Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The 7 Bridges Morphous Club

Within the past two weeks, two members of the 7 Bridges Scooter Club have bought Yamaha Morphous scooters.  This was an addition to the long and low scooter trend started by the Honda Helix, but sent to new heights (or lows) with the Morphous.

The styling can best be described as 1990's Cadillac.

This is a 250cc scooter that has a seat height of at least six inches lower than the large frame Vespas.  It looks much longer but performs similarly.

Both new owners appear to love them.  Charlie likes it better than his other three scooters and Mike was beaming.

Monday, March 28, 2016


I have been wanting a workbench for the garage, ever since moving into the new house last year.

While looking at the newspaper yesterday, I noticed an ad for Harbor Freight that had a hardwood workbench on sale.

So I checked to see if they were open on Easter, they were, and headed there in the morning to check it out.  It didn't disappoint as I was surprised by the apparent quality of the unit.

I purchased it and, luckily, a big burly fellow wheeled the flat pack out and installed it in my car.

I drove to the garage in the back yard and pulled it out, placing the box in the right side of the garage.

We went to Easter dinner at my brother's house, then upon coming home, I decided to start the assembly.

In pulling the pieces out of the box, I could see that it was well packaged and protected.  The instructions were clear and concise.

I got it together in a couple of hours and am still impressed with the quality.  It has a few laminate over fiberboard pieces, but these are either drawer bottoms or non visible parts.

I am pleased with the results.

Sturdy and well designed.

A Vise and felt lined drawers.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Riding Vanessa

Last night the scooter club ride was to Buca di Beppo, an Italian chain fifteen miles south of home.

Russ led, as he does on Tuesdays and I filled in second.

He takes photos of these rides and got a few of me riding Vanessa, a rare treat for me.

This one is becoming my go-to scooter these days.  She is smoother and quieter than the others with a stiffer fame, better suspension and brakes than the other two.  Not as fast as Razzo and she still leaks coolant after hard runs, but I am enjoying getting her out.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Italian Motorcycles at the Concours d'Elegance

This past weekend, one of the most important car shows in the world, the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance was held on the golf course at the Ritz Carlton Amelia Island.  I have now attended every one except the first and my son Sam has come with me on all except one when he was graduating from Florida State and had too much work to complete.

We did as we have done over the past five or so years and rode up, Sam on my Honda and me on Razzo, as I needed the top case for storing our gear.

The show was special, as it always is, but this year one great feature was the motorcycle exhibit.  This time it had small Italian bikes.  There were the usual Ducatis, but also some other lines, including Maserati.

It looked like many were 50cc with the largest not more than maybe 300cc. I am always inclined to prefer the smallest, but I enjoyed seeing them all.  Here is a sampling of the bikes and their details.

Sam checking out the details.

One of my favorites.  It can't weigh more than 100 lbs.

Air pump.  Just in case.

Monday, March 14, 2016


My friend George, Motovista on MV, and his friend Christy came to town this weekend to ride with the 7 Bridges Scooter Club on their Sunday ride.  I didn't ride as Sam was in town for our annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance trip (an upcoming post), and it turned out that they ran behind getting to town and just hung out in Orange Park.

George let me know that they were here and we arranged lunch at the Mossfire Grill, owned by my friends Drew and Scooter.

They rode down on their Scooter Cannonball Run scooters, George's a Malossified Vespa GT, now with a larger displacement and much more power.  Cristy was on her Kymco Yager, bought just for the adventure.

After lunch, George and I swapped scooters for a brief test.  I was in front on his and easily pulled away from Razzo, the scooter of choice today.  I hit 75 mph while he had trouble reaching 65 in the conditions.  I am quite sure that if we were on our own scooters the speeds would have been closer, but his is a speed machine.

I enjoyed seeing both of them and look forward to the upcoming competition.

Me on George's speedy GT.  
It will be untouchable if George can keep it on the road, and follow the maps.

George and Christy

Friday, March 11, 2016

New Transmission for Razzo

Before going to Clewiston to meet up with Ken and Gary, I decided to try to f nd the source of knocking in Razzo, my 2005 Vespa GT.

