Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Rocket Today

I have not done anything to Rocket since it stranded me a couple of months ago.  But it appears to have healed itself.  I have had several long rides, 30 to 50 miles, where it was fine.

Today, I had a meeting with a client to redesign a kitchen.  It was around 15 miles each way.  Rocket was very comfortable.

Tonight, I am riding with the group to Sticky Fingers, another 15 mile ride each way.

If that one works out, I need to try a Gainesville run, but will probably have Boris do a evapectomy, carb check and new vacuum hose first.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Jeep Comanche

Moves require trucks, as long as you are doing much of it yourself.  Because we are moving temporarily, then closing on the new house and moving again in three weeks, we have been running boxes and other items around town for the past month.

Sarah's business partner has a husband who loves having an old Jeep Comanche for these tasks.  He generously offered to let us use it for the weekend.  It was very helpful and brought complements almost everywhere I went.  It has a certain charm that is missing from newer pickup trucks.

Of course, while in my possession, I rolled the hand cranked driver side window down and it wouldn't come back up.  This was on a weekend when storms came in twice on both Saturday and Sunday.  We covered it with a tarp overnight and when sitting for long, but storms bring wind and, in the last one, it blew off the protection, allowing the seat to get wet.  I am going to get it to a repair shop today to, at least, get it in the up position.

This truck has no power steering, making it very different to steer than any car I have driven in years.  To make up for the lack of power, it turns, and I checked this, 5 1/2 turns lock to lock.  This is twice as many turns as my Miata requires.  It takes muscle too.  But it is still a lot of fun to drive around.

Moving Weekend

We did it!  This past weekend we had to have everything out of the house for closing today, June 29th at 2:30.  Sarah has been working so hard to move most of the small things out over the past few weeks, boxing until late on some nights, then hauling them to my office, taking advantage of my spare rooms.

The movers came Saturday morning to take the big items, beds, sofas, cabinets, etc.  After they left we were left with the remainder of the small stuff including clothes, etc.  And there was no place to sit down except the stairs or the patio furniture that was the last to leave.

In my opinion, one of the hardest jobs in the world.

Shirley got to go for a walk.  First one in a long time.

Nearly empty house

Chi went out the front door.

We compounded the stress by having a small garage sale on Saturday.

Sarah and Kylie organizing the whole thing.

We are now staying at a house owned by some of my very nice clients.  They are a young couple with a young daughter.  They stay in their parent's house in Amelia Island for much of the summer and offered when I mentioned at a project meeting last week that we were going to be temporarily homeless.  It is a very nice place to be spending the next three weeks.

Bad photo of a very cute house. 

Our concrete donkey, named Shirley by Sarah and Kylie, had to be moved too.  It is now in front of my office until we move into the new place.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


We are now nearing the final days of living at 1776 Talbot Avenue.  Move in was in 1998, as best we can remember.  Sam and Kylie were young when we moved in, and have many memories of living there.  We renovated the kitchen, master bedroom and bathrooms in 2005, using quality products everywhere.

It is the home of the best shower I have ever used.  It is in the kids bathroom, but I have been using it every morning for the past three or four years.  Water pressure is fantastic and the space perfectly sized.  It even has a window.

Our closet was half of a bedroom originally.  Our new master bathroom is in the other half.  The kitchen has some of the nicest cabinets ever, along with quality appliances, Thermador and Bosch.

It will be missed.

Maybe the last mowing job at the house.  I hadn't done it for years but Hank, the fellow who paid rent in the office garage apartment by mowing our lawns, got married recently, moved out and doesn't mow anymore.  The fence was built to separate the two lots.  Both sold together.

The master closet.  It looks a little messy here but the shelving was perfectly designed for our needs.

Shirley, our concrete donkey.  She came here from our last house and will be moving with us again.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Wild Wings Tuesday Ride

The weekly 7 Bridges Scooter Club Tuesday ride this week was to Wild Wings Restaurant, where they have a buy ten wings, get ten free night.  I have never liked going there because that promotion brings people from around the city, making it a busy place.  My favorite destinations are simple, small places where we might be the only people inside.

I hadn't been on a club ride in a while, so I decided to go.  We had a good turnout, maybe twelve riders total with one or two meeting us at the place.

