Monday, February 12, 2018

Don't Fall Off

That is the 7 Bridges Scooter Club Rule Number Three.

At least my implementation of club rules.

The first two rules I established many years ago. 

Those two are related to group rides.

They are Keep Up and Don't Complain.

They get broken all the time.

But the new rule, Don't Fall Off, has come into play only a very few times.

I did it once on a group ride in Alabama.

It happened this time to my good friend and fellow 7 Bridges Scooter Club member (actually the leader of the group, even though we have no officers.)

Russ has been scooting since buying a Vespa P200 in the 1980's.  He last fell off one 34 years ago.

But last week he was headed to the weekly Tuesday club ride to dinner.  It was cold and he was under dressed.  About a mile into the ride he decided to turn around and head home for a bigger coat.  

He chose the turn around location poorly as it had some sand that caused a wheel to slide out from under him.

Down went Russ and his 2005 Vespa GT.

He got up and figured a way for his old, broken body to stand the scooter upright .  He managed and it cranked easily. 

Russ rode it home with a pain in his right hand.

A quick visit to a local care center showed a break and an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon.  Their more accurate cat scan showed a dislocation.  

Surgery is planned for this week and Russ is not able to ride for months.

So remember...

Don't fall off.  It ruins everything.

Russ in better days, in Douglas Georgia to look at airplanes.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Guns and Scooters

I don't own a gun.  Never will.  

I have always understood that, should you want to die in an argument, carry a gun.

A rider in Modern Vespa recently posted "What do you carry..."  He is a member of a Harley Davidson forum where, because most of them are not satisfied that the Harley Davidson provides enough machismo, they must carry a weapon to make up for their missing manhood.

Since the thread got locked, I thought I would enter my opinion in the forum where I can say anything I like.  Because it is my blog.

In our riding group at least one member carries a gun.  It is a bit crazy as he is the most liberal fellow in the group.  I would have put him with me in the anti-gun group, but he carries a pistol.

It was a major disappointment when one Tuesday we were riding down Atlantic Boulevard heading to our weekly club ride to dinner.  A motorcyclist rode past, then signaled for us to stop at a parking lot in front of the Mudville Grill.  Thinking he was interested in the group, wanting to learn more, we pulled over.  Just to be nice.

He turned out to be mad and started yelling at one of our riders, I believe he was thinking they had "cut him off" or some other nonsensical act that road ragers use to build up their anger.

My disappointment was that the gun toter in the group didn't pull out his gun and shoot the idiot dead.

Maybe next time.

I am kidding, of course, but it would have been dramatic.

As for my reasons for not carrying a gun, the most obvious is to recall an incident that happened in Jacksonville a few years ago.

A middle aged South Florida man had attended a wedding in Jacksonville earlier in the day.  He was returning with his girlfriend to his home, but needed to stop to put fuel into his car. 

While refueling he got angry when a fellow refueler had friends inside his car playing rap music, rather loudly. 

Our Florida man got mad and asked the young man to turn the music down.  Loud words followed.

The Florida man then reached into his car, retrieved his gun, then fired several rounds into the car towards the loud music playing young man.

The result was that the young man died at the scene.  The Florida man is now serving life in prison, his life ruined.  Family members on both sides mourn.

If he had only left that gun at home..... .


Monday, January 15, 2018

Scooter Cannonball Run 2018 Update

The exact routes are coming out, one day at a time up to day six now.

The days all look long and potentially daunting.

Especially day three that includes 380 miles with quite a bit of dirt and gravel to go with a ferry crossing of Lake Powell.

Google has it at 9 hours and 50 minutes.

Garmin at over 11 hours.

It will be a long day but with Zion, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks as part of the route, then ending with Moki Dugway, the scenery will be unbelievable.

It is getting closer.

The daunting, but beautiful route

Moki Dugway

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Rocket in the Sticks

Channeling Steve Williams and his Scooter in the Sticks blog today.

I had been talking about a new project with a client I did work for last year.

It is a house to be built on a site along a small river north of Jacksonville.  The client owns 600 acres there and has chosen the site along the river with a view to the southwest.

The site is at the end of a three mile dirt and grass road that puts it in the middle of nowhere.

I have never been offered a chance to build on such an isolated lot.

It should be fun.

But the Rocket in the Sticks part is that I got to ride Rocket, following the owner's family, the three miles down the unpaved road until I got to a spot where water was deep enough to get me off the scooter and into the client's car.

