Saturday, August 30, 2008 Lancaster County...

Did you ever have one of those nights when you just could not sleep? You know what I mean; one of those nights when your mind is racing and you're worried about a whole bunch of crap and you just can't settle down.

It's after 2 am and I have to work tomorrow morning, but I just can't get my mind to stop churning. What with financial stress, job stress, Family issues and what not, I just can't get to sleep. Maybe I should watch something on Netflix...since Comcrap hasn't implemented their 250 gb cap on downloads yet.

I did get a pretty neat pic of a spider outside my door when I came home from work tonight.

I was impressed with it at least.

Friday, August 29, 2008

tempting...very tempting

Well, I went for a drive down to Red Lion yesterday and saw a pretty red '04 Vino 125 for sale (I won't say where because I think I want it). It would be an acceptable upgrade to my 50cc since it's got enough power to go 50+, yet still is within my price range.

I'm praying though that I'll be satisfied with what I have. I want something a little better, but I don't want to be ungrateful or unsatisfied with what I already have.

Well, something to think about as I ride "The Flying Cranberry" around. That's the name I've given to my scoot by the way. Who knows...maybe someone will see me riding, desperately want my current scoot and beg me to take 2k for it. I don't expect it, but that would certainly take care of things.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

T-max Sighting

Well, I stopped by B&B Yamaha today since I was circulating fliers for the Sept. 13th ride, and as I was pulling into the parking lot, there was something I had not expected to see just yet, and I was suddenly kicking myself for letting my wife get her Rav 4 a month ago (HAR HAR). There, in black and yellow, was a Yamaha T-Max.
Ain't she purty! I really wanted a test drive, but since I had my son along, that wasn't going to happen, and quite honestly, it's more scooter than I want and the styling isn't really my thing. I like the European styling of the Vinos and the Vespas (to name two of the many). The sporty scooter look is nice enough, but it doesn't thrill me as much as a Buddy International or a Kymco People S.

One of the biggest selling points for a vehicle is styling. In the automobile world, some people like Mustangs, and others like Corvettes simply based on their styling. A vehicle can have all the latest technology under the hood, but if it looks like a rolling turd, no one will buy it. On the flip side, a vehicle can have horrible or mediocre performance for its class and some people will do anything they can to get their hands on one, simply based on its looks. Take the PT Cruiser for example. The original PT was basically a repackaged Neon with retro styling (I believe it still is, but they may have tweaked it some), but because it looked like something out of the 40's Chrysler dealerships couldn't keep them on their lots and some were back-ordered. Personally, I liked the styling, but didn't want one of them for myself since I didn't want to look like every other cookie cutter middle class family I got a Cavalier instead...and ended up owning the same vehicle as about 1/10 of the rest of the population at the time. Oh well, you win some and you lose some.

In much the same way, different scoots will appeal to different people, depending on their taste. Some will like the look and feel of the sporty scooters, some prefer the look and feel of maxi-scoots, and others of us like the retro-euro scoots. It's all good.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"Slow down dude!"

I've griped about this before, but I'm going to gripe about it again, and I reserve to gripe about it more in the future.

It happens to me at least once a day. I'm just minding my business, buzzing along in the middle of my lane in a no passing zone. I'm observing the speed limit (either slightly over or slightly under as permissible by PA law), and enjoying the day. Suddenly, some doofus comes screaming up behind me, decides I'm not going fast enough, sits on my tail for a mile or so, then zips past me at a speed well in excess of the limit.

This happened to me today, while I was progressing along Old Oregon Road, just in front of Landis Homes. Some guy in his 50's or 60's did just what was described in the last paragraph. I was moving at about 39 mph (the limit is 40 on that road), so I was not considered a "slow moving vehicle" in that instance by PA law. I was holding to the center of my lane as required by law and yet, he saw a need to get to the stop sign by Oregon Dairy first.

