I spent most of the day walking around and checking out the scoots in the section of the lakefront set aside as scooter only parking.
Yesterday’s post showed the back of the NOLA scoot, here’s the front. Then there is the juxtaposition of vintage with modern maxi.
Meeting up with folks met at other rallies and events.
Mostly though it was meeting new folks, putting faces to some Modern Vespa names and checking out the scoots. These are just a few that caught my eye.
About the only scooter manufacturer attending Amerivespa in 2014 was Genuine Scooter. Genuine also sponsored Friday night’s reggae party.
The day started off with a record attempt but while there was over 600 scooters participating it didn’t break a world record. Folks met and lined up at Scoot Jockeys one of Amerivespa’s sponsors and a good place to get a bit of service done in the middle of a long ride.
Once the ride started I positioned myself across the street to snap a few photos of the riders as they started for Lake Geneva’s waterfront.
Picked up my rally bag, checked into my condo on the grounds of the old Playboy Club golf course. Weather on this trip has been surprisingly good. Unlike just the week before temps were running in the low 80s and not too humid with plenty of sunshine. Could you ask for better rally weather?
The first official event was a 50cc scooter ride around the lake but the first event I attended was the welcome reception. Good thing scoots are small given the number of them parked outside of the restaurant.
It wasn’t too long before overflow parking was a necessity.
The variety of scoots that showed up provided a clue to just how many scooters have been available in the US over the years and just what folks have done to make their scoot unique. Above you see modern Vespas, vintage of both the rat and restored variety: Heinkels from Germany, Cushmans as well as Lambrettas and Piaggios.
Custom paint that expresses the personality of the owner such as the NOLA scooter on the left.
Others showed off their meticulous restorations including hard to find trailers like the lovely ivory Vespa parked next to the NOLA scoot.
Displacements from 50cc (possibly less) to 650cc Burgman maxi scoots. Even the restaurant where the reception was held got into the swing of things with their décor. Their food was delicious too.
Waking up this morning I looked west to see huge black clouds. A quick look at the local weather report told me it was time to make tracks if I didn’t want the storm to over take me. So much as I prefer back roads and two lane travel over the interstates it was time for I-90 and hitting the throttle – hard. I know it sounds a bit petty but the look on a few faces when I overtook their 1,000cc plus motorcycles when they realized a scooter just past them was sometimes amusing. On a couple of occasions I got a thumbs up from the riders I passed but others seemed shocked and unhappy about being passed.
With the storm moving east at 35-40 mph and me traveling at more than twice that rate a couple hours on the freeway left it far enough behind I could cut down into Nebraska and click off another state on my ride map.
First thing I noticed when I entered Nebraska was just how good it smelled. It smelled like fresh cut grass.
I really though I took a picture of the gas station I filled up at while in a small Nebraska town but cannot for the life of me find it. Pumps reminded me of 1950s cars with fins. You pumped then paid inside, no swiping at the pump but there was a CCTV system trained on them so people wouldn’t be tempted to drive off without paying.
Lovely thing about those pumps is that they did not have ethanol, just pure gas in regular and premium.
I stopped for lunch in that same small town and had my first indian fry bread tacos. The other stuff on their taco special buffet was shall we say interesting? Something green in cream sauce I never figured out what it was but it tasted surprisingly good even if it looked a little strange.
Next up was Iowa. I couldn’t wait to cut up from Iowa to Minnesota because unlike Nebraska there was a very unpleasant chemical fertilizer smell almost immediately after I entered the state that lasted the entire hour and a half I was in that state.
Minnesota on the other hand had lovely riding and I wish I noticed the name of the place I stopped at a little Scandinavian café downtown at. It has the best bacon and cheese soup I’ve ever eaten. If I had some way to carry it without spoiling I’d have found out where they got the bacon from and bought some to take with me since I was staying in a condo in Lake Geneva.
Oh, saw one of the strangest bikes/scooters in Minnesota that I ended up going around the block just so I could come back and take a photo of it.
From there until I arrived in Lake Geneva the next day was pleasant rolling green hills and valleys.
Waking up to a beautiful morning just cool enough to make you appreciate a jacket as you ride began a day that made me very glad to be traveling on two wheels. First stop was at the Crazy Horse Memorial.
Construction began in 1998 and it still has many years to go to completion in the foreground you can see the model of the finished mountain while in the background and below you see its current state of progress.
I continued on to Mt. Rushmore along beautiful winding roads under brilliant blue skies. You couldn’t ask for much better roads or weather for the trip. Despite being in a tourist area with national parks, state parks, private memorials like Crazy Horse and other tourist lures there was remarkably little traffic on the roads. Yet when I was at Mt. Rushmore there was no lack of crowds. Made you wonder how and when they all arrived.
Mt. Rushmore was the perfect place to stop for an early lunch of buffalo burger while enjoying the view. It is really hard to appreciate just how big the sculptures are though in many ways I found Crazy Horse to be more impressive.
Since I was in the area, well probably as close as I was ever going to be I decided on a detour over to Sturgis since many of the folks I ride with in Houston have been there. While I know it wasn’t rally time I figured I could at least go by and pick up a t-shirt.
With the infamous rally almost a month away the town was quiet. As I cruised the streets I saw a fair number of shops that catered to the motorcyclist and more bars than you could shake a stick at. When compared to the photos and video I’ve seen of the rally I decided 95% of their annual income must come in the weeks surrounding the rally. Quiet as it could be, well except one large bar but it was time to mosey on down the road.
Next decision was whether or not to go through Badlands National Park. I’ll admit I was tempted to skip it after last summer’s trip through Utah’s national parks but I figured Steve might give me a hard time and it was still early afternoon. It doesn’t get dark until quite late this far north in the summer. I will have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised once I got into the Badlands at how interesting some of the rock was. As I approached it sure looked pretty blah but once I got into the park it was much better than I had expected.
Next stop where I called it a night was Walls, SD. Well known for Walls Drug the town is very motorcycle friendly. I don’t seem to have taken any pictures there but the small motel I stayed at surprised me when I came down from taking my bag into the room to find that proprietor had brought a small plank and microfiber cloth to my bike along with instructions to where he had a cleaning station set up with products to help get rid of bugs and other stuff that ends up on the bike when you are on the road. The plank was because when the sun hit his parking lot the asphalt tended to get more than a little soft for kickstands. Now that is what I call a friendly place, plus it was only a couple short blocks from main street. A nice short walk to a pub for pizza and beer without the need to get back on the bike.