Saturday, January 24, 2015

Fireball

After the terrific turnout for the annual 7 Bridges Scooter Club 7 Bridges ride and a very fun ride down to Gainesville last weekend, I am getting interested in restarting the buzz about the Fireball ride.  

This is a two day version of the Scooter Cannonball Run to be run in a big loop around North Florida and South Georgia, starting and finishing at the Scooter Warehouse in Jacksonville with the overnight stop in Cedar Key (if we can find hotel rooms and campsites).  I feel that May would be a good month, probably early with the MP3 Spring gathering in the last weekend of the month.

I have a tentative route that runs through St. George and Fargo, Georgia, then into Florida to Jasper, Madison, Perry, Steinhatchee, Chiefland and finishing day one in Cedar Key.  Day two leaves Cedar Key, back through Chiefland, then Trenton, High Springs, Alachua, Gainesville, Melrose, Palatka, Astor and Bunnell.  Then to pick up A1A in Palm Coast to ride along the beach to St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra Beach.  Then high tail it back to the warehouse.  Each day looks like 275 to 300 miles, a little shorter than Cannonball legs but this is supposed to be a lighter version. 

I will test the route over the next few weekends and make changes accordingly.  I have ridden all of these roads and find them to be enjoyable and mostly light on traffic.  A1A might be the busiest, but I can't see doing a North Florida ride without riding along the ocean.

If anyone has any suggestions, please feel free to let me know.



Monday, January 19, 2015

Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park Ride

Sunday morning we had our weekly, Sunday scooter ride.  This time I had talked to my friend Ken (Lostboater) about meeting him and Captain Gary and Jim in White Springs, Florida at the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park.  Jim is retired, but demonstrates Blacksmithing at the cultural center.  His wife, Grace, deals in fibers and works as a volunteer there as well.  

So we took the opportunity to have the ride head that way with 12 riders.  It was a cold but beautiful day.  I selected a route that took us from Chaffee Road to St. George, Georgia then to Taylor, Florida where we stopped for a break.  From there we went through Osceola National Forest to just north of Lake City, Florida to White Springs.

Lunch was scheduled at Fat Belly's but they were closed, contrary to their website, so we ate at Family Traditions, a combination of gas station, country store, restaurant.  

Jim arrived shortly after we got there, then Ken popped in.  We finished eating and headed out to the scooters.  I was eager to see Ken's Big Red, all repaired after the incident with the bear in Montana.  He looked great after much work.

From there Jim took us all into the park for a brief tour, then to see the crafts, highlighted by the blacksmithing demonstration.  After that the 7 Bridges Scooter Club scooted home while I stayed to spend the afternoon with Ken, Jim and the just arriving Captain Gary.  We went back to the Blacksmith Shop and made tools for removing the oil filter from our Vespa scooters.  Jim also made me a knife.  It was a fulfilling afternoon.

We then checked into a cabin on the edge of the Suwannee River.  Ours was a big two bedroom cabin with a large living area and wrap around screened porch.  Very nice accommodations.  We didn't stay long as we soon headed out to dinner in Live Oak.  But that restaurant was closed as well so we went to Lake City to the Gondolier Restaurant where we sat in a noisy bar so I could see part of the football game.  

We spent the night and I headed out at 8:30 in nearly freezing but beautifully clear weather.  I was on Vanessa as Rocket threw another outer pulley on Saturday.  Vanessa turned out to be quite a runner as I rode east from Lake City to Jacksonville on I-10.  She ran an easy 72 to 73 mph at first, then sped up as we went along, reaching a top of 79 while drafting a truck.  At the end, she could run an easy 75 to 76 running alone.  But at the end her exhaust gasket was gone.


Jim giving instructions

The Carillon Tower at the park

Demonstrating cooling the iron in water.

The riders

Jim, Ken and I riding through the park

The park's welcome sign.  Of course it should be ciao!

Ken and Big Red with Jim's Airstream behind.

Captain Gary and Jim at the Anvil

Ken and Jim pounding hot iron, making tools.