Unsurprisingly, he was still sitting there when I caught up with him with his windows open and two older ladies in the car with him. I pulled up on his right and bluntly stated "If I were driving a car, would you have passed me illegally? Slow down dude!" He sat there for a moment with his eyes bugging out of his head and his mouth open like a carp. Then I turned and buzzed up the drive into Oregon dairy's parking lot. When I last saw him as he passed out of my line of sight about a half a minute later, he was still sitting behind two other vehicles at the intersection. So much for getting ahead by passing a scootster.

Personally, if someone is in that much of a hurry to get someplace, I pity them. Sure, sometimes, getting to your destination is very important, but why should one risk the life of another just to get to a stop sign a little faster? I will take risks with my own life if I have to and I realize that
riding a scooter is a risky proposition, but I do not appreciate when other people think they have a right to endanger my life.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Smell that fresh country air!

Lancaster County has one thing that there wasn't all that much of where I grew up in Massachusetts; Farmland! Sure, we had a few little farms, and some sheep folds here and there amongst the hills, but the Berkshire mountains aren't really conducive to raising anything other than sheep, goats, and hardy cattle breeds. There is a rather sizable chicken farm along route 8 in Becket or Otis Mass, but that's pretty rare up that way.

On my way home from church yesterday, I saw this beautiful view down into the valley. While the amount of flat land sometimes creeps me out (having grown up in the mountains), I am often awestruck at the beauty of it. It sure makes for some enjoyable scootin' when there's such wonderful landscapes to look at.

I took the pic at the bottom on my way to church. It was just too cool of a picture to pass up. It was kind of inspired by a pic I saw of Joe's from "Scootin' Da Valley". His is a little different since it has his face in the middle of it, but I knew I'd prolly break my camera if I tried that.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

More scootin' around

Yesterday and today were busy scootin' days.

Yesterday I started off with an oil change. I had picked up some Amsoil scooter oil (10W - 40) at Lancaster Honda the day before, so I had my oil already and it only took about 10 minutes. I then scooted over to B&B Yamaha, just for something to do. I chatted with Mark a bit, looked at a 2009 Zuma (which had a sold sticker on it), then wended my way up to Trans-Am cycle in Lititz. They had several new Kymcos in, one of which was terribly tempting (a 2009 Agility 125), and another of which just made me drool (a 2009 People 150). Unfortunately I'm not really able to afford a new scooter at the moment, so I didn't bite.

I then scooted over to the Lititz Burger King to see how their drive-up sensor works. It took them a little while to recognize my presence, but they also had a camera trained on the ordering doo-hickey, so one way or another, they recognized I was there and took my order. I stopped at a Park in Lititz to eat my burgers then scooted on over to Rothsville and up one of the back roads that will be featured in the Sept 13 ride. I got a really nice picture of what I assume to be an abandoned mill (there's my scoot right next to it), then I hopped back on my scoot and headed up to Ephrata.

I stopped in at Bachman's Auto sales to chat, where I was somewhat tempted by a 150cc, but held at bay by its chinese pedigree. Mr. Bachman has one himself, but he only has 1,000 miles on it. If he had 30,000 on it with no troubles, I'd be the owner of one myself right this moment, but I still don't quite trust them. He also has a 300cc Wildfire Maxi Scooter with over 2,000 miles on it and no problems thus far. I'm pleased to see that aside from some minor issues, his customers have been very happy with the scoots, so, despite my earlier misgivings, due to his ability and willingness to service the scooters he sells, I think I can safely recommend Bachman's auto sales and the Wildfire scooters for sale at his shop, with certain reservations. Mr. Bachman is a reputable used car dealer (referred by my best friend whom I trust implicitly) who does not price gouge his customers with all sorts of fees like most scooter and motorcycle salesmen, which also speaks well for him. The buyer should keep in mind that the longevity and quality of a Chinese built scooter is always up to question. The Wildfire does seem to be a touch better quality than other Chinese brands, which is reassuring. If you're unable to afford a higher quality scooter, Wildfire seems to be one of your best options. Even considering my issues with the Wildfire R8, the 150s and 300s seem to be more solidly built with better plastic. I'll keep my ears to the ground on this topic, but if I trust Bachman well enough that if my scooter were to suddenly need to be replaced (I hope that never happens), I'd be willing to purchase a 150cc Wildfire from him. Who knows, I might still consider trading up to one of his 150's at some point, but I don't think I will quite yet. I really like the look of the Kymco People 150 and I think I may just hold out for one of those.

