Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Scoot Commute

arrives in Vancouver. For the past few months emails have been going back and forth from Montreal to Vancouver, where it was David Masse's desire to meet up with other bloggers during his whirlwind visit. A few of us were able to meetup to show him some of the highlights of our City and also share a meal or two.

Because of our tight time schedule I decided to leave work early on Friday to allow time for a short ride to Steveston. After a few text messages, he managed to arrive right on schedule and this is my first glimpse of David, as he arrived on a scooter provided by Gary of


Traffic is a nightmare, bumper to bumper cars and it took a while before we could get over the Oak Street bridge then south to the quieter streets of south Richmond, where we finally arrived at our first destination Finn Slough . It a sleepy, photogenic place where you can just sit, relax and snap some photos. I come here often

David has already published his report of our outing and you can find his published report HERE . I wanted you to feel his impressions, from his first visit, and I will just post a few supplementary photos


I thought that David was busy snapping photos but he left his camera at his Hotel and is crippled with "just" a phone camera. I like to do environmental portraits, so I asked him to "pose" for me.


I think a photo like this would look good framed and hanging on his wall as a remembrance and a memory of a good time. We are soon mobile, riding along the water and various marinas where the fleets of fishing boats are moored and end up at the Government Dock in Steveston where David met Aime. It's a small world when you see the only other person on the dock and he just happens to come from Quebec.


Aime made a comment about our bikes and that's how it starts. Bikers talking to other bikers. I don't really know how their conversation was going as I am not fluent in French, but I can tell that they were really getting along together and talking about how things were back home where David lives

I had a surprise welcoming party at our next stop so we had to get underway . . . I didn't find out until later that SonjaM was also in Steveston about the same time as we were but this evening, our paths didn't cross. If you click her link you will notice the Government Pier in her third photo. Later she told me that she was there between 6pm-10pm. We had to leave around 6pm . What a co-incidence it would have been if David had met her "by accident" tonight

David Masse, Beaconsfield, PQ

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

1922 Ahrens-Fox

Back in April we had a chance to visit the best privately owned Vintage Fire Engine Collection in the Country and I was mesmerized with the stunning beauty of a


1922 Ahrens-Fox Model J-S-2 piston pumper #1211, built in Cincinnati. This engine was delivered to Station 9 in downtown St. Paul, Minn. It was the city's only all-African American-manned firehouse. The Cincinnati-built rig cost a staggering $12,500. The state-of-the-art fire engine could pump 34,051 litres of water a minute . The engine is equipped with dual ignition - battery and magneto - for guaranteed performance.

You can read more about it *** HERE ***


As part of the restoration process, it cost approx $50,000. to rechrome all the chrome bits. It is powered by an Auburn designed V12 engine which was converted to dual spark plugs

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Everyday Riding Chris from St Paul, MN

One Day last week I looked out my office window and I noticed someone tampering with my bike.


No, he's not tampering, it must be the "Great Stig" and parked next to me. Rumour is that no one knows who the Great Stig is for he always has his helmet on. He is also known as the "Man behind the Visor"


We have an excellent EDS: Early Detection System at work and our female radar system quickly relayed that a mystery man on a motorcycle had entered our Company Airspace. Of course, I knew that Chris was coming to my office so I grabbed my camera and quickly went outside to greet him

During our short time together I managed to "unmask" the Man behind the Mask and have the following, never before seen exclusive photos of the Man behind the Visor

Meet Chris Luhman, from MN on a 7 week Tour across the country from MN to San Diego (By way of Alaska)


I don't believe that after all these years we have finally had the chance to meet in person, and he is standing in my office. My only wish was that he were able to stay in town for another couple of days so I could show him some of our great roads & sights, and also to have a meal or two. But of course he has a much better companion flying into Seattle on the 25th, where he is headed later this afternoon

We decided to have a long coffee break and talk about this and that but as we parked our bikes, Chris noticed a problem with his sheared off licence plate, so thoughts turned to repairing this as soon as possible as it would have been a problem with border security later when he re-entered the United States. You can read Chris's comprehensive report HERE

Now, here we are in New Westminster wondering what to do. Chris thought that we could purchase some epoxy. We have nothing at work which could have been used to repair this, and I was an hour away from home & my meagre tools. It was like a vise squeezing my head to find a quick solution so Chris could be on his way to Seattle. I mean, Chris is thousands of miles away from home so it was up to me to find the solution.

