Monday, February 26, 2018

Where I Belong

Since the 2018 Scooter Cannonball Run route was revealed, one day at a time over the past couple of months, I have been studying each day.

Several, especially the early days, appear to be quite difficult.

These days have long, twisty climbs into and out of the mountains.  Several of these add dirt and gravel to make for long days, especially considering that some are well over 400 miles.

I was getting a little concerned until recently.

When I got onto Rocket to ride to St. Petersburg to meet Ken and Gary for a five day ride around Florida last week, within the first hundred miles I again realized that enjoy riding these scooters more than anything in my life. 

It is where I belong.

So, instead of worrying about the long days, I am embracing them.  Dirt,,,who cares.  I have ridden worse roads than these. 

And these roads are through some of the most dramatic scenery anywhere.

Sequoia National Forest
Death Valley National Park
Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Zion National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Glen Canyon Recreation Area
Moki Dugway

These are some of the places I have been wanting to ride for years.

I am in for a month long, 5500 mile ride when getting to the start from Seattle and riding home from Virginia Beach are factored in.

What could possibly be more fun than that?

The adventure begins in mid May where I left Vanessa after 2016.  Seattle.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Another Oyster Tour

Ken organized another Oyster Tour around a lunch with fellow Modern Vespa friends for this past week.

He set it up to meet with Terry and Nada at a restaurant in Palmetto, then ride to Avon Park to one of our favorite hotels, The Jacaranda.  From there we rode to Cedar Key followed by Apalachicola, making it another Oyster Tour.

We had to meet at Ken's house in St. Petersburg, so I rode from Jacksonville.  Captain Gary rode a longer ride from Dothan, Alabama and he arrived a bit tired.

We had dinner at the Casual Crab with more friends, Walt and Helen.  Ken's wife Vicki and their friend Rich joined us too.  It was an old Florida type of place and the food was average.

Sunday was lunch with Terry and Nada, so we rode over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge to Palmetto.  The lunch was fun, talking to such nice people.  They are living in Malta, so we discussed that along with their time in England, especially about their canal boat.

Gary, Ken and I then headed east to Avon Park, through miles of orange groves, now blooming with the pleasant smell of orange blossoms along the way.

When we arrived at the Jacaranda, our friend Bob had come over from Titusville, and we dined at a Taqueria a few blocks from the hotel.  There, we thought this should be called the "Fine Dining Oyster Tour"  but it withered on the vine.

Monday started with breakfast at The Depot across the street from the Jacaranda.  It was filled with interesting patrons and the food was average.

Riding to Cedar Key took us through more orange groves and small towns.  We rode through a very well preserved residential area in Floral City on the way to see another scooter friend, Jim Mandle at his house in Hernando.  We observed a cool project of his, then had lunch of BBQ in a local restaurant, also filled with interesting characters and average food.

We made it to Cedar Key and checking us into the hotel was fourth grader William, as his dad was in Chiefland buying groceries.

Gary and the rest of us were tired so we ate dinner at a seaside restaurant across the street from the hotel.  Nice views, interesting patrons and a average food.

Gary decided to head back to Dothan on Tuesday morning, skipping the westerly end of the ride in Apalachicola.  We dropped him at Pouncy's in Perry.  Very sad to see that the home of the best BLT in the world had closed.

Ken and I made it to Lynn's for a lunch of oysters.  Lynn's is a colorful place of interesting staff and much better than average food.  The oysters, unfortunately from Texas, were perfect.  I even met Lynn.

Ken and I stayed in our favorite hotel, the Gibson in downtown Apalachicola and dined on the porch of The Owl restaurant, where our server, Robin, did a great job serving very well prepared fish followed by an extremely rich chocolate dessert.

We got up early and headed east as the sun was rising.  I dropped Ken in Perry where he rode south to St. Pete while I went further east to Jacksonville.

All said, a better time couldn't be had.

Somewhere along the ride to St. Pete.

Scooters in Ken's new garage

Gary arriving

Riding in St. Pete

Near the top of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

Ken and Nada

Gary and Terry looking at boat photos

The four of them with scooters

Orange groves

Bob meeting us at the Jacaranda

The Taqueria

We crossed the railroad tracks at dusk.

Scooters at the Jacaranda.  I liked the shot with the truck passing.

Ken in a sandwich board

We stopped to photograph orange trees.

We missed the big show by a week.

Scooters at a gas stop. You should have seen the guy's gold grill here.

Floral City's historic street

Gary and Ken posing at Jim's house.

A shirtless William Jr. checking us in.

I went for a ride and got an afternoon shot of the estuary at Cedar Key

Scooters in Cedar Key

Breakfast in Cedar Key

What is a ride without a dirt road?

Ken took us to the Bat House.

And a volunteer fire department with a big flag.

"Say it aint so"

Rocket crossed 85,000 miles on the way to Apalachicola.

Along route 98 near Carrabelle.

Lynn's of course.

Ken and oysters.

Fred doesn't visit the Gibson without needing a new exhaust gasket.

Shrimp boats in Apalachicola.

The sun rising on the Apalachicola Bay Bridge.

Ken saving a turtle.

And on the road before heading south.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Don't Fall Off

That is the 7 Bridges Scooter Club Rule Number Three.

At least my implementation of club rules.

The first two rules I established many years ago. 

Those two are related to group rides.

They are Keep Up and Don't Complain.

They get broken all the time.

But the new rule, Don't Fall Off, has come into play only a very few times.

I did it once on a group ride in Alabama.

It happened this time to my good friend and fellow 7 Bridges Scooter Club member (actually the leader of the group, even though we have no officers.)

Russ has been scooting since buying a Vespa P200 in the 1980's.  He last fell off one 34 years ago.

But last week he was headed to the weekly Tuesday club ride to dinner.  It was cold and he was under dressed.  About a mile into the ride he decided to turn around and head home for a bigger coat.  

He chose the turn around location poorly as it had some sand that caused a wheel to slide out from under him.

Down went Russ and his 2005 Vespa GT.

He got up and figured a way for his old, broken body to stand the scooter upright .  He managed and it cranked easily. 

Russ rode it home with a pain in his right hand.

A quick visit to a local care center showed a break and an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon.  Their more accurate cat scan showed a dislocation.  

Surgery is planned for this week and Russ is not able to ride for months.

So remember...

Don't fall off.  It ruins everything.

Russ in better days, in Douglas Georgia to look at airplanes.