Back onto topic, my best friend met me at Bachman's on his Wildfire R8 (which he has fixed the turn signals on with a little Epoxy). We left there and headed up over Ridge Avenue to Mohler Church Road, then over to the Green Dragon. We wandered around a bit before I had to head home.

My wife and I went to watch my son graduate from "Camp Cadet" which is held each year by the state police. He loved his time there and he really seems to have stolen the hearts of the troopers who staffed the camp. He earned the nickname "Mad Dog" for the look of determination he gets on his face whenever he sets his mind to something.

Today I scooted to work to give meds to the men at the group home. I then met with Gerry from Scoot Lancaster to finalize the plans for the Sept. 13th ride.

Later on, my son and I circulated some fliers with the event detail on them, and then we went to do some shopping. While at the McDonald's in Lititz (in my wife's Rav4 since we can't quite fit all three of us on the scooter), I met a gentleman with a black Honda Ruckus. They are neat little scooters, but a little too "erector set" for me. He had a nice lookin' windscreen on it as well. I didn't think to get a pic.

Oh well, that's the bulk of my adventures over the last few days. Hope to see some of you in three weeks in Lancaster!

Slight tweaking to route

I realized in looking at my finalized route that I'd cut out Akron completely. I really didn't wish to do that. Due to some paving on State Street in Ephrata, we'll need to head down 272 to Akron, but I don't see that as a major problem. It is always possible that they will have State street finished by then since they'll want it fixed well before the Ephrata Fair.

I also added in the correct starting and ending locations.

Here is a link to route and map


The "Small Towns of Northeastern Lancaster County" Scooter Ride is set for Sept 13 at 11:00 am. Scootsters are to arrive at 10:30 at the Sunoco station at the corner of West Orange and North Water streets.

The Route: We will be riding from Lancaster City to tour the small towns of Northeast Lancaster County. For more information, visit or

Please Eat breakfast/lunch prior to arriving. If you wish to arrive early, there are several restaurants very close to the staging area. There will be a water stop in Terre Hill and one gas stop, but it is recommended that all scooters be topped off prior to the ride.

This event is for 50cc to 200cc scooters.

For larger scooters, there is another ride in New Holland. For details see

Sept. 12-14 is the Wheels Weekend event in Lancaster.

This scooter ride is not an official part of the Lancaster City event; however, scootsters are encouraged to visit the event after the ride.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Carry on!

As mentioned in my little bio, I'm a bit of a gun nut. Ever since I read about the guy who was held up at gunpoint on his scooter not to far from here, I've been more careful to carry a firearm with me when I ride. I have a concealed carry permit so I'm covered if i want to conceal, but I've recently learned that PA allows open carry in most places.

I've been experimenting with open carry on my scoot. I don't know if I'm imagining things, but It seems that people aren't tailgating me as much. Kinda funny really. I noticed several times while riding today that a vehicle would come up behind me quickly, ride my tail for a few moments then suddenly fall back to a very respectful distance. It's not my reason for carrying at all, but if it engenders a little healthy respect for persons who notice the firearm, I'm O.K. With that. I also noticed that I don't seem to get passed quite so much while carrying openly. In a way it seems that the firearm has become an additional safety device.

As a disclaimer, I do not recommend that anyone carry a firearm openly or concealed unless they know their local laws and, most importantly, are competent in the use of their firearm should it become necessary to use it.

For any who are interested, I carry a Bersa Thunder 380 in matte black. It's a lightweight, small caliber handgun with a small form factor. It fits my hand well and has little percieved recoil, which makes it fun to use at the range. My son has fired it several times and has little difficulty managing the recoil. It's also fairly reliable and does not seem to jam as long as I use the right ammo. Federal FMJ Ammo jams periodically, but the hollow-point loads I put in it for self-defense feed very well.

