Ridin' Around with John Boettcher

Thinking back on 1999 I'm amazed at how fast the time passed. The year started off with the worst blizzard northern Illinois had seen since 1967. It made the 50 mile ride to the monthly Guzzi breakfast a little more challenging than normal!

I bought my second Guzzi, a 1973 Eldo, at the Louisiana rally in May, at which, by the way, they served some of the best home cooked food. That alone will get me back there again this year. Thanks again, Yvonne and William!

I had a few little problems getting the Eldo to run right, and the frustration made me want to sell it the very next day. But after working the bugs out of it and taking a few great trips I doubt I could ever part with it now. It was probably the one-day, 1300-mile burn to the national rally in New Mexico that locked it in.

The year 1999 was also the year my eight-year-old daughter Jennea rode with me to her first rally. It was also her first 300-mile day. She has really taken to motorcycling and I'm sure she'll be along for a few rallies in 2000.

I met a lot of great people in 1999, too many to mention or remember, but a few did stand out. William and Yvonne Griffith, the Louisiana Guzzi reps, were wonderful people who really made me feel at home when I stopped by on my way back home from a trip. The twenty pounds of Cajun crawfish was a nice treat too!

Sheldon Aubut from Minnesota was a very interesting man with a wide range of motorcycling interests; and heading up quite a few motorcycle clubs on the Internet.

Smilin' Jack Ballard from Pennsylvania was a total riot! He's a retired jet pilot with a great collection of European motorcycles which he rides fast and hard. We had a good time tipping a few and swapping stories.

I met Harold McLean of North Florida in 99; in fact we ran into each other a few times during the year, the last time being over the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend. I got to ride a wide variety of his bikes, including his restored Eldorado, a Cagiva and a bike I had forgotten about, a Hercules, in nearly mint condition. We also spent a morning with a couple of his other friends riding dirt bikes through the Apalachiacola National Forest. Riding challenges there include about 50 miles of heavily wooded trails, sand, creeks, hills and other assorted obstacles. Everyone who participated had an absolute blast.

All in all it was a memorable year, one in which I added 25,000 miles on the Eldorado, 23,500 miles on the raT-3, and 2000 miles on my other bikes, over 50,000 miles in all.

It will be hard for me to top that in 2000 but I'll be sure to give it a shot!

Copyright 1999-2012, John Boettcher, all rights reserved
Contact John at:  ratguzzi@hotmail.com