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The Three Daves

— by Dave Ellingham

This is a tale of The Three Daves and their wild ride to Georgia's "Sweet Potato Rally" on October 23-26. On Wednesday we three (Ellingham, Jones, and Murray) left Rochester at 6:00 am amid snow flurries and 37 degrees. Bob Dickinson had told me the western route was less stormy. So down Rt. 36 to US 17 West, to I-90, then south on I-79 we go. Which is where the fun started.

The damn jetstream took a dip about there, and the snow started sticking. The temperature had fallen at this point, and snow was building up to about 12 inches deep. There were two ruts from the trucks, and no snow plows, so there wasn't a way out of this except to go on at about 20 mph in 3rd gear. Keep the torque to a minimum on the rear wheel.

We should have stopped in Erie to put our "chains" on. I was the person in the lead to first go over the bridge with the black ice. Murray wasn't as fortunate as I and went down on the bridge. Jones and a couple of cars stopped to extricate Murray from under his BMW. He only had a knot on his elbow which says something about his protective gear. The machine had lost a lot of oil, but none of us wanted to go get more until the road got plowed and salted.

About two hours passed, and Jones came to where I was at the next exit. We flagged down a state trooper who radioed in that we needed someone to pick up Murray and go get oil. Another hour passed and still no help, so I went down into Edinboro, picked up three quarts of oil and brought it back to Murray. We then drove down to the Edinboro exit to meet Jones, when we discovered the oil was still leaking out really fast, as a hole was ground into the engine at the cam chain area of the K75RT. This called for another ride into Edinboro to get an epoxy patch kit, which worked really good.

About ten miles down the road it was clear! All this put us about four hours behind schedule, so we had to ride into the night. The deer got to be too numerous to ignore, and we pulled into a motel up on a hill.

The next morning it was 25 degrees, but all the cycles started. This is the day I want to remember of this trip, as the hills of West Virginia were ablaze with color. We arrived at the rally site about 10:00 pm to set up camp with the help of Bob Trovato's flashlight.

Friday evening it rained. Saturday after supper and during awards it poured about five inches, and continued into the night.

Jones had left on Saturday morning to get his 1000 miles in 24 hours, and left Ellingham and Murray to fend for themselves in the rain. The vendors are good if you own a Gold Wing, but there were other non-descript things available. The two dinners were excellent and the breakfast would have been if we hadn't left early. We had to pack our wet stuff and spin our tires to get out of there at 6:30 am Sunday. All this for $20, and sponsored by the South Georgia Touring Riders and Retreads.

Ninety percent of the riders were from Florida, The Leesburg riders took us in to feed us breakfast with some friendly camp chatter. They can tell some tall tales, too. Good bunch!

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