Firearms are a good thing, in the hands of a competent, responsible user. It is always good when responsible individuals avail themselves of their second amendment rights. Law enforcement is only able to do so much, and sometimes it falls on the shoulders of responsible Americans to defend ourselves.

Fast food scootin'

Normally, drive-throughs and 2 wheeled vehicles don't mix too well, but I generally buy what I want and take it to wherever I am headed to eat it there. I'd like to share some of my experiences with the four fast food joints drive-ups I've used while scooting.

Wendy's: Around here I've had a horrible experience with Wendy's. I haven't visited any of the local franchises with my scooter, but I don't plan to. I've found that their drive through service was so horrible in a cage, I didn't even want to bother trying on a scoot. I've waited more than 10 minutes in my car at two of the local Wendy's locations (New Holland, and Lititz). I'd rather not repeat that experience on a scooter, especially if I would have to sit in the sun during the middle of the day.

Burger King: The service at our local Burger Kings seems to be hit or miss. There's one on 72 next to Lancaster Toyota, and there's another in the golden triangle. I've found that their vehicle sensors are not tuned well enough to pick up a scooter in all cases. Sometimes they do, sometimes they do not. Today, when I wasn't picked up on the sensor, I pulled around to the window but they would not let me order there so I told them they'd lost my business and went somewhere else. Their best response would have been, "We're terribly sorry, we'll look into adjusting the vehicle sensor so it is sensitive enough to pick up smaller vehicles. In the mean time, we'll be happy to take your order here."

Sonic: I've only been to the Sonic in Brownstown. I find their food to be dry at times, but I've had little trouble with their service. They never bat an eye when they see me on a scooter, and the service is usually prompt. Sometimes the service is a little slow, but not generally. The fact that they are a drive-in is nice since you can just roll up, push a button, and order. I've used their drive-through once, and the sensor picked up my scooter, so that's good as well.

McDonald's: The biggest fast food chain, and the most friendly to scootsters. I've never had any trouble at any of their drive-ups and their service is always prompt. The food is...well, greasy and calorie intense, but it's McDonald's and this is a review of scooter-friendliness, not the quality of the food. In that light, their sensors always pick up my scoot. The McDonald's locations I've visited are Lincoln Highway (near the K-Mart), New Holland, Lititz, Manheim Pike, and Oregon Pike.

All in all, you might get some chuckles pulling up to a drive-up window, but you should at least get service. From a customer service perspective, not only should fast food joints always have accurate vehicle sensors, but failing that, they should at least be willing to serve scootsters at the window.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I need to mount a camera to my handlebars...

So I can take pics of all the other scoots I see. I saw five other scoots today. That is the most I've seen in quite a while. One of them happened to be my buddy with the Wildfire which, quite happily, is still running well for him. We passed each other on Old Oregon Road and did the "biker wave."

I also saw a Honda Metropolitan in blue and white (Ocean paint scheme). It was very nice looking. Then there was a red Vino 125, much like my Vino 50, but with the obvious fact that it was going a tad faster than my Vino can muster. The other two scoots appeared to be nameless Chinese buggers without any clear markings. One of them was quite sharp with a yellow and black paint scheme.

It was a nice day to be out though. The temp was about 80, so it was cool enough that I could have been wearing a jacket, but I enjoy the wind blowing through my shirt. If it weren't for the combined factors that I can't legally do so and I like keeping my brains in my head should I get into an accident, I would love to go helmet-less for much the same reason.

On the note of keeping one's brains in place, I had another near accident today. I was scooting over to the offices at Friendship when some dufus in a big ol' SUV started to pull out of a side road just as I was buzzing past. He saw me just as I pulled even with his left fender and slammed on his brakes for which I am very thankful.

It makes me all the more aware of the fact that I am practically invisible to people. I think, once I have the funds to do so, that I will invest in a headlight modulator and some blinkers for the back of my scoot. I'm considering going to Radio Shack to see what I can piece together.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Whistling in the dark...