Voila, Eureka . . . a brainstorm. I remembered that a fellow V-strom rider worked at a local body shop a couple of miles away. I quickly found the phone number and phoned Roger, explained the situation and asked if he could "drop everything" and fix it right now if we stopped by . . . and so we did


We spent much more time socializing and talking about Chris's trip than it took to do the actual repair. This is usually what happens when bikers get together, you form an almost instant bond with the other person.


Two thumbs up, and to Roger, thank you again for taking care of my friend Chris

Roger & Chris (unmasked)

Now that Chris's SV650 is ready for the road again, thoughts turned to our original plan of having a shorter coffee break, so it was back to the cafe for a table in the sun


Time goes too fast when you are having fun and so it was that it was nearly time to say our goodbyes


We suited up to go our separate ways. Myself to work and Chris to continue his adventure of a lifetime. I wished I were going with him. Our meeting was much too short, if only . . .


Chris, have a great time, continue with your excellent reporting, and safe travels

your friend, bob

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Visitors to the Wet Coast

I am always happy to meet other bloggers and this week was an exceptional week. Thursday I finally had a chance to meet Chris who is riding his Suzuki SV650 on a 7 week trip from Minnesota to San Diego by way of Alaska. Yes, I have photos but I am not sure how much more I could add to Chris's excellent recap of our short time together but I could add an addendum shortly after I catch my breath.

Then on Thursday, another visitor flew into town and I have been busy for nearly two days showing him the highlights of our City. Well, as much as can be squeezed into the limited time available. I was very fortunate to have been able to obtain 2 wheeled transportation for this person, but more about this later.

Saturday started for me at 7am, the roads were empty as we zigged and zagged about the streets of the city stopping for too many photos. It didn't take long for us to mesh like we had been friends for years. I think you would agree that he is taller than he seems


We had a welcoming party to keep him company. We had breakfast and lunch, we went here and we went there all over the countryside from Coquitlam on the East, to Horseshoe Bay on the West. It was a memorable day for all of us. It was like a mini-blogger reunion, and we decided to snap a group photo at Buntzen Lake


As far as I am aware, this is the first time that this combination of bloggers have managed to be in the same place, at the same time. I am sure you recognize them

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Kiwi Deb

It's always a pleasure to be able to meet other bloggers, you know, the person behind the words. We had met before when she (along with Mistress Scooterpie) came over to Vancouver last January to visit the Motorcycle Show in Abbotsford. It was a wirlwind affair and there was no time to pause for nourishment. Last Saturday she managed to make an appearance on the Causeway, across from the Empress Hotel on Government Street

Kiwi Deb on her Suzuki DR200 dual sport

I couldn't see through her helmet, but I did recognize her bike


She came with her friend Brian who rides a touring BMW with large side cases


It was just a quick stop for her to say hello and look at some of the bikes & scooters. Here she is fiddling with her travelling mascot


With camera in hand she is gathering material for future blog posts, I'm sure. After Mistress Scooterpie arrived, Kiwi Deb & Brian left for northern points unknown. It was a shame that we didn't get a chance to socialize, so I asked if she would be available on Sunday for breakfast before we left for home

and here she is arriving at the Restaurant. She finally found us after a bit of confusion with addresses


the weather had gone downhill a bit from yesterday. It was drizzling a bit and overcast


There, that's better. I asked her to flip her visor so we could see her face . Luckily we came early and managed to snag a great window view

Deb, Carol & Andrew

I have known Carol & Andrew for a few years and it was my intention to introduce them to Deb, after all, they are part of the local scooter group and they meet often for coffee and organize group rides in the Victoria area

Andrew & Carol: Family portrait time

I asked Andrew & Carol to pose for a family photo, and they did. I'm a sucker for side lit, natural light portraits

I haven't posted any food photos for a while, so here you are . . .

Kiwi Deb ordered this

and I ordered the Seafood Eggs Benedict

Crab & Shrimp covered with hollandaise sauce

We must have talked for about an hour or so, catching up with our lives and soon it was time to go our separate ways


Carol is known for her tiger ears, and tiger tails. While I am saying our goodbyes to Carol & Andrew, I turn around and notice that Kiwi Deb is keeping busy


snapping photos of all the mirrors. I don't know how you could see the road and ride at the same time with all those mirrors staring at you

Kiwi Deb aims her camera in my direction one more time


then she asks if I would like to follow her in search of an old gas station on West Saanich Road. So we are a team of two for a half hour or so whipping up and down the streets and soon we are on the outskirts of town rolling through the twisties on our way north heading towards the Ferry Terminal. After our short gallavant we say our farewells along the side of the road and I continue on my way home.

Kiwi Deb, thank you for your Company . . .

