I had a couple of invitations while I was in Chicago, one of them was to a meeting of Chi Vin,
a group of vintage motorcycle enthusiasts. I'm not sure if Thelma was supposed to be along as well (I think she may be a bit offended to be called vintage!), and maybe it was just as well I'd left her at the dealership because the other bikeswould have shown her up as they were very well maintained and shiny, they've obviously never battled through sandstorms in the Gobi, the Atacama and the Sahara Desert or been dropped in multiple rivers.
There was a Vincent amongst the many bikes in this garage.
I'd been given a lift to the meeting by Kevin, riding shotgun in his battered but classic Dodge van. In fact it was a bit of a shotgun ride as we accelerated along Chicago's freeways, with last minute turns and swerves...or maybe everyone in Chicago drives that way? To add more authenticity to the ride, Kevin even has a couple of bullet holes in his bonnet (hood) as you can see. He assured me thathe was not the intended target.
Rocket Chics- a Chicago female motorcycle group, were holding one of their regular meet ups at Countryside while I was there and I joined in. They ride a wide range of bikes and it was great to hear about their experiences of riding in and around Chicago. We had a hands-on session with Ken, one of the mechanics, who was extremely patient with all our questions and had an encyclopaedic knowledge about all the bikes we asked about.
I'd like to say thanks to Tommy, Shy, Lynn, Barb and Jasmine for the warm welcome to their group. And hopefully I'll be able to make it to one of their Wednesday meet-ups at the fantastically named Cheeseburger Paradise.
They were interested in seeing Thelma and we had a look at her- she was in the very capable hands of Walter, here he is wondering just which bit to inspect next!
here I am ready to leave, being seen off the premises by Carey, the Events Manager
I've still got that parcel on the back seat, I'd been carrying it since Phoenix hoping to send it, but failing spectacularly to find an open Post Office anywhere in my 2000 mile ride across the country.
I said all my goodbyes, but then as I was about to leave, Thelma's starter motor died, she obviously didn't want to leave. What weird but fortuitous timing that it happened at a dealership. I had to wheel her back into the workshop and unload my luggage.I was supposed to be visiting friends in Minneapolis the next day so I started to look up train and bus times for the journey to Minnesota when Countryside BMW stepped in and saved the day, they offered me an alternative vehicle to take for the journey.
Whoops wrong picture!
Actually, it was one of these
Yep, folks, an identical bike to the one I rode to Tibet last year.
It felt like old times as I sat on the yellow 1200GS and stretched down to reach the ground with my feet. Not one to to look a gift horse in the mouth, I rapidly transferred my luggage and with a cheery wave set off down the street and onto the infamous toll highways across Chicago.