Friday, August 29, 2014

Motovista's Nemesis, Bill L and the Rocketship

My friend, George, posted about the possibility of having a scooter track day somewhere in the southeast.  I am quite certain that my reference in his post was tongue-in-cheek, and I liked it a lot.

This the part I liked along with my response.

New Back Tire.

When I posted photos showing the damage to Rocket from the recent fender bender, several comments were made about the worn rear tire.  It had around 5000 miles on it, including the Cannonball and at least 1000 miles since getting home.  I do leave these on longer than most, but have never had a problem.

In my effort to learn how to fix problems myself, I removed the back wheel, took it to a local shop for mounting the tire on the wheel and reinstalled it last night. I had done this with Leslie's scooter as I used her rear wheel as my spare on the Cannonball.  I am getting the hang of it these days.

Now I need to do a couple of belt changes and learn the electrical system.  Then, I will be able to deal with almost anything.

I have been known to wear them out.  
This was in Colorado three years ago when I thought I had plenty of tread
when Rocket left home on a trailer.
The tire before changing.  It looked worse on the other side. 
New tire about to be installed.


One thing I dislike about Jacksonville and much of the country these days is the blatant, aggressive nature of some of the citizens.  I fear that we are devolving. 

We had a short ride last Saturday and shared a parking lot with this genius.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Night Autocross at Fernandina Beach Airport

We had the first night time autocross that I have ever attended on Saturday night.  It was much anticipated as it would be a change from the norm, while avoiding the scorching heat of midday in August in North Florida.  One of the benefits of having the events on Amelia Island is the ride between home and the airport.  It goes up Hecksher Drive to A1A through Little and Big Talbot Islands to Amelia Island.  It crosses two bridges, marshes, forest and some of the best scenery the area has to offer.

Then we arrived, prepared our cars and waited for sundown.  As soon as it was dark, the first cars were off.  We began at 8:30.  I worked grid and it was very easy as they ran only one car on the course at a time as visibility was so poor on the course that the workers had difficulty finding displaced cones and resetting them.  Cars ran at roughly one minute intervals so it was very simple making sure that they were ready at the start.

Our class ran in the second run group and it was quite a different experience than the usual daytime running.  It was more about finding the right route than usual, especially on the early runs.  I was off course on my first three runs, missing a gate early.  But I found the mistake and finally got three clean runs in, the last one being my fastest.  It was fun, but I certainly look forward to getting back to the daytime running.

I finished 3rd of seven in my class of E Street.  15th overall out of the 40 overall in the PAX handicap system.  The PAX finishing position was lower than I thought it would be, but we had several fast drivers come from surrounding regions.  It was also restricted to veteran drivers, so competition was great.

Even though there were only 40 cars, running six runs one at a time meant that the event wasn't finished until 1:30 AM .  I didn't get to bed until 2:30.  I never stay up past 11:00, usually going to bed closer to 10:00, so it was quite a shock to the system.

The drive up A1A at Little Talbot Island

Big Talbot Island

Amelia Island 

Amelia Island

At the gate to get into the airport.  Aaron and Jamie.

It is an active airport with several planes landing and taking off while we waited for sunset.
My trusty Miata.

A plane taking off


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Back on the road.

This morning I took Rocket to the warehouse where I took apart the entire front end so we could straighten the steering and punch out the dent in the leg shield.  I got it apart myself with a little assistance from Boris' brother Eric.  We straightened the steering easily.  Directly behind the dent is the CDI that I removed to provide access. Then Eric got the punch out and banged it straight, or at least straight enough.

I put it together but had trouble matching screws with holes.  Eventually everything fit and it was fine.  The last thing was to put the taillight and license plate back on, so I could ride legally.

It rides like a champ and the parts should all arrive this week.  The last thing will be to repair the scratches in the side cowling.  That will take a body shop.

In the operating room.  Headset off.

Headset and glove box panels removed

Clean shot of the back of the panel to be straightened.

Back together.  Good enough to ride again.  Probably legal too.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Rocket on the Road (Before the accident)

With the accident on Wednesday, the day after a nice ride with the club to Picasso's Restaurant where Russ took some good photos of Rocket and me on the road, I thought it would be a good time to get some more riding shots in the Blog.  

