Friday, January 13, 2012

The 1953 Europe Trip

In 1953, Dave Lee and Rick Ronvik, two semi-mature college guys—and lifelong buddies, took a quarter year off from their college studies, worked in the galley of a ship bound for France, bought two 1953 Utility Vespa motor scooters, and set out on an extended scooter trip through France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, and England. They were 20 and 21 at the time.

Rick and Dave had known each other as kids growing up in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood. They were buddies through grammar school, Boy Scouts, high school, and college.
Some photos from the 1953 Europe Trip:

Heidelberg, Germany
Italian Riviera
End U.S. Zone, Germany
Huddersfield, England
Hamburg, Germany
Pisa, Italy
Between Florence & Venice
Theater, Hanover, Germany
Arc de Triomphe
Vrogum, Denmark
Florence, Italy
Hamburg, Germany
Rick in Bavaria
Aunt Ev., Huddersfield, England
Westminster Bridge, London
Crossing the North Sea
Longwood, England
Brenner Pass, Austria
In the fifty years since the Great Vespa Trip they got their graduate degrees, served in the Army (Dave), and Marine Corps (Rick), and got married. Dave married Jan, a girl he had met in England; they had two sons, Marc and Ross. Rick married Ann, the girl he had taken to his high schol prom; they had a daughter Tracy and a son Dane. They both taught high school—Dave, history and Rick, English and journalism. The two families went tent camping together often in the midwest. And then, of course, there was the traditional annual slide showing of the Great Vespa Trip of '53.

In 2003, they made the same trip: two semi-mature guys, same countries, same roads when possible, vintage type scooters, take pictures in the same locations to see the changes, look up the same people—(well, those that are still around), drink in the same pubs.


  1. On Italian vespa ...looks like you had a great time ! Love it, just love it so much that the greedy gnome in me wants more !!!

  2. Sure looks like a fun trip and more so on a vespa. I'm a huge fan of vespa scooters and would someday love to take a trip myself. Very interesting post, love it.

  3. For what reason would it be advisable for you to pay additional, when you can appreciate a similar solace and quality at a small amount of the cost? geneva airport transfer