Well,'s more of a whine.

I don't know about anyone else, but I love night riding. Sure, I know it's a more dangerous time to ride, but the air is cooler, there are fewer people on the road and the shadows created by the headlight on my Vino are funky. Ok, the third reason isn't really viable, but the other two are.

Riding at night is very peaceful. It presents its own unique challenges, particularly on unfamiliar roads, but I know the road I ride to and from work every night so well by now I could probably ride it with my eyes closed.

I've also seen more wildlife at night riding the scoot. Unfortunately, since the headlight isn't terribly bright, I can't always tell for certain what it is that I am seeing as it scuttles off the road to avoid my buzzing scoot.

I can see the sky a lot better now with no roof above me. The stars are wonderful in this part of Lancaster County. Since there isn't a whole lot of light pollution, the sky is clear and stars are bright. It's quite a way to end a workday.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Scootin to the movies!

And there was even a scene with a scooter in it. I couldn't tell what kind though since it was more a prop than anything else...

I'm talking about "The Dark Knight." The movie definitely lives up to its name. It is very dark. It's a great film from my perspective, but it definitely deserves its rating. I was glad to see that no one had any small children there as there were a lot of disturbing scenes.

I scooted over for the 7:45 showing at Penn Cinema over by the airport. The film really captured the feel of the more recent comic books, though the series hasn't really gotten into the dichotomy that is Bruce Wayne. I'm sure they will get there as they add films to the series.

It was a beautiful night for a ride though. Just a little chill in the air, enough to warrant wearing a jacket, but not enough to actually zip the jacket. I still am amazed though at how often I get passed, when doing the speed limit, in a non-passing zone. it happened again tonight, and I had someone try to pass me today as I was driving one of the vans at work. It's just crazy. Some people seem to have no thought for their own safety, nevermind the safety of others.

I'm hoping to get a chance to work on some fliers for the Sept 13 ride this weekend. I recently learned that there is a ride for 200cc and up that same weekend, but that's cool since the ride I'm planning is for 50cc and up and should dovetail nicely with the other ride.

Friday, August 15, 2008

New Features

Google has added some tools to blogger. I will be using a few of them and have already added a poll (to the right). I'll add some more tools as I determine which seem useful.

Feel free to participate in the poll.

The journey

I don't know whether I've blogged about this before or not, but even if I have, I'm going to write about it again.

I remember several years back, in the 90's, there was a series of commercials for Nissan with a little Japanese man and his dog (I think it was a Jack Russell Terrier). The tag-line of the commercials was, "Life is a journey, enjoy the ride!" While generally, there's not much wisdom in television commercials, there was a deep seed of truth in that single statement.

In my mind there are three basic types of people:

  1. Those who focus on the journey and enjoy every moment of life regardless of where the journey takes them.
  2. Those who focus on their destination but pay no attention to anything along the way. These folks usually don't appreciate their destination once they get there and can't wait to leave to go someplace else.
  3. Those who are still rummaging around looking for their road map.
Life is indeed a journey full of everything from potholes to grand vistas. Some people only take the highway so they can get to where they are going faster. Others of us always look for the back roads and stop at every tourist trap along the way.

I am one of the latter. I love back roads. Sure, I could get there faster on the highway, but then I'd miss everything along the way. Highways are generally quite boring with nothing but grass and trees on either side. It's a picture of my life. The way I see it, I could focus on great achievement, but then I would miss the little successes. Heck, I wipe noses and bottoms for a living, and most people wouldn't see that as a huge accomplishment, but I've seen the change in the men I work with and it has made it worthwhile, If I were focused on "advancing my career," I'd have trouble enjoying the little joys, like hearing a "non-verbal" individual start to speak full sentences, or like hearing "I miss you," from a more difficult client.

