Monday, October 27, 2014

Ride to Suwannee

On Sunday, five us us rode from Jacksonville to Suwannee, Florida, a very small outpost on the gulf side of the state.  Luckily they have a nice restaurant, where I had oyster stew, fried oyster poboy and a fillet of mullet as an offering from my brother.  It was all very good.

I had to take the Honda as Rocket appears to have a crack in the header pipe.  It probably could have made it, but the Honda needs to be ridden too.  Leslie's Vanessa continues to leak coolant and now I have found that the new back tire is out of round.  Scooter ownership has its issues.

I planned the route.  We went out 90 to Macclenny.  Then headed south on 121 to 130 where we cut over to Lake Butler on some little used roads, 229 and 238.  From there we went back on 121 to Worthington Springs, then 18 to Fort White.  Then 47 south to 340 to 349 that took us all the way to Suwannee.  The return was similar to 340 but we stayed on that to High Springs to Worthington Springs again.  Then 18 all the way to 301 where we headed into Starke where we split up to head home.

Weather was great, cold in the morning but nice and toasty returning.  Not a cloud in the sky all day.

At the start

Leuthold brothers on their bikes

Along the way

Bikes at the restaurant

At lunch

View out the back

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fernandina Beach Ride

Sunday, the scooter club had a ride to Fernandina Beach.  That is one of our favorite destinations as it is close and the ride is along the river, then heads north through Little Talbot Island, Big Talbot Island and Amelia Island.  It is a beautiful area.

We broke into two groups at the start with the motorcycles heading to Folkston, Georgia while the scooters (plus Jim on his Goldwing) went to Amelia Island as planned.

We usually go over the Dames Point Bridge, part of I-295, but one of the scooters was a newcomer, Joyce, on her Kymco 125.  So we went through downtown where we caught up briefly with the motorcycle crowd.  From there we headed down Hecksher Drive to meet up with Mike at the entrance to Little Talbot Island State Park.  From there we had some time to kill before lunch so we ran along the beach in the north end of Amelia Island, then across to the town of Fernandina Beach where we rode down Centre Street.  Then south on A1A to Barbara Jeans for lunch.

We ate outside and were joined by Elaina and her girls Sarah and Samantha.  Food was good and the ride very nice on a beautiful day.

I broke off from the group heading home at the Ferry as I wanted to get back to watch the Jaguar Game.  Our house was off limits as we had a showing so I went to O'Brothers.  I sat outside and got a visit from my good friend Drew, the owner of the establishment, then my wife Sarah came by.  She had lunch while we watch the Jags win their first game of the year.
Scoots at the start at Bojangles

Me and Shane on Beach Boulevard

Meet up with Mike at Little Talbot Island

A1A through the Talbots

A1A in Amelia Island

Canopy road just south of the Ritz Carlton

Centre Street in Fernandina Beach

Scoots parked at Barbara Jeans

Friends at lunch

Fuel stop for the Kymco 125 on the way home

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Rocket's New Parts Painted

It has now been more than two months since the minor accident that Rocket and I had in Riverside.  It was a light rear ending leading many parts broken, both in the rear and front.

I got the parts within a month, installed most of them so I could ride, then finally painted them over the past weekend.  While Boris had some super paint, he was not at the warehouse when I decided it was time to do the work.  So I went to AutoZone and got RustOleum paints for primer and finish coats.  The finish coat I decided on was designed for plastic parts and was satin.  I chose this because I felt it to be better, since I couldn't match the paint exactly doing it this way. to make it different.

I laid out newspaper on the concrete patio in the back yard, then prepared the pieces.

The fender new factory paint on it.  This was very shiny and slick, even beading water when I washed it, so I got out some fine sandpaper to rough it up a bit.  I also did this on the tag light cover that was old but also had factory paint.  The plastic parts looked ready for primer so I wiped them down with the others using paint thinner to get any oily bits off.

Then I painted the primer, let it set for an hour.  This was followed by two coats of the finish paint.  I tried to keep overspray to a minimum but got a little on the concrete.  I also bumped one of the side covers, leaving a bump in the paint. 

I wasn't expecting perfection and was satisfied with the results.  Rocket looks whole again.  The new paint complements the old, original paint well.

Looks almost like new.

You can see the difference between shiny steel and satin plastic.

During the painting process

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

North vs South Shootout

Saturday the Buccaneer Region SCCA had our annual North vs South Autocross Shootout.  This event places the Coastal Empire (Savannah) division against the Jacksonville division and is held at Roebling Road Racetrack, about 15 miles west of Savannah.

The South had 22 participants and we won the cup for the third time.

They had timing issues all day, so I was there from 8:30 until 6:00.  It got hot and everyone tired, but when I got my runs in it was exhilarating!  It had to be among the fastest tracks I have driven, with me in third gear most of the time.  I got two reruns due to the timing messing up.  On one of them I had a passenger, a very nice engineering student from Georgia Southern.  I was hustling my way around and got indecisive heading into the last three cone slalom.  I dove to the inside then, while trying to carry too much speed around the middle cone, spun in a full 360.  That was unusual but we weren't alone.

