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.

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.

Friday, August 29, 2014

NCM: National Corvette Museum, Bowling Green, Kentucky

Today was the day we were to finally visit the NCM: National Corvette Museum and tour the Corvette Assembly Plant.  Sorry no cameras nor any electronic devices are allowed

This is where my car was born.   This is the only plant in the world producing Corvettes since 1981

We were lucky to have prebooked our tour on-line months ago

thought you may wish to see the sink hole

it's hard to get close because it is sectioned off and there are security guards everywhere

The Museum also sells bricks for fundraising

The Corvette Assembly Plant was very interesting.  We were allowed to walk around the plant and ask questions.(but no photos were allowed)

Lots of other things were not allowed either.   Outside of the Corvette Cafe I noticed this large rock, everyone was walking past but not noticing it

That's it on the left.  I can't be sure but it looks like it may weigh a ton

Here's what the inscription says

Here's the ZR-1  Spyder, the most damaged car in the collection

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Today was Horse Day

We have been in Bowling Green for 2 days.   I have tickets to the Corvette Museum and still have not seen the sink hole.

But today we drove hours and hours North to Louisville, KY

One with car, and one without

It was Hot, Hot, Hot ...

We didn't get an early start and we were a bit time challenged so off we went to the Horse Capital of the World in Lexington, KY

This is a large facility where they keep retired champions,  former Kentucky Derby winners

We got there just in time to see the various performances and wander around the various museums (on location)

After the show, we were allowed to see the horses close up, talk to the trainers and pet them

Then we were allowed to take a short rest

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

No need for speed

I am not a fast driver or rider.  Speed is addictive and when I was younger, I used to drive faster than I should have.  I drive faster in my Honda Civic than my sports car.    When you have a big engine with power, there is no need to prove anything to anyone

I have no problems passing anyone if I wish to.   Before this trip to Bowling Green was planned, we had a chance to purchase Lap time on the Kentucky Speedway as we would be passing through Florence, Indiana and Kentucky was just on the other side of the Ohio River.

Most others in our group were purchasing lap time so not to feel left out, I purchased a lap session too.  I had never been on a race track before and I was afraid that I would be too slow and hold everyone up

At the race track they have rules.  You have to sign waivers.   You are only allowed to walk into certain areas

and because most of use were first-timers, we were limited to speeds and had to follow the pace vehicle and not pass anyone.   I had also never driven on a banked road surface before

So here is a very rare time where I would have to wear closed toe shoes during my vacation.  And there are also those important Drivers' meetings before you are allowed on the track

Driving on a race track is not something that can be done easily.   You just can't drive by in your rental car and decide to pull in and do a lap or two.   Anyway I survived and it was fun.   I have never driven my car this fast before.   Remember that this is an oval track and the straight section is not that long.  You have to build up speed on the corner,  hit the throttle and then be careful to make the corner at the end of the straight section.   It takes guts to keep the power on until the last moment

We have not had internet for the past 3 days so I am behind.  Some of my stories will have to wait until I get  home.   We also leave early and get back late.   Tomorrow is another 5am alarm and leave by 7am.   We are staying just outside of Bowling Green, Kentucky.   We are melting in the humid heat.  Even the locals are moaning and groaning.   We are here for the 20th Anniversary of the NCM: National Corvette Museum

We started out as a group of about 200 Corvettes traveling with the New Jersey Corvette Caravan.  Included in our group are Corvette Clubs from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI: Prince Edward Island.   I now have new friends in Atlantic Canada.  Today we were joined by two other Caravans from Mid Atlantic USA so this morning we were a group of 400 Corvettes traveling together down I-65 to the Corvette Museum

Also the other cars from our Club,  BC Corvette Club arrived late this afternoon.   They drove from Vancouver and left August 21st.   So now we have 15 cars from our group all here in Bowling Green, KY.  It's nice to see familiar faces

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

No Internet, on the road

I am so far behind. Lots of stuff happening the past few days but even though we were supposed to have FREE WiFi yesterday, it wasn't working

Now we are in Florence, Indiana and they want $9.95 per day for Internet access and I'm not going to pay . Would you believe that we had to go through Kentucky to get here

If you click my Spot link you can find my location

I hope to have Internet access again next Wed or Thursday

Tomorrow we are going to do a few laps on the Kentucky Speedway Track on the other side of the Ohio river

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Day 7: On the Road

We arrived in Harrisburg, PA last Monday and today we are moving to a new location.  Tonight we will be in New Stanton, PA

Running out of time, so this is just a short update

Yesterday found ourselves heading west to the Gettysburg, National Military Park

This is also the site where they fought the Battle of Gettysburg.   The battlefield was 25 square miles so we took the 2 hour bus tour with narrating guide

It was so sad to see one country in so much turmoil over the freeing of slaves

What luck to find the traveling gnome who had just come back from overseas

to come here to visit with President Abraham Lincoln