Monday, February 20, 2017

Riverside Avondale Preservation Awards 2017

I usually stay within the realm of scooters and scooting.

But when I am not scooting, I am an architect, designing residential projects in and around Jacksonville.

Last week, after sending in two projects for consideration for the local neighborhood awards, I was told that I should attend.

The projects were what I have been calling the River House.

The River House from across Fishweir Creek.  
This photo is being used by RAP for their upcoming Home Tour, as this house will be one of the highlights of the tour.

Inside looking from the living room to the kitchen and dining rooms

The house and Trellis from the North

The river elevation

From the garage with its view to the St. Johns and McGirts Rivers

Family sitting room off the Kitchen

The other house is the River Renovation.

It was preserved on the outside while being completely gutted and rebuilt inside.

View of the river side of the house.  The dormers are new along with the porch railing and sidewalk.

View from the balcony to the new pool, pool house, new dock and St. Johns River.

Inside the sitting part of the kitchen with the open, adjacent tv space.

The new stair in the foyer.  This is completely different than the original house.

And the stair at the second floor.  We opened and rebuilt the stair to the new third floor bedrooms.

After judging these same awards several times, I assumed that, with the quality of these that they would be slam dunks for receiving awards.

I am very pleased to say that the River House won the award for Outstanding New Construction, Residential.

Also pleased that I was selected Outstanding Neighborhood Architect.

But disappointed that the Renovation project was surpassed by a very nice, smaller renovation and didn't receive anything.  I sent a note to the wonderful owners.  They congratulated me on the two awards and let me know that they are very pleased to have such a nice house.  They said "Our award is living in it every day."  If possible, I will submit the house next year.

Both houses are to be on this year's RAP home tour, April 29th and 30th.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Rocket's Engine

Today, I had two tasks.

Number one was to replace the exhaust gasket on Razzo. It was blowing when I got home from the Oyster Tour. With a ride tomorrow to Steinhatchee, it had to be replaced. This was easily done.

Number two was to check the spark plug tightness on Rocket. The plug blew out on a short ride last Sunday, causing me to change the plug and reinstall a new one on the side of the road. I put the new one in, but was not satisfied with the tightness.

I used a new extension that worked with a 1/4" ratchet, so not too much leverage. I tightened the new plug lightly, but found it to not tighten, offering no resistance. So I removed it to check it out and reinstall. I found this time that it simply could be fully inserted without screwing it in. In and out it now slides. I can't run it doing that.

So it now requires a helicoil, new head or more.

Because I have a replacement engine, with only 6000 miles on it instead of the 76,000 on this one, I am quite certain that replacing the engine is the best move.

I will be calling Chris this week.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Oyster Tour 2017: Number Two

Ken organized Oyster Tour Number Two a while ago.

This included a regular, Jim Mandle and David Masse, coming from Toronto.

I headed west on Razzo from Jacksonville after working an hour on Wednesday.  I arriving at our meet up place, the McDonalds restaurant on 98 in Perry, Florida at 11:30.  I was early.

One of the joys of riding is enjoying the scenery, and wildlife.

 The boys arrived an hour later, but that time let me eat an Egg McMuffin appetizer and take some photos.

They were hungry, so we headed down the road to Pouncey.s for lunch.  I had a BLT that was one of the best ever.

Then off to Apalachicola, riding west on 98 around and through St. Marks, Medart and Panacea, then along the coast to Carrabelle, where we stopped for a photo op.  This one was along the Carabelle Harbor, where two women were fishing.  Watching them fish were several pelicans and an ibis.  Of course, I took the opportunity to take some photos.

Crossing Ochlockonee Bay near Panacea

David in Carrabelle

Then we continued to Lynn's Quality Oysters where three of us had the best raw oysters ever.  They were perfect.  Lynn's is ground zero for these rides, as it is the oysters that bring us back.

Oystermen returning home

A Canadian enjoying Florida's finest oysters

We checked into the Gibson Inn in Apalachicola and dined at a fine restaurant a block west.

Thursday we had a light breakfast at the inn.  Ken replaced the exhaust gasket on his new Vespa GTS that David was riding.  Then we headed east towards Cedar Key.  But he had a few stops in mind.  We started over the Apalachicola Bay Bridge, where the wind was howling from the north.  Poor Jim, all 135 pounds of him got battered a bit, drifting around in his lane.  But we made it and rode to the first stop at Carabelle Beach, so David could play in the sand.  A bit of history, the beach was used by US landing crews in preparation for the D Day invasion.  It is all shown on a marker at the park.

Crossing the causway at Apalachicola Bay in a strong wind.  Check out the whitecaps.

A stop on a narrow bridge in Carrabelle

Then we took the Sopchoppy route to avoid another bridge crossing in Panacea.  Ken turned unexpectedly on 319 towards Crawfordville and had us stop at a shaded spot that contained many old, rusted Ford trucks and other cars.  The vehicles were placed there by a fellow named Pat Harvey.  Rather than selling them, or trading them in, after use on his farm, Mr. Harvey left them all on this piece of property for all to enjoy.  They made great props for numerous photographs with the Vespas placed between cars.  It was special.

We passed through Perry, eating at Pouncy's again, where everyone wanted to try the BLT this time.  It was not quite as good as the day before, but David said it was still the best BLT he has ever eaten.

Contrails in a clear sky

Then we refueled and headed south on 19, where Ken again stopped unexpectedly when he saw a long distance bicycle rider on the side of the road.  It was a very nice fellow named Mark Eric Maga.  He had been on his long tour a few months, spending his time in Florida until the weather warmed up.  This location was the beginning of riding to California.  He can be found on his GoFundMe site.

Jim and David generously offered some cash to help him on his way.  He didn't ask for anything, and answered all of our questions for at least 15 minutes before Jim offered the donation.  I will be following him along his way on Facebook.

We stopped at a small, waterfront park in Fish Creek, just north of Steinhatchee, again for some photos and leg stretching.

Then we continued south where David showed us how he could fly on Ken;s scooter.

David flying

We had one last stop at the Dakotah Vineyards and Winery for a free wine tasting.  The wine was ok, but no purchases today.

Razzo at the estuaries heading into Cedar Key

Our fearless leader, Ken.

We made it to Cedar Key in the late afternoon, settling into the Dockside Hotel.  We wanted to eat at a new restaurant on the dock, but it was closed.  So we went to Tony's where everyone had their famous clam chowder and dessert.  Then a walk around the area, where I got some fine photos in the nighttime light.

"We are going to have dinner here tonight, and breakfast there tomorrow morning"

The Crystal River nuclear power plant looks like it is in the middle of the gulf from Cedar Key.

It was cold this morning, but after David, Ken and I had breakfast in town, they headed south and me northeast towards home.  It was another fine time with nice friends.  I am looking forward to the next one.