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The Quail Ride 2011

The Quail Ride is part of the Quail Motorcycle Gathering held at the Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley CA on Saturday, May 14th, 2011. The Quail Ride was on the day before.

Okay, first off it was Friday the 13th. And it was my birthday. Of course I’m going. The wife & I got a room in Carmel CA on Thursday night, then bright & early Friday morning I trucked my held at the Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley CA on Saturday, May 14th, 2011. The Quail Ride was on the day before.

Okay, first off it was Friday the 13th. And it was my birthday. Of course I’m going. The wife & I got a room in Carmel CA on Thursday night, then bright & early Friday morning I trucked my ’79 T140D Bonneville Special to the Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley, unloaded & joined the throng of fellow Classic Motorcycle Nuts on vintage iron. Well, not all vintage, there were some modern bikes too. They divided the 90-odd bikes into two groups, with the Vintage Bikes departing at 9:00 am & the Modern Bikes at 9:30 & following a different, faster route. I traveled with the Vintage group, even though my 1979 was technically “too modern” (Mr. Edward Turner would be so proud), 1975 being the cutoff. The ride organizers oriented everyone, emphasizing the laid-back nature of this ride (“it’s not a race”) & introduced us to our CHP escorts.

My T140D has been particularly cold blooded lately, I’ve been playing with the carbs trying to get it right, but it’s not there yet. So, I began my long warm up long before the ride began. But, no matter, it still ran like doggie doo-doo as we roll away from the Quail Lodge. It’s coughing & sputtering & I have to keep the choke on just to keep it running, at first. I manage to keep it running, but it’s getting a bit worrisome. Am I going to have to ride 120 miles like this? Thank goodness it cleaned up once it warmed up & it ran great for the entire trip.

The Quail Ride consisted of a 120-mile ride through the Carmel Valley, the Monterey Peninsula & the area, which ended at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway for ‘touring laps’ & a picnic lunch on “The Corkscrew”. This was followed, on Friday evening, with a fine dinner at the Quail Lodge and an auction preview for the Bonham’s & Butterfield’s Auction to be held the next day at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering. The weather was perfect, my bike was running well enough, the countryside was nice, the roads ideal, and the company was of the highest caliber. All in all, it was quite a day.


This 1948 Triumph T100 Tiger ran perfectly on the ride, then he wiped it down & put it in the show. My people. I rode next to him for some distance & it was fascinating watching that sprung rear hub working hard to absorb the bumps. Not much travel, but it must have helped.

This 1953 AJS Model 18S ran well on the Quail Ride, then was placed in the Quail Motorcycle Gathering show the next day. That’s the way to do it.

This lovely 1973 Triumph T150 Trident triple belongs to Dave Sunzeri of the BSAOC-Northern California. Nice guy, great bike.

This rare 1982 Triumph TSS is no trailer queen. The owner rode it on the Quail Ride, then placed it in Saturday’s show, the Quail Motorcycle Gathering. While it idled a little fast, it ran great & looked stunning. Love that 8-valve head.

Okay, okay…it’s not a Classic British Motorcycle…in fact, I’m not sure what it is. The radical Moto-Morphic is totally new and totally…different. What else can I say?

The weather could not have been better. The roads selected for the Vintage Group were nice & curvy, running through gently rolling hill & dale, past farms & pastures, vineyards & horses. Very nice country for motorcycles, and very little traffic. Having the right helmet made all the difference in the world. For this trip, I used a full-coverage helmet with both a flip-up face-guard, and a flip-up visor. This gave me three modes: full-coverage visor-closed, full coverage visor-open, and open-faced. It gives you the comfort and security at high speeds, but on the slower, nicer stretches, you can open it up and more fully enjoy the scenery and the aromas.

It was a perfect day for our ride through the picturesque Carmel Valley, with its wineries, horse ranches, hills, trees, and great roads. I filmed the entire ride with my new Helmet Cam.

One of our stops on the Quail Ride was at the Rancho Cielo Youth Campus in the hills of Monterey County. The 100-acre campus is the brainchild of a local retired judge who spent his career sending wayward kids to prison. When he retired, he vowed to reach these kids “before they pulled the trigger”. Using only private-sector money, they take troubled teens off the streets, give them an education (they are an accredited high school, so they can even issue diplomas), teach them a trade & prepare them for life. They have a 73% success rate (amazingly high, in that business) & the kids we saw, who came out to admire our bikes, were well-spoken, polite & respectful. I was very impressed. They have a Culinary Institute there, among other vocational training programs, and the chefs prepared homemade cookies & apple juice for us hungry bikers.

Back on the road again, it’s just 24 miles to Mazda-Laguna Seca Raceway, where we’re going to be able to do some ‘touring laps’ before lunch.

We arrive at Laguna Seca to the news that we will only be given ONE lap on the track, not four as we had been told. A bit of a disappointment, but I must admit, it was still pretty cool. And I got it all one video. Stay tuned for that. After our one quick lap, we were off to a nice picnic lunch on an infield hill inside the infamous “Corkscrew”. A fitting end to a wonderful day.

The Vetter Fuel Economy Challenge

The Vetter Fuel Economy Challenge is a pet project of the legendary Craig Vetter, father of the stunning ’73 Triumph Hurricane, founder of Windjammer Fairings & creator of the modern motorcycle fairing as we know it & industrial designer extraordinaire. Like he already doesn’t have enough to do, Craig has embarked on a mission to improve fuel economy largely through aerodynamics (appropriate for a fairing manufacturer). This year’s Quail Ride hosted an eclectic variety of machines, each taking its own approach toward stealing the prize for the highest miles-per-gallon.

Did I say eclectic? How about downright weird? This is Craig Vetter’s own ride for the Vetter Fuel Economy Challenge. This scooter-based streamliner squeezed 89 miles out of a gallon of fuel. That’s the man himself, Craig Vetter on the right.

Despite Craig’s valiant efforts with his wild streamliner, you’re looking at the winner of this year’s Vetter Fuel Economy Challenge. It’s powered by a 2-cylinder diesel, built in India to power compressors for the military. The owner was still working on this ‘lab experiment’ at 3:30 in the morning, before the Quail Ride. It ran flawlessly, and achieved 128 mpg! Congratulations!! Craig Vetter is jealous.

While there was a little too much freeway for my taste, this Quail Ride was a well-planned & orchestrated trip through some wonderful country. The people were great & the whole ambiance of the day is hard to describe, but it just continued on at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering, the next day. Don’t miss this trip next year.