Skip to content

2013 Velocette Rally, Volcano CA Part II

July 27, 2013

Somewhere in the middle of the week, we came through the little town of Greenville.  It was larger than many towns, with a gas station, bar, restaurant, store and a motorcycle leather shop!  Pulling over into Flying Monkey leathers, we had a good old time chatting with the owner Chris Gibbs.  The leathers were good, the pile of bikes was better.  But the stories were the highlight of the hour-plus stop.  If you ever make it to Greenville, stop by and get a cup of coffee and maybe a shirt or jacket.  Ask him about the HD leather jockstraps.

dem bones

You meet the nicest people in skeleton leathers…


flying monkey

Paul and Susan smiling for the camera.susan monkey

After the whole Velo group had passed by P & S and K and I, we got back on the road, looking for that good La Porte Road from Quincy to nowhere, via Lumpkin Ridge Road.  Wow, what a ride.  Climbing up and up on freshly paved road, twist after twist, hairpins, drop offs, views for miles.  And then we got to the earthen dam at the bottom of Little Grass Valley Reservoir.  And it became even more deserted, Deliverance style.   An hour or three later, we made it to some civilization, bought ice cream and water, and swapped lies about how fast our bikes were.

la port road

small town

Where was Forrestown?  This was it.  No gas, but the water was cold.  –Jim swears that his astroturf seat cover is the best thing since sliced bread.  But the rest of us remain unconvinced.

tom ross

Tom Ross plays around with the Mk8 KTT

 theresa kss

Theresa zooms by on her KSS

 earthen dam

Kent Bell and K on the earthen dam.  More dirt roads for your riding pleasure..


Eastbound and down.

 1853 bank

My 38 MSS in front of that old 1853 Wells Fargo bank on Pleasant Valley Road.

 nevada city at dusk

Nevada City was our destination for Thursday night, we arrived with plenty of time to see the sunset from the Mine Shaft Tavern.

sleeping kss

After dinner, when most folks have finished their wrenching and are sleeping softly in their beds, dreams of Velos in their heads…  I like to wander around the parking lot and take pics of the bikes.  They don’t normally turn out very well, but eventually I will learn how to set my camera to get decent shots.

 cable bridge

Ahh, this was fun.  South of Georgetown, the road winds down toward Placerville.  But if you look closely, you can turn east on a little route that winds along a cliff for several miles, just holding on to the rocks.  Another one of my favorites, one lane to nowhere.  But it does go near the place called Mosquito, and then the road turns south and gets even better.  You have to ignore all the signs that say “ROAD CLOSED AHEAD”.  They put those there just to scare people away, honest.  After the third or fourth sign, when you are good and committed, the road begins a series of sharp switchbacks down toward a river.  One lane still, and curiously full of redneck drivers that like to yell random things out their windows.  But the river crossing is a narrow one lane, wooden, cable suspension bridge.  Rated for just 5 tons, you can see each sleeper beam move up and down as the cars slowly cross over.  We stopped to catch our breath and try to fill up on water in the hot sun.  french creek road

Another photo of Old French Creek Road.  Isolated and worth the trip from the highway.


With my love of these roads, I might have overdone it a bit planning the routes.  We did some one lane stuff every day of the week, but only 6 miles of dirt road all week.  No freeways, not even any 4 lane roads were on the official route.  But the 25mph average speeds on the winding roads, coupled with the 100-105F degree heat did take its toll on the riders, if not the bikes.  In my defense, the old roads were well suited for the oldest bikes, and the rigid riders all seemed to do fine.  But some later, heavier bikes were a handful on the switchbacks.  I thought about it at one point, and it seemed that the old bikes were enjoying the route.  But then I thought that maybe it was the mentality of riders who prefer very old machines might also prefer the routes that are (very far) off the beaten path.  But we all were there for an adventure, one way or another.


Anyway, there was always a shortcut around the challenging stuff if desired, and a few riders did take Hwy 49 instead.  But the traffic, billboards, straight road and lack of adventure wasn’t what I was after.   Winking smile


Eric playing around with Paul Zell’s custom 710cc monster. 

  making pictures

Paul and Susan making Tintype photos in front of a shed in Volcano.  They swear that the place is haunted, and none of the photos turned out well.  One has what appears to be a ghost head in the window of the shed.  Check for details.ghost hunting

In the mean streets of Volcano, you don’t have to worry about traffic.  Population 103.  Paul sets the focus and exposure length  of the photo machine, while Susan acts as a double for Dick and his Thruxton.Dick and thruxton

Dick and his Thruxton.  I’m sure that P&S got a better shot than this one though.

 more dead trees

burned trees.

 mk 8 ktt

The former Eddie Arnold Mk8 KTT.  This one is number KTT836.  Eddie knew more than a few things about building motors, and was the builder of Paul’s Mule among others.  This bike didn’t do the rally, but was presented on the last day for all to look at.

ktt clutch

The Velo clutch sits inboard of the final drive chain.  That gives the crankcase a very narrow section, without any flex across the main bearings.  It also requires a strict method to adjust the clutch, but it always works if you follow the book.  And the action at the clutch lever is lighter than any other bike.

 ktt 2 times

John Ray brought his Mk7 KTT too.

 magnesium brake

Magnesium brake plate.

larry luce

Larry’s wonderful wonderful KSS.  He rode it the distance, and didn’t bother with paint or cleaning.

 larrys kss

A close-up of Larry’s KSS.


 women kss

Three lady riders.  Each rode the whole 5 days on a rigid OHC bike.  Theresa, Vivian and Kim.


In my free time, I made up these trophy castings.  Thanks to Fred Mork for the oak bases.

a view

That’s it for this year.  If you’d like to join us next year on your Velo or maybe a BSA or old Triumph or something, we’ll be riding around the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho in the 3rd or 4th week of July.  Pay your $20 to join the club and you’re welcome to come along! 

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    July 27, 2013 8:10 pm

    Sorry to have missed this one. We are in the middle of moving from Vancouver to Roberts Creek, so it simply was not possible. Looks like a it was a good turnout and lots of great roads,
    Alan in Vancouver

  2. July 27, 2013 10:02 pm

    looks like all had a peachey time, beautiful empty roads. I agree that the ‘smaller’ machines seem to be more in their element in these conditions despite their rigid frames and no doubt being occaissionally ‘bucked’ out of your seat.

    Tanks for bringing a bit of flavour.

    ps by the way what are the laws on lights on bikes out that way; if fitted they have to work?

    • July 27, 2013 11:52 pm

      I don’t know the laws, but my machines have lights that don’t work and my other machines don’t have lights at all. It hasn’t ever been an issue. Touch wood. Most of the lawmen have bigger fish to fry.

      • Brent Lenehan permalink
        September 11, 2013 11:04 am

        Hi Pete

        I am a friend of Mark Frost and consort with the other bike boys in Alameda.

        I have an alloy timing cover, in good condition, which I think may be off a 1912 or thereabouts Triumph. I would be glad to donate it to some worthy soul in need of same so if you know anyone let me know. I have a couple of pics if I knew where to send them.

        Brent Lenehan

      • September 11, 2013 11:07 am

        That is great Brent! I know one or two guys who might need one. I’ll email them and get back to you.

  3. victor permalink
    July 28, 2013 3:19 pm

    Great pictures, descriptions and beautiful roads and scenery Pete.
    Off on a tire and carburation test Wedensday, will be back in a little over a week if all goes well.

  4. July 31, 2013 5:15 am

    Great piece Pete, once the lottery win comes in I’ll be certain to join you. Adventures like that are good for the soul, and I’m sure I’d find nursing the bike through almost as rewarding as nursing myself through !

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: