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My Grand Tour of Italy pt1 of 3


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Some of you may remember me inquiring last spring about the AMA Grand Tours. After some feedback, none of it negative, I decided to jump in and give it a try. Here is my report.


This past season, I participated in my first AMA Grand Tour. These are reasonably laid back, self guided rides, to destinations having to do with the theme of the tour. I had a three available, Talk Like a Pirate with pirate themed locations, Hall of Fame with motorcycle hall of fame honoree themes, and the one I chose the Grand Tour of Italy, which meant Italian themed destinations. Italian restaurants and pizza parlors were not allowed however, but most anything else was. The goal is to accrue points for each destination. One point per destination in my home state. Two points for each destination in an adjoining state. And three for anything in a state beyond the adjoining states. Italian festivals counted for two points as did the required visit to a Moto Guzzi dealer. Guzzi was the participating sponsor. To document the destinations, I had to take a picture of my bike, with the provided Guzzi banner (a shop rag with the tour logo screen printed on it) in front of something that identified the destination. At the end, I sent the AMA a CD with the pics, and they entered me into a drawing for a new Moto Guzzi Norge sport touring motorcycle. It cost me $20 to enter, and believe me, I had more than $20 worth of fun.


Once I received the tour information packet, I sat down with my maps and started planning out my destinations. I also spent some time on-line at Google looking up Italian sounding names to ensure I actually went to the correct locations. It turned out to be quite a learning experience for me. Living near Clinton IN made a few things simple, as it is known as the Little Italy Festival Town, but not as easy as I had initially expected.


Since the wife does not ride with me on my current bike (she does like to ride) as it is a little small for the two of us to ride comfortably, I try to limit my riding to week days. Not because I have to, I just don’t feel right about riding off without her on the week ends, on our days off together. Solo riding while she is at work seems to work out better. When I get another bike, that is better suited for both of us, we will be riding together on the week ends. Anyway, I’d take a day’s vacation and go out for a loop, hitting as many destinations as possible in one day. However, at the end I did end up riding on a weekend day, just to get things finished up before the weather went completely away.


Leg One

My first attempt at picking up a few destinations came early in the summer. Life and the weather had kept me from getting out much sooner. With map in hand, and a list of destinations, I was off.


The first stop was just down the road at Bono IN. You remember Sonny Bono, the little Italian half of Sonny and Cher?




Then it was Diamond IN. No city limit sign, but I did find a street sign, after I finally found Diamond out there somewhere in Parke county.




Next was Marco IN, which is Italian for Mark




After that it was a futile attempt in the tall and uncut of southern Indiana to locate Buena Vista, near Vincennes. I did find what was left of it, but that was not much. Nothing to get a shot of, so I had to pass on that one.


Then it was another wasted attempt to get a second Bono, east of Bedford. Missed the road to turn on and ended up way out near Salem IN. It was a long ride back to Dana after all of that.


Leg Two

A few weeks later, I received my new Lowrance XOG gps receiver. So in order to test it out, I grabbed a map for backup and headed out again. I knew where I was going this time, but if I had not, the gps would have taken me there without a hitch.


First stop was in nearby Lodi, which translates to “shower so with praise.” OK, I’ll take Google’s word for it.




Next I headed into foreign territory, I went into Illinois! Villa Grove was my destination.




Leg Three

The weather had turned extremely hot, my life got complicated as I have been looking after my elderly aunt, so riding time was limited to going back and forth to work. I did work in a quick ride to nearby Clinton where I picked up a couple of shots.


One shot of the Little Italy Festival, where I was there a little early to miss the crowds and get this photo.




And then over to the Little Italian House on ninth street in Clinton.




More to follow

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Yup, sounds like a good idea to put a few together ourselves. Planning during those long and bikeless winter nights...... :)

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It's "Diamonte" in Italian.


It was on the list of examples AMA sent me, the little town of Diamond was close to home, so I used it.

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