Monday, July 21, 2008

2008 VELOCETTE SUMMER RALLY - Arrival

Arriving at the Benbow Inn, we bumped into a Bentley rally! Two Speed Sixes from the late 20's/early 30's (unless they were replicas built on later chassis), and a lovely drophead tourer, out for a Sunday drive amongst the trees. Two of the cars had Swiss registrations, and were clearly veterans of many expensive old-car rallies, with stickers from the Colorado Grand and California Mille and several other European rallies which I didn't recognize, not being the consummate car guy. The owners were Swiss as well, and took our goggling and poking with aplomb - we were looking for similarities with our motorcycles, and found a few, such as the Andre friction dampers on the suspension, and the fuel taps; the mighty 14" drum brakes with fins and air scoops were most impressive (and many of the Velo riders expressed envy!).

The Benbow is a mock-Tudor Inn with a spectacular location next to the Eel River, surrounded by gigantic California Live Oak trees, and is clearly a destination for the well-heeled, plus a bunch of vintage motorcyclists. Unfortunately, our rallyists are split amongst those who prefer to camp vs preferring a bed, and the campground was a mile away up the Eel river. While spectacular in itself amongst the spreading Oak trees and nestled in a bend of the river, the campground was a bit isolated from the hotel, making campfire forays difficult. Still, the bar at the Benbow was a draw for everyone, and it was usually all ours by 10pm (see pic).

The Sunday is typically arrival day for rallyists, as we like an early start on Monday, with a rider's meeting by 8:30am to explain the route and the routine. Several of our members didn't arrive until Monday afternoon though, as the MotoGP in Monterey, 6 hours south, finished up on the Sunday - scheduling of other events in the Benbow neighborhood meant the week of July 20-26 was the only one available for our use.

On to Monday!

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