Life is an Open Road
R2S: Road to Somewhere

Team Triumph Annual Fall Open House

Team Triumph Annual Fall Open House

Mileage Log: 13,217 – 13,335

A Crisp Saturday Afternoon

I was looking for an excuse to get out on my Triumph Thunderbird Storm this past Saturday. While browsing Facebook updates earlier that week, I noticed a promotion on a few Triumph related pages that Team Triumph in Janesville, Wisconsin was hosting their Annual Fall Open House was happening this weekend. I saw that on of my fellow Triumph riders, Randy (or do you say Randal) Birkey had indicated that he was attending. It turns out Randy and his buddy Lee Hoffner were both planning on heading to the event, so I decided to join them. Both of them ride Triumph Bonneville modified cafe racers: Randy a 2008 and Lee a 2013.

We departed Cary, Illinois on a brisk Saturday afternoon. The radar was a bit spotty, but nothing major. We dressed accordingly and headed our on Northwest Highway. Traffic was bit heavy and it seemed to take an eternity getting to a place where we could open it up. That finally happened towards the Illinois-Wisconsin border. This is probably the main reason that I prefer backgrounds over highways and secondary roads. On average, its seems to take an extra 10 – 15 minutes per trip, but it is often well worth the time investment. On the downside, taking back roads may include additional stop signs and slower speed limits. But, on the upside, you usually end up with less traffic, better scenery and an all round more enjoyable experience.

At the Event

There were probably less than 40 bikes there as we pulled into the lot. I’m sure if the weather were nicer there probably would’ve been more, but diehards are diehards and a few rain sprinkles won’t stop us from embarking on a 1.5 hour ride! We walked around, chatted with other riders, and, of course, procured some much needed Triumph apparel (can you really own too much?). I didn’t see the “roasted turkey” (as advertised), but we had a few cups of hot apple cider and coffee to warm our bones.

Team Triumph had a number of bikes parked outside ready for demo rides. I was tempted to test ride the Triumph Rocket III which is the world’s largest production engine at a whopping 2,294 cubic centimeter. It’s a 3 cylinder bike that looks like an absolute beast. The Rocket III set the land speed record at a blazing 174 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 2012. Today, Triumph is attempting to regain the speed record through the 1,000 horse power Castrol Rocket. That beast contains TWO – yes TWO – Rocket III engines. Triumph is committed to capturing the speed record and is embarking on a multi-year effort to make it happen. Whether they actually accomplish it or not doesn’t matter in my mind, because I’m more excited about seeing their research and development efforts rolled back into their production facilities!

Other remarkable things that we experienced at the event were a modified Harley Davidson trike. The guy spend $40,000 on the retrofit that he did himself. I’m always amazed at how much Harley Davidson fans spend on their bikes. Better their money than mine. We also saw an old wood-fired tractor that they had operating on site. I’m not sure what the significance of this machine was at a motorcycle event, but it was cool to check out regardless. Perhaps its just a toy of the owner(s)? Who knows.

Heading Home on Roller Coaster Road

Randy was continuing on North to another motorcycle event in Madison, Wisconsin. Lee and I were heading back home. So, I packed my new Triumph hat, shirt and neck warmer (an exposed neck on a cold, rainy day is not too comfortable) and we hit the road. This time, I was determined to take back roads instead of Route 14 which is a two lane secondary road. Just before the state line outside of Walworth, Wisconsin, we headed East on Lakeville Road to one of my favorite little stretches of road in Southern Wisconsin, Alden Road (a.k.a. “roller coaster road”). This little stretch of road is fun at higher speeds, but it was a little wet and I didn’t really want to chance it. But, I still turned on my GoPro helmet camera and rolled on the throttle.
We continued down Alden Road where the roads meanders in a Southwest direction. There are hardly and stop signs along this route and I wondered why we don’t ride this road more frequently. The closer we got to home, the intensity of the rainfall slowly increased. It never became a downfall, but it did form in to a steady drizzle. Regardless, we pressed on. I headed South on River Road and Lee headed East to Route 59 which he would then take South towards home.
Overall, it was a great day to get out on the bike. It’s always fun to enjoy the company and camaraderie of fellow riders and enjoy some open roads. The adventure of motorcycling is what I enjoy most. This is just another small entry in my ride journal.

Road to Somewhere

Road to Somewhere motorcycle blog is the personal journal of Christopher J. Vezeau. I am a writer and a rider.