Friday morning started out cool and clear but turned into a warm, overcast and humid day. The weather remained that way most of the weekend. It would have been more comfortable had it been cooler , but it was bearable and I never heard anyone complain.
Ralliers arrived as early as Wednesday, and by registration time on Friday there were six Guzzis encamped and many others steadily arriving. By noon there was a line, and Virginia and Doug Woodin were busy till dark signing in riders.
On Friday evening master chef Doug Woodin prepared the stew. It was very tasty and it went fast. This is the first rally where Doug agreed to cook. Good job Doug! We have a position for you!
The 100 year old Tellford Hotel in White Springs has an excellent restaurant so many rally attendees went there that evening and enjoyed the wonderful atmosphere along with "Leg-o-Lamb" and mint jelly. I, for one, was impressed and have added this establishment to my list of "must repeats."
Back at the campground late arrivals continued to pull in till way past dark. Four dealers showed up with new Guzzi Jackals, EVs and used bikes.
Stan's BMW/Guzzi wasted no time in unloading a Jackal that was immediately test driven , purchased and then driven out the next morning. It was last seen heading West on I-10. Jackson Cycle from Clearwater brought a truckload of EVs and Bassas. One of the newest Guzzi dealers from Naples ,Florida (Power Sports) brought a Jackal and a Bassa. Consensus was, had they brought the keys, they would have sold at least the Jackal. Seems to be a popular machine and according to Cycle World Magazine November issue, page 54, it is being marketed to people like myself , who are still riding the '73 Eldo that was purchased in 1972! The Jackal looks sharp to me and I have dreams!
Saturday the Poker Run began on schedule. First bike was out at 10:00 A.M., and the last rode out at 11:30 A.M.. We tried a different one this year and it went well with 33 bikers participating. No one got lost during the ride.
Historical in nature, the ride went to the Stephen Foster State Park for cultural experiences, and then to the Olustee Battlefield Park some 50 miles southeast. There some Civil War history came alive for the riders.
All participants passed the Pop-Quiz when they returned to the rally registration for their last card. The only reason they passed is that my wife ran me off (along with my son, who had flown in from Colorado for the rally), and we were riding the back roads and enjoying the afternoon.
Results of the poker run was as follows: Wayne Orwig had the best hand and won $70. Stu Culpepper had the second best hand and won $35, and the worst hand honors went to the last rider to return - Lesley Casey and that netted him $25. Note this was a 100% pay back to the riders, just as last year's.
As advertised in our flyer we had Italian fare for our Saturday evening meal. Joe Muscetta, along with his wife Sue and Sue's Mom, Pat Scott, and their sons Joe Jr., Ben and Zak prepared enough authentic Italian food to feed a battalion. No one should have a complaint about not getting an ample serving. There was plenty for second and third helpings.
Not only was it delicious - it was served with all the side dishes and desserts. Now maybe we know why they make EV 1100s - to haul larger loads!
Just prior to meal time UPS arrived with an express package. I thought it was another door prize, but not so? It brought flash backs from last year's rally and the loss of MGNOC member John Mannion. Sheri Mannion must still get the MGNOC News. She made a large batch of ''fresh banana nut bread!'' and went to great expense to get it to us for our rally. A nice "Thank You Letter" to all of the MGNOC members was included. We were all impressed by her thoughtfulness. We had enough bread for Sunday morning's Continental Breakfast. And "Yes" it was delicious bread. Thank you Sheri, and if you read this, "We all send our love." John was watching!
After supper we presented the Awards and Door Prizes. But we are gonna have to do something about Roy Jacobs. Roy is a real gem and deserves these awards: Oldest Rider(76), Oldest Rider/Bike Combo (107), Oldest Moto Guzzi (31 year old V-700) - all won by Roy Jacobs of St. Petersburg , Florida.
Youngest Rider for the second year in a row was Wade Harmer. Wade rode in with Grandpa all the way from St. Pete, 300 miles away, mostly in the rain.
