Trippin on Two Wheels: Indiana to Florida With Dennis Gage

For the sixth installment of "Trippin' on Two Wheels," classic car legend Dennis Gage, Gage's son Sam and the author journeyed over 1,100 miles from Indiana to Florida in four days.

| November/December 2009

  • Trippin on Two Wheels Indiana to Florida - Neale Bayl, Dennis Gage, Sam Gage on bikes
    From left, Neale Bayly, Dennis Gage and Dennis’ son, Sam Gage, at the start of their Trippin' on Two Wheels ride from Indiana to Florida.
    Photo by Neale Bayly
  • Trippin on Two Wheels Indiana to Florida - Harley Davidson and other motorcycles
    A row of show bikes at Riding Into History.
    Photo by Neale Bayly
  • Trippin on Two Wheels Indiana to Florida - Mike Silvio, David Wynn and Dennis Gage
    Cyclemo’s Motorcycle Museum founder/curator Mike Silvio (left) and his head mechanic David Wynn (center) give Dennis a personal tour of the Red Boiling Springs, Tenn., museum’s collection of great American iron.
    Photo by Neale Bayly
  • Trippin on Two Wheels Indiana to Florida - Harley Davidson panhead at Cyclemo's museum
    H-D shovelhead/panhead drag bike at Cyclemo’s. Built in 1966, it’s in “as found” condition and race ready.
    Photo by Neale Bayly
  • Trippin on Two Wheels Indiana to Florida - Sam and Dennis on bikes near river bridge
    Sam and Dennis take a break by the Caney Fork River.
    Photo by Neale Bayly
  • Trippin on Two Wheels Indiana to Florida - rear views of Sam in foreground and Dennis in background
    Dennis (in the lead) and Sam enjoy the curves.
    Photo by Neale Bayly
  • Trippin on Two Wheels Indiana to Florida - profile of parked Moto Guzzi V7
    Old Mother Goose, a 1967 Moto Guzzi V7 that belongs to Dennis, was Neale’s mount for the trip.
    Photo by Neale Bayly
  • Trippin on Two Wheels Indiana to Florida - riders sitting on parked bikes
    All aboard and helmets off, the boys get a short break to enjoy the scenery before their final run.
    Photo by Neale Bayly
  • Trippin on Two Wheels Indiana to Florida - Gage seated by vintage gas pump giving mobile phone interview
    Dennis stops for a phone interview along the ride.
    Photo by Neale Bayly
  • Trippin on Two Wheels Indiana to Florida - exterior ofOwens Thomas House
    The Owens-Thomas House, home to the Telfair Museum of Art, in Savannah, Ga.
    Photo by Neale Bayly
  • Trippin on Two Wheels Indiana to Florida - Gage observing chained off ferry landing
    Tripmaster D awaits the St. Johns River Ferry in Florida.
    Photo by Neale Bayly
  • Trippin on Two Wheels Indiana to Florida - 1935 Vincent Comet Series A
    A spectacular circa-1935 Series A Vincent Comet at Riding Into History. The 499cc OHV single was VIncent’s first engine.
    Photo by Neale Bayly
  • Trippin on Two Wheels Indiana to Florida - Dennis Gage chatting with three men
    Dennis chats it up with the gents from Riding into History as they all prepare to ride the last leg to the show.
    Photo by Neale Bayly
  • Trippin on Two Wheels Indiana to Florida - Moto Guzzi Airone, Bultaco Metralla, and Abingdon King Dick
    A Moto Guzzi Airone Sport, Bultaco Metralla, and an Abingdon King Dick on display.
    Photo by Neale Bayly

  • Trippin on Two Wheels Indiana to Florida - Neale Bayl, Dennis Gage, Sam Gage on bikes
  • Trippin on Two Wheels Indiana to Florida - Harley Davidson and other motorcycles
  • Trippin on Two Wheels Indiana to Florida - Mike Silvio, David Wynn and Dennis Gage
  • Trippin on Two Wheels Indiana to Florida - Harley Davidson panhead at Cyclemo's museum
  • Trippin on Two Wheels Indiana to Florida - Sam and Dennis on bikes near river bridge
  • Trippin on Two Wheels Indiana to Florida - rear views of Sam in foreground and Dennis in background
  • Trippin on Two Wheels Indiana to Florida - profile of parked Moto Guzzi V7
  • Trippin on Two Wheels Indiana to Florida - riders sitting on parked bikes
  • Trippin on Two Wheels Indiana to Florida - Gage seated by vintage gas pump giving mobile phone interview
  • Trippin on Two Wheels Indiana to Florida - exterior ofOwens Thomas House
  • Trippin on Two Wheels Indiana to Florida - Gage observing chained off ferry landing
  • Trippin on Two Wheels Indiana to Florida - 1935 Vincent Comet Series A
  • Trippin on Two Wheels Indiana to Florida - Dennis Gage chatting with three men
  • Trippin on Two Wheels Indiana to Florida - Moto Guzzi Airone, Bultaco Metralla, and Abingdon King Dick

Roaring majestically along in the sprung saddle of a 1967 Moto Guzzi V7, the afternoon sun burns the landscape a rich, deep golden hue as the shadow riders chasing us along the twisting country road grow longer and longer.

Night is coming down, and my inner dialogue turns to the question I am repeatedly asked: “How did Trippin’ on Two Wheels get started?” And for this trip specifically, “Why Indiana to Florida?” Forcing an inner smile, I look over to see Dennis Gage’s un-waxed mustache flying horizontal in the 60mph breeze. His face is set in a comfortable way as he indulges in his own motorcycle Chautauqua, roaring down the road on his 1969 BMW R60. Dennis’ son, Sam, is on point for the first time in the series, and looking back for the answer, it all seems like such a long time ago.

The Way We Were

It was a brutally hot, humid afternoon at the Santa Monica Raceway in Misano, Italy. Working a story about the 2002 World Ducati Week, the place was teeming with Ducatisti from all over the world, and at times it was hard to move. Yet somehow amongst all the madness, Dennis and I ended up talking over a cold drink. Looking back, it’s not surprising that the two weirdest, anti-establishment loonies at the event should find each other. Nor does it seem strange that a couple of hours later we found ourselves splitting traffic on a pair of Ducati Monsters at triple-digit speeds while heading back to Bologna. Or that less than a week after that we were both in Janesville, Wis., covering the Triumph Across America ride. Judging by our particular orbits, it’s clear now that the planets of insanity were in some sort of cosmic (or is that comedic?) alignment. Dennis, host of the highly successful My Classic Car on SPEED TV, was starting a new show called Corbin’s Ride On; I had some television production skills and knew a few things about motorcycles.

During the ensuing years there was much dialogue, lots of hard work and plenty of fun. As editor Backus will attest, when the caller ID says Dennis, you better have your mental “A” game on and at least an hour of free time. It was during one of these conversations that I suggested making a travel documentary in Scotland. Click! Dennis obviously didn’t like it, but at least I’d found a way of getting him off the phone.



This continued for months, with me constantly upping the ante. “I’ll have new Triumph Sprints ready to ride! We can take Sam! I’ll sell stories to cover the beer.” He was softening, but not yielding, when I finally went for the jugular. Using the line that has carried us to the Highlands of Scotland, Sicily, Southern Spain, Quebec and the Alps on two wheels I asked, “Could you live with yourself if you didn’t?”

The pair of us quickly adopted this as mantra, conveniently employing it when common sense and rational thinking are out to ruin a good adventure.



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