Tuesday, September 30, 2014

7 Bridges Scooter Club ride to North Carolina, 2014

Tomorrow, around ten scooters and riders will be leaving Jacksonville for a five day trip to North Carolina.  This time we are going to Tryon to meet up with Mike Justiss who will be showing us around for the middle days.  We will be staying in nearby Saluda at the Saluda Mountain Lodge.

I have been traveling and the weather here has been rainy, so preparing Rocket has been put off until now.  Last night I put the license plate holder and light on, with the cover being yet another color of plastic on the back as a result of replacing pieces due to the recent accident.  I also tightened up the exhaust clamp, not too tight, and all looks good for the ride.  Today I tested it out by riding to Baldwin for lunch.  It ran great and should be good for the entire ride.
Lets see, light gray side, blue fender and green license light cover.

Then dark gray unpainted plastic on this side.

Monday, September 29, 2014

MP3 Gathering in North Carolina

This past weekend, I rode my Honda up to North Carolina to take part in the MP3 Fall Gathering at the Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground between Brevard and Waynesville, NC.  I already knew some of the participants but looked forward to meeting more.  It turned out that they were all very nice and accommodating to me, a stranger in their midst.  I got to talk to Amy, froggieposition on MV, quite a bit and found her to be very cool.  I looked forward to meeting Rick, Scutrbrau, but he had recently lost his mother and, understandably, kept to himself much of the weekend.  I always enjoy seeing Doug, Old as Dirt and Mike, LM15, sharing a cabin with Mike.  Meeting Noreen and Kevin was fun along with everyone else.  It made for a fun weekend with cool rides too.

The ride up and back was most notable for the discomfort afforded by the seat, The Little Seat of Horrors, as it was torture, especially riding home.  I went to Sargent to get a new seat the day before leaving but they had none to sell.  I will order one soon to make future rides much better.

On the Friday afternoon ride.

Getting ready to leave on the Saturday morning ride.

Snoopy made it, in spite of Stickyfrog's bike issues.
Amy became his handler for the Gathering.

The uncomfortable, but fine cruiser, Honda







Fuzzy Rick

Noreen and Kevin with part of Ralph

Line up at the dam.

Monday, September 22, 2014


Sarah, Kylie and I traveled to Chicago over the past long weekend to see Sam and his girlfriend Sara.  They moved there last year and we visited last November, but hadn't seen them for a while. So we went.  

We stayed at a trendy hotel downtown, the Wit on State Street just south of the Chicago River.  It was very convenient to the train, as well as shopping (for the girls).

We were moving constantly, eating in nice restaurants, seeing the sites and visiting.  

I enjoy Chicago a lot, but mostly downtown, where it has a lot to offer.  Sam and Sara live near Humboldt Park in an area that could use much improvement.  I hope one day he breaks open his wallet and gets an apartment in a better area.  That will make the visits even better.

Kylie on the train heading into the City.

Kylie and Sarah on the way to lunch from the hotel.

Sam and Sara at a Costa Rican restaurant near Logan Square.

Kylie at Starbucks across from our hotel.  My homage to Edward Hopper.

Cubs game with Clayton Kershaw pitching for the Dodgers.  We used to watch him pitch for the Jacksonville Suns when he was in the minor leagues.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Studio in Oak Park.

Back door entry to Sam and Sara's apartment.

Chicago Institute of Art.

Painting of the Old West at the Art Institute.  I believe that they ran a road down this trail and we rode it on the Cannonball.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Rocket, the Rat Bike

It takes a while to get parts for Vespa scooters these days.  Especially a 2006 GT, as it appears that Piaggio is ceasing production on many body parts these days.  But I ordered parts for Rocket from George (Motovista) at Scooter Parts Co.  Many arrived last week with others coming this week.  Most were correct and one missing, but Boris has a spare parts GT that he took the missing part (License plate light cover) off of to let me have it.

The body parts could be had either in matching paint for somewhere over $600., or for less than $100 in whatever color, or none, he could find.  Even though the guy who hit me is paying for everything, I saw no reason to charge more than necessary.  So the right side skirt is light gray with no paint, the left skirt is dark gray, also not painted and the rear fender is a beautiful blue that I will paint over eventually.  The license plate light cover that I got from Boris is green.  So it will look a bit like a rat bike until I get it all painted.  I will do it before the end of the year, but for now, I would rather ride.

