Sunday, March 19, 2017

Ride Fast, Take Chances Tour

This week marked yet another Oyster Tour, Number Three of 2017, after Ken called to see if I wanted to meet him in Perry for another big ride.

I was on Rocket, just one day after getting it back with the fresher engine.  I thought that this would make a good shake down cruise for the renovated scooter.

I started by leaving home at 8:30.  It was supposed to be 8:00, but the temperatures were below 40 degrees so I took a little longer to wait for it to warm up.

The ride to Perry was cold but nice as the sun was shining and spring was in the air with new growth on many of the trees.

Ken was waiting at the Holiday Inn Express in Perry.  That is where he told me about a fellow biker he saw in the hotel.  That biker gave him this advice, "Ride Hard, Take Chances", so that became the theme of this Tour.

We headed to Carrabelle, taking a detour to see the St. Marks Lighthouse, located within a beautiful estuary near St. Marks, Florida.  We stopped a few times to take in the view, then walked around the old lighthouse.

Then we checked into the hotel in Carrabelle and headed to Eastpoint to meet Gary at Lynn's Quality Oysters, where we ate two dozen of the saltiest oysters I have ever eaten.  Maybe a touch too salty for me, but they were still very good.

We made our way back to the hotel where we had Ritz crackers, pretzel bites, plastic cheese and drinks on the balcony overlooking the marina before dinner at the Fisherman's Wife restaurant.

Saturday had us eating a quick breakfast at the hotel where we had a nice discussion with an English Couple.  They led an interesting discussion as they were in attendance at the Paris theater bombing in 2015.  The husband had helped patrons escape and was heroic in his efforts.  You meet the most interesting people on these trips.

After breakfast we said goodbye to Gary and headed to Newberry to spend the night in the wooded trailer of Ken's friend Larry.

On the way, we turned to go to the end of Alligator Point, finding it to be a bit disappointing after St. Marks the day before.

We ate lunch in a Bistro in downtown Perry, then the long ride to Newberry, where the dirt road to Larry's place added some fun to the day.

We dined at a Mexican restaurant in downtown Newberry, watched some NCAA basketball and turned in for the night.  The Gators won!

Sunday morning we watched sports center until heading to our respective homes.  It was another fine Oyster Tour and I look forward to the next one.

And the new Rocket was perfect.  Hitting 79 mph in good conditions on I-10 heading out and coming home. It started easily every time and didn't leak a drop overnight both nights.

A new mural at the Bank of America on Edgewood Avenue near home.
I had to stop to get a pnoto.

My usual Oyster Tour shot at the north end of 238 heading to Lake Butler.
The New Rocket in all of its glory.

Along the pretty 238

Picking up Ken at the hotel in Perry.

The estuary at St. Marks.

We stopped for a photo shoot with the lighthouse in the distance.

Ken closer to the lighthouse

Scoots at the lighthouse

This guy had just caught a few crabs.
You can starve to death eating those things, but they sure are good

St. Marks

We will be back for the big festival.  Or not/

We were wondering where the OFFICE might be.

Gary dining on salty oysters.

Ken and Gary at Lynn's.

Following Gary and his trailer on 98 heading back to Carrabelle.

Afternoon sun from our balcony in Carrabelle.

Saying goodbye to Gary

Ken stopped to get a photo of the big baseball on 98 near Carrabelle.

The end of the road on Alligator Point.  It should be a nice park, but the gate was locked.

The west end of the washed out road on Alligator Point.

The east end of the washed out road.

Spring in North Florida

Perry for lunch

Trees and Ken on 27.

The dirt road to Larry's place.  Ken was fast.

Larry's dog Ginger.  She was a sweet one.

Larry's wooded trailer home.  Ken slept in Dave's trailer home inside the pole barn.

An old farmhouse, barn and water tower near Larry's place.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Rocket, Stage 2

After the spark plug blew out of the engine head of Rocket a month or so ago, I decided to go ahead and use the spare engine.  Two weeks ago I took it over to ACE Vintage Motorcycle Specialists, to have the work done. The engine had just passed 76,000 miles and was giving me trouble more often than not.  It kept throwing variator nuts and with the plug blowing out, I felt it was time.

It now has a 6000 mile engine, new brake pads and oil and is running like new again.  I rode it 50 miles today without any issues.  Maybe it can become my go to scooter again.

It is fuzzy, but said 76,044 when picking it up at ACE.

The old guy still looks good.

