Motorbikes at EuroFest Greenville, South Carolina

 

EuroFest is a European car, judged show. But before you blow off this post because of the word “car”, let it be known they had some pretty sharp motorcycles at this premier auto event as well.

Roo and I, two moto and auto enthusiasts in our Mazda Miata, and another couple in their Porsche, drove to the Euro Auto Festival venue, the Verdae Greens golf course, on a gorgeous Saturday morning. Honestly, I did not know there were going to be motorbikes here, so imagine our delight when we came upon the sign shown above. Not a whole lot of bikes showcased, but hey, it is a “car” show.

There were a number of marques represented here: Aprilia, Ducati, Triumph, BSA, Norton, even a Greeves! BMW Touring Sport, our local BMW, Triumph and Ducati dealer, had a vendor tent set up and a Zero motorcycle (electric) whirring around the golf course all day! Awesome! Enough words. Enjoy the show!

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Next year, the featured automobiles will be Italian marques. Maybe more Italian motorbikes also? We will definitely be there. Viva Italia!

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Leave It to a Biker to bring a Motorcycle to a Car Show

Every Fourth of July, Roo and I climb the mountain up to Brevard, North Carolina to ogle all the Classic Cars on display during the town’s Fourth of July Festival. Lo and behold, three wayward bikers and their motorbikes found their way to this car show. The bikes here were not merely transportation, but were actually registered and entered in the show and on display.

BMW R69S

BMW R69S & R75S

Befitting the celebration of our nations birth, this biker built this beautiful custom of a bike most of us would recognize immediately:

CAPTAIN AMERICA

It’ kind of like bringing a knife to a gun fight, I think. They didn’t garner that much attention from the car crowd (except from me), however, Captain America posed for quite a few pictures. Oh those zany bikers……………..

If you would like to see photos of some beautiful automobiles from this show, find them at our sister site here.

On Beagles & Bikes

biker beagle

It’s cold. It’s January. It’s cold because it’s January. Even here, in the upstate of South Carolina, it gets cold. And wet. Cold and wet is not a good combo for this former Florida boy. Nor is it good for motorcycling…….for me anyway. So the bikes are in hibernation. The ST is completely covered and put away, quietly snoozing away winter’s dreary days, while the Suzuki is mildly sedated while being slowly transformed to a different style of motorbike. There are no moto trips to write about this time of year. Since this is a motorbike travel blog, what’s left? What’s to fill these pages during winter’s dark, dreary days? Oh I have a couple of motorcycle posts in the waiting, but right now, all that comes to mind is ……… beagles! Yes! Beagles, and how they influenced our motorcycling lives.

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When Roo and I met back in 1997, she had a beagle named Molly. Molly beagle. Molly was a pure bred, AKC show beagle, retired. She was short, bred as a “pocket” beagle (under 15 inches tall at the shoulder), but had a huge, very strong personality. Large and in charge, as we used to say about her. Ruth and I hit it off fairly quickly, but there was one little obstacle we had to overcome before we could seriously commit to each other. Molly. Yes, we needed Molly’s approval. No joke. So, one day while walking up the walkway to Roo’s house, Molly came bounding out to greet me. Roo and her mom waited in the doorway in anticipation. What would Molly do? I came up to Molly beagle, squatted down in front of her, she sniffed me a bit, then pushed herself up on her hinders and reached for me with her front paws! I picked her up as she licked my face until I cried uncle! Roo and her mom clapped and high fived as Roo exclaimed, “Woohoo! We got the Molly seal of approval!” Unfortunately, I didn’t have a digital photo of Molly, but she looked similar to this:

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Whenever I geared up to go for a bike ride, Molly would run to the door in anticipation of riding with me on the motorbike. Sadly, I always had to disappoint her, but to this day, I carry a photo of her in my tank bag when I travel. Molly is no longer with us, but she is with me on every trip I take.

A few years later, we aquired Duncan. Duncan is a beagle/basset hound mix with a bark that could raise the dead. He was never interested in riding on a motorbike like Molly was. But he wanted to wrench, or at least hang out while I did. Whenever I would go to the garage to do something on the bikes, Duncan would follow. If I was doing some work on my exercise equipment, he would turn and walk away. But if he saw me moving bikes around or working on them, he wanted to be right in there with me. He wanted to do “guy stuff” too. Duncan is 14 years old now. This is a pic of him as a younger man:

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When Duncan was five years old, we took Gretchen into our home and hearts. Gretchen is a rescue, and she is a beagle/border collie mix. She is deaf, but came to us knowing hand signals, and learning more under Roo’s tutelage. She is super intelligent and protective (border collie), as well as independent with lots of love to give (beagle). Gretchen has absolutely no interest in anything motorcycle. She is just fascinating to look at, and her blue eye just hold you in a trance as you take in her beauty.

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Two years ago we decided we wanted another pure breed beagle. It just so happened that our vet tech was breeding her beagle and asked if we wanted a pup from the litter. Absolutely! A female if you please.The momma, Sweet Pea, was a tiny little beagle. The father wasn’t much bigger. We knew that this was going to be a litter of “pocket” beagles. Out popped the litter, and we picked out the cutest female ball of fur. We had already picked out a name. I have always wanted a beagle named Daisy. Roo wanted to make it a bit more southern sounding, so enter our little Southern Belle, Miss Daisy-Mai:

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 Daisy-Mai is super playful as well as independent and mischevious. She just loves everybody and exudes happiness in everything she does. She is the perfect little beagle with flawles beagle markings. She doesn’t show any real interest in motorcycles, but I’ll bet when we get a sidecar rig, she’ll be the first one to jump in to try it out.