The gathering at the warehouse was fine.  I always enjoy talking with Mike, who came on his Yamaha Zumo 125.  I hadn't talked with Russ since he returned from Amerivespa.  He had a great time, saying it was very well run, providing an entertaining and fun weekend for everyone.  I got to talk to Tom, Bobby, Carl and his wife Grace Ann.

Russ picked a good ride there, over the Hart Bridge, down the expressway to Beach Boulevard, then back roads to Tinseltown.

But once we got to Wild Wings, it was a mess.  We waited thirty minutes for a table, then another thirty minutes to get a waiter to take our order. After leaving the warehouse at 7:00, I got home at 10:00.  I am looking forward to getting back to the good places next week.

Russ' photo of me arriving on Rocket.

Our usual gathering at the door to the warehouse.

Scooters all in the parking lot.

Heading out

Heading out again

On the road

Waiting for service.  The food was good once it came, but service was a mess.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Who's Out There?

I have found that R&M gets read by a few followers.  It is now averaging around 30 to 40 page views per day.  Not much but much better than none.

I, of course, notice that it gets viewed more after I post something, especially the rare interesting pieces.

But I never know if it is people or bots reading.

I know that some want to stay anonymous, and some others want to comment but, for some reason, can't.

So, if you feel so inclined, please comment here.  If it won't let you, please send me an email to billleuthold@gmail.com.

Thank you,

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Airport Autocross

We had the monthly Jacksonville Region SCCA Autocross today at the Fernandina Beach Airport on Amelia Island, roughly 40 miles north of Jacksonville.  It is the regular spot since the Navy stopped letting us use the Whitehouse Field Airstrip last year.  That was a perfect place with grippy, smooth concrete.  This place is a 50 year old taxiway that has 4" wide cracks in the old asphalt.  But it is fun anyway.

It was 97 degrees at midday, very hot for this old man.

I had a co-driver in Jacob Herbst.  He usually drives a VW GTI, but traded his dad for a larger car this weekend because he and his wife are moving this week.  They can haul much more stuff in Dad's car.

Jacob drove first and had difficulty transitioning from the front wheel drive VW.  It also has ABS and other driver aids that can help make it easier to control the car.

My Miata has none of that and is getting old.  Being rear wheel drive with a setup that favors oversteer to understeer, it is a bit tail happy too.

So I was a little faster than Jacob, but Fast Phil and Larry beat me easily.  I never got comfortable with the track, going too fast in some areas while going too slow in others.  I only had two clean runs out of five as well.

So hot and poor performance leads me to think that I might take the next couple of months off.

Arriving at the airport

Walking the course

The Racecar, and yes, that is a Ferrari behind me.  I beat him.

Being a live airport, several planes and even jets landed while we were running.  
There were even several parachutists flying about.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Perfect Scooter Hauler

Among the VW Microbuses at the Cars and Coffee this morning was this beauty.  I may have mentioned it in a previous post, but the more I see it, the more I want it.  I don't know the year, but it is the pick up truck version of the Microbus.  This one has been lowered and modified to have the perfect look, and the bed is big enough for Rocket, and Razzo too.

I had it pull up behind me at a light near my office a couple of months ago.  The windshield opens, as you can see in the photos, so I turned around on Rocket and asked the driver if he would sell it.  I got an emphatic NO.

I will have to work on him.

Too Cool!

And useful too!

Cars and Coffee

In addition to the Gold Rush Rally coming to town, they had the usual, monthly, Cars and Coffee this morning.  I rode Rocket to visit.  The line of cars going in was the largest I have seen yet so I parked next door at the Haskell Company.

The usual part was far better than the Gold Rush cars, in all their gaudiness.

There were two rows of Honda S2000s.  Several Miatas, along with the usual array.  There was also a collection of VW Microbuses and even a Citroen 2CV.  All of these were preferred to the visitors.

Honda S2000s all in two rows.

More Hondas

VW Microbus row

Citroen 2CV.  I really like these.

While there I decided on the car I would like to have if I was able to buy any new car available today.  My preference would probably be the new Alfa Romeo 4C, but I am also intrigued by the Porsche Cayman S.  Raw performance and style with the Alfa, real luxury, comfort and extraordinary performance with the Porsche.  Hard to decide.  If I could, I would buy both.