I sit on my scooter and I buzz around and watch the other people in their metallic cages. They don't smile. They hardly even seem alive. They fill their boredom by cranking up the radio or chatting on their cell phones. They don't look too awfully happy, but here I am on my little scooter with a goofy grin on my face.

I feel sorry for them. They remind me of the writer of Ecclesiastes.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cruel and unusual.

According to my son, I am a meanie. We went for a scoot this evening, and ended up at Lancaster Honda. While we were looking at the various bikes and scoots (of which they had only three which were all sold), his eyes fastened on a little 49cc dirt bike. He then started to whimper and look at me with puppy-dog eyes as if I would plunk down $1,000 and buy him the bike. I said no (as I have every other time he's asked for a dirt bike) and so, I am now a meanie.

Never mind that we make sure he has lots of toys and gadgets with which to occupy his time and energy. Never mind that we make sure that he has clothes to wear, food to eat, and a place to sleep (and keep all the toys and gadgets). Never mind that he gets a huge amount of my attention when I am home and he is awake. I am a meanie.

It's really quite humorous when I pause to think about it, but it has a lot to do with the development of a child's brain and personality. Children don't know safe from unsafe in most cases. They have little to no understanding of the value of money. They also don't understand that many adults are smarter than they appear.

I know that taking my boy fishing, or taking him for a ride on my scoot, or taking him golfing, is an investment in him. I could try to buy his love with things, but things don't last. Sure, he has a lot of stuff (most American kids do), but he doesn't have the latest and greatest, and that is purposeful. Children need their parents to be involved with them, not just buying things for them or doing things for them. Things don't matter, relationships do.

My hope is that he will eventually understand this. Perhaps in time, he will.

As a side note, I met Gerry from Scoot Lancaster tonight at the Honda dealership. He seems like a decent guy. I was a little embarrased to note that here I was riding in regular jeans and a T-shirt, and he was obviously wearing armor, even down to jeans with knee pads. I gotta get me some of them. It reminded me that I need to look into some protective clothing that won't break the bank.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Little mind lost...

Whenever I go into a store and am approached by a sales clerk, the inevitable question arises to the effect of: "Can I help you find something?"

My response, almost invariably is: "Yes, thank you. I seem to have lost my mind, have you seen it?"

In many cases I get laughter or funny comments from the clerk. Occasionally the clerk will be a total ditz with no sense or humor and I will receive a blank stare. On the whole though, I've found smart remarks of this nature to be truly disarming and it usually lends itself to witty banter, which then drives my wife insane as she's standing beside me shaking her head, wondering why she married me.

In any event, I spent the morning teaching a class of ten third and fourth graders at my Church's Day camp. The Bible passage for the class was Luke 15:1-10. We then had an activity where I had "lost" a special heirloom object and the kids had to help find it. I think it went rather well, and the kids seemed to understand the message which is that we are of great value to God. So valuable indeed that He gave up His only Son to redeem us.

After the lesson, the kids got to make placemats (Aren't VBS crafts wonderful! HA HA!). After lunch, they had a water balloon toss, then we made our way to the nature shack for a lesson about whales and cuttlefish and the amazing way in which they are created. They then spent about 30 minutes feeding the turtles inside the building.

All in all, it was a great day, and afterward, I was able to scoot home under beautiful cloudless skies.

Unfortunately, tomorrow I go back to work. In a way, I'm looking forward to it, but on the other hand, I could use a few more days to relax.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Two wheels good, four wheels baaad!

I helped out with my Church's Day Camp today. It was nice to have something to do to take my mind off all of the things with which it is currently occupied. I had followed my wife to her school so I could help her take some things to her classroom. I then scooted up to Woodcrest retreat where the camp is being held. It was a great day for a ride since it was very cool. The wind felt wonderful and the hum of the engine beneath me had a calming effect.

Riding gives me time to pause, reflect, and pray. My mind was able to fully enjoy all three excercises this morning and I really needed the mental reprieve.

I don't really have the same experience in a car. There are too many distractions inside a car. Even if only the radio is going, it's difficult to really focus. On my scoot, there are no such distractions unless I create them. Sure, I carry a bottle or can of something wet, but I'll take a drink at a light or stop sign since controlling a scooter one handed isn't very easy.

I'm looking forward to riding in again tomorrow. I truly hope it is a nice enough day to ride.

Stanley Park

While in Massachusetts, as short as my stay there was, I did take my son and nephews to a beautiful little park in Westfield called Stanley Park. It seems to be the only park I have ever found that is anything like it. The park was built by Stanley Beverage (founder of Stanley Home Products) as a retreat for his employees. There are picnicking facilities, gardens, several ponds, a large recreation area with soccer fields, a mini-golf course, basketball courts, a large playground, tennis courts and multiple different gardens.

Here is the Mill pond and the lumber mill. I believe the mill was transported in from some other place. The pond used to contain several trout that were put there by one of the caretakers. They were removed several years ago after Stan-Home went out of business and the park was turned over to the city of Westfield.

Just below the mill pond is another pond and a blacksmith's shop (the building off to the right). The covered bridge is also not original to the park as I recall and was brought in from elsewhere. This pond is generally full of ducks and geese.

The next picture is the frog pond. It is aptly named because it is home to multitudes of green frogs.

The rest of the pictures include the carollon, the gazebo where I asked my wife to marry me, and two of the fountains in the park...I think the only two.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Vacation cut short...

There's something about family. Family are the only people that we love despite all the crap that's gone under the bridge. They're the only people that we go out of our way to placate, despite any history that would tell us not to bother.

Friends, most of them, we don't go to so much trouble to please. Sometimes there are friends who become family over time, or at least we come to think of them as family, but aside from them, we really don't go out of our way to try to appease them.

Family though, we'll bend over backward to keep from stepping on their toes. They may be kooks, they may have buck teeth or crossed eyes, but in order to keep them from driving us insane when it comes time for a family get together, we do what we have to do to try to keep them happy.

Are we insane?

Maybe, but I think it's because family are the only ones who will always take us back. Family are the ones who will be there, even when we really screw up. Even if they are complete nutjobs, we love them, and we know they love us.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Finally my vacation is here! This is the weekend I had originally planned to ride my scooter up to Massachusetts. Unfortunately (as previously mentioned) that can't happen due to NY state's scooter regulations. A 50cc scooter that can achieve between 30 and 40 mph needs a motorcycle license to operate. I didn't really feel like getting pulled over in the Catskills by some overzealous local cop who might impound my scoot. Not exactly my idea of a fun time.

On a cool factor note, I found a neat little software package that allows me to convert DVD's to MP4 format for my blackberry. I've fiddled with it a little, and I'm ripping a copy of transformers so I can watch it on my phone. O.K. kinda silly I suppose, but should provide a nice diversion at times.

I'm really impressed with my Blackberry Pearl. It may be tiny, but it has all the tools I need in that little package. Really quite nifty. I remember when my mom and dad got our first VCR when I was a kid. It was 1985 and we received it as a gift. My parents were excited to receive such an expensive gift as we could not have afforded such a luxury at the time. They didn't even get cable until after I left for college, and that only happened when my brother moved back in and got it installed. But anyway, even though I'm a bit of a tech geek, I'm still amazed at all the stuff our current gadgets can do. 25 years ago, if I had told someone that I would be able to watch movies on my phone sometime in the future, they would have laughed at me and went back to playing their Coleco-Vision.

It's really quite amazing when you think how far we've come in such a short time. My first computer was a 286 with 1 meg of RAM and a 20 meg hard drive running on DOS 5. I bought it used so I'd have a computer for college. three years later, I bought a K5 (pentium Clone) 100 mhz with 16 megs of RAM and an 850 meg drive. That was something. Now the computers we have run circles around those systems and even my phone has more processing power.

Kinda makes yer head spin.

Finalized route for Sept 13 scooter ride

Well, With the help of Gerry over at Scoot Lancaster I've finalized the route for the Sept 13 ride. I'll work on riding it with my best friend at least once. He has a 50cc that is a bit on the slower side, so I'll use him to pace the route. I've ridden all the roads on the route at least once, so I know they are doable.

