Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Marne Thing – Part 2, by Dale Nordlie

Gary Johnson and I took off for The Baxter Cycle Rally on Saturday morning. Gary on his faithful 1996 BMW R1100RT and me on a new to me, but not new to the family, 1965 BMW R69S. We stopped in Alcester at the Dinner Bell Cafe for breakfast and from there rode to Bak Victory BMW in Sioux City. When we arrived at the shop there was a note on the door that said the shop was closed and everyone was at the Victory Reunion in Spirit Lake, IA. I put gas in my bike and we continued on our way. We rode some fun roads thru the Loess Hills and stopped for lunch at a slow fast food spot in Woodbine.

We arrived in Marne in the late afternoon and there was already a large group of Autobahners and Big Sioux Riders at the city park. My brother Paul, his wife Trintje, and their friend Kevin had ridden down on Friday with the traveling beer wagon. They had three kegs and everyone did their part to try and empty them. At suppertime some folks rode to the Danish Restaurant in Elkhorn, while others of us went to the Roadhouse Bar in Marne. We sat around a nonexistent campfire and told lies and drank beer into the night.

The next morning, we went to the fire station and had a pancake breakfast provided by the local boy scout troop. After that Gary and I walked up to the cycle shop and drooled over the antique bike collection and then we signed up for test rides on new Triumph motorcycles. I rode a Triumph Rocket III roadster and a Triumph Tiger 1050. Then I headed back to the park to clean up the R69S. I had decided to enter it in the bike show under the Other European categories.

This is a spectator judged event, so I thought it might be a good idea to put a sign on my bike that it is an unrestored original and also that I had ridden it 200 miles to the rally. As I was putting the sign on my bike a woman said that got her vote---so maybe I had a good idea. We had our picnic lunch provided by Baxter Cycles and some more beer. Ballots were counted at about 2:30 pm. The R60/2 won first place with 42 votes. The Laverda and my bike each got 35 votes, tying for second place. The way I see it second place is better since you win a tee shirt rather than the plaque given for first place.

After the awards presentation I hopped on the R69S for a beautiful ride home. Maybe next year I'll put a sidecar on the bike and enter it again!

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