Monday, May 21, 2012

RTE: aka Vancouver Scootering goes to Victoria

Of course RTE = Ride to Eat. It's a rule on our group rides that food must be part of the planning. Food before or at the end and also in the middle. I am sure that most other clubs would choose a destination, but we choose the restaurant first, then figure out the best route to get there and most often a breakfast signals the start of any ride.

I have found it best to keep my videos on the short side, so here is just a compilation of a few clips from Saturday, featuring Dar, "Mistress Scooterpie" as she first arrived on the Causeway across the street from the Empress Hotel. It was the first time I had seen her ride and she handled Mr Motorcycle's donor cruiser like a pro.

I am also introducing Carol & Andrew from ScootersVancouverIslandStyle (sVIs) (<-- link) both of whom are active scooterists in Victoria. Andrew rides a Vespa and Carol has a Vino 125. They organize a lot of group rides and also meet for coffee every Sunday at noon (rides usually follow)

Last year I noticed that Andrew had perfected the "Andrew 2-up method of mounting his Vespa". I was too slow with my camera but today I managed to capture this most magnificent way of getting your passenger on the pillion

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Dar: Mistress Scooterpie

Well, the cat's out of the bag. I can't fool anyone but the day nearly didn't happen . . .

It was an early morning Ferry ride to Victoria for the start of a long holiday weekend. It was a build up of months of anticipation and a chance to meet old friends. Dar has already posted her comprehesive recap of our day HERE *****

For years, scooterists from Seattle, Tacoma, Bellingham, Edmonton, Calgary & Vancouver converge on the tourist city of Victoria for the Capital City Scooter Rally, one of the longest running scooter rallies in the Country. I have been attending for many years having previously belonged to the Vespa Club of Canada & the Worst Scooter Club Ever. There is usually in excess of 150 scooters, predominately Vespas of all generations, some restored and some not.

We travelled over as a group from We had 20 scooters in our contingent but there are several group rides heading in different directions but 14 of our members were excited that I had brought in my local, resident expert of local twisties for our own personalized group ride. Enter Dar on Mr Motorcycle's Cruiser and myself in the rear on my V-strom with the maxi-scoots sandwiched in the middle.

It was a great day with great people and I can honestly say that the guys from absolutely loved her and were hoping the day would just continue . . . (<-- don't forget to click the link if you don't believe me)

I wished that we could do "Saturday" again, and again, and again . . .

When you were young

can you remember how sad you were when your parents didn't buy you that toy you wanted. And then how happy you were when you finally got your way. Or having to wait months for Christmas to see if your dreams were fulfilled. How about that trip you paid for and the anticipation of waiting for your departure date and then you find out that your trip "was cancelled". Well, those were the anticipations of disappointment and the fulfilment of the past couple of days


The day had finally arrived and the happiness that was soon to be was nearly taken away. Like a candle blowing in the wind, the flame was barely hanging on


and then, like a new day the sun was brightly shining, the birds were chirping and all was well with the world. Sadness quickly turned to joy, but time was slipping fast, so fast as I tried to slow the clock but it was not to be. No matter how hard I tried, what I wished or hoped, time was running out and all I could think of was for this day to never end . . .


. . . to be continued

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Last week was Mother's Day

So we took the long route to find a place to have Mother's day brunch. We decided that upscale places would be lined out the door so we ambled our way to a familiar haunt. On the way we saw


this interesting hack. It was a Honda CBR125rr with a Cosy Sidecar. I had to stop and take a closer look


I've been past this rig a few times but it was always under a bike cover so I had no idea what was beneath, until today. Soon enough we arrive at our usual place by the water and had the place nearly to ourselves.


As you noticed we parked behind the '58 Ford Thunderbird 2 DR HT. I like to look at old cars and here is a shot of the interior


Our waitress came over with the menus

and said: "Weren't you just here last week ?"

Me: "I think we were, we like it here"

I'm not sure it is a good thing to be recognized and to order the same old thing every week. I had my usual, Eggs Benedicts and Mrs Skoot had this


Two eggs, hash browns, 2 sausages and choice of toast . . . not bad for $4.95, coffee extra. The eggs benedicts were $7.95 . We can't even dine at the Golden Arches for this amount and we get served, there is no lineup and parking is plentiful and right outside.

After a leisurely brunch, we went for a leisurely topless ride through the Country and finally it was time to return home and top up the fuel. I had just under half a tank and it cost me just over $76.00 . Luckily I ride my bike most of the time as it is costly to keep feeding my V8 engine


I am supposed to feed my engine 94 octane, premium fuel but I can cheat a little and use 92 to save a few bucks. Today I decided to use the top grade as half my tank still has gas and fuel stabilizer from last year. My 'Vette chokes on anything less

A Mike Simmons inspired "shadow photo" I know he lurks but doesn't comment

A few days ago I mentioned that I had purchased another addition to a pile of new stuff which may never be used.