Here's the Link to the map for any who wish to take a gander at it. I'll be working on a flyer to put up at various places for publicity.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

It's been a relatively uneventful few days for me. There's been the usual, scootin' to and from work, the occasional moron who insists on tailgating me despite my exceeding the speed limit. Nothing really earth shattering on that score.

I did see a used Kymco People 250 at a local motorcycle shop. It was interesting enough and would certainly enhance my ability to ride a litttle faster, but I can't really afford to lay out the money on it right at present. I really do enjoy my little 50cc, but its just a bit too pokey for highway riding (not to mention that the tires are so small). I need something that will still save me money on gas but get me from place to place without any trouble.

I was reading Gerry's most recent blog on Scootlancaster, and I do have to disagree with him on his opinion of Baraq Obama's recent comment about conserving gas by pumping up the tires on your vehicle and getting a tuneup. Sure, it might help fuel economy a little bit (negligible from what I understand), but Mr. Obama's statement strikes me as trite and more than a little cocky. Here he is, a man who makes more than 6 figures a year, trying to tell the little guy (that's us who make less than 50g a year), that we need to just suck it up and pump up our tires. As I understand it, he also opposes offering an innovation prize for electric car research. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all about adapting and conserving resources, heck, I bought a scooter to save money on gas and it sure helps, but I get really tired of politicians who aren't willing to work toward real solutions but would rather push their own political agenda despite what the people overwhelmingly beg them to do.

So much for change.

The idea that we should drill for oil on U.S. territory as a temporary solution, while we also
research alternative energy options in an effort to become less dependent on foreign oil is not a bad one at all. I don't think it's a good thing that we're paying $4.00 a gallon for gas since many families just can't afford to go out and get a scooter or hybrid. Public transportation is pretty unreliable in many areas and doesn't solve the problem of commuting for many people. Sure, it's different in some of the larger cities with a decent subway, but here in rural PA, it's not such a great solution.

Let's take a great example. My mother is 64 years old. She lives alone (my father passed away four years ago), and makes less than 30,000 a year. She drives 20 miles to work each day in Western Massachusetts. She is a school teacher and at her age, she could not get a job at another school, no one would take her (simple fact). She can't just up and move, her house is paid for and she could not afford to pay rent on an apartment. What do Mr. Obama's words do for her? How much practical assistance is that to her? I'll tell ya, it ain't much.

Should we conserve? Sure. I know I do, and I know my family does. Should we let politicians be all snobby and say "Oh, poor you, you're having trouble affording food because of the high gas prices? Oh, here, here's a packet of saltines. Aren't I so wonderful?"

Sorry Barry, it doesn't resonate. Pretty speeches are great, but they don't fix anything.

Friday, August 1, 2008

One small step for me...

Not really significant to mankind in general though. I passed my M class permit test today. Now all I need to do is go through the MSP and I'll have my motorcycle license, which means I'll be able to get a bigger scooter.

I took my family up to Speedwell Forge today for some fishing. Well, my son and I did the fishing. My wife sat in the shade and read. She's not really into the whole hunter-gatherer thing. We didn't catch anything, but the lake was breathtakingly beautiful.

We stopped at a farm stand on the way back and picked up some corn and watermelon for supper. Then after supper I went for a scoot.

I had at first thought to go to a motor-sports dealer in Red-Lion, but decided I wasn't really up for that long of a ride, so I stopped in at B&B Yamaha to see if they had anything. There were only two scooters in the place and both of them were Schwinns. Unfortunately most of what I've read about Schwinn scooters has been less than positive. They are basically a Chinese built scooter with the quality (*cough*) that we have come to expect from China.

Since they didn't have anything interesting to look at, I decided to wander around a bit and found myself crossing an Idylic covered bridge over Chickees Creek. I stopped to shoot a picture with my Blackberry and made sure to get my scoot in the shot. It really was a nice evening to be outdoors.