Sunday, October 14, 2007


The Melo Velo rally was moved to Pozo (actually Santa Margarita Lake) this year from its previous home in Ojai, where it had been originated in the late 70's by Pat Peddicord, then taken over for many years by Tim Kenney. Tim has been seeking to pass the baton, so Pete Young and I decided to hold the event near Atascadero, as we had attended some pre-16 rides in the area and thought it rich in potential, with good roads, good weather, the Pozo saloon, and some excellent camping areas.

About 30 Velocettistas arrived on Friday night and Saturday morning (I pulled in at 2am), and we had an excellent ride through the hills and vineyards of Atascadero/Creston/Paso Robles, to the ocean and back. The trees had turned autumn colors (especially the poison oak - vivid red!), the grass was brown, and the vineyards were full of shades from green to red.

Our route included Hwy 229 ('Rossi's Driveway' - a single-lane ribbon which almost loops on itself), Peachy Canyon Road (full of peach trees in bright yellow), and Old Creek Road (which zig-zags to the ocean dramatically). Between the beautifully paved canyon racetracks were stretches of gently rolling hills covered with vines - the old ranches and orchards are making way for the inevitable grape.

We had a catered lasagne dinner under the stars on Saturday, and the weather gods smiled on us, as it was foggy early in the morning, but the sun shone all afternoon. It had been raining on Friday, so I was a bit concerned that no-one would show up, but I needn't have worried. Many rode from LA or the SF bay area to Santa Margarita Lake, including Mike Jongblood, Larry Luce, Joe Powers III, Dana Shatts, and John Ray. They all left Sunday morning under a cold fog. Ironically, we stayed away from Pozo proper and the infamous Pozo Saloon, as there was a Black Crowes concert scheduled for Saturday, and we didn't want to wade through boozed-up country-rockers at the end of our ride.

(Header pic shows a lovely Vincent Rapide engine - see below)

Pic 1 shows the indomitable George Hays, lately of Port Angeles WA, previously hailing from Alaska. George gave a dissertation on the funny peaked caps used by welders on the Alaska pipeline, showing us how the cap is rotated to keep welding slag out of ones' ears when working underneath a pipe.

Pic 2 is our lunchtime lineup in Paso Robles, where we intersected briefly with a Vincent o/c ride. The mishmash of 'VOC' members was quite a sight, and much oil was shed onto the tarmac. The old town square in the center of town, now renamed 'El Paso de Robles', has been upgraded to a tony sh0pping/eating district, so finding a good eating spot was no problem.

Pic 3 shows Velo owners Mick Felder, Joe Powers III, Satchi and George Shoblo. Note the 'Norton' construction sign we're all parked beneath.

Pic 5 is a lovely Black Shadow. There were about 10 Vincent/HRD's parked near us, in varying states of restoration, from immaculate to merely very nice. They all seemed to be Series C Rapides and Shadows.

Pic 6 is 'Vin Rouge', cabled to several modern sentries for protection. It's a Touring model Rapide, with valanced fenders, smaller diameter wheels, and full luggage, although the 5" diameter Black Shadow speedo sits prominently above the handlebars.

Pic 7 shows a clever topbox, covered in Rexine, looking rather period, if a bit fussy. I like the big latch, but I think if Phil Irving had designed this box, it would have had quick-release tommy bars!

Pic 8 is the big rock out in the ocean, must be Morro Bay, with Velo on the left riding Hwy 1 between Old Creek Road and Hwy 41, which climbed back to Atascadero.

Pic 9 is the unfortunate Dirt Streak which accompanies a 'flying W', and a mildly bent KSS with bruised rider... no names, no recriminations! It all turned out fine, and no it wasn't me this time.

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