The Long Distance was won by Derral McDaniel from Tucson, Arizona, 2250 miles.
And lastly, the Peoples Choice award was won by Alan Pratt on a beautiful 1976 Convert.
The 50/50 Drawing was won by Billy "The Goat" Morgan from River View, Florida. Billy received $140.
The sales girls - Wanda, Joanne and Dana did a fine job pushing the 50/50 tickets.
Moto International Moto Guzzi dealer Dave Richardson (Ask The Wrench, MGNOC News fame) suggested raffling off his book "Guzziology," and we did just that. Max Miller from St. Augustine, Florida won this prized book of knowledge.
There was a great crowd in attendance. They rode in on 18 old frame Guzzis, 28 new frame models, 15 EVs, one Triumph Legion, 16 BMWs, three Hondas two Hogs, one Kawasaki Vulcan and one Zuki Intruder. There was no way to count the day trippers. We will work on that for the next rally.
One hundred eight registered, and some 57 camps were set up. The Campground management, along with support from Doug Woodin and a local lumber supply company (Werninck & Sons of St. Augustine), added four new showers accommodate the crowd. These were greatly appreciated and utilized.
As always, our rally sponsors are ever so benevolent and come through every year. This year, as in the past, everyone received a door prize and, if they did not, it was because they were not present for the door prize drawings.
The following sponsors deserve recognition and thanks for their continuous support of our GUZZIS IN GATORLAND RALLY.
Moto America, Angier, North Carolina; Moto International, Seattle, Washington; Slick's, Glenwood, Colorado; Eish Enterprises, Salineville, Ohio; K&N Filters, Riverside, California; Dennis Kirk, Rush City, Minnesota; Sargent Cycle Seats, Jacksonville, Florida; Precision Imprint, Athens, Ohio; Harper's Moto Guzzi, Greenwood, Missouri, Ron's Kawasaki, Panama City, Florida; Power Sports Guzzi, Naples, Florida; Competition Chemicals, Iowa Falls, Iowa; Lightning Moto Sport, Port St. Lucie, Florida; The Sport Center (Yamaha), Panama City, Florida; American Canoe Adventures, White Springs, Florida, Iron Horse, Tampa, Florida; Action Cycle, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; SunBeeMer's, Venice, Florida; Stan's BMW/Moto Guzzi, Gainesville, Florida; Protest All, Anaheim, California; Rotten Ralph's Biker Bar, N. Highway 231, Panama City, Florida; Frank Wedge/MGNOC, Larned, Kansas; Jackson Cycle Triumph/Moto Guzzi, Clearwater, Florida and lastly the folks from Amsoil (Roy Goyette), Naples, Florida. Roy not only supplied eight door prizes, they produced the road signs that guided strangers to our rally. The signs were impressive and we recovered most of them to use next year.
The following individuals supplied door prizes:
Bill Yoder, Gulf Breeze, Florida; Doug & Virginia Woodin, Bunnell, Florida (MGNOC Reps); Anthony DeGregoria, Colorado Springs, Colorado; Richard Tennis, White Springs, Florida; Phil & Lucy Roddenberry, Live Oak, Florida; and Joanne & Jim DeGregoria, Panama City, Florida (MGNOC Reps).
Acknowledgment must be given to all those who worked at pulling this sixth rally off so smoothly:
Bill Yoder, Gulf Breeze, Florida; Todd & Vee Posey, Pensacola, Florida and Carl Werth, Smithville, Arkansas arrived on Wednesday prior to the rally and helped out immeasurably with set up. Also, Doug and Virginia Woodin came in a day and a half early to help set up. Additionally Doug spent two weekends of his free time building the new showers, which should last a lifetime.
Thanks to all these great MGNOC members and guests who attended the rally and also to American Canoe Adventure Campground owner Wendell Hannum and his staff for all they did to make us and all the ralliers feel welcome to this very historic part of North Florida. We have been invited back next year and look forward to the event and seeing all the MGNOC members. This time bring a friend, even if they ride another kind of motorcycle.