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Revving your engine at Quail Lodge

I love motorcycle shows. Nothing beats walking past row upon row of new, classic, and custom bikes on a beautiful sunny day, marveling at the magnificent chrome details, leather accouterments, and personal touches that add that extra bit of finesse. From Harley-Davidson gatherings fueled by Budweiser and Jack Daniels to sport bike shows frequented by riders outfitted in the latest rock ‘n roll fashions, I always find myself drawn to the events like a moth to a flame. So it was that, on one particularly beautiful day in early May, I found myself in the Edenic setting of the Carmel Valley, at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering, for yet another opportunity to peruse the myriad incarnations of the motorcycle. It was clear from the start that this was a very different event than others I’d been to in the past. Absent were the hundreds of growling Harleys and high-whining superbikes. Instead, this was a gathering of true motorcycle aficionados, those men and women who love showing off and talking about their prize possessions as much as they like hitting the open road. Here were 60-year-old BMWs that looked like they rolled off the factory floor yesterday; rare Hortons which garnered a continuous chorus of oohs and aahs; sleek custom-designed rockets crafted with a nod to models of yesteryear; century-old Alldays & Onions that looked more like glorified bicycles; and so much more. The crowd also took a certain aura not seen at other motorcycle gatherings. Instead of chugging beers, helmet-carrying riders were sipping Champagne and scotch; high-end cigars perfumed the air all around; merchandise tents hawked thousand dollar boots and leather jackets, vintage racing posters and the very latest Argentinean leather saddlebags; and racing and designer legends peppered the crowd, telling tales of zooming around Europe in the 1950s or crisscrossing the U.S. as part of the Flower Power generation. And as beautiful as all the bikes shining gloriously in the sun were, the very setting made them doubly so. Quail Lodge is itself a bit of indulgent paradise, stately resting in the heart of the valley and surrounded by wildflower-covered hills and soaring Monterey pine forests. The event was held on the eighteenth fairway and green of the Lodge’s signature golf course, and therefore it was like walking on a soft green carpet from display to display. The biggest treat was found in the Lodge’s main building, where a handful of select bikes stood ready to be auctioned off. Some had reserves in the triple digits; others could be had at quite reasonable prices if the buyer was willing to do a bit of work. Here also were exact replicas—down to every detail—of the bike Peter Fonda rode in Easy Rider and a couple of Steve McQueen’s personal favorites from his considerable collection. Tooling out of the event on my own 40-year-old classic Honda, I felt energized by the entire atmosphere the motorcycling gathering had produced. A sunny day in the Carmel Valley, rows of beautiful machines, to-die-for accessories, and a warm and welcoming manner from everyone involved—nothing could have been better that day than to be at Quail Lodge. Peter Rerig is a Senior Writer for Vacations.com. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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