Saturday, October 14, 2017

USCRA's 2017 Fall Giro

This year's Fall Giro was based in Tannersville, Pa., in the Poconos.  In 2014, we had a Giro base in the same place, but it was disrupted by police searching for a fugitive who had shot a cop and was at large, therefore roads were shut down and routes had to be changed.  The a big Walmart truck went over a little bridge and damaged it and routes had to be changed again.  So, this year's promised to be a clean run, especially since the weather was as good as it's been on any Giro; sunny and mid 80's with a light breeze.
I brought my '68 TC 200 Suzuki and my 'problem child', Laurence Deguillme, came with me.  Laurence had not been able to finish his 160 Ducati and was therefore borrowing a CA 77 Honda.
Laurence's CA77, Doug sitting on his Benelli, Pete ready to get on his T-20 Suzuki and Dave's Matchless
My TC 200 in the foreground, Pete's T-20 behind, Doug and his Benelli on the left and Dave's Matchless G2 in the back.
Sat., after our initial agility test, we headed initially southwest, then turned northeast and eventually crossed into N.Y. at Barryville.  Along the way, a bear jumped out of high grass and Mike Tomany hit it with his Puch Allstate and crashed.  Mike broke his scapula and a rib which punctured his lung. When I got there, Mike was laying in the road, but several people had stopped and I didn't see what I could do to help, so I carried on.  Mike's son, Aaron, was following and witnessed the whole incident,  then accompanied his dad to the hospital.
We only went a few miles in N.Y. along the Delaware River and, after a time check that didn't happen because of Mike's accident, we crossed back into Pa. via the Roebling Bridge.  This was the high point of my day as I'm a big fan of the Roeblings and their bridges.  This particular one is the oldest surviving Roebling bridge, the oldest suspension bridge in the country, and was originally an aqueduct for the Delaware and Hudson Canal.  That is, it carried the canal over the Delaware River.  Now the canal is gone and it's a roadway.  It's a National Historic Landmark and has been fully restored by the National Park Service.
The Roebling Bridge
It used cables attached to a huge chain that connect to an anchor deep in the ground
What was once a canal over a river is now a roadway.
Reading the sign explaining the cable/chain system revealed opposite.
From the Roebling Bridge we headed west about 18 miles to lunch at Rusty Palmer, a huge Honda/Bombardier dealer in Honesdale, which made it 99.5 miles from our start.  Laurence had been having big problems with the 305 Dream.  It would run well for a while then run poorly and he would let it sit for a while and it would run OK again for a while.  He associated this with a quick disconnect he had in the 'crossover' hose that kept coming partially apart.  He was able to get some hose at the dealership and I helped him eliminate the disconnect without spilling too much gas.
After lunch, we headed south and after a while I caught up to the Cotter clan.  Brothers Tommy and Danny Cotter are long time Giroistas and over the years more of their sons/nephews and friends have joined in the fun.  They're all characters and ride with brio on interesting bikes (or, in Tommy's case, sometimes scooters).  I gradually worked my way through them and was leading when I just overshot a turn in Newfoundland that I saw at the last minute.  I made a U-turn, but they, being not far behind, saw where to turn and we all entered the dirt Creamery Rd. at about the same time.  Tommy turned into a parking lot immediately before the road and cut across the grass to short cut the corner, but I just caught out of the corner of my eye that he was encountering a culvert and laying his X-6 Suzuki down at maybe 5 mph.  I chuckled to myself about the irrepressible Tommy and was back leading again.  Later, I learned that further on Tommy, Danny, and one of their son/nephews were chasing their friend and entered a corner, by one account three abreast, and didn't make it, the three of them running off the road and crashing.  Apparently, Tommy broke a femur and lost the end of a finger.  Danny initially refused treatment when the ambulance came but, as soon as it left, reconsidered.  Turns out he had a broken T-6 vertebrae.  They both ended up in a Morristown, N.J. hospital (one by helicopter) to be closer to their Bayonne home.
Somewhere on Promised Land Rd., my bike went on reserve.  I didn't know if there was any fuel before I got back to base, but figured my best chances were to stay on Rt 447 rather than do an almost 10 mile loop on Snow Hill and Laurel Run Roads which came back to Rt 447.  I learned later that on a steep downhill on the marbly, dirt Laurel Run Rd., Harry Elliot locked the front brake on his Ducati and crashed, breaking his leg.  All this carnage is highly unusual.  While it's not unknown for someone to crash on a Giro, there have probably been only a couple of broken bones in the 13 Giros the USCRA  has put on, so four riders in one day is unheard of.  The only explanation I have other than random chance is that the weather was too nice.
I didn't find any fuel on Rt. 447, nor Rt.191.  At Rt. 715, I encountered Pete Swider, also on his X-6 Suzuki, and he was having problems which he thought might be low fuel related.  So, we carried on in extreme economy mode.  Three miles from the end we finally found fuel.  I never knew that my bike would do 26 miles on reserve. A 175 mile day.
Sat. eve, at the banquet dinner, Mike Gontesky was the MC.  Plenty of people were thanked for stepping up and going out to fetch broken down bikes.  One group didn't get back until 9p.  There was plenty of swag that was handed out for door prizes.
Mike Gontesky's Aermacchi Chimera. He didn't ride it in the Giro; just brought it to show it off
They were ahead of their time--not a sales success, but who wouldn't want one now?
Sun. morning, we headed south and west,  then north and west on a dirt road.  Back on pavement, we turned onto a road that seemed familiar to me.  After a while, I realized that this was the road to Pocono Raceway.  I hadn't raced at Pocono since 1984 and I think the last time that I had been there was to spectate at Formula USA race in maybe the early '90s.  Despite the fact that Pocono is perhaps my least favorite race track, I did feel a bit nostalgic passing by it.
From there we went through White Haven, then across the Francis Walter Dam, which was fairly spectacular.  Back to Blakeslee, then a bit of dirt road and on to Pocono Lake and Pocono Pines, through Little Summit and back to Chateau Resort for lunch for a 82.5 mile morning.
About 3 miles into the afternoon run, I stopped for fuel.  I had a really hard time starting the bike and after kicking and kicking, I finally push started it.  For the rest of the afternoon, the Suzuki ran poorly.  I don't usually by the 'bad gas' theory and anyway, that wouldn't make it hard to start as the fuel in the float bowls was from the previous tank.  Did I have a leaking crank seal?  We headed south and west, through Neola, then back north through Reeders, then Tannersville and back to base at Chateau Resorts for a 44.9 mile afternoon.  300 miles of great roads in fabulous warm, sunny weather.
When I got home, I checked the points and timing, pulled the exhaust pipes off, took the carbs apart and didn't find anything but sprayed through the jets.  I took the baffles out of the mufflers and they weren't clogged up, but I put the torch to them anyway.  I put it all back together and it runs great.  No smoking gun, but sometime you just have to take them apart and look at them so they know that you care.  Ah, the joys of owning an old stink wheel.
Volunteers Amy Roper and Shana with her new husband Eli Kirtz in his Swedish Army uniform
Robert Fuller's '49? Airone
Team MotoGeezer may have to change it's name as this is some of the fresh blood riding with them this time.
How not to do an agility test--a TC250 knocks over cones

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