Friday, March 9, 2012

Amerivespa 2002

2 years before, when i fall in love with Vespa. I collected a lot of pictures of Vespa from internet, see it everyday and talk to myself  "Someday, i'll have it".
Find out in my old computer, some great pictures of vespa, vespa museum, vespa rally... I dont remember where i found it. So if anyone know, let me know, i'll edit my post.

Full story of author:

Amerivespa 2002 was fantastic!  It should be the standard for planning, organization, teamwork and follow trough.  When a four-day event of this size, over 450 scooters, runs smoothly it makes for a lot of fun!
The diversity of people, themes and scooters at the meets and rides is tremendous.  With a lot to learn about Vespas, I have found these get togethers are a great source of information and tips from very knowledgeable, interesting and sometimes-freaky people.  

I haven’t traveled a long distance for a scooter meet.  (Well to Europe, but I was going there anyway.)  My decision to make the journey to Portland, Oregon last June was strongly influenced by the positive input of Vespa Club Of America President Michael McWilliiams.  He was very enthusiastic about the way the event was shaping up.  He told me how well all the clubs were working together, about the astonishing amount of raffle items obtained and the great rides and events that were being planned.  All of this turned out to be true!

The twelve-hour drive to Portland was long for this old guy but not as long as others I met at the event.  Michael, his wife Gretchen and their daughter drove more than 20 hours from Colorado.  Another couple from Texas shipped two vintage Vespas, rode them to Portland and shipped them back after the weekend.  This is the dedication that is the spirit of Amerivespa!
I arrived in Portland Friday afternoon, having missed the events on Thursday hosted by the Wussys scooter club.  It looked like I would catch the tail end of the bbq and greeting at Ptown Scooter Shop.  The photo scavenger hunt had already started a couple of hours earlier.  When I saw the photos on Sunday I was sorry I missed that one!

Sitting at a red light, I knew I was close because in my mirror could see a Vespa front fender peaking out from behind my pickup.  When the light changed the couple on the Vespa rode along side and the driver yelled, “Are you Alan?”  Who the hell knows me in Portland?  His girlfriend shouted, “This is Johnny he sold you that scooter.”  Fantastic first contact!  I knew this was going to be a good weekend.

Johnny Samra, from Washington, had indeed sold me an engineless sprint Veloce that I used to start my Frankenstien project; a Vespa with a sixties look, no premix and eighties, P200 power.  Having completed that, I hooked Frankie to my sidecar one week before Amerivespa.  Painted Krylon white and covered with stickers to hide the dents and buggers, the rig was in the back of the truck and ready for a maiden voyage.  What better place then Amerivespa with three days of fun to be had or breakdowns to experience?

Got to Ptown Scooters and the last of the hot dogs and a small group still lingering around talking.   After chatting for a while and getting directions to the designated hotel I took off to get ready for the evening party hosted by Hell’s Belles scooter club.  The only good thing I can say about the hotel is that it’s a good thing I was there only a few hours a night to sleep, creepy place.
Arrived at the Eagles Lounge to a parking lot full of Vespas and some Lambrettas, always a nice site.  Also nice to be greeted by the VCOA staff and President Mike.  Got the check in bag of goodies and a cold beer and listened to some very bad karaoke.  Chill guys, not everyone was bad and I didn’t stay too late and I’m sure it got better, I hope.

That first meeting pumped me up.  It appeared that everyone knew everyone else.  I saw some friends from the different parts of California and met some new ones from everywhere. 
Saturday morning I hooked up with a few guys leaving the hotel and found our way to Oaks Park, the Amerivespa 2002 site.  An early ride had already left there so we waited for their return while watching the venders set up and see if there were any great deals at the swap meet before everyone else showed. 

The park filled up quickly when the ride returned and stragglers pulled in looking, bleak from the late night of bad karaokee. Sharon, Teela and Creston Coates busily managed the registration booth all day and still had time for smiles.
The Portland clubs and organizers selected the perfect place for Amerivespa.  A calmly flowing river on one side and a family amusement park on the other surrounded the shaded park setting.  The amusement park provided an all day flow of appreciative spectators ogling row after row of vintage, retro, new and rat scooters and sidecars.