We then abandoned the car to ride around the rustic area in a Kawasaki Mule.  This thing would go anywhere.  Much of the ride was off the road and even off the trails as we rode straight through the brush, knocking down small bushes and trees.  That thing would go anywhere.  I want one.

I rode out slowly, stopping to take photos of Rocket in its new environment.

 I followed the clients to the homesite

 There is even a bridge along the way

 The homesite

We made our own trails through the brush in the Mule.

 Rocket as we started back to civilization

Along the dirt road

 The view from the bridge

 Glamour shot of the old scooter

 Through puddles and mud

Back to the gate

Friday, December 1, 2017

Scooter Cannonball Run 2018

The organizers of the Scooter Cannonball Run, 2018 have now established a route, posted a website and opened registration.

I signed up as soon as I saw it on line.

It begins in Morro Bay, CA, ending in Virginia Beach, VA.

3800 miles in 10 days.

I will be riding Vanessa, my 2007 Vespa GT that finished third in the 2016 SCR. 

Hopefully, I can pick her up from Helen's house in Seattle in late March, then ride to Bodega, CA for the Coastal California Cannonball on April 1.

The finish date and location allows us to attend Amerivespa in Richmond should we want.

I can't wait until the start.

The website:

Day 1  We spend the night in Death Valley

Friday, November 3, 2017

Runnin' on Empty

Those who ride with me know one thing about my riding style.

I hate to stop.

That may be one reason why I enjoy the Cannonball so much.

On Wednesday, I had to run out to my big, oceanfront house renovation. 

The house is 22 miles from my office in Riverside.

I took Razzo this time and found the gas gauge to be low as I headed out.

Before getting to the Intracoastal Waterway the low fuel light went from flashing to solid.

As I left the jobsite, knowing that I can go approximately 25 miles after the light goes solid, I headed back with hopes of making it all the way to Riverside to fill up at the Five Points Shell station.

But  as I turned north onto I-95, I started feeling that it might be better to stop.  Knowing there was a convenient Shell station on Emerson Street, I pulled off the highway and filled the tank.

The 2.5 gallon tank took 2.53 gallons.

I know that I have put 2.6 in it before, so I probably would have made it.  But having a full tank made crossing the St. Johns River on I-95 a bit more comfortable.

For what it is worth, I have never run out on one of the scooters in well over 120,000 miles of scooting. 

I did run out on the Honda once.  The digital fuel gauge is heartless.  It turned out to be OK because I was riding downtown and coasted into a gas station, right up to the pump, and filled up.

I see that light a lot.  This photo is from October, 2006, riding Rocket in its first year.  

Friday, October 27, 2017

Fall Gathering 2017 in Blairsville, Georgia. Days 1 and 2

The MP3 group had another Fall Gathering on September 14 through the 17th.  I decided to join them because they were meeting in Blairsville, Georgia, a relatively short 405 miles of riding for me to get there.  And the mountains around that area provide some fine riding.  I also like all of the riders.

I started at sunrise on Thursday, the 14th, taking the scenic route (no interstate highways).  I headed up 301 to Folkston, took 15 through Blackshear to Baxley, then 1 before turning off to Vidalia, Soperton towards Sparta. A bridge under repair had me go off route a bit before Sparta but I got back on track and headed around Athens to Blairsville.

While riding into the Copperhead Lodge, I heard someone calling my name.  It was Doug (Old As Dirt, even if it is ironic that he is a bit younger than me)  He was staying in a cabin.  I had chosen the bunk room in a stay I already commented on earlier.

We hung out, greeting each rider as they arrived, then had dinner in the lodge.

The next morning we met for breakfast downtown, then headed on a long ride led by Doug.

Lunch was in Helen, a small Georgia village dressed to look like a small town in Switzerland.  It is not even close to the real thing, but I like it anyway.  Lunch was in a German restaurant, so I had bratwurst.

The afternoon ride was a continuation of mountain roads.

Dinner was at a BBQ restaurant approximately ten miles from the lodge.  I was late arriving and ended up eating the extra food that was going to go uneaten.  It was tasty and free.

I chose Rocket for this adventure. 

Doug and Noreen 

The Copperhead Lodge.  I had the bunkroom and wrote about it already. 

Noreen and Kevin with their new bikes 

Stop along the way.  Mark, Phillip, Ralph and the others.

Kenny was getting hot.  Off goes the winter gear. 

Lunch in Helen at a German restaurant, of course.  Also, of course, I had bratwurst. 

Dinner at a local BBQ joint.  I arrived late and ate leftovers.  Not bad at all.