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Sunday, March 27, 2016

The accidential tourist - we zig instead of zag

I work two jobs, one is my regular "9 - 5" job from Monday to Friday and is the majority of my income.  The other one is a part time job that I've maintained for myself since 2008 or so.  I own my own small distribution company which delivers magazines and other products to various locations. 

What that means is that I very rarely have a free weekend.  This was one of those rare free weekends and since it fell on the Easter holiday, a lot of the places and things that I wanted to show Scooter Bob would be closed.  The weatherman also kept trying to convince me of heavy rain showers but they seemed to be off in the distance, I decided to take my chances and head towards the beaches.

I headed towards Tampa and Clearwater but then thought of something that might be interesting, so I veered to the left instead of the right.  Only to find this closed due to the holiday.   I was on a road that would lead to one of the beaches nearby...but traffic was particularly heavy.  It's freaking hot sitting in traffic.

"Hey Rob!  What is Palm Harbor?"  Scooter Bob called from his box.

"Just a small town I've never been to.  It might be fun to check out." I yell back, as we zig, or is it zag, towards this new destination.

"Rob, lets get a drink."  As I pull over into the Two Lions Winery and Palm Harbor Brewery.  The place is empty but it was just opening up and I try a few small samples of their beer.   I have to be honest, while decent I've had much better beers.  Their wine however is wonderful and I can't help but tuck a bottle of Sangria next to Scooter Bob as we head out the door about an hour later.

The bartender, Christie, loved the story of Scooter Bob and told me that one of the owners had just died, and how creating a traveling mascot for him may be in order.  So Kevin Zylstrt know that you were loved and that this little motorcycle brought a little joy to your staff.

I knew that Palm Harbor was not far from Dunedin, another small town that I understood to be famous for it's art, it's various breweries and Honeymoon Island.   Plus it was a place that I have never been to, so I pointed Kimmie's wheels in that direction but first I decided I needed to grab a bite to eat.  While I had not had much to drink, I am not going to risk a ticket or worse.

Scooter Bob insisted we stop and eat here.
A couple of fish taco's later and we were on the way south again.  I'm looking for two craft beer places, I don't know how Bob felt about beer but I enjoy a good libation and heard nothing but good things about the Dunedin Brewery and it's nearby friendly competitor the 7th Sun Brewery.

I was in no hurry to get there however and stopped in the small downtown area to have a look around.  There were more than a few art galleries and other interesting places to pop my head into, but sadly it being Easter Sunday they were all closed.

Over all it was not a bad day, I stopped at Dunedin Brewery and ended up passing on 7th Sun.  Another time, another trip.  For now I was happy and pointed my wheels back towards home....which was an adventure in itself but that is another story for another time.   I'm safe, happy and wishing everyone a wonderful and joyful Easter Holiday (even if you don't celebrate it).

Bob chats with a local

Bob checks out the fishing pier

A Dog that serves as a bike rack

The sink at the brewery

Just a fountain in the center of town.
Not sure if they are breaking in or escaping


Friday, March 25, 2016

We know Wright! "Child of the Sun"

Bob checks out the Water Dome, which literally makes a dome out of water various times of the day.
Earlier this morning I packed Scooter Bob tight in his travel box, jumped on Kimmie and hotfooted it into Lakeland, Florida.   The more I learn about this town the more I think I need to spend a few hours exploring it, but the weather didn't look like it was going to hold and I technically had to show up for work today...sometime at least.

I had hoped to get a few pictures of Bob with the historic Swans, direct descendants of the very swans that once belonged to Richard the Lion Heart, of Lakeland.  Perhaps a few pictures of him enjoying  the Tigers Spring Training.  Even take him over to the wonder that is Florida Polytechnic. 

Bob meets the man himself.  
However with the nasty weather closing in and my requirements to actually make a living we decided to spend most of our time at Florida Southern University wandering about the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wrights work.  He liked to refer to his work here as his "child of the sun".

I have a background in engineering and the sciences in general, so I can appreciate exactly what Wright was trying to do.  All his trademarks are here, the buildings use a lot of natural light and the Cathedral in general I'm certain is absolutely glorious during certain times of the day.  Water, also an element found in a lot of Wright's work makes an appearance here as well.

Inside the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel

 The campus itself is small but that that means that you can walk easily from site to site.  Their are a total of 18 structures on site and each one has its own unique feel and personality and the last one was completed in 2013.  Sadly the only one that was open to the public today was the Pfieffer Chapel.  Many of the buildings are sadly in various states of disrepair and their is an ongoing effort to restore them.

I was also surprised to learn that a few of the buildings were completed well after Wrights death.  During the Second World War, the students often labored under Wrights direction to complete the work on his buildings.  

Bob!  Get down from there!
 The Esplanades are covered walkways covering just over a mile and are timed in copper with a natural Green patina (see photo) and they often connect the buildings.  The supports are said to suggest the various orange trees which covered the campus at one time.  Wright could have made them all the same, but each section is a little different and some allow the flow of natural light in vie various skylights. 

At one time this was rated as the most beautiful college campus in America and I can understand way.  This is simply a lovely peaceful place and I for one have every intention of returning.