My oil wrench and knife

Ice on my seat in the morning just before heading home.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Jacksonville's Seven Bridges Ride

Every January for the past seven years, the 7 Bridges Scooter Club has had the 7 Bridges Ride, where we ride over the seven bridges that cross the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida.

This year, Russ and I decided to publicize it more than we have in the past.  Scooter Joe also contacted several of his friends from the Central Florida area to see if they would be interested in coming.  Russ sent invitations to every scooterist on his facebook pages and got some good results.

We had a large group from that area come in, most of them Saturday night, and they joined us.

The weather was threatening, but we got no rain.  It was chilly and a bit windy, but everyone made it and appeared to have a good ride.

Those coming included some Cannonball alumni, Helix Geoff and JimT among the crowd.  Alex and Eddie came up from the Orlando area.  Many whom I didn't know came as well.

It was bigger than ever, Russ counted 43 scooters, and I hope that they all come back with their friends in the future.

I found it to be another great reason to ride with my friends.


Scooters gathered at the start

Rocket back in action

Chris' and Scooter Joe's scooters

First stop, the scooter warehouse.

All gathered at the warehouse

Stop at the Gate Station

A view from up front over the Hart Bridge.

The Dames Point Bridge

At the finish, the 7 Bridges Restaurant.

Most of the visitors from Central Florida

Scooter Joe handing out plaques.

My plaques from Scooter Joe and Russ.

Russ getting his special plaque.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Scooter Repair Update

I dropped all three scooters off at Boris' warehouse over the last week or so and he has now begun the repairs.  He found that Rocket needed motor mounts and has those ordered.  We are also going to put in a new coil to, hopefully, correct the stalling and sputtering issue.

Rocket's worn motor mounts.


Vanessa, Leslie's GT was leaking coolant and had a new rear tire that was out-of-round.  Boris stripped the plastic off the leg shield and foot well and found the main hose compromised.  New part ordered and will be installed on Saturday.  He will break the bead on the tire and remount it, hopefully round this time.

Vanessa's bad hose.  For some reason I can't turn this to horizontal.

And the Malaguti was leaking fuel massively.  He installed a new fuel line so all is good.  It still needs tires but they will be done soon.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Annual Club Ride to Red's Restaurant

Yesterday three riders met up in Fleming Island for a morning ride to Red's Restaurant outside of Hernando, Florida.  The three were me, Russ and Shane.  

The event was the annual 7 Bridges Scooter Club New Year's Day Ride.

This was the fifth year we have done the ride.  The first two were to the Yearling Restaurant in Cross Creek, but the second of these was a service disaster, taking well over an hour to get food.

Theresa suggested that we try Red's, a much longer ride but it is through some of the best areas for riding in North Central Florida, so we gave it a try.  We used to have 10 to 20, but this year was smaller.

The three of us had scheduled to meet four more on the way or there and we did.  Just south of Dunnellon, as we turned onto the Withlacoochee Trail, we met up with Bill, our oldest rider at 82, and Jim, meeting us for the first time.  Jim is retired and moved to Hernando a year ago.  Lately he has been giving blacksmithing demonstrations at a State Park near White Springs, Florida.  He drove down to pick up his red Vespa GTS 300 to meet new riders.  He is a nice fellow that I look forward to riding with in the future.  We met Mark and Theresa at Reds.  They drove up from their house near Sarasota.

We stayed on the back roads, avoiding big towns as we rode down.  The restaurant was not nearly as busy as the last two years.  We were early getting there and sat right down, were served quickly and went back to the bikes.  

Jim rode with us back to Dunnellon, where he peeled off go back home.  Shane turned off at Worthington Springs and Russ stopped at a gas station at Macclenny,  

I rode 290 miles total during the day.

I extended the finish to go by my parent's house for the typical New Years Day meal, consisting of black eyed peas, collard greens, ham, hog jowl, etc., all intended to bring good luck to the new year.  Let's hope it works.

Russ and Jim

Mark and Bill

Theresa and Mark

Red's

The bikes.  I had to ride the Honda with all of my scooters having issues.

Jim and his Red GTS.