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2012 Inaugural Nata-Rally – A Long Thank You!

June 29th – July 1st

As we were told several times during the weekend “for a not-a-rally, there is a lot of organization and planning going into this”.  It all started at our usual Moto Guzzi night dinner, which happens every first Monday of the month in Milpitas.  A few of the group had attended Jamileh Potts true not-a-rally.  Jamileh throws the best rides in the beautiful Sierras, a must for any one in the area.  Someone said “lets do our own not-a-rally” and that was that.  It was decided that the rally would be organized and ran as a group.  It would incorporate a few things that all of us would change, or add, to any of the rallys we had attended in the past.  With that, we also made it a family gathering, but it would have a “cause’ other than just getting a great bunch of people getting together to talk motorcycles.  It was decided that we would also try to raise funds for charity, the Children’s Hospices & Palliative Care Coalition located in Watsonville.  Between all the fund raising and direct donations, we raised hundreds of dollars.

The Moto Guzzi group, also known as the “NorCal Guzzisti”, started working on the rally in early January by landing a few great sponsors to supply prizes for a raffle.  The raffle was a start to gather funding for our charity and event.  One of our sponsors was Kali Protectives who gave us a carbon fiber street helmet.  When I was explaining to Alex at Kali what a not-a-rally was, he thought that I was using the Portuguese word “nada”, meaning -nothing- , that lead to a great laugh and the play on words ‘’Nata”, in Italian means roughly “to be born, up spring” and that is close enough.  With that, we had also approached some of my suppliers and that started a snow ball effect that took off.  Having a fund raising goal helped launch a “poker run” ride which was also a lot of fun, and that lead to a few rides looking for the perfect location that would highlight the roads of the lower bay area.  With the group located in the Silicon Valley, it made it easier to launch a website and spread the word with ads in our free magazines, including the MGNOC.

Friday morning, the 29th, started the rally with Jim & Jesse of Oregon already at the camp site, fully set up and ready to participate.  Jim has become my new hero as he rode his late model V11 Sport with his two small dogs in a carrier, Jesse was in the side car, and the camper trailer in tow, and you know that it’s going to be great weekend when you see this.  Brian Harper and Erika Perry helped set up our canopies and with Brian in the energy industry he came up with a 110 power supply with a series of batteries linked together, that’s real nice later at night in the dark.  Mark Hineser started preparing the Friday night dinner at around 6pm featuring some linguisa for appetizers and some wonderful red wine that Barry Potter had brought for the group, the dinner itself was a wonderful Italian sausage with roasted garlic, onion and bell peppers along with corn on the cob, baked potato and a baked apple, all done in the fire.  Yummy!

Saturday morning, the 30th, started with Trina Hineser dropping off a few gallons of Starbucks’ best, some yogurt, granola and fruits for breakfast.  Soon after, that’s when everyone started to arrive.  It’s always great to see old friends and make new ones.  The first lead ride started at 9:30 with a group of about eight being lead by our good friend Kevin Stearns and his wonderful wife Jen as they headed south to Big Sur following Hwy 101 for a bit to Hwy 68 making a left at THE Laguna Seca Raceway heading to Carmel valley and then down picturesque Hwy 1 ending at the Big Sur River Inn for lunch and returning on Hwy 1 past Monterey and riding on famous Elkhorn slough road where on a rainy high tide the ocean comes up to the road.  At 10:00 am Mark Hineser lead the ride north to the Famous Alice’s restaurant on his 1969 Moto Guzzi Eldorado.  Marks ride lead the group along the coast to Santa Cruz and then north up our famous Hwy 9 and the “Skyline Blvd” Hwy 35, at one point you can look to the east and see a huge part of the SF bay area and look to the west and see the rolling hills and the Pacific ocean, it is a wonderful ride.  The group stopped for lunch and took in all the local bikes.  Alice’s is one of the Bay Area’s best motorcycle destinations, on a good day you may see a MV Augusta F4 carbon edition along with a Pierre Terblach Ducati MH900e and a nice Honda CB750.  Mark led everyone back via Hwy 1 along the coast.

Back at the camp, a lot of us stayed behind, sat around, had great conversations, and prepared for some motorcycle field games like the slow race and others.  Fire4hire showed up around 4:00pm with their huge rig and started to cook dinner, fresh on site, that brought everyone out and closer to the fire pit/dinner tables, Jeff and his crew prepared a wonderful parmesan chicken dinner with all the fixings, and we had enough left for seconds, that was followed by four different pies from Gizdich pies, one being a French silk pie rated a 9.5 by our own Rafael Nelson, and as anyone knows Rafael is a apple pie expert claiming we would have to travel to Montana for something better.  With everyone full we started to pass out our contest and door prize awards.  The youngest rider award went to Jose Vigil who rode in on a Breva.  Jim Randall won the oldest rider and the furthest traveled beating out Kurt Vogt from San Diego by a mere 6 miles by coming from Oregon.  That lucky Mike Feeney won the best suspender contest, but if Pat Hayes was not in Portugal he would of not had a chance, and finally the peoples favorite and the best misappropriation of parts award went to Kurt Vogt.  Kurt’s Black Jack Zero was a great hit, and you can’t misappropriate a Moto Guzzi engine in any better way.  Kurt took me for a short ride Sunday morning and I now have a Black Jack on my list of “to have”, after that ride ,it’s the perfect marriage of a great power supply and great sports car, maybe I’ll write about that adventure later.  The highlight of whole weekend was our door prize winner, Annabelle Harper.  She knew if she won a prize and she could pick, it would be the Moto Guzzi National Owners Club membership, and that’s what she did, at seven years old she’s really smart.  Annabelle has been eyeballing her Dads CX100 LeMans.  It’s fantastic to see the future is so bright.

Having ended the rally in a great note like that, how are we going to top that next year? The Santa Cruz weather was perfect with 75-78 deg both days and a nice 55-58 overnight but Sunday morning brought us some of the ocean overcast and mist, but we couldn’t have it any other way.  Events like this take time, a lot of time, commitment, effort, and money, but most of all, participation.  Thanks to everyone who came out to help make this a success, Mike Sorge, Carey Russ, The Hineser’s, the Harper’s,Brian Annabelle and Amy, Barry, my Erika, our sponsors and all the attendees, we hope you had a great time.