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.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Guns and Scooters

I don't own a gun.  Never will.  

I have always understood that, should you want to die in an argument, carry a gun.

A rider in Modern Vespa recently posted "What do you carry..."  He is a member of a Harley Davidson forum where, because most of them are not satisfied that the Harley Davidson provides enough machismo, they must carry a weapon to make up for their missing manhood.

Since the thread got locked, I thought I would enter my opinion in the forum where I can say anything I like.  Because it is my blog.

In our riding group at least one member carries a gun.  It is a bit crazy as he is the most liberal fellow in the group.  I would have put him with me in the anti-gun group, but he carries a pistol.

It was a major disappointment when one Tuesday we were riding down Atlantic Boulevard heading to our weekly club ride to dinner.  A motorcyclist rode past, then signaled for us to stop at a parking lot in front of the Mudville Grill.  Thinking he was interested in the group, wanting to learn more, we pulled over.  Just to be nice.

He turned out to be mad and started yelling at one of our riders, I believe he was thinking they had "cut him off" or some other nonsensical act that road ragers use to build up their anger.

My disappointment was that the gun toter in the group didn't pull out his gun and shoot the idiot dead.

Maybe next time.

I am kidding, of course, but it would have been dramatic.

As for my reasons for not carrying a gun, the most obvious is to recall an incident that happened in Jacksonville a few years ago.

A middle aged South Florida man had attended a wedding in Jacksonville earlier in the day.  He was returning with his girlfriend to his home, but needed to stop to put fuel into his car. 

While refueling he got angry when a fellow refueler had friends inside his car playing rap music, rather loudly. 

Our Florida man got mad and asked the young man to turn the music down.  Loud words followed.

The Florida man then reached into his car, retrieved his gun, then fired several rounds into the car towards the loud music playing young man.

The result was that the young man died at the scene.  The Florida man is now serving life in prison, his life ruined.  Family members on both sides mourn.

If he had only left that gun at home..... .


Monday, January 15, 2018

Scooter Cannonball Run 2018 Update

The exact routes are coming out, one day at a time up to day six now.

The days all look long and potentially daunting.

Especially day three that includes 380 miles with quite a bit of dirt and gravel to go with a ferry crossing of Lake Powell.

Google has it at 9 hours and 50 minutes.

Garmin at over 11 hours.

It will be a long day but with Zion, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks as part of the route, then ending with Moki Dugway, the scenery will be unbelievable.

It is getting closer.

The daunting, but beautiful route

Moki Dugway

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Rocket in the Sticks

Channeling Steve Williams and his Scooter in the Sticks blog today.

I had been talking about a new project with a client I did work for last year.

It is a house to be built on a site along a small river north of Jacksonville.  The client owns 600 acres there and has chosen the site along the river with a view to the southwest.

The site is at the end of a three mile dirt and grass road that puts it in the middle of nowhere.

I have never been offered a chance to build on such an isolated lot.

It should be fun.

But the Rocket in the Sticks part is that I got to ride Rocket, following the owner's family, the three miles down the unpaved road until I got to a spot where water was deep enough to get me off the scooter and into the client's car.

We then abandoned the car to ride around the rustic area in a Kawasaki Mule.  This thing would go anywhere.  Much of the ride was off the road and even off the trails as we rode straight through the brush, knocking down small bushes and trees.  That thing would go anywhere.  I want one.

I rode out slowly, stopping to take photos of Rocket in its new environment.

 I followed the clients to the homesite

 There is even a bridge along the way

 The homesite

We made our own trails through the brush in the Mule.

 Rocket as we started back to civilization

Along the dirt road

 The view from the bridge

 Glamour shot of the old scooter

 Through puddles and mud

Back to the gate