Despite the mediocre weather forecast, the weather at the Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground was great. I loaded up the truck on Friday morning with tents, sleeping bags, funny looking stuff bags, coolers, and all the subterfuge that goes to a rally. My bike went on the trailer; I would rather have been riding the V11 Sport, but this way I didn't have to pack efficiently and I didn't have to ship the door prizes and awards to the rally sight. Plus you never know if there may be a need to haul a bike or a rider some place. Also by riding in the truck I was able to listen to The Who's CD Live at Leeds real loud or louder than I could at home.
It took me four hours to get to the rally site located about two miles east of Cruso, North Carolina on Highway 276. That was nonstop from our house located in the middle of North Carolina. No one parked their cars upside down on I-40 so it was smooth sailing all the way. I hate it when people park their cars upside down on the freeway, it just messes up my time frame something awful.
One never knows how many people will show up for a rally. The weather forecast was not good, partly cloudy with thundershowers. Yeah sure, our weather was wonderful and it did rain for about 10 minutes on Friday afternoon. The campground owners asked about how many should they expect, what with the pessimistic forecast, I said that we were good for 125 people. By Saturday evening at 6:00 P.M. we had 131 registered. We have had as many as 225 and as few as around 75, one never knows. We have had more and more BMWs show up for this event and I think that is wonderful, hope that they become deathly ill with a Guzzi virus. We don't get much participation from North Carolina Guzzi owners club members, maybe five percent out of all the members in North Carolina. Any way we have a good time.
Our plan for the Saturday ride this year was to drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway to Highway 19 then head into Maggie Valley and go on a group tour of the Wheels Through Time museum. Not really much of a ride, but one heck of a destination. I had spoken with the museum's owner and set a time for 1:00 P.M. and they also gave us a group discount. Now try to get 30 bikes together at one time and then go some place. We did have a group at the campground, so I told every one assembled the directions and said that if we rode as a group then fine, but that it was difficult to keep that many people together. As it turned out we had a group of around 40 heading down the Parkway, one solid line of Guzzis, what a pleasing sight to see. And very little traffic, what two or three cars we did approach pulled off in to the overlooks to allow us to pass; that is very rare.
Maggie Valley is a typical tourist trap with all of the usual tacky restaurants and putt-putt courses, but we were able to stumble into a good independent burger place that was not slammed with tourist junk. After lunch we walked back to the Wheels Through Time for our tour. I could write for hours about this place. It is one man's dedication to the early American motorcycle history. The owner\curator is a walking, talking, information spewing extraordinaire. If we had paid twice what we were charged we would have received a bargain. After a 90 minute tour I needed to return to the rally. By the way, I did not have the time to see the upstairs displays. You can get information off the Internet, just look up Wheels Through Time. If you are in western North Carolina check this place out. Several people came up to me afterwards and said they really enjoyed the tour and that they would be back.
It took us almost an hour and a half to get to the Maggie Valley via the Parkway and the direct route back to the rally sight was only 35 minutes, that was our route. Back at Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground our registration volunteers Dave & Michele Wilson and Brenda Marcum had things under control, so it was time to figure out the various award winners, and recruit some judges for peoples choice awards. I always try to get a varied group for this job. Maybe the fish tailed Ambassador isn't stock, but it has 32,000 miles on the odometer and that lends credit to the bike. The pale yellow Strada wasn't stock, but it sure was pretty. A LeMans SE had something like 70,000 miles so that was recognized. You get the picture.
Barbara figured out the registration awards for long distance, oldest rider etc., and then it was time for door prizes and presenting the awards. Every thing went just fine until it came to Long Distance 2-up, and I don't remember what the problem was, but we got it figured out.
After supper Guzzimoto, a.k.a. Bill Stokes, opened up the tiki bar and the libations began in earnest. At times there were more folks at the tiki bar than standing around the fire. When I finally got a break I went over to the tiki bar only to find it bartenderless. I'm not shy so I proceeded to whip up drinks and after I quit, Tall Blond a.k.a. Gabriel Ingebritson took over. In all a large time was had by all. Before you knew it, it was 12 o'clock and time to give the last award, the Snore Award. The job is very demanding in that it requires you to stay up later than anyone else, which five of us managed to do. After circumnavigating the campground while massively suppressing huge giggles we found three candidates one of whom would have put chainsaw to shame. Our job done we went to bed.
We did have two folks lose to centrifugal force and gravity. Dick Whitehead got into altercation with a signpost. Dick survived with very little damage, but the signpost was history. We don't have a name, but a certain SP rider was trying to keep up with the loop frame guys and he also failed to negotiate a curve. The SP rider was able to leave the scene on his own.
That is all for now, we hope to have everyone back here next year. Thanks for coming and a big thanks to all of the unsolicited door prize contributors.
Award Winners: Youngest Rider, Brad Ingebritson; Oldest Rider, Gerald Weeks; Long Distance Two Up, Dave & Michele Wilson; Male Sir, Phil Tunbridge, 890 miles; Female, Emily Banks, 280 miles. Open Class, Long Distance Male, Robert Smith aka "Snuffy" 760 miles; Female, Linda Mulligan, 540 miles; Two Up, Glenn Peavey & Elizabeth Hurley, 350 miles; Peoples Choice Loop Frame, Fred Sahms, Eldorado; Tonti Frame, Gerald Weeks, '87 SPII; Spine Frame, Phil Tunbridge, 2001 Quota; Plywood Award, Denis Pelletier, 2001 V11 Sport.
Door Prize Contributors: Aerostich Roadcrafters; Union Cycles; Meyers Moto Guzzi/Ducati; Bill Stokes, Guzzi Wings; Joe Kinney; Brenda Marcurn; David Powell; Ed Dorr & Marjorie Faith; Carl Nyburg; Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground.