Sunday, December 28, 2014

29 December - Scooter Bob visits Wilsons Promontory - Another adventure "Down Under"

With the Christmas festivities behind us I thought it was time for my final trip showing Scooter Bob some of my favourite local riding destinations. The plan for today was to visit Tidal River which is a holiday destination located in the Wilsons Prom National Park. Wilsons Prom is a beautiful rugged, mountainous national park which is a huge attraction for hikers and campers particularly during the holiday season. The very tip of the Prom is also the most southerly part of the Australian mainland. The weather bureau forecast possible showers later in the day but when we left at about 10:30 all looked well.

The area abounds with wildlife and there are lots of signs asking drivers to take care to avoid the locals by driving/riding slowly. Scooter Bob observed some traffic signs which are unique to Australia.

The road to tidal river is very scenic and provides lots of views of the ocean. We stopped at this one to observe the rugged Wilsons Prom terrain and some of the off-shore islands.

We reached Tidal River at about 1 pm and found the place packed with caravans and tents and campers enjoying the summer holiday. Lunch plans were quickly abandoned when I realised it would take a long time to get served, so down to take a quick look at the Tidal River Beach. 

Not a lot of people at the beach because the weather had started to cool and when I looked at the sky towards home there was some ominous cloud activity there. We had no sooner started the return journey when the first raindrops hit so a quick stop to don the wet weather gear. Good decision because within 15 minutes or so we were riding through steady rain and quite gusty winds. This was the pattern for the whole return trip and it was good to get home around 4pm.

Well, it is time for Scooter Bob to travel to his next adventure down under and tomorrow I will be checking him and his little black travel case at the post office. I'm sure the little scooter will visit many more interesting locations in Australia so keeping checking here for future Scooter Bob reports from Australia.

Total Distance Today 320 km

Contributed by guest blogger Theo van der Meulen

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

24 December - Merry Christmas from Scooter Bob Down Under

It's Christmas Eve and Scooter Bob is spending the festive season in Traralgon, Australia
Once the festivities are out of the way, and hopefully some of the holiday traffic has died down, Scooter Bob will take another ride into the Victorian countryside before moving on to his next home away from home, in New South Wales.

In the meantime all that remains is for me to wish the circle of Bobskoot and Scooter Bob friends a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Safe riding everyone!

Contributed by guest blogger Theo van der Meulen

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Around this time last year, Bob posted Christmas greetings on this blog.

I missed it, just like I missed too many other wonderful posts, because I just didn't have the time.  In that way the impending holiday season is like a silver cloud with a grey lining.

Kathy didn't miss it though.  She e-mailed me and suggested a WetCoast blog challenge.

Read about it here.

I did.  And I can think of no more fitting way to kick off the coming holidays than to have Bob wish each and every one of you amazing holidays.

Thanks Kathy.

Merry Christmas, Happy Christmas, Happy Chanukah and very best wishes for the holidays!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

16 December - Scooter Bob visits the Gippsland Lakes (Down Under)

The Gippsland Lakes are a network of lakes and marshes in East Gippsland, Victoria, covering an area of about 354 sq km (137 sq mi). The lakes and surrounding towns are an important tourist destination for Australians and international visitors alike, and feature boating, fishing, pristine beaches, fine dining and wineries. The lake system is connected to the sea at Lakes Entrance which is also a commercial fishing port. As the weather forecast promised temperatures around 35ºC I thought it was time to take the Beemer, and Scooter Bob to check out this wonderful destination.

Our first stop was to check out the commercial fishing fleet in Lakes Entrance.

Then, we were off to the hill overlooking Lakes Entrance to get a great view of the lakes and the entrance to the sea.

The pace in Lakes Entrance is picking up. Here in Victoria, as in the rest of Australia, school has just finished and main holidays of the year are underway. There was a constant stream of traffic ready to set up camp either here or in other coastal towns further up the coast.