During the fast paced day a VCOA meeting was held with a very small attendance, compared to long line waiting to sink someone in the dunk tank. I learned at the meeting that the club could really use a little help from everyone to keep things moving in the future!
Raffle time was suspenseful.  It went on and on with one great prize after another, going to everyone except me.  Ok, I did win a blow up rubber sheep.  Everyone’s hopes of winning the restored fenderlight Vespa were dashed when the prize went to Cindy Shattuck, wife of the owner of Sportique Scooters.  The scooter was donated by Pirate Imports and restored by Zach Matthews and Matt Schoenholz, for the Amerivespa raffle grand prize.  Very nice! 

With the raffles finished, the Concourse judged, gymkhana defeated and everyone full from the huge BBQ put on by Twist & Play, it was time to saddle up for the ride to the Rose Festival Starlight Parade in downtown Portland!  The huge group of scooters left on time for a pleasant evening ride downtown. The excitement in the air was as thick as the smoke behind us.  

It turns out we were the first event the parade revelers would see.  This was to allow time to clear the air from all the two-stroke smoke!  It was cool being first.  The crowd loved it!  And I mean crowd.  The parade snaked around about 25 blocks of the city and every street was packed with rows of spectators.  The hoards on every street waved and cheered.  Some held their noses.  Some waved and held their noses. Thousands of people pointed at their favorite individual scooter as it went by.  I am proud to say that my sidecar rig and the striking red one owned by Amerivespa coordinator Robert Volz, attracted a lot of attention. 
How often do scooter people get such reward and appreciation for their love of scooters?  It was ten minutes of pure enjoyment and exhilaration!

Spirits were still high a couple of hours later when we all gathered in our evening clothes for the European style dinner at the nicely decorated Oak Parks Pavilion.  By now all participants were old friends, and they were all pumped from the days events and parade ride.

During the festive evening donations were collected for a unique man who was along with us for the weekend.  He is an Englishman by the name of Greg Kinge     (Scoot Quarterly Summer 2002) This road warrior is riding his 1953 Douglas Vespa rod model across America and back to raise money for The British Heart Foundation, after losing his son to heart disease.  It was pleasure to meet, and ride with, this gentleman.     Thanks to the Amerivespa, it’s participants and Piaggio; he left the dinner with more than $4000 in donations to his cause.

Sunday morning, Tonic Lounge, breakfast, uuumm good. Yeh right.  Anyway, it was a smaller group ready to head out for a mountain ride to the tallest falls in North America.  The city rides were nice and Portland is good city for riding but as we headed into the rolling green hills that soon became steep mountains, the real beauty of the area unfolded before us.  

It is wonderful country with many scooter enthusiasts so I thought about nice it would be to live there.  Then I remembered how much it rains.  That’s why it looks so green!   The scooter king was smiling on us because we were blessed with gorgeous weather all weekend, adding to the ultimate scooter event.
Mulnomath Falls was indeed impressive.  So was the fact all the scooters made it there.  On the equally scenic trip back we joined other scooterists who had already arrived at the site for the close of the gathering. 

The spacious Edgefield Manor is a quaint winery nestled into the evergreen foothills outside Portland.  The restaurant, bar and outlying concessions provided plenty to eat and drink.  The awards for the Concours d Elegance were announced and speeches made By Michael McWilliams and Robert Volz.  Robert is incredible.  He was the heartbeat in organizing and running this wonderful affair.
The friendships developed, the recollection of scenic rides, the rows of beautiful scooters and a few cold beers made for an awesome summer scooter experience.  My hat is off to the Wussys, Cute Bunnies & Kittens, Hell’s Belles , Twist and Play scooter clubs, Robert, the VCOA staff and everyone involved for all your efforts!
You produced a magnificent scooter extravaganza!  Bravo…..

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