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...

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