After Lakes Entrance, it was a short ride to the village of Metung located in the middle of the lakes system. Metung appears to be developing into a retirement destination with lots of new residential developments and golf courses. As it was lunchtime we dropped into the Metung Galley for a bit to eat and some much needed hydration. Metung features a range of attractive holiday accommodation as well as boat and yacht hire and is a popular stop off for the may 'boaties' on the lakes. Restaurants and a great pub are only a short walk from the public jetty.

Finally, after some great riding and sightseeing it was time to head in the direction of home but not before a quick stop at our friends John and Sandra who live in Paynesville, also located on the shores of the Gippsland lakes. After the heat of the day, it was nice to sit in the shade for a chat, a coffee and a cigar before heading home.

The final leg of the trip was very windy and a sign of the storms forecast for later this evening, and it was nice to get home and have a well deserved beer (or two).

Total Distance 360 km.

Contributed by guest blogger Theo van der Meulen

Sunday, December 14, 2014

14 December - More Scooter Bob Adventures Down Under and Scooter Bob Meets Shadow Riders of Australia

Once again a sunny hello from Australia where Scooter Bob is currently seeing the sights.

A beautiful day today and time to show Scooter Bob some more of the beautiful Victorian countryside. Our destination today was Christmas Hills to attend the Christmas BBQ of the Shadow Riders of Australia, a group of riders who enjoy the Honda Shadow motorcycle in its various forms. Our first stop was the little town of Noojee, which was at one time a thriving centre for timber production. Timber was hauled from Noojee to provide housing material for a booming Victoria and dedicated enthusiasts have recently placed one of the old steam locomotives used to haul timber, in a park in Noojee. The railway line travelled through the mountainous forest clad area around Noojee and joined the main Melbourne line via 7 timber tressle bridges. Only one of these now remains and Bob visited this last vestige of a once busy industry.

From Noojee our trek continued into the Yarra Valley wine region and then to the Sugarloaf Reservoir located in Christmas Hills. This was the meeting place for a number of Victorian members of the Shadow Riders of Australia for the annual Christmas BBQ. Before meeting all the SRA members though Scooter Bob visited the actual dam wall for another photo opportunity.

Then it was time to meet the SRA members and their families and to grab a group photo.

Finally it was time for Scooter Bob and me to start the long ride home back to Traralgon.  It was such a nice afternoon we returned through the mountain route and after a coffee in Yarragon we reached home after a great ride and a fantastic day.

Total Distance 362 km

Contributed by guest blogger Theo van der Meulen

Friday, November 28, 2014

28 November - ScooterBob Starts His Adventure "Down Under"

A warm welcome to all those following ScooterBob's travels, from sunny Australia.
My name is Theo van der Meulen and as an enthusiastic motorcyclist and blogger (Check out Australian Motorcycle Diaries here)I enjoyed my occasional (virtual) contact with BobSkoot over the past few years. I'm pretty certain I read all of his blogs and last year followed his trek across North America with great interest. A few weeks ago, when I learned of his untimely passing and the plan to have ScooterBob undertake the travels Bob would have enjoyed, I expressed an interest in hosting ScooterBob down under in Australia. Well, last week my post lady delivered him to the front door in his little black travel case, and today, on a brilliant sunny Australian spring day I took Scooter Bob on his first Australian adventure to the old gold mining town of Walhalla. This 'ghost' town is located in the mountains to the north of my house and has been a frequent motorcycle destination for me and any visitors who ride with me. Our first stop was the Tyers lookout which provides a good overview of the Latrobe Valley where I live.

This spot provides a great view of the rural landscape dotted with the occasional large power stations.

Walhalla was a major gold producer over a period spanning the 1870's to around 1910. This photo shows the vault where all the gold was stored prior to transport to Melbourne.

The value of gold stored in this vault, in today's money is about $1.4 billion dollars. Today, this town which once had a population exceeding 4,000 now has a mere handful of inhabitants who maintain a small but vibrant range of tourist activities including visits to one of the old gold mines.

One of the few intact reminders of the glory days is Windsor House, once owned by a rich merchant which is now restored and is operated as a B&B.

While much is gone, much remains and a number of dedicated residents have, over the past few years restored some of the key buildings. There are reminders of 'the old days' wherever you look.

My adventures with Scooter Bob will continue for a few more weeks until is time to pass him onto the next of Bob Leong's friends. My rides will go the places I think Bob would have enjoyed. Although I never met him, I think I got to know him a little through his blogs and I know for certain I would have like him a lot.

Total distance 130 km.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Cuckoo Clock for ScooterBob

Another beautiful day and yes, the month is November. Since ScooterBob is scheduled to leave shortly in quest for warmer places we wanted to show him one last specific Black Forest feature. Of course there were several leaf peeping stops for us before we got the the place.

But eventually we arrived at our destination in Triberg, and introduced ScooterBob to the world's largest Cuckoo Clock. A scale of 60:1, as documented in the Guiness Book of Records. 4.5x4.5m (15x15ft) in size and 15m (50ft) in height, with a pendulum length of 8m (26ft), and a weight of six tons. It took five years to build it, and the inside can be visited (when open).

The last picture shows ScooterBob with pendulum and counterweights of the clock in the background. This is our goodbye. I have kept it long enough, it's time for the little world traveler to move on.

These are the voyages of ScooterBob. It's continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilisations, and to boldly go where no wooden scooter has gone before.

Friday, October 31, 2014

ScooterBob goes to France


A trip to Strasbourg, France sounded like an excellent plan. The fog had lifted, and the sun was out. It didn't have its summer strength though, temps were rather nippy out there. We grabbed ol' ScooterBob, and hit the road to France.

After an uneventful ride on major roads we reached the city center and parked our Vespa adjacent to the pedestrian zone. It wasn't quite legal but due to lack of parking spots it usually gets tolerated. And we doubted that the officials would bother about two innocent little scoots. At Cafe Bistrot & Chocolat we found what we were looking for. Vegan! Vegetarian! Gluten free! All day brunch!

After this delicious meal we showed ScooterBob the sights of Strasbourg. We put it right in front of the museum Rohan Palace. Notice that there are no people present. As a matter of fact the visitors were considerate enough to wait until we had finished with the wooden scooter's photo session. Some of them might have thought, it was an experimental art project of sorts.

The most popular spot in Strasbourg is its huge cathedral Notre Dame de Strasbourg. But it's a very crowded place, and we didn't want ScooterBob to get stomped on, so we visited briefly, and using a hole in the crowd we got our tourist snap shots done and left.

Riding opportunities are getting less now at the end of the season, and riding days are getting shorter, but we are hoping to get in one more ride with ScooterBob.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

First Ride out with ScooterBob

It didn't take long to convince our 'guest' ScooterBob to come along for a ride on the famous Black Forest High Road. It hopped into my Vespa top case, and off we went on the touristy mountain rim road.

This stretch of federal highway B500 going from Baden-Baden to Freudenstadt is very popular with the two-wheeled crowds. But that distinctive chill in the air which reminded us of season's ending, had the fair weather riders already talked into mothballing their bikes. We were welcomed with next to zero traffic and a wide open road.

At Zuflucht we stopped to admire the view. Looking west, in the far we spotted the silhouette of the Vosges Mountains in France. This is usually a popular take-off point for hang gliders but the place looked abandoned this afternoon.

Finally I introduced ScooterBob to my absolute favourite spot in the area: All Saints' Abbey. We had visited many times before, at different seasons, with different guests, and this historic site never failed to impress.

By then the cold started creeping into our bones, and we decided it was time to return home for a nice hot cuppa.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Eagle (a.k.a. ScooterBob) has landed!

Well protected in his black travel box the wooden trinket left Key West in Florida, fearlessly crossed the Atlantic on its own, and finally landed safe and sound in the heart of the Black Forest, Germany.

The evening of ScooterBob's arrival was mild, and so we sat on the front porch to enjoy the sunset, with a glas of Hugo Rosé cocktail (Prosecco, elderflower syrup, lime juice, fresh mint and soda water). Here's to my late friend, Bob Leong.

