Thursday, July 14, 2011

VELOCETTE OWNER'S CLUB RALLY, COLUMBIA RIVER, DAY 3

The very picture of appeal; 1965 Thruxton, the 44th built.  This is the first Thruxton I ever saw in the metal, ridden to a bike show by former owner Randy Eley back in 1984.  I knew then that I had to, had to have one. 
Rally organizer John Stanley on his Clymer-made Indian Velocette; a Venom engine in Tartarini frame, Ceriani forks, Grimeca hubs.  The Indian Velo handles beautifully - if a little stiffly - with street-scrambler style.
The Dalles bridge over the Columbia river; painted to match the landscape...
The Dalles hydroelectric dam.  Between the dams and the wind farms, there's plenty of current in these parts.  The first dam on the Columbia was built to power the Alcoa aluminum plant.  Its taken generations to restore the salmon runs.
Ah, the unexpected joys of the sudden seizure.  Jim's piston, after much labor with files and scrapers during the day, was replaced in the bore.  Muriatic acid from the motel pool dissolved the aluminum in the cylinder barrel!
Bridge of the Gods, Stevenson, Washington, is an all-metal structure...
...which is see-thru!  That's the Columbia below; some riders were spooked by heights, some by squirrely handling over the steel grid.  Treacherous when wet.
Studebaker slowly returning to moss...
Lots of these; an Osprey under glass.
The high desert of eastern Oregon gives way to damp greenness as we move west towards Mt. Hood, hidden under clouds today, as the skies drizzled and spat.  Rolling farmlands spread across the flats, with forest and canyons between.
Bridge of the Gods; plenty of Thruxtons on this rally, as they're excellent touring machines, even with clipons and rearsets.  Plenty of power, gentle as pussycats, immaculate handling.
Paul Zell's monstrous Zellocette, the MeSS.  800cc of fast.
The family which rides together... Kim and Pete Young with their '38 MSS, and sidecar for little Atticus
The high desert canyonlands and the Deschutes river
A favored fishing and whitewater rafting spot on the Deschutes
John Ray at Multnomah Falls
High desert, big sky...
...where the sagebrush dots the tawny grass...
...and the roads snake up canyons while crossing over, under, and around the railroad lines.
Jesse, of the Warm Springs tribe, works his platform on the Columbia, while his family camps nearby...
...waiting to eat the sturgeon he caught earlier that day.
While Jesse offered to sell the sturgeon, we had no way to cook it, so settled for Italian.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Paul, great pics! I miss you guys. By coincidence we just returned from staying in that exact same area last week...

rick cording

macfly said...

I was there last year on a very different Club run, we ended up in the Timerline Lodge on My Hood, such a stunning part of the coutry, and your pix are wonderful, thanks for taking us along on the ride!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Paul.

Splendid photo-essays (esp. Day Two), as you continue to out-do yourself with the excellence of your journalism. Sooner or later, if it hasn't happened already, the larger world is going to take note of your exceptional work, exceeding even the best stuff we see in the classic/vintage magazines. Well, Bonhams has caught on, as well as have the doyens of the fashionista/concours world you increasingly inhabit. But as you said in a response, ride with a friend, go a little crazy, have fun, be young....

The sound of all those (okay, three or four) mighty Thruxtons.... Brings it all back, when we competed to see which thumper we could keep running in top gear at lowest revs. The Gold Star guys liked to back off abruptly so as to get a blast of back pressure (and occasionally a little bit of flare), but if you were privileged to have a Hall Green machine you knew there were better ways to impress.

College years in VT in a motorcycle-enthused fraternity house--no, this is not "Animal House"--meant lots of time riding the back roads and often coming upon the New England equivalent of the time-besotted landscapes you've reproduced. Somewhere in my stacks of unrecoverable stuff are photos we took of guys refitting chains or fussing with carburetors against a backdrop of abandoned farm buildings and overgrown fields. Once we even found an early '50s Ferrari racer in a barn that the owner claimed had been raced by Frolian Gonzalez (he had picked it up for spare change, he said, while serving in the US Mediterranean Fleet). From the look of the thing, the story may have been true. A mechanically-inspired friend actually managed to get it running and we drove it--no tags, no lights, no mufflers--through the roads around Brandon, no doubt terrifying the tourists. I think it eventually went to Bob Grossman's vintage car store in Nyack, New York, in those days a place of pilgrimage. Another story....

Thanks for the memories. VMT 583, where are you?

Jim



James J. Ward
Professor of History
Director, Honors Program
Cedar Crest College

Don O'Reilly said...

Wow!

Stunning photos. many look like something Terrence Malick would have done... sublime.

There's one of those steel grate bridges on the north end of town here. Though its only about 200 feet across, in the rain its the longest 200 feet you'll ever ride. Good thing the pants are already wet.

Thanks again Paul, for all your contributions.

btw... did you quit your day job?

cheers,

Don