DATELINE NEW YORK CITY (2011): I've not been one to picture myself associated with the term "exclusivity." But in research this, my first trip to New York City, I figured it would be fun to drop by the local Moto Italiano and talk Guzzi like the Guzzi groupie I am fast becoming.
Sitting with an exclusive looking crowd at a corner Starbucks, I check on-line. "Moto Guzzi New York" leads me to Vespa of Brooklyn. Vespa Brooklyn - at least on line - lists no product from Mandelo del Lario, at least in stock. I'll take the subway, anyway. You know, just to hang out.
Well, that didn’t happen. What we did visit was a fine quilt store in West Village and another one in Tribeca.
DATELINE BOSTON (2011): The MG dealer is out of town a bit. Lacking anything but access to public transit, it may be a challenge making my way over there. I check a map provided by the hotel management and the transit lines in the greater Boston area, all the while humming a tune about some guy named “Charley.”
If only I had a rental car. But that wasn’t scheduled to happen until our day of departure. And we were headed in a different direction. One that would take us to a quilt store in Portsmouth, NH and a quilt store near Cape Neddick, Maine. And one in Rockport, Maine, and one in Ellsworth and one in Bar Harbor. And Old Town. And Concord.
“Where you from?” “California.” “What do you ride?” “An RT” (at the time.) “How come you didn’t ride it out?” I looked at the sheet of ice that formed the parking lot and crept into the lanes of travel on US 2. “Next time I see you,” he admonished, grinning and refilling my cup, “You oughta be on that bike.”
Six years had elapsed and again I was in a rental car. I couldn’t stop in Gill. It looked as if my goal of hanging out and talking Guzzi would be unmet in the Northeast.
By the way: there’s a nice quilt store in nearby Shelbourne Falls.
DATELINE SOUTHWEST FLIGHT 484 FROM CHICAGO TO SACRAMENTO (with continuing service to San Diego): Flying home, I looked out the window at the occasional towns that dot the region west of the hundredth meridian. I recall those days when outposts sprung up and matured and had but one church to show for every fifteen or so saloons. The upstanding, the pious and the preachers would shake their heads at this ratio. Most everyone else was fine with it.
Now, as I rocket along, I think about the ratio of New England quilt stores to New England Italian motorcycle dealerships and I, too, must simply shake my head.
Church of the Open Road Press