DSC_4781They always hit you by surprise, just when I’m frustrated by up to year long waits to get a new sidecar built and the ridiculous prices asked for what few used sidecars are for sale, a deal pops up outa nowhere. In this case Guzzi collector Eldo Mike in Illinois came into a Motorvation Formula II sidecar less the fiberglass body, and it was surplus to his needs. We agreed that $500 sounded reasonable, and unlike last year when I let a similar deal get away because I didn’t want to make a special 1400 mile trip to do the deal, I jumped at the chance.

So it was that monday morning I was headed south and east in no particular order in the Golf Variant TDI. Worked out the route on the fly, decided to visit three former Hostess bakeries on the way and get some more pictures ‘case they disappear. I keep telling myself I should let this old stuff go… Heck, I last worked for Hostess in 1992! Then I remember that “historian” is included in the “duties” of us old farts, and decide to make one more pilgrimage to these “temples of baking”. ‘Twas a good thing, because I discovered a few new aspects of the Waterloo bakery… It appears to be the company’s first “modern” single level bakery, but was built in 1929 at the close of the golden age of bakery building with all it’s gaudiness. So here we have Mediterranean tile trim with the arched windows made famous by Ward’s Buffalo bakery masterpiece…

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Fortunately this gem has been saved by the city of Waterloo and will take on a new grain fed life as a brewpub. And to provide contrast with this missing link of bakery history, the original three story bakery is right across the street for contrast. After that the Davenport bakery was a bit of a less grand letdown and the Peoria bakery was plain ‘n’ grimy, the saving grace being the old “Butternut Bread” signage. Amazing how the same Shulze bakeries that built the national register “temple of baking” on 55th Street in Chicago could build something so plain. Then again, I finally found Continental’s Chicago southside bakery a few blocks away, and it’s pretty plain too.

Stopped at about 5 at Costco crosstown in East Peoria for supper and blew half an hour of daylight on Wyndham hotel’s website trying to make a reservation until it crashed. Having given up on Motel 6 I joined Farmer’s Union to get the 20% discount at Super 8 and Wyndham’s other brands, and do far it’s been working out to about the same price as Motel 6 with fee WiFi and breakfast, but no free or paid hookers, “shooting galleries”, and fights in the lot. Did find one roach though, and looked and smelled like the manager’s whole extended family was in residence.

Next day began with a wet two lane excursion complete with an unscheduled and unmarked detour in the best ILDOT tradition. Met Eldo Mike at his hanger/Guzzi parts stash and after a short inspection paid up and loaded up. If you need old Guzzi parts, sounds like he’s losing the hanger storage space. On in the wet and westward on I-64 through St.Louis, where aquaplaning and multiple accidents made even an Interstate snooze white knuckle interesting. Never did run outa the rain, and after another near half hour struggle with Wyndham’s website scored a cheap room in Des Moines.

WiFi worked, but the breakfast was mostly DIY waffles with thinned sugar free syrup… Yuk! Two laned my way north and west as the drizzle;e and then even rain returned, with a few snow flurries just as I pulled up in front of Motorvation Sidecars in 37 degree and windy temps. Spent a couple hours exploring the history of my newly acquired sidecar before I left around 5, Minnesota greeting me with snow squalls as the temps had dropped to barely above freezing. Looked like a blizzard for a few minutes as I and the squalls collided, though the snow melted quickly on the warm roads… A hint of things to come. Got home ’bout 7, and turned on the heat for the first time this season!

Noting that the new naked Formula II is the lightest sidecar I own, thought it would be a good match for my lightest street bike, the R65LS that resides in Florida. Had the similar R80ST conveniently parked in the living room, so I lined up the new hack alongside and did a test fit… Without the body in the way, looks like I can get it in with a 50 inch or less track, with a body on the closest I can get an F2 to an airhead is about a 56′ track width. That wide track on the 55″ wheelbase R65LS makes for a bit too much push on braking and pull on acceleration. But with the track down to 50″, this looks like a workable combination. So after a thorough checking out and repaint, looks like the “new” stripped F2 will be going to Florida to mate with the LS… Maybe a Naples Airhead Tech Day sidecar mounting demonstration?

Now I just have to watch the toy and hardware departments for a body…

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