Sunday, February 28, 2016

Scooter Bob on the mean streets Part Deux

Scooter Bob has been patient with me so far.   He didn't even complain when I jumped in the car and strapped him in.

I know he rather ride Kimmie down but where I wanted to go it be easier to take the car and park it rather than deal with the straps, jacket, his box and a few other things.

Earlier this week I promised him we would ride around the bay and show him a UFO.  I've ridden Kimmie on Bayshore Blvd in Tampa before.   I think almost everybody in the city has driven this stretch of road at one time or another.   It's a lovely road with the Hillsborough river and the bay on one side of the road, historic and beautiful homes on the other.  It can be bumpy and nasty in parts but what city street isn't?

The city is invaded by Jose Gaspar and his Pirates once a year and Bayshore is the street the crew of the various ships in his fleet parade down.

Bob reading up on the legend of Jose Gaspar

It's best to stay far away from Pirates

Scooter Bob and I started to walk up Bayshore, it's a popular place with joggers and bikers since the road not only has a good view of the bay and the city but a lot of distance between the road and the traffic to make walking and other things safe.  Their is some dispute on the issue but it is supposedly the longest continuous concrete walkway in America.

This is one of the "go to" places I have when I bring people to Tampa.  It's always a lovely day in the city and the view really is wonderful when you're on a bike.  I'm sure Bob would have a smile ear to ear riding it.   As would anyone.

Scooter Bob checks out the road and the city in the distance.
Wistfully looking at the water.

We crossed the street and started walking back to where I parked the car.  Scooter Bob seemed to be enjoying some of the million dollar plus houses and their views of the bay and the city.   A lot of those houses dated back to the 1800's.

I love and respect the past, and in a lot of ways I wish others shared my love of the past.  Sadly I live in a state where someone where tear down a lovely historic 1830's home and rebuild it by putting in a modern all glass monstrosity.  

Spanish Colonial from the 1850's
There was still one more place I wanted to stop.  This is not on my "Go To" list because frankly its part of an "adult entertainment" establishment.   However the UFO on top of the club is one of the last examples of Futuro buildings.   Futuro was a "fad" in the field of Architecture in the late 1960's.   UFO's and space travel were all the craze so it's no wonder that some people would try to make a UFO home.  

Tampa had at least two of these homes within city limits at one time but one was destroyed by the city and the second one....well that ended up being the VIP lounge I understand.  

I'm including it here however because it is so rare and unusual it deserves recognition.  The fad of the Futuro home was exactly that.  A fad and they quickly passed into history.  Still though it's an interesting and unusual story.  Plus how often does one claim to see a UFO in broad daylight?

Bob and I headed home.  Our next stop would be on the back of Kimmie and a bit out in the country.  But sadly this would be at least a week before our next adventure.   Say tuned as they would say.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Scooter Bob and I hit the mean streets

Always helpful, Scooter Bob checks out my new kitchen tiles.

"Yes, Scooter Bob?"

"You know that these tiles are heavy right?   Given the fact that I'm really beat up and broken from traveling all over the world I'm surprised you're putting me to work.  Plus I'm a wooden scooter, no arms...makes moving these things difficult.  NOT that I don't appreciate your hospitality and all."


"I wanna get out and ride, raise a little hell."

"Scooter Bob I thought you were a quiet introvert!  Ok, we'll go.   Just remember to put on all your gear.  ATTGATT or nothing my friend!"

ATGATT for Bob is bubblewrap and packing peanuts wherever he goes
I decide to take Scooter Bob in and around Tampa some.  I would show him some of the more interesting sights in my hometown of Zephyrhills and then take a gentle tack towards Tampa.  It's about a 40 minute ride into "the Big Guava" depending on traffic and the route I take.   I figured it be good for us to ride Bayshore Boulevard for a bit.   That has some fantastic views of the city and the water as well as some lovely historic homes.  Maybe depending on the time we stop in Ybor City and introduce him to a friend or two of mine.   If time permitted I might show him some other things.  I never really know where Kimmie will take, us.

"STOP!" Scooter Bob yelled in my ear as I screeched to a stop.  He was off the bike in a flash and standing at a door.

"So what's this?  Where does it lead?"

"Zephyrhills is fill of little tiny doors Scooter Bob.  Some are more decorative than others.  No one knows who does them or why they are there.   Some times they show up, Sometimes they don't.  People will sometimes leave little notes or clues to where the next one is hidden."

"Cool, a mystery."

"So anyway Bob I know you have a love of old machines and cars.  I'm thinking about showing you something else.  This place is full of antique farm equipment and such.  I think the owner makes art out of of it.  It's on the way to Tampa so we'll stop and check it out.  I've never stopped there before so it might be fun."

A few moments later our intrepid pair arrives.

"Oh darn it's closed  I suppose I could jump the fence!"

"You know you're more of a daredevil than I thought Scooter Bob...and no, your not jumping the fence.  Get down off of that!"

It would not take us long to get into Tampa directly.   I thought I would take a leisurely ride up Bayshore Blvd and show him the famed Onion domes of the University of Tampa.

"Very cool Rob."

"At one time Scooter Bob that used to be the Plant Hotel, named after Henry B Plant a railroad magnate, and dates back to 1891.  He almost singlehandedly made Florida what it is today.  During the Spanish American war this served at Teddy Roosevelt's and the rough riders headquarters.  A variety of writers and celebrities stayed there as well."