Front view of the Alfa Romeo 4C

The back looks cool too.

Gold Rush Rally

This morning, part of the monthly Cars and Coffee in Jacksonville, an event called the Gold Rush Rally came into town.

This is a rally of sorts that includes some of the fastest and most expensive cars available in the world.  Included were two Bugatti Veyrons, several Ferraris and Lamborghinis, along with many more expensive automobiles.  They were all covered with graphics and shiny film to look ridiculous.  I am usually intrigued by cool cars, but this was the most obnoxious thing I have seen in some time.

The only part I liked was the mechanic on one of the cars.

Bugatti Veyron


Lexus LFA

Another Veyron

Mechanic for a Nissan GTR.  I was tempted to ask her to look under my hood.

Friday, June 12, 2015

67th Wedding Anniversary

My parents, Norma and Duane Leuthold, were married on June 11, 1948 at a ceremony in Jacksonville, Florida.

They met two years earlier when Dad, a young Navy pilot from Wisconsin, was training at the Jacksonville Naval Air Station.  The women of Jacksonville had a dance for the pilots at the Women's Club in Riverside, and my father attended.

He spotted the 5'-2 beauty and cut in for a dance.

That was the beginning of a wonderful relationship that produced four boys and many friends.

Dad called me earlier in the week to say that he and Mom wanted to take Sarah and me out to dinner for their anniversary celebration, largely to celebrate Sarah's birthday a few days earlier.

We settled on Le Pavillion, a Swiss oriented restaurant in St. Augustine, forty miles south of Jacksonville.  Dad wanted me to drive down A1A to see the ocean and beach houses.

We had a great dinner and special time together.

There simply are not better people in the world.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Little Help

Last year I wrote here about a Sym Simba that is owned by a neighbor on the same street as my office.  I had briefly met the owner, Jamal, then, and expressed an interest in riding it one day.

This past Sunday I was riding to the office and saw him at the bike working on the rear tire.  So I pulled up and listened to the issues.  He had been letting the bike sit recently and came out to find low pressure a week before.  He filled it with air and it held.  But this time it was flat.  When I pulled up he using a spoon to get the inner tube out from between the tire and the rim,  He also had a compressed air tank that he had recently purchased, hoping to use that to fill the tire.  The fact that the Simba uses an inner tube meant to me that it probably was not going to work without replacing the tube.

I said to stop and not use the tank as I had a compressor in the back of the Miata just down the street.  So I got that and we attempted to inflate the tire.  I knew it would be a futile effort as it never could hold even one pound of pressure.

I then contacted Boris via phone.  He looked for a new tube but did not have one in the warehouse.  I suggested to Jamal that he go to Cycle Gear to get the tube and have Boris install it on the bike.

I then left to get some things done and heard later via text message that Boris had repaired the tire and Jamal was offering thanks for putting the two of them together.

Life is better when we work together, especially when everything works to a satisfactory result.

Monday, June 8, 2015


It looks like the Leuthold house has finally sold.

We have been in this house since the late 1990's, raising two children there and enjoying the great neighborhood.  It needed a freshening in 2005, so we moved into the small apartment in the back yard and gutted the kitchen and bathrooms.  We took a bedroom and converted it into a master bathroom and closet.  All the work was done very well, making for a wonderful house.

But now the children have grown and moved out.  And the great neighborhood has changed.  We live around the corner from an old, historic commercial area.  This area originally had shops that catered to the area.  A small drug store, dress shops. bookstore, post office and even a small grocery store.  But over the past twenty years, several large restaurants realized that it was a great location and opened their doors.  In the past five years, three opened, each with nearly 200 seats and bars that stay open until 2:00 AM.  It created an enormous traffic and parking problem that has been partially solved by restricting some parking on the residential streets by signs and stripes.  But these new cluttering items have detracted from the area as well.

So, a year ago, my wife Sarah decided that we were going to move.  She is a realtor and put a sign out, thinking that it would sell immediately.  We got a couple of contracts that fell through.  Then it sat for months.  We were about to take it off when two young doctors, moving here with the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center saw and liked the house.  We got an offer close to asking price and committed to the sale.  We are quite certain that it will go through and will cause us to leave at the end of June.

