Sunday, July 13, 2014

Iowa National Moto Guzzi Rally - 2014

Rather than post up each day's happenings, I'm going to fill one post, if not to the brim, full enough that you may want to come and visit in more than one session :)  It was once again a really great time; George, his wife, club members with numerous volunteers work long and hard so that we can play, eat well and enjoy ourselves.  Anyone that didn't accomplish all three simply wasn't paying attention.

Thursday morning, the official start of the 4 day rally and riders would be arriving all day.  Dave had set up not far from me but only my tracks were in the morning dew after I'd gone up for my coffee.  I wanted to include this struggling "tree".  I'd taken a photo of it last year, then just a sprig growing from the stump.  Persistence is paying off......

 They came from both coasts (403 I heard)......and from the Canary Islands...or was it Belgium....or?? (you'll see Jahn in a bit).

 Dan's become an expert at hammock over-nighting.

I headed east on Thursday to Guttenberg, anxious to check out the Mississippi and make sure that the benches were still worth sitting on to enjoy the river views (everything is OK).

Another pond.......

I noticed the rather large drop to the shoulder from pavement when I stopped for the above photo.  There are many rural roads of concrete in the state, wise construction for the millions of tons of cash corn and soybeans that get transported over them.

Not so bad to drive off from, but a rider wants to have a care when getting back up and on......I did and I did.

There's almost 3" of drop right here, definitely qualifying for "Low Shoulder"

On my way east, between Elkport and Garber you'll find Impala Road.  It says "Caution - Minimum Maintenance Road, Level B Service Road, Use At Your Own Risk".  The region's Adventure Riders know this one well.  This weekend I only parked at the south end.

Four years ago, Dave and I got to know it pretty well, starting up on the hill, the north end.  Too much of it looked like this.  You can see my track, Dave wanted to make his own......

Sometimes a Helix will do it......sometimes it won't.  Back in July '10 there was success.

The new viewing platform in Guttenberg and one of what must be 100 benches spaced the entire 'length' of town along the river.  I can attest that this bench is a very good one.

A better view of the dam (lock just off to the left).  The gates are all open, there's no need to maintain a 9' channel depth during high water since each of the pools is far deeper than 9'.

 Old limestone construction made new here next to the Marina and Launch access road.

Back to Elkader, the Guzzi's rolling in.......

This couple from Vermont on one of those 'other' Italian jobs.

 It appears that John's new camper is a keeper......

 Our Moto Guzzi weekend's aren't ALL about moving.......

The Good People of Elkader put on a variety show for the Rally folks in their newly refurbished Opera House.  Mike dressed for the occasion in his Tuxedo T, here (offering) to provide valet parking for the next Corvette or Porsche to arrive.

Looking down Main Street as we waited on a busy Friday evening......

Have you ever watched the Muppets??

I think I'm very safe in reporting that the Synchronized Swimming skit was the hands-down winning performance though there was some amazing voice work too.

Diana was at the rally with her Quota/sidecar setup.  Good luck in this fall's election Diana!!

Jim explaining (once more and proudly) the virtues of his classy TU250.

Tim and Rod covering a discussion on pre-'40 Moto Guzzi machines.......

One of the big ones..........the building in the background houses the County Historical Museum.

Early morning, still sleeping Guzzi's......

Some of the first cups of morning coffee.......

Rod and I rode down the narrow valley into Clayton which quite literally hugs the banks of the river.

The river still high though finally receding.......

Rod and I were on our way to Balltown for lunch at Breitbach's on the bluff.  We met Colleen, Mike and Jim there for lunch.  This view from the Lookout on the edge of town.  Wisconsin river bluffs make up the fuzzier hills in the background, the Mississippi River in the valley between these trees and those bluffs.  I believe that Jim read the eventual drop to the river is over 500 feet.

On the way back we stopped along the river in North Buena Vista, another small village right at the bluff and river's edge.  We crossed the tracks and parked in this small turn around spot, the river not more than 30 feet behind the blue Tene're

Back to Elkader for the Saturday evening Pork Dinner, provided by the local pork producers.  Here behind the pavilion the thick chops are on the grill.  I did not take a photo of my plate as I sat down at the table and for that I'm very sorry.