"How do you know so much about history?"

"I love to read and have a great respect for the past....their is also a historical marker behind you."

"Oh.   You were saying something about a ride up Bayshore Blvd which overlooks the water and the city?  And something about a UFO?"

"Sadly Bob that needs to wait for a few days.   I'm afraid were out of time right now."

"Bummer, but I'm looking forward to what you got planned.   I'm just worried that you'll get me in trouble with my wife.  I heard you and Bill talking about having a mermaid kiss me."

"All in do time my friend."

Monday, February 22, 2016

Meeting up and passing the torch.

I have to admit that I'm a little nervous as I sit and wait at my home for the arrival of Scooter Bob.

I've been following David Masse's Life on Two Wheels blog for a while and David has put a lot of miles under his wheels as he traveled and toured.  Bill Leuthold is a legend in some circles as he done several Iron Butt challenges, and has been in at least two Scooter Cannonballs.  Ken Wilson has been keeping a blog for years and is another serious rider with various accomplishments to his name.  The man helped build a school for God's sake.  Jim Mandel I'm afraid I didn't know but I did know that if was riding with this group then he must be very accomplished indeed.

Sadly however I would not be able to ride with them.  I had some prior commitments (See the Great Kitchen Remodel) and would be working later in the day. 

Me?  I'm famous for trying to add a blender to the back of my bike and sell smoothies

Myself, Scooter Bob, Bill and Venessa
Sadly it didn't pan out that way.  David's gear got shipped elsewhere (see his post about thathere).  I'm not sure what happened to Ken and Jim but Bill did stop by for a few minutes and we handed off Scooter Bob. 

I had thought about where I wanted to take Scooter Bob before, but a lot of other riders have taken him to places I can only dream of.  My world seems very small right now, but let us shake those negative thoughts from my head.

In no particular order I was thinking of showing him the following:

  • The largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright's work in the south.
  • Mermaids
  • A big bell tower
  • City roads
  • Big Lizards
  • A city of Ghosts
  • A city of Freaks
  • A UFO
  • The best beach in America
  • Bea and my favorite bee's.
  • A castle in a swamp
It really just depends on the weather, the time I have and a few other things.  I'm a big fan of a local program that takes "Trips on a tankful" in and around Florida as well as an avid reader of Florida Backroads e-zine.    What I'm hoping is something odd and unusual will catch my eye.  I also had every intention to reaching out to my local scooting community for their suggestions as well.

This is going to be fun.  This, I think, is what I needed.   To get out and explore again.  Hopefully have Scooter Bob around will rekindle my desire to ride again, much like the Equinox to Equinox rally did a few years ago (and where I finished a very respectable 13th).

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Scooter Delivery

I had handed ScooterBob off to Ken Wilson last week when we were on a big ride in Port St. Joe and Cedar Key.  He was to have him for a short visit, then we were all to deliver him to his next host, Robert Wilson.

It turned out that Ken couldn't ride and David got caught in a Chicago hurricane of airline scheduling and had to cancel his trip.

But I was there and made the delivery to Robert's house on Saturday.

It was a pleasure to have the little guy, but he needed a new host.  Robert has some plans in store for the visit.

Scooter Bob's short visit.

Scooter Bob came to visit me last week for a few days.  He was so busy that I did not even get to get a picture before he moved on down the road on his adventure.  David was supposed to pick him up, but he failed to show and though Bob was disappointed he was happy that his good friend Bill came to save the day. Bob and I visited a few places but he hid in the bag around all the Harley guys, and he might have been a little hung over.
I waved goodbye as Bill and Bob left to go visit Scooter Bob's next friend.

Some places Scooter Bob visited.......

Big Red was fueled and pointed out the door for David to take Scooter Bob on his next adventure. Sadly the airlines stiff armed poor David.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Valentine Oyster Tour

This past weekend, Ken Wilson (Lostboater) arranged a new Oyster Tour.  It included me, Jim Mandle (ADKJim) and Gary Kinney (Captain Gary).

I met Jim in Perry on Saturday morning, from where we rode to Lynn's Quality Oysters in Eastpoint, where Ken and Gary awaited our arrival.

Four scooters in front of Lynn's Quality Oysters.  Ken and Jim in photo.

These are the wonderful raw oysters served inside.  Apalachicola Bay is currently closed, so these came from Texas

There, we had some raw oysters and steamed shrimp to hold us for the ride to Port St. Joe.

Gary, Jim and Ken in Port St. Joe

Scooter Bob at the hotel parking lot.

Scooter Bob with Ken's helmet

After getting settled in Port St. Joe, I wanted to ride up to Mexico Beach, where we found a great spot for a few photos of the little wooden scooter.

Scooter Bob at Mexico Beach

And another facing forward

Me, Scooter Bob's humble host.

On Sunday, the four of us headed to Cedar Key in what turned out to be a nearly 300 mile ride after several side trips and stops.

At St Joseph Peninsula State Park

We checked in to the hotel and had dinner at Tony's, famous for its chowder.  Gary had fun with the server and everyone was entertained.

This morning, I handed Scooter Bob off to Ken, his new handler.  Ken hasn't been on the list yet, but will be a fine host.

Ken at the Port St. Joe hotel Tiki Bar.