As winter is coming to a close for most of the U.S., we reflect on last year's rallies and make plans for 2003. Attending rallies is an adventure that includes roads, bikes, food, and friends. Some people can only attend a few rallies each year. Others have the flexibility that allows them to make several every year. Planning is vital. What roads to take to get to the rally and return home. Will it be the interstate or the scenic route? The wonderful interstate system may allow rally-goers the option to attend more events by shortening the travel time. But, for those who can afford the time to travel the back roads, those two-lanes that pass through the little towns of America are a refreshing break from the fast-paced society of the 21st century. The opportunity it gives to meet and talk with the locals at the town cafë as you eat real home cooking. And of course it presents the opportunity to show off a Guzzi to people that haven't ever seen one or it has been many years since they last saw one. And you can assure them that yes, Moto Guzzi has been in production for 80+ years. And yes, this is a new model. And yes, that is the real mileage. And yes, you rode it all that way. And yes, you are still traveling.
Yes, it is fun traveling around the country en route to the great rallies that the states work hard to provide us with the opportunity to have a great time. The state reps and staff don't just wave a magic wand and it all falls into place. For many rally planners, it is a year long event...designing a rally flier, pin/patch, awards/plaques, planning food menus, bike events, entertainment, working with suppliers/vendors, and the PR with the community and campground. And the worry of planning for 200...severe weather or other circumstances curtail the numbers to 75 or near perfect conditions stimulate a record number of 350 attendees.
We have attended many state rallies in each section of the country. For those who have also attended many events, you know that each state event is unique. Whether it is the scenic mountain roads of northwest Arkansas, the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway, the Rocky Mountains, the Central plains, the desert of the Southwest, the lakes and forests of the north, and the list can go on and on. There are so many places to see and what better way to see, than from a bike? And the food that is provided at rallies across the country is such an enjoyable experience: Iowa, chops; Wisconsin, brats and cheese; Arkansas, chicken and blueberry cobbler; Kansas, beef and homemade pie; Louisiana, gumbo and bread pudding with rum sauce; Washington, salmon; Missouri, turkey; and others have wonderful fish fries, special chili, and a lot more entries that I personally have not experienced.
Attending Moto Guzzi events has provided the opportunity to see old friends and make new ones. Email and cell phones help to keep in touch, but there is nothing that compares to pulling into a campground to see who has already set up camp and anxiously await the arrival of others, to sit around the campfire and swap bike stories, tell a few jokes, and enjoy the company of friends while drinking a good cup of coffee or something a little stronger.
What a sight to see the bikes lined up in a bike show, admiring the old Ambos/Eldos still on the road, the recently restored V-7 sport to bike show quality and of course the latest addition to the line of Moto Guzzi. Only at a rally can one see such a beautiful array of Italian bikes.
At the state rallies we've attended, the staff has provided the attendees the opportunity for all to enjoy and have a good time...the bike games, a scenic poker run, live music, good food, awards, and door prizes. We try to attend as many Guzzi rallies as time and money allows. But we also plan to attend a few generic rallies too. We want the rest of the bike world to know there are Guzzis still around, still in production, and are still on the road. We encourage other Guzzi owners to do the same. Attend a generic rally this year and see all the attention that you get.
We are looking forward to attending many of the Guzzi state rallies again this year. And we are fired up with anticipation of this year's "National" event in Mt. Vernon, Washington. For many it will be a long trip. But in our opinion, well worth it. Great roads to travel, people to meet, food to enjoy, and a great deal more. We appreciate all the hard work that Dick and Gayle Guthrie and the Washington group have put forth for well over a year in preparation for this event. Just read the rally flyer to see all the things they are providing for us to have fun. It takes a lot of money up front to get the rally rolling (purchasing supplies, ordering pins/patches/plaques, deposits on campground, port-a-pots, catering, etc.). Little things like postage can add up to over $100 (requesting door prizes, responding to people's questions, etc.). For those making plans to attend, we encourage you to pre-register. We pre-registered in January. Not only does it help financially for the early expenses of the rally, it also gives those in charge a rough estimate of the number planning to attend the event.