Mark's review of the '98 New Cumberland (Guzzi National) Rallyunderline.jpg (901 bytes)

What does the New Cumberland Big Country Rally mean to me? Well for starters the ride up there from NC is fantastic. The fun really kicks in starting at Amherst, Va. where we pick up Va. SR 60W, from there on out it’s up down left right. If there’s a straight section of road it’s because of a DOT employee’s oversight.

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After 332 miles of this fun we stop in Elkins W.Va where this year we stayed at the Cheat River Lodge: hot tub, scenic view, good food, what more can you need?

On Friday we’re up early for breakfast at Scotty’s then off onto Hwy. 250. Hwy. 250 has been nominated as one of the top 10 roads in the country. You will not be disappointed in the scenery or the challenge of this road. One follows this road into Moundsville, then through Moundsville onto Ohio #7 North. This way you can avoid the industrial urban sprawl of Rte 2. Come back across the river at Weirton and follow 2N up to New Cumberland and you’re there. Now the fun really starts.

We had recommended this rally to 7 of our friends. 2 were from Mass; 2 from Knoxville, Tenn. and 3 from NC The drawback here was that we didn’t get to see our Guzzi buddies as much as we would’ve liked but we got to spend time with folks that we don’t usually see. Oh well, can’t be everywhere all the time. The location is a good compromise distance with our friends.

We had not seen Mike Lamartina or John Meng in quite some time. Nor had we seen Dave and Kathy Blake, Pete, Doug, Chuck, Nick, Joe, Jim, Betty, Morris, Phil, Claus, Rick, Richard, John, Dave, Walt, Buck, Ed, Bob Nolan and Mary, Mike, Pete and Nancy. I think there were more people that we’ve met over the years at this rally than any other that we have attended. When we got home Barbara said it was over too quick and I have to agree.

It would take about a week of New Cumberland for me to get enough. I’ve yet to ride extensively in that area or fish the mighty Ohio. Although I did have the unique opportunity to drive Bob Darden’s three wheeler. What a blast. Kind of like a ride at the fair that broke lose.

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Bob Darden in his 3-wheeler

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Mark riding in side car
I stuck out my thumb and a woman named Jerry driving a sidecar pulled over and picked me up for the parade. It’s been a while since I’ve been picked up hitch-hiking by a woman.

Nolan Woodbury was there photographing the extravagant and unique. Lucio from Italy showed up. There were more side hacks than I had ever seen at any one gathering. A pretty color matched Strada rig comes to mind. A bizzaro rat bike with a zillion dorky toys zip tied to it. David Parker’s 1500cc Chevy crank LeMans was something to behold. There were so many bikes this year that I found myself sort of gawking. Everywhere I looked there was something unique.

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Bizzaro Rat bike with dorky toys

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A Ladola from Harper's collection

This year Snuffy Smith drove Barbara’s Centauro Sport and claimed that one may possibly occupy a spot in his garage. He said something about letting him know what top speed is after break-in. Snuffy broke down this year and showed up with a new blue tarp. Great seeing Frank Wedge with a big smile and some very cool round glasses. Seeing Greg without his mutant teenage ambo eldo combo was a little odd but his bike has a new home. So what’s next Greg?. And no rain. Can you believe it? Hard to imagine but true. Absolutely beautiful weather. Lots of sunburn on exposed skin.

Although I’ve enjoyed the blackened bloody Saturday night chicken we’ve been served in the past, that was not to be this year. The ham was great and from a preparatory standpoint, a whole lot easier. The folks at Wick’s did a wonderful job of serving the morning zombies coffee and breakfast. Hot water in the showers, what a joy.

The pool table at the VFW was out of commission so fewer lies were told over many poor shots. It’s usually too loud over at Rebecca’s to carry on a conversation but it’s not necessary to communicate to perform the electric slide. I have enjoyed the wings at Rebecca’s in the past but I missed them this year. The drink of the evening was Bloody Mary and they don’t go well with chicken wings.

A group of us wandered off into Ohio and after a few detours found Hwy 213 and enjoyed some more up down left right riding. Our friends from Mass. really enjoyed the roads. They kept riding Saturday afternoon while the rest of us returned for more Guzzi gawking.  They remarked about how well maintained and clean the roads were, unlike what they are accustomed to in the northeast. They were also surprised at how friendly everyone was. I told them it was like one big family except that no one argues and everyone says please and thank you.

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5 Guzzis, 2 Triumphs and 1 Ducati weaving through Ohio Hwy 213 - what a blast.

I had not planned on writing up the rally so did not take the group photos of the award winners, so one will have to be content with seeing the names in print.  (See Buck's list of winners and door prize contributors.)   Thank you Buck and all the folks in New Cumberland who work at making this rally the success that it is. A lot of volunteer help is needed to host 598 overnight guests.   Buck mentioned that Joe Eish, Nat Starrett, Ginny Starrett, and Bucky Bush have been to every New Cumberland rally (20).  I can understand why, Barbara and I have been to every one since our first in 1990.  It's like a homecoming now. 

Ride safe,

Mark