My eight-year old daughter Jennea has read many of my trip reports from my sixteen day Alaska journey to my five and one half day Key West jaunt. So she knew the trip to the Wisconsin rally wasn't a big challenge to me. But to Jennea this was a major motorcycle adventure! I had planned this with her ahead of time by doing longer day rides with her so she would get used to it. I told her stories of Ace Mallot's kids doing 500 miles to rallies before they were even potty trained, but Ace is that rare exception to the rule! She told me she was ready for it, so away we went.
It was on an August Saturday morning with a 65 degree light rain that we started the trip. Jennea was well protected in an adult rain suit and was smiling all the way. We took back roads towards Beloit, Wisconsin to avoid the storms that were in the Madison area. A few miles west of Beloit the rain let up and it looked safe enough to remove our rain gear. We stopped for a cheese and sausage snack and washed it down with a soda.
We headed towards Monroe and took a variety of county roads as we made our way through New Glarus and Dodgeville. Then it was across the Wisconsin River, through Lone Rock and finally to Richland Center, where the rally was being held.
The access road to the campground was closed, causing a detour back through town, but we decided to make a go of it. We took it easy through the mud from an earlier rain, and we made it with minimal problems.
It didn't take long to unpack and set up camp. I thought she had had enough after two hundred miles, but she still wanted to see the big Mississippi. Again, it was a more back roads and over that great river to Lansing, Iowa. Jennea immediately wanted to run down and "touch" the water. It was a picture perfect setting with the large tugboats pushing the barges upstream.
We headed back to camp with Jennea's new record of 315 miles in a day. (long way from the old man’s record, but more than I had ridden at her age!)
I finally met MGCL's (Moto Guzzi Correspondence List) Eric Trosper after communicating with him many times via Internet. He and his wife Celia brought their daughter Veronica, with whom Jennea played Hide and Seek most of the evening. Tony Kiesman's daughter Carla and another friend, Kayla, also played with the girls.
The pig roast prepared for dinner was fantastic. I had a couple of helpings. The huge bonfire was slow starting because of the wet conditions. Back at the Trosper campsite I was being entertained by watching Eric and Clem (another friend) demonstrate their arson skills (or should I say, “lack of?”) trying to start a campfire so the kids could roast marshmallows. They tried everything from lighter fluid to white gas and even some 93 octane gasoline, and an hour (minimum!) later, after every piece of available paper was burned up, the fire finally took hold.
Jennea also enjoyed the main bonfire once it was aflame and it burned until Sunday morning. She was excited when she was handed a Guzzi model that she had won.
We got up early Sunday morning and got everything packed up and loaded. Said some good-byes and headed out. We stopped back in Lone Rock for breakfast, and then it was mostly U.S. Highway 14 to Madison. We went downtown to see the Capitol building and rode down near the lake. Then it was U.S. 12 through Cambridge, Whitewater and Elkhorn. A few more back roads to Lake Geneva, and then we headed back home to Wonder Lake.
Jennea is already looking forward to more rallies next summer. She has completed another 300+ mile day since the rally, going to Chicago and along Lake Michigan. She is starting to learn more about bikes and is wondering why I don't get a sidecar or at least a better seat with a backrest for her.
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