Saturday, October 22, 2016

Rocket to North Carolina

It has been a while since Rocket took a long ride.  On the last one, two years ago, it broke the variator and I was stranded in Washington, Georgia for a night.

Then it developed a problem where it stopped running and would not restart.  It did that twice, making me push it back home or to the office.  Two and a half miles once, a mile and a half the other time.

But I recently replaced everything in the transmission and disconnected the evaporative crap and it has been running great.  That, plus it is the only running scooter at home led me to give it a shot.

13 riders are currently at Tugaloo State Park in North Georgia.  It was a 340 mile ride up and yesterday Rocket and I did a 171 mile solo loop into the mountains of North and South Carolina,  So far it has not missed a beat, even crossing 73,000 miles on the odometer.

We have a shorter ride planned today, or I will go solo again, then the big ride home.

Rocket leading the pack

Fall colors in North Carolina

At an overlook

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Day three found us again in Florence.  We decided to try to get up early and go to the top of the Duomo, but by the time we got there after breakfast there was a one and a half hour wait, so we changed plans and headed to the Boboli Gardens behind the Pitti Palace.

From there the views got better as we climbed higher.  We had to leave the gardens to a small fort on the top of a hill to get the best views of the city.

The Boboli Garden ticket allowed us into the Pitti Palace to see a costume exhibit and one of small jewel like items,  These were in some beautiful rooms that showed the architecture of the palace.

We then trekked back to the heart of the city for a brief rest, then to see some of the architecture I studied in school.  These included the Inocenti Hospital, Palazzo Medici, Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce churches.

The day ended with dinner again at the fine family restaurant near the hotel.

Big lines at the Duomo

Crossing the Arno on the Ponte Veccio

Pitti Palace

View to Florence from the Palace

Boboli Gardens

View back to the Palace from high in the gardens.

Postcard view to downtown Florence

Inside Pitti Palace

Bakc in town.  View from our lucnch table.

Innocenti.  One of the first Renaissance buildings in the world.

Palazzo Medici Riccardi

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Baby Jesus Museum

Sarah and I had another wonderful day in Florence.  It began with us getting up at 9:00.  That is 12 hours of sleep.  It has been a while since I slept that long.

We were the last of the breakfast eaters in the terrific Bed and Breakfast, Panella's Residence.  We were there at 9:50.  they stop serving at 10:00.  It was no problem, and Graziella even booked us reservations to the Uffizi and Accademia Galleries.

On the way to the Uffizi, we did a little shopping with me scoring a cool Vespa t-shirt and Sarah getting some blue suede shoes she has been wanting.  The shoe store even held them for us as we visit the gallery.

Once inside the Uffizi, I quickly realized that it should be called the Baby Jesus Museum, as at least half the paintings had Baby Jesus as the prime subject.  All beautiful paintings, but as a gallery, it does not hold a candle to Chicago's Art Institute for me.  As a building, it was perfect.

From there we headed back to the Panella's, stopping for a quick snack at a little shop.  They didn't sell wine by the glass, so we bought a bottle of local Chianti, a bottle of beer and a panini sandwich.  Total cost, 12.80 Euro.  Did I mention that prices are amazingly low here?

We then went to the Accademia to see Michelangelo's David.  There, crowds were well controlled and David is special.  We sat on a bench behind the guy talking to a kind Australian woman who was on a long Italian vacation with her daughter.  It was a fun conversation.  She lives in Perth, the largest city on the almost exact opposite side of Earth from Jacksonville.

Graziella had recommended we eat dinner at a trattoria two blocks from us.  It was called Acquacotta.  We started to order when I asked the server what she would recommend.  So we ordered everything on her recommendations and it all was great.

It is such a nice place to spend some time.

Only three days until we have scooters!

My favorite of the Baby Jesus paintings.

The others looked something like this.

Breakfast at Panella's Residence

The Duomo dominates the city.

An octagonal room called the Tribue

The windowed hall at the Uffizi was a fine space

View from that space

Then a guided tour comes and the guide says "take a photo of this"

Maybe proof that aliens have invaded.


View from the restaurant in the Uffizi.

Turn around and it is even better


Inside Palazzo Vecchio

Front door to Panella's Residence;  And the new shoe purchase.

David from afar

Up close

And from the side.  It is a great space for the display.

Dinner at Acquacotta