Monday, March 30, 2015

First Wash in Over Thirty Years

Sunday after returning from Waycross, I decided to skip the basketball games on TV and wash the Lambretta.  It sat in a garage for more than thirty years, accumulating dirt, dust and surface rust over the years.  I cleaned it and it helped some.  But it remains looking old and worn.

I have decided, for now, to leave it that way, concentrating on getting the mechanical bits in top form.  Once that is done, I might restore it, but will probably keep it original.

Waycross, Georgia Ride

Yesterday the 7 Bridges Scooter Club Sunday ride was to have lunch at the Peach Pit, a buffet restaurant in Waycross, Georgia.  They had been there last year and enjoyed the fare.  That was one I had missed so it was my first time.

The ride from Jacksonville to Waycross is to basically take US1 straight there.  It is not a great ride so I proposed that we go back roads to Folkston, then US1 the remainder of the way.  It was much better but still not the best scenery around, but we try to mix it up and see places on a rotating basis.

We had 12 riders including picking up the three Georgia Boyz in Folkston, then we added Bill, a snowbird who lives the cold part of the year in St. Simons, Georgia.  He rides a nice, green Vespa 250 GTV.  

The buffet was as good as advertised, and all for less than ten dollars.

We rode home US1 the entire way.

Scooters ready to head out

On US 90 near the start

Crossing into Georgia

Rest stop north of Folkston


Heading home

The ride was a test of my belt change that I made on Razzo the day before.  It was my first total belt and roller change, so I was pleased that it held up the entire way.  Razzo is a great scooter.  I have now had it one month and put exactly 1500 miles on it.

Belt change.  I did it myself this time.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Lambretta is on the Road!

Boris and Eric got the Lambretta running on Saturday. They got it put back together and I rode it home.  It needs a little fine tuning to make it workable.  The cables for the front brake and clutch are stiff and not working well.  The front brake got a little better as I rode, but the clutch was not releasing completely by the time I got home.  Probably a minor adjustment that I will make one night this week.

The left hand shifter will take some getting used to.  I am certain that with a new cable and some lubrication, it will be easier to use.  It currently takes two hands to get it into first some times as it is so stiff. 

The ride is quite smooth with the long wheelbase and soft springs, but the vibration from the engine is quite intense.  The seat is rudimentary and knee space limited.

I will not feel comfortable riding it until I get at least one rear view mirror.

It still has the 1975 Lousiana license tag on it.  I still don't have the title so that will have to wait.

But I am pleased to have it and look forward to smoothing all the rough edges.

Boris or Eric riding at the warehouse (I can't tell on this video)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance

For the past 18 years now, my son Sam and I have attended the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, a wonderful antique car show that is held every March at the Ritz Carlton hotel and golf course on Amelia Island.  We missed the first one, and Sam missed one that was when he had a lot of school work to do to graduate from Florida State, but we have seen all the others.

It started as a small gathering.  less than 200 cars and around 2000 attendees the first year that we missed.  The attendees doubled the second year.  This year featured over 300 cars, including the cars of Sterling Moss, the Grand Marshall.  Attendance was over 25,000.

We used to drive to the show but for the past four years now we have been riding.  This year I took Razzo and Sam rode the Honda.  The beauty of this is that we can park very close to the entrance to the event.  They moved the entrance this year to the first hole and we parked literally 100 feet from the new opening.  The bikes ran great but Sam really doesn't care for the Honda.  I admit that it is very truck-like, but it does its thing, and efficient do it all motorcycle, very well.  Razzo continues to amaze me with its quiet, smooth demeanor.  I like it a lot.

This event is one big splurge for me.  I love seeing Sam and attending this with him, so I get him an airline ticket to fly home from wherever he is that year.  This year it is Chicago.  He arrived on Friday night.  Kylie came home from Gainesville too, so it turns into a fun family weekend.  We all spent the day together on Saturday.  Sunday Sam and I went to the Concours while Kylie and Sarah had brunch.  We had a family dinner together and I drove Sam back to the airport.  It was brief but fun.  I can't wait until next year.

Our parking spot at the head of the line.

Sam checking out Niki Lauda's Ferrari F1 car from 1975.
That was the year they captured in the movie Rush.

Alain Prost's Ferrari F1 car from 1991

Nice Porsche racer.  I saw Peter Gregg race one of these at the
Fernandia Beach Airport in the mid 1960s.

We especially like Ferraris

Maybe my favorite car of the show.
It is a reproduction of a Stutz land speed record car.

My favorite car growing up.  Lamborghini Miura.