Damage looks like it can be fixed, but I will be without my loyal scooter for a while.  George (Motovista) contacted me letting me know that he had many of the repair parts in his inventory.  The big time taker will be the repairing the minor dents and paint. Let's hope it all happens quickly.

As for me, I luckily got away from the accident with no real issues at all.  Very fortunate as it could have been bad.

Checking out Bobby's Helix clone that is for sale.

Decked out for the ride

A riding shot from the front.  Don't have many of these.

Riding in formation with Tom 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rocket Accident

It finally happened to me and Rocket.

I was riding between my house, where I had to go to prepare the house for a showing and Riverside Presbyterian Church where I was to meet with others on the landscape design committee.

I was right in front of St. VIncent's Hospital when a car came to a stop right in front of me.  I saw it right away and easily slowed to a stop behind it.  I was looking in front of the car to see why it was stopped when I was hit from behind.  The hit forced me into the car in front and I went down on my right side.  I hit my helmet on the pavement lightly and jumped up feeling OK.

Rocket has damage at the rear end, broken light, broken license plate holder, etc., and a small dent on the front.  The windshield is broken and the steering got skewed slightly.

I got a small scrape on my elbow.  

I am quite sure that insurance would total Rocket as it is old and worn, but we won't be going that route.  I am certain that Boris can get it repaired and back on the road easily.

A police officer stopped briefly to check on us.  He said I should buy lottery tickets as I am lucky to be unharmed.

Broken windshield

Dent in front leg shield.

No License plate and broken tail light

The extent of my damage

And the Prius damage

This shot shows the damage the best

Monday, August 11, 2014

Cars and Coffee

There was another local Cars and Coffee on Saturday morning.  Nice group of cars, but I always seem to gravitate to the 1960's British sports cars.  Something about the styling and character.

There was an Austin Healy Sprite, that looked like it just came off the showroom floor, but finished better

The brand new looking Sprite

Better than new interior

Austin Healy 3000's, three in a row.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Ride to Amelia Island on Rocket

Yesterday I rode Rocket up to Amelia Island.  It is a 40 mile ride each way and was done as a site visit for a house we designed.

As has been the usual issue recently, I got halfway there and at a red light, I noticed the exhaust gasket leaking.  I decided to ride there to make the appointment with the contractor, especially since the Amelia Island Plantation does not allow motorcycles (scooters too) through the gate so he had to meet me outside.

We looked at the minor issues he had with the design and he took me back to the scooter for my return.

I removed the exhaust and re-installed the gasket before the ride back and now figured out that the gasket keeps coming out because I have not been crimping the pipe back tight to the gasket before installing back on the header.  I did crimp it this time.  It made it harder to re-install but held for the entire ride home.  Let's see how it holds up in the future.

Inside the main room of the house.  Two stories with a balcony hall on three sides.

The back porch and steps.
It had to be built up because of the flood plain, but that also enhances the views

The Clubhouse as viewed from the house.

The south end of the house.  They are framing for the screened porch.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Sym Symba

I have been noticing a neighbor riding a Sym Symba around my office recently.  It is a Honda Cub or Passport clone, 110 cc with a four speed transmission with an automatic clutch.  

My friend and Cannonball competitor, Binh, rode one from his home in San Jose, California to the Arctic Circle in Alaska a few years ago.  A couple are riding one around the world as we speak.

So, today I rode my bicycle to work and noticed the owner getting on to go to his work.  I stopped to say hello.  His name was Jamal and he was very friendly once he understood that I was a scooter riding neighbor.  I asked if I could try it out some day and he agreed.  

It is very similar to the Suzuki FB100 I had in Bermuda in the early 1990's.  That one had a three speed.  I bought it for $800. and sold it for $450. three years later, so it was very economical to own.  

I would like to own one to add to my stable but not right now.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Rocket Test

I took the rocket ship out today to see if it is still losing power and overheating when pushed hard after replacing the coolant and cleaning the radiators last week.  The plan was to ride out I-10 to Chaffee Road, then head to Everybody's for breakfast.  

It ran great until just before turning off.  I was running a steady 85 indicated, probably 77 actual, when, just before turning off after maybe three miles of this speed, it started losing power again.  Then, when I turned off I noticed the blown exhaust gasket again. I installed this new gasket not more than 400 miles ago and it was a good install, using a spreader to get the gasket fully installed without damage.

The temperature gauge was showing normal temperatures.

So, I will fix the gasket again and continue to try to understand the problem.