It is inside its own pouch and is very compact


Here I am sliding it out.


It is a new generation of MicroLite sleeping bags. It is filled with a very efficient synthetic filling which holds in your body heat. As I am not a camper I thought that a sleeping bag rated to 45°F would be satisfactory for me as I would only use it during the heat of summer. Plus I have the option of wearing clothes if it got any colder.

I am still not convinced that I am a Camper but I plan to pack it on my bike, just in case of emergencies. I just have to figure out the stove & food options. Just for fun I decided to see if my tent and sleeping bag would fit inside my sidecase,


and they do with room to spare. Notice that the compressed sleeping bag is only half the size of the tent

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I had some errands

to do during the past few weeks. I was going to continue with my "looking for new riding pants" saga but I am getting behind. Do you know that I have posts from last year not yet published, but it was so long ago I archived the photos. I am most positive you would have been interested to know about a conversation I had with an "instructor", which parallels motorcycling that you may not realize or even thought about, because I certainly didn't .

For now I'll turn back the clocks a couple of weeks and refer you to a post by absent-minded RichardM in Alaska who forgot to renew his driver's license. Anyway I got to thinking, so when I got home to check my license you wouldn't believe that . . . it was also expiring very soon. I am one who dislikes loose ends. When things break I have to have them fixed right away. So even though I had time to spare I went into panic mode and made a trip to our Motor vehicle office, which is run by our Insurance Corp of BC . Being a Government Agency, their hours of operations don't usually match times where customers can actually visit, but I was in luck to find their only office which opens Mall hours.

Agent: "That'll be $17.00 sir"

Me: "Only $17.00, what happened ? did you reduce your rates ?"

Agent: "No, the regular rate is $75. for a 5 year term. That's what I have to pay, but you are old so you get a discount. For you it is $17. for 5 years, Seniors get the reduced rate" (well, I made up that old part)

I have snow tires mounted on separate rims so I can change the wheels myself.


except for a little loss of air, after I changed the wheels over to summer tires I pump them back up to recommended pressures. I have never had a problem and I do the same routine every year. This year I developed a slow leak in my front tire. It was loosing 3 psi per day. I jacked the car up and inspected the tire carefully for punctures and couldn't find any problems. It bothered me so much that I had to bring it in to the place where I purchased these new Michellins last year


It was hard to find but eventually discovered it was a "bead" leak on the inner seal. They unmounted the tire and everything was clean, and the bead on the tire was "as new" with no imperfections. They put more rubber compound on the rim and remounted the tire. I have been racking my brain trying to figure out what happened. I don't abuse tires and I have never "hit" a curb or anything like that, but then it occurred to me what happened, and it is certainly my fault. It's the way I hammer the tire to break the surface tension on the tire hub due to the torqued lug nuts.

When I first arrived at the tire shop they were busy with two other customers before me, so before they could fit me on the hoist I decided to walk down the block while I waited. I decided to carry my camera looking for photos when I came upon a shop with an interesting car. I know I shouldn't be poking my camera into a private shop, so I quickly took a few steps inside their repair facility and before I could snap the shutter, I heard a

voice shouting my direction: "WHAT ARE YOU DOING THERE !!"

I didn't know whether to turn and run or hold my ground, so I looked at him and confidently said

Me: "That is a very nice car over there. Do you mind if I snap a photo of it ?" I blabbed some other jibberish about being in a car club and having sold my muscle car, and

HE said: "Come on it and take as many photos as you want. As a matter of fact I'll lower the hoist for you to get a better view"


Of course it was that RED Cobra high up on the hoist that caught my eye.

Soon enough he came over and lowered the hoist for me


I have always admired this particular model Cobra. My other dream car was the 356 Porsche Speedster.


this particular car has the 351 Ford engine and it looks very nice.


Of course these are all KIT cars as I don't think you could afford to buy an original one. After I snapped a few photos I left went up the street to look at some motorcycles and when I started to walk back to the tire shop I noticed a Barracuda across the street. A voice came from nowhere and

said: "That belongs to a customer of mine. Let me open the hood for you"

It was the same person from that repair shop. He must have been watching me walk down the street

Me: "Thank you, I used to have a 2 door hardtop, same colour, white with black vinyl top"


I think this is a rare car. They didn't make many Barracuda convertibles back then, and this had the 340ci engine, bucket seats with console


I can't seem to get that Cobra off my mind