A special group was Cowboy Cars.

And the Cowboy Cars had a nice model to accompany them.

If the bed was longer, this would be the perfect scooter hauler.  Porsche 914.

They always have motorcycles too.  This BSA racer caught my eye.

A Ferrari GTO that Sterling Moss raced in the 1960's.
These are the most valuable cars in the world now.
This one could be worth 40 million dollars.

Not in the show but hanging around one of the cars was this Fuji Rabbit scooter.

They had Hot Rods too.
These are three Mercedes Benzes from the 1950's.  The one that the officials are honoring might be the most famous car in the world.  It was driven by Sterling Moss to win the Italian Mille Miglia in 1955.  The story behind the win has led to its legend.

Monday, March 16, 2015


With the new Vespa GT in the fold, and with Rocket being such a perfect name for that fine scooter, I can't help but to give it a name.

It turns out that it had a name.  Mike called it Felix.  I thought about keeping that but found out that it isn't bad luck to change the name of a boat, so I am changing the name of my scooter.

I had a brief history with the name Enzo.  Enzo Ferrari, namesake and founder of the fine Italian car company of the same name, died shortly before our son Sam was born.  When Sarah was pregnant with him, I took to calling him fetus for a while.  Then, when she thought it best to use a better name, I called him Enzo.  I wanted to name him that, well, a little, but we chose Sam.  It has fit him well.

But that name has stayed with me.  So I began calling the new scooter Enzo.  It fit as Enzo Ferrari was a gentleman with an edge.  The new scooter is in almost perfect condition.  Mike had kept it clean, even waxed and it looks great.  Being black with brown seat and top box padding, it has a dignified air about it.  But it is quite quick too, so it has Enzo's quest for speed.

But at a family dinner at Singleton's, and old seafood restaurant in the historic village of Mayport, Florida over the weekend, Sarah looked up names and we settled on Razzo.

Razzo is Italian for Rocket.  It felt perfect.  Everyone agreed.

Family making the important decision regarding Razzo's name.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


When you live in Florida, even North Florida, you tend to get visitors.  This week Cheryl, cdwise from Modern Vespa, was making a big loop on her Aprilia Scarabeo 500 from her home in Houston to a photo seminar in South Florida.  After completing that, she headed to Key West for a quick visit, then up the east coast to see Bob, Flordian on MV, for a tour of the Space Center.  Then she headed north to see me in Jacksonville.

Cheryl's Beo and my new GT

It was a nice night that coincided with the weekly 7 Bridges Scooter Club dinner ride.  This time we went to Nero's, an old Italian restaurant in Arlington, close to Jacksonville University.  The place has been there since 1983, and hasn't been renovated since.  Still, it was pleasant, bringing back memories of old Italian restaurants that were popular in my youth.

At the Scooter Warehouse

At the Scooter Warehouse

In front of Nero's

Inside Nero's

 Cheryl fit in well and appeared to enjoy the visit with the group.  After that, she stayed at my house for the evening.  The morning began with coffee, then she took me to breakfast at the Fox, a local breakfast and lunch restaurant a block from my house.  

Cheryl at The Fox before heading to South Carolina
to add the state to her "Scooted In" map.

Then, today, my cousin Keri and her husband Wayne came to town to see my parents and the other local family members.  They have scooters at their home in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and were interested in my Vespas.  Luckily, I have three GTs so we went for a nice ride around the area, then rode to lunch at the Mossfire Grill.  They got a kick out of the quality scooters.  I offered for them to stay with me, but they opted for a hotel and an afternoon of crabbing at my parents, then seeing the town.
Wayne on Rocket

Keri on Vanessa with Brother David following on his BMW

Catch of the day.  One crab from the creek at Mom and Dad's

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Three Amigos

With my new acquisition, the 2005 GT, I now have three Vespa GT's in the garage.  Of course I still have Rocket, a 2006 with over 66,000 miles.  Then there is Vanessa, a 2007 GT that I am keeping for my friends Leslie and Maria who are in Italy for three years.  She had just under 3000 miles on her when I first got her and now has just over 5000 miles after one year.  One reason I bought the new one was to keep from putting too many miles on her.

The new one is to take on several long rides planned for the future.  The club is riding to the mountains of Virginia in late April and I plan to ride to the MP3 spring gathering at Little Switzerland in late May.  Then there is the 2016 Scooter Cannonball Run.  Rocket is simply not capable of these rides now, but is having fun being the around town hot rod of the group with its cut down windshield and Leo Vince pipe.  It has been handling these rides very well.

I just take Vanessa out on rides to keep her fresh.