I met Bob, the man and his pink crocs, back in March 2010, after I moved to Vancouver. He became my riding buddy, and a good friend, and I miss him dearly.

Scooterbob shall spend some time with me, and together we are going to re-discover some of my favourite places in Germany before I'll ship it to its next destination. Please stay tuned for updates.

R.I.P. my friend Bob. I know you'll be watching.

SonjaM, Germany

Thursday, October 23, 2014

ScooterBob At The Southernmost Point

When I was in Montreal last summer I met David Masse who  gave me this wooden scooter adornment to play a prank on the late Bob Leong who gave it as a gift to David. David's idea (and it was his not mine...) was to greet Bob in Key West with the wooden scooter already here! So my wife and I loaded it into our luggage and brought it home in anticipation of the Key West road trip 2015. Then Bob died very unexpectedly and the idea imploded.
Until David thought of sending the scooter now named Scooterbob around the world to celebrate Bob's wanderlust which he planned to fulfill in the retirement that never came. As I had the scooter at home here is the first stop - where else?- at the Southernmost Point In The Continental United States. Splendid.
And these are the kind passersby who stopped to do the deed for me; a brief encounter with Mr and Mrs Anonymous  who, when they learned Scooterbob was soon to be sent to Germany got into the spirit of the thing and handled my phone camera like pros.
And Friday afternoon I stopped by Pak Mail where a genial Canadian holds court with his two Labradors and together they package and ship everything everywhere. Scooterbob is now en route to Germany where Sonia  promises to show off some of Germany's finest countryside in the  company of Scooterbob.
 RIP Bob Leong of Vancouver, BC.

Safe travels in your new guise as Scooterbob, voyager extraordinaire.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

ScooterBob hits the road, Jack!

Copyright Bob Leong
This is a slightly long story, but well worth reading, and there's a twist that could involve you, in a good way.

I first met Bob in late May of 2012.  That's only a few short years ago, but it feels like a lifetime.

That first day I set out on the scooter Bob arranged for me and I met Bob at his home in Vancouver.  A whirlwind moto tour ensued that was jam-packed with wonders.  I didn't make it back to my hotel until shortly after midnight.

On the way back from visiting the famed Night Market, we stopped at Bob's place.  He popped quietly into the house and emerged minutes later with a mysterious cardboard box and some bungee cords.  He lashed the box onto the passenger seat of my scooter and then we set off again as he led me back to the Fairmont Pacific Rim where I was staying.  About half-way there we stopped on Granville Island where we sat and chatted about the day and a bunch of other stuff.  Bob took our picture using his signature bike-borne tripod and remote camera trigger trick.  If you look carefully, you'll see the cardboard box in question on the white Kymco scooter.

When I got back to the hotel I opened the box.  There was a bunch of Vespa stuff that Bob thought I'd appreciate, including a Vespa scarf, a Vespa bandana, a Vespa lanyard, and so on.  Also in the box, and greatly contributing to its size and weight was a wooden motor scooter mounted on a marble base, with a plaque that commemorated some event that the then-defunct Vancouver Vespa Club had once organized.

The wooden scooter came home with me to Montreal (minus the marble) were it sat as a decoration and souvenir in my home office for just over two years.

In the meantime, Bob was in the very early planning stages of a moto road trip for 2015 and years beyond.  There was some talk of Key West as a destination.

This summer Conchscooter's dog Cheyenne sensibly suggested to her humans that they travel north to avoid the worst of the South Florida heat and humidity.  Eventually Cheyenne encouraged Michael and Layne to make it to Montreal, a southern outpost of the legendary Great White North.  I think Cheyenne was hoping for snow.  In that regard she was bitterly disappointed.

Conchscooter's visit to Montreal was truly a delight.  Meeting fellow bloggers and riders is always a source of pleasure.

Towards the end of the visit, the topic of a possible road trip to Key West came up.  It was then that it hit me like a flash.  What a great prank to play on Bob!  I gave the wooden scooter to Michael, saying that when Bob eventually came to visit, he would be shocked to find that his wooden scooter had beaten him to Key West.

