This year we are touring the region of PUGLIA (orApuglia). Imagine the shape of the Italian nation as a boot. Puglia serves as the stiletto heel of that shape. Very rural and agricultural. This region produces a large portion of Italy's olives and olive oil and the appropriate wheat to produce Italy's pasta. The local culture has a strong influence of Greek and Turkish invasions.

Half of our club starts out by vans and trailers from our home area in Vicenza, Italy inland of Venice. By lunch time we are in coastal Ancona to meet up with the Southern Division of our club. Break time for a nice seaside lunch and fine wine.

By evening we are in northern Puglia at Campomarino Lido. Our hotel is simultaneously hosting a local wedding reception. It didn't take much prodding for Gordon to roll his Falcone into the hotel lobby for a top notch photo shoot. Oh, crap! She's now got black chain grease on her wedding dress. No worries. The dress will never get looked at again. The memories of the encounter are going to last her forever.

Our tour route is basically clockwise around the peninsula. So, southbound, the beautiful Adriatic coast is always on our left. Not too many miles before it is time for a broken shift selector spring.

Time for a roadside picnic break. This year we have really upped the grade in travel support. The chase van includes a small generator and a precision slicer for our prosciutto and cheeses.

Next day includes a walking tour of the ancient city of MATERA. This is a World Heritage Site. It was a primitive settlement of caves dwellings dug into the soft stone. Eventually developed with more modern structures but very little utility support. The population was eventually forced out to allow for some improvement and modernization to some areas and historical preservation to others.

Eventually on to the community Taranto. We have arranged in advance for the local police to block off a parkside curb area for the exclusive parking support of our club. How nice! Fire up the generator and slicer and we're on to the picnic lunch once again. The nice policemen are more than happy to share our wine on duty in compensation for the parking support. How perfectly Italian!

Onward to the City of Gallipoli. We're booked into a huge, resort hotel. The place is really crowded as they are simultaneously hosting a regional competition for Miss World. Oh, bother. Hard to remain on focus in the lobby or around the pool.

Touring on we meet up with a Guzzi rider on a very superb SuperAlce. He's going to the same place that we are so he gladly takes over as the lead guide and escort.

Now for an impressive walking tour of OTRANTO. The Ottomans invaded and demanded that all the locals renounce Christianity and adopt Islam. 800 refused and the results are clear.

Good time but bad location for a little flat tire repair.

Lecce. A popular phenomenon in Europe is to write the name of your girlfriend on a padlock and then throw the key in the river. Mystically preserves the relationship.

Next stop is the ancient town of Alberobello. Obviously a lot of stone in the local soil. These houses known as TRULLI have roofs made of stacked, overlapping slates.

Our final evening dinner is about 15 courses deep. We couldn't get them to stop bringing food. The master chef came out to soak up his well-deserved applause.

On to another picnic lunch.

After lunch we discover that one bike rolls forward easily but locks the front wheel when you try to roll backward. Easily repeatably symptom. Disassembly reveals a broken spoke nipple laying inside the brake drum. Glad we didn't ride it that way or it was surely going to try and lock up at some inopportune moment.

Monte Sant'Angelo. In Italy, food is an art as well as a sustinence.

Last day. Fuel stop. Suddenly a loud noise and the seat of my bike litterally explodes apart. Front bracketry had failed. This shows our temporary repair of re-stretching all of the seat springs into a new anchoring position.

And of course, not only is the food an art form, but also the machines are an art form.

Patrick Hayes

Fremont CA