Sarah has been diligently packing everything in the kitchen and closets.  My task is to clean out the garage.  Because I have an office building that is underutilized, we are taking the small boxes there.  We also have a garage there that, luckily, my partner in the building has been cleaning lately.  It is now capable of holding most of the garage items from the house, including five scooters and one motorcycle.

I was sorting through the little things yesterday and decided to take some boxes to the office for placement in the garage.  Sarah was off in her car and the Miata was awaiting my friend Jamie to pick it up for service.  So I carried the items on Rocket.

We still have a lot to do, including finding a place to stay until we decide what to do long term, but it is at least starting to look like it will work.

The current garage is a mess.

Transporting the little things on Rocket.  Surprisingly efficient.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Tee Shirts are In!

I ordered tee shirts last week.  They are all white with colors like the mast head here.  I got one black one for me to go along with the white.

I had only one taker on this site, Conchscooter.  But others requested them through different means.

There are probably six or seven accounted for so far.  I am sending one to David Masse, the largest contributor to the site through having it on his site, http://www.life2wheels.com or commenting here.

But I have several left if anyone cares for one.

I am now a model!

Go Fast

I am not sure why, but I always feel that I should be riding faster.  Whether it is around the neighborhood or on a mountain pass, I want to speed up to either get there quicker or have more fun.

I don't speed all the time.  I always slow down to a reasonable pace through towns, but the urge to speed is always there.

Last fall, my impatience made it a little harder to make new friends with Kevin and Noreen at the Spring Gathering, because I got tired of following and blasted by both of them on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Luckily I apologized profusely, understanding that it was not a nice thing to do.  We are friends now.

When leading our club rides in the mountains, when I know that we are not turning anytime soon and the others can't get lost, I will sometimes race ahead, hitting the curves as fast as I feel I can safely pass.  Then stop on the side of the road to let the others catch up.

On the highways I find it amazing that my little 198cc scooter can not only keep up, but pass the cars around me.  I often pull up behind a car, find an opening and race past.  It works especially well going downhill, of course, but it is a blast for me.  I find it to be sporting, to make my way through the traffic as fast as I can, safely.  We all have found our way to get out kicks, I do it on a scooter.

The innocuous new speed vessel, Razzo.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Scooter Cannonball Winner 2016

George, Motovista, came to the MP3 Spring Gathering this past weekend.

He showed up on his old, Vespa GT.  He ran the GT with it's original engine in the 2014 Scooter Cannonball Run.  I came across him once and, riding Rocket, pulled away from him.  He changed out the head with a 125 cc unit that has been massaged to create some real horsepower.  We did a couple of acceleration tests and he pulled away from Razzo, my fresh, fast GT200L.

With the age and engine capacity, his handicap will allow him nearly an extra hour to complete each day.  If he holds up, he will be almost unbeatable.

George and the Monster.

The Ride Home

I had a long ride to get home and accepted a request by Mike, LM15, to ride with me.  I was on Razzo and he was riding his new Honda NC700X.

Somewhere in the week, Razzo developed a front end shake at speed, and I had to contend with this the entire way home, making for a tiring ride.  It gets tiring because, when the tire shakes, the windshield shakes.  This causes the wind to pulsate as it hit the top of my helmet.  I can stop it by holding the top of the windshield with my left hand, but that gets old quickly.

It was the first time that I can remember that I was wishing I had a trailer.  It is so much more fun to ride when it is smooth.

The front tire comes off and will be taken to my tire installer for rebalancing.  If that doesn't do it, then a new tire and maybe front shock.

I rode over 450 miles and Mike continued past Jacksonville to Ormond Beach to buy parts at J&P Cycles at Harley World.  He is quite the trooper.

First Stop in Clinton, SC.

Lunch at Burke Perk Cafe

Bikes out front

The end of the ride.  Lots of miles and one tired rider.

Old Barns

I was noticing the old barns as we rode through the countryside of the mountains of North Carolina, Tennessee and briefly, Virginia.

While passing, I started photographing those that had some picturesque value.  These were all taken while moving so if any are ok, it is strictly by coincidence.