AMA Vintage Days 2016

It’s been a rough couple months as a rider. I have to admit I was a little frazzled after the accident in March. It took a long time to get the bike repaired and then took a bit to get my head ready for a journey. I was determined however to go out to the AMA Vintage Days at the Mid-Ohio Racetrack in Lexington, Ohio. So I (over) packed the bike and was on my way.

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I had planned on leaving Thursday and would have camped out in PA on the way, but I just wasn’t prepared. So I got up early on Friday, said farewell to Jillian and would try to make it all the way to the Mid Ohio Speedway in one shot.

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I hadn’t ridden outside the city in a while. I was psyched to get on an open road and away from the mayhem.

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I rode through two heavy storms and was still going strong. I checked the radar and saw it was smooth sailing from here on. Then as I was flying doing near 90….BOOM! Another rear blow out! This happened last summer on my way to Chicago! WTF? The bike started shaking but I got her to the right lane and then off to the side of the turnpike.

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Unbelievable! Fortunately AMA road service sent me a tow. It’s an invaluable service.

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The problem was, the road service guy looked up a place that did not service bikes. It was just a small showroom in the middle of nowhere! It was dark by the time we got there. The tow guy was sympathetic to my dilemma and we called AMA again. They said they would hook the tow guy up for the extra service and sent us to a real nice motorcycle shop.

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It was dark behind the shop and a little sketchy. There were people cruising around the parking lot and the driver got me paranoid about leaving the bike. So I rolled her over by the trailer above, then we grabbed that Aprilla box and put her on top of Bonnie for the night.

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The tow guy was super cool and took me and my gear to a nearby motel about a mile down the road where I stayed the night. In the morning I hiked over to get the bike fixed. The guys in the service department were amused as they hadn’t even noticed the box or bike outside.

Mosites is a big shop with a large inventory plus parts and service.

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These guys had me fixed up in time to make it back to the motel before check out. They were shocked at how thoroughly my tube had exploded. I don’t get it. I got it only 3 months ago. Whatever, I was back on the road. I had missed a good chunk of the Vintage Days, but I would still make it well before dark and Sunday was supposed have nice weather.

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Often times on the weekends you will see some classic cars on the road.

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Finally I arrived at the Mid Ohio Speedway!

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When I saw these radical rides, I knew a crew I met in 2014 from upstate New York was here.

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This chopper is the work of Brad AKA Mr. Roboto.

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This is one of Paul’s many machines.

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I pitched my tent and found the Rochester NY crew gathering around. They were waiting for some folks to get back from the emergency room. This 11 year old kid, Justin had a wipe out in the barrel races. He was a good sport and after 8 stitches traded the dirt bike for a job driving us around in a golf cart. That’s him and Paul below.

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Here’s Roger AKA Angry Nuts and Evan (Brad’s son).

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Angry Nuts getting some air!

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Evan goes for the kill switch!

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On the speedway bikes are ripping by all day.

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Now back at the campsite the barrel races are going strong. In the past cops would have broken up such unsanctioned events. This year however, there was no interference and all age and bike types were tearing it up as they zipped around 4 barrels.

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I had three people in one day think that my Triumph shirt said Trump. This guy really did have the shirt everyone was mistakenly seeing.

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It takes balls to take this full size vintage Bonnie in the dirt like this guy.

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He wasn’t taking it light either. Helmets off to you sir!

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There were 3 and 4 wheel machines testing their rider’s skills in the dirt as well.

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And there were spills!

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I remember this kid from 2 years ago. He was jumping into the drag races in the campsite. This year he proudly displays his wounds.

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When we were back at camp I thought I heard someone say, “Hey Jigsy! You should strap a chair to Roboto’s ride and do the barrel race.” Well damn if they didn’t!

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Brad (Roboto) pulled this beauty from a collapsing barn and fixed her up.

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The chair worked well! And there was much rejoicing!

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Another dude showed up on this vintage Harley.

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Brad later returned with his chopper that he built from scratch.

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What it lacks in speed it makes up with character!

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That Harley was a super nice ride!

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After the barrel races the party went well into the night.

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Burn outs and fireworks made for a nice effect.

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The next day the folks from Rochester headed back upstate and I stayed to see all I had missed the previous day.

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There were some vintage bikes displayed about.

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Then at 12:30 I went to see Danell Lynn give a talk. This young lady had recently broken a Guinness Book World Record for her travels around the States. And she did it on a Bonneville! I already knew her story from the recent edition of American Motorcyclist.

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Here she told her story and showed a bunch of photos from her journey. She rode through all 50 states on her own.

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An amazing journey, especially that ride to Alaska! Soon she will be traveling from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina on an electric motorcycle!

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Below the seminar in the tower bikes were still roaring past.

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I had to check out the Wall of Death before I left.

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The Wall of Death is always a cool show. This year however Charlie Ransom wasn’t there. He does some amazing stunts on the wall.

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This blur of a man riding the wall is Wahl E Walker. He is well into his 60’s and riding hard!.

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After the Wall of Death I strolled around the swap meet a bit.

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If you have a truck and a few bucks you could leave here with some fun toys.

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I was tired from the late night before and the traumatic ride the day before, but I decided to pack things up and hit the road. As I was getting ready to leave the speedway, unfortunately so was someone else via medivac. There must have been a bad wreck on the dirt track. I never had the time to get over there and see the dirt races.

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On my way south and west I crossed paths with the geographical center of Ohio.

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I decided to shack up outside of Columbus. On so many of my journeys I pass the AMA Hall of Fame. I am usually burnt from the road and on my home stretch so I never stop. One time I came out here with my brother not realizing it was Easter Sunday and the place was closed. This time I would see it.

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Even better, it is free to members!

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It has it’s share of vintage bikes in it’s collection, but it’s focus is on the hall of famers.

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The bike below broke a record for miles per gallon. I saw some of these types of motorcycles leaving the speedway as I got there late on Saturday.

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This machine broke a speed record on the salt flats.

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This is a replica of Evel Knevel’s bike. I saw the actual bike jump 22 cars at Sturgis last year!

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Here’s a 1913 Triumph with it’s old logo.

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Here is the motorcycle used in Terminator 2

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This 1939 Indian Traffic Car was my favorite in the collection.

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After the museum, I decided I was going home. I packed too much to go cross country. I could make it home in a day and reassess my needs. When approaching Wheeling WV, traffic came to a complete stop. Instead of waiting, I rode south to see something I had planned on visiting had I left Thursday as planned. This is Grave Creek Mound in the town of Moundsville, WV. It is about 62 feet high and was created from about 250-150 BC. There are many ancient mounds lining the areas around the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.

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Across the street from the mound is the old West Virginia State Penitentiary.

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I would have loved to visit the old prison, but I was determined to make it back home tonight.

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I plowed along making one more stop. Again this was a site that I was either too tired to exit for on my way home or too excited to stop on my way west. This time I would pull over in Bedford PA and see the Coffee Pot built in 1927.

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After the Coffee Pot I would finish the 500 plus miles home and turn the odometer over the 77,000 mile mark. That, added to the 18,000 miles I put on my first Bonnie (that was stolen) amounts to 95,000 miles so far. What’s next? Not sure. I have to reassess and repack. But 5000 more miles brings me to 100,000 miles. Hmmmm.

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