Monday, July 11, 2011


The Velocette Owner's Club of North America holds its annual summer rally somewhere west of the Rocky mountains, and north of the Mexican border, for a week of riding on the best motorcycle roads the rally master can find. Typical mileage for the 5-day ride is an average of 200 miles/day, although this can vary considerably depending on where we are, and where we need to go.
The 2011 rally hub is The Dalles, Oregon, which wets its toes in the mighty Columbia river, in the dry eastern half of this in-your-mind green state. The Columbia Gorge is a dramatic layered landscape of hexagonal basalt columns capped with a thick froth of volcanic flow, both new enough geologically to show no evidence of water erosion, with sharp, architectural mesas and cliffs hemming the river from the surrounding farmlands.
You never know what you'll see on the highly touristed Hwy 30 leading east from Portland, the self-consciously uber-hip city with a parade of tattoo'd youngsters strolling its quaint downtown. Some of them ride scooters!
With 75 entrants this year, the variety of machines - mostly Velocettes - means just about every iteration of the Velo Venom, Thruxton, MSS, MAC, and KSS are present, standard and modified, concours and scruffy.
Fishing rights along the Columbia are limited to the local native tribes, who keep crazily cobbled platforms cantilevered from the rocks over the river.  Each fishing spot is the preserve of one family, which may have held it for generations.  This fellow was pleased with his Sockeye Salmon - dinner!
Adjacent to the rally grounds are a quartet of decaying wooden outbuildings, which were once a Shaker church compound for Christian missionaries converting the 'heathen' natives. 
Ian Barry of Falcon motorcycles was lured away from Los Angeles at the prospect of two days' riding in the glorious uncrowded countryside; our generous host John Ray providing the motive power for Ian and myself - a '65 Thruxton and '38 KSS, which was pumped up to a full 500cc in 1950s Los Angeles by the local tuning mob.  It goes well!
The horizontal end of Multnomah Falls; the basalt cliffs create dozens of opportunities for dramatic water features
The KSS holding up slightly better than the architecture
Old reliable; a 1961 BSA Super Rocket
Yes, we are in the Pacific Northwest
An ebay jacket, with incorrect dates!  John Frey enjoys the joke.
Black and gold as far as the eye can see
A rare all-fiberglass Velocette Vogue, freshly restored.  200cc of sidevalve 'power', in sci-fi clothes.
Some prefer tents.
An international crowd; Dai Gibbison of the UK joined visitors from Australia and New Zealand
A Venom Endurance in its natural habitat


Anton D said...

Wish I could've been there! The sound of Velo's on a winding road, especially in choir is super! Some great photos, thanks

Phill said...

Man that looks like a fun week.

macfly said...

Wonerful ride report & pix!

The Velobanjogent said...

where is Jim Day.....

occhiolungo said...


Jim Day is here. He rode past the John Day Dam yesterday. It would have been a good photo!

matt machine said...

any sportsmans?