In other news, I will be posting more in the next couple of weeks.  Tomorrow, Sarah, Kylie and I will be flying to Chicago to spend a few days visiting with Sam and his girlfriend Sara.  We miss him and look forward to seeing him again.  

Then, next week I am riding the Honda to meet up with the MP3 Gathering group in North Carolina.  I am leaving at 4:00 AM on Friday to meet them at their mid ride lunch in Hot Springs.  Google Maps says 479 miles in 7:11.  Piece of cake.

The next week I leave on Wednesday to lead the 7 Bridges Scooter Club to Tryon, NC to begin a few days of rides there.  Mike (Driller) will be leading us around the scenic byways of the area.

I will use my spot if anyone is interested in following on FollowRide or the spot site.

Since all of the plastic is being replaced at the back of Rocket, I will paint it all a satin black.  It will complement the shiny, blue black that is original,

Light gray side skirt here. iPhone went dead when I tried to shoot the dark gray on the other side.  The fender is a beautiful blue that matches Vanessa perfectly.  I will see if I should put it on her and take her older piece for the satin black treatment.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Scooter Cannonball Video

I took a bunch of video getting to Hyder, then a little on the first two days until the GoPro broke.  But I did have enough to show something, so here is a very short one on the ride to Hyder in British Columbia.  The two day ride from Prince George to Smithers to Stewart/Hyder was fantastic.  I would do it again tomorrow.  Should this work, I will load more as I edit them.  This one wasn't edited.

Edit.  Sorry, it was recorded in high definition but the loading here gave me a lousy low definition viewing experience.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Motorcycle Cannonball

My brother David and I rode 60 miles to Lake City yesterday to see the riders and bikes in the Motorcycle Cannonball.  This was the first stop in their two week ride from Daytona Beach, Florida to Tacoma, Washington.

The number one rule in this one is that the bikes must have been manufactured before 1937 with many being 1936 models.  Several were clearly much older, probably from the 1910's.

I spoke with one of the riders who told me that the winners are determined not by speed or time so much, but for simply finishing within a certain time window.  Once at the finish of each day, the order is established by age of bike and several other factors.

He said that they all had support and most were sharing support trucks, similar to how we did the Scooter Cannonball this year.

We only stayed about a half hour and headed back into a large thunderstorm.  It finally broke loose at around 15 miles from home.  We stopped for a few minutes at a gas station but I was already wet and headed through the lighter rain for home.  I hit another gully washer a few miles from home and got drenched.  

It was still fun as Rocket ran like a top, except for the brief run on Interstate 10, where a mile from getting off at Chaffee road it did its slow down routine, going from 75 mph to maxing out at 63.  Running a little warm too.  But once on US90 it ran great.  I just have to accept that I can't run wide open for longer than a few miles these days.

I have never seen so many pre-1937 bikes in one place

Old style GPS

This one appeared to be extra old

I looked for this one for a while.  My number, 41.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Ride and Repair Day

Yesterday we had a ride scheduled, a short one to Lake City for lunch.  Rocket has been acting up and I had no windshield, so I decided to take the Honda.

We rode up to St. George, Georgia, then across to Moniac and through the Osceola National Forest to Lake City.  It was around 100 miles of fine North Florida roads.  Then we blasted home on US90 and I-10.

When I got home I had to decide whether to go to work to finish the Towler House plans or work on Rocket.  I chose Rocket.  After changing the tire last week, it developed a strange vibration to go along with a flat sound coming from the exhaust along with diminished performance.  I determined that I would look at the pieces I touched and reinstall them, so I took off the exhaust, tightened the swing arm bolts, installed a new exhaust gasket and put it all back together.  Then went for a ride to try it out and the old Rocket was back. 

Then I went to see Boris to let him know what a master mechanic I have become.  While there I asked him about a couple of flyscreens he had and he offered one up at a very reasonable $20.  I installed it and took a very fast ride to Baldwin and back.  On the return, into a slight wind, I was able to average 74 mph with a top speed of almost 79 mph on a slight downhill stretch catching a slight draft of a car ahead.  There was no loss of power or overheating either.  The flyscreen also blocks enough of the wind to make the ride comfortable and feels much sportier than the previous Faco midsize that I have been using for the past six years.  

I am still getting a new midsize, but I will use this one more than I thought.

I am very pleased with the progress Rocket has made since getting bashed a couple of weeks ago.  

A stop in Taylor, Florida to let the old guys (all of us) rest.

Busted out the tools for the re-installation of the exhaust.

New Flyscreen.  I liked it.