The Pork Princess was in attendance; there was a stand-in for the missing Dairy Princess.  The D.P. wasn't able to make it due to other commitments.  Our very young replacement princess did a great job of handing out the ice cream though so we barely missed the official princess.

The line was long and seemed to never go down, only get longer.

This young couple's very pretty V65 was a hit with the crowd......

I believe that this Breva belonged to a gentleman named Jahn.  We (all) asked where he was from when we saw the plate and it sounded like so many places that I'm still not really sure.  He was VERY interesting, I'm sure of that.

Our only real rain occurred around Saturday's dinner time and was over with by 9PM.  It was the only real rain I'd encountered the entire week that I was in Iowa.

Paul's bike with the elevator as a backdrop......

I happened to notice the reflection.....

Sunday morning was cooler and foggy, turned into a perfect summer day for our ride home.  Hopefully no matter the direction, all rally goers at least had a day of nice weather to start what must be for some of them, a long trip home.

Colleen had mentioned the other morning to the rest of us (Mike had already heard about it) that is sounded like creatures were outside around their tent, or at least very close.  When the tent came up this morning, this was what the padded down grass looked like.  This is one corner, it looked like this around the entire periphery.

Trails........lots of little trails.......made by little feets........

We, everyone I spoke with, had a great time; I certainly did.  Our little group had 2 people that had never been to a brand-based rally before, 2 of my other friends with lots of rally experience had yet to be at the Iowa Guzzi version, so it was great to finally have them attend this one.  A fine place and an excellent event.

Mike got a couple of shots that were much better than mine......

Our Dairy Princess stand-in......

The very official Clayton County Pork Princess.......

The meal they helped serve......


  1. It sounds like a perfect rally. And even the weather cooperated.

    I love all the photos of the bikes and the fertile valley. So many shades of green. I think that little struggling tree is a type of Sumac. Looks like it from the leaves, but then I am not 100% sure.

    1. It was a really fun gathering, probably my favorite camping rally. Just a nice balance of everything in a lovely location. Based on the stump, I was thinking the 'bush' was trying to be some sort of nut tree again but I'm no expert.

  2. What an awesome event, too bad it's on the other side of the pond. The yellow licence plate looks british, and there is an England flag on the fender. Did he come by boat?

    1. Sonja, it's a Bond plate. He could tell you how he got there, but then he'd have to kill you.

    2. Sonja, I think David's the most right. According to the conversation that I walked in on, Jahn hails from more than one place, the bike is licensed in a different location than where it's stored; the ability to cross borders had something to do with it. The story was complicated and sounded like country name dropping. What I do know is that Jahn is an interesting character with possibly a "Bond-ish" past.

  3. Great photos from a state that I've only passed through on the way to somewhere else. The rally looked like fun though I hope the coffee line wasn't anything like the food line...

    1. Richard, it would be hard for any motorcyclist to not enjoy the area for riding. There were two large pots of coffee under the shelter, plus the tea, ice water and lemonade, 24/7. Those lines were non-existent. :)

  4. /even with the rain... great time.. :)

  5. I found out what a " Arnold Palmer" is. Tasty :)

  6. It always rains at the Guzzi rally. At least they didn't drown this time. It's the only rally I'd like to visit, with an Ark.

  7. Stop up and visit us in never rains at that one. Two weeks and I'll be there to personally welcome you! :)

  8. Coop this looks like it was a lot of fun! Awesome pictures. I love Guzzis they are beautiful bikes. I have sat on a few but found they were too tall for me, I never bothered to enquire if they could be lowered. I like them even more than Ducati's. Great pics!

    1. I can't speak for the brand rallies in other places, but the M/G and BMW rallies that I attend in the region are all great fun.

      The Breva wound up with me because my buddy's wife found it too tall, even with the factory's lower seat and was just never comfortable enough with it.

      There's just something about the overall feel of this bike that puts in my Favorite class.