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2010 Alturas rally, Part 1

June 30, 2010

IMG_3888 Last week was the Alturas rally, full name: Modoc Small and Early Car and Motorcycle Tour.  The attendance was a little less than last year, but still there were about 30 vehicles that made the trip up to the north-east corner of California for a few days of sunshine.

Earlier articles are here.

The first photo is Mike Turold, doing some roadside maintenance on his new 1914 Excelsior.  He only had the bike for 3 days before the rally started, and had to sort a few things out during the tour.  It did make the distance though!  Like the old saying “X always makes good”.


On day one, we had an excellent tour around Dorris reservoir after dinner at the local Elk’s club.  We didn’t see a single local car or pickup during the ride, just a few thousand gnats and bugs during the gloaming.

Evan fuelling his 1909 Buick in Likely


This 1907 Peirce Arrow caught my eye.  It is a 30hp model, surely one of the most deluxe cars sold in that era.  This one was restored about 10 years ago, and looks very fresh.  I didn’t get a photo of the pinstripes on the hood, but they were special:  blue with an inset red stripe.  It looked purple from several feet away.



I like the reflection of somebody’s Chuck Taylors in the headlamp glass.


Kerosene sidelight


Very nice wooden boxes on the dash, each with keyed locks.  Did you ever wonder why that hole in the dash of your modern car is called the glovebox?

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Fred E’s 1915 HD with sidecar.  Fred is one of the few guys who enjoys riding early bikes as well as driving early cars.  This year he also brought his 1905 Ford 2 cylinder car.  My highlight of the weekend was when he asked me to drive it around one evening.  Alas, I didn’t get a photo, but the memory is fresh in my mind.


Bill and Anne brought their 1902 Curved Dash Oldsmobile.  They were the couple that gave Kim and the kids a ride last year in their Underslung.

This little Olds is one of my favorites.  It is obviously an evolution from the horse buggy, complete with tiller steering and ample leaf springs, but with a motor under the seat.  It is a small car, and two folks barely fit on the narrow seat.  Later models were increasingly wider to provide a bit more seating area.  This one was often referred to as a Doctor’s Car, as country docs would use it to make house calls.

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From this angle you can see why it is called a Curved Dash Olds.


Bikes and cars sit while the owners have brunch at Cal Pines.  It is a community that was created decades ago, complete with a small air field for weekenders with airplanes.  The link has a great testimonial from Erik Estrada…  😉  Unfortunately for a succession of developers, it has never really taken off, and many of the lots remain vacant, with the odd house built just every so often on the empty, wide streets.  However, the neighborhood lodge serves a good brunch with a view of the lake.


Chris Carter’s HD and my Premier in the background.


Mike’s 1904 Holsman high wheeler.  Everybody should get one of these!


The back of the seat contains the sizeable fuel tank.  But at 15-22 mph, the little car needed just a small amount of fuel for each day’s route.


Back at the hotel.  In the background you can see Fred’s green 1905 Ford, with a wicker basket and yellow wheels.


Rick and Victor.  Both will be riding on the Cannonball this September.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 1, 2010 5:59 pm

    Wonderful machines – 2, 3 and 4 wheeled. It is refreshing to see them on the road and not just on display somehwere in a museum. Thanks for sharing.

    • Pete Young permalink*
      July 2, 2010 2:44 pm

      Thanks Rusty. These machines were made to go down the road. I think that their makers would be pleased to see us using them as intended.

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