So there you have the history of the beagles and their significance on this blog. They bring such joy into our lives, as much, or maybe even more than motorcycling!

Two Up on the Trace: Vintage Bikes; Road Racing Through Time; How Many Vincents?

 Checking out the Triumphs: Roo on a vintage, Bob on a Thruxton cafe racer. Click on left photo to see the worried look on Roo’s face!

The Motorcycle Song by Arlo Guthrie (from Alice’s Restaurant)

I don’t want a pickle….. just want to ride my motorsickle….

And I don’t want a tickle….. ’cause I’d rather ride on my motorsickle….

And I don’t want to die…. I just want to ride on my motorcy—cle.

(Listen to it here. Search “motorcycle song”)

Days 8 & 9: The Time Warp

We overnighted in Meridian, Mississippi, having traveled on a beautiful rural highway through the southern part of the state. Then it was a straight line hole shot freeway blast up I-20 to Birmingham the following morning. By the time we reached our hotel, we were full on ready to immerse ourselves in everything motorcycles. The hotels in the vicinity, ours included, had their parking lots full of motorbikes and motorcyclists. But they cast a tiny shadow compared to the hordes of motorbikes and their owners we would see at         Barber Motorsports Park for the Vintage Festival Weekend.

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If you are into vintage bikes and vintage bike racing, this is the place to be the second weekend of October each year. The number of vintage motorbikes here vying for prize money in the judging contest, as well as all the bikes in the museum (open year round), boggles the mind. Add the all day sensory input you are exposed to and you are on a weekend motorcycle high that will take a week to come down from!

Passing through the entrance gate, the perimeter road is lined with motorbikes. Traffic is  moving at a crawl, but who cares! Thousands of all kinds of bikes and people to gawk at! The only complaint was coming from my clutch hand.

Motorbikes line the road around the park.

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Throngs of people camping everywhere. Tents, RV’s, cars. Parking was at a premium if you didn’t get there early. People riding everything, everywhere. Minibikes, scooters, Vespa’s, BSA’s, Husquvarna’s, Honda’s, Bultaco’s….all vintage. 50cc’s, 125’s, 300’s all the way up to the “big” bikes of the day, the CB750’s. Long hair, flat tennies, jeans, a T, maybe a helmet; riding on road then off road then on again dodging the crowds; yelling to your girlfriend “hold on!” as she barely stays on while laughing all the way. ATTGATT? What ATTGATT? This is a time warp, circa 1970’s; whatever you’re wearing, ride in it. Just ride! The sights, the smells, the sounds; we seemed to have ridden right onto the set of On Any Sunday. This is a sacred gathering paying homage to two-wheeled internal combustion transport. We couldn’t have been more excited!

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Ever hear of that?

Having finally found a place to park, we secured our riding suits and gear to the ST, switched to walking shoes, and off we went into the depths of motorcycle culture. As we neared the race track, the MC announced the beginning of the Century Race. This “race” is a few laps around the road track for motorcycles 100 years old or older. In order to qualify  for this years race, the motorcycle must have been manufactured in or before 1914. What a thrill to get a peek at a 1910 Henderson screaming around the track.

Only eight motorbikes signed up for this event, so things were really spread out. In reality, the riders don’t really “race” these machines, for fear of blowing an engine or crashing their bikes. Lots of money in these antique beauties.

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 We watched races periodically all day long, 1960’s and 1970’s classes being the most popular to watch. This is a true motorsports park, where you can sit anywhere on the manicured landscaping around the track and have a great view of the action while eating a picnic lunch, which we did.

The race track is a true road course, hosting vintage, AMA, and Indy car races throughout the year. No Nascar here! Ya gotta make some right turns!

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 There’s even lawn art! Hello ant!

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Even the gates are moto themed

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Now it was time to get up close and personal with vintage motorcycles. After “bike shopping” all the bikes on the perimeter road, we crossed over onto the infield of the track where the vintage bike contest was being held. Also here were vendors from most every company that has anything to do with motorbikes and accessories. You could also buy your dream machine here or find parts for your restoration project back home.

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Roo being shown the finer points of motorbike restoration

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The gentleman in the pic above with Roo said this was his first trip to the Vintage Festival, and he couldn’t believe the sheer number of vintage bikes here. He said “I’ve been restoring motorcycles for over thirty-five years. In all that time I have seen maybe four Vincents. I come here to this festival and look, over there, there’s ten of them all together in pristine condition! This is unbelievable!”

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Vincent HRD’s, circa 1924-1926. It doesn’t get any better than this! Wow!

Norton motorbikes, a premier British marque from the 1960’s had a large presence

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Inside the Triumph tent sat this “rocket” land speed racer on the Bonneville salt flats. It is powered by Triumph’s Rocket III 2300 cc motorbike engine (with just a few mods, right?)

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 So many bikes, it just blew our minds. History brought back to life by the most talented artists.

By now we needed to give our feet a break, so we ambled on over to the race track and pulled up some prime real estate to sit on. The races were in full swing. The sight of 1960’s era racing bikes, the sound of their highly tuned engines, and the smell of burning petrol was just amazing. We were fully immersed in it all. I did take a video of some of the action with my camera, but I screwed it up and it didn’t take. Got to work on that. After a snack, it is time to go indoors. Barber’s Vintage Museum is on the docket, where we will spend countless hours oggling vintage iron, and still run out of time. You’ll see why.

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Next post: Gilera, NSU, Parilla, Excelsior, Montessa. Ever hear of them? They’re all here. Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum.