Monday, May 31, 2010

Ahh... Scooter People I've missed you....

Great news.  We have found the Scooter People and they are lively!!

We knew that since we moved home there weren't as many Scooter Clubs in the South as in the North East.  I knew that before we moved.  When I got my little Honda Helix in 2004 I searched around for a scooter club in the Nashville area, or any type of group of scooter enthusiasts.  Well, there was one.

There was a group called "The Boys Named Sue" (they are still around by the way).  I thought "great name for a Nashville scooter group".  But as I looked into them, they were a 'vintage only' club.  Not having a vintage I knew I was out so I instead enjoyed my solo scooter adventures through the wonderful TN valley.  Riding the Natchez Trace; back roads to Leapers Fork; Highway 96 between Franklin and Murfreesboro; basically anywhere the wind took me.  It was a great release from work.

When we moved north, I found the Three Mile Island Scooter Club.   These were great people.  No "vintage only" no overt secret ballots to join the club just "Hey you have a scoot? AWESOME!  Come ride with us!"  Now I will say they did ask a few people just to not hang around any more.  One, I disagreed with.  But the others were for good reasons.  Like one weirdo who decided to make some VERY unwanted comments to a female at one of our Rallies.  Not cool.  But other than that it was meet up, someone take the lead, and let's ride.  I went to my first Scooter Rally.  It was cool to see all of those folks who liked something I liked SO MUCH.  Last year I was even able to go to Amerivespa!  (It's like Sturgis for Scooters but smaller and with less gratuitous nudity from a lot of people you really don't want to see nude in the first place.)

There were not 20 or 30 but several hundred scooters from all over the country.  It was great.  One of the best parts for me was that it was in Chattanooga.  My wife and I love that town anyway, but it was nice showing my friends from up north how beautiful the South can be.  Another great thing was a ride we took out around this large reservoir.  The road came down a hill, and across the top of the reservoir, then back up the other side.  I remember as I was about in the middle of the reservoir I looked back over my shoulder.  I was in the middle of the pack so as far as I could see in front and behind me there were scooters.  It was a VERY COOL moment for me.

But I digress.  Like I said when we moved home this would be one thing I would have to look for.  I knew there weren't as many clubs in South, but I knew there were more scooters.  My small town even had a scooter shop now (JC Scooters).  No it's not the big company based shops like you see in bigger towns.  But the owner (Jimmy) is a great guy and just as passionate about scoots as I am.

Soon after I got back into the area, I went down to Nashville to check out a shop that I had been reading about on the web, East Side Scooters.  So I traveled down one day to check out their store and see what the scooter scene had grown into since I left.  I met this great lady there named Josephine (sp?) who ran the shop.  She said that from time to time through the summer they put out the word and people just show up and they ride somewhere.  I told her that both my wife and I rode and that we would definitely be down for one.

Sunday was the first of the season.  It was their third anniversary of being open and a planned ride was announced for Sunday May 30th.  The wife and I geared up and headed out.  Google-Maps said it was right at 45 miles.  No sweat.

We took off down 31-W toward Nashville.  It was a nice uneventful ride with great weather, well at least for the ride down.  I did make a wrong turn, but in the end it made it a little easier to get where we were going.

We got to the Scooter shop and there were already 5 or 6 people there so we parked and started meeting people.  About that time a guy (who seemed to be in charge) started walking our way.  We walked up and I immediately held out my hand and said "Hi, Mitch Herndon".  Then I get the phrase that I had gotten a LOT in Franklin, but not yet anywhere else.

"Mitch Herndon, You know me we practically grew up together!"  Well, yes we had.  James and I had known each other since we were very young.  I somehow missed along the way that it was his shop when I came down the first time.  Needless to say it was great finding out that someone you grew up with also shared your love of scooters.  This is James' vintage Vespa.

Anyway after riding out a small 'natural scooter wash' inside the shop, we took out across downtown Nashville to Percy Warner Park.  This is a very nice park on the west side of Nashville.  I had probably forgotten, but there was a great one-way one-lane road that circled through the park.  We took it up and down, left and right up again, down again...  It was a great ride.  Well, maybe a little fast for me that day since I didn't know the road AT. ALL.  But that was OK.  The group would slow up at places where the road split so no one was lost.  And when I apologized for maybe slowing up the group, all I heard was "Hey, no big deal we are just enjoying the ride!".  I even heard someone say it was better to be a little slow, than have someone crash.  My kind of people.

We stopped for a brief rest up on top of one hill with a great view of downtown Nashville  I took a shot with my camera phone, but it's not the best.  Trust me, the view was outstanding.

After the brief rest we finished up the route through the park and  got our way out.  The group had planned on stopping for coffee but due to our drive ahead of us home we peeled off with a honk and a wave.  We headed back across town toward our northern route home.   As for our first trip to Nashville to ride with the group there.  We both feel it was a great time and will definitely do it again.

And if you are in Nashville and need something for your scoot, Call James and Josephine at East Side Scooters. They are great folks and I'm sure will do their best to help you out.

Now, back to our tale...(no it's not quite over)

Up until now other than a brief shower before the ride we had been pretty lucky not to get caught out in the rain.  But as we were about 4 blocks from the road we were going to turn north on, I saw a down-pour about 3 blocks away.  So I wave the wife into a quick left turn and we find shelter from the rain in the front-alcove of some building that looked like it was in the middle of being rebuilt after the great flood of 2010.  Luckily, due to the nature of the weather in the south this time of year, it was another one of those 'rain enough to get everything really wet and stop' ones.  So after about 20 minutes we decided to make a run for it and head north.  Luckily for us we stayed just ahead of the rain for the rest of the trip.  We had a few sprinkles, but nothing that we were concerned with or got overly wet from.

All in all it was a great day.  We are tired, we are a little saddle-sore since this was our longest ride of the season.  And of course we were scolded by our parents for "taking those scooters all the way to Nashville" (Did I  tell you I was over 40??) but it was well worth it.

OH, I forgot to tell one part of the story.  As we were waiting to ride, we started getting hungry.  James had tried to get a local vendor to come by and serve tacos.  But evidently there was some confusion on the vendor's part so no tacos.

But wait!  What's that next door?  A Gyro Shop??  We LOVE Gyros!!  Plus we hadn't had any in a very long time so since the ride wasn't for another hour and a half we decided to step over for food.  I have to hand it to James, if I had a Gyro shop that close to me I would weigh 400 pounds.  This place wasn't the best to look at.  It was a drive-in only with one picnic table in front.  But for a small price we got two HUGE plates of food.  I had the Gyro, the wife the Falafel.  Both were very good and the guy who ran the place was very friendly.

And....  Who knew Scooter Ninja Pig liked Gyro...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Well, you're scooting now for sure...

Well, for those of you who haven't seen it on Facebook, I'm truly scooting these days.  My scoot(s) are my only means of transportation due to the S-10 taking a dump.  On a good note, my father-in-law who owns a pilot car company got a good recommendation from a colleague of his about someone not far from here.  He had the best quote to rebuild the transmission of about 4-5 he called.  The person my father-in-law was one of his pilot-car buddies.  And maybe I'm crazy but if a man who has vehicles on the road 365 days a year in all types of conditions takes his vehicles to this guy because he does a good job, I'm thinking maybe I can trust him.

Well, so far I like the guy.  He called me straight away when he knew what was wrong with it.  I expected to have the truck down at least a week to get it fixed, but after getting it to him on Thursday, he called as I was headed for lunch on Friday saying he was finished.  AND at the quoted price.  All before he had to leave the shop from 2-4 so he could drive the school bus.  Yes, the SCHOOL BUS!   I am not talking down about the guy.  I just think it's funny.  If the man can hold down a steady business AND take time every day to make sure the kiddies get home safely from school, he really has more going on than I do. 

I will hold final judgment on the guy until after I get it back.  After that I'll pass along what's going on.  Until then..

Stella.. Sasha..  We Ride....

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Of Pigs and Pie....

This past Saturday we had the good fortune of a weather report changing in our favor.  We originally were going to head out early to Louisville for some 'anniversary weekend' fun then we decided to change plans and stick around town.  We decided to take out on our scoots for a ride for lunch.  We had gone north to Bowling Green so this time we decided to head south into the rolling hills of northern Tennessee.  

As I'm backing the scoots out of the garage I see this one big ominous cloud.  Instantly reminded of the many times in PA that we were caught out in a down-pour I really didn't want to do it again.  A quick check of the weather report gave me a little more confidence and we took off.

The route was basically take 31W south from home, through Franklin, across the TN line and then find lunch.  The consensus of the day (being 2 of us it's not that hard..) was BBQ.  We hadn't had any in a while, and since we were back in the south we thought that it wouldn't be that hard.

The trip down was uneventful with one exception.  That ominous cloud disappeared.  Not only that, most of the others disappeared too.  The sun came out and it turned into quite a bright sunny beautiful day.

Well, we get down to White House TN and think it's high time for lunch.  Only problem was that we couldn't find the BBQ place, well I guess it was a little harder to find BBQ than I thought.  No problem, a quick call to the big-Sis who works in this town put us quickly on the right path.

Needless to say, this BBQ place was decorated very similar to how several are down here.  Lots of pig paraphernalia.  Scooter Ninja Pig was not pleased but kept quiet through the meal which was very good.    And this place even served a dessert named 'piggy puddin'.  All Scooter Ninja Pig would do was sit motionless on the table and stare at us.

As we are finishing our meal we decide to ask for dessert.  As the very nice lady is giving us the list I hear my favorite. CHOCOLATE. FUDGE. PIE.  I mean, come-on.  (I decided to pass on the piggy puddin' trying to mend fences with our little friend.)

My pie comes. YUM..

Now, I have to say the wife and I have been discussing the need to lose weight.  And although I know she wasn't going in this direction when she said it, as I started my lovely pie I hear...  "OK, so what are we going to do next week to start loosing weight?"  ***clink***crumble***** scoooooottttt.

"NO!!, that's not what I mean.  Please eat your pie." She says laughing....

(Oh yeah, and as I type this she is in the kitchen scooping both of us Ice-Cream.)

Well, I eat most of it, but the joy was mostly gone.  But hey, it was CHOCOLATE FUDGE PIE!...

Well, we pay our tab and gear back up for our continued ride.  Not being that knowledgeable about the back-roads in that part of the area yet we decided to take a pretty direct route back home.  Back out to 31W and North home.

One of the best things of our little rides is stumbling across something (not literally).  This trip on the way south the wife saw a hand written "Furniture for Sale" sign on the side of the road in front of this older business.  Currently it looked like the business was in transition at the moment so we weren't sure what we would see.  But what the heck, we have nothing but time this afternoon.

WOW, we walk in and find that it's someone is selling a LOT of very nice wrought-iron furniture.  Tables, stools, bed-frames, etc.  We will definitely be back once we get a little money set back.

OK, back on the road we head north.  Along the way I get bold.  In PA, I realized the only way to learn my way around was to just make a turn and monitor the compass.  So as we come to a 4-way stop, I ask the wife if she minds a detour.

"Sure!" I hear. (That's my little scooter girl.)  So I take a right on a major road thinking if it has a big 'route' number sign we can at least get somewhere that will connect to somewhere else we want to go.  Sure enough, after about 15-20 minutes there was the next big 'route' marker.  We hang a left and head back toward the North.  Now I do not claim to be big mister trail-blazer.  But I did have a compass and I had a general idea of where we were.  However we weren't getting there in about the time I thought we should.  YEA TECHNOLOGY!

I wave us over and pull out the phone.  I recently found that I had a GPS application that would find where we were.  A quick check gave told me where we were and we quickly got back on the road toward Portland TN.

As we start rolling into town, we start seeing people along the side of the road in lawn chairs.  CRUD, we had talked about this.  This weekend was the Portland Strawberry festival.  I knew this was happening but led us that way anyway.  Luckily we made it out way before the parade started.

One small thing.... People, I know a parade was about to start but THE ROAD WAS STILL OPEN! Please don't take your child in their stroller down the middle of the outside lane.  What if someone hadn't been paying as much attention as we were.  OR if it had been a Semi-truck,  common sense.  That's all I wish for you.

Anyway, we make it through Portland taking the reverse parade route and make it back home.  All in all a great day.  Of course I have a riders tan (like a farmers tan but no dirt in your teeth).  And the sweetie... Let's just say sun makes the cutest freckles come out on her face.  I know everyone isn't the fan of red-heads with freckles, but for me I think it's just the cutest thing ever.

Oh, I just forgot something from earlier.  Did I mention that Scooter Ninja Pig likes pie too??

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Same ride, different view...

So today I finally got to take the Stella to work.  Nothing like the wind in your face to wake you up.  Two things I've learned.
  1. If you wear a button up shirt, be careful of the collar tips.  Man they can sting.
  2. I am really needing to consider the small wind shield.
Other than that it was a beautiful ride.  The things I talked about in my previous post are still true.  But with one great addition.  Honeysuckle. 

Growing up  I knew that summer had finally arrived when I started smelling it everywhere.  The past few days as I would turn out on the main road, I would see a large patch of it in the corner.  MAN does that smell good.

I can remember growing up on the farm, out in the fields on the tractors, and above the smell of all the diesel smoke, dust, and grease once in a while you would get a nose full of honeysuckle.

I'm sure it was in PA.  I vaguely remember it, but I guess being home makes it more robust.  Maybe there is just a slightly different smell to the flower in PA.  One that was not as familiar.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A morning ride...

The morning ride.  The world seems new, the birds are searching for their first meal.  The smells of fresh cut grass, breakfast, flowers, and the air itself seem to lift your spirits and brighten your day.

All is great, then the attempts to ruin the mood. The smells of the garbage truck, diesel smoke, exhaust from non-maintained vehicles (and recently stagnant water from the flooding).

I choose to remember the former, not the latter.  My morning ride puts me in such a great mood for the day.  I smile more that day.  I look forward to the slightly-longer different route home at the end of the day (guilty pleasure).

So when the 'bad stuff' attempts to creep in, I remember that sage phrase on a sticker on the back of my helmet.
"Quitchurbitchin".  I believe that's German for "Have a nice day."

Everyone have a safe, happy day.

Monday, May 3, 2010

(Updated) Well, I could ride but....

this darn crazy weather is still messing with me.  All weekend, we had a plethora of rain in SoKY.  Reports here in Franklin were close to 10 inches.  Thought, well I'll just take a ride out to see where the water is over the road....  Then, due to another issue I had to go out in the car first.  Glad I did, as I had to ford water 4 or 5 times just get out to a main road.

Oh well...


Hey, we got to go out anyway.  We found a way around the water (thanks neighbor-neighborhood).  Went to get paint, lunch, and got some 'pre' work on new plates.  Any day riding is a good day.