The new engine looks about the same, but 70,000 miles fresher.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Scooters at the Amelia Island Concours d' Elegance

The Amelia Island Concours d' Elegance has vintage motorcycles in a small display every year.  This year they had scooters.  My favorite was the Salsbury, they had two, but all were good.  Here they are.
Maico Mobil


Fuji Rabbit
Harley Toppers

Moto Guzzi



Vespa with trailer

Cushman and TWN Tessy


TWN Tessy

Moto Guzzi



Monday, March 6, 2017

Flat Tire at 70 mph!

Last week, I had my sometimes mechanic, Mike, mount the rear tire on a rim to replace a very worn tire on Razzo, my 2005 GT.

When I dropped it off, Mike looked at the valve stem and said it looked good.  But, in an ongoing effort to be safe, I said to replace it anyway.

So, when I picked up the wheel, I noticed that the stem had been replaced with a long one.  I figured that it looked strange, but no problem.  I took it home and installed it.

That just sets up my strange weekend.

I got up early Saturday and decided that it would be a good day to take down an old, metal wire fence on the south property line at the duplex where we live now.

I ran around on Razzo for tools to cut the wire and fence posts in the morning.,

At least the fence got removed

Then it became time for the annual Scoot-a-cue that Russ had arranged to be at a northside park, so I loaded up a folding chair and headed north on I-95.  All was good, if windy, when Razzo appeared to lose some speed, then control of the scooter became an issue.  Flat rear tire!  Luckily I was in the far right lane and an exit was approaching.  I tried to turn to the exit but control was so bad that I decided to go straight until I could stop on the break down lane.  I stayed upright and all was good.  I looked down at the wheel and immediately saw the problem.  The long stem had been hitting on the swing arm until it sheared the top off of it.  Rapid loss of air resulted and it was not possible to refill as the head was gone.

Razzo on the side of the road with heavy traffic on I-95

So what to do?  I had towed Rocket to ACE for its engine replacement on Tuesday.  My AMA membership gives unlimited towing with one exception.  Only one tow in any seven day period.  So I knew that the towing would be expensive.  So I called Mike, the mechanic who installed the tire.  He said he would be there in thirty minutes with a tool that would break the bead and fix the tire.  I felt that I would be on my way in an hour and to the party.  Then the waiting began.  Three drivers stopped while I waited.  Two were guys who had worked on my projects and saw that I was stuck.

No Mike after one hour.  After an hour and fifteen minutes, I get a call from Mike.  "Where are you" he said to me from I-295 instead of I-95.  I told him that I was on the northbound lane of I-95 at 115.  He said he would be there as quickly as he could.  Thirty minutes later I see a black Jeep past me trying to back up, then get a call from Mike.  That was him and he couldn't back up because traffic was exiting onto 115 at a rate that left no gaps for him, so I said to go north, turn around and come back.  That took another 15 minutes.

When he arrived, he came back to me, looked at the wheel and said that he would go to the nearest auto parts store to get a valve stem.  I had told him that was the problem and thought he had spent part of the long time getting to me finding one.  So off for another thirty minutes.

So he came back and brought out his tool to break the bead, which he did, causing damage to the paint on the rear wheel.  Then removed the old stem and took fifteen minutes getting the new one installed.  Then he broke out his air tank and tried to fill the tire.  Not enough pressure and he couldn't get the bead to seat.  He then tried to use the cans of lubricant he had but both were empty and couldn't spray, so he poked holes in them and let the lubricant drip onto the bead.  He tried to fill again but the air ran out of the tank.

Mike trying to fix the tire

So off he went to the nearest gas station to fill the air tank.  Another 30 minutes.  He came back and said the pump at the station would only get thirty pounds of air into the tank.  I looked at the gauge and it only read twenty pounds.  It was three and a half hours into the stop.  Because he was out of tire lube, he then used his Dr. Pepper for lubricant.   I could see that it was never going to work (I actually could see that earlier but held out hope.)  So I called for a tow, thinking it would cost maybe $75. and the sun was setting.  I called AMA (hoping they would waive the one week rule but they didn't).  They got me a towing service that came in forty-five minutes.  

Sun setting on the strange day, still on the side of the road after four hours.

The guy arrived and started to hook Razzo up to a cradle that was for motorcycles.  The fit was tight and I told him that I didn't want to scratch the front fender up so he agreed to not tighten completely.  Then he ran one strap over the seat where I thought two, both connecting to the metal handles under the seat would be better.  Then he got angry, me telling him how to do his business.  So I relented and let him do it his way.

We began getting along better after it was all hooked up and we headed home.  We unloaded Razzo and I pushed it into the garage.

This morning I got the bill for the tow.  $142.95.

Mike said he would pay the bill, but he struggles to make a living and I told him that would not be necessary.

In hindsight, I should have called Sarah, had her bring my tools and a worn tire in the garage. Then fix it on the side of the road.  Much faster and cheaper.  Live and learn.