A few days ago Michael wrote to me offering to mail the wooden scooter back to me.

At that point, another thought dawned on me.  Inspired by a similar feat on ModernVespa, I suggested to Michael that he take the wooden scooter to the landmark in Key West that marks the southernmost point in the continental United States, a place Bob would have been bound to visit, and take a picture with the wooden scooter.

It didn't take Michael and I long to cook up a plan to involve other bloggers in the scheme.  I'm going to remain a little coy on this.  I don't want to spoil surprises.

And there you have it.  If you're a moto blogger, and you know Bob (i.e. Bob posted comments on your blog, or you traded e-mail or phone calls, or you were extraordinarily lucky like me and you actually got to meet Bob, or if you're just learning about Bob now) then the wooden scooter will eventually come to visit you, but only if you want to participate of course.  All you need to do is contact me, or Michael, or Sonja, or Karen, or Dar, and put yourself on the tour list. (Ed.: things have evolved, and Bob's blog is now ScooterBob central.  Click here to see how you can make a ScooterBob request)

There won't be too many rules.  Just enough to make sure that the wooden scooter doesn't get stranded somewhere.

There will be more to come on this topic.  Bookmark this page and that way you'll know what progress the little scooter that could is making. I've taken to calling it ScooterBob.

Keep an eye on the moto blogs to follow ScooterBob as it literally travels the world, on an epic moto road trip most of us could only dream of taking.

This is ScooterBob's first post, and, for the time being, ScooterBob's home-away-from-home-base for the extended road trip, so to speak.

It will be very interesting to see how this evolves over time.

Right now, ScooterBob is on the first leg (well, technically the third leg - Vancouver to Montreal, Montreal to Key West, are legs one and two) of its travels.
Copyright - Michael Beattie
Safe travels ScooterBob, and warm regards to all.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Travels with ScooterBob

Yes, your eyes don't deceive you, Riding the Wet Coast is back, after a fashion.

It's here to carry on a tradition begun by BobSkoot to reach out and connect with moto bloggers far and wide.

New posts will begin appearing here, from time to time, as moto bloggers travel with ScooterBob.

No one can blame you for not having a clue who, or more precisely what, ScooterBob is.

A 'Travels with ScooterBob' page has been added to Riding the Wet Coast.  You can click on the link here, and on the page link above to find out all about it.

All of the future posts here will be guest posts.  This blog will be moderated, as it was in the past, so attention all spammers, expect to have your comment posts obliterated as they were in the past.

Now then, please remain calm, and carry on.  Rejoice! Wet Coast is baaaaaaack!


The editors.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Historic Diamond Caverns, Park City, Kentucky

I like Kentucky,  It's green with lots of rolling hills.  We spent hours today riding around the secondary roads and it sort of reminds me of home in British Columbia.  In this area the Corvette is King.  It's America's Sports Car as the Corvette Assembly plant is just a few miles alway in Bowling Green.   There are Corvettes everywhere and as you drive through the small towns,  everyone waves at you.   We even had riders of Harleys wave to us, as that is America's Premier Motorcyle

We had one day left to sightsee and one spot we ended up was the Historic Diamond Caverns  (info here)

today there will be more photos than words

There are several caves in this area and we found that most recommended the Diamond Caverns over the massive Mammoth Caverns which has over 400 miles of tunnels

It is very dark down there.  I was shooting at 3200 ISO wide open with a slow shutter so hopefully things won't be too blury.    You are not allowed to bring tripods, monopods, movie cameras, hiking sticks, purses, backpacks, so it was a challenge

It was a moderate 58F down there.

Narrow stairways and steep steps

You are not allowed to wander aimlessly, you must be with a guide

A larger lung capacity would have come in handy as it was a strenuous walk back up

Can you notice the steep angle of the stairs ?

Tomorrow we head to Tennessee.   I am thinking that I will be internet challenged for the next day or so as while there is Internet Available, it  doesn't mention free and you know what that means.   We thought that we got a good rate for the Hotel, but then they didn't tell us about charging $35. to park for the night.