2011 Girder Fork Run. Ione, California
The first annual Girder Fork Run was this weekend up in the gold country of California. We started in Ione, CA and rode around the various backroads near Sutter Creek, Drytown, Fiddletown, Volcano and Plymouth. interesting names, yes, but the old names for the towns included BedBug, Freeze Out, Puckerville, Soldier’s Gulch, Poker Camp, etc. Each town has a rich history dating back to 1948/49 when gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill. It is hard to imagine these little towns of 100, 200 or 500 people back in the late 19th century, when they held up to 10,000 folks each.
The Victorian architecture still stands in these towns, and they do a good job of keeping things up, as tourism is the main driver of their modern economy. There is an event on the calendar every weekend; we like to think that our little motorbike event is the best one this weekend. However, we did come across multiple town fairs, a festival of organ grinders without monkeys, a tour of pre WWII Dodge Brothers cars, a tour of 1950s-1970s MG sportcars, and even a group of 20 new Can Am Spyder three wheelers! sorry, no photos of that last group.
We had about a dozen girder fork bikes, plus several friends on newer machines. The oldest bike was Kim’s 1930 Velo KSS, newest bikes were late 1930’s, but the mk8 KTT might have been post war… Several Velos were there, KTT, KSSs both early and late, a late Rudge Ulster with a bronze head, a 600cc Levis single and an Indian Chief twin.
A freshly restored mkII KSS. Mike, the owner was the first one to admit that some parts were incorrect, but nobody cared. He was the fifth owner of the bike as a basket case, and was motivated enough to finish the bike and ride it! Imagine that, 4 guys bought the pile of parts, looked it over and sold it on, one after another. That’s not a bad thing, but with each owner, the pile of parts became slightly smaller as the wheel bearings fell out of the hubs, or the mudguards were damaged in storage, etc. Congratulations Mike, and thanks for bringing another old bike back.
Don D.’s big Levis, flanked by Velos. Levis was another marque that didn’t make it back into production after WWII ended. They made quality bikes during their time though, much like Rudge did and so many others. This one earned a little trophy during lunch for the shiniest bike, but it was a toss up between it and the blue Ulster.
a leak or two.
We ran into a group of early Dodge Brothers cars in Sutter Creek. Lots of them from the teens through the thirties. Note the beveled glass on the wings. The starter handle is missing, I wonder if he has fitted an electric self-starter? The second car has the famous Dodge Ram on the radiator shell.
For a bit of October fun, we took the kids on a hike through the cemetery in Volcano. There were many ornate gravestones, dating back to 1850. For some reason there were a lot of them dated 1863. I’m not sure if there was a hard winter that year, or maybe a flu?
Fall leaves turning colors. On the main street in Volcano, population 103. We stayed the night at the St. George Hotel. What a great place. We are already planning to have some more old bike tours to start and finish in Volcano in 2012 and 2013. Watch this space.