Ridin' Around with John Boettcher

Summer time, that great time for riding when nothing matters. I took a day ride to the Iowa rally, kind of a local back road thing seeing it was less than 500 miles for the day. The rally was at a beautiful park with a pool and every extra feature we all appreciate. Great place if you have children who ride. I stayed for only an hour or so, said hi to Frank Wedge and the Ace Cycle crew and rode off to Eldorado, Iowa for a photo of the Eldo in front of the post office/general store. Great ride home with perfect weather.

Shortly after that was the Minnesota rally in Duluth, and as luck would have it, a business trip for the company coincided.

I left on a Friday morning at around 5:00 A.M. and met up with a pal, Chris Collins, in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. I followed him through some beautiful Wisconsin back roads including passing by the "Ain't no Boutique" MG Cycle in Brooklyn. We rode U.S. 61 along the great Mississippi to the Twin Cities and then split off. Chris headed to the rally and I took care of company business about 50 miles west of Minneapolis. I finished quickly and decided to head to Hibbing to see Bob Dylan's childhood home. Then I headed back south to Duluth, about 800 miles to the rally. I met a few more MGCL (Moto Guzzi Correspondence List) people, including list administrator Sheldon Aubut, a wonderful person who opened his home to me if I needed it.

Conversed with John Zabrowski, new Iron Butt rider, and a great group of others including Ken Hand (my main competitor in yearly miles!) and that Frank Wedge guy again! Frank had that huge eight gallon tank on his EV that looked awesome!

I headed back Saturday morning, went over to Ashland, Wisconsin and rode under some old bridge that looked like it was for loading the big boats onto Lake Superior. Perfect weather made the ride back relaxing and enjoyable.

Then over Labor Day weekend, I took my girlfriend, Diane Pope, to check out the Ohio rally on the Eldorado. We got there after dark on Friday night and stayed only a few minutes.

The next morning we stopped back by and talked with rally host Jack Arnold for a little while. We left there and headed south. There was a big ride or some event going on in Chillicothe, Ohio. Thousands of bikes could be seen on the streets as we rode through town. We were both amazed that on a perfect riding day, sunny and about 80 degrees (F), the car washes were just packed with heavily chromed American  made motorcycles!

We took Ohio Route 41 to Maysville, Kentucky, a truly nice piece of highway. Kentucky Rounte 22 West was even better. I'm not much into two-up riding and it was a little harder with drum brakes and 26-year-old suspension! I'm surprised Diane hung in there as well as she did. I'm not one to take a lot of breaks, and we pushed it pretty good. It was getting hot too. We rode into Indiana on U.S. 421 and took some other back roads to Bloomington, Indiana. Most of the motels were booked, except for some of the more expensive ones, but after about 600 miles, Diane said she had had enough and would pay for the room no matter what it cost!  This was her longest ride.

She did quite well considering she wasnít sitting on a real seat - just a canvas sack with a pillow in it bungeed to the rear fender behind the solo seat.

Thankfully it was a fairly routine ride back to ol' Wonder Lake the following day.

After we got back I unloaded Diane, the gear and the so called passenger seat and went for a solo ride. What a difference after a few days of two up riding!

ED NOTE: After many years of two-up riding, I sometimes have to look back to see if my wife Mary Jo is back there. She seldom hangs on (only when things accelerate quickly) and I literally donít ride any differently with her or without her. I might stop one additional time per day with her, and we might stop long enough to get a cup of coffee at McDonalds, but other than that thereís no difference. After a little two-up experience it sounds as if both you and Diane will be doing exactly the  same thing. Actually when we bring the dog along we stop more to let Caress have a drink and stretch her legs. FW

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Contact John at:  ratguzzi@hotmail.com