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2012 Velocette Rally in Flagstaff, AZ. Part 1.

July 23, 2012

We spent last week doing what we love; riding old Velos around the countryside. 


The VOCNA summer rally was in Flagstaff, Arizona this year.  5 days of riding, 1000 miles, some rain, some heat, and some beautiful scenery.  Temperatures of 100+ F and altitudes of 8000+ feet, coupled with low humidity took their tolls from the power outputs of the bikes.  Estimates were that the bikes seemed to be down on power about 25%, but there were very few mechanical issues other than some rich running and hard starting.  The humans suffered a bit too, with many bloody noses and bloodshot eyes throughout the week due to the altitude and dryness.  But we tried to remember to drink a water after each beer, and that helped.  The signs at the Grand Canyon recommended that each explorer drink one quart or liter of water every hour!


The trip from Alta California to Flagstaff took us back through some of the terrain that was covered during the Cannonball, and I suggested that everybody stop in funky old Oatman to see the burros.  With a looser schedule than the C’ball, there was time to explore a bit, and try to find the ghosts at the old hotel, count the money pinned on the walls of the saloon, pet the wild burros, and drink lots of water.  The town has an interesting history, and was essentially shut down by the US Govt during WWII as the mining was deemed not necessary for the war effort.  This painting on a building shows how they felt about it:

Oatman building


 oatman hotel

The famous wild burros are left over from the mining operations.  As the miners left town, the just let the burros loose, and they still wander the streets.  Four of the females coincidentally they had their babies the week we passed through town.  Behind them is the old hotel and bar.


The miners paid their tabs by pinning a dollar to the wall of the bar, and the idea has taken over the place.  Now there are about $80,000 pinned up.  While looking around, I spied this Indian PowerPlus motor sitting on a table, its front jug missing.


Up and over the beautiful and desolate Sitgreaves Pass, as Tom Joad and the others used on their travels West on Route 66.  We came upon this old gas station that has been restored and sells a good cherry coke.gas station






This old sign caught my eye in Williams.  I love the weathered look, and the fact that they advertised “Package Goods” with the image of a drink!


Arriving in Flagstaff, we met with old friends, read the maps, gassed up the bikes, and started the rally.  One bike that I enjoyed seeing was John’s 1926 Sunbeam model 5.  He recently finished his restoration, and it sounded really nice while burbling around the parking lot.

1926 Sunbeam

  model 5


the sunbeam

sunbeam timing side

more to follow…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    July 24, 2012 5:32 pm

    sorry to have missed this one. looks like it was a good ride.
    Alan in Vancouver

    • July 24, 2012 8:43 pm

      Hi Alan. I hope you can make it next year. Kim is President, and is hosting the rally in the North Sierra Nevadas. We’ll see some great territory.

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