I changed the oil along with the oil filter and air filter a couple of weeks ago.

I knew that those things didn't affect the knocking, but loose rollers in the variator can knock, so I dug into that.  Because I had a new belt, variator, outer drive pulley, rollers, slides and o-ring, I made the decision to install all of them to make it totally new.

But it is still knocking, with an irregular idle.

I took it on the 630 mile ride and it ran beautifully, so no problem yet.  But I really need to understand the cause.

Froggie and Me

Froggieposition (Amy Scott) and Scutrbrau (Rick Snyder), two prominent contributers to Modern Vespa and friends from a couple of other gatherings, were in town this week. We had lunch on Wednesday, and Thursday, Rick took off on an Iron Butt ride with fifty or more other riders, leaving Amy with nothing to do.

Well, we fixed that with a ride to Fernandina Beach for lunch. The ride covered some of the best parts of North Florida, topped off with a Cuban Sandwich and cold coffee at Hola, just off Centre Street, the heart of Historic Fernandina Beach, Florida. It was a day spent the way I like it. Beautiful weather, nice ride with a friend. I hope it won't be too long before we can do it again.

I got some photos, all pointing back at Amy. 

Mathews Bridge leaving downtown Jacksonville

Approaching the center span of the Dames Point Bridge

Amy on the center span

Big Talbot Island

Amelia Island Parkway

We stopped by one of my houses under construction and the owner was there.

Amy leaving the restaurant

A fine rider


One more nice road on Amelia Island

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Fisheating Creek

I met up with Ken and Gary in Clewiston with the intention to Canoe and Kayak Fisheating Creek, a thirty three mile morning ride away from our hotel.

Ken diverted of the highway down a two lane road that opened up to an amazing flat plain of mostly sugar cane.  We even saw a flock of flamingos, four pink, the others white.  They launched in flight briefly, but I fumbled with my camera and only got them landing, near the ground.

Flat, as far as the eye could see.

From there we went to the Fisheater Creek Outfitters where we met up with Ken's friend Dave and were given a canoe for Gary and Ken, and two kayaks, one for Dave and one for me.

A friendly, but a bit too political, guide drove us to the drop off point where he sent us on our way for a seven mile, four hour tour.

We started in a relatively large lake and made a quick turn down another wide portion of the creek.  But we quickly approached a small sign that told us to turn right into nothing but a forest of cypress trees.  It confused us for a while but the current was certainly running that way and we finally spotted a tree with a blue stripe in the distance that confirmed that it was the route.

Off we go!

Gary and Ken

Where it got narrow

Ken and Gary in their canoe

An alligator checking us out

We went from lakes to narrow parts of the creek several times before coming to the end.  The weather was perfect for the trip, cool and breezy with the sun shining the entire way.  It was uneventful except for my burned feet and a little grumpiness.

We left the Outpost with Razzo's fuel tank on empty, low fuel light bright and steady.  I hoped that there was a gas station close by, but the nearest was 25 miles north.  Believe it or not, Razzo can travel that far without running out.  I put 2.4 gallons into the 2.4 gallon tank, so it was near the bottom.

Then we had lunch at Beef O Brady's where, upon leaving, Gary's 300 GTS balked at starting.  It did start but he was concerned.

When we arrived at the Jacaranda Hotel in Avon Park, we left the scooters out front.  I went to the room and Gary came in looking worried.  His scooter's starter had given out and we were looking for a solution.  Ken thought it to be low battery so we went to the nearest auto parts store and borrowed (I had to leave them my Visa card) a jump starter.  But Gary didn't want to use it, instead, renting a U-Haul truck to take the scooter back to Dothan.  When he got the cost, though, he declined, so we had to come up with another idea.  It finally was decided to get Dave, the kayaker, to borrow a trailer, pick up the scooter and take it back to Ken's house in St. Petersburg.  Gary then got a rental car to get home.  He will sort it all out over the next few weeks.

It was a wonderful ride,  I highly recommend doing the Fisheating Creek boat trip.