Wednesday, August 17, 2016
CROSS COUNTRY ON ELLIE: A 40-YEAR-OLD MOTO GUZZI
Vicarious Life through Others’ Travels
In 1971, I purchased my first new car: a Clementine orange VW Super Beetle. I loved that car. While it still resides in my heart, I wish it still had a place in my garage. It was truly the one that got away. If I still owned the Bug, it likely would travel no further from home than the coffee shop on Sunday morning, because, well, what if it and its forty-plus-year-old technology broke down?
I was reminded of this the other night when visitors from Tasmania, whom we were yet to meet, tooled into our neighborhood on a 1975 Moto Guzzi El Dorado. Paul and Kerry Dickson (again, from waaayyyyy down under) purchased this classic a couple of months back from a seller in Nova Scotia, Canada, basically sight unseen. Her name, they were told, was “Ellie.”
The story goes that the Dicksons flew into New York, caught a hop across the border, took Ellie for a short spin, laid down their money and headed west.
That takes some measure of guts, I’d opine. I suppose if I found a seventies-era VeeDub, I could attempt a similar journey because those old Volkswagens were not all that uncommon. We still see a few of them belching about and parts still pretty available.
But on a vintage Guzzi? Trying to find parts for a forty-year old Moto Guzzi must be a bit like finding the third tablet upon which the rest of the Fifteen Commandments are chiseled. But Mr. and Mrs. Dickson were undeterred.
They rode and camped and rode and moteled and rode through some of the most scenic territory in all of North America seeking small museums, enjoying mom ‘n’ pop café meals in tiny towns and sticking, whenever possible, to America’s less travelled by-ways.
The story of their introduction to Ellie, the El Dorado, has a love-at-first-sight poignancy to it. Photos of the motoring to the top of New Hampshire’s Mount Washington and Wyoming’s Devil’s Tower added more bullets to my burgeoning bucket list, while shots of Montana-Wyoming’s Beartooth Pass reignited the excitement I felt on my trip a few years back on my then four-year-old BMW. Except they did it on Ellie, a contemporary of my beloved, long-gone ’71 VW.
Along the way, these travelers stopped in at our house for some ribs, some rest and this reminder to self: As long as we continue to expand our view of the world and our appreciation for the diverse gifts it offers, we can keep our thus-engaged selves young. Perhaps there is no better way to do this than through travel on a motorcycle.
Better still if her name is Ellie.
More exact details of the Dickson’s transaction and amazing trip can be found on their blog “Sure – Why Not?” Plan on being captivated by the pictures and the narrative. And keep checking back as Paul and Kerry are still composing thoughts and selecting pictures that represent the completion of their journey. Here’s the link: http://sure-why-not--2016.blogspot.com/.
Special thanks to Patrick Hayes (left) for arranging the connections necessary to allow for visitors from the other side of the globe to come to our little place for a meal and a night’s rest. Patrick is a moto-aficionado (and Church of the Open Road reader) who somehow hooked up with me through the blog during my Guzzi ownership days.
And kudos to the Guzzi community – as Kerry refers to them – both in the states and in Canada who helped ensure that Paul and Kerry’s adventure would be the utmost success. I'm thinking I need to make an effort to "rejoin" that community...
“You meet the nicest people on a Honda.”
- Corporate slogan ca 1964
I spoke with my 94-year-old mother the other day and shared that visitors from Tanzania would be stopping over. “Where’s Tanzania?” she asked. I explained and she said, “My, you do lead an interesting life.”
No, I thought to myself, but I certainly have met some inspiring people who do.
© 2016Church of the Open Road Press