Just a interesting water feature on campus
The Esplanades
The steps are rounded giving an appearance of flowing lava
Back of the E. T. Roux library
Inside the Pfeiffer Chapel 
Pfeiffer Chapel from afar

Someone was promised a rose garden

You can see more here on my Facebook page.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Scooter Bob loves a Parade (and updates)

3/13/2016 - It's been a busy week.   My bike suffered a breakdown and because of other issues I've not been been as vigilant with Scooter Bob as I should have been.  In fact, today would have been a perfect day to run him down to visit the Manatee's at the Big Bend Power plant or get him kissed by a mermaid.  Next weekend I will be running around all day Sunday afternoon and helping Sue with the annual "Side Door Cafe" project.

Instead I spent some time working on our kitchen remodel and laying around the house in my pajamas catching up on my reading and tv watching.  You need a day off to do nothing now and again.

Scooter Bob nice and snug for the parade
What we were able to do was to get him involved in a parade yesterday.  The town where I live, Zephyrhills, was founded in 1910 as Abbot Station and was a planned community to serve Civil War Veterans.  Today it's more known for Zephyrhills water and being a town full of snowbirds.

Every March though they have a Founders day parade, which was held on March 12, 2016 this year.  This is the first time that I was asked...volunteered...recruited....drafted into taking part in it.

Linda K, who was organizing the group originally wanted me to do something again to Easy Rider, since she thought that "Scooter Bob" was a living breathing person that was visiting me.  She did however love the idea of a little wooden scooter traveling the world and promised that Scooter Bob would get a shout at as our little golf cart passed the reviewing stand.

In Memory of Bob Leong, Motorcyclist, blogger and world traveler.

I don't know if Bob would have enjoyed being associated with Sesame Street characters, the theme of the parade was "the 1960's" and Sesame Street has been educating children since 1969.  From what I understand though, he was a gentle soul and this may have pleased him.  

Overall the wait to actually get into the parade was longer then our particular participation in the parade.  I did hear a few people call out their support for PBS (and I tossed candy in the direction that support came from) but I didn't hear anyone say anything about Scooter Bob.  

I probably should have got a few pictures of him by some of the older cars they had in the parade.  I know he had a particular love of a particular model of car.  However for a variety of reasons I didn't.  That's Okay though, I'm sure there are more than enough pictures of Bob by older trucks and cars.  Still though, I get the feeling that Scooter Bob would not of minded a few pics of him checking out couple of older vehicles.

So for a least a week or so Scooter Bob is going to relax around my house and play with my two cats.  Other adventures are on the way is to short not to have them right my friend?

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The three hour wait.....

I knew in the back of my mind it was going to happen sometime.

I was on my way to work the other day, and I heard something that perked up my ears.  I was not sure what it was but it just sounded wrong.   A pop, a snap...honestly I could not tell you.   Just that sound that brings an "Oh Oh" to your mind.

Twisting the throttle a bit resulted in a roar of the engine by no RPM's.  I put on my turn single and coasted safely to the side of the road.  I still had power, but I was not transferring that power to the rear drive wheel.

Pretty simple to figure out what happened.  I had, in my limited knowledge of Kimmie's internal workings, most likely lost my CVT belt.  After some 27 thousand miles (assuming it was the original belt) I could not bitch.

I don't know how long I will be on Kimmie but I do know this.  The chances of me replacing that belt again were slim.

Luckily I have towing via my insurance company Safeco.  I call and they dispatch someone out to me.   I was dealing with a Customer Service Representative that was new to her job.   I could hear it in her voice and the way she was having issues pinpointing my location (I've worked with GPS and call centers for years so I walked her through the process).  After about a ten minute call I was told a truck would come and get me in an hour.

I called work, I called Sue and I tried to find myself a shady spot to sit and relax in.   About 10 minutes later I get a confirmation text.   I play around on Facebook while I wait.

An hour goes by....again an automated text stating the truck should be arriving.   Then thirty more minutes pass by.   I call in to Safeco and ask about.   Seems that I'm outside the coverage area for the original tow company.   OK....why didn't you get another tow company?

It seems that I was in a weird area.   I was not in the Tampa area, I was not in the Zephyrhills area.   I was trapped in that grey area that surrounds circles.   "Should I push my bike a mile up the road to be in a new zone?" I impolitely asked the new representative.

I was assured that I would have a truck come and get me and not five minutes after hanging up with her....I get a text.   It's for the original tow company again.    I call them directly....and I find out that I'm still out of the towing area.

Another call, another representative.   A new record in created.  A new towing company is assigned and this one is out of Tampa...and it will take them 90 minutes for me to be serviced.

I sigh, call off of work because by the time I get towed and get the bike resolved.   By the time I get home and drive into work my 8 hour work day will be down to 3 hours.   It's not worth it for me to go in.

Sue finished up what she needed to do and pulled up beside me so I would not have to deal with the sun and wind.  We call Triple A but find out that we don't have motorcycle towing as part of our package.

As we sat in her car and discussed what we were going to do....LO AND BEHOLD....a tow truck and it was from the original company that was dispatched.   It seems that they were assigned to come and get me after Safeco agreed to pay them some more money.  How nice of the them!  How nice of them not to inform me!

Anyhow, the grand total wait time worked out to be like three and one half hours before everything finally got resolved with Kimmie.   Then I got a phone call from the company dispatched from Tampa....seems that no one informed them that the original company was doing the work.

Kimmie should be back on the road shortly but it does through the proverbial monkey wrench in my plans for the coming weekend.

C'est la vie