic in the distance but rather a look deep into adjacent Wisconsin, over and beyond the Mississippi River valley.

I was there too......

From Balltown, we headed up river to Guttenberg, Iowa, a favorite spot of mine for river watching.  The City Park runs the entire length of town, between the business establishments and the river, the benches providing a perfect place for lazy river watching.

We didn't need them but had a couple of cones anyway and took special pleasure enjoying them in front of Doug's......

Back to Elkader to enjoy some Moto Guzzi's before our Pork Chop Dinner.

Things Italian though not necessarily Guzzi.....featured here a Moto Morini flat tracker, something you just won't see everyday.

Before dinner Mike was kind enough to let me take the '75 Condor for a spin.  Both rifles stayed securely in their mounts......though I was tempted once at that 4-way stop downtown....

Here Mike and Rod apparently doing some kind of roundy-roundy thing......

A very cool quilt, made from each year's Iowa Rally T-shirts.......

The line for Saturday's Pork Chop Dinner, the chop itself served by the area Pork Queen, the ice cream by the Dairy Princess.  This was not a weekend of hunger.

After the 50-50 Drawing (we contributed but in no way benefited) the bikes all started lining up for the parade.  I don't have photos because I participated, but the local Sheriff, with lights, escorted us through most of the important neighborhoods in town; the residents porch-side waving and cheering us on.  Next year Mary vows to be a candy tosser.

I peeled off after the parade to gas up for the ride home and stopped to get Goosi's curb-side photo.  Ms. Goosi is present every year to greet us, always dressed for the occasion.

Sunday morning, things were getting almost lonely down in the far reaches of the park.  I wasn't the last one out but there weren't very many of us left.

The doughnut and coffee were a great start, but I met Dave and Randy for breakfast at Johnson's before departing for home.  

Another great rally weekend, a bunch of new friends made.  I was not only part of Dave's combined around-the-table experience but added greatly to my own.  Thanks to George and the rest of the club volunteers that work so hard for the rest of us!


  1. ... always looked forward to see'n the " lawn Goose ". This event is very low key and easy going. Friendly ...quick with a wave, group of guys and gals. Two great eve'n meals and a nice Saturday morn'n breakfast. Sunday morn'n finds coffee and donuts.
    next year I'll make sure there's candy for the kiddies during the parade.... :)

  2. You are right, I can't imagine a more receptive, friendly place to host a bunch of motorcyclists.

    Elkader will be on next year's calendar.

  3. You manage to enjoy what seems to be a month's worth of good living into a very short time. Congratulations on that skill...

    You look like the guys I grew up around in Illinois. Regionalism.

    What a beautiful area. You were not kidding about that view. Wow. I've got to get there soon. Thanks for sharing the photos.

    1. Thank you Martha, it's a skill I believe in and hope that shows. You were seeing some southern WI/northern IL people in those photos for sure.

  4. And the origin of the name Elkader is astonishing!

    1. When I saw one whole section of the museum last year dedicated to things a long ways from Grant Wood'land, I couldn't believe it either.

  5. Coop sounds like a ful"filling" weekend. Now, I'm dying to know the never untie shoe lace trick.

    1. We did pretty well, didn't we ?? :)

      As far as the shoelaces go, I'll see if I can't find the necessary words to describe Dave's method.

  6. What a great weekend. Great roads, great bikes, beautiful views. Sounds like maybe some tasty eats too.

    Gotta like that Moto Goosi.

    1. It's true there is corn and I detected the aroma of confined hogs once or twice, but NE Iowa is more. There's a farmer friend that I was hoping to talk 'growing things' with, but he joined a couple of the guys for the BMW rally in Salem, OR.

      She's really stylin' ain't she?

  7. Looks like a friendly and fun time. Good friends, a nice ride, and cool bikes. Doesn't get much better.

    1. Very true B.R., it was about as perfect of blend as is possible. In a few weeks we'll try the Wisconsin version, not that we need to compare :)

  8. while in Guttenburg we watched a Amish fellow fishing on the bank of the river and pulled out several fish.. a couple required a net.

    1. He was having pretty good luck....more production in a few minutes than I've almost had in a lifetime.

  9. Holy shit! You get to ride a Swiss Ducati and you merely mention it in passing? Fewer Americans have seen a Condor, let alone ridden one than have summited Everest! I guess the experience wasn't that worth reporting on?

    1. Well it was a short ride and in this venue, I doubt I'd have said much more than what you've mentioned here, so thank you! I will add that it was fun.

  10. Looks like a fun time.Sorry we couldn't get up that away.Too many birthdays last weekend.Hopefully when school starts I'll be able to get more miles in..I still have Sept 21st penciled in for the Tenderloin ride.As always my friend.

  11. Scott, understand. There's a really good chance I'll be around the Potosi area on August 3 with more of the Guzzi folks.

    Hopefully I'll make St. Olaf this year in September.

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