In the PAX handicap system where we can all compete together, I finished 17th out of 102, fifth among our group.  It was a lot of fun running and hanging out with my racing friends for the day.

My Miata with Tony's Mustang at our work station

Three Miatas while working

Jacob in his GTI at speed.  The cone jumped out in front of him.

Friday, October 10, 2014


A couple of weeks ago I was talking scooters with a friend while standing in line to pay for lunch at Whiteway Deli.  Another friend was listening and told me that she had an old Lambretta sitting in her garage.  I asked if she would be willing to sell it and she said yes.

She has had it since the mid seventies.  Turns out that she bought it in Washington from someone who was being shipped off to Asia.  He sold it to her for $1.00.

She rode it for a while, but it has been sitting in her garage for more than thirty years.  She said that her 33 year old daughter has never seen it.

I called yesterday to go for a visit and we went to the garage and took off the cover to expose an old, worn Lambretta Li 125, Series III.  I believe from 1963.  It turns over when kicked, but everything is old and stiff, as to be expected.

She suggested a trade for me to take it home.  I design a small porch on the back of the house and she turns the Lambretta over to me.  It is certainly a good deal for her, but I like that sort of thing.

I contacted Boris, who said he can get it going again.

I am going to do it!

The cover came off.....

Dents and old paint, but it should be a runner soon.  I love the twin seats.

It looks fine inside too.

It appears to be in good condition for one that has been sitting for more than 30 years.  
It has 2200 miles on the odometer.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

7 Bridges Scooter Club ride to North Carolina 2014. Epilogue

We just returned from the big ride to North Carolina.  One and a half days up and back with one rainy day in the middle.  Unfortunately, that was the day we had some nice rides planned.  It was fun anyway. but could have been better.

Going up, in Washington, Georgia, Rocket's belt began to slip.  We stopped at a gas station along the highway, opened it up to see what we had.  It turns out that the variator nut had backed off some and the splines in the outer drive pulley had stripped.  This was preventing the variator from gripping the belt properly, making it slip.  I had a spare outer drive pulley  , but had left it at home.  We were stuck.  But Russ called George at Scooter Parts Co, and he had the parts and could get them to UPS for delivery to me the next day before 10:00.  He came through as the parts arrived at 9:45.  Rocket was all set for installation, that I did immediately at the gas station, where we had left Rocket overnight.  And it ran great right away.

It was a nice experience as everyone at the gas station was so nice to watch Rocket overnight, and they allowed us to work on it in the shade of the canopy.  At the hotel where David and I stayed the night, everyone was great as well.  We had a nice dinner at a Mexican restaurant next door, with some very tasty happy hour Dos Equis on tap.

David and I made out way up to Saluda on our own to meet up with the others.  The ride was uneventful, but I babied Rocket all the way, feeling a slight vibration while riding. 

We had dinner at a Bar-B-Que restaurant in downtown Saluda with our host Mike and his wife Sherry.  

Rain came the middle day, but we went for a very steep, twisty ride in a loop that ran around 25 miles near the hotel.  We hit rain in the last part and all donned our rain gear for the dash back to our rooms.  Several in the group borrowed the hotel's van for a trip to Hendersonville for lunch and shopping, but I decided to stay in the room to watch some baseball.  When the weather finally cleared, I rode to Hendersonville and Brevard by myself just to get out and about.  It was a good ride.

In the evening we had dinner in Saluda again, at the Saluda Grade Cafe.  Everyone enjoyed their food and the entertainment, a five piece bluegrass group playing nice tunes in the corner.  It might have been the highlight of the trip.

The next morning we met up with Mike again and he took us for a ride heading south through Caesar's Head State Park in South Carolina.  Fantastic roads and views, including a stop at Caesar's Head itself.

We stopped in downtown Abbeville, SC. for lunch, then made it to Vidalia, the sweet onion capitol of the world for the night after a long, slow ride.  We arrived after 6:00, but only rode around 280 miles in the day.  We stayed at the Comfort Inn where we had stayed last year, but had takeout Pizza and wings in one of the rooms.  

The ride home was excellent, cool but beautiful weather making quick time of the last 150 miles.  I took Rocket on the interstate highway for the last fifteen miles, hitting 80 mph easily while running with the cars.  It is still quite a performer.
First stop in Hoboken, Georgia

Lunch in Swainsboro, Georgia

Damage on Rocket being assessed

Parts arrived!

David and I made it to Saluda!

Rain out most of the riding day

The view from the hotel

Beer selection at Ingles in Hendersonville

Nice historic building in Saluda

Same building up close

Damage to the drive pulley.  Stripped splines.

Hendersonville, NC

Brevard, NC

Scooters in Saluda

Dinner with the band in Saluda

Ride with Mike heading towards Caesar's Head

Caesar's Head.  Quite a view.

Rocket back home