Monday, July 31, 2006

AmeriVespa in Denver; Westward Ho

This weekend we had about 500 scooterists convene in Denver for the annual AmeriVespa and Lambretta Jamboree. (Lambretta is the Avis to Vespa's Hertz of Italian scooters, except that the Lambretta manufacturer is long out of business.) It was a blast, and it got front-page coverage in the Denver newspaper today. More about that later, but first about the ride.

In the morning I am going to ride west through Colorado and Utah and Nevada with Rolf, Peter and Rich. They rode their scooters here from Northern California. Rolf is a legend in the US scooter world, and his brother Peter started the Vespa Club in Hamburg, Germany 40 years ago! It was tempting to mosey through the mountains of Colorado and Wyoming on my own, and to ride through Jackson Hole, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone. But I was really lucky riding solo for the first six days and I don't want to push it. There is safety in numbers, and we are all riding the same kind of scooter, so we should be able to keep a nice pace. We'll take I-70 until US 50 breaks off from it in Utah, and then take that all the way to Sacramento. We won't go through any big cities, but we'll skirt Lake Tahoe.

I don't know whether we'll have internet access tomorrow night from Utah, but I'll post again as soon as possible.

Of course, seeing as how I rode here from Miami, I did win the prize for riding the farthest to get to the rally. It is a big flat tile, and it barely fits on the scooter, but if I ship it home it might break.

I saw a lot of old friends and made some new ones at the rally. As expected based on my earlier journey, the folks I met from Portland and Seattle offered to roll out the red carpet for me on my journey. Last night I found out how lucky I was when I broke down in Oklahoma City. Someone else was riding the same model scooter as mine from Connecticut, and it had the same part fail in Indiana. Well, that scooter is still stuck in Indiana as I write this. The one person I forgot to thank last night at the banquet was Chad, the mechanic at Vespa Oklahoma who got me back on the road.

Checks for Canine Partners For Life continue to come sporadically, and I got a few cash contributions here in Denver. I got to talk about CPL for a couple of minutes at the rally awards banquet last night. As you may be able to tell from the picture above [once I get pictures uploaded; the software is balking tonight], the banquet was held at Wings Over the Rockies, an Air Force flight museum.

Sorry, I have to get some sleep. I can't set my schedule any more because I'm with a group now, and we are leaving at 5 am. Even making allowances for "scooter time" it will be early.

Song for AmeriVespa: The World, by Brad Paisley.


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