Sunday, May 20, 2012


Yep, it was warm in the ye shade
The Velocette Owners Club of North America (whew) is renowned for its hard-riding members, whose annual week-long ride/rally has been racking up a thousand miles per year since 1983.  While the riding season in California is nearly year-round, the Spring Opener informally opens the riding year for the club, and has been hosted by John and Sue Ray from their home in, variously, Santa Cruz and more recently, a hilltop outside of Napa.
Jeff Scott enjoying the -finally- repaved roads northeast of Napa
It isn't that the roads in Cali are the best in the world - often they're in sore need of repair, and deferred maintenance in the cash-starved state is the rule rather than exception.  It isn't that the scenery is the best in the world, although the Napa Valley and environs are certainly prone to loveliness.  What's fantastic about the West of the US is the serious lack of traffic on the roads you most want to ride, and the sheer number of roads which reward exploration on two wheels.

It all adds up to someplace you need to be on a motorcycle, and if its an old bike with sufficient power and handling to enjoy the roads to your satisfaction, so much the better. 
Kim Young's 1930 KSS and Pete Young's 1938 MSS
Any bike event with a ride at its heart is a Good Thing.  Thanks for hosting us, John and Sue!
Christina shows a natural talent for bike posing...
1938 KSS, ca.1954 MAC, ca.1967 Thruxton
Workbench of Pope Valley Towing...
The soon-to-collapse porch of the Pope Valley Store, with crackle-finish bowser; not a faux-finish!
Checking out Charlie Taylor's BMW R66 - the 600cc sidecar tug which makes a very nice solo rider
A few of these, but only on the main highways...

A man raised on Velocettes; Rob Drury's parents had a Velo sheet-metal company in the 1980s

Photographers battle it out; Gil Loe
The interior of the Pope Valley Store, closed for decades, as-was inside...
Jeff Scott tries out the MeSS special

Lovely little Velocette MAC 350cc; the plate reads 'Donald Chesbrough Bell - thanks for teaching me to ride; 1927-2011'

A macabre sense of humor in Pope Valley Towing...
A man and his dog
Pope Valley Towing...
Paul Zell on one of his Velocette customs, the MeSS; slightly enlarged, heaps more powerful than stock
John Ellis and Paul Zell
Pointing out the cork-in-a-carb repair on the BMW R66
Yes, rattlesnakes for pets.  Plenty of them in these dry hills...
Lovely old Ford panel van
Tractors too!

Heaps of old Ford stuff
The office.

1 comment:

OcchioLungo said...

Hi Paul. It was great to see you Saturday. Kim and I went up to Gold Country afterwards and found some good hotels and roads for the 2013 summer rally. see you soon.