New guy, Rocket and Vanessa 

2005, 2006 and 2007.  All Vespa GT's

This one looks brand new.  It is hard to tell that it is ten years old.

Ride to Darien, Georgia

The Sunday scooter ride this week was to Darien, Georgia for lunch at B&J's restaurant.  

We had 8 or 9 leave Bojangles for the 100 mile ride north.  One, Skip, on his motorcycle, began having engine trouble on the Dames Point Bridge and abandoned the ride.  Russ stayed back with him and headed out to find us.  We met up again at the US-17 bridge crossing the St. Marys River into Georgia.  Soon after that we met up with the Georgia Boys in Kingsland for the remainder of the ride up.

After our usual stop at what was the Goasis off the interstate near Brunswick, we rode near Brunswick to Darien.  At the restaurant we met up with Elaina, who injured her knee in a spill in New Orleans and hasn't ridden since.  She is mending and planning to join the Virginia ride coming up in April.

I was riding my new beauty, It is a 2005 Vespa GT.  On Saturday, I took off the rear tire to have it changed by a local mechanic, Mike.  The exhaust comes off for the tire change and I noticed that the exhaust gasket was nearing the end of its life, so I changed it too.  Then I put Rocket's front tire on as the tire that came with it was now ten years old.

On the return ride, I abandoned the group where we crossed I-95 as I wanted to get a new Florida map at the Florida welcome station and test the new scooter with the new 140 tire on the highway.  I hit 80 without really trying hard so it is going to be fine.

Mike changing the back tire

New scooter at Bojangles for the start.  I was late as I couldn't find my keys.

She is shiny!

Off we go

The US-17 Bridge at the St. Marys River.  The other side is Georgia.

Picking up the Georgia Boys


Plenty of food for $9.00, including drink.
All you can eat buffet.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Apalachicola Oyster Tour Continued

Tomorrow, I am heading west, to meet up with Ken and Jim for Oysters at Lynn's Quality Oysters in Eastpoint, across East Bay from Apalachicola.  Then we are to spend the night in Apalachicola before I head back after breakfast (I do work for a living after all)

This will be the test ride for the new GT.  Should it make it there and back, I will be ready to take it anywhere this summer.

I headed over to meet up with Ken and Jim in Perry, so we could ride to Apalachicola together.  They had been joined by Cheryl (cdwise) who was taking a long loop from Houston to Key West, then up to South Carolina and back home.  We met at a convenient meeting place, a McDonalds entering Perry.  They were in the parking lot when I arrived.  We decided to head to Deal's Oyster House for lunch.  There we had oysters and oyster stew along with a few other delights.

Cheryl then continued her trip heading south while the three others went west to Eastpoint for more oysters at Lynn's Famous Oysters.  These were to die for, fresh and cold.  Ken and I each had two dozen while Jim, a new oyster eater, had a half dozen.  He liked them!

After eating and the usual photo op, we crossed the mouth of East Bay into Apalachicola.  The Gibson Inn, our hotel for the night, was right at the foot of the bridge as we approached.  It is a historic hotel, built in 1907 and restored along the way.  The building has racked a bit, no plumb walls or level floors, but filled with charm.  We all flirted with the reception clerk and got rooms at a very reasonable price.  Jim and I shared.  

We had a beer in the hotel bar, a wood paneled room that had the old Florida character that I look for around the state.  We drank them in rocking chairs on the porch.

For dinner we ate at a waterfront restaurant, Up the Creek Raw Bar.  We all had shrimp, either fried or grilled.  Pleasant place with good food and very friendly service.

We walked through town and found another restaurant, Verandas, for dessert.

We all got to bed early and awoke early on Thursday for breakfast at 6:00.

Then headed off to St. George Island State Park.  It was foggy, but it was burning off to reveal a beautiful seaside barrier island beach.  We left there and I broke off to head home.  I made the 260 mile ride in four hours, staying off the highways except I-10 from Macclenny to the office.

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting my friends and seeing Apalachicola and all the roads getting there and back.

The new scooter was spectacular, running smoothly and quickly for well over 500 miles in two days.

Jim, Cheryl and Ken at Deals

A little entertainment inside Deals

And Deal's Oysters

Ken and Jim at Lynn's

Better Oysters at Lynn's

Just picked yesterday, shucked today.

Long shot of Lynn's

Three scooters at the Gibson Inn

Ken on the porch

Jim on the porch

Checking in at the St. George Island State Park

Ken, messing with his camera.

Jim riding ahead

Jim up close

Dueling Red Scooters