What’s Been “H”appening July 13th, 2006

by Chris Irwin, AGWA-Illinois Chapter H


On Thursday morning Mac, Chris  & Kirsty set off for the Iowa Guzzi Rally.  The weather was hot, hot, hot!  We planned to set off at 9:00 am, however as usual, we were late leaving.  We finally got away from home at 11:00 am.  The roads were perfectly quiet and we planned to get out of Chicago area as quickly as possible, so opted for the I88 in a westerly direction.  Having left the crowded roads behind, we found some quiet back roads to follow.  The route took us 260 miles to a quiet little town, Elkada, in north eastern Iowa.  The campsite took some finding.  Although it was a large rally, in fact the Moto Guzzi National Rally, the signs were almost non existent and we rode around and around the town.  We knew it couldn’t be too hard to find as the town was so small but it was eerily evasive.  In desperation we stopped at a hot dog stand with a Harley rider sitting eating to ask directions.  We were only a short way away from the place and fortunately, he knew where it was being held.   With over 900 riders expected at the rally, we were kind of expecting some signs but to no avail.  The site was indeed a great place.  It was being held at the city park and the Moto Guzzi riders had taken over.  There was  the town swimming pool at the park, so we had plenty to do. 


        The sun was still blazing down when we arrived  and we found a small area with shade and we pitched our tent.  There were bikes everywhere, but they were all on the site and none in the town.  The food was included in the price of the tickets although they were quite expensive at $50 per head for Thursday, and Friday night only.  The rally itself ran from Thursday to Sunday, but we had to leave on Saturday due to other commitments.  The people were friendly and we soon found ourselves sitting and chatting with other riders.  The folks camped behind us were all Goldwing riders.  To the side were Guzzi riders and across from us were BMW riders.  As you can see there was a group of different folk.  We had a Lasagna dinner at the site and then talked long into the night with everyone camped around us. Thursday night it rained which helped to cool things down, giving us a welcome break from the heat and made it so we could at least sleep.


        There were no planned rides, you had to find your own if you wanted to ride.  The event is planned around the campsite but there are great roads around the north eastern corner of Iowa.  It is hilly with many twisties to get to grips with.  We opted not to ride due to the long ride the day before and the following day.  Kirsty and I spent part of the day in the pool and Mac sat to read the Moto Guzzi magazine.  Friday night, the dinner was a  roast beef dinner and it was very good! Friday evening was the traditional sitting around campsites talking. Sadly, because it was a city park, campfires were not allowed but it was very hot so we really did not miss it.  All day long the temps had been mighty high and Mac had spent all day just dripping with sweat. Kirsty was feeling ill by the end of the day with no relief from the heat.  I was just enjoying it all.   We had to make Friday night an earlier turn in so we could be up and away the next day.  We had to  be home on Saturday and I don’t do mornings!


        By 9:00 am we were on the road.  It is a world record for me to be organized so early after packing away our campsite. We sailed along happily. Getting out early was a good thing to do as the temps were due to soar even higher today.  At 9:30 am disaster stuck when Mac radio’d though and shouted “Stop! You lost a wheel!”  Quickly I counted wheels. One Two, Three, four, five, ‘No they are all there!  He shouted again, “STOP! YOU LOST A WHEEL.”  I pulled to a quick holt.  We were a few miles from anywhere.  I stepped around the trike and looked. Everything appeared to be OK.  But there was a smell of burned rubber!  The I saw, the trailer wheel was pointing in instead of straight.  Oh Boy!  I had broken an axle!!  I don’t know where.  I don’t know how.  But it was definitely broken!  As luck would have it, at that exact moment, and ambulance drove by and stopped to help.  The driver was just going off shift and rode bikes himself.  He had a trailer and said he would be back as soon as he had delivered the ambulance back to the depot.  He told us to stay off the road, he didn’t want to bring the ambulance back for us!  He was back in about fifteen minutes and while they were loading the trailer onto his truck the local police car arrived to see if we needed help.  He towed us back to the local garage, (which he had already phoned to say he was coming in,) and they managed to weld up the trailer.  It was a design flaw, which is now fixed, (thank goodness.)  We were back on the road just $60 and one hour later.  The tow was free!  Thanks to the ambulance driver we were not held up too long.  The other 240 miles went without a hitch.  Kirsty complained about the heat due to the fact she was still feeling ill from the heat the day before.  It will give us much to talk about over the years and made it a fun experience.


        We had a great time and found a few people we already knew and met with many people we didn’t already know.  What a great way to make friends.  “You meet the nicest people on a Honda.”  But boy are you missing out if you don’t’ go to other events as well.

Hope this may encourage some of you to try these different events.

You can have a great time.

If you are interesting in trying it out, but don’t want to go alone, contact Chris or Malcolm for our next venue.  You would be welcome to come along and try it out.


Who knows, you may even like it!!

Till next time.